Guest Blog Series: Summer's Journey, Chapter 3

Let’s talk about stress.

Life finds a way to teach us lessons and provides opportunity to practice gratitude.

Recently, for me, stress has led to a battle of the wills.  Will I choose to move my body?  Will I choose to eat healthy food?  Will I allow my body and mind to rest by getting enough sleep? 

Sometimes, the answer was yes.  Sometimes, no. 

This same stress has also led to injury.  Not an injury that will keep me from running forever but one that is reminding me that I want to run for life. To do so, I am going to have to allow the healing process to happen in its own timing, not mine.  Amongst this time, I’ve had to practice active and conscious healthy internal dialogue because the nasty things I think about myself are just plain mean.  During one particularly challenging moment I was aware of the desire to choose dessert over a balanced meal or a coffee over real food.  When faced with this challenge, I chose balance.  Food is not “good” or “bad” but I focused on choosing one whole food along with something satisfying.  Yes, I ate the salad I packed for lunch and the cookie that was screaming my name.  The result was I managed to not make a stressful moment or the whole day also a guilty one where I was disappointed in myself.  I consistently thought to myself in these types of moments, “Remember Sum, nothing is wrong with your body.”

Mixed into the food roller-coaster was a battle of to-run or not-to-run decisions to be made.  The hardest moment was deciding that running a scheduled half marathon was a bad idea.  Watching the club participate in my favorite part of the sport was so hard but I practiced being excited for them and finding joy in the weekend that should have been spent with my CRC family.  I did my absolute best.  Was that good enough?  Yes.  Absolutely, yes!

Our culture promotes push-harder, work-more but in times of stress I KNOW that for me, that drive leads me to getting sick or injured.  So, I practice that healthy internal dialogue.  Breathe.  Trust myself to know when I am ready to race up my laces.  In vulnerable honesty, my lack of mileage has left me worried about losing fitness.  Coach Yon’s words play repeat in my head and I remind myself that I will not lose fitness with rest. I will come back stronger because when I run, I will be ready to do so.  In response to the worry, I have opted to look for ways to stay active and found a strength workout that is reengaging my love for fitness while I focus on getting healthy.  For me and my journey, running healthy means more than just time on feet. It is imperative that my self-talk is positive, the food I eat is balanced and my personal and work life is balanced.  I do not have this down perfectly but that’s ok because recently I have been doing pretty good with it.  That is the biggest win!

Note to the universe: I would like life to stop kicking me when I am down.  Until that happens, I will keep practicing this!