This Runner's Trials

Dear body

Dear body,

We’ve been through a lot.

I used to hate you. I used to curse you for not growing me better boobs and giving me huge hips. I used to starve you, then bombard you with copious amounts of sugar.

I eventually realized how foolish that was when we started running 7 years ago. I grew to respect your awesomeness. I never thought I’d be the girl who could exercise just by stepping foot out the door and running around the block. I thought running for 30 minutes without stopping was the most amazing thing ever.

Then a year ago, my detest for you returned. Umm, where the heck was my period? I took care of you so well, so why couldn’t you be “normal”?

I was so mad at you, so I made you pay. I made you pound the treadmill, run the snow and get up at crazy hours in the morning.

But you’re more mature than me, body. Instead of hating me back, you made me strong. You let me run faster than I ever thought possible, granted me PRs and let me survive the hardest race of my life.

My love for you came back. Then almost as if on cue, a couple of weeks ago, you gave me my first non-medication induced period in over a decade.

I thought this was it. I thought we were on the same page. I thought we had finally made peace.

Then my 20 mile run last week sucked. Yesterday my should-have-been-15 miler that turned into a 10 mile run plus 3 mile run/walk sucked even more. And I realized my runs have been going downhill in the past 2 weeks.

I wanted to be mad at you. This is not the time for you to rebel. My marathon is in less than a month, and I want to run well. So badly.

But I realized, this time, it was my fault. I haven’t been treating you as well as I should be.

  • I’ve basically had you on a training plan since last November with very few breaks.
  • I’ve been training you hard and expecting you to recover according to what my training plan says.
  • I’ve spent the days of long runs on my feet, doing “fun” things.
  • I haven’t been stretching you well and I haven’t been to yoga in 7 weeks.

This all changes today. I promise to:

  • Give you a break from training plans after my marathon. Then you can run for fun, spin, zumba or whatever else your heart desires.
  • Respect you. Just because Smart Coach told me to run 2 days after a 20 miler, doesn’t mean I should have forced you to. This week, I will do no speedwork and run a pace according to how you feel.
  • Let you rest. After my half marathon plus (hopefully) 7 miles this coming Saturday, I will let you spend the remainder of the weekend in the horizontal position.
  • Pamper you. Today we'll get a sports massage and go to yoga. I wish I could afford that level of treatment for you more often, but I can’t. I hope you will accept foam rolling, sticking, stretching, icing, physical therapy and the occasional yoga class instead.

Sound like a deal? Let’s each play our part and help each other out. Then maybe… just maybe… we can lead each other to a BQ in a few weeks.

Group hug!

Love Jen

Comments (19) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Aw, this is a great post! I love it!

  2. i haven’t commented before but i really want to tell you how awesome your posts are! you are a fabulous athlete and i wish you success on your upcoming marathon goals!
    amy k from los angeles

  3. I love this post! It actually made me tear up a bit because I am realizing the exact same things lately. Thanks for the inspiration to be kind to our bodies.

  4. Yay! This is such a great post. I hope that you enjoyed your (much-needed and well-deserved) massage!

  5. Your tweet few weeks ago about feeling/ being a woman made me tear up b/c I knew exactly what you were referring to.

    Dance party?

  6. Jen – this is an amazing post and you have an amazing body and spirit! When you’re working so hard towards a goal, it can be so difficult to stop and reflect. You are strong. I’m sure your body will thank you again soon. I hope you enjoyed every bit of that glorious massage today.

  7. OMG the self hug has me dying over here. You crack me up. Bobby and I were talking about getting massages the other day. Can you believe I have never had one?(professionally?)
    enjoy relaxing!!!

  8. Amazing post Jen! Love the group hug picture. Fingers and toes for you and your body and a stormin’ BQ!

  9. New reader and I just love this post so much!! You’re a pretty amazing athlete, but it’s crazy how badly we can treat our bodies. And how GREAT it feels when we treat our bodies they way they deserve! Thanks for this reminder. :)

  10. :) It sucks feeling at war with your own body – so glad you’re choosing to give yours what it’s asking for right now. All those things sound like great ways to restart and recharge. BQ here you come!

  11. Joining in on the hug…you’ve earned it! :-)

  12. Jen — this is an awesome post (or I should say letter!). I’m sorry you’ve been having some rough runs lately. I know how much of a toll it can take on your confidence. But I hope you know you’re definitely not alone. I can relate — I’ve had many a break-down in the past when training for marathons, usually around this point. Your body is tired from the intense schedule, and the pressure of trying to BQ is pretty intense. I hope you’re able to get some rest and give your body time to heal. I think it’s awesome that you can take a step back and reflect on what’s going on (and bargain with your body…a strategy I’ve used many times haha) Your plan sounds like a good one — hopefully you and your body will be able to work together over these next few weeks and you’ll be raring to go by the time the marathon rolls around. You are an amazing athlete! I know you can do this!!!

  13. Hope you got some great rest in this weekend! THe body definitely needs it after all that mileage!

  14. :D I just found your blog and I LOVE IT. This is a great post. It’s so easy to push our bodies over the top and get into the training mode..Like you said, it’s important to listen to our bodies and know when to stop or when to take a break. It carries us throughout our whole lives, so let’s make sure we take care of it! ;)

  15. I love this post and I’m so glad you’re taking good care of yourself. I’m also glad you’re going to yoga so when I go too I know someone is suffering through it with me. Then we can complain about it and go back next week. ;)

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