Thursday, March 6, 2014
"And now comes the winter of our discontent....."
From Richard III, written by William Shakespeare
Honestly, I didn't want to write. I haven't wanted to do much of anything the last 3 weeks, having gotten nailed with pneumonia, sinusitis, ear infection and I think, the flu. How, you ask? Well, not staying home when the pneumonia hit left me open to a host of other issues, and racing about 10 days after being diagnosed with pneumonia wasn't one of my best ideas either. So, to say I've been discontent, is putting it rather mildly.
This is, of course, my own doing, which makes it even more bitter pill to swallow. But there is a lesson here - if you truly know your body better than anyone else, then admit when its time to SHUT IT DOWN to allow it to heal. I hate being on the shelf about as much as I hate losing, so for those who know me, this time of moderate workouts, using devices for breathing exercises, vaporizers, having to ask for help to do stuff I consider routine has been down right garbage. Absolute shit. And what's worse, is that when I, and others, get like this, the self-loathing sets in, which leads to confidence breakdowns, etc, etc, etc.
Here's the deal - the human body is an absolutely amazing machine, and I enjoy nothing more than pushing the boundaries of it daily. I love lifting heavy things, running fast, riding faster, doing butterfly in the water, flying through metabolic conditioning work, hair on fire. I love encouraging others to do the same, teaching others to do the same. But we are still HUMAN, which means we aren't perfect, although we should strive for perfection, and that means we get sick once and a while. The key is to recognize the severity of it, know when to back off, then allow the body to return to full strength and hit it hard. Trying to push the gas pedal when your engine is already at the point of over-heating, well, that's a recipe for disaster. Same applies to the body.
The important thing to do when you get hit with the illness bug, aside from proper rest, is mental fortitude. Its all too easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of bad TV, bad food, bad habits, all under the guise of "I don't feel well, so what does it matter?" Trust me, it matters more when you are sick than ever. I was on the road to recovery because I was being vigilant about rest, and nutrition - deciding to race too soon ruined it. And trying to justify my racing with a win did nothing for my immune system. The trophy on my table doesn't do a damn thing for my illness. But I know rest, eating right, that is critical to getting my immune system back in gear, and my ass off the couch. You have to stay positive, even when you feel like total shit, because the negativity can grab hold and sink its teeth in. Its too easy to get in that mode, of "woe is me". And its not to diminish anyone being sick, but not recognizing the body's resilience, your own strength and ability to recover, keeps you down. It keeps you sick. Keeps you in the dark. Screw that.
Recognizing how easy it is to start that negative shame circle, that's the first step to avoiding it. Be your own advocate, take responsibility for your health, and treat getting healthy like its your job. Yeah, it took me a good 10 days to figure that out this time, but once you do, you notice little things, more energy, less reliance on medications, a better sense of self.
Something that I have been watching with awe and inspiration is the Crossfit Games Open. I have found it fascinating, exciting and makes me want to get healthy because I want to train. Not simply for sport, but for life. I just love being able to do things others can't, or even better, do things other people love telling me I can't do. I've attached this video called "The Test of Fitness". I hope you watch and get pumped about the Games, about the limitlessness of the human body, of the greatness inside each of you. I know its helping me. I think the snow is even starting to finally melt too. Light at the end of the tunnel.