November happened in a blink for me. I didn’t let the whole month pass by without taking time to reflect on what has been happening in the world. I couldn’t ignore the way lives have shifted with the circumstances of the world and how on any given day many, including myself, would have to find a way to adapt. There are some things we can resist, but when we cannot resist, we adjust to be able to handle or keep up with what is happening. If you want to make it through each day with your sanity and some hope you adjust. If you want to survive you find your feet right where you are.
I have done some physical adjusting of my own this month. Just a couple of weeks ago I injured my foot and I had to take a seat and care for myself with hopes of getting back to my original state as quickly as possible. I wasn’t out for a run or having a strength training session when I injured my foot, I was right in my home doing normal activities. The air in the house felt stuffy and I decided to open a window, well just as I headed for the path to the window, I jammed my toes clean into the corner of a recliner.
I didn’t feel much pain as my toes and the recliner met, although it was enough for me to grab and rub my toes. I continued with my day as usually and after a few hours passed I could feel the pain and swelling setting in along with a sizeable bruise. I didn’t even consider sitting down to ice my foot I had to keep moving if I was going to wrap up some loose ends and finish packing my carry-on bags for my morning flight.
Morning arrived and the top half of my foot greeted me with an excruciating pain. I could barely apply pressure to my foot, but I had some essential traveling to do which included several hours of flying and driving. I suffered through the pain in my foot over the next few days without taking time to ice or soak until I returned home 6 days after the initial incident (not the thing to do). I still feel a slight pain at the point where my toes connect to my foot and this is a sign for me to find a modified exercise if necessary or to simply rest.
While my foot was sending signals to my brain for pain my heart was in its own broken state as I had to travel to bury my mom. I am adapting to life without her here with each passing day; remembering, reflecting, and resting my mind. I think this will become a new part of my life as the weeks go by and the change sets in.
Now is a good time to consider the adjusting you will need to do as life around you continues to change even if it is just the change of weather. As temperatures turn cooler and the cold/flu season sets in your body will need to build a resistance for the germs. Grab some leafy greens and maybe a sweet potato or two to keep your body ready to fight off illnesses. You will also need to make up for all the extra calories your body burns while being active in the cold temperatures. Trying some new soup recipes or a new canned soup may serve both needs.
Most importantly, don’t forget to schedule some time to relax, meditate, and take care of you.
Ten days into the month and I am keeping the pace. This month I will do 6 to 8 miles for my longer runs and 2 miles for my recovery days. There are several routes I will add to my list this month. I like to have a mixture of hills and flat terrain, and I will still include a familiar route that has several rolling hills. Some good things can happen on familiar routes.
On a path I know, like the one with the rolling hills, I can run without thinking about what is coming or which way I should go. I know the general distance I must go and the amount of time that must lapse before I reach my set goal. Although the route is familiar it is still a challenge. I can barely keep my pace while traveling up these steep hills and they seem to never top off quick enough. I used to slow all the way down to a walk at about halfway up a couple of the hills, but now I keep running. It is a slower run as I push my aching thighs to continue, and I will take that for now.
Maneuvering this route, a couple of times a month has created a few fans for me on the sidelines. Along the way there is a blue house which is fenced in, but the gate is usually open when I pass by and there are three young boys who call out to me and wave. I have even grabbed a runaway ball for them and made sure they made it back across the street after retrieving it. Hearing their laughter and voices alarms me of the next hill on my route. Their house is right at the beginning of the second hill I run up and it may be the steepest.
At the top of that hill there isn’t a downslope, it curves right into another incline. Since there is a dogwalker’s house midway through I call it the Doghouse hill. At this point on my route I am occasionally greeted by a lady sometimes she is in her car or headed into to her home. Normally she nods or smiles, and I often see people passing by or in their cars doing this, so I wasn’t expecting to be remembered until the day she did something unusual. I was rounding the curve at the top of the hill and headed into the next just as I passed her house and she yells out “you are getting stronger”. I smiled through my mask as I waved at her and ran on. A few seconds later I looked down at my legs and thought I am getting stronger.
I needed those words in my ear that day. Before I stepped off my porch that morning, I had decided to run right through the Blue House hill or hill number 2 and on to the connecting Doghouse hill or hill number 3. Even if I had to catch my breath for a couple of seconds on the downslope, I was going to make that day my first time completing both hills without walking. It is great to find new routes to challenge the muscles and it is also rewarding to go on a familiar path. I am looking forward to doing both during this month.
The next day, Sunday, the day after my big run I woke up with fatigue muscles. I was sore and as the day went on, I became excessively sore. A short walk and stretch or foam roller may have helped, but I did neither and opted to rest for two days. On Tuesday my legs were willing to engage in a light run, 2.28 miles and .58 miles of walking. My body felt pretty good, but I did not want to exhaust myself right away, well not until midweek.
Wednesday hit and I felt the need to apply pressure and responded with 30 minutes of cardio including dancing, 200 squats and 100 leg lifts. I squeezed all the energy out of my being during this session. My eyes were looking past what did not feel good in the moment and focused in on the image of a drastic transformation, so I did not hold back.
Finally, the end of seven days was near. Of course, I rested on Thursday after wearing out my legs the previous day, and that left Friday open for a light run of 2.02 miles and a half mile walk through my hilly neighborhood. The weekend arrived and I got caught up in it with no problem. The thought of exercise or running did not even marinate in my mind at all, and besides achieving some basic daily movements my flesh was deprived.
I do not know if I am doing more hurt or harm the way I have been juggling intense and light workouts with extended rest days. I used to feel as though I had a better grip on what was good for my body type and exercise level; now I feel like I am a beginner finding my answers through a maze of solutions.
Hiccups and struggles overall, I was excited that I made it through the first week and I felt good about it. Habits were broken and new habits were created. I want to go on, I want to challenge myself and I will.