An appreciation post about our amazing bodies because our bodies are incredible.
OUR AMAZING BODIES
Our bodies are so incredible. I am continuously in awe by the many abilities we have, and it blows my mind if I think about it too deeply on a regular basis. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t days I was frustrated or annoyed, but most days I have an extreme amount of gratitude and appreciation for my body and all it can do. It is capable and strong.
My body has gone through quite a few changes over the past couple of years. When I was in college, I realized the importance of taking care of my body so I practiced things like improving my nutrition, working out, and finding a balance between challenging myself and rest. One practice I incorporated was running, and it’s crazy to think I used to have the worst experience running for 3 minutes and now deeply enjoy running for many miles. Through the process of becoming a runner, I witnessed the strength and ability my body had to withstand the changes. It was not easy, but I learned to appreciate and trust my body each and every day. So why am I talking about this?
A few weeks ago I was really feeling the urge to sign up for a half marathon. (That’s one reason I know I’m a changed woman forever because years ago the thought of signing up for a half would make me weeeeeep.) I usually do a couple of races a year and my last one was in March (a destination race!) so I was feeling antsy to do something. I mostly wanted to be outside in the fall colors and beautiful weather, challenge myself, and do something fun that I really love. So, I semi-impulsively signed up for a half marathon — I say semi-impulsively because I gave myself 24 hours to consider it before completing registration. When I completed registration I had 3 weeks until race day.
Three weeks isn’t very long to “train” so I knew I was just going to have to go for it. At this point, I know my body well. I think I am pretty in tune to how my body feels and how it is working, so I felt okay making the decision that this was something I was capable of. I knew that I could trust my current physical state and that my body could handle being pushed and challenged a bit more than usual.
HOWEVER, there are some important parts of taking care of my body that go hand-in-hand with being able to trust my body.
- I need to fuel with proper nutrition. For me this means eating a wide selection of nutrient-dense foods that taste good and give me the energy to do the things I love. I used to be in a “diet” mind-set and found myself overthinking this all of the time. As I have shifted to the mindset of “everyday overall wellness and balance,” I remind myself that fueling myself is the bottom-line most important. I have to eat the right amounts of many foods to keep myself fueled and energized.
- I need to challenge myself. When I am training, I push myself. Whether that looks like going on a run, lifting weights at the gym, or spending some time on the stair-stepper, I try to spend my training time focused. My work-out time is so beneficial for my physical health, but also deeply for my mental health, so I really give myself that time to focus. I love challenging myself and then the victorious feeling of lifting heavier, running faster, or stepping longer. Focused training keeps my body challenged and trained so I’m able to do the things I love.
- I need to rest. If I’m going to train hard, I need to rest hard. I am always challenged by this because I love to be on the move and going. I have to force myself to rest or else I will experience injuries and fatigue. This is critical.
- I need to talk positive. I have to talk positive to my body. Be able to look at myself and tell myself I am strong, I am thankful, and that I love my body. There’s a whole lot of feelings that can go into this one, but it’s so important for me to try my best to love my body no matter what — no matter what it looks like, what it can do, or how it is working.
- I need to listen. If I’m listening to my body and paying attention to what it feels like, I can usually tell when something is wrong. However it’s important to pair listening with action because if I’m going to listen but then not do anything about what is heard, it’s pretty pointless.
I try my best to incorporate all of these practices into my daily life. I fail often, but over time I learn more about the importance of each of these.
SO, back to that half marathon I mentioned earlier. Over the weekend I traveled to the race with some amazing ladies from a Kirksville running group. We took a quick, less than 24 hour trip to Springfield, IL to the run the Sangamon Valley Trail Half Marathon. This race was appealing because of the distance (less than 3 hours from Kirksville,) it was the inaugural year for the race (so it would probably have fewer racers and a cheaper price,) and it was on mostly-paved trail (hello beautiful fall season!)
Let me tell you, I LOVED the 24 hours.
The race itself provided a beautiful, fun morning of running. The race course in Sangamon Valley was on the tails, over bridges, and though all of the color-changing trees into the sunrise. It was seriously so good and I was obsessed with how gorgeous the scenery was. I probably annoyed many runners by the fact that I was screaming and pointing at trees as I was running along the trails. I also loved traveling with the group of ladies who challenge and inspire me! They are seriously so amazing and I had such a blast traveling with them. We also came and conquered because we all placed in our respective age groups, which is amazing and hilarious.
Now, post-race, I am taking care of myself. I am feeling a some soreness in my muscles and tendons (probably from quickly ramping up the mileage) so I am taking a few days off of running to fully rest and recover so I can get back on the roads soon. Y’all, are bodies are incredible. They are strong and capable, so push them, challenge them, but treat them with respect. You will be absolutely amazed at what they can do.
- How do you challenge your body?
- In what ways do you treat your body with respect?
- What does your body need right now?