Hullo, all. This morning I woke mentally ready to run the farthest I have run all at once in my life - 8 miles. Unfortunately my back had other plans. I got out of bed and my back was very stiff. So, I did the stretches that my old Atlanta chiropractor gave me to do as therapy (and that I'm supposed to do twice a day every day and that I have been so very bad about doing), and it didn't help very much at all. I still dressed in my running gear and running shoes (and am actually wearing them right now) with the hopes that things would loosen up as I moved around.
No such luck. The more I moved the more I realized that running with my back like this today would not be a good idea. If I curve my back in a C shape, like you do when stooping to pick up Ladybug or Angelfish or when you are ducking your head inside the car to fasten their car seat belts, I get a pain in my lower right back. And then there is the clicking that has been going on this morning.
The last time I ignored these little signs, I had weeks of multiple chiropractor appointments because I ended up with sciatica down both legs, pain across my middle back, and I couldn't quite stand up perfectly straight because or the pain. Not to mention not being able to do strenuous activity. The time before, one day I bent over and my disc slipped and I couldn't stand back up. It took 2 weeks before I could completely stand up straight without pain again. So, I'm glad I made that appointment for today with the new chiropractor. Admittedly, this is something I should have done months ago but you know how it is. I need to get myself readjusted, back into alignment, do my stretches every day, and go to maintenance appointments. I know this, and now I'm making myself do it.
Why does this happen? Oh, it's one of my laundry list of things "wrong" with my body. In this case, it's a genetic situation (aren't they all...). Everyone on my Dad's father's side of the family had it (they even found receipts for a chiropractor my great-grandfather went to)... a slightly degenerated disc in the lower back. The chiropractic adjustments help keep the space between the vertebrae a little larger so the smaller disc doesn't let the rest of the back "sag" and put pressure on all those lovely nerves in the lower back. Like I said, I know better. As a child, I went with my Dad to his chiropractor - sometimes a few times a week - when his back was giving him problems. But I like to think I'm impervious to this sort of pain, until that is I start having it. Mine gets so bad that one leg will be shorter than the other and the button or snap on pants won't line up with my belly button. Yup. Which may have something to do with that pain I was having while running too.
Which leads me to the feeling sorry part of the blog entry today, except I don't really feel sorry for myself, but here it goes... Here are all the reasons why I am not built to be a triathlete:
1. I have a "bad back."
2. I have a genetic condition that causes high cholesterol (and possibly high blood pressure, but it's hard to tell when you have white coat syndrome and your blood pressure goes up whenever you see the doctor and you somewhere can't seem to make yourself go once or twice a week to a store with a blood pressure machine to find out... or maybe you just don't want to know if you have yet another thing wrong with you... but then perhaps it's better to know so you don't stroke out. hmm).
3. I have asthma that is induced by exercise and by large amounts of pollen in the air.
4. I have an endocrine system problem.
5. I have allergies.
6. I have one shoulder lower than the other because I have tendons that are unequal in length in my neck.
7. I am a little heavier than I should be (see #4).
8. My ancestors must have been water creatures because I sweat salt on land but can swim forever.
9. I have twins who are almost 3 years old and a full time job, so therefore I must not have the time.
10. I have a household to run and a husband to keep happy.
But like I said, I don't really feel sorry for myself for any of the above. And here are the reasons why:
1. There is nothing better than going further, longer or faster than you have ever gone before... especially when people ask you "How can you do that?" or say "I could never do that." (The proper responses to which are "Because I want to." and "You're right. You can't because you don't believe you can." But somehow I tend to be too polite to say either of those.)
2. Being the best me I can be includes being in the best physical shape I can be... and we all have to start somewhere. Plus, making time for yourself and finding something you love makes you a better person even if you have to sacrifice some time.
3. If I'm the best me I can be, I am a better wife and mother, a better worker, and a better person.
4. I love triathlons and I love the training (and I'm hating sitting here right now instead of trying to run my 8 miles today).
5. I love the smile that involuntarily crosses my face when I do something I've never done before (like breaking 20 mph on the bike or running 7 miles straight ... soon to be 8 miles).
6. I would never regret my husband or children. I love them more than anything in this world (including triathlons, which is saying quite a lot).
7. All of my physical activity and strengthening my body, my cardiovascular system, and my lung capacity helps with 1-5 & 7 on the list above.
8. With all my "bad" genes, I got a lot of really great ones too. Like the intelligence to see that all of the list above are just little challenges that make my triathlon training and the races themselves all the more rewarding. Or my blue eyes that Angelfish and Ladybug inherited from me and from Mr. Darcy's grandfather.
9. I think it's hogwash when someone tells you that you can't do something. They can say it, but that's because it's their issue. It's up to you as to whether you agree with it and internalize it.
10. I like a challenge where it's just between me and the elements to see whether I can do it. It's really one of the only things in this life where, aside from someone cutting you off on the bike, tripping you, or crashing into you, you're really not dependent on anyone else to reach your goal. There are not "external forces" to counter.
Another way I'm getting back in the game is my perspective. I'm reading an incredible, truly life changing book right now that was suggested by someone who I've come to consider a friend. I think everyone should read this book. It is called, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It starts off seeming a little "new age" but the more you read, the more you realize the wisdom and truth in it all. It talks about how each one of us have our own senses of reality that have been engrained in us from the time we were born, and that really everything we think about ourselves, our lives, and others stem from little "agreements" we have come to based on what people have told us about ourselves, how we are "supposed to live" and what we are "supposed to believe." How we can either live in a self-created hell that is dependent on what others think and do, and what we do in return or how we can live a life of happiness by using Four Agreements that will break our bonds to the little things we bought into or agreed with in our life time. Some of it seems self-explanatory in that deep down we know these agreements are true, but it also talks breaking your fear (of rejection, lonliness, whatever) in order to be able to actually live the Four Agreements. It is amazing how much I see of myself and my behaviors just since I started reading this book yesterday after work. It is a quick read and I actually plan to re-read it as soon as I finish it but this time take my own notes and to make a placard I can use to remind me of the Four Agreements, which are (as taken from the inside flap of the book):
1) Be impeccable with your word. This means to say only what you mean. Avoid using words to speak against yourself or others. Use the power of words for truth and love.
2) Do not take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you but is a projection of their own reality. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be a victim of needless suffering.
3) Don't make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and express what you really want. Communicate with outher as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.
4) Always do your best. Your best will change from moment to moment. But under any circumstance, simply do your best and y ou will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
What a way to get back in the game and really live happily. I really recommend the read.
Have a happy Friday!!