As a disclaimer: This is not a self-serving blog entry. I'm hoping someone will see this and feel hopeful and perhaps (this would be really cool) inspired to be better than they were yesterday as others have inspired me.
Two years of chronic injuries (plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, hip flexor strains, piriformis syndrome, tendonitis in the feet, tendonitis in the shoulders) have led me to Michele 2.0. Let me be honest though, I've accomplished some good things in these two years ( 4 marathons 1 Ironman, 4 1/2 Irons) so my body has actually endured quite a bit. The last injury though, woke me up-knee dislocations are NOT fun.
Quite literally, I've been stopped in my tracks. No more running like this:
Instead, I've had to re-evaluate EVERYTHING that I do: how I sit, stand, walk. The most basic things that every day, you don't normally think about. Plus, I can't run until March (possibly). Humbling? Oh yes. Now however, I have the opportunity to change many things about myself and increase awareness. Food, work, relationships, life in general.
I call this Michele 2.0. Instead of a makeover, which would imply that I am chucking 'everything' about myself, I consider this an upgrade.
1. Physical Therapy-Yes, I've been in this off and on for the past couple years, but this time I am actually DOING the exercises that have been prescribed. Even my PT is noticing a difference. Pilates and stretching are HUGE. When coaches tell you everything starts at the core, they mean it. The source of most of my injuries have come from other parts of my body compensating for a lack of core strength.
2. Healthy Eating. No, I don't mean I'm never going to eat chocolate again (in fact, just had a delicious bite of Dove Dark Chocolate). I mean eating things in moderation, not just finishing my plate because the food happens to be there. Becoming aware of how what I eat affects my training and my every day life. Although diet soda has long been a favorite, I'm making it a rare exception. It doesn't necessarily hurt, but it's not giving anything back either. So why should I pay for something when I'm really not getting anything in return? Plus, there are so many good options and healthy choices that will make me (and you!) feel so much better.
3. Lifting. No, I don't plan on trying out for American Gladiator any time soon (do they still air that show?!) but I have been told for YEARS (apparently I am a slow learner) that I am extremely flexible, so flexible in fact that I can hurt myself very easily. Flexibility is great, but with strength to balance it, that's FANTASTIC.
Mind & Soul (super corny, but I don't care!)
It DOES matter what's going on in your head-it affects your body and vice versa. When I was told I couldn't run for 6 months I burst into tears (yes, I know).
1. Volunteer. Amazing what this can do for you. When you get injured you have time on your hands that you used to spend exercising. Of course, I threw myself a little pity party at first. Then my boyfriend reminded me he had broken his back once and REALLY couldn't do anything for several months. Reality check! Sure, you may be injured, you might not be where you want to be in life, but there is someone out there that can use your help. Donate blood, sign up to be a bone marrow donor, donate cans for a food drive, donate books you don't need, give away that bridesmaid dress to a girl that can't afford one for the prom. It doesn't take much time to help and you'd be amazed (I always am) that people remember when you help.
2. Books. Read! It doesn't matter WHAT. Any topic that interests you. I am finding myself amazed at books I'm reading on topics like the stock market (who knew such crazy stuff went on) and good fun books that are often defined as chic lit. I know more about the world in general and about things I would normally have not taken an interest in (horse racing and knitting, to name a couple).
3. Friendships. Good friendships are a powerful weapon in healthy living. Lifting you up when you are down or in my case, telling you when you are whining (sometimes) or congratulating you when you've done well. BEING a good friend. I've had times when I've been SO wrapped up in my own 'issues' that I've ignored (not intentionally) a friend that was truly in need. No matter how stressful my own issues were, there is no pain compared to knowing you weren't there for someone when you could have been. Regrets, I think are only good for one thing. How can you help a friend today? An online friend, a twitter friend or someone you've known since kindergarten. It doesn't take much. Helping someone else can be one of the most healing things you can do for yourself.
I hope this helps you as it has helped me to write it.