I would be lying if I said running was a choice in my family (kind of kidding). Both my mother and father were avid runners, day in, day out. Rain or shine, they were hitting the pavement and once I finally caved, I understood why.
Running was my escape, my happy place, my saving grace. Through running I began to find acceptance of my body and the incredible things that it was capable of. Each race, a new chance to challenge myself, every finish line, a chance to reward myself for the dedication and accomplishment.
As I’m sure anyone could tell you, it’s a love/hate relationship, running that is. But for me, that relationship felt more like a desperate cling to happiness. The more I ran, the happier I felt, the happier I felt, the more I was convinced that I was healthy.
And honestly, I was. A hell of a lot healthier than I had ever been before. But I was also walking or should I say running right into a new fight. One that is almost laughable but just as toxic in its ways. Exercise, excessive exersize. Everyday, twice a day, three times if I can find the time. An obsession, that I have just recently recognized and am beginning to see more and more of, especially in my line of work.
Are we running for our health or running from it? Are we creating happiness through our strides or covering up one feeling with another?
Whether our minds will tell us so or not, our bodies surely will. And for the past three months, my body has been screaming “enough”! Too much of a good thing is not always a good thing. Believe it or not, we all need a break before we literally break!
Overuse and abuse of my body has led me right back into an injured and vulnerable position with literally nowhere to run. But instead of falling back into the dark hole I once used to hide in, I am using this as a growing opportunity. A chance to appreciate how strong I have become mentally more so than physically.
As I’m learning and as I’ll share with you, it is okay to slow down, to take a day off, to focus less on the hustle and more on your health. You won’t gain 10 pounds overnight, your clothes won’t fit any differently than they did the day before and you most definitely won’t lose all the muscle you’ve worked so hard to build.
You may, however, develop more of an appreciation for the body that has gotten you this far. The one that has proven relentless time after time. The one that carried you forward when mentally, you may have felt like you couldn’t go on. So treat it as so! Show your body the love it deserves, forgive yourself for being your own worst critic and let this time of rest remind you just how resilient and beautiful you are on the inside and out.