So, it seems that I just ended September with the best stats I have had…in well over a year. My run goal for 2019 was to hit 30 miles a month, and I have missed that goal a couple of months this year due to my neck injury. However, in September I ran 46.69 miles, which was done mostly at 5:30am in 1.25 mile increments. I haven’t gone that many miles in a month since August 2015 at the height of my fighter training, I did 90.13 miles that month. Prior to that it was Jan 2015 when I did 51.04 miles. (Yea, I’m a data tracker person). Looking back over all my numbers, I was kind of shocked.
When I changed things in mid-August, trying to follow more of an Ayurveda & Circadian path, I didn’t set out to “DO MORE MILES”, I just wanted to get some sort of exercise done every day so that I could jumpstart my metabolism and help my body in every way possible. There are things on both path’s that I have not tried as of yet, but implementing small steps every month has helped me in so many ways. I am constantly doing research, learning and discovering things about my body, about how to listen to my body better and how to manage my body and my pain to a point that I am completely functional, even with my injury and chronic pain.
It’s funny, 4-5 months ago I was ready to throw in the towel. I couldn’t ride my bike, I couldn’t swim, all I had left was running (really a slow jog actually) and even that was beginning to cause me more pain than it was helping. But I didn’t want to give up. I didn’t want to give in. This was the price I was paying for 5 of the best years of my life as a fighter and finally, the bill had come due, but I wasn’t ready yet.
In 2 months I turn 53 and I don’t plan to stop being who I am, so I had to figure out a different way to be Me. The fighter. The runner. The athlete. The Badass Valkyrie.
So, every morning, sometimes even before my 5:30am alarm goes off, my body wakes up. I don’t give myself the option of sleeping in. If I decide I can’t do my run, it’s only AFTER I get out of bed, and into my running clothes. Only then do I get to decide to take the day off. In September I ran 28 out of 30 days. One I was flying back from DragonCon and time got away from me. The other, I was home sick from work.
Now, I do also add a 5k run every weekend and every quarter I add in a 10k, which did also happen in September. But that notwithstanding I am going to try to push for 50 in October. I may not make it, and truthfully my real goal is just 42 miles a month from now until 09/09/2020 so I can hit 500 miles in one year, but as it stands, if I end 2019 with 42 under my belt for Oct, Nov and Dec I will hit my goal of 360 miles for the year.
Since I started working on my quality of sleep almost exactly a year ago, I thought if I increased my sleep, everything else would fall into place. But what I found was yes, sleep is the primary component to making EVERYTHING else work better but it’s not the only thing. Figuring out how my microbiome works in conjunction with my brain, my stomach, basically, everything in my body, is another key component. Also, just because I lay in bed for 8 hours does not mean I get 8 hours of sleep. My REM sleep is low, I am a light sleeper, my core temperature doesn’t drop as low as it should if I exercise in the afternoon and so I had to make changes (some small, some big) in order to get a good night’s sleep.
I also have to pay attention to what my microbiome is doing, how my gut feels, what I am eating, and craving, and what my skin is doing, how my muscles are feeling, everything is connected. Literally EVERYTHING! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Needless to say, it can get overwhelming trying to FIX everything at once. So what I did was pick the lowest hanging fruit, my sleep, and try to fix it to the best of my ability. Then I could start working on other things. And I have.
Today was the first day I saw true progress, like literal factual data that proved progress. That’s the stuff dreams are made of for people like me. When I did my race on Saturday at the U of U, I felt good. My time was decent, and I knew things felt better, but to actually see the numbers fall into place was like Christmas. On top of everything else, I started September at 228.8 and I am down to 225.4 as of this morning, so seeing the scale move and stay in a consistently lower mode was an added benefit.
I am not sure how long I will be able to get out at 5:30am every morning since the snow has gotta fly sometime and while I have a new pair of snow boots ready to go, I am not quite sure I can pull off running in them just yet. But for right now, even with the sub 35* mornings, the cold wakes me up and starts my day off with a blast in the right direction. I may eventually have to do some of this during my lunch hour or at the gym, which would mean an earlier bedtime than 10:30pm in order for me to add the trip to and from the gym, but even with that, the exchange rate from time to body is worth it.
And that’s really the million-dollar question…what makes it worth it?
Is changing your routine worth it? Is going to bed at a set time worth it? Is waking up at the butt crack of dawn and putting on running shoes to face the cold blast worth it?
To me it is.
My body, my health, my mental wellbeing is definitely worth it, even with the pain. At some point maybe that girl on the right (my 5:30am self) won’t think it is…
But today is not that day…