Monday, July 4, 2011

Peachtree Road Race as a Touchstone for health

What is your touchstone? The Peachtree Road Race is one of mine. Everyone needs touchstones that come annually throughout the year. These traditions give you a chance to reflect on the past year, be thankful for today and set goals for the year ahead. Having touchstones lets you evaluate and - get a redo if you need to.

This time last year,  I was in tremendous knee pain. I followed the Peachtree Road Race with multiple visits to the orthopedists and 4 months in physical therapy. I really didn't know if I would be able to run distance again.

It started in April 2010, when I was running the Talledega Speedway half marathon.
"Skrink, pop." The bones scraped. The knee lunged away from my skeleton. I lurched forward, found my balance then gimped on the outside of my foot to try to somehow forcibliy align my knee with my body. I was on mile 7 on the Talledega Speedway running with 6 miles left to go. I went from an all out sprint to a stutter, to a walk, to a hobble.

Since I hate to miss a good time I followed this half marathon with another the following weekend. Then I just kept running until the Peachtree. After that point I was ready to give in and yell, "Uncle!" Then I ended up going to all the medical professionals to help me fix my knee.

Since then I have had to readjust what I thought was un-adjustable. When the physical therapist told me I would have to stop running everyday I looked at him as though he had just told me I wasn't American. I just couldn't take that news. I had been a runner for decades. There were weeks when I easily ran every day, well, just because I could.

He made a very poignant point with me. He had a paper clip. He started talking and bending that paper clip back and forth. I hate when it looks like people have evidence that they are right, and I am wrong. He said,"If you keep doing the same thing over and over, something has to give." Then of course, the paper clip broke and my chin hit the floor.

I took this news and stewed on it a few days. Then I decided that maybe he had some knowledge about what he was saying sense he was a professional and I was still limping. I quit running everyday and started cross training. I never run 2 days in a row now. I mix it up. I go out with friends and we  ride  bikes or swim. I started strength training at My Fitness Solutions, with Fadi and Rebecca. All of this has been so great for me!

I competed in my first triathlon and won my age division. (Old girls, but Stella still grooves!) I am new to the strength training, but I am learning so much, so quickly, that is good for my body. All those questions of going in a gym and not knowing what to do, how to use what equipment, or how to really eat well for my body are being answered. These questions are being answered quickly and with results! I am putting in the sweat and okay some pain, but I am seeing a leaner, stronger me!

Today I celebrated because I ran the Peachtree and had my best time in a while. I finished it in 1 hour and 5 minutes. That is right at 11 minute miles. That is okay for me. I am aiming to be strong, not fast. God blessed me with health and friends with which I was able to share the  experience again. The best investment I can make is in my own health. By investing in my own health I can be better for the other important people in my life for longer! I can be active with them and have fun!

I am looking forward to the year ahead as I anticipate the next Peachtree. I am working to get stronger! I am looking forward to working out with Fadi and Rebecca at My Fitness Solutions. In the next year, I should learn how to take care of my body and meet some physical goals that I didn't know how to meet without guidance and expertise. I have some additional triathlons and a marathon on the horizon. The goal is to be able to come back next year and be strong enough to enjoy the race again! Happy Fourth!

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