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Listen to your body


"Listen to your body", they say.

The two weeks when I was sick, and that sounds a lot worse than it was, I certainly listened to my body. When my eyes opened in the morning, I was sure I could hear my body saying, "stay in bed.... stay in bed...", so I listened. I wasn't majorly ill, a sore throat that took five days to develop and then migrate northwards to my sinuses for another - well if truth be told they're not exactly clear just yet.

After some time of listening to the call to stay in bed most mornings, my angst about a little Ironman event coming up on the 5th April started shouting louder than the stay in bed cry and I started to train again. My knee which felt like it was about to break in two like a chicken bone in my first run after the illness certainly made its voice known. I wrote about that in a previous post.

As I pushed through the barriers to training and started to build momentum again, I did start to wonder about this 'listen to your body thing'. Anyone who has trained half seriously for something will know what I mean about the initial push to build momentum and then at some point you wonder, how it was that there was a time in your life when you weren't training as hard as this.

It feels like the most natural thing in the world to be climbing out of bed at some ungodly hour and heading out to do your exercise. Even if in a group it is a very personal thing. Likewise a break in training will have you wondering if it is ever possible to get back to the levels you were once at. I've certainly experienced that often enough.

If truth be told I think if I were to sit down and have a heart to heart with my body it would probably say, "do some yoga", or perhaps "Pilates is good". I don't think it would ever say - go and do an Ironman - because no matter which way I look at it, it is quite hard sell - for a body that is.

I have some very specific reasons for doing it and my learning has been immense. I've enjoyed the discipline of the training over a long period of time - now for the second year, I have much greater awareness of my body and I know things about cycling, swimming, running and weight training which I would not ever have known had I not taken this on. I really believe I am a better person because of it as all this learning is against the backdrop of my mid- life which has made it even more significant.

Despite all this, I've had to refine the "Listen to your body" - mantra to include all aspects of my body - my mind, my psychology, my spirit and my physical body, in order to make it true for me. If it were purely my physical body, I'm sure that most of the time it would say - "stay in bed". It is after all warm and comfy compared to the bike saddle, the pavements or the cool water of the swimming pool.

Five weeks to go on Sunday.

I am training for Ironman South Africa on 5th April 2009. This blog posting reflects on my experiences in training. This is for my benefit and also for anyone contemplating the Ironman. I completed the Ironman in 2008 for the first time. My primary goal is to finish, to have fun and learn. I’m a seriously social competitor.