I’ve found myself become more comfortable talking about my chronic pain and problems revolving around fibromyalgia, but there is a part of that struggle that up until now I’ve only mentioned to one, maybe two people. And that is the chronic struggle I have with myself everyday.
No, I don’t mean the struggle to get up and be active, at this point that is a given. I’m not even talking about the struggle to sleep (which I’m so happy to report I seem to have under control these days!), I’m talking about the chronic struggle to achieve.
Achieve what you might ask? Anything. Everything. I gave up running when I became a busier fitness instructor, I felt like the risk of injury from running wasn’t worth it since I need working legs to make a living. And as the years went by I found that removing that form of cross training ended up being more of a liability and left me more open to injury due to muscle imbalance, than any running injury I have sustained to date.
So a couple years ago I got back into running. And with running comes races. And with races comes results. And with results come my want to strive to do better. To cut my marathon times, to improve my 5 and 10K times. To become a better runner. But as someone with chronic pain, and who exercises for a living, there is a often a fine line between exercising enough to help reduce pain, and exercising too much to make the inflammation and pain worse, and then of course the dreaded return to over training.
I’m careful not to over train these days. If anything, I under train (a lot) for races. Which is obviously not ideal, but I do have the good fortune of having a career that keeps my aerobic capacity in check so I can swing races with less training than some.
Anyway, back to my chronic struggle to talk myself in or out of doing more.
I see Krysten training for her Ironman in the fall and think, I should do something like that. And then I think, that’s crazy. Not only because of my fibromyalgia, but because I’m already pushing the box as far as how much I can do before I fall back into that over training area.
I think, I should run, even if it’s 10 minutes twice during the week. That short investment of time would be enough to really help me with increasing my over all speed. But then I think, I’m alrady exercising 2 (or more) times today, do I really need to do that to my body?
The answer is no, but the answer is also that I want to.
I want to participate in triathlons and maybe even an Ironman (half!). I’m not a good swimmer and I don’t enjoy biking, but that’s because I don’t know how to shift gears properly, and I’m not a strong swimmer. And one thing I know is when you find something difficult, that is all the more reason to do it – so you can get better.
This past week I read Carole Staveley’s book Not Lying Down – How I Conquered Years of Pain to Triumph at the Finish Line
(you may remember she guest posted here earlier this month).
It’s when I read books like Carole’s, see Krysten’s posts, read about Jamie’s triumph as she finishes her first 100mile race , and watch Jess get ready for her first figure competition it brings all of those feeling back to the forefront of my mind.
I frigging want to set a push goal and go after it. I want to do things I’ve never done or thought I could do.
But I should just be happy with where I already am. I have a lung condition and a chronic illness, I never know when I’m going to have a bad day. But nobody else does either. And it’s never the things that you think will slow you don’t it’s the things that blindside you at the last moment that create the biggest set backs.
So I should just do it. I should just go for my goals.
But I need to take care of myself. I need to rest. I need to do more yoga and stretching, not more high intensity exercise that makes my muscles and joints even more angry.
But I still want to do it…I want to show my body (and let’s be honest, everyone) that a diagnosis of fibromyalgia doesn’t have to end your dreams. That being told my your doctor that your lung has a weak spot and you shouldn’t go on an airplane because the cabin pressure could make it collapse.
But I should be happy where I am. I already do more than most others in my shoes would ever think of doing.
And it continues. All of the time in my head.
It really does go on forever, and there never seems to be a winning side. I might decide not to set lofty goals one day, the next day I’m trying to decide on my next race.
The struggle continues. And I see no end in sight.
I don’t want my health to define me. I want to define me on my own terms. But sometimes that isn’t wise. Is this one of those times? I don’t know. But I can tell you this much, I haven’t ruled out running a full marathon in the fall…
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I received a copy of Carole’s book free of charge. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own