Ever since I committed to losing weight and having a healthy lifestyle, I’ve found it hard to take down time. Often, the only way I’ll stop is when I’m too ill, too weak, or too injured to keep going. But even then, I’ll push the limit.
I face an internal struggle, whether to push through, as sometimes it isn’t that bad and you can, or take the time off and recover. Deep down I fear gaining weight, of my weight being out of my control. There is this consistent irrational fear of my weight climbing back up because I take a day or two off. I also get frustrated with a lack of progress that time out with injuries or illness can lead to. Because of this, I usually push through, I fight the pain, fight the illness and keep on going.
Not this time.
It’s 2 weeks out from the Scott and these last 2 weeks have taken me down more than a couple of notches. It started with a sore throat that turned into a little cough, simply from the irritation in the throat. There was nothing wrong with my chest, my heart, my legs, my head, just a cough, so I kept training. A friend came up to visit and we planned a weekend of late night swing dancing, and early morning runs. I decided to fight through the discomfort (I’d lost my voice and had begun to cough violently), and went out day and night. It was amazing fun, and I loved every minute, well, almost every minute, apart from the non stop coughing that made me quite embarrassed.
In retrospect, I shouldn’t have gone out. I should have stayed home, relaxed, rested my throat, addressed the coughing. Instead, I pushed it.
What happened? I ruptured my trachea.
As horrible as that sounds, it was relatively mild, as far as tracheal ruptures go. I had the sensation of something large stuck in my throat, which at first was quite distressing as it felt like I was choking, but it meant my body was obsessed with getting it out. That led to violent coughing fits, falling to the floor unable to stop the coughs for minutes on end. I barely slept. I took a couple of doctor mandated days off work, but then couldn’t stand sitting around. The coughing got worse. As soon as it felt like it was under control, which was due to the codeine I was taking, I decided I was all clear to swim and run. Again, I should have stayed home, I should have slowed down. I fractured a rib, pulled corresponding muscles and hurt my spine, a bulging disc from the spasms relating to the coughing.
So where am I at now?
Short answer? In pain. Longer answer? A little bit stressed about making it comfortably to my goal event. I’m learning the hard way that I should take the break early rather than suffer through to a worse consequence. I’m trying to be ok with being inactive – I’m still doing yoga and getting in a lot of walking and trying to swim too, but I am aching to run, to ride, to lift, to push hard, so it’s been difficult. I’m trying to not stress about weight – I am fit, I am healthy, I eat well, and the number doesn’t matter. I’m not going to suddenly become unfit because I take it easy, and I know where I can get to and what I want to achieve, so it’s not something I should worry about.
Moving forward, I’ve got to focus on recovery and give my body the best chances to heal. I will be preparing for the race which I am hopeful I will finish comfortably, and work on strengthening my core and back to protect those areas after the damage they have experienced. It’s been a difficult process, from losing weight, to coping with forced down time, to realising and accepting that regular down time is essential to maintaining a functioning body that will allow you to push it as you move forward. The mental battles remain after weight loss, I may be physically fit and healthy now, but my mind is still a work in progress.