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This morning, I laid in bed staring at the ceiling, not wanting to move. I thought to myself, “I’m 31 years old. I’m FAR to young to feel this horrible first thing in the morning.” My back hurt, my neck hurt, my throat hurt, I had chills, my legs have been so abused as of late that they don’t even want to talk to me.
It is fortunate that I tell my stories through written word, for right now, it is all I can do to verbally squeak out a sentence between these angry, swollen tonsils. My entire body feels like it’s been run over by something far more angry than the proverbial “big truck”. Perhaps a cart pulled by irate oxen, or better yet, a sugar frenzied gang of toddlers on their powerwheels, who toss their sippy cups at my head after they pass, just to add insult to injury.
I hurt. Everywhere, everything, it all hurts. But I expected this (well, perhaps not the neck injury from parkour, but that’s another post).
Spring has FINALLY sprung here in New England. And not just “sprung”, but instantly gone from the threats of snowstorms to high 70 degree, beautiful sunny days. And with the drastic change in weather has come a drastic change in my training regimen. I (temporarily) waved goodbye to my gym membership and hit the trails. HARD.
I’m pretty certain I’ve put in more running and hiking mileage in the past three weeks than I have all 6 months of winter. Yes, winter lasts that long up here. Top the massive increase in mileage off with diving headfirst into our crazy ranger runs and OCR training. I simply can not get enough. The treadmill can NEVER replicate that feeling of flying down a trail, your lungs gasping for breath as your feet methodically navigate the rocks and roots, all while looking at the sunset over the sparkling river. I missed that feeling more than words could ever express. And on top of my own training, there’s been group training. I’ve been LOVING the fact that we’ve had a local group come together to join us in some of this crazy training. Sharing my passion with others is one of my favorite things in the world.
And while I knew I was over-training, I just couldn’t stop myself.
As a fitness professional, I preach daily about the numerous health benefits of exercise, including an overall sense of well being. Regular exercise just makes you feel good. Happy, energetic, full of life. Unless, of course, you take it too far. And then suddenly, you stop feeling so good. You become far too familiar with delayed onset muscle soreness. You risk injury, and in my case, you compromise your immune system.
For what it’s worth, I also preach the principles of exercise, including progression and recovery. I just, unfortunately, don’t always practice them.
It is a fine line us amateur athletes walk, between training to stay healthy and “in shape”, and training for the next challenge we intend to conquer for no other reason than self satisfaction. I have a pair of fantastic knee-high socks that I often wear to workouts:
Train insane. Those of us constantly seeking the next level of badassery seem to know no boundaries when it comes to pushing ourselves. The whole “the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed during war” theory. In other words, the harder we work now, the crazier we train, the heavier we carry, the faster we run, the more we want to PUKE after each workout…the better we are able to tackle our race.
In reality, those of us who train insane and throw all training philosophy care to the wind (yes, I’m looking at you), are constantly playing a game of roulette with possible disaster. And so, to bring this post full circle, for as I sit here battling a fever, DOMS, fitful sleep, and probably a pinched nerve in my back, I can’t say that I’m surprised.
I know many of you are reading this, shaking your head, and saying to your computer screen “But Heather, you are an educated fitness professional, you KNOW better.” And it’s true. I could write an entire post about the scientific reasoning behind the principles of training, the possible dangers of overtraining, and so on. I know better.
Today, however, I’m coming to you not from the point of view of fitness professional, but of an overzealous athlete who loves what she does and simply cannot get enough.
You? I know I’m not alone here in the guilt, so confess!