Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Long Run Ramblings

This post is a couple of days late, but it’s still time for some long run ramblings on recovery.

To see other ways recovery is like running a marathon, look at 1/2 Marathon Musings and The Marathon of Recovery.

This past long run on Sunday, I was reflecting on how hitting a stride or pace in running is similar to hitting a stride in recovery.  When I go out for a long run, it takes me 3-5 miles before I actually hit my stride, get into a comfortable pace, and “sit” back and enjoy the run.  When I first start out running, it usually feels miserable.  My legs rebel, my lungs don’t want to cooperate, and everything inside of me is telling me to turn around and go to Dunkin Donuts go home. 

But I don’t give in or take the easy way out.   I push through.   I know that after my warm up and get into my run a few miles I will feel better and even enjoy the run.
I’ve found recovery to be similar. Sometimes you have to push through the uncomfortableness of the beginning of recovery to hit your stride. 

 I’ve been in varying stages and degrees of recovery before, and there’s one thing I’ve always noticed: taking that first step, getting help, and starting out is the hardest move. But once you’ve made step after step, mile after mile in recovery, it tends to get easier.  Once you start opening yourself up to the process of following a meal plan, restoring yourself to a healthy weight, and working on the issues that brought you to your eating disorder, recovery starts to get better.  After you’ve done your warm up and found your stride in recovery, the steps it takes to get healthy become second nature and less antagonistic.

Along the same lines, it’s true that in the marathon of recovery, we might tire out along the way, “hit the wall”, and stop, also known as relapse.  This “stop” in recovery reminds me of a real stop I make during my long runs.  There happens to be a McDonalds off the trail somewhere around the half way mark, and I stop in there to fill up my hydration belt and sneak a little free Coke Zero.  The stop feels great!  I’m out of the heat, I’m not pushing myself, I’m refreshing myself with ice water, and I have a brief rest period.  But when I start the second half of my running, my body again doesn’t want to listen to me and demands that I stop. Still, I push through, though it takes some time again before I find my groove in running. 

A relapse in recovery is no different. If we stop taking the steps and the miles we took in the beginning of recovery to start getting healthy, we are not going to want to start again.  It is going to be that much harder to take the first step and find our running legs again.  Our body, our ED, will rebel , making a run for recovery difficult.

 So give yourself a chance to hit your stride in recovery, to get better.  And once you do, don’t slow down, don’t stop.  Continue in your groove.  Keep going.  If you take it step by step, mile by mile, your marathon of recovery will be successful.