Pushing Your Limits…But Not Too Far

First, the good news: I ran another 10K last weekend at Giralda Farms in Madison, NJ, and while I didn’t technically beat my time from my first 10K in September, it was still 6.2 miles. And I ran it. All of it. Even the hills!

Now the bad news: my half-marathon training (running 4-5 times per week) combined with my twice-weekly Taekwondo class and the Muay Thai kickboxing classes that I take three times a week have finally caught up with me. I did something to my lower back, and it has now become excruciatingly painful to bend over or do any of those other basic movements that we all perform in a day and never think about — like grabbing the milk from the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, or, you know, sitting in a chair.

I’ve always prided myself on never doing anything halfway. My Type A personality combined with OCD tendencies have always compelled me to either let something completely consume my life until I achieve what I consider perfection, or I just don’t bother doing it at all.

And with running, there’s an added incentive for me to go overboard…I really, really want to cross the finish line of my first half marathon…the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I want it quite possibly more than I’ve ever wanted anything. For a formerly obese person like me, achieving a feat of physical fitness like running 13.1 miles is the epitome of doing the impossible…and I need to do this to prove to myself once and for all that the old me is gone forever.

The bottom line is that being active has become part of my identity. It’s who I am now. Just as I once defined myself as “the fat girl,” these days I am actually coming to to terms with the fact that I am a runner. I won’t be shattering world records any time soon, but nevertheless, I am a bonafide runner who looks forward to a Saturday morning 5K the way I once used to get all hot and bothered over a Friday night date with a bag of Doritos.

But the problem is that I love martial arts, too. Maybe a little too much. Next month, I test for a Bo Black belt in Muay Thai, and I just started my Taekwondo training — which has proven both physically and mentally challenging (who knew it would be so hard to balance on one foot or remember a form?) and has therefore once again awakened the perfectionist, competitive beast inside of me. I know I’ll never be the fastest runner, but I think that with the right training, I could quite possibly be an above-average martial artist.

And that’s why there are days I squeeze in a 3- or 4-mile run before a 45-minute Muay Thai workout that’s immediately followed by a one-hour Taekwondo class. I have been fortunate enough to find not one, but three fitness activities that I love and that have helped me to both maintain my weight loss and sculpt the fittest body I have ever had in my 27 years of existence. I got bored with my elliptical workouts and pretty much every other workout I’ve ever tried (Zumba, step aerobics, Spinning, yoga…you name it), and yet when I’m running a race or roundhouse kicking a Wavemaster or trying in vain to perfect the art of the chop block, I never, ever find myself watching the clock or battling the urge to quit due to boredom.

And my incessant need to keep pushing my limits to get better and better has clearly caused me an injury that, unlike my usual soreness or the occasional pulled muscle, doesn’t just disappear after 2-3 days. I’ve been ignoring my lower back pain for longer than I care to admit, hoping that it would just magically fix myself…but now that the pain is the worst it has ever been, even I have to admit that I may need to scale it back a bit. And, you know, actually see a doctor (I finally gave in and made an appointment with a chiropractor).

So as we head into a time of year that’s all about gratitude, I feel compelled to say that I am genuinely thankful for my body and my health and for everything that it has helped me accomplish in the last five years since I began my weight loss journey.

And while I will not stop training for my half marathon or squeezing in a martial arts class whenever I can, I will work on listening to my body and learning how to recognize when I’m pushing myself too hard. I will also do what I have to do to recover from whatever is going on with my back — even if it means, heaven forbid, taking an extra rest day or two!

Have you ever dealt with a sports-related injury?

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2 thoughts on “Pushing Your Limits…But Not Too Far

  1. What an awesome post and what an inspiration you are!!! So glad I found your blog! Definitely get your back looked at. At this point you have time to heal and still have time to train for Disney….and I hope we can meet each other there! 🙂

    • Aww, thanks so much, Mindy! I appreciate it. I am seeing a chiropractor and am, hopefully, on the road to recovery…even though I still hate skipping workouts and “taking it easy”! We should definitely meet up in February! 😀

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