At my wise old age of 30, I have learned that in life there are many different types of relationships. I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, and I’m working on becoming a mother. Each of these relationships is completely different, none necessarily more important than the other.
Recently I’ve realized that there is another relationship in my life that, until now, I haven’t consciously paid much attention to – my relationship with my body.
Every type of relationship functions on communication and conversation, and whether we realize it or not, this one is no different.
Over the last few years that I have been a runner, I have asked my body to do things that at one point I never thought it could do. I trained, I fueled, and I prepared. I asked it to allow me to run in extreme cold and in grueling summer heat. And it listened.
And on multiple occasions, I have asked it to carry me very long distances – sometimes 26.2 miles at a time – and each time, it has listened.
And just as any conversation should involve equal give and take, sometimes my body lets me know when it has had enough. And to return the favor of carrying me those long miles, I listen.
When running alone wasn’t enough anymore, and I decided to start incorporate heavy strength training, I asked my body to go further. I worked until my body shook, and I pushed myself to new limits. My body responded with muscles and tone that I had only ever seen on others, but never in my own mirror.
A few years later, I told my body I was ready to have a baby. But all I heard was silence. Loud and deafening silence.
I was frustrated and confused. Everything I had asked to do before had been answered. I slowly and hesitantly let go of the urge to control, and decided to give my body the time it needed to learn how to deal with my latest request.
And then one day, when it was ready, it responded.
And overnight, the conversation shifted. For years I have worked and pushed myself to new limits – physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have always been the one in charge.
But my body talks to me now. Take a nap. Take a break. Eat a snack.
I am tired, my back hurts, and I barely even recognize myself. But this is all just part of the conversation. It is my body’s way of talking to me and preparing me for something that once again, at one point I never thought I would be able to do.
It has been refreshing to take a step back and be the listener instead of the leader.
Many times before, I have worked hard to prepare myself for big events – races, marathons, and new personal records. This time my body is preparing me for the biggest event of all. And just as I have done before, I am training, fueling, and preparing.
But most importantly, I am listening.