Sunday, June 2, 2013
In which I did not barf
A common piece of advice you hear thrown around is: Listen to your body. It sounds like great advice, and I think its underlying meaning is usually something along the lines of "don't ignore screaming pain" or "call a doctor if you get short of breath on your way to the fridge" or "start going to bed earlier if you are becoming so exhausted that you fall asleep midsentence while reading to your daughter during the afternoon" (this has actually happened to me. Not very long ago).
But here is the thing: it is super-easy to go deaf to most of the voices that represent your physical needs. In my case, I got noticeably good at the deafness after having two kids. When you're pregnant, and giving birth, and then raising the little nutcases, it becomes impossible to accommodate all your body's requests and demands, no matter how reasonable they are. Just for example, when you are pregnant, your stomach says things like "Let's not eat anything at all for several days now" followed almost immediately by "Let's eat everything in sight, maybe we could get our hands on that partially eaten donut our colleague just pitched in the trash can" and then (this one is very popular) "Let's barf, a lot and all the time, in response to nearly all smells, sights, thoughts, motion and any movement of air, even when we are completely empty let us heave violently and try to barf anyway." Your hips say "Ow dear lord OW, we don't stretch laterally, we're not designed that way, you're going to have to remove the baby some other way because it's not passing through THIS gate." Your feet and back say "We cannot accommodate the needs of a whale, you suck, we are going to complain incessantly until you do something about that ridiculous appendage out front." During childbirth your entire body says "Let's die now, that really seems like an attractive option, no matter what the means it has to be less inconvenient and excruciating than this other business."
Clearly, you can't fulfill all those requests, no matter how urgent they seem. You ignore them, push past them, stop talking or thinking about them, because if you didn't you would achieve spectacular levels of misery and no one could stand to be around you. Mostly you have better things to do. You are distracted by exciting prospects, or you simply can't be bothered to slow down for yourself. Or, as on that last count, the childbirth one, Western medicine is in your corner, if you want it there (I found it to be a very welcome companion after a couple of days).
Anyway my point is: This deafness, I think it is now my friend. Yesterday morning my knees complained, my toes hurt, I had a headache. But I didn't wallow in any of it. I instead thought about other things. In my head, as I chugged along for 13.1 miles, I read through all these incredible comments people put on my JDRF page, telling me I can do it. I tried to imagine what it will feel like when I have done it. I spent a lot of time thinking about money and how hard nearly everyone works for it and all the stress it can cause, and how shockingly awesome it is that people will part with some of it when there is little chance that they'll get any tangible reward or gain for doing so. I also thought a lot about food and coffee, because I wanted some of both.
Until the first 30 minutes after I finished the race. Then I mostly thought about barfing. I graduated from the place where you hope you won't to the place where you wish you would so you can feel better. I tried pacing, I tried to sit still, I sought shade, I wandered away from my wonderful husband and children, trying to find a space where the nausea was not. And I did it. I pushed through that too, I won! Once that last voice had gone quiet, the endorphins and the adrenaline took over, and I was excited, I am excited I am doing this.