It was a recovery day just like any other. I had completed my long run the day before and was headed out to get the lactic acid out of my leg muscles. It was two short weeks before my fifth half-marathon and I felt strong, ready, and relaxed.
At first, I thought the pain in my side was a normal part of warming up. A bran muffin and black coffee for breakfast was certain to cause some discomfort. Wasn’t it?
Ten minutes into the run and I wasn't getting any relief. The pain still dismissed as cramps that were certain to relax by slowing down and breathing a bit deeper.
Twenty minutes into the run and I was by the ocean. Gasping. Panting. Doubled over in pain that started in my shoulder and radiated down my left arm. At that point I knew this wasn’t about muffins or running technique. I was having a heart attack.
I’m thankful for the level of care that I received from the fire department, paramedics, emergency doctors and nurses, specialists, interventionists, and everyone else who helped get my body back to health.
Looking back over the several years since this happened, I’ve come to realize that the easiest part of recovery was physical. Within a few months, I was back walking on a treadmill, sweating on a stationary rower, and balancing on an exercise ball while lifting weights.
The more difficult part for me was the inner journey of recovery. I had thought my body was fit. I had assumed it could carry me to the finish line one more time. I trusted it to do its job and instead, it had betrayed me and left me wondering if it could be trusted again. Physical recovery and emotional recovery occurred separately and according to very different timelines.
Perhaps you – or someone you care about – can relate. Body gets better. Emotions seem to get stuck.
Working with a counsellor, I started to unpack the fear, anger and embarrassment that remained even through the physical symptoms had passed. I spent time looking at how perfectionism, performance and family of origin norms all contributed to life choices that didn’t align with my values. I was helped to find ways that calmed my body, encouraged mindfully living in the moment, and connected me to what I wanted my life to be and how I wanted to authentically show up for it.
Life Happens to everyone at some point. A sudden medical crisis. The end of a relationship. The loss of a loved one. A car accident. A death. A birth. And everything in between.
I invite you to book an appointment with me at Total Body Health if you are looking for support with whatever life has brought your way.