Learning to Listen to my Body

by Jodi
sneaky shot by my friend and talented photographer  J. Carmon Photography
I didn't think I was training "hard" for our triathlon.  Swim two or three times a week.  Bike once a week.  Run two or three times a week.

How did I not think that was hard?

Maybe it was the shorter running distances.  Or the fact that I was so bad at swimming and cycling that every session felt more like learning than exercising.  Whatever the reason, I had convinced myself that I was putting in the bare minimum for training.

I didn't expect to be tired post-race or to stop swimming, biking or running.  So I didn't.

The first week after the triathlon I ran.  Swam.  Ran.  On the day I was going to bike, it was pouring rain.  So I rested.

And then I rested another day.

And another.

It felt surprisingly good to SLOW DOWN.

Since that initial slow down, I've resolved to do better at learning to listen to my body.

I've taken a couple of naps and been to bed before 10 p.m. (a rare occurrence for me) several nights in a row.  I can't believe how much rest my body has been craving.

My shoulder started shooting random pain down my arm so I took a few more days off to rest.  When it started feeling better, I went on a couple of runs that were short, but therapeutic.
sun breaking through the fog on my run
Curt and I re-committed to running together on Sunday's.  We both love the connecting point that running together offers.  It was exercise, but was restful.

I got to chase my youngest two daughters around the track for their annual Lion Walk fundraiser.  It's my favorite school event and this year didn't disappoint, even though steady rain chased us around the track all day long.  Paige ran two steady miles in twenty minutes, cheeks flushed and huge smile on her face the entire time.
2nd grade speedster
Alli was determined to earn the title of Fastest Fourth Grader.  Beat out by the boys last year, she wanted to run three-and-a-half miles in twenty-five minutes.  Halfway through the run I suggested that she change her goal because she wasn't running fast enough.  She gave me a dirty look then kicked it up a notch.  That kid loves a challenge.  I was shocked at how fast she ran around the track for the last ten minutes. She ended up running 3.25 miles and tying with her rival Ayden for the top spot.  It was exercise, but it felt restful.
this is what satisfaction looks like
Last week I took two of my friends to hike to the summit of Angel's Rest, an iconic and scenic hike in the Columbia River Gorge.  We took our time on the hike up, pausing often to snap photos, and having the kind of get-to-know-you conversations that come about organically when you're side-by-side in creation.
Jenni and I both wore our "Remembering Krista" shirts without planning it.
My friend Zora gives life-giving hugs.  

At the summit with a random patch of light through the storm clouds.
We picnicked at the summit in a rain storm.  Laughed.  Cried.  Remembered our friend Krista who we lost too soon to cancer.  It was like she joined us on our hike - giving us reminders of her spirit through random patches of light in the storm clouds.  We marveled that one day together can take our friendships into intimacy with a little sweat and a lot of vulnerability.  We exercised, but it felt restful.

Newberg has been entrenched in the remains of a typhoon off the Pacific.  It dumped buckets and buckets and buckets of wind-blown rain the entire weekend.  With the rain came the first colds of the season.  My family hunkered down under blankets, with the fireplace roaring, snuggling and eating cough drops like they were candy.  I took another three days off in a row from anything exercise related.
movie marathon with my sickies
Yesterday the kids and I did not move from the couch.  ALL DAY.  We had a Love Comes Softly movie marathon and watched five out of the eight full-length movies, one right after the other.  I haven't done that since high school.  (P.S.  Don't judge.  The "cry and have babies" movies are heartwarming dramas.  I dare you to watch one without getting a little misty-eyed...)

Today I was supposed to swim but had one kiddo still home sick.  I swapped out swimming for yoga in the family room.  By that time Paigey was feeling better so together we stretched and twisted and took deep breaths in.  And out.  Until we both were nice and limber and utterly relaxed.  It was just what my tight and tired muscles needed.  I must practice yoga more often.
so I wasn't on the sandy beaches of Cabo today, but I did pretend the sun was shining in my window instead of rain drops pelting it
AA Sports sent me an email the day after the triathlon.  The Whidbey Island race directors are offering retro pricing on all their events until November 3rd.  We could register to run a full marathon on scenic Whidbey Island for a mere $39!  It's so tempting. (See box for coupon codes).

Retrofull $39.00
Retrohalf $29.00
Retro10k $19.00
Retro5k $15.00
Full Marathon
Half Marathon
10K NEW this year

Carissa, Tanya and I have sent a battery of emails back and forth about this race. It could be such an incredible experience, but when it comes down to it, we're still too tired from triathlon training to mentally commit to another big race.  This season of rest is what we need right now.

I am purposely keeping the Whidbey Island registration email in my inbox.  It will sit there until the offer expires on November 3rd or until I decide to commit to this race.

In the meantime, the commitment I'm making is to learn to listen to my body better. When it asks for a day off, stretching, a cat nap or early bedtime, I will listen.  And act on those requests.

What about you Sole Sisters?  Have you learned to listen to your body?  If so will you share some tips with those of us who are still learning?


  1. Great post and photos, Jodi! Nate and I always speculate that the older pilgrims never get as many blisters as the younger ones because they listen to their bodies better, and rest when they need to instead of pushing on. Guess we're starting to learn that for ourselves now, eh? Hope you all feel better.

    1. Interesting observation and cool fact. Some day.. Curt, me, maybe some of our kids on the Camino. Maybe with you and Nate? I can't wait. It's going to be epic!