If you follow our Facebook page, then you already know that I’ve been whinging unwell for a week now. To be honest, I do not remember when I was last this sick. What I thought was a niggly throat turned out to be the real, proper, full blown flu. It has been quite a learning experience for me.

I (stupidly) said to my boyfriend a few months ago that I don’t get sick. And look, it was kind of true. Sure I get the odd mild cold but I haven’t been really really sick for such a long time. I’d been crediting that to my excellent health and fitness. I truly believed that my training was somehow protecting me from the nasty bugs floating around, and maybe it has done to an extent.

But maybe there is more to it than that.

I have the capacity to become a bit obsessive, which will surprise no one at all I suspect. A lot of my self belief and perception of my own strength is tied tightly to my running and weight training. It benefits my body but it also sets my mind free. I do a lot of soul work on my runs, and having lived through some incredibly challenging times in the past year goodness knows I have an awful lot of work to do.

And let’s be honest. As the sole custodian of four small people at the moment with only a single day official respite per month, training is the time that I am BY MYSELF doing MY THINGS and it makes me a better parent to have that hour or so in the day that I am not answerable to anyone but myself.

I made a bad decision last week. I knew I was coming down with something. Both my awesome coach and my boyfriend made clear their thoughts on my going for a run that day. I did it anyway, because pig-headed know-it-all. By the time I got back to the car having cut it super short I knew I was in a world of hurt. The next day my partner needed to take time off to care for me and my kids because I was pretty much unable to function at all, I was so very unwell.

I spent most of the long weekend watching my kids and boyfriend do fun things together while I moped on the sidelines then went back to bed. And I wondered if I would have been quite so sick if I hadn’t pushed myself when I didn’t really need to. I’ve injured myself in the past doing the same thing, you’d think I would learn but clearly I’m a bit slow off the mark on that one.

But I also wondered if maybe, just maybe, I was so sick because I was ABLE to be.

I’ve spent so many years martyring myself. Being the strong one. Running a tight ship and managing a large household pretty much single handedly. If someone got sick it was mine to deal with. If something needed doing at home I did it. Over time I wound myself up tighter and tighter, becoming so rigid in my routines and my systems because keeping the house in perfect order felt like the only thing I had any control over in my life.

There was no time to get sick, because if that happened the whole world would fall apart. So I didn’t. I kept going, my soul becoming more and more bound up in the layers of stress and fear and resentment and sadness.

I had to break eventually. I’ve had the flu for a week now, and the world hasn’t ended.

I am SO ANNOYED at having done no training in so long. I have some worry around how hard it is going to be to return to running and the gym when I am fully recovered, especially given I have the Great Ocean Road marathon coming up so quickly now. The timing is not at all good with school holidays either.

But for the first time in I don’t even know how long, I have let everything go and nothing terrible happened.

The kids have been looked after and happy. I have never felt so cared for in my life, with endless cups of tea and breakfasts in bed and all the medication that could possibly help and most of all the care of someone who doesn’t just say he loves me, but shows me every single day in how he speaks to me and treats me.

I stopped, but the world didn’t and it has been okay.

I am a slow learner, but I get there eventually and the lessons of the past week have been valuable ones.

Now I just need this flu to bugger off properly, I have some running and lifting to do 😉



Our May Learn to Run course is now open for registration. If you’re ready to set yourself free too, you can join us right here. Membership strictly limited.

“Out on the roads there is fitness and self-discovery and the persons we were destined to be..”

Learn to Run starts on the 29th May and there are only 21 spaces available.

Claim your spot today and join the team that is going to support your goals in 2017

Are you ready to take your running to the next level?

Check out Run Club, our Custom Plans or Far and Fast Running Coaching.

Zoey Dowling

Written by: operationmove

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