Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The healing process

Recently I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed. Two of the four were impacted, with one that was severely impacted into the nerve endings to my lip. It has been a full four days now since the procedure, and the healing process has been awfully slow. With the usual swelling and bruising that come along with any surgery, I've also had limited movement in my mouth and quite a bit of nausea. This has made it very difficult to eat, and has left me feeling weak and tired.

For the average person, the recovery process would include much rest and relaxation. While I would love nothing more then lying in bed for 7 days and eating ice cream, this is also one of my greatest fears. I am an active person, and that would be putting it lightly. My usual training schedule has me spending at least an hour a day on the lake front trail running, hitting the gym three times a week for weight training, and trying to fit in an hour long yoga class two to three times a week. That puts me anywhere between one to three hours a day working out, six days a week.

Rest is the best way to let our bodies go through the necessary heeling process after any type of injury, but it can also be the most frightening part of any type of recovery. It has been difficult for me to admit to myself that I need to take my time allowing myself to get back to the training that I want to be doing. With only taking two full days off, I went for my first run post surgery yesterday which was only three full days after going under the knife. While it was nice to get out of the house, it was quite possibly the worst run that I have ever been on. I decided to take a slow seven mile run at a 9:00 mile pace, which is about a full minute slower then my usual pace.

I'm proud to say that I did make it through the pain, but it was a very difficult challenge. For me the reasoning of why I took to the road so soon after is that I've trained myself mentally to think that for every extra day that I give myself off, that is one day behind my competitors that I put myself. In the larger picture I'm confident in saying that this is a successful way of making a commitment to something that you want to achieve, but while our bodies are recovering from injury or surgery this can be a crippling notion.

While todays 8 miler at an 8:00 pace was easier then yesterday, I know that my body is still not at 100%. So my lesson learned today is that sometimes its necessary to admit to ourselves that it is okay to take it easy and allow ourselves to rest. Baby steps are necessary while in recovery, even if we do not want to admit to ourselves that we are human and can have moments of weakness.

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