My best intentions for starting the New Year with a consistent schedule of winter hikes took a detour this week, thanks to a sinus infection that walloped me for three days straight. What walking I managed over those three days was limited to home, and by the time I took a slow stroll around the block today, I found my strength and stamina severely depleted.
At first, frustration overwhelmed me. After a few months of regular hiking, pushing my limits and building up my endurance, how could I lose so much ground so quickly? It felt like my body had betrayed me.
But I also realized that some enforced down time could be a blessing. Experts encourage athletes to take a day off now and then, not only to let the body relax and to prevent too much stress on joints and muscles but also to offer a refreshing change of pace both mentally and physically. And as my next month will be a hectic juggling of work schedules, getting some rest now really isn’t such a bad idea.
So yes, I had to let go. I had to relinquish control over my health, to let my body heal itself on its own schedule and in its own way. I had to give myself permission to stop work for a few days. I had to release my expectations that I could keep up my walking pace and goals every single day.
I’m not fully recovered yet, but I’m on the mend, taking baby steps back to “normal.” I have enjoyed some different comfort foods, a different routine, and a different focus to my days, even if I haven’t enjoyed the physical discomfort and weakness. I will get back up to speed slowly, gradually walking more each day. Baby steps.
And I’ve taken this time to plan my spring vacation and a little more R&R to anticipate in the months ahead. We all need a break from time to time, and this little setback now reminds me that a longer break later will help me prepare for summer and my market season with a refreshed mind and spirit.
I really miss being on the trail, but I’ll come back stronger than ever. I WILL.