Weekly, a few of us at Body Firm coordinate and lead rides for a magnificent Body Firm cycling group. We are aiming to ride a 200 mile route (called the STP) in July in 2 days. Each week, a "tip" is sent out and this one is written by Aaron Odell, a fabulous trainer, CMT, and cyclist. I wanted to share as I loved his message: Respecting our body
I watched a documentary film last night called “Riding the Divide". Some of you may have seen it. It’s a slow paced film that follows primarily 3 of 15 starters doing a race from Canada to Mexico on mountain bikes. The race covers roughly 2,700 miles and I believe over 150,000 ft. of climbing. Piece of cake right? WOW! is all I have to say. My other half asked me if I'd ever thought of doing a race like it and my answer was a firm NO WAY!
Only around half of the people who started the race finished. These people who dropped out were emotional about stopping, but riding over 100 miles a day on your mountain bike can give you some time to do some soul searching. A lot of the participants have all manors of cuts, bruises, sores, blisters and heavy doses of aches and pains. But they trudge on…that is until some of them hit a wall most of us have likely never hit; crushing fatigue in hallucinogenic proportions. Many have to call it a day at some point during the race and make peace with themselves. They make tearful phone calls to family members and pack it up.
It dawned on me watching some of these people that sometimes calling it a day is a braver choice than pushing on. Usually it takes experience to figure out what our real limits are. So I don't feel we should fear our limits but be mindful of them. I think that having a healthy dose of respect for one’s body is where good decisions come from. If our main motivation is stroking or protecting our fragile egos many times it can end badly. Many many times I've pushed myself to the extent of injury or exhaustion all because I didn't want to be a looser, a failure, or a quitter. Little did I know at the time that those where just labels, judgments and over simplifications I had learned when I was younger. Unfortunately they just didn't apply to reality. The flip side would be acting like one had borrowed someone else’s body (somebody you cared for) and are going to have to give it back to them sometime soon and in better shape than we found it. Sounds funny right! Another way to approach your body is to treat it at least as well as your favorite pet. Our bodies are with us through thick and thin and are constantly doing the very best they can, considering the circumstances it encounters, that loyalty is a quality worth loving..... worth respecting.
When I witness a feat of endurance like racing the Great Divide. I begin to realize just how much respect our bodies deserve. Lead through proper practice our bodies will absolutely amaze us. Like any living thing it needs to be stressed in ways that encourage growth. It needs to be tended to with nourishment and physical care. Whether you’re racing the tour de France or riding around the block, pushing yourself to find what’s possible is what we all have in common. Everyone has a different Mt. Everest to climb in their life. Discovering what our bodies are capable of is just one way of respecting what we've been given. Love your body, it’s the best one you have and it’s amazing.