I'm not sure if other people "talk" to their body. I hear/read about the importance of listening to your body, but most of my conversations tend to be pretty one-sided. In fact, my gut reaction to the whole listen-to-your-body ethos is to roll my eyes. Personally, I tend to talk, and I expect my body to listen. This has probably been the case for a while, although the conversation has changed over the years (my adolescent conversations bemoaned typical adolescent themes, which I won't go into here).
As I've entered the almost-middle age period and try to maintain an active lifestyle, most of the conversations are bargains that I make. They follow these lines: "Okay, just get through this training cycle and then you'll get a nice break!" or "I promise that I'll go to the chiropractor AND get a deep-tissue massage, so don't be angry with me!" or "Don't get a cold now, wait until it's more convenient, please!" or the biggie "Just get through one more month and then I'll go to the knee doc and get a cortisone shot". So, yes, I wheedle, plead, cajole, and make deals so that my body stays functional. Usually I follow up on the deals in one way or another, and it does seem that I have a nice team of people that keep me going.
I think, however, that 2012 has been a pretty high-intensity year for my 40-year-old body, and it's performed for me - with the exception of bonking on the 30K trail race, but that was a mental problem as much as it was physical. At some point, I had promised myself to take a nice long break from running after the trail race, and I did take a week off before testing out my legs this past week. The two runs went well - they felt slow but weren't terrible. However, the aftermath of each run was not exactly pretty. On Monday night, after a 5.5 mile run, my hip and back started hurting. Hmmm.... So, I took a few days between and then went on a short run on Friday. Again, I hammered out the miles without a big deal, but then the same weird hip/back pain flared up afterwards.
So, Friday night, I promised myself that I would get to the chiropractor within the next week and try to see what was going on, but I wasn't overly concerned.
That was until yesterday morning, when I woke up and could barely walk because of a stabbing pain in my right heel on the bottom of my foot. What was this?! Pain that continued throughout the day and allowed me to walk, but with a hobbled gait. After checking out my symptoms on the interweb (always trustworthy), I self-diagnosed plantar fasciitis, a common yet, from what I gathered, fairly debilitating condition. I know several people who deal/have dealt with it, and I'm aware that it is no light matter. Maybe it's something else, but I'm about as sure as I've been about any self-diagnosis thanks to internet information.
So, fine, I'm officially "listening" to my body. Yes, I'll take a break from running, and I'll pay much closer attention to stretching and icing, and I have an appointment for Monday afternoon to deal with my body in general (hips, knee, ITband, foot issues). I had already planned to spend more time in the pool this month, so this gives me a good push to do so.
Taking a longer-than-planned break from running does not make me a happy camper, but I'll take it if I can run pain-free in the long term!
And, yes, it seems that I'm finally listening to my body.