Monday, August 4, 2008

Listening to my body

This past weekend I rode my bike in the Pan Mass Challenge, a fund raising ride for the Dana Farber Cancer Center. It was a long ride and truthfully, I wasn't prepared. You can read about the ride on my other blog.

What was interesting and relevant to this blog was trying to figure out how to feed myself during the ride. Endurance sports have specific nutritional requirements - carbs, lots of hydration, some protein. And I had no appetite before the ride, so I was riding on very little fuel. I made myself eat the best I could, but nothing, and I mean nothing, tasted good. For those of you who know me, you know how odd that is.

Midway through the only thing that tasted good was cantaloupe. Sweet, wet, orange and exactly what my body wanted. It occured to me that I might be able to eat and thus finish the ride if I just shut up and listened.

I generally try to listen to what my body tells me it wants. Sweet, salty, savory, crunchy, soft, etc. It can be hard to really hear what my body is saying, amidst the cacophony of all my cravings, but when I manage to listen I learn so much.

This weekend was a great example of the need to listen to what my body was saying. Yes, this is food. No, that isn't food. By listening carefully I was able to determine what I most needed in a given moment and complete the ride.

And afterwards? Mmm... Saltycrunchy. Smoothsweet. And lots and lots and lots of gatorade. Funny what tastes just right sometimes. Funny how, when you listen, you surprise yourself.

(c) 2008 Laura S. Packer

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