Recently, I wrote a post on Wayne Cordeiro’s book, Leading on Empty. Cordeiro writes, “Sooner or later every long-distance runner encounters the wall. Regardless of how well-trained the athlete, he will meet it one day, and he will meet it head on (34).”
Well, I believe I hit the wall five months ago, on June 14, 2012. I’ve alluded to it here and there over the last few months: 3 Steps I’m Taking to Manage Stress Better, Engage & Disengage, Songs for the Valley, Secrets From the Treadmill, Simple Techniques to Manage Stress, The Discipline of Replenishment, as well as Leading on Empty.
Five months ago, I experienced heart palpitations, which was followed by an increased heart rate that lasted for several days, and for two out of the first three weeks. My elevated heart rate was mostly in the 90s to low 100s (technically, “normal” is 60-100, but it didn’t feel normal!). Fortunately, those first three weeks happened to be followed by two weeks of vacation, which helped. Since then, I’ve had some bouts of an increased heart rate, but it has been less and less over time.
One of the first things I thought about, at first, was Wayne Cordeiro’s experience, which is why I read his book. The problem, as Cordeiro and others discuss, is that you can only live on adrenaline (a stress hormone) so long without encountering problems. So, as I’ve been discovering through lots of soul-searching over the last few months, I need to make some changes in order to get away from my reliance on adrenaline.
Incidentally, I was also in the middle of the latest HealthMiles challenge where I was doing 30,000 steps/day. Before the latest challenge, I had completed five 4-week challenges over a four-year period, doing 30,000 steps per day everyday of the challenges. I’ve since learned that doing too much exercise actually increases levels of cortisol, another stress hormone (while light to moderate exercise reduces the stress hormone).
Cordeiro’s book talks about the need to increase your level of serotonin (healthy chemicals) so that you don’t have to live on adrenaline (stress hormones). Basically, as I understand it, you increase your serotonin by doing things that replenish you and “fill your tank.” You can also increase serotonin by eating well. Overall, I’ve done pretty well in the area of nutrition, but still need to improve other areas (rest, play, etc.). Cordeiro points out that rebuilding serotonin levels is a slow process!
While I certainly have not enjoyed this ordeal, once I fully recover and get beyond this wall, I will be grateful to God for the wake-up call, and for the opportunity to live healthier so that I can be more prepared to finish well!