rest days

guest post by Sheri Ward

“Life has a way of giving you rest days.”

My daughter Jen recently said these words to me when we were chatting about taking rest days during training. I was feeling strong and energetic for my (recently turned) 60 years. Invincible, really, as if my love of exercise was firing on all cylinders. To commemorate my 60th birthday, I recently registered for my first ever Ironman 70.3 in Victoria, BC this coming June, and was enthusiastically following my training plan. It consisted of three Masters swim workouts a week, 3-4 spin classes, and three hour-long treadmill runs (hey, it’s still winter in Winnipeg!). A few hot yoga classes and two weight training sessions rounded out the weekly mix nicely. Consequently, I wasn’t taking any rest days.

But suddenly, those words proved to be exactly true.

Last Wednesday, my husband was rushed to the hospital with severe abdominal pain and vomiting. He was diagnosed with an obstructed bowel and has been in the hospital ever since. Suddenly my days changed from being filled with carefully planned workouts to spending the better part of every day at the hospital with him.

I must confess that initially I was a bit worried about this blip in my training schedule, but then, of course, felt guilty about being selfish in the midst of his pain and discomfort. As I thought about this, I realized that perhaps my body did need a bit of a rest. I gave myself full permission to let it go for a few days. To focus on my relationship with my husband, to enjoy sitting with him in his hour of need. He had recently been working long hours, so we hadn’t seen much of each other lately.


Perhaps “life” knew exactly what I needed. An unexpected gift, disguised in the wrapping of difficulty, but a gift nonetheless.

Time together? Priceless.

Rest for my body? Invaluable.

Peace and contentment in my spirit? Just exactly what I needed. Right now. Perfectly on time.

Yes, life does have a way of providing rest days. And instead of resisting them, I will let myself relax fully into those times. And I know that tomorrow when I hit the pool, I will plunge in, engaged and alive—that euphoria I so love and crave, the pure joy of pushing my body beyond where I think it can take me.

I have a lot of work to accomplish in the next 15 weeks. And with rest days thrown in along the way, I know I will get there.

Thanks, life!

rest days 
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