Emotional Outburst

Many of you have probably seen this post on my other blog . If not, go ahead and click, read, and come back here. At the time, I meant every word I said. I was feeling emotional and I didn’t wait for the emotion to pass to write about it. Sometimes, we call that passion. Often, we become embarrassed or regretful when we’ve given in to an impulse. I have experienced those emotions since then and I’ve had time to reflect on how I really feel about what I said and about all of the positive responses I’ve read. I have also had time to see a bigger picture and perhaps soothe some of my own aching emotions.

I’d first like to thank the people who offered me encouragement and reminded me who I am and how strong a person I have become. While I can’t stand the thought of drawing attention to myself, this was actually a positive experience when I stepped back and looked at it. Mental illness means that often, something in my head lets me feel alone in my struggles and too afraid to share them with anyone. Compound that with the fear of casting myself in a negative light and I’m generally a big old bully to myself.

Next, I’d like to address my concerns about my physical appearance. I weigh about the same as I did last year. I weigh 30 pounds less than I did a year before that. I wear 3 sizes (if you count by even numbers) smaller than I did back then. Somehow, I saw this as a memory on social media going back to when I was trying to get rid of my old clothes a couple of years ago. I haven’t seen that size since then. I get upset that I don’t look tight from my rib cage to knees. I have an idea in my head [that is probably unrealistic] of how I’m supposed to look and I’m not very kind to myself when I am reminded that is not how I look.

Additionally, my running habits are solid.  I run minutes per mile faster than I did just last year. While I am mad that I can’t seem to beat my 5k PR after my first race this year, I’m enjoying trying at the races or I wouldn’t be doing them. I’m also really enjoying being a mentor and sharing my love of running and my knowledge with other people. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t be training to run a marathon. I was feeling down on myself and forgot that the reason I signed up to run my first 13.1 race was not because I wanted to lose weight, but because changing my focus from weight loss to endurance was something I needed to do for myself. I needed to prove to myself that this body was capable of amazing things. I am capable of moving forward for miles on end while pushing past fatigue and mental barriers that seemed impossible at one point.

I picked myself apart, folks. Parenting is hard. Working is hard. Being an adult is just plain difficult. There are challenges everywhere we turn. So, I’m not the ideal mom [that is also unrealistic] in my head. I love my husband and all 3 of my children fiercely and without apology. I do what I can to show them how to be an honest, loving, and caring person. I don’t always have an activity lined up and I don’t feed them organic everything. I lead by example the best I can and I admit when I’ve made a mistake. Those things are actually important. They’ll never know or care how I was in an office environment and it carries no weight in what happens in my future.

So, in conclusion, I had an adult tantrum. It was not very well thought out and not very well carried out; I misspoke about myself. You could even say that I trash talked myself. It in no way reflects the way other people really see me. It was simply my overreaction to things that I allowed to build up instead of addressing them. I appreciate the immense support and outreach from people who read it. I often need the reminder that I might actually be too hard on myself sometimes [often]. I have major depressive disorder. I always hope that by some miracle, I won’t need medication anymore because that somehow would make me label myself “normal”. One day, I’ll accept that “normal” is just a setting on the washing machine and a city in Central Illinois.

Thank you for reading and I hope that I’m making sense now. This is a good time to examine how we define ourselves and how we see success. Do we forget that once we’ve reached a goal, we raise the bar again? Do we forget to stop and celebrate the victories when we are constantly moving the goal posts?

Week 2 of marathon training is done and I rocked it. On to week 3, and trying not to forget to celebrate accomplishments the way to 26.2 miles.

wp-1470013646565.jpg

Oh, boy….I have a few things to address…

Notes from week 1

I’ve been writing in a notebook to give myself a ‘journal’ of sorts to look at and put short notes in as I go through the experience of training for a marathon. I’m hoping I actually keep up with it.

Official Marathon training began a week ago Monday, but the first group run was Thursday. The group was fairly small, but not everyone who enrolled was there.

Thursday: 3 miles/Hydration Clinic 

Amphipod rep Judy spoke to us about hydration being important even when the weather is not hot. She also had Sport Bean samples available to take with us as well as demos to bring along on our run. I tried a belt with 2 bottles that I wound up buying. We also tried a drink made from a product called Glukos. It left a very colorful coating of orange on the drunk bottle I used, but it came off after a quick scrub with a bottle brush.

Friday: Off/Rest (I actually rested even though I considered a little run.)

Saturday: 5 miles (mentoring) + 3 miles = 8 total 

Simple out and back course mentoring the half marathon group for 5 miles. Returned to the start point and did hip exercises and stretches. Then, I met up with another person in the full marathon group who was also mentoring for the half marathon. We ran 3 miles in the blazing heat and oppressive humidity for our “long run” of the week. Fortunately, the half group was having a ‘nutrition clinic’ and I had samples of products to sample and replace the electrolytes and calories lost during the first part of the run.

Sunday 4 miles at “Goal Marathon Pace/GMP”

I showed up early for our 7:30am meeting time and nobody else was at the parking lot, so I got out and walked around a little to look for other people. I finally saw the Fleet Feet wrapped vehicle pull into the parking lot and I walked over to chat. She had Gatorade Endurance and water for us as well as ice to load up on. The marathon group members were scheduled to have their long run on that day, but I was able to find a running partner that was going to run the same 4 miles as me. After discovering the Gatorade taste was “off” because it was a bottle of concentrated liquid that hadn’t been diluted, we all had a good laugh and set off on our run. While the heat made maintaining a good pace difficult, conversation made it much easier to finish. I left with a feeling of confidence in the upcoming training.

I’m not sure if this is how I’ll post weekly. It seemed easy for my first post, though. I have some challenging workouts ahead. The weather has been pretty hot. I’m hoping I learn to temper the heat. I am excited for the coming weeks and hopeful for race day. I’m not quite at the point where I can confidently say that I can run 26.2 miles all at once.

Have you started training for a fall race? What are you worried about? What are you looking forward to?

Beginning something

Today marks week 3 of mentoring half marathon training and week 1 of training for my first full marathon. I should be going 3 miles tonight as part of the plan, but I’m taking one additional day of rest. Today, I looked over my race calendar in comparison to my training plan calendar. There will be a few times where I’m doing miles after a race. There are  days that are switched due to my schedule with the half marathon group. Fortunately, someone else did the work on adding full marathon training to the half marathon training.

I started last week with a pain in the back of one of my legs that was nagging and worrisome. I had somehow hurt myself doing weighted squats, I believe. My husband told me that he was fairly certain the pain was in my hamstring. I was also dealing with spiraling into the darkness of depression. I was feeling less optimistic each day. The pain in my leg was not helping me look forward to upcoming training. I saw the doctor and had my medication adjusted to help with ongoing exhaustion and my newly worsening emotional state. She also ordered tests to look at physical causes. I continued to rest my leg and wrap it each day.

Saturday, I had a morning running session of 4 miles and a 5k race in the evening. I kept my leg in compression most of the day including during the race. I didn’t get a personal best, but I really pushed myself and I didn’t feel bad afterward. It wound up being a really fun day and night. I felt more relaxed on Sunday and I spent much of the day just being relaxed.

Today is day 1 of week 1 of marathon training. I’m supposed to run 3 miles, but I’m taking one extra day to rest my body, especially my legs, before starting this new challenge. I’m nervous and excited to take this on. I’ve looked through the plan and I hope to take it on and tackle it. I’m fortunate to have supportive and encouraging people surrounding me. I am grateful that I have a body that is able to take me running. I’m sure I’ll run the gamete of emotions through training and probably during the hours of the goal race. I’m curious to find out how I feel, how I do, and what I think of the whole thing once I’m done. How will I feel about what I’m thinking about it today? Let’s find out!

Have you started training for a fall long race? Is it your first? Is it not your first? How do you feel about it?  Best of luck to you in your endeavors whether or not they’re running! Come visit me over the next 16 weeks to see how training is going. I’ll try to drop in once a week with an update.

wp-1468890723079.jpg

Pressure…

But my song is different…

The song “Under Pressure” popped into my head last night and I realized that both artists who sing it are no longer with us (Freddie Mercury,David Bowie). Yikes. We’re mortal beings and never know which moment will be the last. Don’t worry, I’m not taking you down a dark path. I’m wanting to look into the pressure we put on ourselves to do things.

Good Pressure

Last year, I signed up to train with a group for a half marathon. This is despite my running being a rather recent hobby I picked up and not a lifetime sport for me. Also, I have anxiety that makes me intensely fear being around groups of people for a variety of reasons. I can come up with the worst case scenario and play it out in my head so much that I fear even talking to people I know and have known. So, this was outside of my comfort zone and it took me a few sessions for me to take my headphones off and interact with the group. When I finally did, I made friends and I even started learning new and different things about running and fitness. This encouraged me to share the things I’d been researching on it and made me more excited to go out and meet with the group. The anxiety can still creep up on me for absolutely no reason. Especially if I’m in a terrible mood or am feeling a little self conscious at the time, I have a harder time wanting to  communicate with people. I make myself do it.

I also make myself work out when I don’t want to.

Not (Really) Good Pressure

I said I make myself work out even when I don’t want to. That doesn’t include when I cannot. There is a difference. Forcing myself to work out when I feel tired is different from doing it when I feel physical pain or illness. With your muscles, you push them to the point of exhaustion, then a little further, then let it rest before you do it again. Why? Pushing any further wouldn’t help it grow. It would potentially tear or damage it.

While you might hear people say that diamonds only happen because of pressure, and that is true for carbon, you aren’t increasing your own value by putting too much pressure on yourself. You’re mostly water, anyway. We’ve seen what happens when you squeeze a sponge. People need down time and we have cues from our bodies when we need to let up on the pressure. This could be pressure you put on yourself physically, but also mentally.

What now?

If you’re feeling more tired than usual or pain that just gets worse when you’re working out, you might need to let up on the pressure a little until you can get back to it and really reap the benefits. If you’re not listening to your body, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. I mean, this isn’t a free pass to sit on the couch and eat greasy snacks. It’s an opportunity to learn how to work at a lower intensity for a period or seek out something that you can do while you recover.

This week, I started out with the training program for people doing a 10k/Half Marathon. The group is HUGE and I was energized by the crowd (once I calmed down from the sheer volume of people during dynamic stretches). Next week, I attend a meeting about my full marathon training program. I ran 10 miles on Saturday and it felt so good, I was finally feeling in my mind that I can run 26.2 miles. I ran a 5 mile race on Monday and was actually able to smile at the finish. I’m looking forward to both the program I’ll be mentoring and the one I’m participating in. I get a better perspective on what things are important when I’m busy and need to let a few things fall aside. I am also more objective to see if other people are putting too much on themselves.

wp-1467913094297.jpg

4th of July 5 Mile race finish

Do you find yourself pushing too hard sometimes? Do you feel you work better under pressure? Do you have a way that you gain perspective when you’re being too hard on yourself?

wp-1467913120062.jpg

I cross train to avoid a rut