Tag Archives: novice

Just a bit of self reflection…

10 Jan

Yesterday afternoon, I noticed that I still get that knot in my stomach as my car slowly climbs the hill leading to the gym.  It’s a nervous, excited feeling that I get anytime I do something new or am faced with a decision.  It’s a strangely good yet uncomfortable feeling:  like butterflies exploding followed by a feeling I can only describe as swimming to the surface of water but being jerked back by something.  Anxiety is fun, isn’t it?  It’s a constant battle within myself.  Do I want to take the risk of what could happen?  Will I sink or will I fly?  Oftentimes, the situation results in neither.  Instead, I am gifted an anti-climactic exhale in which I realize I have again made a big fuss about nothing.

I parked my car, climbed all of the stairs, and entered the gym last night.  I could feel my breath get caught in my lungs as I realized that there were NEW PEOPLE there.  New to me anyway.  Did I mention that I get the sinky feeling every time I have to deal with change as well?  Change and choices.  Thank God those aren’t common.  Fun times up in here!

The anxiety-riddled half of my brain is off-set completely by the other ultra-competitive half.  A few of my acquaintances have been talking about working out on social media and I mentioned to a mutual friend that I didn’t think the one girl (I’m not in her fan club, let’s just say that!) would stick with it.  My friend disagreed, stating that the girl in question happens to be a very determined person and once she set her mind to something, she usually achieved it.  I was immediately offended, of course, because who does she think she is prancing around leaving FB statuses peppered with all that determination.

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I began 2013 feeling  determined, but ended feeling like I had forfeited along the way; obviously this has left me feeling resentful of other people’s success.  It was now up to me to out determine my so-called “determined” acquaintance because obviously I have to do better than her.  Oh, wait, you mean that’s irrational?  Don’t care.  When I wanted to bolt from the new gym people, my mind flashed to her and I picked my favorite treadmill despite there being 2 people in its circumference.  In your face, Facebook friend.  Bonus: anxiety completely forgotten.

Have you ever had a full conversation or debate with your organs?  A mile into my run, my brain said You did great!  You can totally stop at 1 mile, pat yourself on the back and go home feeling good!  and then my legs said Feeling a little sore, but we can def go another mile…  and then my lungs said We are 100% fine!  We’re not even out of breath!  and so then I’m confused.  My brain is feeling like I want to stop, but the rest of my body wants to keep going.  I kept running, taking a mental step back to inventory the situation.  This is what running is about, really, why I chose it.  There will be times when you are done mentally and times when your body will give out.  But I chose running so that I could challenge that little voice inside of my head when she tries to fill me with doubt.  I am addicted to the feeling I get when I rise above that voice, when I chose not to let my fear of flight keep me from taking off.  So, I kept going.  Really, I kept going because of my silly competitive psyche.  That alone would’ve kept me going.  But, I also kept going because I managed to muster up some mental toughness and shield me from my doubts, uncertainties, and that smug bitch in the back of my head who wants me to fail.

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This isn’t just a little story about how my competitiveness overrode my anxiety, it’s the story of how my biggest weakness provided me with a goal.  I hope that in 2014, I am able to manufacture more of that.  Determination.  Toughness.  Mental grit.  I can’t think of a better replacement for all the anxiety and doubt that’s bottled up in there now.

On Self-Doubt

12 Aug

I have a confession to make.  I left the Great Race running clinic feeling very discouraged.  Despite having bought new running shoes afterwards, which should have made me the happiest girl in the world, I literally boycotted running for a week.  Not cool.

So, what happened?

At the clinic, I felt like an imposter.  The whole “I run, therefore I am a runner,” thing – I get it.  And most days I own that.  But seeing all of the other runners at the clinic kind of took me back to the feelings of inadequacy I had throughout high school and college.  That version of myself was lazy, overweight, inactive, non-athletic.  The people around me at the clinic were athletes.  They were runners.  I was an imposter, wandering around amongst them, trying to lay low and sneak back out to my car before they figured out that I shouldn’t be there.

At 29 years old, you’d think I wouldn’t let that little voice in my head break me down.  But there she was, louder than ever.  And I listened to her when she told me that I will never be the runner that I want to be.  I thought over and over again about all of the flaws I have in my running form and felt embarrassed, silly for thinking of myself as an actual, real runner.  How silly I must look with my horrible form and my not-even-running shoes.  Last week I blogged less, I ran not at all, I ate all of the things, and I felt like crap about all of it.

Christina was out of town Saturday night – Sunday, which left me alone with my thoughts, a pint of ice cream, and Lifetime Movie Network.  Normally, that combination is a recipe for emotional disaster but I’m really not the person that I used to be.  Yet another one of life’s lessons right in front of my face, so blatant that I couldn’t even see it.

“Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.” – Oprah Winfrey

I read that quote out loud and said: I know that’s right, girl.  Then I sat there lost in my thoughts for a few minutes and let it really sink in:  No, really.  She’s completely right.  I can either keep feeling sorry for myself because I haven’t seen the progress that I wanted OR I can accept the fact that I haven’t worked hard enough to earn that progress.

I run, therefore I am a runner.  The kind of runner I am is dependent on me.  My form, my endurance, my determination; those are all things that are dependent on me.  Just me.  I desperately want to lace up my shoes, walk out the door, and run for miles and miles.  I’ve never wanted anything so badly in my life.  But that doesn’t happen, not just because I wish for it anyway.  Running is slow progress, it’s pushing through shin splints and blisters, it’s talking yourself out of taking yet another walking break, it’s lacing up my shoes even though I’d rather slip back into a dream, it’s feeling exhausted but running anyway.  There’s no finish line, no people cheering, no water stations, no bathrooms, no medals.  Really there’s just me and my shoes on the pavement, with music in my ears pushing me to go harder, sometimes joined by a poodle who finds intrepid joy in this simple act of moving forward.

I love running, even though sometimes I find myself talking about it like a burden or a chore.  I started this journey for one simple reason: to improve my self.  Running is like life – I can say I want to be more determined, more motivated, more hard-working, insert whatever here.  Without action, those are just wishes, as fleeting as the wishes lost on so many birthday candles.  Those wishes become goals when I actually start working towards them.  Running has shown me that I will never reach my goal unless I give it 115%.  And then a little more after that.  This weekend I realized that I have to stop thinking about running like a backpack full of boulders, this thing I carry around with me that weighs me down with self doubt and guilt.  Running is a lesson.  And when I stop being afraid to learn it, then I will be a runner.

Let’s Regroup.

14 May

Last night, she♥ and I had a very difficult and heated conversation that has led me to reevaluate my summer training and race schedule.

The problem with being addicted to running blogs is that you feel like you have to sign up for a bunch of races.  I feel like I have to sign up for every race.  I have a problem.  I know.  Catching the race bug is a problem.

I’m finding that its distracting me from the bigger picture.

The bigger picture is that my goal is that half marathon, still so far out of my reach.

from familybalancesheet.org

I wasn’t ready this year.  And I won’t be ready by the time 2013 marathon season ends.  That stings.

But what I can make sure I’m ready for is a 10K.  And I mean really ready.  Not rushed and half-ass trained.  So yes, I’ve shelved the Man Up! 10K on June 16th.  It’s not the 10K I dreamed about anyway.  All the 5Ks I want to sign up for are distractions and I know that.  I’m realizing, always the hard way, that distractions lead to self-sabotage.  I want that half marathon too much.  No more distractions.

I’ve decided to spend the rest of my summer focusing on building a damn solid base for the Pittsburgh Great Race in September.  The Great Race has always been #2 on my race bucket list (the Pittsburgh Marathon holds the #1 spot) and I’ll be damned if I walk part of the way.

Completing my first 5K in early summer, my first 10K in early fall, and then focusing on training for my first half marathon (May 2014) is nothing to be ashamed of.  The time will come when I am able to run races on a whim, but I need to do this first.  I need to do it the right way and by that I mean, in a way that’s right for me. 

So that’s it.  Great Race or bust.

 

Sum Up Sunday

28 Apr

Some people think of the week from Sunday-Sunday and some think of it from Monday-Sunday.  I am one of those people.  Monday is the beginning and Sunday is the end, right?  Well it is in my brain and this blog is basically an extension of my brain.  Therefore, it only makes sense to talk about how I did for the week on Sunday, instead of droning on about it every day.

DISCLAIMER:  If you have no interest in hearing my obsessive, over-analytical, self-deprecating rantings, then I suggest you abstain from SFTS on Sundays.

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But, if you are one of my lovely regular readers, you are wonderful and supportive and will visit me every Sunday to leave your own words of encouragement, right?!  🙂

Monday:  This week was a mundane Monday.  I tried to work on some miscellaneous strength training at work, but these darn people customers kept coming in and bothering me keeping us in business.

Tuesday:  I made a pretty good showing with my 2.55 mile run.  My pace was pretty good, especially considering that I hadn’t run in exactly one week.  Normally, I have a hard time if I even take a few days off.  I guess a little recovery time goes a long way!  I also worked on arm toning.

Wednesday:  Wednesday was kind of a bust.  I had intended to do some Zumba on DVD, but didn’t get home from working on the rental until around 9:30pm.  Sleep seemed so much more important at that point.  I reorganized my schedule for the week to make this my rest day instead of Friday.  I think I’m going to have to take a more realistic look on which days I schedule things to make it work for me.

Thursday:  Missed the 6:15am alarm, but luckily the 7:30am one woke me in time to get to work.  I keep score for a little league team, which kept me busy until about 7:30pm.  I pushed my run back to Friday and got my Zumba DVD in after all.  I’ve owned this Zumba for….years.  And I finally decided to give it a try.  Let me just say, I was sweating and my obliques are soooooore.  I loved it.

Friday:  Up & at it bright and early for a surprisingly fast 2 miles.  2 miles used to seem like so far to me, but the more I run the shorter the distance seems.  I guess that’s kind of the point of training!  I had intended to work on legs in the evening, but again with the working on the rental.  Did I mention that I whacked myself in one shin with a crowbar and then slammed the other one into a bucket of mud?  I’m serious.  Like all in the same day.  So I’m thinking that was enough muscular trauma for my legs.

Saturday:  Oh sweet, sweet Saturday.  Your fair weather I enjoyed from inside the laundry facility and then the rental.  Not even a Zumba DVD was touched and yet my entire body felt ravaged.

Sunday:  Shot out of bed at 8AM determined to get my mileage in for the week.  Because I just upgraded my phone, I thought I might be able to take my old phone with me and use the Map My Run app.  It was kind of working in the beginning…and then after I knew I had been running for friggin ever, I looked at the phone and it said “1 mile.”  FML.  Unsure of how far I had actually run, I just tried to zig-zag around as long as I could.  My goal was 3 miles and I ended up at 3.42 – bonus!  Then I textured walls for six hours.  Now I want to curl up in a ball and die.

The end.

Target mileage base: 8

Actual miles logged: 7.94

Lucky Number Three

23 Apr

I had taken a week off from running since the Tuesday after my 5K.  Not intentionally, really, just my body demanding some R&R.  I spent the week eating whatever I wanted and drinking more beer than I should have.  No regrets – I needed a break.   In between doing work for Changin’ Time, participating in the Great Cloth Diaper Change, and renovating our new rental, I managed to carefully devise my 10K training plan.  Don’t worry, I’m still running with Hal.

There are several big changes that I knew I had to make based on my 5K training.

1.  Integrate strength training into my program.  Stronger legs and core can help a struggling runner keep proper form, especially when they’re at the point of fatigue.  Maintaining proper form can even keep a runner from feeling fatigued too quickly.  (I can’t find the exact article where I read this, but it was at somewhere on Runner’s World.)  With my 10K program, I am going to be doing strength training 3-4 times a week along with cross training 2 times a week.  I even played around with some basic strength moves yesterday to see where my skill level is.

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But, then it got awkward when customers started coming in and I was grunting around in the office.  I’m even a little sore today, so I guess a little bit is better than none at all!

2.  Run more.  To quote Christina, “Three days a week ain’t cuttin’ it.”  After nine weeks of training, I still struggled, and it was clear to both of us that I needed to run 4-5 days a week.  My 10K program has 3 days of running.  This first week, for example, looks like this:  2.5mi run today (Tuesday), 2 mile run on Thursday, and a long run of 3 miles on Sunday.  For the first few weeks, the only distance that increases in the long run, eventually building up to 5.5 miles the week before my 10K.  I plan on integrating some easy runs into my cross training, just so that I build a good mileage base.

Today was my first day back to running.  I took it slow and I’m happy with how I did.

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It might have had something to do with the cool temperatures and the absolute bluest sky I’ve seen in a long time.

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3.  Stop eating crap.  Every time I say that, there’s this little voice in the back of my head that says:  “Obvi,” and rolls its eyes.  But, its not always as easy to follow through with as it to say.  Processed foods are extremely tempting and easily accessible; so is grabbing a bite during the few minutes of down time we have in our hectic lives.  For the most part, the junk food is out of our house (which I hear about by someone who isn’t training for a 10K and is wondering where all the snack food is).  I’ve noticed that the rumors are true: when I have healthy food within reach, I am more likely to grab healthy food to snack on.  In fact, I even noticed that one of my old favorite snacks (tortilla chips & salsa) didn’t even taste good to me anymore.  Isn’t that weird?

As usual, I’ve been turning to Pinterest for healthy dinner ideas.  Last night, I made chicken and kale stuffed ‘bella caps.  The chicken mixture included shredded chicken, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, Alouette creamed cheese pats, shredded Parmesan cheese, and kale.  I topped it with a little more shredded cheese and baked them.  She♥ did NOT like them.  At all.  Perhaps because she expected it to be spinach and upon tasting, realized it was kale and it was just all off.

I, on the other hand, wish I could eat them every day.

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So, those are the three big changes that you’ll be hearing me complain talk about over the next 8 weeks.  I’m going to try to keep up with weekly updates about my progress.  I don’t want to jinx a potential “Fitness Friday” series because obviously my “Fish Friday” series has been a total bust for the last two years!  (I can’t help it if I live a mile away from the best lenten fish fry in the entire city, Holy Angels Fish Fry!!

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