We Need to Talk

Running, we need to talk.

I gave you a chance a few years ago when I felt like I had no other options. No, that’s unfair. I apologize. I really did want to give you a shot, even before I actually pulled the trigger. I had dabbled with you back East, running between telephone poles every once in awhile outside on walks, or jogging on the treadmill in intervals on my lunch break. I even began to entertain the idea of wanting to complete a 5k! I was afraid I couldn’t do it, couldn’t commit to you – so I didn’t.

When I moved here to Colorado, I went into a panic about making less money and was convinced I couldn’t afford a gym membership. I had a boot camp class to go to twice a week, but what else could I do? I had been working out five or six days a week before I moved, and I was itching to get started again, lest I slide into weight gain and fitness loss.

Running! Running is free, appealing, and a challenge I had already wanted to take on. Could this finally be the year I completed a 5k?

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After running my very first race!

It could, and it was. I think I completed three or four in 2014, actually. I really began to dig you, running. It made me feel like I was part of a special group of people: runners. Well, sort of. I didn’t like saying I was a runner because I thought people might argue with me about it:

“Oh, you’re a runner? How many miles per week?”

“Oh, you’re a runner? What’s your PR?”

“Oh, you’re a runner? What pace?”

The more I ran, the more frustrated I became with my slow pace. It was hard for me to break out of an 11:00, and since I compared myself to “everyone else” who ran, I felt inferior. I know, running, that my feelings of inferiority aren’t your fault. It’s me, not you.

To make matters worse, the only time I could break my 11:00 pace was if I took walking breaks. You want to talk about feeling inferior? If I had to take walk breaks, then I really wasn’t a real runner!

I decided to try for longer distances. In 2015, after completing a 10k that felt really good, I began to train for a half-marathon. It was the ultimate challenge for me at the time, and I learned a lot, running. I learned about refueling during my runs, putting my arms overhead to avoid fluid buildup in my hands, elevating my feet and meditating at the end of long runs. I learned about the mind-fuck of miles seven through nine, and the thrill of completing a 10-mile run on a sunny Saturday morning. I learned the pure joy of waking up at 5 a.m. and finishing a run before I got to work, energized and confident.

The half-marathon came in October, and I ran it. I use that term loosely. It was slow (2 hours, 44 minutes!), painful, and underwhelming. I crossed the finish line angry and defeated. Everything had been great up until mile 9 or 10, and then it went downhill. Man, my legs hurt so bad at the end, and I had no choice but to keep going. It was absolutely miserable.

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Faking it for the camera after my awful half-marathon.

My strong emotional reaction and bad race were due to many factors – the biggest one being that I was pregnant.

I valiantly tried to continue running while pregnant but two factors held me back:

  1. My pace just kept getting slower, and slower, and slower, until I was sure I could walk faster; and
  2. I was out of fucks to give after having completed a shitty half-marathon.

After giving birth and getting the all-clear, I couldn’t wait to get into your arms again and begin running! And I did, beginning at square one, with the Couch25k running app. It hurt, and I peed myself, which was new. I enjoyed it so much though! It felt so freeing to return to me.

I ran a lot with my jogging stroller, and that was a new adventure. Quite frankly, it was much less enjoyable. Suddenly I was limited to one or two routes – very different from running all over my small mountain town. No more running with headphones, either – no zoning out to my favorite songs. Weather became a big issue – too cold? Can’t go.

Not to mention, my runs were at the mercy of a tiny dictator.

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Me and the tiny dictator, about 3.5 months old.

In one final push, I decided to train for another 10k. In the past, having a training calendar helped me stay on track and focus on my goals. But this was new. This was motherhood. Between exhaustion, laziness and all of the curveballs life throws at you when you’re really trying, the calendar started to stress me out.

So I chucked it! I said, “Hell, I’ll just work my way up in mileage and run by feel.”

That didn’t happen, either.

Basically, you stopped being something that made my heart flutter with happiness, running. You started becoming a chore and frankly, I have enough chores in my life. I ran a few races in 2017 – enjoyable ones, really. But it wasn’t enough to keep me coming back to you. I thought I was in a rut, but I think I just need a break.

There are other things I want to do with my life, running, and you just don’t fit right now.

You know what? Whenever you get sad, think about this: I can see us having a fulfilling relationship again one day, when my kids are old enough to get up by themselves, and I can sneak out the door at 5 a.m. to pound pavement again. In fact, I think that sounds rather nice. But it’s impossible right now.

I’ll still see you from time to time, when it feels right. And I need you to know that you were my rock for a long time. But it’s time for me to move on. I have medicine balls to throw, and battle ropes to slam, and kettlebells to swing. I’m in a different place in my life right now, and with different goals.

I will always love you, running! But that doesn’t stop me from telling you that we need to break up.

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Actual photographic evidence of my last (for now) race, December 2017.

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Resolution: Complete

2017 is over (thank God) and we’re two days into the new year. That means it’s time to update the progress I made on last year’s goals.

  1. Read 13 books. I made it to 21! I think I might have unwittingly sandbagged this one. To be fair, when I came up with this goal, Adalynn wasn’t sleeping very well, and neither was I. Once we sleep-trained her in February, life was a whole lot different. Book 21 was Essential Astrology: Everything You Need to Know to Interpret Your Natal Chart by Amy Herring. I liked it so much, I think I’ll buy a copy. It was one of the best astrology books I’ve ever read.
  2. Run sub-10-minute miles. I would tentatively say mission accomplished… I certainly made some progress here and have achieved sub-10s quite a few times using a run-walk method. The issue is that I haven’t put my heart and soul into running like I used to. In fact, I went out for a run interspersed with strength training the other day and didn’t even time myself. I just wanted to move, regardless of speed. That’s where I’m at right now: running for enjoyment. What a novel concept…
  3. Climb ropes/monkey bars. Whomp-whomp. No cigar on this one. When I was working at the gym, I made it really close to doing a strict pull-up! But unfortunately, really close doesn’t mean accomplished. And as for climbing ropes and monkey bars, well, it takes a lot more skill than I thought. There’s more of a technique to it than anything else.

I have new goals for this year, of course, for that is who I am: a goal-oriented person. One of them is to write my truth everyday. I hope that it translates into writing in this blog more, but we shall see.

Resolution Checkin: Book Twenty

Number twenty was a self-help book called Mastering Your Mean Girl: The No-BS Guide to Silencing Your Inner Critic and Becoming Wildly Wealthy, Fabulously Healthy, and Bursting with Love by Melissa Ambrosini. It was sort of a nutshell summary of the law of attraction, meditation, sending love, being true to yourself, and letting go of things. It was a nice refresher course of things I already knew, and I liked the real-life situations she used to illustrate her points. Sometimes her writing made me cringe a little bit because it came across as “girlfriend-y,” but for the most part I enjoyed the book and would definitely recommend it to others if you’re looking for a boost in life.

Although I fell completely off the training wagon as far as running is concerned, I ran the Fa La La 5k on Saturday and came in fourth in my age group! Can you believe it? It was my third best time ever on a race, without training, and with the utilization of a run-walk method. I’m definitely sold on the merits of run-walking. I don’t know why I used to beat myself up so much about needing to run a whole race or – gasp – not being a real runner. I’m feeling the need to take a little time off from running, though. I’m in a bit of a rut and I think taking a break will let me rediscover why I like doing it in the first place.

The end of the year is approaching and I’m already thinking of some fun new goal-based resolutions for 2018…

Resolution Checkin: Books 19 and a Half

I finished book nineteen about a week ago but with Thanksgiving, who has had time to do anything?! Well, I did manage to write a poem, but that’s another story.

Anyway, How to Be Human by Paula Cocozza was a tough one for me. It’s the author’s debut novel, which has been a lucky class for me this year; however, this was one of the few books I’ve had to renew this year, which demonstrated the difficulty I had reading it. I liked the humorous style of writing, and the main character. But the book was just… weird. I like weird. Maybe weird isn’t the right word. Maybe it’s more like confusing, or puzzling. It was a little out to sea, and it left me with some questions about what the heck actually happened. Perhaps I sound like a boor, but I don’t really like loose ends.

Once I finished, I picked up a couple of self-help books at the library. I call the next one “a half” because I read the parts that were pertinent and skimmed the rest. Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way by Gary Chapman had some decent meat; once again, I had difficulty with some of it (not in the mood to read a Christian’s take on anger), and it didn’t grab me as the answer I could be looking for. Oh well.

I’m in a running rut lately – as in, I don’t want to do it. I have a 5k coming up in a couple of weeks that I was hoping to do really well in, but with my lack of practice, I’m not sure how it’s going to go. I feel motivated to do my best, but unmotivated to train. I’m participating in my Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre classes so I’m at least maintaining activity in some form! I think being back in a gym setting soon (fingers crossed!) will help me find my motivation to get back into running and gaining upper body strength.

A Thanksgiving Poem

Here’s something I whipped up this morning, in between breaks of toddler zaniness, cooking and cleaning. As you can tell, I read a lot of children’s books. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving looks different,
wherever you are –
some people load up the kids
and hop in the car,
head out to see family,
have a big to-do.

Others stay home,
clean everything,
shout orders to hubby
and cook while they sing,
counting the minutes
until guests arrive.

Still others are lonely,
with friends far away,
and it makes them sad to know
it’s a special day,
with nowhere to go
and no one to see.

Some do their best
to create happiness
at a tiny celebration
far from the nest,
starting traditions all their own
in their very own little home.

One complains about in-laws,
and another has none.
One prefers quiet;
someone else needs fun.
It’s different for everyone, even today,
so be kind to all, whatever they say!

Resolution Checkin: Book Eighteen

Wow, book eighteen already?! Wasn’t my goal thirteen? I honestly don’t remember.

Anyway, I just finished This House is Not for Sale by E.C. Osondu. It was a little tiny book and I think I read it in a week or less. It was one of my favorite types of books: each chapter was an anecdote about a different person and/or situation. He also used gossip quite humorously in almost every chapter. I liked his writing style very much. It was easy to get into, flowed smoothly and held my attention the whole time.

I’ve been rocking and rolling with working out until my ankle recently started burning and stinging again. I had fallen and twisted it a few weeks before my 10k (late August, early September?) and it seems to be acting up again. I’m trying to take it easy and give it some rest to see if that helps.

Why is it so damn hard to lose weight after pregnancy? I read articles nearly daily that say, “You probably won’t lose it all for a year.” Yeah well, Adalynn is almost 16-months and I’m still hanging onto five (or more, depending on the day) pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight; not to mention I’d like to lose even more than that. I was frustrated with tracking calories and took a couple of weeks off so of course now I’m right back where I started. I just don’t want to have to wear my pants up to my ribcage. I don’t want my lower belly to hang over my underwear band. Is that too much to ask? I’m trying to be kind to myself and just slowly work on it, but weight loss is incredibly frustrating and it’s hard work.

Resolution Checkin: Book Seventeen

I read Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott for my seventeenth book after reading an article in Women’s Health about auras. I thought it would help with the deep-seated fear I have that I come across too strong for most people. In a way, it helped: there are some great things to keep in mind to have more effective – and brave – conversations with family, friends and coworkers. However, I found that the advice given didn’t quite delve deep enough for what I’m dealing with. Also, it’s clearly marketed at the business world and that’s not currently relevant in my life. At any rate, it was a fast read and I got some pointers from it, so no harm done.

I’m digging the run-walk method I’ve been employing. My next race will be a 5k in early December, and I’m actually looking to PR by using this method. We’ll see what happens!