You are either a passanger of life or you are driving. I have realized that recently I have been sitting back and allowing myself to view life as a passenger. Like I have no control on what is happening. Where I am headed and what choices do I have to make. Like the trip has been mapped out and I am just going along for the ride. Like it has been predetermined.
It is easy for this to happen. Your driving along. You hit a few speed bumps. Take a few turns and before you know it you are not only heading the wrong direction unaware but you put it on autopilot and just keep going.
I am stopping the ride, getting off and figuring out where I want to go and how I want to get there. In order to do that, I have to step back and just re-access. Start asking where I want to end up and what I’m willing to do to get there and why I want to go.
More to come as I start actually coming up to the answer to some questions
Are you a passenger or driver in your life? If you don’t know, then I think you know:)
I am at the point in my training where I am admitting that I have now failed in my training. That my training has gone off the rails. That I am not where I should be in my marathon training. That family events (passing of MIL), injuries (dealing with feet), flooding (we weren’t so bad, but dealing with flooded basement is exhausting), and just life in general has pushed training to back burner. I will say though that at least the burner is still on, so I am continuing to move foward.
This really is the time in everyone’s training where it is time to re-access and take stock. For some, they can realistically turn it around to possibly make any goals and tweak their training. Others will look at this as a time to decide weather even running is an option as they know they will not be happy with doing their best. For someone like me…. I am just adjusting expectations and I am ok with that.
Here is what I’ve got going for me….. My experience and my attitude.
Here is what is working against me….. My feet and not being where I should be in training.
So how to reconcile the two?
For me, it is and always been about expectations. Yes, I thought going into my training that I would be in a different place. My training started off great. I was following the plan. I was doing well. I was right on track, but we must remember that sometimes the tracks twist and turn. You have to be willing to twist and turn with them. So I am adjusting expectations which I am ok with. I was never going to win the NYCM. I was more than likely never going to finish under 5 hours which honestly in beginning I thought maybe just maybe would be doable. I used to be a upper middle pack runner, but those days are long gone.
I am a middle aged woman who is overweight with medical issues who also has feet that are not always happy.
For me…… Crossing a finish line of the NYC Marathon is a victory.
Now I do know for others, that not crossing in a certain time is a failure but failure is defined by how you define it in this situation.
I know my strengths. I have legs that dont give up and I do have the muscles and muscle memories to prove it. I also have the desire to get to the finish line. I also have the experience of completing 7 marathon’s (8 if you count a virtual one that I walked last year). 3 of these marathons are NY. I also have the knowledge that knowing my favorite marathon was my last in person NY which was also my slowest at 6:20:41 as I just took it all in. I ran some. I walked much, but I just enjoyed the experience. It is also the marathon that I remember the most about as I took in the crowds, the sites, and the people on the course.
I also know that I just really don’t care that much about my times anymore. OMG!!! Am I allowed to say that out loud? Yes, yes I am. Now don’t get me wrong….. everyone runs for their own reasons. There is nothing wrong with being someone who is running for time. I used to and I may again but I doubt it. I just want to run, walk and everything in between and feel good about it both physically and mentally.
Here is the thing…. I have a life outside of running. A life that I need to be on my feet for that life. For work – I am a preschool teacher which does not allow for much sitting. I love to bake which requires standing in kitchen. I have soccer games to attend and just life in general. So I can not push my body, my feet, to the point that it effects my life outside of running.
So here I go adjusting expectations …… AGAIN….. But isn’t that what life is about?
Just like when running in a crowded race, you must learn to bob and weave. So with that I am bobbing and weaving yet again.
Take 2! The first published before it saved changes. Those who I text regularly could recognize my crazy voice and fat finger typing without editing……. Plus, I hate when editing does not change:)
Consistency is key to anything. Repetition is what takes something and makes it learned behavior. Think when you learned your multiplication tables. Who remembers those drills, pop quizzes and all those practice, practice, practice. (yeah, maybe that was just me since math was never my forte). You didn’t learn them from osmosis or at least I didn’t. You’ll learned them because you continually worked on them. Practiced until it became instant recall. My son in college seems to be doing this with formula’s I couldn’t even begin to tell you what they are called, let alone their purpose. During the pandemic many took up baking bread. As a baker, I can attest the more you do so the better the end product. Baking bread to many was like a science experiment with many complicated but necessary steps. Over time it became easier to tell when kneading was done. When your dough had the the right texture,and eventually could just do it by feel. There was no second guessing, you just knew.
The same consistency is required with training and creating a workout routine. For most, we need to schedule time for your workout because it is not part of the routine nor necessarily something we are looking forward to (yet) . Eventually with consistency it becomes part of you and it feels strange if you miss it. I’ve mentioned before how my husband transformed himself with loosing weight through the tried and true method of diet and exercise. In the beginning, it was challenge but now he couldn’t imagine a day where he was not doing something physically active. It has become part of him and he looks forward to one of his daily workouts.
It takes bravery to step out and try something new. It takes bravery to commit to something. To put yourself out there no matter how far or near out there you may go. It takes bravery and commitment to say you are going to do something and then actually do it. Even if it isn’t working for you, it is so much easier to stay in the same place. There is comfort in the uncomfortableness of the known because while it may suck at least you know what you are dealing with. To stay with what is comfortable even if it is not where you want to be instead of tiptoeing into the unknown…… So no matter how hard it is to stay in one place, it is always so much harder to take the first step and then the second.
Consistency is needed in beginning of any plan. It is necessary until it becomes part of you.
Some will go far.
Some will go as far as they can.
Some will go fast.
Some will go as fast as they can.
Pace….. Distance…. Events…..
The most important thing is to be true to yourself. With that thought process, I’ve been plugging away on my half marathon training plan. I’ve been sticking to the program which I admit is much easier to do with a treadmill now. I used to hate treadmill running (and part of me still does), but since I’ve discovered watching shows on Netflix while running it isn’t bad. I also credit the treadmill with allowing me to reboot my training and keeping me in check with where I should be running for that reason alone I owe it some love. That being said, you can’t race from a treadmill which means you need to also do some training outside.
This week for the first time since I started following my Half Marathon training plan, I took the run outside. I didn’t watch my watch, but wanted to test myself and run by feel. I wanted to keep the run conversational for the most part, but also make it a worthwhile training run. So I chatted with myself. Tested how I felt and kept myself where I thought I should be running. Hours later I looked at my paces and info from my run and I surprised myself. I hit the paces that I should be hitting. I actually had surprisingly beautiful negative splits. Most of all and this is the best part…… I enjoyed the run. There was no beating myself up because I wasn’t hitting certain paces, that I was running too slow or any such thing. There was knowledge that I was doing what I should be doing and that was enough.
Sometimes that is more than enough. I know that if I pushed myself that I could hit faster paces, but for now this is not a tradeoff I am willing to make right now. I also realized that this was enough. It is always enough. I might actually be able to push myself faster and harder, but the cost to do so is one that I am no longer willing to pay. We all have to decide what we want. What we are willing to give up. What we are willing to trade off. What we are willing to work for and what is not worth the work. These are individual choices that no one can make for us. There is no one size fits all and that is ok.
What choices are you making today? Remember not making a choice is still a choice, so choose wisely my friend
Some people look at you not as you are but their vision of you. They look at you as who you were when you knew them – High School, College, job, time in your life, weight, or what ever they think of. Their vision does not necessarily meet reality. It is just the reality that they see and often they are wrong.
Often in life the struggle is knowing who you are. Being confident in who you are. Most of all not letting outside sources define you, but walk your own path. Many people will think they know you based on your social media posts alone, but does that mean they really know you?
People will judge you without truly knowing you. People will judge you based on their perception of you. People will judge you and not have all the facts even if they think they do. It’s not our job to provide these people the facts. It’s not our place to fill in the blanks for them. We owe them no explanations. Often we still explain ourselves. We feel we need to justify our life choices. We don’t.
I think I have said this before, but sometimes we must also realize that in some peoples story we will be the bad guy. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes we can repair the damage. Sometimes we can’t and must walk away. That is life.
Today I had a moment where I realized that someone put me in a box that I don’t fit in. (Ok at the moment, I fit in them) I was talking to someone close to me who has recently gotten into running. I was mentioning how I was planning to start heart rate training. I was saying how I really don’t know what pace that I should be training with and how I was basing perceived paces on past paces. I went on to say before my 2016 thyroid surgery I was much faster and ran a 26:26 5K. They literally thought I was mistaken because the pace was 8:30 and they thought that was too fast for me (then).
I showed them my stats from Atlinks and pointed out that I used to be much faster and was quit the bad-ass at the time. Again this was someone in my life close to me. Someone who knows how much I love(d) running and how often I’ve run. They realized how much I raced. How many events I completed and all of that……. but they put me in a box. They didn’t see me for who I was at that time and only their perception of me.
Even now I know people define me….. Let them because their vision is not mine. Their perceptions don’t define me. I know that some see me just as a mom. Some see me as a wise ass (ok that one might be true). Some see me as my size. Some see me with their vision…… They are missing who I am
I may be some of what they say, but I am so much more. I am determined. I am an athlete. I am social warrior. I am many things. What I am most is what I determined.
As a finally note, you will come across people in your life that will see all the pieces in your box. They will see you with clear eyes. They will see the good. They will see the bad. They will see it all. Those that see it all and accept it as it is and not as they want or imagine…. Those are your peeps. Those are the keepers. I am lucky to have a few of those and I’m holding onto them.
There is a song I remember singing in church as a kid.
“It only takes a spark to get a fire going. And soon all those around can warm up in it’s glowing.”
I’m not sure why out of all the songs we sang this one stuck with me, but it did.
I’ve been humming it recently because I have been feeling a spark again. A spark of fire. A spark of motivation. A spark to do more. I am not sure where it is coming from, but I like it. I am feeding the low flame to keep it from burning out. I think it is easier to snuff out the flame of motivation then to get the flame burning brightly. I miss the fire. I miss the motivation.
This 30 day challenge has been very helpful. Some days I will take forever to get motivated to get into the garage aka home gym, but once I’m there I never regret it. I also realize that one thing that I often do is going in flaming hot and then burn out. Push too hard. Do too much. Don’t pace myself and make it unsustainable.
There is no reason to do any of that. The goal is to keep moving. I am not training for anything.
The summer before my surgery left me Hypopara I ran the NYC Half in the Spring 1:58:59 for a pace of 9:04. I ran a local 5K in the summer in 26:26 with a pace of 8:30. Then just weeks before my surgery I ran the NYC Marathon in 4:56 with pace of 11:18 and while that may not seem stellar that was due to not running a smart race. I literally, figuralively, and realistically was at my physical peak in 2016. I was ready to chase that 4;15 marathon. I had unlimited energy. There was no stopping me………. or so I thought.
We all know the expression, Nothing is impossible. One it’s face everyone wants to cheer it but really it’s not true. Some things are impossible. Some goals will never be reached not for lack of will but due to reality. We have to create goals that are within reach. If I were to set a goal to PR a race right now, I realistically would not be able to reach it. But if I were to set a goal to finish a race (if there were such a thing as live events), then that would be in reach. So in life it isn’t so much as failing at our goals, but setting goals that our realistically attainable. Just because goals are attainable does not mean that that you don’t need to work and work hard to reach them.
In thinking of where I want to go with my fitness goals, I think I need to readjust how I am setting them. I’ve been focusing on pace with my running but I think at this time I need to think about training by heart rate for a while. From there I will then be able to determine what realistic goals I can set with my running. Until then I will just learn more about heart rate training. In working with weights if I tried to lift weights like I did in my Crossfit days, I would injure myself. Why would I think it would be any different with running.
So here is to living in reality and working with what you’ve got. I’ve got a lot to work with mostly my ability to keep plugging along and not give up. So I will just keep plugging along.
Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why do we always put ourselves down? Why don’t we treat ourselves the way we treat our friends? Why aren’t we kinder to ourselves?
Inquiring minds want to know!
As with everyone, I am in a few group message chains with my friends. These forms of communication are even more important now when you can’t see your friends. In one of these groups recently, we were all saying all the bad but very tasty things we were eating that we shouldn’t be. Then how we needed to get on track. On and on….. You know this conversation because I’m sure you’ve had these converstions.
(Sidebar – Do ONLY women have these conversations? Seriously. Although my husband has said to me about getting back on track, I don’t think he discusses with his fishing or work buddies. Maybe I’m wrong. Am I? )
Anyway after this conversation where we were all beating ourselves up about gaining weight, not loosing weight, and our bad eathing habits I started to think…..
This particular group was a bunch of running Mamas. Some are still running and training for virtual marathons. Those of us not running are still active. We are not sitting on the couch eating bon bons all day even during a pandemic.
A wise friend said, “Life has been extra nuts lately right ? Eat the damn cake chocolate pie cookie ..drink the wine beer pizza whatever …and more importantly be kind to ourselves”
Why is it so hard to be kind to ourselves?
If a friend calls us and tells us they totally blew their diet, blew through their Weight Watcher points, or gained weight; we would come back to them with a kind word (at least I hope so!). We would not berate them. We would not tell them they were hopeless. We would not tell them they blew it. We would reply that it’s ok. That tomorrow is another day. That each day is hard enough without beating themselves up. We would be kind.
So lets be kind to ourselves. Let’s start by treating ourselves the way we treat our friends. Let’s start by giving ourselves a break. Let’s start by knowing that it’s ok to eat the donut, eat the cake, and even eat the brownie but just maybe not in the same night. And if for some reason, we do eat them all in the same night to pick ourselves up the next day and say it’s ok. We will do better.
Here is another thing. As a woman of a certain age, it is pretty damn hard to loose weight. Hormones are all over the place. Metabolism is non existent. Then add no thyroid and a non working parathyroid glands and it is perfect storm of impossible weight loss.
Now I am by no means saying it is impossible to loose the weight. I am just saying that I am not committed enough right now to engage in trying to the extreme necessary. And while I may eat the donuts, the cake, the treats for the most part I really am not a bad eater. I eat a fairly healthy diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables For right now, I have embraced a pescatarian diet. I don’t really eat much processed foods. I’ve dieted. I’ve trained and run marathons. On paper, I look good. On the scale is another story.
My sister has suggested that I talk to my doctor about hormone replacement therapy. Truth be told, I take so many pills a day because of my Hypoparathyroidism that the thought of adding to the mix is just tiresome. So I am at a loss and I really do not feel the need to go to extremes as I have maintained where I am for the last 3 years since my surgery when I added these extra 20 pounds.
Now please don’t take this to mean that I have given up. I haven’t. I am not sure when yet, but I will once again start tracking my food. This actually is more for when I go to the doctors for my physical so that we can discuss it. Although my doctor is not one to use the scale as the be all indicator of health. If your doctor isn’t, I would say find one!
Now with all this being said, I am not saying that I wouldn’t be thrilled to wake up 20 pounds lighter tomorrow. I’m just saying for right now….. With all that is going on in the world…… It is just not my priority. I am not saying it won’t one day in the near future, but for today I am content to walk my mile a day and complete my 30 day yoga challenge.
You know the sh*t is serious when they start cancelling races. Big races. Little races. All races. It usually takes an act of God for that to happen. We are apparently there now.
Not shocking but somewhat since it’s a month away my Birthday Half Marathon is cancelled. I am proud of these race organizers from NYRR to those organizing Boston Marathon for making these tough decisions. While I know people are disappointed, it’s really just running. It’s not life or death which is really what’s going on in the real world now.
Right now the real world is scary. You can’t even escape to Disney World anymore because that is closed (not that I was going). Go to a Broadway Show. The show is not going on, so nope. Can’t watch any sporting event (not that I would) because they are all cancelled. Can’t run a race because that’s cancelled too. You know what though….. None of that matters.
What matters in life is how you face disappointments. How you deal with the world when the world is spinning out of control like it is right now. And again, what is important is not just your health but the health of your loved ones friends, and neighbors.
For me, I’m still running. I’m still going to follow my training plan. I’m still preparing to run a half marathon that I won’t actually run, but I could. For me this race was going to be a fun birthday run, but it was also a way for me to get back to running. I don’t need to cross a finish line to do that. All I need is to go out the door and run.
So I will continue to do what I’ve been doing. I will get my runs in. I will follow the plan. I will do what I need to do for no other reason than that is what I want to do. Isn’t that the reason I was doing this in the first place. So even without crossing the finish line, it seems like I’ve already accomplished what I set out to do.
Find my joy in running again:)
So while the world is going crazy looking for toilet paper and hand sanitizer and everything is out of your control, remember that what is in your control is how you respond. When you realize that, you realize that none of the other stuff matters because what happens in life even on a good day is never in your control. So you just have to roll with it and make the best of it and if you can’t do that just accept it. Once you can do that everything else will fall into place.
If getting off the couch was easy, everyone would do it. But sometimes, sometimes, sometimes it’s just so damn hard to get off the couch. The couch is comfy. The couch is safe. The couch doesn’t disappoint. Most of all the couch is what we know. The couch is easy, safe and comfy. Although that is a lie too. The couch isn’t easy, it’s just what we are used to..
Sometimes though it’s not just about physically getting off the couch, but getting mentally off the couch too. These things usually go hand in hand. Sometimes you can go through the motions, but your mind just isn’t with you. Motivation isn’t always there as much as you want it to be. As much as you will it to be. The lie your mind tells yourself that it just doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you go for a run. It doesn’t matter if you stay. Nothing matters. So why bother.
What we do in life matters.
How we show up in life matters.
I will say that for someone who has struggled in the past, I do know that how easy it is to listen to the voice that tells you it doesn’t matter. It comes to you as a friend. It comes to you as a reason for your struggles. It comes to you wrapped in lies, but sounding so truthful. That voice is a lie. That voice is wrong. That voice needs to be told to shut the (blank) up.
Easier said than done sometimes.
Taking that first step off the couch in life is hard, but the first of anything in hard. Once up, you can see the sun shining. You can feel the wind on your face. You can see the buds on the trees. You can see that all those things that told you to stay put, hide your head, and listen to the lies was just that…… lies.
It’s funny, I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten a few new followers recently. I’ve got over 300 followers now. Although truth be told, I would bet that maybe, just maybe, on a good post 5 to 10 people actually read it. It’s ok, I don’t blame you because we all have busy, complicated lives. Truth be told, I often write for me as like running it clears the mind. I’m not sure that what I say is filled with any wisdom or helpful to anyone but me, but I write anyway. For those who followed thinking they would get expert running advise, I’m sure they realized they came to the wrong blog. Yet here we are. You, me and maybe 2 other people. It’s ok, it’s like meeting a friend for coffee except I’m still in my PJ’s with unkempt hair and slippers.
So often in life we focus on the wrong things and don’t even realize it. At the time, they seem important and at the time they are, but then something happens in our lives to change that focus. We focus on the size of our jeans, how fast we can finish a race, following our diets, and so many things that seem like the right thing to focus on……. Right up until we put our glasses on and what is really important comes into foucs.
We should be focusing on things like….. How do I feel in these jeans? Did I fully enjoy the experience of the race to it’s fullest? Am I happy with the outcome and if not, why? Is what we our putting into our mouth nourishing our body and mind and do we full good about it?
Sometimes you are on the right path. Sometimes the path is expected. Most often we end up on a path that we never thought we would be on. The path is hard. The path is not where you expected to be, yet you are there. You can stomp your feet and fight tooth and nail that you don’t belong on that path, but that changes nothing. You can do everything right, but still end up in places that you never thought that you would be.
That is life.
There are no guarantees.
There are no promises.
There is only what is and the acceptance of it.
Fighting to be on a different path will not change the trajectory of the path you are on. The only way through is to forge ahead. To face the bumps, the bruises, and the obstacles that fall into your path. Only then can you get to the other side and from there you can choose a new path to follow.
So to bring this back to my running………
I’ve hit some bumps in my training for my birthday half marathon (yes, that is what I am calling it from now on). In the whole scheme of things, my training has come to the bottom of my to due list and I am ok with that.
So with that, I have been running but not necessarily to train but because it is what I needed to clear my mind. I will get there in April as ready as I will be and I’m ok with that. Besides, I’ve got time and I will be as ready as I will be and no more. My goal for the day is to enjoy the day and I’m happy to report that it’s turning into a party as I’ve got some running mama friends joining in too! This is why I fell in love with running….. Because of the peace of mind it gave me and the strong friendships bonded over the miles.
It always has it’s downs, but with any luck they don’t last long.
It’s the little things in life that makes up the big things. Often we forget that. We forget that with friends. We forget that with family. We forget that with many things in life including our running. We focus so much on the big goals… The pace, the distance, the races that we forget the important reasons to run.
Going back to basics has been good for me. Not just with my running which has actually improved. Feeling better. Running negative splits not because I was watching the pace, but because my body naturally wanted to run them. Having no expectations and just enjoying running.
Taking this step back has also allowed me to reconnect not just with my body, but why I love running so much. For me, running is a place to clear my mind. To think. To spend time with friends chatting the miles away. I forgot all of that. I forgot that I didn’t start running because I wanted to PR, running set number of miles, or anything except that running was my happy place.
Sometimes you just need a happy place. A place to let your stress go. A place to let tears flow. A place to chat about unimportant and important things with a friend. A place to let your mind wander. Most of all it is supposed to be something that helps alleviate your stress not add to it. If it adds to it, your doing something wrong.
I was doing it all wrong.
I’m happy to report that I am finally doing it right. I am looking forward to getting out the door again. I am making plans to run with friends again. I am allowing my running to help me destress and not stress me out. I may be running slower that I had been trying to run, but I am also running faster than I thought I would. That being said, I am NOT even remotely looking at my watch when I’m running. Time is not my goal right now. For now, I am running. I am running and that is enough. That is more than enough and all I want.
Life is filled with so much pressure. So much expectations. I am not an elite athlete. I’m never going to be on the podium. To be honest, for now, I have no desire to do more than what I am doing which is…..