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Notes on the Struggle

I suppose it is not unusual for me to tell you in this blog that I have been having a hard time. But when I really am having a hard time, everything feels impossible and horrible, and that's what I've been going through especially in the past couple weeks. Basically, I'm my own worst enemy these days.

The one difference this round is that I am working through it anyway. As in, I'm getting out there and getting the work done, when it comes to the physical stuff. I'm doing the best I can (mostly) with the food and eating, but I am basically kicking butt when it comes to the activity part. Ever since Rick challenged me to dedicating myself to six days a week, I have been on a mission to make this a "full time" endeavor. This was based on a convo we had the day of my half marathon relay race, during our session together earlier in the day (the race started at 4pm), where he was saying that at that point, I was doing it like a part-time job, maybe 30 hours (metaphorically). He wanted to see me at full time. That really stuck with me and got me very motivated. So full time it is as much as I can. As I have mentioned before, my schedule now includes three days of running and three days of cross-training (two days with Rick and one day on my own).

Representing the Fleet Feet with the splatter! Also, glasses pretty much always fogged up.

I've been enjoying the challenge and pushing myself out of my comfort zone a bit – of course, not so much as to hurt myself! This past Saturday was the biggest example of that when I did two 3.3 mile legs of a half marathon relay with my friend Amy F. First of all, I haven't done that many miles on foot in a while; second, it was really, really cold – in the teens (degrees F) cold. One advantage I had was that I did legs 1 and 4, which meant I had a good hour and 20 minutes or so in between while Amy did her two legs in a row, and I got to hang out in a warm car for most of that time. BUT that still didn't negate the difficulty I had finishing. In fact, when I came in after the first leg, I told her that I wasn't sure I could do another one, and I really meant it.

Once she came back in, though, I felt determined to complete what I came to achieve and not disappoint myself like I did back in July at the Tuscarora 10K (DNF) – see, I still dwell on that! Never again unless I am really hurt, I tell you what. No more DNFs if I can help it. So, I strapped on the relay bib and made my way to finish the last leg. By that time it'd been dark for a while, but the course was well-lined with enthusiastic volunteers, and since it was in a business park, it was mostly well-lit, too. I had finally got my music to work (I ran without on the first leg, much to my disappointment) and I was just ready to get it done so that we could all go someplace warm and eat and drink to our heart's content. I was definitely slower the second time out, but I did run/walk both times and still fell well under the recommended 18:00 pace to complete the race in the time allotted. It turned out that the race had plenty of walkers participating, so I was in good company.

Long story shorter, I finished. I finished! I did 6.6 miles total. I cried at the end! Drama! Excitement! Etc. etc.

Finishing up the first leg at just under 55 minutes, which is right around what I expected. (photos by Barb Boutillier)

The next day, I could almost barely move until much later in the evening. Oh, my aching bones. By Monday, I felt relatively normal again. I had my usual appointment with Rick even though I really didn't want to go. On Tuesday, I had a rough morning for various reasons and ended up taking a sick day from work; but I ended up going to the fancy gym I used to go to as a guest of an old friend after much napping and much hemming and hawing about not wanting to go because I felt so shitty (mentally, physically, everything). After texting my friend a bit, I decided that going to the gym would definitely make me feel better, so that's what I did. (And yes, I felt really good afterward as predicted.)

Me and some of my gals! (Clockwise from center top: Amy F., me, CeCe, Angela, Kathy, and Ginny! Angela and Ginny did the whole half marathon on their own. Kathy was part of a team and CeCe (Angela's daughter) was our support gal!)

I'm making what feels like some progress, even if it is just doing the work, you know what I mean? Yet I have still been beating myself up massively. I've been really mad at my body for being what it is, to be honest. Yes, I know that on one hand my body is super amazing and can do lots of cool things, but all I seem to be able to focus on lately is all the things about it that I don't like and all the resentment I have for the way that it can't perform – like not being able to run faster, or having a very big belly that gets in the way of many things and just looks stupid (sorry, I know it sucks to say that but I am being totally honest here!) and bounces too much, blah blah blah. I feel like it has been impossible to lose weight lately. I am still hovering just over 300 pounds.

(Rick did tell me to stop using the scale to measure my progress, but it is a hard habit to break! He said, no scale for January except a food scale! Have I listened? Not as much as I should. When I see a gain, it pisses me off and throws me off track, and when I see a loss it makes me lose focus a bit for some reason – hasn't always been like this but has been lately. It's poisonous.)

It occurred to me after reading a post on the blog Runs with Cookies (see sidebar) that I might just be dealing with an acute bout of depression. It all adds up when I think about what my frame of mind has been and how I've been feeling both mentally and physically. I've been here before and I have been doing all the right things to battle it, so there's that. I am aware and I have support.

OK. Let me leave off with two positives for you. I had so much fun going to the gym with my friend (awesome treadmills that function well, and with TVs even!, unlike the ones at the little gym where I meet my trainer) that I looked into what kind of deal I could get to rejoin. I scoured my email archive and found a "We want you back!" email from last year that offered no initiation fee and just $20 a month, so I tried out the link – wouldn't you know it still worked? Now I have a place to go for fitness classes, a pool!!!, and all the machines I could want again. It will be nice to have yet more options as I battle various weather and other potential obstacles. I'm very excited.

The other good thing continues where I left off telling you about setting up my yoga/meditation space upstairs. It is still in progress, but I am more and more happy about the prospect of having it and the various things I want to have in it. I'm going to get some mala beads and some new incense and create my altar... I'll have rugs and pretty things and it will be my refuge. I'm going to try to finish it up this long weekend ahead. Namaste!

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