What’s next after falling off the horse

The following is a draft post I wrote back in June. I never got around to publishing it but now it’s so far past the whole getting-back-on-the-horse and I’m not even thinking about it really anymore. I’m over it. Past that phase, and live has taken on new directions. Also, it occurred to me that the whole premise of the horse analogy was majorly off because the phrase is “falling off the wagon” not the horse haha.

horse

I’ve been thinking a lot about knowing when to quit again. This time it’s trickier because I’ve experienced success after many failures and wanting to quit. Remember all those pie crusts?

There are a few reasons for this. I fell off the horse with running. There were a few contributors: a rainy week, a week with my husband away on a work trip, a serious lack of motivation. And while I was doing great with a vision of me crossing the finish line of my first race, I started feeling overwhelmed with all my goals.

It got me thinking about this idea of “falling off the horse” and the horse itself.

In horse racing if a horse gets injured, oftentimes it is put down because the injuries are so enormous that it’s cruel to keep it alive. Or at least this is what I’m told, maybe animal activists will tell me otherwise (probably that racing horses is cruel). Anyways, as I was thinking about this image, I wondered if rather than getting back on the horse, I needed to put the horse down.

Maybe I should give up this goal I had of entering a race I had in mind (which I didn’t tell you guys about!)? Maybe it’s OK that life is a lot more than I had anticipated right now? Not that I’ll give up running entirely because it’s important that I have physical exercise, but right now maybe no race goal. I think the goal I need right now is to enjoy life and keep on top of my daily and weekly tasks because that isn’t as easy as it may sound. I guess it sounds kind of lame that I would give up this quickly, (maybe not because I still do have a growing and increasingly active 8 month old!) but there is more to the story that I will share in another post!

Then again, I spent 4 months with my son hoping his naps would just get magically better the same way they got magically worse until I decided to do something about it to help him nap better (hearing his cranky whining all day long was not a positive contributor to my mental health!). I kept thinking there would be a better time to do it or maybe I wouldn’t have to because it would just change. There’s always something that will come up to mess with our plans, but we need to figure out how to persevere despite those constant inhibitors.

Addendum: Where I am now: I plan to get my fitness life in order again but there are some big changes coming up in my life – two very major ones – that I will blog about. I’m just giving myself grace for now and crossing my fingers that the scale wont lurch any closer to my pregnancy weight than it already has.

Ian on the Boston Marathon

It’s been years since I’ve done an interview on the blog (it’s hard to believe I’ve had this blog for years already. I guess when you don’t post for a few months time passes more quickly?) and finally I have another one for you. I love listening to stories of “regular” people who have achieved big things according to their own standards. I’ve been listening to this podcast Runner Academy a lot lately and there are crazy stories on there. One girl was like most of us – not really athletic and she took up running. AND THEN SHE WENT ON TO RUN 366 MARATHONS IN ONE YEAR. Everyone told her it wasn’t doable and she did it kind of to spite them.

I get that. I think Ian would, too. He went from having very few kilometres on his running shoes to running a full marathon. Shortly after he completed the Boston Marathon I sent him a few questions and he generously replied with audio. So I did some ghetto editing and adding my own audio and now you have this very low-budget interview. Thanks iMovie for the cheesy “News” theme. Apologies to my younger brother who has college training in radio broadcasting: you’ll cringe.

Running

My friend Ian ran the Boston marathon and it was maybe the most inspiring thing I have witnessed in a very long time. Why? I had never heard him talk about running frequently or ever talk about any interest in distance running. So when a couple weeks before the marathon he updated his Facebook saying he was doing it, I had to watch. I kept his race page open on my computer the whole time and cheered him on on his Runtastic page. When he crossed the finish line I was so proud of him I nearly cried.

He had ran for five and a half hours!!!!

A couple days later he stopped by when he was in town and I grilled him on the race and how it went. It sounded like the neatest experience I had heard of in a long time.

It made me want to run again.

It has only been a week, but I will say it: I’m back. It’s been six months since giving birth to my son and I’m fairly sure it’s safe for me to get back to running. I had ran a few times at the gym in the winter but I usually felt pretty awful after so I stopped.

photo by Roman Boed

After my first run last week (which was more like a walk-run-walk) my body HURT but I was still able to get out for my next run. I felt so proud of myself for running in the rain and with a slightly sore body. It makes me feel so much more legit – like a “real” runner. I sure don’t look like a real runner, though. I’ve been wearing my maternity leggings which turn out to be AWESOME because when my shirt rides up it has to go pretty far before it shows any of my jiggling post-baby belly. Half the time I feel like a lost cow lurching down the sidewalk, wishing for my pre-baby body back. When I’m honest with myself I realize that body wasn’t any better at running so it won’t do me any good now.

But that first run didn’t murder me. Nor did the run where I increased my distance. We’re still talking about very SHORT distances, but it’s a huge improvement from when I hit the pavement the first time.

I think I’ve turned a corner where I realized I’m willing to commit to this. I had quit before because of foot pain (not wanting to injure myself and not being sure enough that I wanted to keep going), then winter, and then pregnancy. But now it’s spring, and I’m not pregnant anymore, and I’m pretty sure I want this.

I bought a legit baby jogger (for dirrrrrt cheap).

I got sized for shoes (that I’m still holding out on because they’re $150 and I’m not convinced they’ll change my life or help me avoid injury).

I’m obsessively reading about running online and listening to this podcast.

And I’m doing it. It feels good. Please cheer me on!

More confessions

run-country

Photo by Kevin Lallier

Confession: I hate running in the country. So I stopped. For the record, I don’t feel that great about it. I’ve gained ~10-15 lbs over the summer!

Cause that doesn’t make me feel worse about my current situation.

I did some soul-searching the other day to re-evaluate what I even want out of running. A little along the lines of this post. When I started running, i was a bit delusional perhaps. I believed that I could defeat the odds and run a lot and not get injured. When I hit week 8 or 9 of C25K I started getting a lot of pain in my feet.

So the question I asked myself was: do I want to run even if it means having to get orthotics? Or do I only want to run if it lives up to my goal of being pain/injury free? It sounds pretty stupid now that I’ve typed it out: what good thing is ever pain-free in life?

I found out my sister-in-law has out distanced me already. She’s running 7k (as of a few weeks ago) regularly. I still haven’t hit 5, people!

Moving forward on this one is tricky. It requires a huge amount of dynamic determination to do if we stay in the country here. If we were in Montreal tomorrow starting to run again would be a breeze.

I’m not sure I have the chutzpah to get my sorry butt off the couch and take  my Big Girl Thighs for a run. The corn fields go by as slowly as life moves in the direction we want it to.

The sentiment of this photo is a good reminder. Funny, because this time I read it the attitude was a lot more cynical and the emphasis was on TRYING and not on ENJOY.

OK my pity party is over now.

[Guest Post] The Secret of Adulthood: Do the Work

awkwardyoga

Geek Yoga: Source

karinI’m on vacation this week and next so I have some guest posts lined up. This one is by my friend Karin. We were accidental roommates at a conference one year and we immediately fell in friend love as we talked about blogging and using twitter. It was 2009 and twitter was a whole lot less cool back then. This post was originally posted on her own blog Everyday Karin. She lives in Orlando, Florida. You can find her on Facebook or Twitter.

 

One of the most difficult yet freeing realizations of adulthood is that there is no magic wand. There’s no rich uncle. There is no Santa Claus.

If you really want something to happen, you are going to have to do the work of making it happen. And that is both difficult and freeing. Difficult, because somebody has to do the work and now that somebody is you, not the Fairy Godmother. But freeing, because now you don’t have to wait on that someday or someone. You can begin today.

Before I get too esoteric, allow me to explain.

I’ve written about my struggle to be consistent with running. Much of that has to do with the fact that running is pound-the-pavement, hot-asphalt hard. But it’s also because I compare myself with my friends who are far better runners than me. I wait for the perfect running conditions, convincing myself that will help me improve. But as long as there are large dogs and snakes on the loose, perfect running conditions there will not be. There is no magic wand. But I digress.

Today as I wobbled in yoga while everyone around me was graceful and beautiful and serene I thought, “maybe I’m not such a bad runner after all.” And I almost left, right in the middle of class. But that’s when it hit me. You practice yoga. You keep running. The difference in wobbling and steadiness is not because they are thinner than me or stronger than me or prettier than me. The difference is those girls have been practicing longer than me.

I used to think you were born a Michelangelo or Steve Jobs. But now I am starting to think you can become one. That there’s not a genius gene, but that God creates each of us with ability to achieve greatness. And a key to greatness is simply discipline. Day after day, doing the work. Feet to pavement. (Or yoga mat).

I’m terrible at running.

I’m really bad at running, guys. Last week I finally hit Week 5 of the Couch to 5K program. I started last fall and got to about week 3 or 4 before the snow hit the ground and running felt unsafe. I restarted in the spring and basically had to start all over again. I went back to week 2 and started again back in April. I haven’t gotten into a rhythm yet where I’m doing the three runs religiously each week yet. Part of it is because it’s not fun anymore. I keep thinking back to last fall when I loved my runs. Back when they were easy and I felt great.

Last week I did the beginning of Week 5. Week 5 is walk 3 minutes, run 5, walk 3, run 5, walk 3, run 5, walk 3. I felt sick to my stomach at the end of the first 5 minutes. I couldn’t make it through the second without major consequences. Last time I ran so hard I felt sick to my stomach I had a gargantuan headache the rest of the day. No amount of water, salt, protein, carbs, Advil or anything would make it go away. It was awful. So I walked and ran my way home, ignoring the cues of the C25K podcast.

I decided to hit the treadmill instead, since my in-laws have one and that’s where we’re staying right now. The treadmill feels like a cop-out because it’s so much easier, so I ramped up the speed. Again, I couldn’t finish the second 5 minute running set. So again, I walked and ran as I saw fit until 30 minutes was over.

The third set of Week 5, I just found a slower pace and stuck to that. I completed the whole thing!

Today, I started Week 6. I kept that same slower running pace (my husband would probably call it an almost-walking pace) and I managed to finish the whole set. I’ve decided that I will keep going even if it means I’m “running” really slowly. Once I’m able to run for 30 minutes straight at that pace, then I’ll aim for 5k total. Or something.

At this rate, I will never make it to my marathon. Like, ever. Although it’s frustrating, it’s nothing new. My body doesn’t seem to be made like other people’s bodies. Last week I ate a brownie full of real sugar and it gave me fever in the night and a vomiting spell. I’m not normal (though my doctor seems to think I’m fine. ugh.) and that’s OK. It just might take me twice as long to train for a 5k and I’ve decided that I’m OK with that.

I want to reach my goals my way, not your way or her way. I basically just want to get there. Getting there is more important to me than how, although it wasn’t always that way. I used to want to do it and be among the best. My pride hung on the fact that I arrived in decent standing compared to the best. Now, I’m at a place where I just want to arrive. I don’t want to give up because it’s hard or because it’s embarrassing that I’m kind of an athletic loser. I want to say I did because I wanted to, and I did it on my own terms. That’s more of a medal to me than any Olympic standing.

I’m growing up, people.

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