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.

Run away: maybe I really am a runner?

Tuesday evening I sat on the bench in my dad’s entryway to put on my running shoes to go for a run. As I sat there a few memories hit me. I’m pretty open about how I’m not really a runner (yet). I haven’t been very athletic since I hit puberty and suddenly athletics were significantly more challenging for me than they were before.

But I did run. Infrequently. As I laced up my shoes I remembered one of the first times that I did the same thing about 10 years ago. I ran for a different reason then. I ran because I was angry and didn’t know how else to deal with my anger. My parents’ divorce was becoming more imminent. I took to the back country roads to manage the boiling blood pulsing through my hormone-filled veins.

country1

As I started walking up the road I thought of the last time I had ran this road. It was 5 years ago and I ran for a different reason. This time I had just returned home after University. I was living with my dad because of that time in job transition and I was isolated from city life and all the friends that had become so dear to me. Slowly I realized that my world was turning gray and I had to pretend to have emotions or feel anything, really.

hyperbole-depression

That year I ran to restore my mental health that was slipsliding deeper in deeper into a cave of nothingness. I would run that country road until I reached the top of the hill where I was finally out of the valley and into cell phone service AKA life! and call #b or Amanda, who were my reward for getting exercise that I didn’t really care about but knew I needed (they say exercise is good for your mental health.).

It was a good moment looking back on those hard things and see how I’ve come out of them. 5 years changes a lot, 5 more years, even more. While I still struggle to say I’m a runner, maybe deep down I am? The only ways I knew how to face those crappy days head on was to run away.

imageEven if Running and I are still just getting to know each other, our first encounters have been very helpful!

The “Get The File Out” Principle

nike-free

My first run with my Nike Frees I got at a glorious deep discount at an outlet last week.

Monday morning I was scheduled for a run. When I woke up, I could tell from the way the house was lit up that the sky was grey. I did not want to go for a run. Thankfully, the day before I had done some research for my ebook and found another helpful productivity principle Mark Foster blogs about called the Get The File OUT (GTFO? uhhh…)  Principle. It’s simple genius and it’s the reason I made it out the door on my run.

It works like this: I don’t want to go for a run this morning. “Why don’t I just at least [next action] get my glass of water,” I reason with myself. That seems simple enough. At that point I have the opportunity to give up, or move on to the next action. With my water in my hand I said to myself, “Why don’t I just make my small pre-run carby breakfast.” While my gluten free waffles were in the toaster, I cajoled myself into putting on my running gear. “I’ll just put them on. I can still decide not to go.” I felt pretty determined in my lack of desire.

But I won! Simply because the Next Action didn’t seem all that frightening. Looking at the whole picture: get hydrated, get food in my belly, change, get out the door — it all felt like a production I didn’t want to orchestrate. Yet, I did it.

Foster gives his own examples:

This technique can be applied to virtually anything that you find yourself resisting. Yesterday afternoon (a Sunday) I felt that all I wanted to do was to veg out in front of the TV. But I had a whole load of tasks which I’d promised myself I’d do that afternoon, which included washing the dishes, mowing the lawn, going for a walk and writing some more of my book. I got myself moving by saying “I’ll just fill the washing up bowl with hot water”. Magically I found the washing up was done. Then I said “I’ll just get the lawnmower out of the shed”. Again magically I found the lawn had been mown. Then I said “I’ll just walk to the end of the front drive”. Fifty minutes later I got back from a long, fast walk through the woods and fields. And finally I said “I’ll just open the Word file for my book”. A thousand words later I felt very virtuous indeed!

So there you have it: another tactic to use to wrangle yourself into accomplishing things you know deep deep deep down you want to do but right now just couldn’t be bothered.

Hope it helps you as much as it does me!

Decision making in the groggy moments of morning

This week has been unseasonably warm. It’s basically April up here right now this strange week of January. So I’ve been motivated to run again because the sidewalks are free from ice and snow. Three out of the last four days I said to myself before going to bed “tomorrow, you’re going to get up and go for a run right away.”

Didn’t happen. Any of those days.

Both yesterday and today, about thirty minutes after I had gotten out of bed, I noticed I regretted the fact that it was too late for me to go for a run.

So what’s the deal?

I realized this morning that my decision-making skills were non-existent. My grogginess factor was so powerful that if that continues in the morning, I will never ever accomplish anything until I wake up. That’s when I realized I was having all this success last fall because I had never once tried to get up and go right out the door for a run. The plan was always wake up, do light therapy, journal, then go for the run. By the time I had spent that 30 or so minutes waking up, I was awake and enthusiastic enough to grab the shoes and go.

According to EasyWake.me‘s 12 most important facts about sleep inertia (the grogginess after being woken up), “within the first three minutes of waking, decision-making performance can be as low as 51 percent of the person’s best decision-making ability before sleep. Decision-making performance may still be 20 percent below optimum performance 30 minutes after waking. Sleep inertia may affect cognitive performance for up to two hours.”

This is a super helpful realization for me because it’s the difference between me tweaking my plans and feeling demotivated and wanting to quit. Realizing I need at least 15 minutes where I get vertical (out of that comfy bed) or do light therapy. Then I will maybe be rational enough to make the right choice to go run or another form of exercise.

Here’s to tomorrow morning and outrageously warm weather for January!

What about you? Do you now have a little bit more hope for your morning routine with this information? Share your thoughts in the comments here.

Resolution + morning routine + running update

So I’ve started a lot of new things the last few months. I started a morning routine that I hoped would become habit. I started running using the Couch to 5K program. Then New Years came and I added to the list things I wanted to accomplish this year.

How’s that going?

Well. Notice how in the Resolutions, I only said “exercise” 3x a week? That’s because winter running is scaring me. So much snow! And my neighbourhood does not get salted very well. But today I felt some motivation and I did some research. I’ve found some places (allegedly) that are always salted by the city. So I think I’ll try to keep running at least once a week on weekends, mostly because that’s much easier to do in daylight because it’s not work hours.

Reading is a little on the harder side right now because I’m not all that motivated by any one book. Tonight I had a huge craving for a food memoir, found an electronic copy I could borrow from the library and then realized I had lent out my Kobo charger to a friend only hours before so I couldn’t transfer it to my Kobo. I couldn’t bear reading it on the computer. Sigh. I’ll make good headway on that this weekend.

Crafting has been a complete no-go until now. It requires so much organization and preparation. Again, a Saturday project.

Morning routine has been a gong-show all of december. A huge reason is because I stopped using my LAMP (bad idea) in december and had stopped exercising (another bad idea). So basically, my life falls to pieces when I stop exercising. Noted. How did I ever survive until 26?

Pressing on

I’m not giving up, though. I know habits take a long time to form. I remember how great I was functioning last fall when I was doing those things and so I’m motivated to figure out how to continue. So there’s that.

Two weeks in, are you still keeping up with your New Years Resolutions or goals or (whatever you call them to make yourself believe you’ll actually do them)? I wanna know I’m not in this alone! Leave your comment here.

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