Escaping

escapeI don’t know about you but I need one, an escape!  A time to get away from the world and just be.  I find myself right now just feeling extremely overwhelmed, whether it’s by life in general, political and media overload, work, or just the fact that we are leaving on vacation on Saturday and there is so much to do, it’s all a little much right now!

So how do you escape?  I run.  I know, shocker right?!  But really I think that is the only way I am keeping it together right now.  I am very thankful for my training plan.  It’s a constant.  The one thing that I don’t have to question, I can just read what it says and do it.  I unplug, put on my warm clothes, because hey we still are in New England and it’s cold, lace up the shoes and I’m off.  My long slow recovery runs are a pleasure instead of a curse.  It means more time outside and away!

Last night we tried something new because I had just had enough.  We didn’t turn on the television at all.  We just listened to music (the new alexa by amazon, love her), read and relaxed.  I have to say it was one of the most relaxing evenings I have had in a long time.  I’m starting to think maybe staying unplugged from the world could be a good thing.

I keep threatening to not come back from vacation.  One of the good things about being a therapist is that you can do it almost anywhere.  However, not sure that people who live in Grand Cayman (our vacation get away for 8 days very soon) need a therapist because what struggles do you have when you live in such a beautiful place?!

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Monday is over!

As much as I love my life, love my work, I think we all have those moments when we just need to escape!  I’m feeling it pretty strong and hopefully a week away from normal will help me escape.  Now to make it through the week, look outside, because I might be running by!

Ever felt like this?  What do you do to escape? 

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The Perfect Storm

 

According to Wikipedia, doesn’t every great blogger refer to Wikipedia when they need information, a perfect storm is “a confluence of events that drastically aggravates a situation.”  Or as a person who was raised in Oklahoma and have been around when the weathermen begin to go crazy weeks before storms come into the state, I begin to think of those moments when all the right things are happening to create a big weather event a perfect storm.

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Looking good for 44!  Happy Birthday to me!

Now I am not saying that this week was a “perfect storm” in the form of a weather event but more of a “perfect storm” for many moments of melt down in my life.  Okay maybe that is a little much but it was a tough week and this was the only way I could think of it.  (If you can’t handle any whining now might be the time to step away and come back tomorrow for motivational Monday! 😉  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

As many of you know I am training for my 6th marathon and have tried a new training plan.  This one had me doing up to 70 miles in one week.  I have worked harder than ever before to get better at this crazy marathon thing.  I have felt pretty good the whole time and have completed more miles in a short amount of time than ever before.  For the month of April alone I ran 286.17 miles.  That is more miles than I even drive in a month.

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My 16 mile bike ride from this week.

Anyway, things have been going well and I have felt very confident that this was going to be my best marathon ever!  Then on Monday morning of this week (the day after my last 20 miler) I woke up with so much calf pain in my left leg, I struggled to walk and my mind took over.  I started to doubt I could complete my marathon in 3 short weeks, I started to count my dreams out of ever getting a Boston Qualifying time.  (Can you say, Drama queen much, I know!)

This was one ingredient to my “perfect storm”.  In fact here are all the “confluence of events” that made this week my perfect storm.  One: calf pain, Two: taper time – basically time to reduce the amount of running to prepare for my marathon.  During this time I am usually very anxious because I start to visual the race and how I am going to handle it all and my expectations begin to really come into play.  Third: hormones!  For those that don’t have it, that time of the month is no cakewalk and for me I tend to be even more emotional during it.  Four: added work stressors, really no need to explain that one, we all have them.  Five: Turning a year older.  Not really that stressful but I thought I would throw it in because it was an added event that happened this week.  All the ingredients were present for the “perfect storm” in my mind this week.

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14 miles almost all pain free!

I am happy to report that I survived it!  I didn’t get the t-shirt but I made it through.  Thank goodness I work really hard to stay motivated and in the present moment. Here are some tips for how I survived:

  1. Slowed things down and tried even harder to stay in the present moment. Taking a deep breath when I felt overwhelmed with not only the pain but moments at work when I thought I couldn’t handle anything else.
  2. Went for a massage! I highly recommend them.  I go at least once a month so my therapist knows me pretty well and she was able to really work my legs and hips so I felt so much better.
  3. Spent time doing other things with my family. You know those people you don’t see when you are running 70 miles a week and working a full time job.  I find it is so much better to stay busy than sitting around feeling bad for myself.
  4. Slowly easing back into running and riding my bike more. Even though the plan called for a certain amount of runs and mileage, I was able to not run as much and realize that all my training will not go away if I take some time off or take things a little slower.  In fact, I might even feel better and more prepared for the race.  Plus I was able to take my bike out and go for a nice relaxing 16 mile bike ride, which I have not done in forever!
  5. Finally, looking at my last plans and results. I know this sounds weird but for me I was able to look through my running journal and my tracking miles and realize that I am farther along than I have ever been before and I am prepared (well as long as I don’t just sit on my butt for the next 2 weeks).  It was a great boost of confidence.
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Stretching and rolling while being protected from the winds and cold and happy that “I got this!” feeling is back!

So I guess what I am saying is that when faced with the perfect storm, if you are prepared you can make it through.  Your family me get tired of you for the week because there might be some whining, but if take a breath, take control of your mind, you can make it through.

Anyone else ever struggle with this?  How did you make it through your taper time?

My second job…

 

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In the midst of my 18 miler a few weeks ago.

As I was leaving my work today and headed home to change for my workout/run the thought popped into my head that I was actually headed to my second job.  I don’t know about you but when you work hard all day the thought of going to your second job (that pays you but only with better performance and healthier life/not financially) I get a little overwhelmed because I’m tired.

I tried my best to change the thought, get excited about the 9 miles I had ahead of me but no matter how hard I tried it was just not happening.  I went to the gym and pounded out 3.5 miles on the treadmill and then the sun came out so I decided to jump off the mill and head home to complete the last 5.5 miles.  I even stopped 3 miles in and helped an elderly lady with her trash bins since tomorrow is trash day (she informed me).  Always glad to help and take a break.  She was very cute in asking me how far I was going and how wonderful that is for me.  If she only knew I was really just trying to avoid the run by helping her.  I probably would have cleaned her house if it would have qualified as my 9 mile run.

I know we all have bad runs and not every run is going to be a moment where I think, “woohoo, I can’t wait to work out this evening, let’s do this.”  Today was definitely not that moment!

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Recent recovery run through the woods

I remember when my friend Judy was doing this training plan for the first time and her and I were chatting.  She mentioned that she was feeling tired and ready for it to be over.

I don’t think I am there, yet.  I think I am ready for the race to be here, to put this training plan to the test.  After my 20 mile race I feel pretty good and last weekend’s 22 miler was strong.  I already feel ready for the marathon but know that these last 7 weeks are crucial to keep this all going and then of course the all-important taper.

Tomorrow I have a 14 miler on the plan and I really need to get out of the mode of thinking of this running as my 2nd job. I need to change the thoughts to a little more positive.  Like what a huge accomplishment I have already completed this month with 113 miles completed in only 12 days.  May not be an actual 2nd job but is sure does take up a lot of my evenings.

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This weekends 22 miler

So my thoughts now are how thankful I am that I get to do this.  That I do have the time in the evenings to put in the time, the mileage and the effort to all this training.  I can hardly wait to get to that moment in the marathon when I cross over that starting line and know I am prepared.  I have done everything I need to do to get there and it will be only 26.2 miles to complete this path (well until the training for the NYC marathon starts).  No longer my 2nd job but something I “get to do” because not everyone has these opportunities.

How is your training going?  Any struggles?  Feeling ready?

When life interrupts…

Ever have one of those weeks that is well planned out with a few things that might interfere only to have the things that might interfere actually take over and take control?  That pretty much describes my training this past week.

Today I actually had to talk myself down from some anxiety due to the fact that for the second time this week I would not be able to put in all the miles that my plan called for.  One of the thoughts that really helped was just telling myself that I am not sponsored by a company so I have to work and when work goes a little longer than planned I still have to pay the bills.  Also, I have been struggling with some shoe/foot issues so those needed to be addressed this week as well and a little extra rest will be helpful or at least that is what I am saying to myself.

In saying all that, I have still been able to run every day except my rest day and will still finish the week on Sunday with mileage in the 40’s.  Not as great as last week’s 68 miles but sometimes plans have to change when life interrupts….

Ever have moments/weeks like this?  What did you do to get back on track?

Feeling Fearful…

fearfulI know this might sound a little crazy but this weekend I was not myself.  I woke up on Sunday morning with the expectation to go for a long run on a beautiful day.  But that was not to be.  When I placed my foot on the ground, my whole leg hurt so bad that I could hardly walk.  I still tried to rehab it all morning.  Foam rolled, had Dave rub my leg and some stretching with no good results.  Not only did this not help but I started to become stressed about my next half marathon which led me to “I will never run again”!

Wow, isn’t it amazing how fast fear takes over our thoughts?!

I was also in a very bad mood because when I get scared I go to a very bad place, not to mention I use running/exercise as my mood stabilizer anyway.  I was glad my family was away for the day because I spent the day struggling through and kind of moping.  It seemed like everything was going wrong too.  I went grocery shopping and when I got home I dropped a whole gallon of milk on the floor when trying to put it on the counter.  If you have ever heard the expression “don’t cry over spilt milk” and thought it was crazy, you have never spilt a full gallon of milk all over your tile floor, under the appliances and cabinets and need I mention the fact that my leg was killing me and oh yeah I had not run since Thanksgiving and I was under the impression I would never run again!

The fear was real…

On Monday, I still had pain.  It was getting a little better but yet I was still concerned.  I’ve worked hard for the past 5 years staying in shape.  Even on Sunday when I was struggling with pain I went to the gym and rode the bike and did some stretching.  Monday I also went to the gym and rode the bike and got my free chair massage which helped for a little while.

This morning I woke up and was pretty much pain free.  Not sure how that happened but I was really thankful.  I was able to go to the gym after work and run 5 miles, pain free.  Just like that the pain was gone!  It seems really strange.  My focus was back and now I can focus once again on my training for my next race.  (But I am still trying to figure out what happened in my leg that caused the pain)

Isn’t it crazy how things can change very quickly in our lives?  Isn’t it crazy how we can go from perfectly normal (okay I am not perfectly normal but normal for me) to a crazy stress bag overnight?  I can go from being very confident that I can complete anything I try to I can never do this again?

When we take a moment to step back and face the fear that is happening in our lives, label it, we are able to come up with a plan to overcome it.  But often we just get swallowed up by it.  We have a pity party in it, we don’t look for a better outcome, a positive solution.

I like to think if just like that my running days were over, I could find something I liked to do to stay healthy maybe some crossfit (I see a lot of friends doing that).  I usually can reframe just about anything into a positive solution.  Life is short and I don’t know about you but living in fear is not where I want to live.  Of course having a good run at the gym really did help my thoughts go from fear to “I can handle this.” fearful1

Falling apart yet falling together….

falling apartOver the past couple of months I have felt like this quote but I have been unable to notice things actually falling together.  This is very hard to admit because I like to think I am a very optimistic person who can find the positive and just persevere.

Yes this is why I have just kept things to positive, motivational quotes and Juneathon,  oh and I began marathon training AGAIN!  (I’m starting to think I am insane)

Well recently I have noticed things beginning to actually fall together.

Whew…. glad to have that happening.

I recently (Monday) accepted a position closer to home with the same company and more responsibility (more pay too)  but a next step in my career which is scary and exciting all at the same time.  Our house is finally getting back together after the remodel that started in April (hoping to be done by the end of August at this point).  My other half’s job has extended him until the end of August too which helps my crazy stability need.  So I would say things are falling together.

Sometimes I sit with my clients and work on trying to help them piece their lives together while mine feels like it is falling apart.  It is much easier to help others than keep the focus on ourselves.  Then I would find myself coming home and feeling extremely anxious and practicing coping skills to deal with this anxiety which you guessed it, includes lots of running!

I do feel like each time I go through one of those overwhelming challenging times I try to at least learn something and try to improve myself.  So far I have learned that I need to relax and realize that things happen for a reason and eventually things fall back together.  Sounds easier said then done, but I’m working on it!

Any challenges for you recently?

I’ll update on the marathon training:

week #4 – working hard, hot, humid and hopeful that this is all beneficial in the colder temps of October in Chicago!

 

 

 

Slowing down and being resistant

resistanceI don’t know about you but slowing down is a struggle for me.  In everyday life, with everyday situations I work my hardest to get the outcome I want and know if I slow down I may not get it.  I work hard and want to reap the rewards.  But sometimes it takes slowing down to reap the rewards.

I know, I know, that does not make sense.  Here is my take on it.  We need to slow down to enjoy the journey.  We need to slow down and look around and appreciate what is there.  Appreciate what we are doing, the process.  Life is more about the journey than the end product.  And best of all I think the end product will be better because we have taken the time to enjoy the ride (Oh and life is a ride!).

Right now at our house there is a LOT of things up in the air.  One example is my house itself.  We are in the middle or mid beginning of remodeling.  Not quite sure how to describe it other than we have our living room floor in but plywood in the kitchen and bathroom, a toilet on our back porch and half my kitchen in my living room (which does make it easy to get a drink since the fridge is only 10 feet away from the couch!).   I want to speed this process up because it sucks to come home to chaos at the end of the day.  Also we have some transitions in jobs that are happening and that is a stressor I would much rather skip thank you very much!

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My local rail trail. What a beautiful place to run.

So how do I handle these things and not be so resistant to change, enjoy the change and the adventure.  Well for me, I try something new with running.  Why not?  It’s my stress reliever!  Today I began working on slowing down my running.  I know it sounds weird that I would try to slow down when most of the time we are all trying to speed up but I’ve been trying to figure out how to go father and keep a stronger pace.  All the stuff I have been reading has been talking about slowing down to be able to run further and actually in the end go faster.  I don’t know about you but I struggle to slow down and then by the end of my runs I am pushing myself to the extreme and then I am faster but at the expense of the rest of my body.  I’m exhausted, my old, tired body becomes more sore and struggles in the repair stage/rest stage.

Today I worked on trying to stay in a low intensity state of mind and time by running at what I thought was a low intensity.  You are supposed to do this with a heart rate monitor but I forgot mine so I went by feel.  I figured that if I went at least a minute slower than what I thought, I would be about 80% of my effort and hopefully in the low intensity area.  Not sure where I got a minute from but when I read about elite athletes they mentioned running some runs 2 mins slower than their actual race pace.  Since I am a weekend warrior, I figured one minute would be good.  The whole philosophy is to run most of your training runs at low intensity effort and the other 20% at high or moderate intensity.  Here is a link for a better description from Running Times.

I’m hoping it works.  Today it felt pretty good.

That brings me back to slowing down…

IMG_1475At first it was hard.  It was hard to wrap my head around being outside doing the 10 mile distance and it taking longer than usual.  It was hard to keep a slower pace.  It was hard to hold back.  But I started to get out of my head, look around a little more, just enjoy the fact I was doing something I really enjoy and feel each step.  It began to get easier, I started saying “Hi” to everyone on the trail, smiled a little more, and enjoyed the breeze at my back (then hitting me in the face on the return).  The benefit was that I enjoyed the journey.  When I got done, I was ready to be done, but I wasn’t hurting from pushing too hard, I wasn’t upset that it was in the 80’s and I should have gone out earlier, I was relaxed.  I felt like I listened to my body and my head was in a better place.  Overall I would say it was a success and I am looking forward to training for my next marathon this way and hoping that it will work.  And as far as slowing down and enjoying my everyday life journey, that still needs work but I think I learned some things to help:

1) Quit being resistant!

2) Change is okay and necessary.

3) I need to smile more and enjoy the journey.

4) Stay in the present moment embrace what is going on maybe even finding solace in the chaos.

5) The change will make you better and stronger!

It’s amazing what a good long run will do for your brain!  🙂  Happy Running!

 Anyone ever tried this plan?  Did it work for you?  How about slowing down in general, do you struggle with this as much as I do?

Quick snack after the run.  Cold pizza and a protein drink.  Probably should work on my diet next!  :-)

Quick snack after the run. Cold pizza and a protein drink. Probably should work on my diet next! 🙂

 

Life’s ups and downs

I seem to disappear a lot from the blog world… sorry.   I try to come here and write inspirational stuff or stuff that I think people would like to read, which in reality is completely different than why I started this blog.  So I was thinking just writing would be good for me, so here I am.

My life is having some recent ups and downs… after the marathon I was down, then I got into the Chicago Marathon and found myself up.  Yeah for a new goal to drive you to keep going.  I also had a great run in a last minute half marathon I signed up for.  It was on my birthday and was really fitting that I was turning 43 and had the number 430 as well as the race being on the 9th of May and it was my 9th half marathon.  I would say the stars all aligned.

I now find myself a little down once again.  I think this is because my training has no goal at this point.  It’s not time to start the training for the marathon but who wants to lose all that fitness from my last full marathon.  So I try to run at least 3 times a week and figure I should just stay in my old training plan adding the bike in and core work.  But still I struggle with a funk.  I understand the post marathon blues but I’m hoping this is still not it.  As a therapist I would tell myself to try to stay out of my head and do things I love.  Here is the problem… I am doing the things I love and they cause me to be in my head.

At home we have some job changes happening and I am finding that I am not good with change.  Okay there I said it.  I like normalcy, I like a plan, I CRAVE structure.  You throw in uncertainty and change and I seem to lose my mind.  We are also remodeling and living at home while doing it.  We have a good contractor but one who seems to have us wedged in to time that he has available.  So that means one room gets done and then we wait for a week or two for the next room to get done.   Now you have a runner without a plan, having a house remodeled inside, and job changes and you have a crazy woman with no focus who can’t get away from the craziness who by the end of the week wants to run away.  Don’t worry, if I run away I will always return because this orderly person likes to shower and likes her bed! 🙂

There it is the craziness of some of the ups and downs going on in my life.  I want to sit back and enjoy them and find that having one or two at a time is okay but all at the same time is overwhelming.  So now you know… a therapist is a normal person (oh wait, not sure I ever mentioned that before).  :-0  We struggle too and sometimes the reason we do therapy is because it is therapy for us too.

PS – I will be going for some long runs this weekend and trying to keep my mind in the moment and enjoy the day, at least these are the coping skills I’m going to put to work and hopefully they will work.  🙂

 

 

Motivational Monday 3/9/15

I need to remember this since the doubts of why I’m doing this training for the marathon are starting to creep in.  Why after 3 marathons do they still come?  Anyway, this is for me to remember and hopefully remind you too.

Happy Monday!

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