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.

IMG_4200

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.

IMG_4207

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.

IMG_4225

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.
IMG_4224

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?

Advertisements

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!

 

 

 

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.  🙂

 

 

Race Recap: Harwich Half Marathon and a little self-doubt!

photo (8)Well, I finished!  It wasn’t my best time and it wasn’t my worst time but it was an accomplishment.  With this race I was able to finish The Cape Trilogy for the first time.  It was fun to be a part of these three races and I am glad I did it.  I think next year I will move on to some other races since there are a lot of races that occur at the same times as the trilogy races that sound like fun too.

But now back to the race.  The course is a beautiful, hilly course along the cranberry bogs and the ocean on Cape Cod.  I ran the course last year and I kept telling myself that there is a hill at mile 9 so be ready for it.  But I apparently forgot about all the hills in between and also got the number wrong.   It’s not mile 9, it’s mile 11.  Oh well.  I was hurting way before mile 9 or 11.  By this point, so much doubt had crept in about my marathon in 2 weeks, that I wanted to make the call from my phone at the finish line and see if I can defer until next year.  Why you ask?  Well I had some pain in my knee starting at mile 5 and it lasted until mile 8.  So the good news is that it stopped hurting or I just got use to the pain, I’m not sure.

So the finish was a relief.  It was also a relief that I finished in less than two hours.  That was my goal.  The official time was 1:54:56 and I was 22/97 in my age group (wow those women over 40 are fast!).  Anyway, I spent today in doubt too.  I’m headed to my running store tomorrow after work to have a chat.  I think I need new shoes and I’m scared to do too much before the 19th because I want to run the marathon.  I think I will ease off some of my taper miles, concentrate on strength building and stretching.  I am just a lot overwhelmed and trying to stay out of my head, which means I have to replace running with doing something so I feel like I don’t lose my fitness before the marathon.

The good news is, if you want to run a fun trilogy that is small, easy parking, and fast, The Cape Cod Trilogy is the place.  (I can’t wait to get my “free” jacket in February for completing the trilogy.  Dave says it’s not free because of all the money we spent staying on the cape and the amount of training I put in.  I disagree.  I would have spent that money on races anyway so this is an extra piece of running clothing I get for “free”.)

The bad news is, I struggle to get out of my head and I’m overwhelmed with a possible injury after working so hard to get to the start line of my next marathon, but I’m working on staying calm, getting out of my head and figuring out how I can still make it to the starting line.  I haven’t given up just yet!

Have you had these self doubt moments?  How did you get out of them?

Here are some pics to end this blog with happy moments…..

The bridge to the Cape the day before.  The conditions were perfect for the race the next day.

The bridge to the Cape the day before. The conditions were perfect for the race the next day.

The fancy shirt.  Never really a fan of light blue but it's not to bad.

The fancy shirt. Never really a fan of light blue but it’s not to bad.

Before the race.  A little cool but ready.

Before the race. A little cool but ready.

Finished my 6th half marathon.  So happy to be done.

Finished my 6th half marathon. So happy to be done.

The lighthouse and view at the most southern point of the cape.  Never been here and it was beautiful

The lighthouse and view at the most southern point of the cape. Never been here and it was beautiful

 

Supposed to be 22 miles, then 20, but crawled to 16.75 miles done!

Have you ever had one of those runs where it doesn’t seem like anything is really going right?  Well that was today’s run.  I was set to do my last long run before my next marathon in October and I was planning a 22 miler.  Well you know when I start talking in past tense that it did not go well.

Our morning was thrown off a little when a meeting that was supposed to happen got canceled so instead of going right out and going for a run, I laid around for over an hour.  That was probably mistake number one.  Then once I did get started I tried a new training plan.  It’s called a 5-4-3-2-1 run where you run easy for 1-2 miles at the beginning and then 5 miles at race pace, then 1 mile easy and so on and so on until you finish with a 1 mile easy run.  I thought it would be good especially since it was cool outside.  You know, try something new.  5.5 miles in, my stomach said “hey, you need to make a stop”.  So off into the woods I went.  This has never happened to me during a training run.  But on I pushed (after the pit stop), I was determined to make today’s run good.

photo (7)

Beginning, during, and end!

As I got done with mile 9, I was thinking let’s turn this run into a 20 miler.  My body screamed “Yippee, that means we get to turn around soon”.  I made it to mile 10 and that is when my whole self said “this sucks! I hear it is better to undertrain than overtrain.”  I plodded along and talked to my other half who was biking next to me and made arrangements for him to go on ahead and bring the car a little closer than the 10 miles it was away.

Off he went to get the car and left me trudging along, now uphill, to our meeting point.  That is when my brain went into overdrive:

Why are you doing this?

You are never going to qualify for Boston!

Maybe you should just stick with 10K’s, you did great last weekend.

Time to walk

Burr, I’m cold

Can’t wait to get to that towel at the car so I can warm up

Maybe I should do more crunches.

Crunches really, you think that would help what is going on right now?

What is going on right now?

I think I see the car

Yippee we get to stop moving!

(There was lots more negative thoughts but don’t want to overwhelm you with how bad my thoughts were today!  What can I say, sometimes I am my own worst therapist.)

Now hours after making it home, a long shower, and refueling with dinner and an extra thick chocolate frappe, I continue to beat myself up about what went wrong.  Really I have no idea.  I just felt gross and Dave keeps telling me to chalk it up to a bad day because we all know that those happen.  So I’m working on that.  And I do remain hopeful that it was just one run and I can get out there tomorrow and complete the last few miles of the run and still have a weekend full of miles.  So right now that is the plan, at least 3.25 miles tomorrow to finish my 20 mile run and if it feels good maybe an extra 2 to get the 22 miles done!

Here’s to changing thoughts and to quit beating myself up!

Ever have a bad run?  What did you do to move on?

Run and Done – 10/30

Sometimes I feel like my days are like this.  Work and Done.  Run and Done.  Eat and Done.  Ready for Bed and Done!  I guess this means I’m busy.  I feel like it is a good thing but as I look back at my day I start to think, this is not how I want to do things.  I prefer, Working and enjoying, running and relaxing, enjoying dinner with family and relaxing, and time for bed and being grateful for a wonderful day.

Today was a Run and done kind of day.  But that does not mean I didn’t enjoy it, I guess it means that maybe it went faster than usual and was packed.

Work was good and busy and then I had to get home, get a run in, shower and be ready to leave to go to trivia night with Dave’s work.  I am proud to say I was able to get it done and now that I look back at it, I did enjoy it.  I was happy to spend time with people from Dave’s job eating, relaxing and some trivia (of which I got NONE of the answers correct but we still got 2nd place, with the other team from Dave’s work getting first).    So I guess sometimes a Run and Done type of night is okay too!

Juneathon update:

3 mile recovery run at the gym (8:50 pace)

Some light stretching and then running to the showers to get moving.

Happy 10th day of Juneathon!  A third of the way done!

Worst Best Marathon EVER! – Part 2

(At last publishing, we were off…..)

IMG_2099[1]

A little after mile 7 seeing my friends and family and getting my fuel.

I was missing something… missing something crucial… ENERGY!  It was gone.  I had sat for 2 hours and my body was tired.  I was hopeful that it would come to me, so I kept pushing onward.  It was cloudy, a little damp and in the low 60’s.   Not the most ideal situation to run a marathon in but if it would have stayed that way, it would have been doable (you might already know where this is going).  Well what happens in Oklahoma after a storm is that the clouds clear away, the humidity sets in and the beautiful blue sky becomes clear, filled with bright sunlight and heats up to around 80 degrees!  Not great marathon weather.

The first 10 miles were slow and steady with the realization that this was probably not going to be the Boston Qualifier I trained for but I could still have a better race than last year.  I could tell the other runners were having some of the same thoughts because we were all packed together.  In years past, we all seemed to separate pretty quickly and run our own races.  It was almost as if we knew we had a long way to go and we wanted to stick together.  I was able to see Dave and my friends at about mile 7 and he told me later, that he knew there was a problem (and there was, I just wasn’t sure how bad it was about to get).

Starting to get hot.

Starting to get hot at 13.1, beginning to pace self for what is going to be a long race.

When I saw my supporters at the halfway point (13.1) the sun had begun to pound on us all and my right calf had decided to cramp, at this point DNF was not gonna happen if I could help it.  I told Dave that this was going to be a long race but to bear with me because I was going to finish.  So I moved ahead.  Runner’s isolation began as we all crossed over the bridge to the lake where there are not many spectators because if you get there, you can’t get out until the race is over.  It is two miles of all of us depending on each other and that is what happened.  The runners began to take over on the crowd support.  The winds were whipping off the water about 30mph and the sun was beating down on us.  Some started walking, some like me tried the walk run method just to get through the miles and oh yes that calf cramp that was making itself known in my leg.  We as a running community would pat people on their shoulders as we went by saying things like “You got this”, “Hang in there”, and “You can make it”.  It was so nice to hear and see and great to be able to take my mind off the pain by helping others too.

We emerged to large crowds in the relay hand off area and it was great to hear the crowds, reading your bibs and saying your name, cheering us on.  Mile 17 became a blur due to the pain increasing and the conditions but I knew that I would see my fans again somewhere just past 18.  And there they were!  Cheering me on.  They made me run a little faster, added a little pep to my step and carried me to the upcoming hills that I knew would be difficult.  But again DNF was not in my vocabulary!  By now my calf cramps held me back to about a 12 min pace of walk, light jog and the thing that would make me transition between was spasms in both calves.  At about 23.5 miles something happened that scared the crap out of me.  My calves seized!  Both of them.  I didn’t know what to do.  I couldn’t move my feet.  I felt as if my feet were stuck in mud, I couldn’t even will them to keep going.  A spectator looked up from her chair and said “Is there something I can do for you”.  I just asked her to help me by holding me up for a minute, being hopeful that the cramps would pass.  She ran over to me, held me up and tried to calm me down.  You could see all the muscles in my legs having spasms.  Scarey!  We stood there for a few moments, she helped me lean over and try to stretch out.  She offered to get the medical officials but I waved her off, I had come this far and I was going to finish!  I asked if she would walk with me for a few steps and she said yes.  We walked about 50 feet and I was feeling a little better.  The crowd around all began to clap and provided great support.  Then I was off, okay I was shuffling but I was moving.

I was having leg spasms about every 20 steps or so (I didn’t count it but it seemed like a lot) but I was moving.  Then it happened again.  At about 24 miles in my legs seized again.  This time I was close to a course marshall.  He asked if I was okay and I said “no”.  I asked him to come over and hold me up for a minute which he did.  He then informed me that the medical tent was just up ahead and he could get them to come down at which I nearly dropped to my knees and started crawling because I did not want to be pulled off the course this close to the end.  I looked at him in the eyes and said, “I just want to finish, can you help me?”  He responded with a “Yes, what do you want me to do”.  “Walk with me, hold my arm and walk with me.  It’s only about 2.2 more miles if that is okay.”  He said, “Let’s go!”  And then we were off, me shuffling, him in his work boots.

IMG_2101[1]His name is Scott, I call him Marathon Scott.  He kept my mind off of my legs seizing, was there to hold me up when it happened, there to hand me water, powerade, and bananas along the last few miles.  We had other runners stop to offer to help me and talk with us as we trudged along.  But the answer we always gave was “not everyone gets an escort to the finish and now Scott is going to get to finish his first marathon.”  We got lots of cheers and there were tears in my eyes most of the last few miles, not just from the pain but because of the support, the fans, the runners, and the other course marshals.

When we turned the last corner towards the finish we picked up the pace and even a light jog at some points (followed by lots of leg issues).  I told Scott that when we get to the end we need to raise our arms up and jog over that finish line, I could collapse after!  The crowd began to yell for us louder and louder.  I saw my friends cheering and crying on the sides concerned for their friend who was being escorted by someone to the finish (but I also think just really happy to see me because those last few miles had taken forever!)  We crossed the line.  At the time it was the biggest victory just to cross but what I didn’t know was the battle that was about to begin… cue medical tent!

IMG_2116[1]

Scott and I at the finish line

Scott and I got our picture taken by someone at the end, I picked up my medal and new t-shirt and sought out my family and some food, cause I could not eat another pretzel or drink anymore water or powerade.  But my legs had a different idea.  My family and friends found Scott and I as we headed toward the medical tent.  When we made it inside they asked me to get up on the bed and put my legs up in the air.  Upon sitting on the bed, my legs unleashed.  They unleashed all the pain that I had just put them through.  The spasms were so bad, I was screaming, arching my back, reaching for arms to grab and take the pain way and just wanting someone to make it all stop!  But little did I know that this was just the beginning.  My friend who is a therapist gathered my head, got in my face and walked me through breathing.  It took about 1.5 hours for the cramps to stop, there was lots of ice, lots of rubbing, lots of me just trying to calm down, and lots of eating pretzels and drinking water/powerade.  (Someone asked me today if it was worse than childbirth and I said yes because at least you can get drugs then!)  Finally able to hobble out after 2 hours, I was unsure whether I ever wanted to run again much less run a marathon again.

Now I look back … yesterday was my first run since that crazy Sunday… and I think, yes, I want to run again, yes, I want to do that marathon again.  Not because I am cray, cray.  Okay maybe I am that, but because it was the Worst Best Marathon Ever!

 

My new friend Ryan in the med tent.  2 hours of leg spasm fun!

My new friend Ryan in the med tent. 2 hours of leg spasm fun!

Relaxing with my friends, my new medal and a great glass of wine!

Relaxing with my friends, my new medal and a great glass of wine!

My new jewelry!  Love it, Earned it, Now time to train for another one!

My new jewelry! Love it, Earned it, Now time to train for another one!

Worst Best Marathon EVER! – Part 1

This title should give you a little hint about what happened this past Sunday.  The other title’s I threw around were, “Almost DNH (Did not Happen)” and “What the Hell was I thinking?!”

IMG_2068[1]

Bill, Mark Bravo, Dick Beardsley and packet pick up!

Anyway, the days leading up to the marathon were filled with travel and anxiety.  After arriving late on Friday night, I struggled to sleep past 8 (I was too excited to sleep) so we were up and moving and headed to the Expo for bib pickup.  I was ignoring the weather because it was so iffy about what was happening.  The weather was nice, hot but nice, but that was supposed to change and here comes the anxiety.  I figured if I didn’t look it wouldn’t happen, right? Right!  Well, wrong! IMG_2083[1]

After spending a wonderful early evening carbo loading with my wonderful college friends of 20+ years, we called it a night.  I made it home (mom’s house), gathered all of my stuff for the race, and headed to bed because I needed to get up by 4:15 to make it down to the race for all the events by 5:30 (yes that is AM!).  I slept the majority of every hour from 10pm until alarm time (which never goes off but at least it is set).  I ate my oatmeal, gathered my stuff, and we were about to head out the door when it happened.  My stepfather said the horrible words no runner wants to hear, “Well the storms are firing up!”  I was hoping he was wrong, praying he was wrong, but as we approach downtown OKC, he became correct.  Little drops were falling on the windshield and there was lightening happening all around.  Nothing big but enough that I figured it would be a problem.  But onward we went, in hopes that it was going to pass by us.

IMG_2080[1]

My crazy friends of 20+ years.

Dave and I dropped my mom off to meet a friend and we made our way over to the starting corrals via the port-a-potties cause if you run, you know before any race there is a need!  The rain became steadier and so we sought shelter in the 4 story parking garage right by the corrals.  We found an area in a reserved parking spot that we claimed as our own.  Little did we know that this spot would be ours for almost 2 hours.  Yep, that’s right, nothing like being ready to run, keyed up, excited that you have done all the training only to be told that they have to wait for the storms to pass.  We didn’t know it would be two hours from the start, it started as 30 mins and then an hour and then they had to check with the city of Oklahoma City to see if they could start the race after 8am.  Evidently they had a drop dead time of the race starting by 8am or it would not have happened.  So we sat… and sat…. and stressed that the race might not be run… and sat some more …. Oh and

Nothing like hanging out in the parking garage.

Nothing like hanging out in the parking garage.

the storms moved through.  It cooled off to low 60’s, hailed a little, rained a lot but we were protected.

Finally the word came down that the race would start at 8:20am.  They began all the prerace activities with the 168 seconds of silence for all the victims of the bombing, followed by the singing of the National Anthem and inside the parking garage we all hummed along until the last few lines that we all sang together (it was beautiful!).   We all reentered the corrals, cheered on the wheelchair start and then counted down to the beginning.  The horn sounded and we were off (okay it took me over 5 mins to cross the starting line but we were off)…….IMG_2094[1]

I struggle…

StruggleDo you ever have those moments when you want to help but you don’t know how?  I have them a lot.  I would say daily.  I think that is part of my job.  But sometimes the struggle is not just finding the words to help comfort, it’s actually in listening to the story.  It’s not that I don’t want to listen to the story of my 60+ clients, it is more that the story is so real I can feel it in the room and when they are done telling the story I want to have the right words.  The words that say,”it’s gonna be alright”.  Sometimes those are the exact words I actually say because I know no others except “Thank you for trusting me enough to tell me, for letting me in.”  But yet it doesn’t feel like enough… so I struggle.

I know that just the action of talking about things, letting it out, putting it out there in the universe, it becomes healing.  It is healthy and some of my clients have never had that experience.

So I struggle… I think do they want more?  Do they expect more?  Do they want me to have the answers?  I think the last one is the only one that is true.  They want me to have the answers because they can’t seem to figure it out.  But I have noticed that as long as I am honest with them and tell them, “I don’t have them but we can search together for them” it is only then that they begin to give therapy a chance.  To let down those walls.  I see it happen on a regular basis.  I’m shocked when it occurs, probably as much as they are.  I am transformed when it happens and they begin to feel it too because you can see the spark in their eyes that they have begun to finally trust someone again.  I feel honored, yet I struggle….

I struggle with the blessing that has been bestowed on me to process their life with them.  The honor of being one of the few they trust enough to become vulnerable with.

I struggle… yet I am honored.  Because through them I learn the strength of another human.  I get to be a part of their path, their resilience, their journey to a new creation.  I struggle to understand how I can be so blessed with such wonderful souls and how I can be a part of their guidance and I am honored!

Passing the test….

test1Scary title isn’t it.  Where am I going with this?  Am I giving you a test at the end of reading this?  Don’t stop reading because the answer is no.  No test!  Or maybe you just passed the test by still reading along.

I don’t know about you but taking a test is scary and inside my head just the thought of it creates anxiety.  I even go so far as watching for signs that I ‘m gonna fail.  Like last weekend when I could barely complete my long run which was 18 miles but I wanted it to be 20 miles.  In my mind, I failed, I failed the test.  When really I should have been saying, “Yippee you just went 18 miles!”  And it even went further than that…  I have been studying to take my National Exam for my Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and when I failed my run by 2 miles last weekend it also made me start to doubt my ability to pass the test.  I know weird right!  How do those two even go together?  But somehow in my mind my self-doubt crept in and said “if you can’t even make it the distance in the run how are you going to make it through the exam and pass?”  Nice, right! test

So instead of letting my mind take over, I tried to take over.  I went home and started studying even harder, about 6 hours on Sunday and then 3 hours a night for Monday and Tuesday.  Then it was test day.  I woke up in a great mood and each time doubt crept in I would just say to myself “You know what you are gonna know and it is enough.  You have completed a marathon, you can do this” (not sure how this related but it worked).  I kept myself calm and just decided it was going to be what it was going to be.  As I sat in the exam, I just kept taking deep breaths and let my mind use the information I had crammed in to it to make the choices and guess what?  They were the right choices (okay they were mostly right) and I passed.  Yippee!!  I never have to take that test again and now I’m one step closer to that LMHC, just have to wait until May now, but that’s it.

When the weather was somewhat nice today (in the high 40’s or low 50’s) I thought this run will be great.  It was another long run, hoping to go 20 miles.  But again I was tested!  Why?????  I don’t know but it was bad.  The first 3 miles I just wanted to turn around and say forget this.  But I didn’t.  I kept going.  I stopped for a little bit and stretched hoping my calf pain would go away.  Pushing on and on and mentally saying to myself, just keep going (I kind of felt like Nemo, “Just keep swimming”).  I got settled in finally and did pretty well for most of the run until around 15 when the wind gusts became harder and it started to rain and with that it cooled off.  Really starting to think that forces are against me!

test2I just kept pushing and was able to complete 18 miles, still not the 20 but it’s done.  I have some time before the marathon and hopefully this is just a phase.  I’m really hoping that through all these tests I will have success, which I am sure I will.  It may just be a completion of the race which in the end is really what I want, I just have some huge expectations each time I tackle something.  I want to do my best.  Maybe that is why taking and passing a test is so huge for me.

What would I tell a client who is having the same struggles as me?  Well probably the same thing that I am finally telling myself.  It’s 100% preparation and 1000% mental thoughts.  I know that doesn’t add up.  But if you prepare to the best of your ability and your mind takes over, it make it impossible to finish and reach your goal.  Mental work is needed too.  A mantra is great or something you can say to yourself when your doubt creeps in (because it will).  I’m going with “trust your training”, “one foot in front of the other” and “you’ve done this before”!  I think with all this and the time I have put in training, I will pass this test too.

Do you have a mantra?  Have you been tested and made it through?  Tell me about it, I would love to hear it.

test3