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They Can't All Be Good

Monday, March 26, 2012

I did my second 16 mile run this weekend, and it was brutal. My trainer thinks that I have been over-training this last week, and after Saturday's run, I have to agree. My legs were tired. My whole body was exhausted, but I dragged myself out of bed and decided I had to do it.

I am a creature of habit. I like my pre-run routine, which involves a nice, quiet morning and some relaxing until I finally feel like I just have to get out there and run. But, this weekend my daughter had a friend stay over. It was an experiment, and I was more concerned about them staying up late and keeping me awake. They went to bed early, and I got plenty of sleep. Things were going well. Sometimes my kids wake up before I leave, but they are usually quiet, sleepy, and content with some breakfast and cartoons.

Not this morning.

They were all up well before I was ready to leave. They were excited and hungry. I spent my pre-run time making breakfast, settling toy disputes, and trying frantically to get everything ready for my run in between requests. By the time I was ready to go, it was later than usual, and I was feeling a lot more like I HAD to get out than wanted to. I had to come back in a couple times because I forgot things, and then I was finally off.

I knew it wasn't going to be a good run. I wasn't feeling it. Not a good thing when you're facing a 16 mile run. I decided to keep going and see how I felt around 4 miles, which is when I have really been getting into the zone lately.

I was on my way up the first huge hill when I met a manure spreader. For anyone not living near a bunch of farms, they are huge tanks of manure that are pulled by oversized tractors. They have to drive on the road between their fields and tend to leave some unpleasant stuff on the road. They also take up most of both lanes, and most of them will not get over to let a runner pass. I ended up standing in the tall grass on the side of the road, waiting for them to pass. Once would have been bad enough, but in the first 2 miles of my run, I met 5 of them. I was incredibly frustrated, especially when I had to scrape some of the nastiness off my sneaker. If they had kept coming, I probably would have given up and gone home. Luckily, I passed the last big field on my route and didn't see any more of them.

I got through the next big hill without too much difficulty, but I just could not get in my groove. I doubted every step and was already thinking about how much further I had to go around mile 5 - not good. Still, I kept going. The weather was nice, cool and dry without any fog this time, and I tried to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. Still, I just wasn't feeling it.

By the time I met up with my husband for a much needed Gatorade break, I was 12 miles into the run and not feeling great. My legs ached, and I just didn't want to do it any more. I put my legs up, which made them feel a little better, and then I fought the urge to just get in the car and ride home, and I started running again.

Starting up again after resting was pretty bad. My hips and knees were achy, and I just didn't want to do it. Still, I kept going. I wasn't in pain. I wasn't damaging my body. I knew I could finish it. So, I did.

The last couple miles were the worst. I knew I was close to done, and my mind was being terrible. Bad runs are the worst, and nothing will make you doubt yourself more. Unlike my first 16 miles, I felt sad and doubtful that I could ever actually finish a marathon. After all, I was struggling so bad with 16, how could I ever do another 10? My confidence was gone.

Honestly, I still haven't gotten it back. I know I'll do it. I know I'll finish, but I'm still not sure that finishing won't involve crying, throwing up, or crippling pain. For now, I'm going to listen to my trainer and cut down on the extra exercise - easier said than done with all of the Zumba classes I teach, but I'll make it work somehow.

In training for a marathon, I've learned that every run counts. I know that I can comfortably finish 16 miles. I should be able to tackle 18 - we'll see next weekend. My legs are strong and able to take the abuse. My recovery was a lot better this time, and even with the struggling and stopping to avoid poop trucks, I still managed to finish in only 5 minutes over last week's time. Some times I think it is good to doubt yourself - as long as you push through the doubt and keep trying. I know I'll definitely be out there next weekend trying to go just a little further. One bad run is not going to stop me.

That's what kept me going during the run - They can't all be good ones, but they're all worth it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APED7969 3/26/2012 5:02PM

    Great job doing the whole run! I often have runs that just feel like crap. I figure there are more good ones than bad and if I time my taper at the end of training well I should have a good run on race day. I'm not sure this will always work but you learn something from each one anyway. You learned you can do 16 miles even if you feel like crap and that's pretty impressive. Does your training plan give you an allowance to do a shorter long run this weekend rather than try to up straight to 18miles? Sometimes having a bit of a break is more important than getting in those extra miles.

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DOODIE59 3/26/2012 3:18PM

    But you did it!

Your last line says it best: They can't all be good ones, but they're all worth it. Congratulations. Good luck and stay healthy.

Best wishes on your journey to better health:)

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BLACKROSE_222 3/26/2012 1:49PM

    Good job, but also remember to listen to your body.

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FANGFACEKITTY 3/26/2012 8:41AM

    Congratulations on finishing even through the voices telling you to quit. Just be careful with the overtraining, that can lead to injury even if you are not feeling any pain at the time.

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Sweet 16

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

16 miles!!!!

On Saturday I increased my mileage to 16, and it actually went pretty well! I had some anxiety about running this distance. Not sure why, but it seemed like an impossible run. I was scared to do it, and then, of course, so glad that I did.

It started out in heavy fog, which was a new experience for me. I was really glad to have my weird, bright orange, reflective vest! I couldnít see oncoming cars until they were about 15 feet away. If they didnít have their headlights on, they seemed to just appear, and that was a little sketchy. *interesting observation Ė I saw about 10 cars without their headlights on, and every single one of them was white or gray, colors most likely to blend in with dense fogÖ

After two weeks away from my usual route, the first 3 miles of hills were brutal. I kept second-guessing myself. Do I really want to do this? Why do my legs hurt so much? Luckily, part of me also remembered that after 3-4 miles I get in my groove and can just go. Just have to get there first.

Once the hills were behind me, I felt great. I ran up out of the fog, and it was like crossing into another world. The sky was blue and the sun was shining. It was wonderful. I saw a few people I know while I was out, and I always love that. It adds an extra spring to my step. Running for so long on my own can sometimes get a little lonely. Iím not used to having so much time with just my thoughts.

I was so excited when I turned onto the new section of my route. I drive over it almost daily, but running is such a different perspective. Itís a gorgeous location, too. Have I mentioned I love living in Vermont?

One of my favorite areas on this route is a pond that sits off the side of the road. In the spring and fall it is absolutely filled with Canadian geese. Itís one of their stopping points during migration. It is also across the road from a small farm. The farm has several geese (who I had to avoid as they crossed the road right in front of me) and the biggest pig I have ever seen. This thing is huge.

That section of the route went really well. I felt great, was enjoying the new scenery, and though I encountered several rather steep hills, I made it up them with ease. I saw some dogs, but they were all friendly. I didnít even mind running back down into the fog. I was feeling great as I reached the end of the road and turned onto the next part of my run. I was 11 miles in and feeling good.

The next part of my route took me on the main road that connects a couple of towns. Itís busy (for up here), and there isnít a lot of room on the side to run. Add in a couple tight corners, and I was feeling a little nervous. It went pretty well. The sun broke through the fog, and I was happy to be visible again. There was another large hill about 2 miles from where I turned onto the road, and it was a bit tough. My legs were starting to ache, and I was getting thirsty.

Iíd asked my wonderful husband to meet me somewhere along the route and bring me Gatorade. I donít really like it, but thatís what theyíll have at the marathon. I was dragging a bit when I finally saw his car. We met at the place where the running trail crosses the road. It had room for him to pull over, and it was where I was going to switch from road to trail. I immediately tossed the sweaty, heavy sweatshirt, guzzled some Gatorade (Loved it at that moment), and lay down to drain my legs.

Leg drains are the best. My legs had begun to feel heavy and achy from lactic acid build up. Putting my legs up for a few minutes made them 100% better, and I was ready to finish my run. I kissed the kids and hubby and started the last leg of my run. I was feeling a lot better, but the switch from pavement to dirt/gravel was tough. It made my calves ache.

The other problem was the mile markers. Once I turned onto the new part of my route, I had no idea where the mile markers were. I just ran, and it was wonderful. Now, I knew how much farther I had to go, and when I realized I still had a mile and a half left, I started to struggle. It was tough. I bargained with myself about when I could walk or slow down, but every time I managed to talk myself out of it and keep going. When I got within a half mile of home, I knew I was going to make it.

My body was in pain when I got home, but I felt so accomplished. This distance had been such a roadblock for me, but I had finished it. It wasnít easy, but I also know that next time, it will be a lot better. My body will be ready for it. I was also amazed at how quickly my body recovers from long runs. I was in pain most of Saturday, but by Sunday morning I felt great. Slightly achy in my quads, but that was all. On Monday I was ready to go. I ran 4 miles, took the kids I work with on a 3 mile walk, and taught Zumba.

I am so ready to do 16 again and then move on.

Things that I love for running:
ē My shoes Ė seriously comfortable for 16 miles

ē My shirt Ė I might have to buy more of these. Lightweight, comfortable, sweat-wicking, and they have thumb holes!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KELLEY106 3/21/2012 3:33PM

    what are thumb holes?

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APED7969 3/20/2012 4:48PM

    Great job! I know exactly what you mean about switching from pavement to dirt, I had abour 4 miles of dirt smack in the middle of the 16 miles I did last week and it was tough! Can't wait to read your blog about 18 miles ;-)

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ILIKETOZUMBA 3/20/2012 2:52PM

    WOW. Just WOW. I can't even....WOW.

Speechless at your accomplishments!!

Though I must say, I never heard of leg drains before, not being much of a long-distance runner myself. It sounds intriguing and it makes perfect sense. Thanks for teaching me something new!

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CHANGINGSAM 3/20/2012 11:52AM

    Wow! I am so proud of you! emoticon

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FANGFACEKITTY 3/20/2012 10:23AM

    Way to go!

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GIANTMICROBE 3/20/2012 8:42AM

    Thumb holes are pretty much the greatest invention ever!!!!!!!!!!!!

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JESSNSTONE 3/20/2012 8:27AM

    way to go!!!

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New Plans, Motivation

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

So, after about 2 weeks of feeling totally out of control, emotionally eating, and skipping workouts, I am back to my normal self. Who can't handle major stress? This girl apparently. And, that's okay. I'm pretty good at letting the little things go, and while it would be better to continue taking care of myself when the big stuff happens, I'm not perfect. It's what you do after you fail that counts.

I've made a slightly new plan. Really it's just the things I did when I lost weight only adjusted for my incredibly hectic schedule. My workouts are pretty much consistent because I take and teach a lot of classes and workout with my trainer. I do a few running workouts on my own, but I've scheduled them, too. So, all that stays the same, but the problem is that most of them take place in the evening. If I workout earlier in the day, I usually feel better and more focused on eating well. So, I've added a short 15 minute workout in the mornings, alternating between yoga and ST stuff like pushups and ab work.

Yesterday was day 1, and it went well. I did yoga, and I felt calmer and more at peace for most of the day. Today has been a little more difficult. Yesterday, as I sat down to write this blog for the first time, I got a call to come pick up my daughter at school. She had a 104 degree fever and a full body rash. So, needless to say, she's home today, and I haven't got my ST in, yet. It's next on the list after I finish this blog. It's necessary. Not only for a little more exercise, but for my peace of mind.

I had a great Zumba class yesterday. I had a couple new people, and they loved the class! It was one of those nights where I felt fresh and ready to go and didn't trip over my feet too many times. There was a lot of positive energy and laughter from the group, and I had planned a killer workout so lots of sweat as well.

There are days when I am struggling to find time to study for my certification that I question whether or not I can actually do it, but classes like last night's reminded me how much I love teaching fitness. I'll figure out the time (have lots of study time today!), pass the test, and make training work for an occupation. Even just teaching Zumba makes me so happy and more fulfilled. I love it.
Change is good!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ILIKETOZUMBA 3/13/2012 1:09PM

    Sounds like a great new plan! I hope your daughter gets well soon, poor thing. And keep up the fabulous work with your teaching! I'm thinking pretty seriously about getting certified as a Zumba instructor at some point in the near future, but I don't think I'll become certified as a trainer in general. Good for you!! :)

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CHANGINGSAM 3/13/2012 11:04AM

    I'm glad to see that you got back up after you fell. It's hard, but it truly makes us stronger when we are able to get back at it. Hope your daughter feels better soon!

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14 Miles & Applause!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I did my second 14 mile run today. I was a little apprehensive because my foot was a little achy. I've been icing and stretching, but I was still worried. The other run was, off and on, quite painful, and I didn't want to do it again. Of course after thinking of the many "reasons" I should skip the run, I was ready to go. I like that. Even when I try to get out of it, my body wants to go.

The run went really well. It's weird, but I've had a much easier time increasing to 14 miles than I did with any other distance. Part of it is the new route. I went in a different direction, and the hills are a lot less severe. My pace has been great with small, rolling hills instead of 3 miles of huge, steep hills! It's a beautiful run, too. It flooded a few days ago and then froze, and it has made the fields gorgeous pieces of art.

My foot was fine. A twinge here and there, but the extra stretching and icing really worked. My pace was about the same as last time, which made me happy. I felt good for the first 12 miles. I began noticing some aches, and with one mile left began to struggle a little. I was approaching the steepest hill in the run, nothing huge, but after going so far, I wasn't thrilled about it. There was another runner coming down the hill. As she got closer, I realized it was a local woman who I greatly admire. She runs everywhere. I remember seeing her back when I was fat and thinking she was crazy and feeling incredibly jealous. She's also one of the nicest, most positive people you will ever meet.

We stopped and chatted for a few minutes, and I got a nice rest. She's super nice and supportive, and I felt great when we parted and headed in opposite directions. The hill was a breeze, and I finished the last mile easily.

There was one other thing that happened during my run that I have to mention. I always make sure to look at the people who drive past me. I know when they see me and when they don't. I also am a people watcher. I love seeing the very different people that inhabit this planet. It's amazing what kinds of things you see people doing while they're driving. Normally, people don't pay much attention to me, or they smile. Some wave. Today someone applauded me.

I loved it. I had a huge smile on my face for the next mile and an extra spring in my step. The sun was shining. It was cold, and someone was applauding my efforts. I felt like a superstar.

So, yeah, this was a great run. I feel ready for 16 next weekend. I got my thoughts sorted out about my grandma and feel pretty at peace right now. I'm looking forward to a nice, relaxing rest day* tomorrow.

*Not a rest day for my awesome husband, though! He is going for a run! He went last weekend, too. This is as close to training as he gets, and I am super proud of him!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUBY_TUESDAY21 3/11/2012 9:29AM

    This made me smile. :) Compliments and encouragement always make me want to run just a little bit more. Glad the foot did well for you!

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ILIKETOZUMBA 3/10/2012 7:51PM

    That sounds wonderful!! I'm glad your foot did okay and that everything went well.

I always do a small private salute to people I see out jogging or walking, particularly when you can tell they are doing exactly what they should be doing for their health (okay, I mean "when they're overweight"). I should start applauding them so they can see it! Although I worry that I might offend some of the overweight people and make them think I'm being patronizing, since I don't look like part of the club any more (since I don't really look fat any more). Still, who doesn't like being applauded?? And you certainly deserve some major applause!!! Congratulations! :)

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SWEETSOUNDS11 3/10/2012 7:29PM

    Impressive. It sounds like your training is going great. Keep up all that hard work.

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FANGFACEKITTY 3/10/2012 6:58PM

    emoticon emoticon

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THROOPER62 3/10/2012 6:46PM


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GONEWLIFE 3/10/2012 6:24PM

    Congrats !

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Crying Yesterday Morning

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Yesterday morning while I was getting the kids ready for school, I started crying. As I blogged before, my grandmother had a stroke on Friday, so crying has been pretty normal for the last week - but yesterday was different. It didn't have anything to do with my family or anyone else. I was angry and hurt, and the only one to blame was myself.

I spent 6 days allowing myself to wallow in misery, to eat ridiculous amounts of not-good-for-me-at-all foods, to not track, and no exercise except my 14 mile run on Sunday, which was the highlight of my vacation. By yesterday morning, I felt terrible physically, guilty, angry, and terrified because it was so easy. Way too easy. It was exactly how I used to feel before I started this whole journey - out of control, numb, frantic, and full with a persistent overlying feeling of sadness. I went back to my negative thinking, back to staying at home and making excuses to skip my workouts, and back to angry, boring, easily irritated mom - which is the part I hate the most. I put on a smile for my kids, but it was fake. I knew it, and i think they did, too.

Yesterday, it all piled up, and I stopped making breakfast and cried. I think I made my awesome husband upset because he kept telling me that he didn't regret going out (4 times in 2 days) and getting to spend time together like we used to - that didn't help at all. He kept asking what was wrong, and I couldn't explain it. I was just so disappointed in myself and so scared that I would go back. It seemed so much easier than trying to push through.

Luckily, having kids and responsibilities keeps me from going into full-on hermit mode, and I had to leave the house. When I brought my son to school his teacher was talking to me about my 14 mile run and how amazing it was, and I started to feel a little more like awesome Em again. I did 14 miles on Sunday, faster than I had thought I would, and without stopping to walk, but I barely even took the time to congratulate myself because of everything else going on. It is a big deal, and I needed to be reminded of that.

Then I had to go lift with my trainer. I was feeling really bad for skipping two workouts with her and for making excuses because I knew my "reasons" were just excuses - and I know she did, too. When I am in this funk, I make everything worse than it really is, and I don't know exactly what I was expecting from her, but it wasn't what I got. She didn't give me a hard time. She was a lot kinder to me than I had been. And, among other things, she said something interesting - that there must have been a reason for me to go through this and that it didn't matter what I'd done, it mattered what I did now.

It made me feel a lot better. Lifting did, too. There is nothing like struggling with heavy weights to make everything else in life seem easier. I got through my Zumba class, too. I admit I was a little low energy, but I explained my situation to my class, and they were understanding and supportive.

I'm a normally optimistic, positive person, but when I get down I still remain honest about my feelings. This time I have gotten some interesting reactions, and I find it fascinating to compare them to when I was fat. In times of stress or sadness people were kinder than now. I can't post anything about being down now without people asking why I'm being a "Debbie Downer". I can't post anything about struggling without comments on how I should be fine and happy because I've lost 94 pounds.

I get it. I know how frustrating optimistic, healthy, active people can be when you're not feeling good about yourself, but they're still people. I'm not perfect, nor do I ever expect to be. I will struggle and fail just like everyone else, and I'm always going to be honest about where I'm at. I spent too long pretending everything was okay.

But, I digress. Those people probably meant well, and I can't let others affect me. Yesterday was a better day. Two workouts, eating better, and being social again left me feeling more like myself, and I got my first full night's sleep in a week. I'm feeling a lot more like myself today and less scared of slipping back into the abyss. It was good for me to do it. I saw how easy it could be to go back, and I think I needed that reminder. I'm re-focused and ready to keep going.

Finally, thank you, Sparkfriends, for your constant support. This is the one place I feel comfortable admitting my failings without fear of judgement, and it keeps me motivated to see other people achieving even when I'm not. Have a great day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CRICKET_93 3/9/2012 10:40AM

    sorry about your grandmother. it's gret that you were able to channel all of the negative energy into something that is healthy for you and your family.

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FANCY-PANTS 3/8/2012 6:22PM

    I'm sorry to hear about your grandma. It is so hard not to fall back into old ways especially when overwhelmed by emotions or stress. I'm glad your back on track. emoticon

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STSCOTT11 3/8/2012 1:20PM

    "It's okay to cry. Crying is cathartic. It purges your spirit of heartache and pain.

The act of crying is like washing a dirty cup. The water washes away the contaminates that are on the cup. A dirty cup has one purpose, and that's to be cleaned.

A wounded soul has only one purpose, and that is to be restored.

No one can tell you how long is an appropriate time to cry. Just like no one can say, "This is how long you must wash a cup, no more and no less." Time-lines don't work because some cups need to be washed longer than others because they are dirtier than others.

The same is true for our souls. Some people have more pain than others and need to cry longer to be healed. Breaking up with a boyfriend causes pain, but it is not the same as losing a pet. Both are eclipsed by the death of a spouse or a child.

How do we know it's time to move on with our lives and stop crying? The answer is when your cup is clean."

Do whatever you need to do to grieve...but REMEMBER she would want you to BE HEALTHY & HAPPY so keep sparking too.

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FANGFACEKITTY 3/8/2012 12:56PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

I could never expect someone to be a Pollyanna all of the time. Everyone has issues, some are better at hiding it than others, but at the end of the day no one truly knows the struggles anyone else goes through. We all have our down days and just because what causes someone else to be down might be nothing to another person does not in any way diminish or trivialize what someone is feeling. Vent here all you need to.

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IAMZBEE 3/8/2012 10:17AM


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STRONGMOMMA2014 3/8/2012 7:35AM


I am sorry to hear this (I have been away for a while and missed this info.). All I can say is hang in there. It is great that you are getting your emotions out there and working through them. I wish you the best and will keep you and your family in my thoughts. I hope things get easier!

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GIANTMICROBE 3/8/2012 7:16AM

    I'm so sorry about your grandma. Lots of hugs. You work out ALL THE TIME, a few days off isn't going to kill you, in fact, it might be a good thing. I'm always here for you!!! More hugs.

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MRE1956 3/8/2012 7:04AM

    Sorry to read about your grandmother's situation ....... please be gentle to yourself and make sure you get some "you" time......I assure you this'll help!


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AZMOMXTWO 3/8/2012 6:46AM

  sorry about your Grandmother that is hard but I am glad that you saw what was wrong and that you are on the right track to get it together congrats on the run that is great
have a great day today and a good weekend

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