What getting hit by a car taught me…

Today is two weeks since the accident. Although I wasn’t critically injured by the accident, I’m still very sore.  I am still surprised by how tired I am, not sure I thought about how I’d feel later after the accident.  Once I realized I was still alive and not paralyzed that was all that mattered.  That moment was so surreal and I felt numb emotionally, I’ve been told that is shock. Hearing my friend scream out my name still rings in my ears.

But I have to back up to what the last year or better has been like.  I haven’t posted because I was disengaged from everything.  The depression I started feeling over a year ago didn’t just linger but it slowly got worse.  Fall of last year I ‘gave in’ and went to my doctor for help.  That turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.  After that, I quit school… at least for now.  I could not remember why I started working on the degree, and was so exhausted that it felt overwhelming to try and continue.

Fast forward to mid-January this year and I really started to get my groove back.  I started to run again, went back to martial arts and was eating well. I went to someone to share how I was feeling and to get additional support. I even started meditating!  I was doing all the things I needed to do to take care of myself.

And then, I got hit by a car.  I learned that I can endure a lot of pain.  I learned that my initial reaction to the driver was not anger, that was a shock to me!  And I learned in spite of the pain and hassle of doctor appointments and insurance paperwork I can still be happy.  I shudder to think how I would have felt a year ago if this happened, when I wasn’t doing such a great job of taking care of myself.

Don’t get me wrong, this has been a painful and stressful experience.  And I have hours of physio and other appointments ahead of me.  I am also concerned about this major interruption in my workout routine… walking is exhausting right now!  Now that I know I was able to bring myself back from depression because I asked for help, that’s the way I can recover from this, to rely on others for help.  There’s no medal for going through any of this alone.

Back in the Saddle

This post is hopefully a return to regular posting on this blog. I have neglected it for several reasons.  First of all, I felt like I wasn’t able.  Last fall my health was on a downward spiral, and I needed a lot of energy just to take care of myself.  Secondly, I was not doing much running or any sort of activity and that’s what I wanted my blog to be about!

I have finally returned to some form of regular exercise.  For several months I was unable to stick with anything.  I was mentally and physically exhausted.   My family doctor told me that the vigorous exercise might not be helpful with the anxiety I was experiencing.  She said sometimes the high release of adrenaline can actually make anxiety worse in some people.  She encouraged me to scale it back for a month or so, walking, yoga, some form gentle activity.  And of course being the over achiever I opted to do nothing for months. Not exactly what the doctor ordered.

I attempted to get back into running in the spring because I really missed it.  I had been running consistently since 2006 so it was really a big part of my life.  It was so tough getting back into it; my cardio was crap, my legs felt like lead.  I was a beginner all over again and I felt so frustrated and discouraged.  I was pushing myself and was not enjoying it.  Then I ended up with the flu and I took another month or so off.

I stopped making running a priority and decided to try to get back into cycling, it was also tough but I saw improvements fairly quickly and I was in a better place mentally and I was able to stick with it.  The weather this summer wasn’t great, but if I couldn’t ride outside then I’d go to Spin class at the gym.  I had a goal, my husband and I would ride in the MS Bike Tour in Niagara.  It was a great goal for me to work towards; 75km was not overly ambitious.  I actually felt really good until the 60km checkpoint, and the only thing that bothered me was my butt!

Now I’m back at building my running again and doing more strength training, but all gradually and without forcing it.

It feels good to be active again, and with the focus on fitness instead of fat loss it feels much more rewarding.

Taking a few steps back

I have been struggling the last few months, with several things.  This is all my own fault though.  Sometimes I think I can do it all.  I can do that run, I can take that class, I can help that friend, I can do that extra work, I can do it!!!  I’ve been here before, welcome to burn out.

I work fulltime and I am also in school part-time working on a degree.  This year I signed up to do 4 half courses, two each term.  I knew I was in trouble after the first week, I was already behind in the reading.  I had assumed (mistakenly) that an online course would be less time then actually going to the university to do attend a class.  WRONG.

I ran a half-marathon this past spring, rode in a two-day 150k bike tour and ran a few other 10k runs.  I thought I could run another half-marathon this fall, no problem.  I have run two in a year before, and I run fairly consistently.  Piece of cake, right?  WRONG.

Last week I found myself sitting on the couch in tears, feeling like a failure.  I wanted to drop a class and drop out of the half-marathon.  What a loser.  Not sure why I still talk to myself this way.  I would never speak that way to a friend that was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed and needed to cut back on things.

This weekend I am feeling more relaxed and happy about the decisions I’ve made.  I had a number of good friends tell me what a good thing I was doing taking a few steps back.  Even the academic advisor told me it was better to drop the course then struggle and possibly not do very well.  For a young woman in her 20s, she had a lot of wisdom to share with this 40something.

So that’s it.  Sometimes you just gotta take a few steps back and get some rest.  I’m not sure at what point in my life I equated resting with being lazy.  But it can’t be such a bad thing, when I’m feeling so much relief!  And I have more time to post on my blog.

I am obese.

Warning:  Diet talk

Well at least according to the BMI I am, and I know how inaccurate THAT is.  I’ve been this weight before and higher, but this time it somehow feels different.

I had not weighed myself in weeks, and I was honestly curious to see what had happened to my weight in that amount of time.  Had I gained a ton of weight without me watching it daily?  So I weighed myself, with a pretty good idea of what the scale would say because I have been at this weight before.  The number didn’t startle me, but I am not going to lie and say it didn’t bother me at all.  The years of dieting and being taught to hate my body was not erased in a few months.  There are also several people at work that LOVE diet talk.  I excuse myself now from these conversations, and I think this is making me appear less social at work.

I find myself gloomy and unhappy more times than I’m not.  I mentioned before that I felt as though I need a new hobby, something to spend my time on.  I am certainly no longer logging my points, planning grueling hours of activity, scouring the internet for low-point/low-fat recipes, and searching for the next weight loss tip.  Unfortunately, I have lost some of my interest in activity.  This could be the reason for the gloominess.  I know that working out regularly makes me happier and it gives me energy. A good friend of mine said maybe I’m just in a slump and I think that’s entirely possible.

The fact is that it’s not just that I need a hobby, I feel as though I’m trying to figure out who I am right this minute.  I spent my entire life (yes, even as a child) dreaming about what I would do once I had the perfect body, once I had lost X number of pounds.  I would buy certain clothes, go to certain places, and meet really cool people.  Now that I’m not planning for the ‘future me’, I’m stumbling around feeling like I’m trying to figure out, what the hell do I do now?

All that being said, will I go back to the DIET?  Not a chance!  That’s why this time at this weight, it’s different.  This is who I am right now, right this minute.  And learning what exactly that means is actually kinda cool.  It doesn’t feel like at this weight my world is on hold, and I don’t feel ‘fat and awful’ like I used to.

I went for a run this afternoon, listened to my music, settled into an easy pace and paid attention to every moment of it.  No big spiritual moment or anything, but it was good and that’s enough.

Finding new hobbies

*trigger warning: diet talk

I used to spend a lot of time researching food trends, diet ideas, low-fat recipes, diet books, and weight-loss websites.  I would look into every new diet idea like it might be that holy grail of diets! I remember numerous times thinking that this time will be different, this one is going to work.  I would prepare myself to start the diet, go shopping for whatever special foods I needed, get the protein powders and supplements.  Come Monday morning I was READY!  Then I found weight watchers, which was great for my dieter’s mentality. (Although they call it a lifestyle change which is really bs.  Any program that instructs you on how much to eat is a DIET).  Every week at the meeting they gave us a new flyer, and some tidbits of information to use for the week.  This always felt kind of exhilarating to me, because I would weigh in on Saturday morning, and then start ‘fresh’ on Monday armed with any new information I had, or goal for that week.  The instruction might have been to try and add veggies to every meal, add extra activity, focus on healthy snacks or something.  I would spend the week watching my points, counting my points, logging activity points, calculating points of recipes, planning how to spend my points, or figuring out how many points I’d need to enjoy 2 drinks and a piece of cake on the weekend.  I felt and acted obsessed.  Oh! and if I found another weight-watcher and we could talk ww stuff… heaaaaaven!

Now, I eat when I’m hungry, I eat what I want and I stop eating when I’m full.  It’s so simple!  It’s also far less time consuming.  Honestly, I have felt kind of lost the last couple months.  I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so antsy and a little bored.  Fact is, the dieting thing was such a huge part of my life for so many years.  It kept me so busy and so preoccupied and it was all-consuming.  I’m discovering new ways to spend my time and realizing now how much time I wasted on this obsession.  But it really is difficult.  I still find myself on occasion reading a weight-loss ‘success’ story and wondering if that person has maintained it?  Have they lost the weight before?  I have to admit, I am still obsessed.  I want to be free from dieting, free from worrying about the 12 pounds I’ve gained (yes I broke down and weighed myself… that’s for another blog entry) and free from worrying about how I look.

There is so much more to life than this obsession, I’m able to see that now.  I’m doing my best, although it can be hard with the images in media and hearing the diet-obsessed people at work natter on about their weight struggles.   My fitness goals are a good focus for me now.  I am redirecting my energy into performance fitness goals, and not about calories burned.   I have also rediscovered reading fiction (I mean other than diet books-haha!!) and I am enjoying looking for really good books. (I take suggestions-hint, hint)  I forgot how much I LOVE to read.  Just to get lost in a fascinating story is such a pleasure!

I’m off to bed now to read!

Defending slow running

A recent conversation with someone pissed me off.  I have had similar conversations before this one with other people, and they have had to do with the definition of a runner.  We were discussing another runner’s time in a long distance run.  I said something about how long it would take me to run the same distance, about an hour longer.  This person stated, “Yes, but he’s a runner.” ….pause… “Well, I mean you’re a runner too but you know what I mean.”  No, actually I do NOT know.  I was actually kind of shocked by the comment since this person knows how much I run.

So first of all, since 2006 I have completed 21 races, which included 8 half marathons and one 30km run (that one in pouring cold rain-yuck!).  Therefore, I have logged thousands of kilometres of training runs since 2006. According to my Nike records since mid 2010 I have logged 1,339.18 km and that was with some big non-running periods in there when I focused on cycling, and a few months when I just didn’t feel like running.  I also run sometimes without any gizmos, so there’s no record of those runs.

I have also had several running related injuries: planter fasciitis, IT band syndrome, morton’s neuroma.  I’ve recovered from all of those, and learned stretches and exercises to prevent further injuries.

All that said, I don’t think anyone has to run as far as I have or suffer injuries to be able to call themselves a runner.  Nor do I think you have to be fast, which I am not.  That brings me back to the comment above.  Was the comment because I am not a FAST runner?  No, I’m not fast but really the vast majority of runners will never win a race, and even if you do win that still doesn’t mean that winning a local small city race will make you competitive enough for the Olympics, not by a long shot.  I think there are runners and then there are professional runners.

I really don’t care about my speed compared to others.  I like to compare my time to my previous times but even then I don’t beat myself up about it.  I like to run; it makes me feel good and keeps my heart healthy, which is very important given my family history of heart disease.  I also know that I have limitations on the speed I’ll be able to achieve.  Everyone’s body is different.  For example, I can do pushups from my toes, and I can do so with fairly little effort.  I know some women that struggle with pushups from their knees and they work very hard at building strength to be able to do a pushup from their toes. In the same way, some people are just naturally faster runners. But that’s no reason to disregard my efforts as runner, and I don’t disregard other people’s efforts to build strength.  We all start from a different place and work towards OUR best.

I don’t like to hear other runners say they are not a ‘real’ runner.  If you’re out there pounding the pavement or logging mileage on a dreadmill, I don’t care the speed or the walk breaks taken… you can call yourself a runner.

I am a runner.

Where’d my Mojo go?

I am terribly UNmotivated lately.  Last night I ran a local 8k race with my fav running buddy.  Problem was neither of us really trained for it.  Well, it was a problem and a blessing that neither of us trained because we both felt the same, sluggish as hell with heavy-leg syndrome.  You know, when your legs feel like tree stumps? But we got it done and enjoyed some refreshing beverages afterwards. J

That brings me back to my opening though.  I’m not entirely sure what is going on with me lately but I don’t feel like running, biking, walking… not even yoga. I am still trying to do something 4 times a week but ½ hour is most I can muster and I have to really coach myself to do it.  I know I will feel better when I do it, but sometimes that’s not enough to get my butt out the door.  I was reading an article about starting to run in the early morning.  I contemplated it because I am just pooped when I get home from work and wondered if that was leading to my lack of motivation.  But I am also not a morning person.  Can I change from being a night person to being a morning person??  Is that possible?

I also wanted to start lifting again, and had planned to start back up last month.  I did more weight training in my 20s, before I had started karate and before I started running but those last two things took over and I felt I had no time left.  Then I lost interest in karate, and started doing more cycling.  Perhaps if I start the weights again the new activity will renew my excitement about working out.  I don’t want to be someone that works out just because it’s good for me, I want to enjoy it.  I have seen far too many people stop working out because they began to hate it, unfortunately because they didn’t see the quick weight loss results they had hoped for.

I’m hoping this slump doesn’t last long.  I know it is a slump, I have been working out long enough to recognize it now.  The last one was 6 months!!  Fingers crossed this one is much shorter.