I spent some time re-reading this blog tonight. I’ve gained a lot of weight. I feel terrible. I’m about to run a half undertrained. Just in a terrible place. I signed up for a full marathon though. Things are going to turn around. And it starts with getting this up again.
This is kind of an inappropriate post, so if certain four letter words offend you, I would stop reading now.
I have made no secret to everyone concerned with my illness that it’s been a tough road, especially since I had to discontinue my half marathon training for awhile. When I finally did get back running, I struggled and my runs were spotty. Mind you, I was trying to run with a migraine, and it was kind of amazing that I could get any runs in at all.
And then my migraine completely went away on Friday. I hadn’t told many people because I was afraid that it would come back, but as of today, I have been migraine-free for five days. I was ecstatic. I could have jumped for joy. And then I tried to run on Saturday…
I was still stuck. After several attempts at trying to get through it and saying my usual pep talk with myself multiple times (“Betsy, you’re a big girl and can do anything you put your mind to.”), I packed it in and went home. Am I proud of that? Nope. But I knew it was more of a mental problem than a physical one, which is why I immediately put the 11 miles I was supposed to complete on Saturday back on the schedule for Monday. Things were going to be different because they quite simply had to be.
I completed those 11 miles with the biggest grin on my face that I ever had. I was laughing and just having a ball. I decided to break it apart to figure out what went right on this run, so that I can duplicate it for my race. Hell, I won’t care what my time is if I can have that much fun.
1. I ran by myself. Obviously I won’t be running by myself on race day, but I think the point here was that I wasn’t concerned about anybody but me. I didn’t see a group of people that I felt like I should be able to keep up with racing off in front of me. There was just me. It let me revel in the triumphs that happened and helped me not to dwell on the fact that if things had gone right with this season, I’d be running a different race.
2. I didn’t rely on Pandora. This is kind of unfortunate, but I’m hearing this from other runners: Pandora sucks when you run. It just randomly goes out. I don’t know what causes it, but the best that I can tell is that it just hates RunKeeper. Well personally I like RunKeeper, so I’m going to have to thumb my nose at Pandora. I downloaded some of my favorite music and was guaranteed awesomeness throughout the entire run.
3. I swore a lot. At the beginning of the season, I epically told someone, “I like to say fuck and shit when I run, so I hope that doesn’t offend you.” I don’t know why, but saying random swear words aloud motivates me. I first found this out when I used to do a ballet DVD several days a week and Peter Martins became my nemesis. I started doing WAY better with that DVD when I’d get angry with him. After I started getting sick, without thinking, I started going with the traditional motivational methods. I don’t know why, but I proved that they still don’t work for me. On Monday, I let the potty mouth rip and it got me through some tough spots.
4. I didn’t care about anybody else. I broke out my air guitar, threw in some drums and hell, I even danced during my walk breaks (maybe even during some running parts too). I tried not to head bang because I found that I got too into head banging and wouldn’t pay attention to my intervals as well. I’m not sure how far I’ll go with any of this and I’m not sure what race etiquette says about any of it, but if a little air guitar makes the run manageable for me, you will see air guitar on May 7th.
My main objective has always been to have fun, but I think I’ve been too in control of what that fun can be. I don’t have to be the stereotypical runner. I can take what running is and make it more me. So here’s to more of what makes me me and here’s to the half marathon being entirely too close for comfort. I have to go throw up now.
On Tuesday, March 1st, I was sitting on my bed talking to Mike the Boyfriend as I waited for my phone to charge for my run. Suddenly, I had a sharp pain in my head. I told the Boyfriend that the run was going to have to wait and I was going to have to rest.
Today is March 27th and I’m still in pain. It’s more severe, despite a rather long list of medications I’ve been on to deal with it. I’ve been to my regular doctor, the ER and a neurologist only to receive no real diagnosis. But I did have a spinal tap that put me into even more pain.
Here’s the problem: I’m out of money. I’ve spent about a quarter of a month’s paycheck to have no answers. I’m also at my emotional limit. I had really thought I was going to the neurologist on Thursday to get answers. When I didn’t, I broke.
I had to make a choice. I had to choose if I was going to keep throwing money at this and get my hopes up for a solution or if I was going to do something else. I chose something else. It may be ill-advised, but I’m choosing to go back to my normal life and to start ignoring the pain. I will still take the medications in the hopes that they might eventually work, but I’m paying no heed to this pain otherwise.
I started this yesterday. I went out for my first run in a month. I couldn’t run as much as I would have liked. My limbs all felt so heavy, but I felt good while I was out there. I came back in to feel just as bad as before, but it gave me some hope. Perhaps soon I won’t be in pain anymore. Perhaps this time my hopes won’t get dashed.
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder, Right?
Life has been rough. That’s putting it mildly. February was a mess of busy and March was a mess of illness. At least with busy, I can still run, but with illness, I was stuck flat on my back. I’m going to write more about my illness in a separate post. However, I want y’all to know that I’m back posting. Betsy’s going to run and Betsy’s going to rock it.
January’s Health Month
So now we enter into the obvious question: Did Health Month do anything to improve my health and my quality of life? Well, let’s go through the rules one by one and see.
1. Take a multivitamin every day - There is some debate over whether this is what made me sick. Since I have been taking it at night instead of the morning, I have been feeling better. So this is a wash as to whether it did anything.
2. No soda or energy drinks - This for sure did a lot for me. I might have given in if it hadn’t been for Health Month. I was strict and didn’t even take a sip of any soda. In fact, I didn’t even miss it. I definitely feel the better for this.
3. Drink at least 70 glasses of water per week - I went crazy on the water front this month. I peed like all the time. Despite this, I definitely feel how much better this amount of water is making me feel.
4. Exercise for at least 60 minutes 6 days a week - I did poorly at this rule. I was sick and was ordered to rest. However, I think this was a good rule for me. I am taking my exercise so much more seriously. I am adding in different things and feel like I will soon have a good mix going. This is something I’m having fun playing with.
5. Read a book for at least 60 minutes every day - I fall deeper and deeper in love with reading every day. And I love finding those spare minutes every day where I can read a bit more. Having this requirement has been super fun for me.
6. Meditate for 15 minutes at least 4 days a week - I’ve entered into a eastern/western hybrid of meditating. I do some rosary. I do some meditating. It’s been good for centering me.
7. Eat breakfast at least 6 days a week - I experimented a lot with breakfast this month and found that I really like yogurt and granola. Mega win.
8. Go to bed before 10 pm 6 days a week - I was bad with this rule. I followed it to the letter. And I used it to get out of household responsibilities. That wasn’t exactly great for my relationship.
9. No alcohol - I’m happy without alcohol. Well, except for what it’s done for my social life. I say to a friend, “Hey, let’s meet up.” And they say, “Yes, let’s go to [insert trendy establishment that only serves alcohol].” ”Um, I don’t know if that’s a good idea…” ”Why?” ”I gave up alcohol.” [Insert uncomfortable silence.] I was asked why and I was never able to produce a good enough reason for anyone. In the end, I have my reasons and I’d like to keep this going through May. We’ll see if I do it, but right now, it feels like the right decision.
10. Go on at least 1 friend date a week - I failed miserably at this. I met up with two friends the first week. And then illness and a lack of drinking got in the way. This rule was good for me because I did reach out to others as a consequence of it, but yeah, I sucked.
11. Practice guitar or violin at least 3 days a week - This was awesome. I mean, it sucked big time for anyone within hearing distance of my violin, but my God, I loved it. I’m slowly getting better and I’m enjoying every second of it.
12. Write 500 words a day at least 5 days a week - This has been a good blogging month for me. This rule probably had a lot to do with it. That and the fact that I’ve started working on a vegetarian blog. I’m enjoying talking to more people through it and exploring more of what I’m thinking about right now.
13. Stay under my recommended daily calories 6 days a week - After analyzing every morsel that went into my mouth, I was surprised at how much I was allowed to eat. But I really hated this rule. I think it leads me to eating like I did when I verged on an eating disorder. That pretty much counteracts what I’m trying to do. It makes running hard and training for a half marathon impossible. I’m happy to see this rule go.
14. Track my meals 6 days a week - I have the same feelings about this rule. See ya later gator.
15. Allow 1 cup of coffee or tea a week - I felt a major sacrifice here. I fell in love with a sandwich at Starbucks and it didn’t feel right to go there without getting a coffee. I also kind of wanted coffee after doing my long run on Saturdays, but I NEED a coffee during the week. Very contradictory. Happy to see this rule gone.
16. Cook dinner 6 days a week - I was sick and a homebody. Not an issue here at all.
I lost a significant amount of weight and can honestly say that this was a successful experiment. I’ve fine tuned the rules I kept and I’ve added some rules that I felt missing. Here I come February!
Weight training session #2
I had a lot of energy today. Like a lot a lot. Because I couldn’t run, I decided that a walk was in order. It was easy and slow. It was also four miles. That was probably stupid, but it felt good and I talked myself into the fact that it was okay.
When I got home, I faced the inevitable weight training. It wasn’t as bad as the last round, but it still wasn’t fun. I’m still feeling the results of that last round (from Thursday) and it was a struggle to even contemplate doing another one, let alone actually do it.
I easily got through the first group. It was the second that stopped me. There was an exercise that required that I hold a dumbbell in each of my hands and then step onto a platform. Well, I don’t have a platform, so I used our weight bench which was only a little bit higher than a platform would be. Oh.My.God. Pretty sure I’ll be feeling that hard until I do that same exercise again on Thursday.
Other than the one, I was able to complete all of the exercises without feeling horrible. That’s a huge step up from the last time. Looking forward to this getting easier… some day… somehow…
Yup, I got in 5 whole miles yesterday and it wasn’t too bad. I ran with the quicker run/walk group and we did 5 minutes running and 1 walking. I will admit joining this group was not the smoothest of transitions…
I got to the high school that we meet up at and was told to go to the gym. Once there, we were told that it was picture day. Just what I wanted to hear. Everyone wants their picture taken at 8 am on a Saturday before they’ve even showered and in running gear that next to no one looks good in. Woot!
Once we got through that, our coach outlined what the three groups inside of our group was doing and our coach then asked who was doing the faster group. I raised my hand, along with four other people. There was a shorter girl that barked at me, “We’re doing six miles,” like that’s what I had to do if I was going to do the faster group. I replied back, “That’s great. I’m doing five.” Thankfully, two of the other people confirmed that they were also doing five and so I wasn’t out of place.
When we got there, I realized that this girl was into pissing me off. There were only five of us and we pair up for running, so someone was going to be the odd man out. That would be me and anytime that it could/should have switched around, she made sure to get in front of me. So basically, I’m really hoping someone else joins our group or else I’m fated to run the rest of the season as the odd man out.
We got to the turn around point, and she barked at the 5-milers to turn around. This was particularly strange because she wasn’t even put in the pacer role for this group. Fantastic. This is what I have to run with for the rest of the season and I’m already over it.
The last half of the run was much better than the first. The other two people that are running the same race as me were very, very nice. It turns out that I’ve trained with one of them before. I suck at remembering people, which goes hand in hand with my lack of social skills. The other did a great job of pacing us and checked in with me when we were done (Still getting over being sick, so I petered out at the end). I can definitely run with these two for the rest of the season, but I’d love to drop the other girl…
This is kind of premature and we’re still working out some kinks, but I’m writing for new blog! It’s with my friend Heather and is focusing on vegetarian eating. I’m a veg and she’s veg-friendly. I’m beyond excited about this project and am full of ideas for what I’ll be talking about.
I’m going off any kind of calorie restrictive diets as of February 1st because, um, I’m about to be running a crapload of miles. I need energy! That means restaurants again! And reintroducing some of my favorite recipes back into my diet! And I get to write about it all!!
The name of it is Vegging Out and my very first post is here. Lemme know what you think!
Tonight, I gave weight training another go. Verdict? I still hate it, but I’m going to keep it up anyways. It’s good for me and will only improve my running. Yup, that’s what I’ll keep telling myself.
I can exercise again!
Do you hear that?? That’s the sound of me woo hooing really, really loud.
Today, I woke up less grumpy and less sleepy. Did I still want to stay in bed? Hell yeah. But that was okay because today was my first mid-week group run. That means night running. So Betsy gets a little more sleepy time, which let’s face it, Betsy likey.
I packed up my gear and headed off for work. As stupid as it is, the hardest part of working out with the group after work is probably the fact that I have to change at work. I can’t help feeling like an ass. Running tights, in case you didn’t know, don’t hide a single thing. And God, do I wish my butt didn’t look like it does in them. Oh and did I mention the jacket? It’s bright yellow. You wouldn’t be able to miss me if you tried. So of course the elevator was packed full when I left today. Six normal people and the fluorescent crack addict that’s showing everything.
I get there a little early and everyone that showed up a little early made the same decision I did: My car was warm. Like hell you are getting me out of it and into the cold, cold air before I have to. When we finally did gather, I couldn’t help noticing that no one from my pace group except the coach showed up. Uh oh sgettios. The coach said what I feared. Despite the fact that I have been sick and haven’t been running, my first run would be a full out run. No run/walking like I was used to. Oh and she also announced that she was doing four miles. Um, I came here to run two. Crap.
As we went out, another girl said, “I don’t want to do four. I just have two to do.” Oh Sweet Baby Jesus, this girl was on my side. We agreed that we’d split off half way through and run back together. My coach let us know when we needed to do that and I was left running in the dark with another girl. It was pretty dark. This was about the time that it occurred to me that a headlamp would be nice. And a guy. A big, burly guy that can beat up people. But I don’t think big, burly guys run.
With all of these thoughts running through my head, I was running really fast for me. Like really, really fast. I put in my fastest two miles ever. So not only was it my first run back, but it also was my fastest run ever.
But what am I really happy about? I’m not going to lose any Health Month life points today. Yup, that’s how my mind works.