I feel like my training is finally getting back on track and my fitness is returning to where I was in April before my last marathon and subsequent hip boo-boo. Damn, if all the strength exercises aren’t a lot of work. I feel like a true gym rat now. But seriously, it’s been worth it even if this recovery has lingered longer than I wanted (meaning I didn’t want to be hurt to begin with). I’m lucky I was able to safely run during my injury, although I had to scale back my expectations — with mixed results. I’d say I was disappointed more often than not.
Yesterday I had a 90 minute progression run with 3 segments: easy, moderate and hard. I managed to run my last segment at an average pace around my 5k speed, bringing it down to my 1mile speed for the last quarter mile. And I felt good, which given I ran a total of 11 miles was an achievement in my book.
Before I ran yesterday, I was struck with some sort of anxiety attack. It’s good that I’m able to recognize it, the impending doom and sense of futility. But, hell if I ever get used to them. I’m not sure if anything triggered it as it happened in the morning before I’d actually dealt with any part of my day. The night before, my husband and I had a fun evening out with a friend for dinner and a movie (Guardians of the Galaxy — so great and I’m a fan). I couldn’t pinpoint anything stressful In particular, so I decided it might just be some mis-wired chemistry in my head and worked on yoga breathing to calm down my stressed-out system. It helped at least distract me from the maelstrom of feelings.
I figured I’d feel better after running, and I was right. I was even able to have a relaxing workout, even with the hard sections of the run. Last night, I had a nice time at a gathering with my husband’s family. Anxiety attack averted.
I’m happy I’ve found better ways to deal with my anxiety than drinking it away, but as someone in recovery, I need to keep an eye out for other addictive behaviors. Exercise can be dangerous when overdone or used for avoidance. I hate sitting in uncomfortable feelings and I learned over time to overwhelm them with food (binging or restricting), drink, cutting, all sorts of stupid things. They are short term fixes for bigger internal problems.
I found this interesting article http://whole9life.com/2012/10/lies-we-tell-ourselves/ on ways we disguise bad behaviors as “healthy” or “hardcore”. I’ve read a lot of running and “healthy living” blogs that I feel fall into this deceptive category. Not by evil design, but because so many of us have distorted self-views, including probably many of these bloggers. Many of them post as pseudo-life coaches, as examples of how to live healthy. I often wonder if they blog to get supportive comments that justify their unhealthy behavior. I find this terrifying and guilt-inducing when I read these kinds of blogs. Not good for someone prone to self-abuse.
I know one of the negative tapes in my head tells me that I’m not trying hard enough, that I am a wimp, chubby, a quitter, not good enough, and there’s two ways I’ve dealt with those accusations: I give up and shush the voice with bad activities or I push myself to an extreme (and also shush the voice with bad activities). And I don’t even find this latter behavior as particularly badass; I think I’m doing the minimum and that I can still work harder to meet some unknown ideal when I don’t even know why. The “why” is probably to escape being me.
One reason I feel having a personal trainer and a running coach are important for me, a middle of the pack runner, is that they keep me from wrecking myself and encourage more positive action. I am good at listening to their advice and sticking to their prescribed workouts. I feel accountable to them and use it as a way to teach myself healthier behaviors. I think of it as my duty to report to them honestly, which includes when I am hurt, because they can’t do their job as well if I am not telling them what’s happening with me. I know that sounds like a runaround way of thinking of things, but right now it’s the best way to get to taking care of myself. Maybe one of these days I’ll get around to feeling like I do it to be good to me and not because I don’t want to mess up their jobs. (This is an example of how my childhood messed me up a little, that my first concern is for not disturbing someone else )
I’m aware how fortunate I am to be able to have a trainer and coach (as well as a fabulous chiropractor). I’m also glad that when I had a personal trainer for about a month last winter who fell into the “pain is temporary” category and who pushed me in a dangerous way, I had the wherewithal to let her go. Not until after I got injured working with her, mind you, but I’m trying to give myself a little credit here. I have made a lot of good choices in my life, including my husband who supports me even (or especially?) when I’m being crazy. Don’t ask if I think I deserve the good things in my life, however.
I struggle a lot with my own demons, and I’ve spent years trying to unscramble my head. I like to think I’m better at it, but I still have room for improvement. The first step is admitting I have problems, and oh yes I do. I get frustrated that they haven’t dissipated, that my first instinct still isn’t the right one. But the upside is that my feelings don’t seem to be getting worse and I spend less time trying to change the things I have no control over.
I do have to wonder what my anxiety yesterday was about. I probably have some kernel of fear festering under the surface, but it doesn’t want to come out and show itself. Until it does, I have to keep an eye on how I deal with the itchy feeling of it under my skin and make the next right choice for a healthier me.