Friday, July 31, 2015

There's Life Out There

I spent some time wandering around the blog-o-sphere the past few days and I'm very happy to see that there is still a community of blogging runners out there!  I know it's going to take some time and a lot of effort to find some new online running friends, but I'm excited that it is a possibility.

In my searching, I did find a handful of blogs that I thought I would enjoy reading, so I've added them to my blog roll. --->

Let the community building begin!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Going In Eyes Wide Open

I spent a lot of time rereading my entire running blog start to finish after my last post.  While it did stir up a lot of emotions for me, most of them were very positive and made me really want to take on this new running endeavor that I am considering.  If I’m going to actually do this, I need to evaluate where I am compared to where I need to be, which is something that I did not do two years ago when I decided to give running another try.

So let’s start off with the good….

Hair

As crazy as it sounds, my hair is a big deal when I am running. I can’t stand having it in my face or on my neck while I run, and I hate having to use a bunch of bobby pins. So my hairstyle must be one that fits in a ponytail. The good news is that my hair already fits the bill! I cut 8 inches off of it about 2 months ago, and when I first did it the sides didn’t reach into my ponytail. However, it’s grown enough that it all stays in now.

I’m calling it destiny!

Running Shoes

Luckily, I have the running shoes I purchased two years but I quit so soon after buying them that I’ve only worn them a handful of times. So, with any luck I should be set to start running in one or both of them, depending on what my aches and pains have to say about it.

Sleep

I’m not sure exactly when it happened but somewhere in the past few years I think I grew up and became an adult. I actually have a somewhat regular bedtime, and I’m usually in bed on time. This is huge compared to the past - especially two years ago when I was consistently existing on 4-6 hours of sleep a night.

Diet

I've been working hard over the past two years to improve my diet.  So far I have managed to eliminate all artificial sweeteners, and almost all processed foods, as I rarely eat anything that comes from a bag, box, or can.  I've been caffeine free for 3 1/2 months, meaning no coffee, tea, caffeinated pop, or chocolate.  Currently, I am working toward eliminating all non-naturally occuring sugar, meaning all sugar except what is found naturally in fruit.  I haven't eaten dessert in 3 months, but I'm still occasionally consuming added sugar in other foods or the rare non-caffeinated pop.  Overall, I feel like I'm eating very healthy, which is quite the change from where I was two years ago!

Life

I really don't want to get into details but the past 5 years of my life have been extremely stressful for a lot of reasons.  Some of those stresses still exist, but the majority of them have been eliminated or are on their way out.  I can't necessarily say that I am in a good mental place in my life (if I was, I wouldn't be writing about being unhappy and looking for ways to make things better), but I do feel like I am in a stable mental place where my non-running stress won't be too much to handle and lead to me quitting again and where the stress of adding running into my schedule won't send me into a downward spiral.

And now on to the bad…

Running Clothes

Unfortunately I’ve gained too much weight to currently fit into the running shorts I bought two years ago, but they are still hanging out in my closet – feeling forlorn and rejected. However, I do have a few pair of older shorts I could make do with, even though running in them does drive me crazy. (Yes, as sad as it is to admit, I have owned them so long that I used to run in them years ago.) I desperately need some new running tank tops, but again I do have a few old ones that I can make due with for now.  I also have several newer tank tops I could use, but I prefer the ones with a built in sports bra for running and my newer ones don't have them.

Hydration

I do drink water most of the time, but that doesn't mean I drink enough of it.  It's a rare day when I consume eight 8 oz glasses of water as recommended.  However, I don't think stepping up the water intake should be too much of a challenge.

And last but not least, the ugly…

Weight

Ugh.  My weight is the one thing that is worse now than two years ago.  When I decided to give running a go last time I was coming off of a few months of weight watchers, where I had lost 10-15 lbs.  Sadly, I allowed myself to gain it all back since then.  Ideally, I probably should weight 25 lbs less than I do.  Realistically, I need to lose 10 lbs before I get too far into running.  Obviously the more weight I am carrying, the more stress on my joints.  With my various past injuries, I want to do everything I can to prevent them from acting up again.

Community

I have a lot of work to do to re-establish a running community if I am going to jump back in, as I currently don't know any runners.  I know how important a community is to me to keep me motivated and supported.  If I'm going to start again, I have to find some new running peeps!  One of my favorite parts of running in the past was the awesome community of runners I had found.  Most of them where online running bloggers who were members of the RBF (running blog family).  It was amazing to share my running life with them and vise versa, and the advise and encouragement was invaluable.  I also had made friends with a few local runners through my participation with Team in Training, and it was great having someone to run with every week once I had found my training partner.

Running

My main focus has to be remaining injury (and chronic pain) free.  I have to face the reality that I am now almost 10 years older than I was when I started my long distance running endeavor, and I ultimately quit because my body just wasn't willing to keep going.  I also have to be realistic about my goals this time around.  I would be lying if I didn't say that I'm dying to search out a spring marathon and sign up, but I realize that I'm going to have to let my body dictate where my running journey goes.  If I can't do the distances any more, then maybe I'm going to have to focus on improving my speed and running 5K's.  I really want to get back to running, so I'm willing to accept whatever that now means for me.

In the two years since I gave running a try, I have spent some time in the gym and hiking.  I have also been taking my two dogs for a walk most evenings for the past 6-8 weeks.  But in all reality I haven't gotten much exercise nor have I done much running - a little here and there at the gym, but the last time was probably 9 months ago or more.

Of course, the only way to judge where I am with my running is to actually get out there and run.  So keeping my new reality in mind, I went out for a little trial run last night.  I really just wanted to see how I felt and gauge where I am.  I'm happy to say I am right where I expected.  I ran a mile and a half through my neighborhood, but the last half mile consisted of a few more drink/walk breaks than the first mile did.  While I was running my left ankle had a twinge or two for a few seconds that had me worried but it went away instantly.  I'm just hyper-sensitive now to every little thing, and I doubt it is something I would have even noticed pre-injury.  Once I was done running, nothing hurt and I felt great.  Today I wouldn't say I am sore per se, but I can just tell I did a little more activity than I usually do.  My pace was right in line with where it used to be, which was exactly as I expected.

Splits:
Mile 1 11:35/mi
Mile .5 12:39/mi

Temp: 99°F
(I've always known that I struggle more in hotter temperature, but moving to Arizona really enforced it!  So, I've decided to try to record the temperature at the time of my run along with my splits.)


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Considering Another Go

Two years?!  It has been almost two years since I last posted?  How is that even possible?

When I was younger I remember people saying that the older you get the faster time goes, and I'm realizing that statement couldn't be more true.  I never intended to stop blogging, or to stop running for that matter, it just sort of happened somewhere along the way.

Honestly, I don't really even know why I am posting.  Other than a few infrequent, and very brief, sprints with one of my fur babies on her nightly walks, I haven't done any running since I decided not to recommit to Team in Training two years ago.

I think the need to write this is a combination of the fact that I've spent the past four years filled with an overwhelming sense of loss for my past life, and this post, written by someone from that past life, making me realize just how far off track I am from the path I intended for my journey through this life.  And maybe, just maybe, I'm wondering if returning to running (and blogging) are the keys to start heading in a new (or perhaps old) direction.

A quote from the post that really struck a chord with me with this,

"Find that one thing that you know you absolutely need in your life. That one thing that could possibly open up the flood gates in discovering or rediscovering your truest self. Practice it. No exceptions. This is your time."

Since being forced to give up running, I've come to realize that working towards a difficult goal is the one thing that I absolutely need in my life. Running was the perfect fit for that need, because I spent years thinking that I would never be a runner.  When I finally decided to challenge that preconceived notion I became someone else entirely.  Someone I really liked.  Someone who was happy.

And now, I am not happy.

I've slowly been waking up to the fact that somewhere in the past five years, I stopped living.  I'm merely existing - putting one foot in front of the other, day in and day out, but finding no joy in anything I am doing.  I still feel exactly the same way as I did two years ago when I wrote this post. Only now it has been eight years instead of six, and I. am. so. over. it.

Looking back, I've realized that I set myself up for failure when I tried to resume running in 2013.  I was so desperate to regain the happiness I have lost that I went running back (pun intended) to the one thing that I thought could bring back that happiness.  Not so coincidentally, it just so happened to be the one thing that I had control over during a time when I was feeling very powerless to change the things in my life that needed to change. Ultimately, my life was so full of stress and disappointment that I was unable to get past it to commit to giving running a real go again, and I quit before I even got started.  I never even decide to quit, it just happened - which speaks volumes about my lack of commitment at the time.

I've spent the past month thinking about where I am, where I want to be, and how to bridge the gap between the two.  I'm obviously considering giving running another shot, or I wouldn't be back here writing this post.  I don't know if I'm ready, but then how can I not be?  Time waits for no one, and I really don't want to be back here two years from now writing another post about how there's still a big gaping hole in my life where my happiness used to be.