Monthly Archives: May 2015

Goals versus Expectations

I lost my way. Somewhere in the wasteland of being trapped in an unrecognizable body, I turned on myself. I forgot the difference between goals and expectations.

I expected to be back to pre-baby body by now. I expected to be back to pre-baby running by now. I consoled myself through the physical disorientation and aesthetic destruction of childbirth by clinging to these future ideas. I told myself it would be ok because I would be back to myself at some future point.

While these would have made perfectly healthy goals, as expectations, they poisoned my mind. Expectations require I suffer if they do not happen as anticipated. Goals can be fluid and constructive, are just a direction on a path. Expectations are pass or fail, with a hard deadline. Goals can not be met, can be a process, continually worked on.

When I perverted my goals into expectations, I lost the reason I run. I lost my running self. Instead, I turned on myself as my harshest critic, unable to be sated or satisfied. I began to torture myself, and that sucked all the joy out of running (and much of just my normal life).

Like the Run to the Shrine.

And I know better. Expectations are the root of emotional suffering.

I have not run by myself for a while. Yet, last night, I hit the pavement solo, with only my playlist in my ears. I took 6.5 miles to sort through my inner turmoil about running and weight loss lately and to therapize myself. I know I require this mental time, yet on a schedule so tight, I scarcely have time to sleep these days. While I was busy catering to beating up the physical part of myself, whipping it back into “shape,” I completely neglected the far higher priority mental/emotional part. Instead, I pitted them against each other.

I have been so fixated on getting back to where I was before my son. Part is this is physical insecurity at what pregnancy and childbirth did/does to my body and at how alienating it feels to change so drastically so fast. Part of it is the amount of time, sweat, and suffering I poured into running and fitness in the first place, mourning how all of that seemed lost and undone in just a couple short months.

Every week, I don’t weigh or run what I should expect. I start overanalyzing my food; I start restricting deciding not to eat (even as I continue to breastfeed). I start doing extra workouts, maybe more than one a day. I internally celebrate how much I can abstain from food or over work myself. I obsessively plan how I can do more. Welcome back, eating disorder.

I have been holding running and the scale up as the measure of when I am “back there.” But I am never going to be back there; I cannot go back there. That person, that body, that time is all in the past, behind me now. Just like me at age 30, just like me with only one child. I cannot (and do not want to) mentally revert back to that image of myself, so why would I be so fixated and obsessed on becoming the physical her again?

It is an impossibility.

Who I am now is new. How I change who I am now has to be new too. My goal has to be yet another new version of myself. Someone who completed two pregnancies, who gave birth twice, who is raising two children. Someone who is another two years older, across that metabolism crushing threshold of 30. Someone who has a more demanding day job and an increasingly demanding side job as a published author. This new me has to be able to exist in the new state of my life. I cannot strive to live up to how and who I was under circumstances that have changed and evolved so drastically.

Somewhere in my running float, I recaptured my zen. I made my peace again.

The revelations are simple; they are epiphanies I have made before at multiple points in my life. Truths I somehow lost in the tumult in my head. I was so easily undone by dissatisfaction in my appearance and physical performance. I let those negative assessments cast a huge and consuming shadow over all the amazing things I was and am doing, everything that is positive in my life.

As if how much I weigh or how far I run are actually the things that matter.

I need to stop and appreciate the progress I have made. Six months ago, I could not run 3 miles straight or break 15 minute miles. Now I have broken 8 miles straight and am back in 11 minute miles. I have lost 25 pounds. If I am going to fixate on numbers, perhaps I should actually look at them.

So I am letting go (or am going to try to). I am going to eat healthy and do exercise that I enjoy or that is good for my body. I am going to take rest days and do restorative activities. I am going to work hard and have goals and strive. But that is it. I am going to abandon the expectations and the disappointment they demand. I am going to stop struggling to get back to where I was and, instead, start working to move forward to somewhere new.

Advertisements

Run to the Shrine

Failure.

Failure to run an 11 mile on Tuesday.

Failure to run the duration of the Run to the Shrine.

Failure to lose the baby weight.

I have been working myself to death for nothing. I have been starving myself and eating clean bullshit for nothing. I have been sacrificing my personal time and time with my family for nothing.

Fuck this.

I won’t be able to run Cripple Creek if I couldn’t even manage these two miles.

At least my new shoes didn’t destroy my feet again.

***

20150516_074207

The Run to the Shrine did not go well for me this year. Last year, I was pregnant, walking, and pushing my daughter in a stroller half the time. This year, I just failed to run the duration, which is always my only goal. My base requirement for my running.

I had no great ambitions for a stellar time or for it to be easy; however, my only goal was to run/jog/wog the whole way up. I did not even make it the first mile. Maybe 3/4 of a mile up the brutal mountain hill between the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the Shrine of the Sun.

Heartbroken, disappointed, frustrated, livid, we walked the second mile to the turn around; then I unleashed my pace downhill. I was relieved to find all my downhill training seemed to show in my form down the steep grade. That consoled me a little but not much.

 With some finishing perspective, I can force myself to more objectively evaluate my performance and appreciate the race. It was a beautiful race, both the weather and the scenery. I went with a group of great (and supportive) friends. And afterwards, we enjoyed the zoo.

20150516_080013

It was a shitty race but a good day.

I believe my failure was amplified by my earlier failure in the week. On the previous Tuesday, we had attempted a downhill 11 mile route in preparation for our upcoming downhill half in July. I only made it to mile 9. Yes, it was because my shoes were all wrong and my feet hurt so bad I could barely walk. I had to be picked up by car. Yet, reasons and excuses don’t alleviate the failure for me.

So the failed hill 5K compounded the failed 11 mile attempt, which was already compounding the perpetual failure of losing the baby weight and returning to my previous shape.

I know this is a journey… bla bla bla. I know there will be failures and reattempts… bla bla bla. I was just unprepared for two (totaling to three) failures in so few days and to not be able to simply wog a 5K, no matter how steep.


April Stats

I don’t really want to talk about how April went. I am so over this post partum recovery process I could puke. If I didn’t have puking PTSD from my last pregnancy. April was the first month I not only plateaued but moved in the wrong direction.

I don’t even really know what to say I’m so sick of thinking about it.

I went to my doctor. She confirmed that, even 6 months later, my thyroid levels are still low after having my son. She upped my dosage a little. So far, that is not resolving the issue at all. She did tell me that most likely my body will retain the last 10-15 pounds I have to lose until after I stop breastfeeding. No matter how I work.

I also completed the 90 Day challenge at the gym. After three months, I lost all of 1 pound and 3% body fat. So all that work for pretty much absolutely nothing. Each weigh in was just frustrating and embarrassing.

So since I can’t really do anything, I will continue to eat clean and healthy; I will continue to workout manically. I will return to 10 miles and hopefully my normal pace. I will just have to wait to find my body again. If it ever does return.

After puking for almost 10 months, three failed epidurals, pitocin-fueled back labor, carpal tunnel, sciatica, a displaced rib, I just want my body to feel like myself again. I want to live in my temple rather than this vandalized version. I don’t need to be skinny; I just need to feel like me again. After pregnancy and nursing and belonging to the children. I just want this for me.

All in good time. I try to remember to savor these phases as this is my last (intentional) baby.

Conversely to my anti-progress in weight loss, running inches closer and closer to prepregnancy. I finished a 5 mile in near normal time, same for my 5Ks. I just need a little bump in pace and to jump back to 10 miles, and I am there. Maybe if I do it baby weighted, I will be even better when I am myself again.

april

Total miles: 59
Total miles run outside: 59
Longest distance: 8 miles
Best times: 5K in 35:19, 5 miles in 58:44, 8 miles in 1:45

Total weight loss: 25 pounds
Weight gain in March: 1 pounds

Total inch loss: 5″- 5″- 4″
Inch gain in March: 0″- 1″- 0″