The Guilt Cycle

Today, I did nothing. Well, not nothing. I went to work, and then after that, I just sort of fizzled. Oh, I can come up with excuses–I did my training run on the treadmill yesterday followed by nine hours on my feet at work, getting home with just enough time to grab something to eat, unwind a little, and then go to bed before having to get up early for work. This, plus a broken night’s sleep, left me feeling pretty drained. But the sun was shining, the temperature was actually above freezing, I could have handled taking the dog for a long walk, or even doing some upper body exercises. Instead, I opted for none of that, and with doing nothing has come a lot of guilt.

First, there’s the guilt for not being a better dog mom. Let me tell you about my awesome dog. Tony is a rescue–some asshole abandoned him and I was lucky enough to adopt him from the Humane Society. He’s affectionate, playful, only barks as a warning (he’s not one of those yippy dogs), smart when he wants to be, pretty well behaved–someone put a lot of work into training him (all the more reason they’re an asshole for dumping him in the streets), thinks he’s a sixty pound lap puppy when it’s actually more like your lap and both armrests of the recliner, is currently hogging half the bed but is also keeping my feet warm. Really, I have no idea how I was the one fortunate enough to adopt him.

He also came with heartworms.

If you’ve never had a dog with heartworms, then you’re doing it right–keep it up. I learned on his first vet appointment that these horrible, long, nasty things were entwined around his heart and in his bloodstream, which meant my poor dog was on doggy bedrest for the next eight months while we attempted to kill the parasites. We started with the basic heartworm medicine I give him on a monthly basis. This was used to kill the young worms in his bloodstream and to start weakening the walls of the larger worms in his heart. After six months of meds, he got a series of shots designed to kill the large worms, which would take a couple of months to do the trick. Throughout this whole time, his physical activity had to be limited to regular, brief walks. Anything that caused his heartbeat to pick up could dislodge the bits of dying worms before they’d properly dissolved and clog up an artery, causing his heart to stop. So running was definitely out of the question. Even a lunge after a rabbit had me worrying he was going to hurt himself. Fortunately, Tony made it through with flying colors and he is in perfect health, as happy as a pup could be.

So, yeah, I feel like shit every time I skip an opportunity to take him outside and let him stretch his legs and play.

Along with dog mom guilt comes personal accountability guilt, the feeling that I am letting myself down, that I am throwing all my hard work away, that even missing one day is a failure. I know (hope) I’ll get some sleep tonight, that tomorrow’s weather is going to be gorgeous (compared to earlier this week), so Tony and I will have a good time working on my three mile run, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking what a waste of a day. I can be damn good about beating myself up over every little thing, but this doesn’t feel like a little thing. Yes, I’ve got eleven and a half months to nail this, but at the same time, I know those months can go flying by if I let them. I can’t let myself get caught up in thinking I have plenty of time, because I don’t. I have a lot of work to do, a lot I want to achieve, and I’m just hoping a year is enough time to get it all done. I can’t let myself fall behind. I know I need to stay on top of each day to make being healthy a habit.

There’s some unhealthy thinking wrapped up in there along with the potential for a positive outlook. I know this. Just like I know that some days I’m not going to want to feel like doing anything, and it’s okay, but if I give in without even trying, that’s where I’m going wrong. Like today. Part of me wanted to try. Lazy me won out.

Whatever. Score one for you, lazy me. Healthy me will kick your butt tomorrow.

In the beginning…

Yesterday, I began my plan to be marathon ready by July. I’m not actually going to run in one, I just want to be capable of running in one so that in July, I can start on training for Dopey. Between my confidence journal and my training journal, I’ve been able to fully establish what my goals are for the year. Marathon ready by July, Dopey training beginning in July, two half marathons at two different points to establish where I’m at in my training and what I need to focus on, and hopefully along the way, establish better nutrition and sleeping habits, as well as a cross training routine that will help build up my core, shoulder, and hip strength. Seems reasonable, doesn’t it? And I’ve got a whole year to do it. Mostly. January is almost over, after all.

The hip strength is going to be key as I go along. A couple years back, I tore my hamstring doing single leg deadlifts. There was a sharp pain, the sensation of a spring vibrating up the back of my leg, and that was that. Only, I didn’t understand what had happened at the time. It wasn’t until I sucked it up and went to see a physical therapist seven months later that I learned I had actually torn it. There was a lot of scar tissue built up, and because I’d ignored the problem for so long (big lesson learned there), my body is totally out of whack from having to compensate for my injury. I now have hip problems that I didn’t used to and my hamstring can start to ache where it attaches to my hip. I’m hoping that extra classes on my non-running days will help with this. Core, barre, yoga, strength training, anything that can strengthen my muscles to help support my legs and body.

All talk at the moment, right? Instead of going to a class today, I went and saw Aquaman and then took the dog for a walk. Admittedly, it was 3.26 miles through the snow and ice, so we’re not talking a quick walk around the block, but it wasn’t exactly the kind of activity I need to start incorporating into my routine. Okay, that’s not true. What I really should have done was skipped the movie, gone to a class AND taken the dog for a walk. My priorities aren’t exactly in line yet, but that’s something to work on. Not that I have anything against going out, relaxing, having fun, watching Jason Momoa do his thing on the big screen, but it didn’t even occur to me I should have taken a peek at the class schedule until just now. That’s the kind of thing I need to start thinking about as part of my routine. It’s hard for me to think of classes at the gym as potentially fun. They’re a chore, work, something to find ways to get out of. If I give them a chance, maybe I will actually enjoy them and start seeing them as something to look forward to.

Same with running.

The first thing I usually hear when someone mentions running is, “I hate running”. And for some people, that may actually be true. Personally, I don’t hate running. I hate the effort that I have to put into running. I know it will get easier the more I run, it’s just getting out there and doing it. That always seems to be the hardest thing.

I obviously don’t have a point tonight. I missed out writing last night because I was too busy obsessing over the storm and whether or not we should close today and if it would be safe for everyone to go into work. Today, I just can’t seem to focus. Too many things to worry about. Too many thoughts in my head. Beginning to sound too much like a self-help book. Funny thing is, most of this is just stuff I’m figuring out as I go along. Writing it down does help to make me think a little deeper about my motivations, my issues, my goals, and hopefully I’ll be able to find ways to untangle them and set them on a better path.

But most likely, I might read this over next week or next month and think, oh crap, I forgot I was going to do that. That’s usually the way it goes.

Slippery Slope

The weekend storm, and the lack of city initiative, has left the side streets around town a crisscross of random ice rinks. There’s a patch in front of my house that is utterly terrifying. I live at the bottom of a hill, so I’m just waiting for the day someone slides right into the house. Walking the dog takes twice as long as I try to carefully step across the ice to reach a dry spot where, for the next two feet or so, I can once again walk with confidence and not have to worry about falling on my ass. Tony, on the other hand, I will lose track of only to turn around to see him rolling on the ice, or in the snow, or attempting to pry up a piece to chew on. It amazes me how he can slide down the sidewalk and it doesn’t even faze him. He just carries on as if nothing happened, while I’m just trying to make sure I don’t break anything.

There’s another couple rounds of winter arriving throughout the week, so that means I’m going to be limiting my extracurricular activities to things I can do indoors. Like giving myself an ulcer worrying about the drive to and from work. I will also be seeking out classes to take at the gym. I belong to two gyms–that’s right, two. One is the usual fitness gym, one is a crossfit box. (Is that right? I’ve been a member half a year and haven’t been enough to understand the terminology.) Like many sad people with gym memberships they don’t use, I hold onto mine with the belief that one day, I will return and take advantage of what I’ve lost so much money on already.

This week’s potential motivation is brought on by the beginning of a weight loss challenge being held by the regular gym. Having attended the opening class tonight, I now realize that it is actually a six week long advertisement for the group classes and personal training the gym has to offer. I feel a little duped, like I was promised a vacation and ended up with a presentation on owning a timeshare. Whatever. I guess it worked. I’m now actually going to seek out some of the classes and give them a shot. There were about sixty people who showed up tonight for the gym timeshare lecture. Maybe seeing some of my fellow competitors in the classes will make them seem a little less intimidating.

The sucky thing is, I can’t actually complete the challenge–I’ll be on vacation for the final week, so I automatically fail. I knew this going in, but it still kind of sucks all the same.

While waiting in line for our first day measurements, one of women standing next to me started a conversation, asked what makes me happy. First of all, who asks that of a perfect stranger? Isn’t that kind of personal? Second, fuck if I know. That definitely requires some thought on my part, more than I want to spend while waiting in line. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t offended or anything, just a little taken aback. Such an odd question, but maybe that’s just the kind of person she is. She seemed entertaining, and definitely entertained. Maybe she just likes seeing the reaction she can get.

So, how about it? What makes you happy? Can you answer in thirty seconds or less without having to think about it first? Or do we all need to take a moment, define what happiness means to us, and then decide whether or not we have achieved happiness?

Give me a month. Maybe I’ll have an answer.