Missed Opportunities

Here’s my attempt to sound less negative. Instead of saying last week was a week of many failures, I’m going to say that last week was a week of missed opportunities. Which is utter bullshit. I totally failed. I missed a run. I didn’t go to any classes. I didn’t keep up with any of my journals or start on a daily planner to help organize my time better or give a damn about nutrition. I just dropped the ball on everything I had hoped to achieve. I failed.

However, by the time Sunday rolled around, I managed to at least get in my long run and made the best time I’ve had since starting running again. Many failures, but one great achievement.

And today, I’m back at it. I put off my run until it was almost too late, froze my ears off because even though it was sunny and forty (supposedly), the wind chill was around 30 and I forgot my ear-covering headband, had to walk most of it because soooooo many obstacles (mud, ice, other dogs), but I did make myself go to yoga tonight because my hamstrings are so tight, you can use my legs as foam rollers. Getting my legs back in line is something I really need to start working on. Having to take painkillers every night just to sleep because my hips are killing me is really not an ideal long term solution.

It’s really frustrating. On the one hand, I’m glad that I went out, even if it wasn’t the best run in the world. I’m glad I went to class. I actually did most of the things I hoped to do today. On the other hand, my procrastination methods are beyond reproach and I’m mad at myself for letting so much time slip by, time I really should have spent being more productive. That’s one reason I put a time limit on the social media apps on my phone. Did you know you can do that (if you have an iPhone; I don’t know about the rest)? I’m now allowing myself one hour every day for social media. That may seem like a lot, but my sister and I primarily communicate through Messenger, so I have to leave some room there. It’s mostly because I spend far too much time scrolling–I don’t absorb anything, I just scroll. I can scroll through an entire article and an hour later, I won’t even be able to say if I’ve ever heard of the topic, much less read an article about it. It’s ridiculous. It’s what I’ve started doing to pass the time, and I know I can do better things with my life. Not to mention, the eyestrain is really getting to me. I already have glasses. Thanks to work, I’ll never be able to get laser eye surgery (no fine particles allowed, and I work with flour). I need to protect my eyes as much as possible. There’s a lot of excellent reasons to stop. I’m just hoping I can stick with it.

One useful thing I learned today–tomato products are a huge no if I’m going to run. First, the heartburn. Ugh. Heartburn. Getting old sucks. I never used to get heartburn, and now I keep a bottle of Tums by my bed. Second, there’s nothing fun about running with the constant taste of tomato soup in the back of your throat. Some things I don’t mind joining me on a run–that is definitely not one of them. Life lessons, people. I can only hope now that I’ve written it down, I’ll actually remember it.

Adult Snow Day

As adults, we don’t get a lot of snow days. We’re obligated to go into work no matter what the weather, and usually, we’re not alone. When we head off to work after a winter storm, a plow has been by to clear the way, a truck has come through to salt the streets, or a path has been made through the snow by commuters who have come before us, making the morning drive slightly less dangerous.

This is not the case when you own a bakery. When you have to get up at 2:30 in the morning, either the winter weather has not yet quit, or it’s too early for plows, salt, or commuters, so you’re the one paving the way through the tricky streets. No one wants to be the only person driving on a slippery street in the middle of the night. True, you’ll be less likely to hit another car, but if you wreck yours, there’s not a lot of people out there to help you. Plus, you’ll have wrecked your car. Most of us can’t afford to lose our only source of transportation, and we sure as hell can’t afford to replace it.

An ‘ice storm’ came through last night. Or at least, that’s what all the forecasters wouldn’t shut up about. All I’ve seen around here was a dusting of snow, but man, would they have you believe to watch out for downed tree limbs, power outages, and ice build up on the streets making them impossible to drive on without sliding off the road. I should know better by now, but not wanting to risk my employees or myself on the roads in the morning, I called it and told everyone we’d be closed. I was then up half the night, peering through the windows, trying to see if the weather justified my decision, costing my employees a day’s worth of pay, and the bakery a day’s worth of profit.

That was a day lost. Bitterly cold, but sunny, and the roads were cleared in no time. I don’t know, maybe having to drive through it at three in the morning would have been pushing the boundaries of safety, or maybe everyone would have been fine. It’s too late to take it back now.

So, we got an adult snow day.

I spent mine doing chores, making kick-ass breakfast burritos, trying to shower attention on my dog, who seems to be pulling away lately, and basically practicing poor time management. This is a problem. Whenever I have a day off, I somehow manage to lose half of my day, and then my list of things I need to accomplish goes unfinished. I’m starting to think I need to set myself up with a daily schedule so that nothing is left undone. I’m better with lists and I like checking things off when I’ve completed them. I don’t know if it’s age, or that I let myself become easily distracted, or a combination of both, but I really believe a daily planner is the way to go. I’ve missed classes I truly intended to go to this week because I just ran out of time. I had to squeeze in a treadmill run before work yesterday, leaving only twenty-five minutes to shower and eat breakfast before I had to leave. I really need to get my life better organized and take training seriously because it’s only week three and I’m already behind.

As for Tony, I think the fact that every other walk has become the shortest walk ever is really starting to effect him. I know he can handle ten below freezing–he’ll be over in the lawn, rolling in the snow while my fingers are going numb–but I can only handle the cold for so long. When it’s daylight, I do my best to try and last outside as long as I can, but when it’s dark, it’s just so much colder. He seems unhappy, but maybe it’s simply a manifestation of my guilt that I don’t spend enough time with him. Like with everything else in my life, I tell myself, I will try harder tomorrow.

Curled Toes

I missed my run yesterday due to having to get up early, a long day of work, lack of sleep, grumpiness, whatever extraneous excuses I could think up not to go. Made myself go today. One of the benefits of being off by a day was that the polar vortex had time to recede and warm weather has briefly fought it’s way in, so it was just a beautiful day for a run. Unfortunately, that also meant a lot of melting snow and ice, so poor Tony got to go straight into the bathtub when we got home. He is not a fan. I don’t care. He was a muddy mess, and now, hours later, he’s still a slightly-damp fluffball (he’s not a fluffy dog by nature, he just has a lot of fur).

Due to irregular work hours, I’m also missing tomorrow’s run, so I’ll have to make it up on Sunday. Other than a class or two at the gym, I didn’t have anything planned anyway. (Yeah, my team didn’t make the big game, and I really don’t give a damn about either the Cheating Bastards or that team that used to be in St. Louis, so I won’t be watching.) It’s not a problem right now–I usually have to work every other Saturday, and once it gets light out again, it’ll be easier to go running in the morning, but I’m a little worried about training for Dopey when I’ll have runs scheduled Thursday through Sunday. I know it’s months away, but these runs occur during the two busiest seasons at the bakery, and I’m going to miss some key runs. It’s something that makes me reluctant to sign up, because if I can’t complete the training, will I be in a good enough position to complete the challenge? Again, months away, no need to stress about it now. Right.

After not running for so long, am I the only person who feels like their feet don’t know how to work anymore? I find my toes curling in odd ways, like they don’t understand they’re supposed to lie flat. My toes right now are a little sore because they keep trying to scrunch up. It might be the shoes. I had shoes that I loved, that I bought again and again, and then the company ‘improved’ them to the point that I’ve had to find new shoes. I hate that. Why fix a shoe that’s already perfect? I don’t know how often I’ve scoured reviews that start, “I used to wear….” but they can’t anymore because the new version sucks. Just leave our shoes alone. If I wanted something different, I’d find a different shoe.

And to all the chocoholics out there, go out and try the new Lava Cake Hershey’s Kiss. It is a rich, delicious bite of chocolate that tastes just like lava cake. I’ve started keeping my emergency chocolate up the stairs at the other end of the house so that I really have to want it in order to go up the stairs to get it, and thank goodness, or the bag would be gone. Highly recommend.

Yesterday when it was tomorrow was too a day for me.

So this whole winter thing is a bitch. I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who go out running in negative temperatures (and perhaps maybe a small question regarding their mental stability). Once the air hits the twenties, I’m out. For one, I just don’t have the gear for it. Also, that’s bloody cold, and I prefer feeling my extremities for the rest of the day (and my life). With wind chills well below zero, I have a feeling most of this week’s training runs are going to happen on the treadmill. Only one of last week’s was on the treadmill, and not only was it the most difficult, but it was also the slowest. I’m not quite sure how that worked out. My speed was regulated. I was forced to maintain a steady pace throughout. And yet, I was more tired after that run than either of the other two, both of which took place outside and lasted longer distances. I honestly don’t mind too much running on the treadmill–I cover the screen, put something on the television, and I’m good to go. I’ve trained for a half marathon almost entirely on the treadmill before (both our summers and winters are brutal here–can’t win). I’m just not sure why all of a sudden, it’s harder. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

I’ve forced myself to sit down and write tonight. I kept meaning to, but I’m not very good at this time management thing, and it became more important to try and go to sleep than spend half an hour writing in my blog. I’m a night owl, which doesn’t help. I really start picking up steam when it’s time to go to bed, and so I find a myriad of ways to procrastinate before yelling at myself to turn off the lights and go to bed. This is a huge problem. I don’t get enough sleep, which makes me tired throughout the day, so that by the time I get off work, I really don’t feel like doing anything. There’s another group of people I admire–those who go to the gym after work. I suppose if I did go, I’d feel more energetic since I’d get my blood pumping and my adrenaline flowing, and then I might be tired enough at night to prioritize my evening schedule so I can get some regular sleep. It’s all just a matter of actually finding the gumption to put my foot out the door.

This is obviously going to be a regularly occurring theme for me, knowing I need to move, but not actually finding the energy to do so. Incorporating cross-training into my routine is actually this week’s goal in my training journal. I do feel glad I’m able to maintain my marathon training–sure, it’s only been a week, but I haven’t missed a run yet. I’ve still got six days to add in some classes (journal starts on Monday), so there’s still hope. I just have to not let myself be distracted by other things and get my foot out the door.

The title of this segment, in case you were wondering, is quoting Winnie the Pooh from the movie Christopher Robin, which is why it sounds a bit discombobulated. If you’re in need a bit of heart-wrenching nostalgia, this is the movie for you. And while Pooh may believe that doing nothing can lead to the best kind of something, well, he’s not trying to run a marathon. Silly old bear.

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.

Sunday tasks

Took Tony out for a three plus mile walk in the snow and ice. It actually sounds worse than it was–the sun was shining, so I actually got pretty toasty, and my dog loves the snow, so it was good for the both of us. Meanwhile, the friend I’m doomed to do the Dopey Challenge with completed the Houston marathon this morning (I was kind of hoping this would dissuade her from the idea–no such luck). I followed along a bit on the live tracking they had–she finished in under six hours, which I think is amazing. I honestly can’t imagine running for six hours straight. What do you do? How do you keep yourself from going crazy? She told me she does math (which, ugh, would just make me even more insane) or counts cars, if she’s going through a neighborhood. I’m hoping I can find a method that works for me. I know if I start thinking too much about my life, it throws off my focus and I just can’t get it back. When I was younger, I used to be an aspiring writer (weren’t we all?), and I still occasionally make up stories in my head for those moments when I really don’t need to be thinking about anything–when I’m driving, in the morning when I’m getting ready for work, when I’m trying to fall asleep. Maybe that’ll do the trick. I’ll just have to come up with a really good storyline. Unless that requires too much concentration. The main issue I’ll have is finding a way to keep crazy bitch mode under control. This is one of the reasons why I’m trying to develop a confidence journal.

Crazy bitch mode is what I call miles eight through eleven during a half marathon. Some people call it hitting the wall. My way seems a little more descriptive. During crazy bitch mode, I’m mentally ranting about how tired I am, how hungry I am, how mad I am at how I’m doing, how I hope they just take me off the course completely, how much I hate running, how stupid I was to sign up for this…you get the idea. Every negative thought comes out during that time, and it takes up about a third of a half marathon. Imagine doing that through a third of a full marathon. There’s no way I would finish.

One of the running groups I’m in recommended Strong: A runner’s guide to boosting confidence and becoming the best version of you by Kara Goucher. It’s basically talking about how to develop confidence in yourself using a method that she uses, keeping a confidence journal. Trying to get through this book is already starting out rough. One of the first exercises is to list three things you like about yourself, and I’m drawing a blank. In fact, I’m procrastinating right now by writing here. Surely, I have more self-esteem than this. But that’s a tough question to answer for most people, isn’t it? Or are there people out there who can instantly start listing off things they like about themselves? The idea that those people exist kind of blows me away. Do I want to be one of those people? Is it possible? I suppose there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a little more self-assured, in knowing that I can believe in what I do. I’m sure there will be always be fears, but having a method of overcoming those fears is something I think everyone would want. A confidence journal might be my method, it might not. Still, it’s worth a try.

Back to trying to find three things I like about myself. Can’t give up now–I’ve just barely begun. That’s a thing, right?