Day 6

Well, so far my week has been pretty good. Exercising most days, diet has been pretty solid. I even got in 3.4 miles of running today…before “it” happened. What is “it”? A panic attack. I haven’t had one in a long time, and I don’t know why it happened today. I wish I could “just not worry” as one not-so-helpful person once told me, but that’s not the way it works.

So I decided to journal about it in another app I have set up just for me and my personal development, but wanted to post it here too. I know it probably won’t be read, but I just want to put it out there. For those who know what it’s like. For those who don’t. And for those who maybe just need to know they’re not alone in dealing with these episodes.

What it’s like to have a panic attack

Why can’t I calm my mind? Why do I worry? About everything. Money. People. Work. The house. The neighbors. The list is endless. I can barely function. My stomach hurts. My body aches. I want to cry. I can’t stay in my house…but I can’t leave it either. I’m paralyzed.

What’s it like to not worry? It’s something I can’t grasp. I can’t explain to people the feeling of dread that smothers me. That something bad is going to happen. I don’t know what. I can’t describe it. It’s just “something”…and it’s coming. Things are on the verge of collapse and all I can do is scramble to hold things together with the thought of inevitable doom hanging just over my head.

The weight is unbearable. Trying to do it all by myself. Having someone who tries their best to comfort me…but it doesn’t work… it’s brutal. It’s a burden I can’t share as much as I kind of wish I could. Yet on the other hand I wouldn’t wish this feeling of helplessness on my worst enemies. It’s like seeing a train barreling at you while you sit on the tracks and you can’t move. You don’t even know how to yell for help. So you sit there. And stare. And hold on to the faintest hope that that train will stop.

You pray that maybe, just maybe, you might be able to find a way to stop the panic if you just keep your mind busy enough, keep your hands busy enough, maybe just do enough. But it doesn’t work for long. You bounce from task to task. At first you can focus on the activity, but then the “what ifs” and “what abouts” slowly creep back in. It never seems to stop. The weight gets heavier. So you do your best to make it through your day. Hoping that you can get a good night’s sleep and that tomorrow will be better…if only you can get your mind to rest enough to let you fall to sleep.

A 90 day journey

Long time no see. I have to admit to not seeing the progress I had hoped for this year. I’m most definitely not moving backwards, but the steps forward have been small. So I’ve decided to take the next 90 days to focus in physically and mentally. I will be keeping a personal journal, but will be sharing some here as well.

Today is day one. Overall a good day. My diet was good, I drank my water, and got in 45 minutes of exercise. I gave myself the journal prompt of “What if….?” Here is my entry.

Day one: What if….?

There can be no doubt that running is a very numbers-centric activity. How many miles did you run? What’s your pace? What’s your fastest 5k? Your resting heart rate? Your monthly miles? Your VO2 max? Your cadence? It goes on and on. It’s easy to get caught up in it. Up to and including what distance you’re going to run in your next race…which seems to be the number that’s giving me the roughest time right now. You see, I signed up for a half marathon this coming October. And it’s been stressing me out.

So, I’ve been thinking…what if I don’t train for it? Ok, that’s not quite what it sounds like on the surface. Of course I would run to get ready for it, to do anything else would be foolish. But I wouldn’t “train” for it. I feel like the thought of “x” number of miles, or a long run that’s “x” numbers of miles long, or running at “x” pace is creating such pressure for me it’s tricking my brain into thinking it’s unattainable. I know that’s not the case. Not anywhere near, but the psyche is a powerful thing. If your mind believes something is too hard…it will be.

What’s the plan then? Well I’m going to try to revert back to my mindset of several years ago. When I first started my journey toward half marathoner after my divorce. It didn’t start out as a journey to the half marathon. It was a journey to get fit. To lose weight. To be healthy. To have FUN. “Run for fun until I’m done”, that was my mantra. I headed out for each run with the intention for running a mile, then maybe more, or maybe less. It all depended on when it didn’t feel like fun anymore. If it was one mile, cool! If it was more, cool! The point was it was always fun, no pressure.

I really feel that’s what I need right now. So I guess the better “What if…?” Is what if I don’t worry about the numbers? The distance? The pace? Just get out and run consistently. Consistency will improve my fitness and my running. It’s how I got back to longer distance running before, and I truly believe it’s going to help me get back again.

Extra thoughts on yesterday’s post

So I’ve been thinking more about that whole ditching social media thing, and I think I’ve got it a bit more figured out…

When I first got in to the whole social media thing it was just to put my stuff out there to show. Honestly 90% of my social media accounts in the beginning were a feeble attempt to try to get an ETSY shop going. They were crafting accounts. But somehow, at some point they became running/fitness accounts.

That wasn’t necessarily bad. My very first Twitter account helped me lose a ton of weight at one point. When that goal was reached, though, I deleted that account. Then newer ones took its place, and kind of took over my life.

It started innocently enough.Posting some runs and other workouts. Then it began. I got this stupid idea that I could be an influencer (yeah, right), but getting the opportunity to be an ambassador for a couple organizations fueled that. Then posting started eating up my time.

Why? Because I felt I had to. Which led to me “having” to run more miles, post more race pictures, more, more, more. Runstreaking, bling posting, post, post, post. That’s when I started the downward spiral (only I didn’t realize it until looking back).

I got caught up in the numbers game. How long could my Runstreak go? How many races could I run in a year? How many followers could I get? How fast could I run? Could I lose more weight? Then the comparison garbage invaded my brain. Why am I not as fast? Why can’t I win age group awards at more races? I’m not as fast or thin or creative or pretty or fit or (insert any number of things here) as her/him. It ate away at the joy I first felt when I lost that weight and began running more. It got to be pretty awful.

Then the crash…hip issues and a pandemic led to me not running and gaining quite a bit of weight. I tried to get back into social media. “Its support!”, I thought to myself. But it kind of wasn’t. It was my overactive, insecure brain pointing out that I was nowhere near where I once was. Why did I try to come back? I’m not inspiring anyone. I’m sure as hell not impressing everyone. I’m a nobody and no one (well, maybe a few people) really cares what I’m doing anyway. It was defeating.

So here I am now. I’ve barely been on any of my fitness accounts and you know what? I’m ok with that. The demons in my head that say I’m not good enough, they’ve shut they’re mouths because I’m not seeing other’s numbers and giving them fuel. I have recently joined a Facebook group that is fitness related, but something new where I’m not trying to be anything fancy. I’m a newbie and learning to love a new hobby. I feel good there. I’m hoping someday to feel good in the running community again, but until I have the mental strength to silence my demons, I’m thinking it best to just stay in my own little corner of the internet.

Running behind, but still here…and actually running!

Alright, I’m not doing so great on my blogging once a week goal just yet, but I’m trying. I was feeling kind of bad about it, but then after some thought I realized I am trying to build a lot of new habits this year and to think I’m going to be able to do well with all of them from go really isn’t realistic.

So, where does that leave me right now? Well, I’ve been focusing on a few daily habits until they are well established before adding more. So far this month I’ve been doing well with exercising every day, taking my blood pressure reading every day, and drinking more water.

On the exercise front I completed the Blogilates Glow Up Sessions 2 week program and decided to do it again to take me to the end of January. I’ve not really changed much weight wise, but I’m feeling so much stronger! I’ll be curious to see if my measurements change by months end. I’ve also been running 3 times a week for at least 20 minutes. It’s something that’s doable for me without being overwhelming, and I can always add more if I want to. As a matter of fact I have found a YouTube channel that, while not for running, has lots of walking tours of areas I’d love to visit so it’s been easier to go a little longer.

On the personal side of things, I’ve been on social media WAY less this first few weeks of the year, and it’s got me thinking. To be perfectly honest, when I think about the time I was happiest with my running and fitness it was before I had my kids. Now it has nothing to do with my kids, it’s just the time frame. The time I was running (and walking and biking and teaching aerobics and swimming…you get the idea) and wasn’t worried about posting any of it anywhere. My family knew what I did, some friends knew, but that was it. The biggest thing is I knew what I was doing and there was no comparison to steal my joy. It was so low stress to workout, record it in my running log, then move on with my day. I can’t quite put it all in to words, but I wanted to note it now. I may elaborate more if I find the words, but my big take away right now is I need to really put thought into keeping or deleting my social media accounts.

So, that’s my little update for now. I’ll be interested to see what changes (I’m hopeful I’ll see some) I’ll see by months end.

2022 week 1…New habits, new challenges, and a change of plans.

Ok, first off the change of plans part. I originally thought about writing here daily, but have since decided to write a weekly post. At least for now. Some days get away from me, others I really don’t have anything interesting to say or share other than my workout, and some I just plain don’t feel like sitting down and typing. So I’m switching to one post a week and figure I can up it from there if I feel like it. So there’s that 🙂

Ok, so, the first week of 2022 has come and gone. Well, pretty much. I realize it’s the 6th, but hey, now’s when I have the time and desire to write, so here I am. How has it gone? Actually pretty darn well. So far I’m working on 3 habits I want to form over this month to carry through the year.

1. To drink a glass of water before I drink anything else every day. So far so good. It feels good to know the first thing hitting my system is the best thing for hydration.

2. To exercise in some form 6 days a week. This is going well too. Especially now that the Blogilates Glow Up sessions are in full swing I know hitting this goal will be a little easier for a while.

3. To take a blood pressure reading every day. So far I’ve only missed one day. When I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and prescribed medication for it, my doctor gave me hope that getting back to exercising and getting my weight down may decrease or eliminate the need for meds. So I want to keep track of my numbers so I can see just how things are going there, and to know if it’s something to discuss with him at my 6 month check up.

As for challenges, I mentioned the glow up sessions. It’s a challenge from Cassey Ho over at Blogilates that involves workouts, diet, and getting more attuned with your feelings. It’s a two week challenge and I’m all in for it. Ok, maybe not all in…I’m not necessarily following the diet part (I’m sticking with IF which has helped me lose 11.5 lbs since starting it), but the rest has got me motivated and thinking. That feels good!

Now, my weekly workout recap…to keep me accountable and honest 😉

1/1 – Blogilates 15 minute thigh test and 6 minutes to sexy thighs

1/2 – Blogilates 21 minute stretch routine

1/3 – Blogilates Glow Up session day 1

1/4 – 2 mile run (23:49), 2 mile walk (35:51), Blogilates Glow Up session day 2

1/5 – 1 minute run (working on the Nike+ stacks achievement), 2.15 mile walk (36:28), Blogilates Glow Up session day 3

1/6 – Blogilates Glow Up session day 4

You can tell the days I work because I’m terrible at getting in a walk or run that day. I want to change that. Right now I go to work when it’s dark and get home with just minutes of daylight left in the day. Although I have a treadmill I really prefer to be outside. Especially after having spent my 10+ hour work day indoors. I know longer days are coming, though, and I’m looking forward to taking advantage of that. And it should be easier if I’m able to form the habit of working out after work now. That’s part of why I’m choosing to do pilates. It’s hard and invigorating yet somehow relaxing all at the same time. I love that.

So there it is. One week down, 51 to go to see just how much change I can make in one year. See you all next week!

Monday…what a day

Days that don’t go as planned seem to happen to me far more often than not. Today was a perfect example. Multiple call offs at work, several hours added on to my work day, no lunch break, lots more stress. As well as lots of opportunities to make excuses to just sit on the couch after work…but I didn’t! Go me 🙂

Not that I did anything spectacular (although all the running around at work totally closed my Apple Watch rings. Does that count?) but I did do my favorite flexibility/stress busting video by Blogilates followed by some extra stretching and a 45 second plank, the challenge of the week. I also stuck with my fasting window, although that was easy all considered, what I’m more proud of diet wise was that I didn’t eat any junk food. It used to be a coping mechanism for me, but I honestly didn’t even crave it today. I craved that workout instead. Be that just from the excitement of starting my planner today or whatever, I’ll take it!

On a side note I found 12¢ to add to my found money jar today, and we bought a powerball ticket. Wouldn’t that be a huge way for my luck to turn around?!? Anyway, I’m going to enjoy the rest of the evening and look forward to better things tomorrow 🙂

Christmas weekend

Merry Christmas! With my kids being grown, our celebration was nothing big this year. A nice dinner and some stockings for the kids, that’s it. But it was nice nonetheless. It was super nice that this was my weekend off, too, so I was able to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather along with time with family.

Christmas morning started out warm and rainy, I almost didn’t get outside. After a couple cups of coffee and Christmas specials, I finally geared up and got out there. There was no way I wasn’t taking advantage of a day off from work. I had almost forgot how hardcore you feel when you get out and run in the rain! I was able to complete a 5k and earn this cutie that I ordered last year. To say I’m behind on earning some bling is an understatement! There are several virtual medals (and live races converted to virtuals races) I ordered/entered over the last year or so that I’m bound and determined to earn in 2022!

Such a cute medal! Christmas unicorn from US Roadrunning

I was thrilled to cover the 5k distance. I decided I’m going to use this time as a baseline to see how my 5k training pace improves over the next year.

Today was setting the pace for my walking goal for the upcoming year. (Yes, that was a pun…maybe not a great one, but hey, I tried) I got in 3 miles total: a one mile warm up, one mile at the fastest pace I could maintain, and a one mile cool down. That fastest mile ended up being 16 minutes flat. I’m wanting to try speed walking a 5k in 2022 so I wanted a baseline mile. Oh, and since I’m starting my new year early, I’m going to start a jar to see how much change I find over the year. I got to get started on that with a little find today.

So tomorrow is the first day my new planner is useable so my 2022 journey begins a little early. I broke my fast a little early today and indulged just a little. A fast food burger and 3 Reese’s bells…and maybe a higher calorie intake for the day than the rest of last month for a day…but I’m ok with that. I’m actually ready and looking forward to getting right back on track with my 16:8. My measurements are taken and my baselines are set. I’m ready to make this year my best!

The best laid plans of mice and men

You know what they say about the best laid plans. And although I know there is a chance that my plans may not all come to fruition, to have NO plan is worse. After all a goal without a plan is just a dream.

So leading up to the new year I’m currently formulating plans. Well, some plans to at least get the ball rolling in the opening months of 2022. So in no particular order, here is what I have…

1. Use my planner to its fullest potential. I bought a Blogilates fit planner after not making the investment last year. I had one in 2020 and loved it. I used it faithfully up until about July when all hopes of in person races were dashed, and the changing of employers threw everything out of whack. It tracks 99.8% of all the things I want to track, and that last 0.2% can be added in the extra space provided. I want to use everything it offers: trackers, weight and measurement progress, meal planning and tracking, weekly challenges, all of it. I know it will help tremendously because I’m one who loves seeing things written down and checked as “done”.

2. Find a way to fit fitness in to every day. Even just 20 minutes will make a difference at this point. The toughest thing for me is finding the best workouts for work days. Working 10+ hour days makes wanting to do anything other than come home and sit on the couch really difficult. So right now my plan is to run on the days I don’t work, and maybe do pilates, yoga, or another low impact exercise on my work days then go from there.

3. Diet. Ok, this is one I don’t normally talk about because I know some people don’t agree with it, but here goes. After consulting with my doctor about weight loss he suggested intermittent fasting. I’ve been doing it for about a month now and have lost 7 lbs and feel so much better. And to top it off, I know I haven’t even been doing the cleanest fasting either. So my plan is to stick with that, maybe play around with fasting windows to see if that has any effect, and start planning my meals (you know, that whole use my planner up the fullest thing). Also, water…I need to drink more, period.

I have a few other ideas bouncing around inside my brain, but for now I’m keeping it at focusing on these 3. I feel it better to focus on a few things in the beginning and do them to the best of my ability, rather than try to take on many things and do them half-assed.

So there it is. My initial plan of attack. Also, I’m not really waiting until the new year to get started. That planner I mentioned, well, it’s first useable week starts on December 27, so Monday is the big day. Until then, I’m going to enjoy the holiday and just do the best I can.

2022

One year. Three hundred sixty five days. What can one accomplish in that time? What changes can you see? I’ve decided it’s time for a clean slate for a new undertaking. Well, somewhat of a new undertaking. I find myself, for yet another time in my life, back at “square one” if you will. The pandemic was good for my family in some ways, but in the fitness department it was a train wreck for me. The time I thought I’d use for my health, I didn’t.

Now I sit here wondering how I got to the healthiest points in my past. I have journals, but they only start when I’m well on the way to reaching my goals I had at the time. There is no place where I can go back and see the beginnings. So that is what this blog is becoming.

My goal is to post daily in 2022. It may be long and detailed. It may be a photo and a few sentences. But whatever I write for that day, I want it to be something I can look back on and say, “Oh, yeah, I remember…” something I can look back on when I’ve reached a goal and see how I got there.

So there it is. My plan for 2022…well, sort of. I’ll flesh out my plan a bit more in the coming days. I know I have a few people who read this, so if you want to stick with me, cool. If not, that’s cool too. I’m doing this for me, and the me that will look back on this blog in a year and say, “You did good, girl. You did good.”

Today is the day

My finish at the Hall of Fame Marathon half marathon in 2019

I should have been running a marathon today. This year’s Hall of Fame Marathon was supposed to be my return to 26.2 after 20 years. I was so excited when I signed up. I had run the half the four previous years. I know the back half of the course very well (its in my neighborhood). I was up to a 17 mile long run…then the pandemic hit.

At first I held out hope that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t going to be as bad as all the doomsday minded people who were surrounding me were saying it was going to be. But then schools closed, businesses closed, and stay at home orders were put in place. Then the announcement came. The race was cancelled. Honestly, my training hadn’t been all that great, and I probably would have went into my race a bit unprepared so I was ok with it.

I figured I would keep running at a lower intensity and just keep going. I had been furloughed from work so I had all kinds of time. It would be easy, right?

Well it wasn’t, and I didn’t.

I almost stopped running altogether. I did walk every day so I wasn’t totally inactive, but I know my fitness level has dropped. I let myself enjoy not having the pressure of a training schedule as well as not having to be at work with a general manager who makes me feel like I’m absolutely inadequate. It was what I needed.

But now what I need is to start the path to becoming the runner and athlete I want to be now.

I think my running had gotten stale, my mindset predictable and because of that I had plateaued hard and was just going through the motions. I’ve been inspired to make changes from many places. From a post here about reinventing yourself as a runner, to seeing people in my neighborhood doing their best in their own fitness goals, to a friend I met through Instagram who has shared her weight loss journey and her fitness program with honesty and an enthusiasm that has made me want to do more.

So what’s the plan? I’m getting it all together, but also being flexible so I can make changes if I need to, but so far my goals are this…

1. I’m starting the “ground zero” plan in my marathon training book. I don’t think I’m truly at ground zero, but this will let me ease back in to running and I’ll be able to judge from there my next step.

2. I’ve decided to give functional fitness workouts a try. Maybe not cross fit per se, but something similar. I’ve downloaded a WOD generator on my phone, and have tried a couple workouts. They’ve kicked my butt and left me sore, but I feel so good when I do them. I’m excited to try another, and that is something I haven’t felt about a workout in a while.

3. Speaking of downloading, I re-downloaded the My Fitness Pal app. I’m not necessarily good at logging my food everyday, and I have mixed feelings about the habit of neurotically tracking every single morsel of food that crosses your lips, but I do think having an idea of what you eat every day helps to identify where your diet falls short and why you’re not seeing changes in your body.

4. Finally, and most importantly, I’m going to remind myself every day that, even if I didn’t hit all my goals, even if my day wasn’t perfect, that I did the best I could. That this is a learning experience. That this is an ever changing journey. That I have another chance to change any time I have a new decision to make. If I’ve learned nothing else about myself it’s that if I focus on the negative that that doesn’t motivate me. That all or nothing doesn’t work. And belittling yourself doesn’t fix any problems.

They say you have to start somewhere, here’s my starting point. Where this path of my journey takes me next, I don’t know for sure. But I’ll be thankful for each step as it helps me to grow and learn more about myself.