diva half marathon

Rise Above

Optimist: someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha. 

 ~Robert Brault

I finally finished “The Happiness Project” on the flight to California.  I had started it several months ago and have been so busy, I hadn’t had a chance to pick it back up until now.  It is interesting for me to read because I have already been doing so much of what the author recommends in her book.  When I first started it, I was still struggling with criticizing myself and feeling bogged down by guilt and negativity.  It was not that long ago, and yet it feels like it’s been years.  I have had so much personal growth in the past 2+ years since I left my abuser that I feel like it’s not only been a major turning point in my life- but the greatest single event to date.   My life is now divided into 2 parts: before and after abuse.  I believe the Hatford Marathon (in just 4 wks!- yikes) will likely be another life altering moment, and I have to admit that it will be a relief to measure my progress from a new, more positive starting point. 

I am writing this post not only in my typical theme of reflection, but also as a vehicle to do something I never rarely do (hold your breath people!)- give myself a little credit.  I know- shocking, right? But, it’s true!  I want to give myself credit for getting out of a terrible situation; letting go of the guilt and blame that kept me tied to it; for committing to make a happier, healthier life for myself; for starting a blog in the interest of helping others- despite the fact that it meant opening old wounds and making myself vulnerable and open to criticism; for taking my life back; for pushing outside my comfort zone; for embracing other people- including new ones- without fear of betrayal or acceptance; and for accepting myself. Wow that was a mouthful! 

The truth is that I am happy- not only happy, but grateful.  I have so many wonderful, positive people in my life, and I know that I have been doing something right to attract them.  I am learning to balance looking for the good in people with not letting them take advantage of me; and I have made a commitment that I will continue to be a happy person even if it does make me vulnerable. 

Even before the abuse, my cheerful disposition made me a target of unhappy people.  I suppose there is not much more irritating to a discontented and pessimistic individual than someone who appears to float merrily through life.  I would take the snide comments, yelling, and bullying in stride- reminding myself that it wasn’t personal, just a sign of his or her own misery.  This worked well until the abuse started, and I no longer had the energy to brush it off.  However, now I feel like I do have the strength again; and I refuse to be dragged down by grouchy people looking to pollute others’ moods with their poor attitudes.

I don’t need others’ approval or acceptance because I know who I am and accept myself.  I have struggled with anxiety, trauma, and abuse and have emerged an even stronger, more compassionate, and self-aware individual.  Most surprisingly- I am happier.  I was a happy person before, but I am happier now.  I know the depth of my strength and resolve.  I value myself now more than I ever did; I appreciate my life more than I ever could have before.  Any good day is a terrific victory- and by good I don’t mean exceptional, just free from anxiety.  I don’t regret what I’ve been through.  I am not angry.  I don’t resent my abuser.  If anything, I feel pity for him and his family.  I feel sorry for anyone who feels the need to drag others down.  Making other people miserable only perpetuates your own misery, just as helping and showing others kindeness will increase your happiness.

When others lash out at you, take it for what it is- a sign of unhappiness and low self-esteem.  People who go around picking others apart do so because they are unhappy.  They are equally critical of themselves.  Happy, self-accepting people don’t treat others poorly.  Only people who lack self-love put others down.

You can’t control other people, or how they treat you; however, you can control how you react.  Sure it’s upsetting when someone takes an undeserved shot at you; but ultimately, it’s not your problem- it’s his or hers.  You will go on with your life and continue to be happy and well-adjusted.  The bully, meanwhile, will continue to be irritated by everyone and everything.  It’s a miserable existence.  It’s not a life anyone strives to live- bogged down by anger, self pity, and self loathing.  Rather than focus on their attempts to bring you down, instead be grateful for who you are.

On being a smarter optimist

“And maybe I’m a little smarter now than I was before for all the stupid things I’ve done. “
Herb Brooks

Before I met my abuser, I was a happy, upbeat free-spirit.  I looked at the positive in every situation, and over-looked other people’s flaws and chose to recognize their good points instead.  I was always smiling and cheerful.

After the abuse, I felt my optimism had betrayed me.  It helped me  fail to recognize cruel and self-interested behavior in people I had cared about. I had minimized their faults in favor of focusing on their better qualities.  Perhaps that is why it’s been so difficult for me to get back to my happy self.  I am afraid of overlooking the negative.  If I shrug off insults or bullying without standing up for myself then I will remain a doormat.

However, there is no reason I can’t be a happy and optimistic person and stand up for myself.  Setting boundaries doesn’t make me mean or unapproachable.  It has taken a conscious effort to accept that being optimistic may make me more vulnerable to unjust attacks, but it is the only way I’d choose to live my life.  I will not live in fear any longer.  I am breaking out of the confines of self-doubt and taking on the world (with my rosie colored glasses).  I am the only person capable of holding myself back, and I am not going to do it anymore.

I am going to finish the Tough Mudder- water tunnels, electric shock, and all.  I will finish that marathon.  I will not only finish, but will do it all with a smile on my face- because that’s just how I roll.  I will also do it with the knowledge that I am raising money for a worthy cause and inspiring other victims to move on from the confined existence of abuse.

Thanks for reading!  These posts are going to come in a flood now that I am back home with a computer.  Sorry for anyone whose inbox is about to be flooded!  As always, comments and questions are always welcome and appreciated. 🙂

Biting off more than I can chew?

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face

… we must do that which we think we cannot.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Yesterday I survived another round of Boot Camp- push-ups and all!  I was actually excited to go.  I guess that makes me a glutton for punishment.  lol Each time the drill instructor gave us a challenge, I wanted to yell “bring it on!”  Every time I was tired and wanted to quit, I reminded myself that marathon runners don’t quit, Tough Mudders don’t quit, Spartans don’t quit, and I certainly don’t quit.  When I was told to push, I pushed as hard as I could.

That being said, I woke up this morning incredibly sore.  I wanted to stay in bed, but it was the only chance I’d have this week to get in a long run.  I truly regretted not doing a better job stretching before and after our class.  In the theme of not being a quitter, I dragged myself over to the Bridle Trail and started my 17 mile run.  My legs were heavy and my body was fighting me at first, but eventually I settled, and it felt like less of an effort.  By the time I hit nine miles, I was still feeling strong and really thought I was going to get through the run unscathed.  I knocked out my first 10 miles in just over 2 hrs, which was pretty good for me given I had on my vibrams and a weighted pack.

By the next mile, I was not feeling so hot.  Another mile in,  my IT bands were SCREAMING.  I panicked for a minute, but kept pushing.  Then my body came to a grinding halt.  I tried to force myself to run, but the pain was searing up my legs.  I couldn’t get back into a rhythm.  I couldn’t even walk straight.  I still had over 5 miles to go- a very long distance to walk.  I figured I would walk a bit and see if it got better- no luck.  Then I got the brilliant idea to pull my compression sleeves over my knees, which worked like a charm!  Then next five miles weren’t easy, but at least were doable.

By the time I got to the end of the trail, the GPS was whining flashing that it’s battery was low.  I thought it was very nervy for it to be complaining when I was doing all the work and still had to keep going. 😉  At the same time, I was a little proud of myself for outlasting it.  In the aftermath, I have to admit I am having a bit of trouble moving- especially up and down stairs.  Adam has been getting quite a chuckle watching me limp around.  He assures me this is normal.  I was hoping to make-up tomorrow evening’s Boot Camp class in the morning, but now I’m not sure 1) if I’ll be able to move by then, and 2) if it’s even a good idea.  I have not really been good with taking rest days, and now I’m paying for it.  Another lesson learned!

17.19 miles in 3:45!

Getting muddy...again! And sporting my awesome hot pink compression sleeves!

Just in case anyone needs a laugh, I read this post a while back from a HILARIOUS blogger- the Bloggess.  It’s about a metal chicken.  It made me literally laugh out loud because I could absolutely see my mom and myself doing this.  Then yesterday my mom and I were at the Home Goods store, and look what I found!  I immediately took a photo (see below) with my iPhone and sent it to my sister with the following message “Look, it’s even on sale!!! Lol I think mom needs one!”  She replied “No, I don’t think so,” but I’m sure my mom would have loved it and totally appreciated the humor in the situation.

That’s all for now!  Tomorrow we are California bound. 🙂  My next post will likely be the race recap, so everyone have a wonderful weekend!!!

On the Edge

“We all have a comfort zone where everything feels safe and familiar. We tend to not want to venture beyond it, however if we allow ourselves to stay there we will not be challenged, experience personal growth, or learn new and exciting things. In other words, we would stagnate.”

It’s taken me a little while to get to posting.  Besides the usual being super busy, I just wasn’t sure what to write about.  I have been really on-edge lately, and that has really been bugging me.  Wednesday we leave for California and my first Tough Mudder.  As excited as I am about getting away and finishing my first obstacle race, I am also equally stressed.   I have been pushing myself way outside my comfort zone recently, and this will be another HUGE step.  I know I can finish, but I am terrified of a few of the obstacles- specifically the electric shock and under water tunnels.  Being underwater makes me claustrophobic.  I even hyper-ventilate when I snorkel.  I am a little worried that going into a dark tunnel, underwater is going to give me a panic attack.  On the bright side, I know that Adam will be there to look out for me; and that is a huge relief!  Just knowing he’s there gives me that little boost to push myself a little firther than I would have otherwise.

It is so easy for me to get frustrated with myself for being worn out and stressed, while completely overlooking all the progress I have made recently.  I have been more social- spending time not only with my own friends, but with Adam’s.  I have let my guard down and really enjoyed the company of new people in my life.  I also have tried knee boarding for the first time, and even picked it up quickly!  I didn’t think about falling or hurting myself; I just went for it.  Adam and his friends were all impressed- they told told me I looked like a professional. lol  I think that was a little gracious.  They were also all very supportive of my marathon training. It meant a lot to me, since a few of them are marathon and obstacle race veterans!

Tonight I have Boot Camp Session #3, and tomorrow the plan is for a 17 mile run (GPS watch permitting).  I have my new hot pink compression sleeves to try out.  🙂  I am hoping to squeeze in a morning Boot Camp Session before we fly out Wednesday too!  Saturday will be the first of the three big races milestones (Tough Mudder, Diva Half Marathon, and Hartford Marathon) I have planned for the fall.  I feel like everything is starting to happen so quickly now!!!  I am looking forward to getting through all of it and taking a much need break. lol

As far as my missing tapeworm post- it was about how all this training has turned me into the “hungry catepillar” (complete with picture!) and what a chore eating all day has become.  I am always hungry!  If I don’t eat every 2 hours, I get light-headed and my stomach growls loudly like it has a mind of its own.  Training and eating have taken over my life!!! I don’t even want to look at food anymore.  There’s no fun in eating.   It’s become a challenge to shovel in protein wherever I can get it, as frequently as possible; because despite stuffing my face all day everyday, I still seem to be losing weight.  lol

Anyway, there are far worse things I could be plagued with than binge eating and still losing pounds.  I hope everyone takes a step outside his/her comfort zone this week!!!  Thank you for reading!  Questions and comments are always welcome. 🙂

Here's the proof!

Chafing is no fun…

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.
Wayne Dyer

Or you could run enough miles to eat the whole package of cookies and still not feel guilty- then throw in some boot camp for good measure. 😉

I debated whether to name this post “I make mud look good” or “Chafing is no fun”… and the title went to the one I felt more strongly about.

Today I went for a 3 hour run.  My initial goal was 15 miles, but I couldn’t figure out how to work Adam’s GPS watch and figured 3 hours would be close enough.  That is exactly how long I made it before my gait started to resemble a drunken sailor, and I called Adam to come rescue me.  I stopped at a gas station less than 2 miles from home.  I knew I could push myself the rest of the way, but it would be at the expense of over-doing it (again).  I didn’t want to risk another sideline, especially when my joints were already screaming from running on the pavement- and I knew I still had a boot camp class to make.  To reward him for the effort of dragging himself out of bed to get me, I bought Adam a pint of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream (his favorite flavor) while I waited.  I also purchased a package of Vienna Fingers (no not the little one- the big one!), which I promptly dug into while the patrons pumping gas looked on with bewildered expressions (largely, I’m sure, owing to the fact that I was soaked and covered in mud).

I had just enough time in between my run and my evening torture session to grab some lunch with Adam.  I made it a point not to stuff myself with the hopes of decreasing the amount of workout related nausea ahead of me.  Overall the second class went well.  I only got light headed a couple times and barely had any nausea.  The work out was tough, but totally rewarding- I was especially proud to have managed the entire 60 push-ups scattered throughout the hour.  Adam was there to cheer me on and coach me through many of them, which I immensely appreciated.

So today I give myself a gold star for motivation!  My calves feel like jello, but my hot pink compression sleeves are due to arrive tomorrow, and I’m hoping they will help!  I am also hoping to get one more long run in before we leave for Cali and the NorCal Tough Mudder.

The downside of my ambitious workout- I have so much chafing on my back and chest from carrying my weighted down hydration pack that I am pretty much covered in itchy, raised, pink blotches.  I have scars on my collar bones from where the straps cut in; and scars, scrapes, and bruises all over my legs from all the debris and branches I get tangled in when I’m on the trails.  It’s all pretty sexy. 😉

Not visible- my calves completely caked in mud

Thanks for reading!!! Comments and questions are always welcome.  Have a terrific evening everyone!

Another day, another 15 miles

“The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.”

Og Mandino

So the photo above pretty much sums up my view of Boot Camp 🙂  Except puking is not an acceptable excuse to stop.

I survived my first session of Boot Camp- it was worse than running 18 miles!!!!!  I would consider myself in reasonably good shape, but that class kicked my butt.  I’m sure running there and back (and all the labor day pigging out) didn’t help.  We weren’t even halfway through before I felt like I would throw up.  By the time I reached the end of the first circuit, I nearly passed out.  I eased up until the room came back into focus and kept going.  It made me feel like such a wimp, until I noticed that everyone else was struggling too- including the people who had been doing it for months.  “Something to look forward to. Apparently it doesn’t get any easier” I thought to myself.

I wanted to quit.  It was torture. I reminded myself that if you don’t feel like quitting, throwing up, or passing out then you probably aren’t working hard enough anyway.  Then I surprised myself and not only made it through the whole class, but even the run home.

On the schedule today- a 15 mile run this morning followed by Boot Camp #2 this evening.  I am hoping that there is less nausea this time around. 😉

One more week until California and 10 more days until my first Tough Mudder!!!!