Tag Archives: struggles

Spreading the happy.

Sometimes I think it’s so easy to forget to “spread the happy.”

And it’s even easier to forget that sometimes we *d0* “spread the happy” without even realizing it.

…chatting with a barre n9ne client and they ask ‘so, how long have you been doing the 60-day challenge?’ and they ask for tips, and how to get ‘there’ to where *you* are.

(silently inspiring, simply leading by example)

…hearing from a friend that they’ve just broken up with their boyfriend of five years and though she is obviously very sad, “seeing how happy you are, after going through what you did, gives me confidence and faith that I will too.”

(paying it forward to someone else means incredibly much to me, because there are so many that inspired *me* when I most needed it, just seeing *their* happiness overflow in their ‘new normal.’)

…reaching out, with an email, a call, a text. To say hello. To ask ‘how are you?’ or ‘I miss you, how have you been?’

(handing a morsel of ‘happy’ at an unexpected moment)

All of these things…are ways we ‘spread the happy’ without even knowing it. Our experiences, our pasts, our challenges, our evolutions, our faith, our habits, our advice, our lives…can so much inspire and boost up one’s spirit ever so gently. The power of happy, and paying it forward is something that has become one of my own biggest joys. I love to ‘spread the happy’ because it not only makes *them* happy, it makes *me* happy too. And it’s just something I’ve been thinking about more and more lately. Perhaps it is because I am feeling so much happy around me, I just want it to spread and increase and motivate….for others.

So next time you brush off a compliment, an action, advice, a random email from a friend. Don’t. Pay it forward. 

Spread the happy.

On habits and ‘weaning.’

I’ve been debating on writing this post for awhile, but after reading a couple of others that relate, in some capacity, I’m going to give it a go.

It’s no secret that healthy eating and eating for fuel are two of my mantras, but sometimes, I, like everyone else, struggles with balancing that with the idea of moderation and giving an inch once in awhile. But that idea of ‘giving an inch’ once in awhile is actually a lot harder than I thought it would be. As some of you know, I track my calories in a food log and have, ever since starting the barre n9ne challenge last May. I never thought I would still be tracking my eats to this day, but then again, never thought I’d have seen such progress and completely changed my habits, my body, and my view on eating, either.

Why is it hard? Because anytime I have gone ‘log-less’ for whatever reason it may be, New Year’s Eve, for example, or a special evening out, where I know that while I will choose healthy options, and it won’t add stress to my evening (that can ruin it for me sometimes, to be honest. Getting all up in my head too much), I end up sometimes sliding into the idea that I have ‘freedom’ to go a little farther than I should, a couple extra glasses of wine, or a couple of extra snacks or bites of food that I would normally stay away from because they are my ‘trigger’ foods. Because, in my head, I’m thinking, oh, I am not counting calories today, I ‘can’ have that extra snack, or I ‘can’ have an extra drink. When what I should be doing is using these ‘log-less’ days to retrain my mind and use these days as ‘weaning’ days. A test. Can I go ‘log-less’ and still stay on track. Or is my log my crutch?

It boils down to mindless eating, in a big way, too. (Melissa wrote an awesome post on this today, worth checking out!) Something I thought I’d kicked pretty well to the curb. But on the occasions where I have gone without logging my food, looking back on it the next day, I definitely had an extra treat or snack, simply because I was not ‘counting it.’ Gah! Why is this so hard sometimes?

And as Tina (again, Tina, your posts have totally spoken to me lately!) points out in the last of her ‘stuffed with emptiness’ series (which are truly incredible to read), there are times when I just WANT to stray and I WANT to go back to old habits of eating half a bag (or the whole bag) of baked cheetos (another trigger food that I refuse to buy) or Starburst jelly beans (a handful here, a handful there…adds up. Hello trigger food!). And sometimes, I guess, there is something to be said for allowing that, even just a little bit. But when it becomes a habit, or returns as a habit, that’s when it becomes a red flag for me.

So where do I go from here? I am honestly not sure. I know that I have a good handle on what I need to eat in a day to calorically fuel my body. I generally know what to eat on weekends that balances being fueled with allowing for a couple glasses of wine, if I’d like them. But the idea of stopping logging my eats scares me…because I know my habits aren’t ‘fixed’ and there’s still some work to be done.  I guess the only thing I can do is to keep trying to ‘test’ my log-less days (purposely giving myself them and at the end of the day, plugging it all in and seeing if I still come close to where I should be) and reversing the notion on my brain that these are ‘free’ days to do as I please.

Because ultimately, I always feel better when I eat healthfully, while also allowing myself to have that glass of wine, or that piece of chocolate. What works for me here, with logging, doesn’t work for everyone, and I know my perspective on this might even seem stringent to some. But I go with ‘ to each his own’  on this because everyone has an opinion. Everyone has an approach. But what works for me – this – may not work for everyone. And that’s okay. I just feel as though I need to put that out there because I can almost see the eyebrow raises virtually 😉

I write this here more for accountability, and for thinking through my next step and where I want to go. How I want to possibly wean myself away from feeling the ‘need’ to log my food and just trust that what I have learned and what I have taught myself will ‘stick’ and keep me continuing on my forward path. Towards my why and living with intention. I think baby steps will get me there.

On fear, overthinking, and a work in progress.

Let’s face it, fear can be crippling. I find that I cower to fear far more often than I’d like to think. My first reaction when I am afraid of something, or to do something, or to face something, is to take a step back, away from it. Not towards it.

It’s always been my battle. It bleeds into most everything that I do and I hate to even admit that. Because it makes me feel weak. It makes me feel as though I still have a long way to go until I feel I am ‘healed’ of my poor self-image and self-doubting ways. As a matter of fact, I know I have a long way to go.

I am still such a work in progress, when I want to be the me that screamed happily throughout this post. And I am her sometimes. But I am more often the overthinking, afraid, comparing, negative thinking side of me. The side I so badly want to fix and make go away forever.

I feel inadequate sometimes. As a runner (slow, unnatural, struggles at times. <–see, there I go again…). As a lover (yes, I said it. And fear creeps in here too, but more on that later…). As myself. I want to be motivational. I want to be inspiring. I want to be seen as a survivor and thriver in all things life, love, and fitness. I also want to be real. And this is me, being real. Letting you into the negative head space that occupies me to the core sometimes.

But I feel completely the opposite of this positive side of me often, under the happy facade. There is a side of me that feels like I don’t measure up. That I am a follower and a wannabe. The unpopular kid. It’s fear. It’s the overthinking, comparing side of me that I stomp down and try to push away, but she’s still there. She still compares. She still lets it get the best of her. And she hurts. She undoes all the good I have strived to fix and make myself stronger against.

So, why, then, does it keep happening? How do I fix it…except to keep reminding myself to stomp it down before it happens? Before I start overthinking and tearing myself down needlessly?

I don’t really have the answer. Except that maybe I need to accept that I still am a work in progress, most certainly mentally. Perhaps physically. But making myself feel worse by needlessly tearing myself apart for no reason other than because it’s what I’ve always done out of habit is certainly not helping either.

So if that’s the answer – accepting myself for who I am, not for who I am not…well, I have some work to do there. I wish I wasn’t falling back on this negative space in my head right now. I was feeling great. I thought I’d overcome these moments. But I guess they are still there. They still exist. And only I can dig deep and fix them. Nobody else can do it for me.

This time, I need to harness the fear and face it. Use it against itself instead of against me.

This time, fear needs to be my motivator, not my crippler.

This time, fear will be what helps me overcome.

It simply has to.

13.1…I finished.

And that’s about the only good thing about today’s half marathon.

I envisioned coming into writing this post feeling on top of the world, as if I’d conquered something huge, but instead, I am left feeling mad at myself, (ashamed, even), frustrated and bummed out.

Yes, I ran 13.1 but I did stop. I did walk. I did struggle. I did slightly panic. I didn’t breathe well. I told myself I couldn’t do it. I told M I couldn’t do it. Over and over. I failed.

In my opinion, I failed today. And I know I am being uncessarily hard on myself. I know I am not ‘seeing the forest from the trees’ and I know that the important thing is that I didn’t give up. Determination got me through.

But I feel ripped off. All of the hard work. All of the miles leading up to this. All of the mental and physical determination.

For what? 2:50?

A finish of 2:50? EXACTLY where I finished last year. And I felt almost worse than I did last year. I struggled intensely. It was humid, it was rainy at parts and it was also extremely hilly. (in hindsight, it’s no wonder the race only had 250-ish runners, I’d estimate. It was a tough course) I won’t make excuses though, because I should have forged on and kept running. But these conditions were less than ideal for me (mostly the humidity feeling as though I had a weight on my chest the entire time) and quite simply, I allowed it to take me down.

And that’s why I am mad. And ashamed. And frustrated.

But I did finish. I didn’t give up. Even when my mom drove to certain points on the route with water and her camera, cheering us on (seriously, she was amazing) and could see me struggling around mile 10 and offered to drive me to the finish. As much as I wanted to, I did not. I kept going. I kept run/walking as much as I could.

But today’s half marathon…well, it wasn’t in the cards for me. My sister, brother in law and friend Steph killed it. I am so proud of them and am glad I feel pride and not jealousy because the ‘comparison’ part of me wanted to be jealous.  (as much as I wanted to be jealous, I am beaming with pride that they did so well. Honestly.)

And M? I am convinced I wouldn’t have made it without him. He truly was my rock and I know I would have given up if he weren’t there, pushing me along, keeping me going. To find out that he told my mom at the starting line that he’d take care of me was just about the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard. He is my heart.

I think I just need to feel how I feel and start fresh tomorrow. I have some ideas in mind that I will share in the next few days on how to get back to feeling proud, how to prove to myself that I *CAN* do this, and that sometimes…it just happens.

Thank you all for your support, on Twitter, Facebook, email, texts galore, Tina’s beautiful feature, blog shout-outs from Heather and Lindsay and so many more of you. I feel blessed.

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up. “ 
— Dean Karnazes

On running progress.

I ran my longest and close-to my best run today. 8 miles!

I’m ahead of my sped-up half marathon training schedule by a week, mileage wise (sped-up since I have lagged on distance as I’ve working on kicking the panic attacks first) and am finally feeling really good.

Like, really good.

More confident. More able. More excited with each run.

Today, M and I set out to hit 8 miles before it reached the 90s (and almost 100 degrees the next two days! Yikes), so the alarm went off at 5 am and I honestly jumped out of bed, excited to get started.

Compared to the dread I’d feel before, in the pit of my stomach, the nerves would start, and so would the voice of self-doubt.

Not today.

I was excited and happy. The weather was ideal. Low 60s (!), zero humidity and partly cloudy skies. <–if the half marathon weather can be like this, I will kick ass. Just sayin. (weather Gods, are you listening!?)

We set out on the route I had in mind (I had a couple of options in mind, in case for any reason I started to struggle, we could go shorter). My legs felt great. My calves and shins felt great.

The first few miles went well, except my Nike+ run tracker had the sound on (even though I swear I turned it off!) and was giving me updates at each mile. Um, no thanks. I don’t need to know each mile, I’d rather run the mile I’m in (and thanks Ronda for that quote, yet again! LOVE it) and pace myself without thinking ‘okay, one mile down, SEVEN left? Ugh!’

After that minor snafu, we set into a good pace. M slightly ahead of me, but pulling back when I’d slow to regulate my breathing. He’s good at distracting me (like today, he recited the Pledge of Allegiance to me but added funny words to it. Too funny) or would start adding ‘hurdles’ and would run over brush or sticks, but super high, overly exaggerated. Hey, whatever works, right? (though, of course, I’m thinking, ‘he’s like an effing gazelle, look at him go, why can’t I go that fast and easily?!’ But I digress. I appreciate all he does to motivate me and keep me going! SO much.)

Halfway through, my legs started to feel heavy and I was thankful for a sip of water (thank you iFitness water belt. Something I never thought I’d do, but it totally helps! Thank you Heather and Naomi for suggesting!) and one of those Powerade Blox (way better than Gu. That stuff freaks me out).

Home stretch!! M started singing some song and then said “home stretch, babe, let’s go!!” and I took off, sped up at the end, and we made it. Took about an hour and a half and we managed 8.15 miles. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

Running progress? I’d give that a hell yes. It feels like night and day to my panics, mental struggles and fear. Sure, that voice tried to make its way in when I started to struggle, but I didn’t let it. Kicked it back and just focused on the surroundings, M, and the beautiful morning.

And I daresay it worked.

Can I get an ass slap or a high five please? ;-P