Credit Aaron, took the picture while rollerblading
It is no secret that I have been struggling both physically and emotionally. I have been stressing a great deal about what is the "right" thing to do to get my period back and what that might mean for my day-to-day life, my running, and most importantly my family and my future. People have been incredibly supportive and have offered wise words, advise, and comfort. But I have continued to struggle with ensuring that I am doing the "right" thing, eating the "right" food, and exercising the "right" allotted amount. All of this becomes more stressful as I cannot expect to see results immediately and have no idea if I am helping the situation. All I can really see is that my pants feel tighter, my stomach hurts a lot, and that each pregnancy test that my doctors make me take before another test is negative.
Most importantly people have told me to relax. To not judge myself or worry if I am making the "right" decision. With all of the above, you can see how it can be hard to just relax. I am used to being in control. I wanted to be a lawyer, I went to law school, I studied hard, I became a lawyer. I wanted a house, we looked around, we bought a house. But this, this is not something really in control. I have been even more judgmental about myself for wanting this control and wanting to do the right thing and not wanting to slow down, especially with my running.
Ultimately, though, I knew I needed a break. I will be getting the blood tests back next week and until then there is not much I can do. Until then, I have been pushing myself to be gentle, to relax, to enjoy myself, and to start turning my mind to change. That was my goal for this weekend and considering it took a good amount of energy to get out of my nice relax bath to write this post, I feel I have accomplished it. This weekend I ran, I indulged in ice-cream and wine, I slept 11 hours, I did not leave the house for the day. This weekend I relaxed.
This relaxation idea had been stewing all week. I have been stressed, anxious, and have been having trouble concentrating. Thus, on Thursday when XLMIC started to put challenges into my head, I knew it was time to take her up on them. She challenged me to find 5 moments of joy in the next 24 hours and to write them down. They could also be workout focused. If I had something on my workout agenda that I did not want to do, she pushed me to just do something else and not follow the plan. To really just RUN FOR FUN. Both challenges seemed difficult at the time, especially since Friday was supposed to be a rest day. But as my close friend has reminded me time and time again, I am the QUEEN of challenges and before I knew it I had more than 5 moments of joy.
The really eye opening experience, however, was Friday when, after work was over for the day, I headed out for my long run. A long run was not on the schedule for Friday. I did not have much time on my hands but it was beautiful out and although I was tired from a long day at work and it was almost dark, I could not help myself especially since my husband said he would join me.
We started out together. Aaron had to run two miles. He wanted to run the second mile at a 9 minute pace which is just about right, maybe even too fast, for a long run, so I said I would join him for that and then he would cool down and I would continue on. He would then catch up to me on his rollerblades.
Two Thumbs up for Rollerblades
By the time Aaron caught up to me, I was not happy. I was slugging along at a slower pace than I wanted and ready to quit. It was at that point I remembered XLMIC's challenge and decided the hell with it. I took off the Garmin and told Aaron to take us to 13 miles and to never tell me the pace or the time.
From that moment on, I was in heaven. We chatted, we stopped to drink and eat Shotbloks, we sung songs and blew kisses (ok only me), and we had a blast. I felt strong, I felt confident about my run, I felt good.
I do not know the pace of this run. If it was fast or if it was slow, but it felt strong and speedy. Could it have been really slow? Sure. But for that day, for me, it was perfect.
And now, I am kind of starting to get it. Relaxing and reducing intensity, if that is necessary, is like this long run. It is going out there and running and enjoying myself without numbers. I can do this on a long run or on a speed day - to just go out and listen to my body for the day and see what I can do, to not be dictated by numbers.
I am not going to lie. This still scares me even now the thought of doing this on the elliptical tomorrow makes my heart beat quickly in an anxious sort of way. I like the comfort of the Garmin and the help it provides me in knowing I am hitting my paces. I used to think there was something wrong with that. That is was not ok to be competitive. However, my good friend was able to show me that that is not wrong, that is just how I am and how many runners are. I like knowing the numbers; I like having goals and completing them; I like racing and there is nothing wrong with that. But right now I have another goal and I need to focus on that for now.
Anyone that can put up with you when studying for the bar exam and come out the other side is a friend for life, clearly.
So if I need to reduce intensity, I will. I will run by the way my body feels each day and be gentle with it. Fast will be relative to the day and not the time on a treadmill or a watch. Fo I love this idea? No. Am I totally, 100% excited about it? No. Do I need you all to remind of the fact that this is ok and just a different type of reason? Yes! And if this is the course I have to take, I will and I will keep coming back to my wonderful, Garmin Free Long Run which showed me truly how to Run for Fun.
Garmin Free is the Way to Be (Thanks Jenny!)
Ok time to go back to fuzzy pants and Hunger Games. Enjoy your week!
Have you ever gone Garmin free?