Hitting a wall

Here I am again. I’ve been here so many times before. I’ve hit the wall and am drained of energy and drive. I’ve been working at a job that requires a 2 hour commute each way, five days a week for about four years. That means that during an average week, I spend 20 hours a week in the car. You may have heard all of this before. You may be wondering why I’ve been doing this so long and/or what sort of head trauma I’ve suffered. To answer the why, I’m going to cheat a little and borrow from an email that I sent to EB.

Just a heads up, EB and I will say “leans in” before we’re about to confide something, so when you see that in my email, you won’t think I accidentally pasted those words out of place. Also, I did submit an application for a position half an hour from home yesterday and I make reference to that in this email.

It’s funny, I’m about to make a parallel between my attitude about food and my attitude about a new job, but leans in I’m eating like crap today. It’s because I’m so tired (which will tie in later) and I’ve made a conscious decision to eat junk food (it’s in addition to healthier foods, but my gut is still protesting), so it’s not like I’ve tossed my good attitude out the window, but I still think this upcoming parallel is sort of ironic. (I looked it up because I wanted to be sure I was using that correctly.)
Parallel:
My attitude about food, fitness and weight loss used to be, “If I’m not perfect, it’s not worth it.” Now it’s a much more practical and laid back approach that focuses on my health and happiness. There are many paths to health and fitness and I found one I can live with.
My attitude about finding a new job used to be, “I must find THE. PERFECT. JOB. or I’ll just be selling myself short again.” Now I can see that even though there are wonderful things about this job and these people, they are not the be-all end-all. And even though I would love to find a job that I would be just as happy with, I know there are many paths to happiness and so even if the environment is a bit different, being that close to home, getting more sleep and having more time for my LIFE would be worth it.
All of this seems obvious when I write it out, but it’s one of those things that, even if the logic is sound, it doesn’t always make its way to the heart right away. I know it’s made its way to my heart now because instead of just thinking, “I don’t want to come here any more, I don’t want to get up early, I don’t want to drive so far…” I’m actually picturing going to this place close to home. In fact, I almost drove there on the way home yesterday, but was so tired I talked myself out of it. Still, I looked it up on the map and have pictured myself driving there. As I was getting dressed this morning I started thinking about how even when [E3] has 7 days off in a row and I don’t get weekend time to myself, I’ll have something like 3-4 hours to myself every night he does work, so it won’t matter as much.
Oh and that application? Was long. Like, really long. Government long. But I did it and didn’t feel nearly as frustrated as I’ve felt in the past.
Even if this isn’t the place or the job, I can feel it in my bones that the right one is close.
You see, my head and my heart were not on speaking terms regarding this matter until, it seems, yesterday. Oddly, while I feel relieved that I feel ready to move on, my body and heart have now gone into a sort of grieving period. All the bone weariness that I’ve been staving off so that I could do this day in and day out will no longer be silenced and really? All I want to do is be quiet, cry and sleep. Well, and write.

I’m still trying to figure out where exercise and eating well fit into things right now. It may be that in a day or two, I’ll be right as rain. Last night, though, I went to bed at 9:00 and woke up twice from nightmares. I plan to go to bed early again tonight and have plans to do a walk/run with a friend after work tomorrow (although in truth, I haven’t the heart for it). I just want to honor the part of me that needs rest and healing.
Run on, y’all.
I’ll catch up.

 

 

What’s my motivation here?

Brief running update:

I was able to start running again after three weeks of rest. I’m extremely happy about that. Of course, because of the down time, even though I was walking, I had to ease back into things. I started my couch to 5K training over again at week 1. I was ecstatic that week 1 was so easy after so much time not running or “just walking”, but I really worked on getting in my steps/keeping active, so that helped a lot. So did the Fitbit competition with my sisters. This week I started week 3!

Weight loss:

I’m sure I mentioned that I really want and need to lose weight. I was doing well when I started three weeks ago, then we had some really busy weeks at work and while I’d start out strong in the beginning of the week, by the end of the week, my resolve was flagging. Mostly I’d slack off on my steps, even though I kept up my 5K training, but the past two weeks I added in consumption of way too many sweets and other things that are not on my plan and make me feel like garbage. I got on the scale this weekend and sho’ ’nuff, I’d put on pounds.

You could say I feel some fairly hefty shame about this. Especially since both sisters are staying quite active and my younger sister is dropping pounds like strippers drop clothes. Both are very encouraging to me and are a large part of why I haven’t thrown in the towel. Sister the Youngest (StY)offered to share with me her weekly notes about her weight loss journey and she did so today. I started reading and then decided I’d wallow in shame and anger at the way I feel like such a weight loss failure.

My conscience just squeaked in protest at the way I flog myself verbally and emotionally.

The good that has come out of my feelings attacking me like a round of buckshot to the chest is this:

  • I’ve noticed my pattern (see below) and decided to DO something about it.
  • The proverbial fire under my butt has been stoked – it never went out, just got weak for a while.
  • I want to keep up with my blog again

My pattern is to start off strong in the beginning of the week, get worn out by staying up too late and getting really tired, cave in to the temptations at work and/or on my commute around mid-week and then have to basically start over on the weekend. ENOUGH. I’m going to explain to my beloved that even if we don’t see each other for more than an hour except on weekends, that’s going to have to be the way things are until I find work close to home (another project of mine) because I feel SO much better when I take care of myself and get enough sleep. It’s not like the time we get together when I get off work is quality anyway. I’m tired and stressed about getting enough sleep. That’s no fun. I need to find my own peace and resolve about this and just stick to my plan. I’ll feel better and we’ll all reap the benefits.

I did run today, which I feel fantastic about! Also, I have been doing laundry and some tidying around the house. I’ll eat dinner earlier, take a walk after that – when it cools off this evening – and take the trash out on my way to walk. I’ll make sure my beloved has a salad ready to go with his dinner when he gets home from his long hospital shift. Then I will get to sleep by 9:00 at the latest, which will give me a little over seven hours of sleep.

To borrow from StY and her blog, I’ll finish with a few things she finishes with. I think the commitment to this will help keep me focused and grounded.

Goals:

  • Get to sleep by 9:00 each weeknight this week.
  • Keep up my C25K training
  • Register for the Liberty 5K – it’s in 6 weeks!

Successes:

  • I ran today and will walk to make sure I meet my step goal.
  • I used my frustration for good – to motivate me and to form a plan.
  • I followed my plan today and logged my food.

Needs Improvement:

  • More water. I had coffee and lots of unsweetened iced tea, but haven’t had enough water.
  • Be kinder to myself.

Current weight:

190.8 lbs. – hard to face, but I’d rather own up to it and form a plan than bury my head in the sand.

 

Run on, y’all!

Restart after a false start

Ok, I know I was getting back on track in late March, but I got right back off track, which is why I haven’t posted until today.

Today I can proudly say that last week, mid-week, I went back to the second day of my second week of couch to 5K training. I’ve been helping out my parents by cat/house-sitting a few days/nights each week while they’re out of town (neighbors check in when I’m not there) and they have a treadmill. This has been a tremendous luxury to me – I’ve even gotten up early to run before work!

Yesterday, Sunday, I was home and decided to do the first day of week three there in the neighborhood. I ran only on my street because it’s the most level street in the neighborhood. It still involved a cumulative climb of 182 feet! Surprisingly, however, it was much easier than it’s been in the past, which was encouraging.

A particularly motivating factor is that both my younger and older sister now have fitbits, so my competitive spirit is coming out. After my training run, I felt so good that I decided to walk a while until I’d met my 10K step goal for the day. By the end of the day – with housekeeping and errands – I’d completed 18,707 steps, 59 flights & 8.65 miles. Still, my sisters have an edge on me since they continued walking even when I was in “fuck it” mode. I’m scrambling to catch up to them with steps since my average is about 1.5-2K lower than theirs.

Of course, weight and fitness are highly motivating to me, too. I like being able to breathe more easily, to have more stamina and to be able to reach all the bits that need reaching in the shower without acrobatics. (That one is HUGE for me.) So while tonight is not a running night, I’ll be walking at home and, time permitting, doing some strength training.

And with that, it’s time to go.

Run on, y’all!

Pulling myself together

My father died on Wednesday, March 12th. I spent Thursday traveling to Texas, then joining up with my siblings to handle his affairs. There was drama involved – not among the four of us, but related to our father’s friends. Daddy was an alcoholic with a soft heart and a lot (not all) of his “friends” were leeches. The drama was not fun, but thanks to two wonderful sisters and one wonderful brother, we made the whole as pleasant as possible. We were unified – tired and stressed, but unified. The other good part was that I got to go home to Fort Worth and, in spite of the circumstances, enjoy it. I love my hometown and it felt good to be there.

My older sister and I, both getting back into running, optimistically agreed to bring running clothes, thinking we’d run along the Trinity River Trail in the mornings. HA! We were drained and tired and not sleeping well. Running didn’t happen. Except once. We’d kept up our step count throughout the days of activity (we both wear the Fitbit One), but on Saturday, we were falling short. Older sister said she was going to go run a little. I could hardly let her best me, so I sighed and flopped up to the loft area where I was staying to change, too. I’d like to add that we’d both had at least one glass of white wine and we’re both lightweights.  And it was raining. No matter. We slogged outside, hopping puddles to get to the paved trail and did some walk/running until we felt surely we’d not only made our step goal, but our active minutes goal. NOT. We got back to the room, synced our devices and saw that we were still short. This time I clutched my Fitbit in my hand, set the stopwatch and we took off. Rain or not, we had a good time. My Dear Sister was cold, which I found hilarious since it was in the 60’s and I’d come from 33 degree weather with a nasty wind chill. She was a sport, though, considering she lives in Austin and a rainy 60-something IS relatively cold. I didn’t use RunKeeper or anything to track my distance, so no idea how much we ran and we walked a good deal, too. She has a lot of discomfort running on cement, so I felt like a rock star since I hadn’t run in four days, she weighs a lot less than I do and I was able to run much more than she was. I didn’t like leaving her behind, though, so I’d run a bit and then wait.

That was the last time I ran. It’s been six days now.

I’ve also eaten a ton of crap since then. First it was just getting through the grief and giving myself a pass for a few days. Then this past weekend my sweet boyfriend and I took a road trip we’d had planned and I don’t care if the Amish do bike up and down those hills, I wasn’t gonna.

Today, however, after feeling low yesterday and feeling stiff for days now, I got my poop in a group and packed healthy meals and snacks. I also packed my gym bag. I’m tired of feeling so run down and sad. I need an endorphin boost. Don’t get me wrong, I in no way feel like going to the gym and getting on the treadmill sounds like fun. Going to bed sounds like fun. But gaining back all the weight I lost, getting more stiff, feeling worse…that sounds like hell to me. So it’s off to the gym I go this evening.

My plan is to start week 3 of my couch to 5K over again since week 4 was hard enough when I was running regularly. I hope I haven’t lost too much of my fitness, but if I have, it just means I need to keep at it to get it back. It’s time to pull myself together and let my father lead by example of how NOT to live. I love him. I will continue to mourn and miss him. I do not want to hide my head in the sand the way he did. It’s time to start showing myself I care again.

Run on, y’all.

Love,
Cassia

Coworkers, friends, family and other things that go bump in the night

In my last post I talked about having patience with myself and my fear that I’ll lose that patience and revert back to my old, self-sabotaging ways.  In this post I’m going to talk about something that’s at least as scary to me, if not more – sabotage by people I care about.

The truth is that there are a lot of people in my life who are either overweight and don’t want to do the work to change it (and who does? I’d rather it just fall off and evaporate in my sleep, but ain’t gonna happen, y’all) or who don’t have a problem with weight and can’t understand why I’m so worried about it because, as they say, “You look FINE!” (Oh, good. FINE is exactly what I was going for!) Both of these categories of people are very good at being food “pushers” and I have yet to find a way to get them to shut the F#@% up without losing my cool or giving in. I actually have anxiety about visiting certain people in my immediate circle because of this.

Well, I got this article in my inbox recently and it helped…some. It helped me with people like coworkers because even though I like them very much, I am not as invested in their reactions. I still, however, feel some anxiety about loved ones. Here is a short list of the sorts of conversations I dread:

  1. Would you like something to eat/some cake/ some chips, some more? (Sometimes a simple, “no, thank you,” will do, but sometimes they push and it goes into the next on the list)
  2. Are you dieting? (Oh dear Lord I hate that question.) This goes back to, “Why? You look FINE!” *eye roll*
  3. You deserve a treat now and then. (This comment says that they either don’t know about the slippery slope an unplanned treat can be or they do and it’s all part of their diabolical plan to feel better by sabotaging me.)

I also dislike it when someone fills my plate for me at a family dinner or just says, “It’s really just about portion control.”  Um, no it’s not, but thanks for playing. A small portion of calorie-laden food on a plate with four other “portions” of calorie-laden food = weight gain. Calories in/calories out is what it boils down to and if EVERYTHING on the plate has butter, fat or cream in it, I’m eating at least half of my daily goal in one sitting.

*ahem*

I have some strong feelings about this, apparently. I think I’m just going to have to practice saying, “No, thank you,” and then lying with things like, “I ate a big breakfast/lunch,” or, “I’m full from the meal,” or, “I’m just not in the mood for that.” The last one will come closest to being the truth, so I may go with that one. Oh, and I think I’ll have to plan ahead when I know we’ll be visiting family that is prone to this sort of “food pushing” so that I won’t be tempted by the tasty treats they have to offer. I can either keep a light, but filling snack in my purse or make sure I’ve run and banked some calories in advance.

While I would love to lay all the blame on others, I do know that a large portion of that blame is mine. I’m a “pleaser” – I like to keep the peace and make others happy. Actually, that’s changing or I wouldn’t be trying to come up with tactics to avoid caving in to make others more comfortable at my expense. I guess I can be thankful for that and know that with practice, it will become easier to politely decline whenever someone tries to sabotage my efforts at self care – whether they’re aware of what they’re doing or not.

On that note, I bid you good-night.

Run on, y’all!

Patience

I’ve been told repeatedly that I’m incredibly patient, and in some respects I can be. I get calls at work from people who clearly have done zero research about our program and want me to hold their hand while they navigate our website. Sometimes they ask the same question multiple times because they weren’t really listening the first two times I told them or their grasp of English isn’t great. In the sense that I take my time with these folks and help them get the information they need, I guess I am patient. Does it mean I don’t want to scream into the receiver or just hang up sometimes (a LOT of times)? No. I frequently want to do both of those things, I just don’t. It’s important to my livelihood and, quite honestly, my self esteem that I handle these people gently. Hatefulness has two victims – the hated and the hater.

Fitness/weight loss is an area that I would say I am distinctly lacking in patience, which has resulted in a lot of time wasted being hateful to myself. I want results, oh…yesterday. I have metaphorically hung up on myself many times. The difference that I’ve noticed this time is a new level of attentiveness to the more subtle changes that are taking place. I am taking my time to be aware of how much better I feel right now. In doing so I feel better about myself, about my food choices and strong in my workouts. I’m also able to reason with myself rather than make excuses. For example, this morning as I was lying in bed feeling extremely tired I thought, “but I’m not any more tired now than I used to be on mornings when I wasn’t working out.” The fact is, I have a two-hour commute and driving makes me tense. Going from the office to the car to get my gym bag and then right back to the rec center is easy. I’ve made it as easy as I possibly can. Getting on the treadmill to run – or lift weights on alternate days – gives me that strong feeling, eases any tension from the day and puts me in a better frame of mind for the drive home.

In this way I am handling myself gently. I don’t go home, plop on the couch and eat to ease stress anymore. Why? Because feeling bad about myself and berating myself feels bad and increases that stress. I also don’t deny myself all of my favorite foods – I just don’t consume them in mass quantities or even consume them every day. I get that Starbucks beverage now and then. I have an actual measured single serving size of potato chips (and I really have a deep love relationship with potato chips). And if I’m pushing my calorie limit, I put in a little more time in the gym to defray the caloric costs and keep me from wanting to throw in the towel and pig out.

Even with all of this, I still fear that I will fall back into my old habits. That at some point my weaker side will revolt and declare that it DESERVES to sit on the couch and pig out. Manipulative inner voices will tell me that results aren’t happening fast enough, so I should just quit and learn to love myself as I am.

*BLINKS*

Wow. For the first time I have looked at that thought pattern and I can see that I am telling myself that I deserve to treat myself like crap. Ouch.

*Breathes deeply*

I’ve been at this for almost four weeks so far. As of March 3rd, I’m down about 5 pounds. Part of me is whining that this isn’t enough, but the other part is thinking that about a pound a week is a good, sustainable pace. That same “other part” is reminding myself that I feel better about myself now than I have in ages, that I’m running again and that I have races planned. I was even mentioned on my favorite podcast! So while today I am especially tired (traffic last night was awful) and feeling like I’d like to nap, I still don’t feel like drowning my sorrows in chips. I feel like hopping on the treadmill (it’s very cold outside) and working up a good sweat. THIS is a triumph and one for which I am deeply grateful.

Run on, y’all!

Deja vu all over again

I was driving to work this morning and I had this great idea to start a blog all about my running and transformation from a chubby desk jockey to a lithe runner. I thought, “I’ll make the web address cassiatherunner. It’ll be great!” I thought maybe I’d make it private until I was sure I could keep up with it.

I just logged into WordPress, clicked on “My blogs” and saw this and thought, “Well no wonder I thought it was such a good idea.”

You know what else I think is a good idea? Taking WP up on their suggestion to help me meet my blogging goals. I’m going to set that for weekly and if I manage to blog more often, that’ll be neat, too.

Aside from feeling a bit stupid for not remembering that I’d had this idea before, I also feel like this is some sort of message from the universe (or God, whichever you prefer – I believe in both). The question is, should I be hearing, “Give up blogging, you’ll never stick with it,” or, “This is an idea you should stick with – I’ve sent it to you TWICE.” I’m choosing door number 2.

Let’s have an update, shall we?

Weight:
I went up to 199 lbs. (EEK!) and then on February 10, 2014 started a Biggest Loser contest at work, where I weighed in at 194. I gained a pound the first week (thanks, hormones) and lost FOUR the second, so a three pound loss overall. To help with this, I’ve joined the campus rec center at work and I’ve been bringing my gym bag every day (minus one day last week) and exercising before I head home. Now, if I haven’t mentioned it before, I live reeeeeaaaalllly far from work. Like it usually takes me two hours each way. I still work here because I have a tendency to resist change and I like my coworkers a LOT and the work’s not bad. I have applied for jobs close to home, but I’m not exactly devoting myself to the effort. Moving is not an option at this point. Adding in the workout after work does mean that I get home even later, but I feel so much better about myself, leaving later means traffic is lighter (it can shave half an hour off the trip home) and I feel less cranky on the road.

Running:
I’ve started the Couch to 5K training again. I’m on week 2 and so far running M, W & F. It’s been bitterly cold, so all but one of my runs have been on the treadmill. I did run outside on my birthday because I’d taken the day off and it was about 50 degrees outside and sunny – glorious running weather. Our neighborhood is wretched with hills, so I stayed on our street, which is probably one of the most mild.

Other exercise:
On T & Th I do weight training. Love it. I was hesitant to incorporate it only because I didn’t feel like taking the time to put a routine together. Guess what! Hal Higdon has a ton of free training programs AND a strength training program for runners! (I found that via a Google search, but oddly, I don’t see it listed on his Training menu. Huh.) Anyway, what, or rather who prompted me to search for something like this was a friend at work who is the Exercise Science Site Coordinator. She can be very persuasive and encouraged me to work strength in on the days I’m not running. I’m glad she did.

Goals:

  • To actually complete the C25K training and then PR in the Liberty 5K in Winchester, VA on July 4th this year. I last ran it in 2010 with a time of 38:47 and an average pace of 12:28.
  • To lose an additional 60-65 lbs. and a whole mess of inches (I need to update my measurements for a more accurate inch goal).

I’ve registered for some races already to keep myself on track and motivated with my training and I have a list of other races I want to register for as soon as registration opens. The next race upcoming that I registered for is the Leprechaun Leap 5K in Boyce, VA. I may not be able to run the whole thing yet, but I’m interested to see how I do.  I’ll have just completed my third week of training at that point. In addition to lining up races (and to facilitate race registration – yay discount) I renewed my membership with the Shenandoah Valley Runners.

Currently I’m a little obsessed preoccupied ok, fine, obsessed with running and all I want to do is talk about it, listen to podcasts about it, plan for it when I can’t be doing it and do it when I can. Because I’m all caught up on my favorite running podcast (love the Runner Girls), I guess the blog is yet another outlet for this obsession. I do have a few friends who run, but I’m not up to running with them yet as they are more experienced and because they are nurses (weird schedules) and most of them live far away. Some new runners might find all of this discouraging. I, however, find it motivating. The more committed I am, the sooner I will be up to running with someone. The more races I take part in, the more potential running partners I will meet.

Ok, at this point it’s turning into babbling, so I’ll bid you all adios.

Run on, y’all!