Monday, June 3, 2013

Do You Have a Love/Hate Relationship?

Do you have a love/hate relationship with food? Maybe it's exercise? Commitment? I know each one of us have an area in our life that we struggle with. For me it boils down to running. 

I know in the past my relationship with food, exercise, and the feeling of being committed have been a challenge. In fact, some seasons in my life were better than others, but I somehow was always able to push through and get to the other side with very little pain and anguish as long as I buckled down and did my part. When I first started working with my trainer, Jacob, I knew it was going to be hard work, but for the most part I enjoyed what I was doing, and the food part for me was a breeze. It wasn't long before I was in auto pilot mode and I ate for fuel not fun and worked out because I enjoyed it not because anyone was forcing me to. It all became a way of life for me. 

After reaching my goal weight 2.5 years ago and decided I needed a new challenge, I committed to giving running a try. I trained and ran my first half marathon in June of 2011, trained and did it again last year in 2012, and now I'm down to the last couple weeks of training for the 3rd time for yet another half marathon. The clincher is, it hasn't come as easily as overcoming that relationship with food, finding a love for the gym, and making the commitment in my head to live a certain way and never look back. It's been hard! Harder than anything I've ever tried to do. Yes, running is WAY harder for me than losing 133 pounds was!

Running is a struggle for me. It boggles my mind how one minute I'm loving it and then in the very next moment, I'm miserable and wondering what in the world I am doing. Why I'm out there torturing myself, if you would. In some ways I think this is my trial in all of this. All the other things I went through to take the weight off were hard no doubt and took sacrifice and dedication, but it was a totally different kind of hard for me. 

My past two long runs have been a struggle. They were both 10 milers. Last week, I got to mile 8 and lost it. Literally. Had to stop dead in my tracks, walk a little ways, stop at the gas station even, get myself together, walk the rest of that mile, and push through miles 9 and 10. I honestly wish I knew what caused it, but yesterday was about the same story only slightly better. Same run, same route. In fact, I was really enjoying myself for the most part and then mile 7 hit. It wasn't my favorite road but I run it all the time.  I haven't had a problem on it before. But I could feel my body getting tense. By the time mile 8 hit I could feel the emotions starting to build. I was tired, my body wanted to quit, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes which then lead my breathing to be very off the wall. I remember having to close my eyes (literally), think of a friend of mine who is a runner and just committed to a running streak for 9 months (yes, never miss a day of running in 9 months), and count and breathe. If she can run everyday for 9 months straight, I can run 10 miles. After about a block I was okay again and kept on. Then mile 9 hit and the same thing. Tears, can't breathe, think of my running friend, count....and carry on. I thought rounding the corner on the last mile I would be fine but nope, happened again, and so I proceeded with my own little therapy to get me to the end. I felt like when my watch beeped at the 10 mile mark I was going to burst out in to tears, but I didn't. I was on the verge but somehow my body recouped and I was able to walk it off and cool down.

Why am I sharing all of this?  Because I am bound and determined to keep going and push through the hard to figure out a way to love running all the time and not just some of the time. It's the same with eating right, getting to the gym, or committing to change our lives and get healthy. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it seems impossible, but we can't give up! We must press on. Going through all of this has really made me appreciate my body and what it is able to do for me. If you would have asked me 5 years ago if I would have lost 133 pounds and soon to have run three half marathons, I would have never believed you. Not in a million years. In fact, my self esteem would have been such that I would have had no hope in even being able to lose 25 pounds. 

I know I can fall in love with running. I just need to figure out what parts about it I love and why I keep going back to it, and which parts I don't enjoy and how I can make those parts work better for me so I can enjoy it and look forward to it all the time and not just some of the time.

Whatever your love/hate relationship is with, never give up. You are worth far more than you could ever imagine and I'm convinced we need these trials to make us who we are intended to be. None of it is supposed to be easy but the parts I can tell you I have accomplished, have been so worth it. Someday I know I'll be able to say that about running too! 

Yep, Here she is! My running friend who just started a 9 month running streak! If she can love it that much, so can I! 

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  1. I do hope you can find a way to enjoy running. Maybe it is the half-marathon distance that intimidates you, or the speed that you need to run to complete that distance. Are you more suited to shorter distances? Faster or slower paces? Annoyed by weather related issues? Let yourself step out of the half-marathon training box (after the race, of course) and maybe you will find your niche. There are many ways to be a runner, and no right or wrong way.

    (I only run 5K's and take walk breaks every 10 minutes - that's what I needed to love running for the past 7 years. I don't mind that I'm slow.)

  2. You honor me, my friend. I am such a dysfunctional runner--one who typically sits for months at a time--but way down deep, I long to run. I know that you feel the same way, at times. I do think you are right to explore the parts of running that bring you joy and the parts that bring you anxiety. I am praying and believing you'll find the right recipe for joy in this part of your journey.

  3. Hey! So, I am running my very first half this Saturday (the Utah valley half) and for the last year I have slowly fallen in love with running. With doing so I have a few words of advice.
    1. The night before you run... PRAY for strength mentally and physically during the run. This always helps me. My mind starts getting prepared which in turn really helps my body. God will help you.
    2. If you are going to be running for longer than 1 hour definitely use fuel. (I learned this lesson the hard way. At the end of every single long run I have done recently I was exhausted and energy-less. I started using shot bloks and it made a big difference for me. Mentally and physically.)
    3. Pray during your run. Thank heavenly father for your capable and amazing body. (During my runs I mentally check in with each part of my body and reassure myself that I am doing/feeling good)
    4. If you are overwhelmed TAKE A BREAK. It’s ok to walk for a little bit. Gather your thoughts. Take deep breathes. Smile. Thank your body for how hard it is working.

    These may be things that you already do. But keep trying. Keep running. Keep believing in yourself!