One of the things that I think is most important in my weight loss journey is my self-integrity. That means something different for everyone. But one of the biggest things I have learned along the way is that if I am not keeping the promises I make to myself in order to reach my goals, it becomes easier and easier to do just that: not keep my promises.
If I tell myself that I’ll be in the gym doing cardio 5x this week and I only get in there 4x, and then next week I do the same thing, for whatever reason – life got in the way, something came up, there were other more pressing things I had to do – it makes it easier and easier to not keep that promise to myself and to justify only getting 4 days in each week instead of 5.
I’m not saying that 4 days isn’t better than none, or even better than 3, but if it’s not those 5 days I promised myself and I keep doing it over and over, before I know it, it might be 3 days instead of 4 or 2 days instead of three.
I made a mistake. I miscounted.
Somewhere in the midst of things this last year, some of my numbers in accounting for the number of half marathons that I have run got off. After reviewing the numbers repeatedly, I know they were correct leading up to my Marathon of Half Marathons and leading into Jeff moving here last June, but somewhere after that, somehow I counted a half marathon I didn’t actually run.
There is no telling why I made the mistake. But here is what I do know: each time I complete a half marathon, I put it on the books as done. Each one of them is leading to goals I have. For example right now my goal is to be at 39 half marathons by the time I leave for the Tinker Bell half marathon next month so that event ends up being my 40th.
You might ask why I set that goal?
It makes sense really, at least to my brain. I turned 40 this year. The Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland is my favorite half marathon each year. It is really the half marathon that started this obsession with me. I know going into it this year that for financial reasons, the likelihood of me running it again next year is slim, and so this year, what will be likely be my 4th and final year of running it, needs to be special to me.
That and I am a numbers girl. I get a little obsessed on them. So doing a special half marathon for the 4th time the year that I turned 40 and it being my 40th half marathon all has a significance to me that means something to me. That’s the most important thing about a goal you set, that it is important enough to you that you are intrinsically motivated to do it.
To some people, this might sound crazy. Trust me I know. Some people have told me, “Who cares that I miscounted? Who cares that I have run 37 instead of 38 half marathons?” The significance in that number really isn’t important to anyone but me. Right? I’m running with an injury that is slowing me down on a regular basis, making these events harder and harder for me and making it so that it takes me longer and longer to recover from running that sort of distance. I really should be taking a break and letting that achilles tendonitis heal and pushing it to get another half marathon on the books to make up for my miscounting error before I leave next month is crazy, unnecessary and stupid. Right?
Maybe I am crazy.
Maybe that is all correct. Here is the most important thing in all that outside input that I didn’t really welcome or ask for: the significance in that number really isn’t important to anyone but me. And ME is the person that is the most significant when it comes to keeping the promises I make to myself, reaching my goals and feeling good about them when I get there.
So with all that said, yesterday, I set out to make up for that missing half marathon. I did it to set my numbers straight, find that mathematical accountability that my brain has learned to find comfort in, and to get my goals back in line for what I want to achieve next month.
Currently I’m a little out of shape when it comes to running. My ankles are screaming at me, and I took a few weeks off of running after my last running event in February to try to let them heal. In fact, as hard as it was for me to do, I took three weeks off of exercise in general to give my body a true break. When you take that kind of time off you start losing your fitness and endurance levels, as a result I’m a little slower than I would like to be now.
When I sat out to run that 13.1 miles yesterday I wasn’t even sure I could do it. There was a little negative voice in the back of my head that kept telling me maybe I wasn’t ready, maybe I was going to hurt too bad the next day if I tried to do it. Maybe I would only get to mile 11 or 12 and then hit a wall and fail. After all, on my last long run I jumped from 4 miles to 9 miles and I struggled to make it.
I had to combat those negative voices in my head.
But part of me also knew that those negative voices I was hearing and that self-doubt that I was experiencing was coming from the fact that other people were telling me these things, not because I felt them myself. I started to combat those negative voices with positive reinforcements of my goal. I know I can do this if I am willing to slow down and not push too hard. I know I can do this if I take my time and just enjoy it, rather than worrying about how fast I go or how long it takes me to get it done.
I needed to prove myself, and not just because somewhere deep inside me I needed to correct those numbers and get them back where I wanted them to be to meet my goals, but because I had to prove to myself over the negative voices so loudly playing in my mind that I could indeed do it.
And so I did. I walked out the door with the intention of spending some time with my Dad. Ignoring my speed or my mile per minute time and instead going back to what running was for me before all of that started being important: I set out to have fun. I set out to enjoy the music, enjoy the scenery, spend some time with my father, run off my emotions and maybe just maybe in the process find me again. Because lately I’ve felt that somewhere along the way in the last year of life in general, I lost a little bit of the focus on me and my goals while being more wrapped up in helping everyone else meet theirs.
I needed a little me time.
It’s been awhile since I took that in the form of running, just like I learned to do in the beginning of my journey, to deal with my emotions and work things out in my mind.
First I told myself I would run 10 miles, just increasing my long run by a mile from last time. Then I played with numbers in my head while I ran and convinced myself that I’d run 6.2 miles with my Dad and 6.2 miles with myself, when you turn those numbers around that’s two sets of 26, and that number has significance in my world, 1926 was the year my father was born.
I told myself I only had to make it to 12.4 and from there if I wanted to I would stop. But in my heart I knew that if I could make it to 12.4 I could make it to 13.1. I just needed to look at it as small goals in my mind to make it less tedious and intimidating while I was out there.
I ran through my neighborhood. I ran through the local cemetery and I watched for headstones from people who were born the same year my father was, and I took time to stop and pause my watch and say hello to them. I spent some time listening to my father’s music, having conversations with him about everything going on in my life right now and listening for some answers.
I went slow. I took it easy. When my Fitbit died and I took my phone out and started using that to track my distance to make sure I got it all in. And over three hours later, I had my true half marathon number 38 on the books. Guess what else I had? My self integrity. The fact that I had fixed my mistake and that my claim to 38 half marathons, though miscalculated as to time and place was accurate in numbers and accomplishments.
I felt better. I felt a lot better. The time alone running with my thoughts, helped me find clarity and direction and helped me answer some of the questions that were weighing so heavily on my mind.
And so I completed my Me-A-Thon.
Yup, I’m calling this half marathon #38 redux, my official 2017 Half ME-a-thon. Because truthfully it was something I needed to do for myself. Something I needed deep inside me for bunch of reasons nobody but me might understand.
At the end of the day, guess what, it’s okay if nobody but me understands it. Because my weight loss journey, my fitness journey, my emotional journey is about me first and foremost. While that might seem greedy and that might seem selfish, the truth is, that if when I first decided to walk this journey I decided that was the only way I was going to be successful at it. If I made sure that I was doing it for the right reasons, that I was doing it for myself.
Yesterday I needed to remind myself that it was about me. That it was about my goals and my journey and about what I needed deep inside me to feel right with the world and feel like I had kept my fitness promises to myself. I needed to get myself back on track with myself, and not to anyone else’s time, speed or standards but to my own.
Maybe that wasn’t important to anyone but me. Maybe it was unnecessary and stupid. Maybe I was slow and had an awful finishing time – but I enjoyed every moment of it. When it was over I felt empowered by something intrinsically that I hadn’t felt empowered by in a very long time. Just doing it for myself. Focusing on myself. Being with myself.
And that is exactly want I needed.
So happy miscounted 38th half marathon to me. I ran a Half Me-A-Thon yesterday and while my ankles are a little sore today and my body is a little wounded, my self integrity, self-confidence and self efficacy in my goals is back on track and my pride in myself is unwounded and that is neither silly, unnecessary or stupid.
Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and a Certified Personal Trainer.
So it’s mid-September. Half Marathon season has officially begun and I have completed two of the eleven half marathons that I have scheduled for this season.
One might think that with the experience of having over thirty half marathons under my belt I wouldn’t get nervous about running a half marathon anymore. But if you made that assumption you’d be dead wrong.
Let me tell you why…
When you run as much as I do, you run higher risks of overuse injuries. Anytime you exercise there is a chance that you might get hurt. That doesn’t stop us from doing it because usually the risk of injury is far outweighed by the benefits of exercise, but sometimes that’s not the case. It’s rare – but it does happen.
I have been running for just over four years now. Each year I have run more than the year before. I love to run. Around this time last year, I started dealing with an overuse injury – Achilles tendinitis (chronic inflammation of the Achilles tendon) which for me is caused by excessive overpronation and the ankles rolling in constantly trying to correct it. As a result calcium deposits forming extra bones on the backs of my heels which rub against the Achilles tendon make it very sore and very angry on pretty much a regular basis.
The treatment for it, as prescribed by my foot and ankle specialist, has included warming up the tendons correctly before each run, icing the tendons after each run, daily stretches, an air splint that aims to help stretch the tendon to control the pain and making sure that I have slight heel lifts in my shoes.
This was all working great! And then… I got new shoes.
I got new shoes. That has to be one of the scariest words for an avid runner who is successfully coping with a chronic foot problem. The slightest change in your foot strike, foot fall or stride can be the difference between successfully coping or sitting on the bench.
I didn’t want new shoes. I’d run in the same shoes for the rest of my running career if they lasted that long. But shoes wear out, and unfortunately, shoes change. Like every year. I’ll never understand why they can’t leave the design of a shoe the same for more than a year, but apparently new technology is always better… except when it’s not.
So now here I am, just a day away from getting on a plane to Paris where I am participating in the RunDisney Inaugural Disneyland® Paris – Val d’Europe Half Marathon Weekend and as I pack my suitcase my biggest debacle is…
Do I wear my old running shoes that are worn out and make my feet hurt?
Do I wear the new version of my old running shoes that make my feet hurt?
Do I wear the new completely different style running shoe that I just got to try to stop my feet from hurting as much as they have lately?
Because there doesn’t seem to be a good answer right now.
So here is what I am going to do…
I am going to keep doing everything that I have been doing and this coming Sunday, the morning of the race, I am going to make the decision I think is the lesser of all evils and the most likely to make sure that I make it across the finish line.
In other words. I am going to put all three of those shoes in my suitcase, not stress out about trying to make up my mind right now, and instead focus on getting the rest of my suitcase packed for Paris.
Because I am going to Paris! In less than 24 hours I will be on a plane heading to Paris, France to run my first international half marathon!
I’ve got clothes to pack! My event day running shirt just arrived from my sponsor BariLife Vitamins today and have to decide what I am going to wear with it! I have to get all my running gear together and make sure that it is all packed in my carry on bag just in case something happens to my suitcase.
I’ve got snacks to pack! I’ve got stuff to organize! The last thing I need right now is stressing out about shoes…. Right?
Yup. But I am stressing out about shoes and I will tell you why… because I am traveling all the way to Paris to run this half marathon and to bring home the Castle to Chateau medal that comes along with completing a half marathon at either Walt Disney World or Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. They key word there is completing.
I have never not finished a half I started, and although I know that mentally I could handle not being able to finish, I’m just not sure I can handle it on this particular event. I know I would be very disappointed. Not disappointed in myself, just disappointed in general.
But there is nothing I can do to change this right now. All I can do is put all three pairs of shoes in this suitcase and hope that come Sunday morning, no matter what shoes I have on at the start line, adrenaline, determination (and some pixie dust!) get me to the finish line.
I can guarantee you one thing… you’ll definitely be seeing some really cool photos from the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon course. You’ll be seeing mile marker selfies and smiles as I run through the happiest place on earth in France!
I’m excited. I’m a Disney Fanatic! I’ve been to Disneyland hundreds and hundreds of times, I’ve ran the Tinker Bell Half Marathon for the last three years. I’ve been to Walt Disney World four times now since I started running. But this is my first time at Disneyland Paris and I am super excited to take in this new-to-me Disney Park!
I’m about to embark on a brand new NSV ( Non Scale Victory ) for me!
Six years ago when I started this journey getting on a plane, traveling to another country, walking around a theme park, riding rides and running thirteen miles would have all been a physical impossibility for me. At 420 lb., with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and severe edema, this trip would never have even been a consideration for me! But thanks to my choice to take back my life from obesity, my choice to have bariatric surgery and my successful weight maintenance this is all possible.
And even though this running shoe debacle has me thinking that I need to rename my blog Desperately Seeking Comfortable Running Shoes or Desperately Seeking Sanity, what I need to remember is that, in the big scheme of things, this shoe stress and tendinitis travesty is really a very small thing to have to worry about and there are much bigger things to be celebrating.
So with that said. It is time for me to grab my passport, pack my big girl panties in my suitcase and put a little faith in myself and my journey and say Au Revoir Slender Seekers! The next time we talk I will be telling you all about how amazing Paris was and showing you what a Castle to Chateau medal looks like around this WLS Runner’s neck!
Have you been following my guest blogs on the Bari Life website? If not you can check them out here.