When the going gets tough

Remember that 80’s song that Billy Ocean sang, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going, when the going gets rough, the tough get rough… Argh Billy, you are the best who would have thought that your cheesy love song would get me through my tough run this morning. Thanks mate 😉

So let me tell you a little of my latest training run. I was supposed to meet up with my running group on Sunday morning, but with work it didn’t happen… This meant that I had to squeeze the run in sometime and soon. I decided that After my Sunday night shift I would go out and pound the pavement for the 14k that I missed. I got home from work around 2:30am and was out the door roughly 15mins later. It was cold – super cold actually with the mercury hitting 2 degrees Celsius (or 36 Fahrenheit)  it was close to freezing out, but there was no wind so it wasn’t unpleasant, plus I knew that within the first 2km I would warm up enough.

I did a simple out and back track, given the hour of the morning I like to stick to roads and paths that are well-lit and not isolated. After talking to friend that runs earlier in the week, I decided to try a tip he gave me (thanks DW). I have had trouble trying to regulate my pace a little or speed up when I feel myself slowing. He suggested that I visualise myself running just in front of myself, and speed up to beat the me in front… Well I am happy to report that this worked, especially on the 3rd km which is always my toughest.

I often visualise and see the course laid out in my head, play mind games of how far till the next point and visualise good running form, this helps me in a number of ways, to stay distracted, to change posture and not slouch, and to complete the run.

I was running, loving it and all was good, I was enjoying the beat myself game and running at a good consistent pace for me, actually at my best overall pace yet (matching it from last season) Feeling good I turned around at the 7km mark and headed back… it was all good until I started the eleventh kilometre. I completed the 10th well, but then felt like my body hit a wall,, my legs were heavy, I felt zapped and I just kept telling myself that I only had 4k’s more… I was using all my metal arsenal to keep me out there. Fat Lin was screaming at me to give up, and walk a short cut home, But Fit Lin kept trying to hush her and say you have already done 10km what is another 4…

I was on struggle street – Big time… I kept saying to myself, this is tough, my legs were heavy as rock and I felt that I was running through mud (tough mudder is still a few months away) but then, somehow I heard Billy Ocean in my head. I was listening to some Dance music at the time, all my running playlists are hand-picked mind you, designed to pick me up and push me forward. But Billy, oh Billy – you came to the rescue… I heard his little love song and the chorus was ringing in my ears and It helped me push through. It wasn’t the only thing that helped, I also decided that finishing was more important to me than my time. This gave me permission to run at the slower pace (a pace that I couldn’t seem to speed up beyond anyway) and get the job done.

I did make it home, did the full 14km… and even though it was a little slower than I would have liked, after stretching and rolling out I was very pleased that I did not defeat myself and used the mental toughness that I have been building up to get me home…

Now to start visualizing running further again next Sunday… The battle is in the brain sometimes 🙂

Keep running, Till next time – Lin

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Coping & Routine

We all have strategies that we utilise to cope with navigating our world. I was discussing this idea earlier in the week and reflecting upon some of my personal practices.

Coping mechanisms can be healthy and unhealthy.  Having a big night out with a few too many drinks and bad moves on the dance floor can be good to let off some steam, drinking by yourself every night not healthy… Eating a bowl of ice-cream after  hard day not too bad occasionally; eating the tub, a large pizza and a packet of cookies (in one sitting), not so good.

Exercising is a healthy option, often under utilised and under estimated. Studies have shown that even a simple 30 min walk each day can help in improving mood and decreasing some of the symptoms of depression. I wrote recently about not being able to run (which is my personal preferred coping mechanism now). When this was off the table, I slipped into some unhealthy coping strategies and ate more than I usually would, in particular foods that I attempt to limit.

Part of the reason that I believe that I went back to older patterns quicker was that I hadn’t re-established my exercise routine after surgery in February. I wasn’t back to training until April, the routine wasn’t solid yet, the routine didn’t have enough time to solidify prior to the confluence of life situations that lead to me feeling overwhelmed. Here is the key… Pattern and Routine.

Pattern and Routine are essential for us to be able to navigate through each day and keep our emotions, thoughts and feelings in a state of relative order. To be in a space of emotional safety and allow us to move through life and cope with what the world flings at us. When our pattern and routines are not established, take a hit or become disrupted we can fall back into easier or older coping mechanisms.

Recently, when my “Perfect Storm” of stressors rose up it wiped me, my running and my exercise out. This lead to falling back into old thinking and patterns – Honestly, this scared the crap out of me. I have worked hard over the past 4 years to move the weight and change my patterns of coping. While I didn’t completely fall off the wagon or relapse – I felt a little out of control and that I was trying to hold onto water with it only to run straight through my fingers.

This got me thinking – There will likely come a time when I am faced with another “Perfect Storm” of stressors. That is just the way of the world; we cannot (despite trying) control all the factors of our lives. This has pushed me to think about extending my coping mechanisms and routines to include other healthy coping mechanisms on a regular basis.  This will allow me to build into my routine new coping mechanisms and use them on a regular basis, so, that if the day comes that I am not able to run or walk, or move as I would like, I will have another healthy way of working through the stress, thoughts, feelings and emotions. It is a bit like exercising a muscle, the more you train and work that muscle the stronger it becomes. I need to exercise new coping strategies, make them strong and build them into my life.

So my question to myself and one that you can ask yourself is this; What do I enjoy that can become a solid practice in my life  (part of my routine) that will allow me to cope and deal with the stressors of life in a healthy way?

Some ideas for me to explore are having focusing methods and projects,  understanding meditative practice better, and incorporating reading and writing as reflective practice.

I would be interested in reading your ideas or thoughts about this so feel free to leave a comment.

Till next time, Lin.

Hard Days Week… No excuses

It has been a tough 10 days. A few little setbacks along the way, some soul-searching, and a reality check have all been in there.  I had a great fun day with friends today and I am doing ok, but instead of a hard days night it has been roughly 10 days worth of crap. But the point of this blog post is not to gather sympathy, it is to be real with myself and my readers…

I may blog about some of the crap that has gone down later in the week; and while it is safe to say while I am doing a lot better with all the obstacles put in my way, I have fallen off the food wagon a little.

I am writing this post, because some people assume that I have all of my food and eating patterns together now. Well people, that is a fallacy. I still have my days where I lean towards eating through emotions…Most of the this behaviour is in the past, But compounded issues on issues resulted in me taking a side step into this dangerous territory.  Ice cream is not my friend, and it slides through my band like hot butter. With all its evil sugar, carbs and calories.

The hardest part is I am not supposed to run at the moment until I get a medical clearance (Thursday can’t come quick enough)… And running makes me feel good, helps me deal with stress and as I have stated many times re-aligns my head. No running equals Naughty Lin trying to come out to self sabotage with ice-cream and carbs. Not helpful.

A friend had on her Facebook the other day this little gem of a statement (thanks MAE)

This is truth… It is about making wise choices everyday.  So what if I can’t run at the moment… I can walk, and I can walk for hours if I need too, I can lift weights, and go to yoga… Running may be my favourite exercise, but I can go low intensity for a while. Everything else is an excuse, I have had enough excuses for a lifetime, I am done with them… So my resolution, me being accountable to me (and anyone who reads this),  I intend to choose wisely again, focus on me again – and let all the other crap fall to the way side.

Till next time, Lin xox

Crazy…No just committed

Love this Quote

I got called “Crazy” tonight. Just because I wanted to go home after shift and run, and that it was likely to be still raining,. Many of you know that I have a habit, a pattern of coming home after shift and doing my running then. I have blogged about it, I have talked about it, I like it. Running in the wee hours of the morning works for me. I can unwind from work, push it all out and leave it on the pavement.

It was wet again tonight. I am not a fan of working in the rain. I work outside and wear 5 – 6 layers of clothing which consists of wool thermal tops, singlets, hoodies, t-shirts, and wind/water proof jackets. Whilst I don’t like spending hours walking around the city in the rain, I make every effort to stay as dry as possible, no one wants to be wet for hours, then drive home wet and cold.

But running – that is different. It is a time framed thing. I did 5.5km this morning. When I got home it wasnt raining, by the time I changed and walked outside it was the slow steady drizzle rain that soaks you through. I ran anyway, I said earlier I would run, even if it was raining. I did. I like it when it drizzles like this. I feel that my body stays cool, it is not crazy – it is committed. Plus when you get back home and you can deal with the wet then…

Crazy is sitting on the couch making excuses.

Crazy is the way i used to live, – if you could call it living, looking back i can’t, it was more of a sad existence. I was sick, tired, obese, stuck and making excuses… That was what was crazy, that Lin was lost – She was crazy and all her systems were unhealthy.

SO – if i tell you about my training, it is not crazy, it is committed. If I tell you about my events coming up and trying to squeeze them all in, it is not crazy it is taking life with both hands and living it with vigour.

I am not crazy – I am committed – committed to living a full and healthy life, having fun – and realise that to have a healthy mind and emotional life I first must live a physically healthy life. Running in the rain – that is just the tip of the iceberg. Being stronger and healthier is my goal… weight loss is the natural by-product of living a committed healthy lifestyle.

My goals at the moment are to work towards getting back to running a 10km before the 15th of May, strengthening my core, and improving on my shoulder and upper body strength after surgery. I am still having a little discomfort and pain with the arms and tummy… Not all the time – but strength is the key and working with the physio is helping.

So dear readers, find your commitment, call it crazy if you like… In fact I think I will embrace the word crazy now – Yep call me crazy; crazy about being healthy, fit and strong enough to live the life I want.

BTW the run was awesome! the key when running in the rain is getting home, stripping off the wet gear straight away and jumping into a warm shower. Now for sleep…

Till next time, Crazy Lin xox

~ Relationships; Old & New

Marilyn Monroe

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”Marilyn Monroe

I have thought a lot about relationships this week. What they are based on, what people expect of us, what we expect and want of ourselves. What I been pondering is two-fold, Old & New, Beginnings and Ends;  Like what happens to relationships (either platonic or romantic) when a divide grows and there seems to be nothing left in common? Or the parties involved aren’t being real anymore? In some respects it is easier when the relationship is romantic, often you kind of know when it’s over or not going to work; this somehow seems to be more difficult with platonic friendships… Can you “break up” with a friend in a nice way… How do you say in a platonic relationship “Look I like you but just not like that anymore, let’s be friends; oh i mean… Um let’s not be friends” Awkward right?

I adore the words of Marilyn Monroe when it comes to relationships; either friendship or romantic… And let’s be honest; relationships aren’t easy; personally I have a habit of just blurting out stuff, being too open and honest – perhaps it is a style of guerilla honesty to see if you can handle me 🙂

For some reason the idea of not being friends with someone anymore doesn’t sit well with us. We all want to be liked, we are social creatures. Redefining relationships may mean that you need to draw in new boundary lines; or it may mean the line is a separation line – fold along the dotted line and cut. ———————————————-

While closing doors on relationships that need to be shut can be hard, Starting Relationships – Well that is hard work too!

I am beginning to learn that Dating is a Minefield, a Minefield people! And, as I am learning, somehow even harder in your 30’s. You see I am now pretty happy with my life, yep sure it would be nice to be in a relationship (with a great guy obviously) but single-dom is pretty attractive most of the time, and is a hell of a lot better than being in a bad relationship. As Marilyn’s quote at the top says, I am impatient, a little insecure (after years of being obese and ridiculed who wouldn’t be right) and like us all, I can definitely be selfish… but I do have a best side too 😉 and Dating is about finding that person that can handle your best and worst, that doesn’t happen overnight. Being in a relationship requires building a friendship, and trying along the way to get to know the real person not who you want them to be, or comparing them to your other friends.

Ultimately Dating is a bit of a process; in your 30’s a lot of your friends are married, you have your social circles set and meeting new people can be tough. Meeting new single guys even harder. There is the first date, the text messages, the second date, the phone calls. It is a process, it takes time and while dating is hard work, it is fun as well. Your 30’s presents the problem to that you have developed your personality over a longer period of time, and are more set in your ways. I have some pretty funny stories about some of the people I have met, I’ve learnt more about myself, what I want and don’t want, learnt that the best thing to do when someone won’t stop texting you and you have been clear that you are not interested in pursuing things further, is to ignore the texts (they do stop and nothing you can say will make you look better in their eyes, trust me on that one).  I am not entirely sure dating is time well spent…but hey maybe the next date will prove me wrong, and that’s the point right!

Till next time, Lin xox

Get Lost (and learn a lesson)

I got lost today. Not so lost that I didn’t know how to get back to my car, but lost enough not to be able to provide support in the form of H2O that I was supposed to give my friends who were training for the upcoming Tough Mudder event. The idea was i would meet them along the track half way into their course and have a water station. That did not eventuate….

I picked up the water from the start and finish area and drove to another park entrance. I didn’t realise that I entered at the wrong spot. But despite the awkwardness of carrying the water, I persisted, thinking that the place that I would need to meet them was just up here, I must be close… I wasn’t

I just kept taking one more step and another and another…. A friendly runner named John stopped and helped me ( I was about 1.5km into it at this point) …..And still my mantra continued “It must be just up here” “Just keep going”. I then realised that I could check the map on my iphone to see where I was… I wasn’t on the right section of trails.

So with John’s help the water was carried right back to the other end of the park because it was closer to go to the other car park where everyone was finishing than to schlep it back to my car. At the end of the day, the runners brought water at a local petrol station they passed, no one died of thirst and I learnt these lessons.

*I am more stubborn than I thought I was – I just kept going without wanting to give up or “fail” (while this can be a strength, this can also be unhealthy and re-evaluation is an important skill I need to build in)

*I can achieve what seems impossible if I take one step at a time. If you had of told me this morning I would do that walk (since I haven’t been feeling great) I would have laughed. But I did Ok, I broke down the journey into manageable portions,, I had to take my time, and rely on others. This lesson can be translated to any journey or seemingly overwhelming project.

*Sometimes the human race surprises you, John was  generous with his time, kind and helped me above and beyond.

*If it doesn’t work out to plan – find the good in the situation… Despite thinking that I had failed and got a teeny bit emotional about it all – People in the team worked together to solve their water crisis (thanks to a runner who carries cash on him) and I got a workout!

Overall it was a great day to enjoy outside! I love autumn and the mild clear days, there was an abundance of kangaroos bouncing everywhere, beautiful lake and bushland; and at the end of it all I got a coffee with friends; what more could you ask for…

Till next time, Lin xox

“Not Running”

going a little crazee!

I think I am going a little stir crazy.. Yesterday I woke, tired exhausted and grumpy. I knew that after being out for dinner two nights in a row to see my friends, (one who just flew in from the UK) I was due for a day home. I started off quite enjoying the day, I got up, dressed, and then onto the net for a look at some of my favorite sites,Esty and Pinterest (I may be addicted). I chatted to a friend on the phone…And then, I got restless…

It was a lovely day outside, some friends had posted on FB about their training for an upcoming event (tough mudder), I was super jealous and my brain just wanted to chuck on my running gear and head out the door; my body on the other hand was still on strike.

I was driving my housemate (Lynn) mad, by saying I would rest, and proceed then roam around the apartment like a nutter; cleaning out under the laundry sink, cleaning out my bedside table, throwing away junk, and counting up my spare change collection ($70 was a nice little bonus). I would return to sit on my bed and write between these little outbursts, but I was really just wanting to burn off all this mental energy.  Exercise is a great way for me to unwind and do this, somehow on a long run I can turn the music on, let my legs pump away and allow the thoughts of the day wash past me, running exhausts me physically and aligns my thought patterns, it has become the feel good drug for me, it replaced food… I do not like the feeling of not running,  not cycling or not working out at Step into Life classes. It doesn’t feel right…

Before surgery I thought that I would struggle with this; the being stuck at home, not moving, not being as active as I want to be… Honestly it scares me, not exercising and or being active feels too much like my old life. This coupled with the fluid retention, swelling and exhaustion; well it is not a great combo…

But then this morning (after another fitful night sleep) I awoke with a little more energy, each day is one day closer to a full healthy recovery and running, that is what I need to focus on; I also felt like I could perhaps start to go for short walks, I checked with my surgeon House this afternoon after a minor procedure to remove some more fluid, he said YES to walking now. So it is all systems go from tomorrow; Slowly of course 🙂

Till next time, Lin xox