When Things Don’t Work Out [Weigh-In #2]

I’m an overly optimistic person. I believe in this crazy notion that everything will be alright and that things will always work themselves out in the end.

For the most part in my life, they have. I’ve moved across the country…twice, but became more well-rounded. I’ve failed tests, but learned from my mistakes. I’ve gotten rejected from jobs I’ve wanted, but kept pushing on. I’ve had my heart broken, but came out stronger on the other end.

For example, back in 2009, despite the fruitful advice from my family and friends, I decided to venture a 4 hour drive home during projected blizzard conditions (one of my finer moments in life). I got stranded in my car, in a blizzard, on a mountain, in the middle of nowhere, without food or water. Luckily, I had a full tank of gas so I could leave my car on to keep warm. Regardless, I was in a desperate situation considering I couldn’t drive anywhere and most of the cars along the side of the road were abandoned with snow rapidly accumulating. I wasn’t sure how long the snow would last, or how long I was going to be trapped in that car. I could have easily flipped out (like my mom was doing) and been in a mad panic. Instead, I was completely calm, I might even use the word relaxed. I spent the night googling blizzard survival tips (ie. how build a snow cave and if it was safe to eat my own arm off) on my newly acquired iPhone and waited for help to come.

This is an actual picture from the beginning of that night. Check out those snowflakes!

After 18 hours of being stranded, my dad and brother finally made it to me in an 4-wheel drive SUV borrowed from a family friend. It was one of the best moments of my life when I heard the horn honking and I saw the lights flashing as they rounded the corner to where I was. I don’t think my dad has ever hugged me so hard in my life.

I suppose the moral of that story is that I never gave up faith that things would work out in the end. Which is how I approach most situations in my life. I’ve always been able to maintain my cool even when the situation seems impossible. I am a strong person and extremely strong willed (is stubborn the word I should use here?). When I believe in something with every fiber of my being, I will do everything I can to make it work.

But sometimes it’s just not enough.

I surprised myself today when my bi-monthly weigh-in sent me into a tizzy. 169.2. A total loss of 0.0 pounds. After last week’s monumental (almost) 6 lb loss, this really disappointed me. I ran every single day last week, ate pretty regularly this weekend…I didn’t even over-indulge during the Super Bowl yesterday. As you can imagine, I was really, really, really discouraged.

Starting weight: 175.0
Current weight: 
Loss this week: 0
Total loss: -5.8

It’s like you can do all the right things and sometimes it still just don’t work out.

So, I suppose that’s where I’m am [mentally] right at this moment. I’m frustrated. I knew this journey wouldn’t be easy and I knew I would have weigh-ins like this one. I just didn’t expect it to be so early and after 2 weeks of solid exercise and dieting. In true Cait-like form, I will push on. This is something I believe in, something I know I can do. I will make this work. I will do better.

I will be stronger because of it.

</over-arching life metaphor>

Have you ever felt like you were in a hopeless situation? How did you overcome it?

Finding Motivation

It’s not always easy finding motivation to run. Yes, I run marathons on occasion. While I adore the excitement, hype, and sense of community surrounding actual race day, I have more of a love/hate relationship with the training that comes before it.

I would be lying through my teeth if I said that everyday I am excited to run. I would also be lying if I said that everyday I actually do run. Sometimes my legs hurt, sometimes I’m too tired, sometimes I just flat out don’t feel like it. Sometimes I can go weeks months without running at all and be completely okay with that.

This hits me hard especially after I’ve trained for and completed a large race. I’ve talked to many of my runner friends who experience the same phenomenon. After such an important goal is accomplished, the motivation to keep pushing just vanishes. In my mind, I justify it as “rewarding myself” for working so hard and accomplishing something so great; but in a reality it’s just an excuse for me to be lazy. Lazy habits don’t die easy. Getting back into running after any time over a week is hard! After my last marathon I didn’t do anything for 2 months. I went from being able to run 8-10 miles on a daily basis to barely being able to finish 3! It’s amazing how quickly the body forgets.

Recently, I’ve been struggling with finding motivation. Weather has a huge effect on my running habits and current weather patterns in DC have been less than cooperative for my marathon training endeavors. Oh, how I miss the days of college with our indoor track at our brand new gym! Gym memberships are sort of WICKED expensive! Regardless, due to the incessant rain since the beginning of September, I have been slacking. Majorly!

With my next marathon rapidly approaching (November 20th!!), I need to get back in the swing of things. I need to rediscover my motivation.

So, I’ve been thinking. What exactly is it that motivates me? What are those things that really make me excited about running?

  1. Friends – Running with friends is always WAY more fun than running alone. In general, I always try to sign up for races with friends. It makes the experience of races that much more memorable and sometimes makes for a fun weekend getaway. In fact, I’ve actually met some of my best friends through running which is pretty amazing! Of course, having a training buddy doesn’t hurt either. It’s harder to convince a friend that you don’t want to run that 21-miler on Sunday than it is to convince yourself.
  2. Weight – This is sort of embarrassing to talk about, but seeing as this blog is for getting things out in the open, might as well get this one over with. I’ve never been “overweight”, but I easily could be. My family has a long history of obesity. Many of my relatives and extended family ARE obese and I definitely have the potential in my genes. I am honestly, truly terrified to turn out that way. My weight has flucuated over the years, but for the most part running is a great way the only way to keep it at bay.
  3. Strength – In general, I just FEEL so much better after I run. In college, I realized that the only reason I even venture to the gym at all is so that I can get that natural high once I’m done. I love how my legs, core, arms…hell my whole body feels so much stronger after a good run. I have an exponentially higher amount of energy which powers me through the day.
  4. Food – I’m aware that I don’t have the best diet in the world. Running is one of the ways that I can eat what I do and still maintain my weight and energy level. I’m hoping that I can take this one off the list soon.
  5. Mental Clarity – Whenever I’m having a bad day, the very first thing I do is lace up my running shoes. Everyone handles stress, trauma, and sadness in their own unique way and my way is running. Concentrating on something physical that my body is doing takes my mind away from all of my mental aliments. Running is my “me” time and I use it as a time to sort things out in my life.
  6. Finish Line – I remember crossing the finish line at my very first race. I was so excited to get there that I sprinted right on through it! Once that baby is in sight, your heart starts pumping faster and your legs suddenly feel stronger. Seeing that finish line is like confirmation that you’re going to make it and that all of your hard work has not gone to waste. Even in training, I like to picture crossing that finish line.

So, I guess that time has come. Time for me to hone in on those specific motivators. Time to get training! Yeah, we’ll see how this goes.

How do you get motivated? What sort of thing gets you off the couch and hitting the pavement?