That’s all I’ve been feeling toward myself these days. While so many of my running friends are posting better times and new PRs…I feel like I’m in a slump. I feel like…things are just…getting worse for me. And all of this leads to a lot of self doubt and a lot of low self-esteem. Yes…I am so very proud of my friends for their accomplishments. But it’s only natural for me to look at what they are managing and wonder…why am I slowing down? Why is the weight piling on? Why…just why?
I try to keep my thoughts positive, but when you feel like your fitness is suffering…well…it’s hard to keep that good attitude.
Let’s start with the first thing. I’ve put on about 10 pounds since I ran the Chicago Marathon. I haven’t changed my eating routines. I’m not loading up on junk food. I’m still eating clean. I still treat myself. But…the weight just won’t come off. In fact, I just seem to add to it. And that just sucks…mightily. When you no longer feel as light as a feather…you don’t feel like you’re running as fast or capable of running as fast as you did when you were at your prime fitness. This is me. And it is really messing with my mind. I hear about all my friends losing weight, dieting, all this stuff. I don’t diet…I just eat clean and I workout. And somehow this has brought on weight. I don’t eat a lot of crap. Yes…I treat myself to ice cream on the weekend…but I’ve always done that. Even back during my marathon training. UGH! The biggest insult happened this past weekend when I went to the pool to swim some laps…and my bathing suit was tight. Uncomfortably…not fitting me right…tight.
Now, allow me to follow this paragraph up with the fact that I am not working out to lose weight. I don’t run to lose weight. Nor do I run so I can eat a lot of crap and not feel guilty about it. I run and I go to the gym because I love how it makes me feel. I don’t need to lose weight. BUT…I don’t want to gain it either. And despite my workouts and my runs…that scale keeps creeping up…and with it…my self-doubt.
It sucks having low self-esteem!
Achilles tendonitis. Brought on from…ironically…avoiding the treadmill and going out to run on those icy and snowy days. Landing on uneven icy and snow altered my gait…and with it…put some strain and stress on my Achilles. What has this brought on? Slower runs. No long runs. And a lot of very mixed emotions from me. I hate cutting my mileage. If there is one run I look forward to every week it’s my long run. I love going long. I love the distance. I don’t care how fast I run or how slow…I just want to get that distance. I love the time with others…or the time alone. I love talking or sometimes just letting my thoughts take over. This past weekend I was supposed to run 2 long runs…but…I ran a total of 4 miles. FOUR MILES!! And not even at speed. I can’t. Not with this ankle/Achilles issue. It is so aggravating. I can still run…but the intensity isn’t there. The distance is definitely not happening. And it just tears me up inside. I know it’s for the best…not to put added strain/stress on the problem area…but…I get so cranky when my runs get messed with. And this has definitely left me feeling insignificant. Especially when the miles are turned down and so is the speed. I feel like I should be turning up the intensity if the mileage is not there…but I can’t even do that. And it’s beyond bumming me out. It’s making me second guess everything. And then I read about everyone else who is running long, setting new PRs, and just getting so much stronger and faster…and here I am…slowing down…feeling like I’m reverting back…feeling…SO DAMN SLOW!! IT SUCKS!!
I know it’s for the best, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.
What I have been doing is taking my runs inside…to the dreadmill…and running at a very deliberate, easy pace. The soft belt is a lot kinder to my joints than the hard pavement right now. Oh…and I’ve now officially taken two spinning classes (and totally intend to keep going to them!!) and have added more weights for some strength training. I’ve only learned the machines…so I haven’t officially added that back in. I’m going to get back into the habit of my circuit training. I fell off it when my roommate went into the hospital. Then it was too close to my marathon to really want to hop back in. After that…probably sheer lack of motivation…and the fact that the roomie can’t turn it up and dial it in like I can while on her current meds. BUT…that changes when I get back from my Christmas vacation. Dialing back into those weights, the core, the strength training. Hopefully the ankle/Achilles will be further on the mend. I also went swimming on Sunday. Yep. Swimming for a whole 45 minutes. I love to swim, and definitely should incorporate it more. Or else I’ll never get any better. Not that I’m a horrible swimmer, I’m just not very fast. I don’t have that strength behind it yet. But that comes with time and training. Time to just hop in and DO IT!
I have a difficult time wrapping my head around slower running times. I’m built for distance…that much I know. But I also like to prove that I am swift. I’m speedy. Sometimes I feel that way. But ever since the cold weather hit, my times have been so much slower than what I could master in the heat of summer. I run better in heat than cold. Cold burns my lungs, makes it hard to breathe, therefore…I never quite find my rhythm. Some people run better and faster in colder temperatures. I am not one of those people. Slowing down scares me. I am not ready to slow down. I want to find that strength to push a little harder, fight to get a little faster, and outrun all my doubts and limits. And I have yet to do just that. I feel like I’m failing…
Cold weather creeps in and so does my self-doubt. I am my own worst critic and my harshest competition. I don’t feel like I’m running up to par and that gets stuck in my head. I get aggravated when I fail to nail a time on a distance that felt so easy during the warmer days. I know it’s natural. I know it’s normal. But I’m competitive…and when I feel like I’m sliding backwards instead of moving ahead…I get into this tug-of-war with myself and my emotions…my expectations…
And yeah…that sucks too.
My competition is not my friends I run with…nor is it those who are out there making progress. My competition is myself. I look in the mirror…and those extra pounds, those slower times, the lack of long runs, the self-doubt…that is my competition. And until I get get over this hump…it’s the fight of my life right now. Because until I believe that I can run faster in the cold, that my ankle won’t hurt, that my body isn’t failing me or trying to slow me down…then I’m not making progress. And I won’t. Words have power…even the unspoken ones inside my head.
Time to find my strong…again.
It’s a battle I’m willing to fight. I just have to be smart about it. My competition…is all in my head…and it’s time to show it who is boss.