Torture Report: Push Through or Pause

Downed trees happen

(G) All week long there was one phrase that kept coming to mind, “push through.”
Push through the fatigue, whether it was mental, physical or otherwise.
Push through the day.
Push through the hours.
Push, push, push…

This phrase and approach serves me well most of the time. You don’t get through hard times or long miles without it.

But Saturday morning arrived and all I wanted was to sleep and have a slow start to the day. But the push was still on as I was teaching yoga for a friend. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to help a sister out but I felt foggy, fuzzy and unfocused.

Reaching my limit is a lot like encountering static. I can’t quite get a clear channel and I am unable to pinpoint exactly what’s “off.” Turns out after weeks of high intensity training as well as some “full contact” life experiences, I was overdone.

Ultra running/training for me is equal parts physical and mental. The physicality of it is apparent. However, the psychology of it cannot be overlooked. It takes a lot to convince myself I am able and to will myself into believing. It’s taxing.

After much mental wrangling with myself, I did what I was reluctant to. I relinquished the push and pressed pause. It didn’t come without guilt, disappointment and some feeling of failure but I didn’t have enough left to keep pushing. My cup was darn near empty and I was strongly considering adding some tequila just to fill it up.

Muddy miles
Swaggy J leading the way per usual.

This full stop doesn’t happen all that often but it does happen. It always looks the same. Even still, I don’t always recognize it or want to acknowledge its elephant-like presence. Being partial to denial I wanted to believe I could just power through. And if it had just been a 2-hour run after yoga on Saturday I am sure I would have. But I knew I was following it up with a four-hour run on Sunday and the limit had arrived. I was either going to have to face it on Saturday or Sunday.

In the end, I was more willing to miss a 2-hour run than bail on four hours. Sick, I know. I did manage to keep the daily mile streak alive by going for a couple mile walk with Swaggy J later in the day.

This is part of the process. My husband likes to say that the distance is the great equalizer. He’s not wrong. But the distance isn’t just physical for me, it’s mental. People say running is therapy and that’s true. The dichotomy for me is these ultra distances are also an outward manifestation of me facing my fears and that’s not always easy. It bubbles up the issues that can drive you to therapy. The distance is often daunting. The idea of the challenge can be paralyzing. But who wants to let fear win? Who wants to let fear take the first swing at the piñata? Not me, I promise you.

And still finished with a smile!

On Sunday morning I woke up feeling better. My focus had returned and the static had been shown the door. Swaggy and I ran our 4 hours and I felt good through more than half of it. And I had the reserve to finish strong.

I am reminded even a brief pause can return your power.

(L)  I don’t remember what the Super Bowl commercial was for, but I keep thinking about it.  It showed a guy who was running down the street for what appeared to be a grueling amount of miles only to glance at his watch and see it had only been .1 miles.  We all feel like this when we begin a new exercise program, but sometimes that is what it still feels like for me.

This year is supposed to be different and for the most part it has been.
The last couple of weeks though have been a little tougher in the workout department.  I am still working out, but I have fallen into my old habits of letting other things get in the way of taking care myself.  Ironically, this is simultaneously happening as I plan a coaching retreat on self-care and rising to the challenge of being there for yourself.  Yesterday, as I was going through the curriculum with my co-facilitator it hit me; I am not rising to meet myself.
Today, I am regrouping.
I am pushing through the old habits and the voice that says I can do it tomorrow.
I am doing it today.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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