Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Phantom Babies and Near-Spring Fever

This is my brain.  My brain pretty much every waking second (and some of the non-waking ones).  Except with way more boxes.  Kindergarten registration forms, obtaining used ski equipment, scheduling a two hour long run around the daily predicted snowstorms.  Why is the cat throwing up?  How are we going to use two pounds of organic mustard greens from this week's delivery?  When will we get our tax refund?  Can we afford a vacation this year? And when in the week are all of these things going to be accomplished???  And on and on......

Multitasking is the meat and potatoes of a mom's existence.  Work, kids, marriage, throw in some athletics, some hobbies, finances, a social life - you know the drill.  Most of the time I manage this all pretty well- with a modicum of grace (dare I say it?) and without too much strife.  As my mom once said to me - "Miranda, it's just multi-tasking!!"  But the ability to stay calm while juggling too many responsibilities is one of the first things to go when anxiety and depression start getting to me.

Part of me would like nothing more than to write a chirpy post about how it's two weeks out to my first half marathon.  I feel ready!  I feel excited!  Plug in yet another funny cartoon about the Polar Vortex (which I'm increasingly convinced was manufactured by Disney as a marketing ploy to promote Frozen.  They have the clout to do it....) and be done with it.  But many of my readers have expressed to me, either publicly or privately, they they appreciate that I "am real" in my blog.  There are 1000 fitness blogs out there, and my fitness journey is by no means exceptional to the point of being interesting on its own.  So... here's the real scoop.

It is, but...

It's the end of February, which I have already stated as the worst time of the year.  I'm starting to unravel a bit.  A little sad, a lot crazy.  Lots of not wanting to get out of bed (which really, why would you want to when it's this cold and dark?).  Earlier this week, in reaction to wistfulness over my skiing and reading Big Kids, I convinced myself I was pregnant.  My evidence?  I'm tired all the time, and hungry all the time.  Seriously - I eat everything that's not nailed down (Clean eating, what?).  Gee, what other reasons could there be for that?  7+ hours of workouts a week??  And that being pregnant would mean I'd have a bona fide reason to stop doing such long runs.  Plus my existing, real children are growing up too fast, and they are very cute, so clearly another one would be equally cute and cool.  Phantom crazy baby.  Mommy's off the deep end.

I Am Here.

Clarification - it's not medically possible for me to be pregnant, so please hold the gifts and phone calls.

Depression, whether it is seasonal, generalized, anxiety-related, or otherwise, can be very difficult to describe.  The best way I can try is to say that it's a disconnect between your reality and how you react to your reality.  You know that you have all these wonderful things in your life - warm home, beautiful children, a loving spouse, great family... and yet you can't quite connect to them.  Imagine being thirsty and having a glass of water in front of you, and yet when you reach for it, your hand passes through it as if you are a ghost.  You know it's there, you just can't grab it or feel it or touch it.  You're removed from your own reality.  Some people feel lethargic, some spin madly with obsessive thoughts (me), some withdraw completely - everyone's experience is different.

If you know someone who is having a tough time with such issues, please know that trying to "cheer them up" is just not effective.  Do not keep pointing out that there is a glass of water in front of them.  It's right there!  Grab it!!  Just cheer up!!  Trust me, if they could they would.  I am fully aware that I have wonderful kids and a great job and I'm doing well in my training.  I also know that nothing is really going to help me fully appreciate these things until spring arrives and takes away my February blues/psychosis.  So I get to wait.  That's ok.  I can wait.  I do this every year - it's fine.


So what about that little race coming up?

The New Bedford Half Marathon is 18 days away (but who's counting?).  Physically, I am ready for it.  My last long run went really well.  I have one more 12 miler this weekend, and then shorter runs until race day.  I even will possibly have a very good friend at my side for the race.  (More on that later).  All good things.

I started running longer distances because I had a number of friends who are half marathoners or marathoners.  I wanted to keep up with them, be able to run with them, but mostly I wanted to see what it was like.  If I could do it.  How my car would look with a 13.1 sticker on it.  Just kidding.  I'm not stickering my car.

Maybe it's because I've done a lot of my training solo, and in the cold months.  Maybe it's because my body (GI tract) hasn't adjusted to the long distances.  But here today, in this moment based on how I've been feeling over the last several weeks of training, I don't think long distance running is for me.  I realize this is the opposite of a motivational message.  Sorry folks.  Cupcake Triathlete Inspiration Fail. 

As we strive for new goals, to improve ourselves, and to push our limits, I think it's important to pay attention to our bodies and minds and be open to honest feedback.  My body and mind are telling me that I don't enjoy much over 6 miles.  I love being able to bust out a 5k like its nothing.  The fact that I woke up yesterday and ran 5 miles on the 'mill before work and didn't think much of it is extraordinary (for me).  But honestly, long runs do not make me feel physically good.  Or emotionally better in any way.  Certainly not more than something in the sweet spot of 45-60 minutes.  I don't like having to find a three hour block of time every weekend to run - I've got too much going on with the family and the cake business.  Plus the desire to relax!!  Read a book with kitty.  Play tetris with the kids (the real kind, not the one in my head).

I fully reserve the right to change my mind once its warmer.  Maybe running for hours through the warm spring sun or the crisp autumn leaves will feel completely different than doing so over ice-covered streets with screws in my running shoes.  Though if it's nice enough to do that, I'd rather spend those hours on my bike.  Oh my bike... I miss you so.....

I'm not sure what this means for my Rock'n'Roll half marathon in April with Rio.  I think she will forgive me if I punk off a bit.  If we take walking breaks to watch the bands and generally take in the experience.  I will give New Bedford all I've got, and then I'm looking forward to backing off running.  Getting back on my bike.  More pool time.  More yoga.  Training for sprint and Oly-distance triathlons (the run leg is only 10k).  Spring winds and the snowbanks receding.  My mind quieting down again.  So much to look forward to....

After yesterday's morning run.
The bulbs in my basement pot are starting to sprout!

What are you looking forward to most about spring?  

Has it sprung where you are, or are you still Frozen?

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