If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains, you are lucky enough.

When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Training for the base.

I was cleared to exercise on January 22nd. On January 14th I ran my first continuous mile without stopping ever since November 12th. Yes, these are the dates that I remember now, not the dates of great races and long runs and awesome workouts. I ran 2 miles non-stop on 18th, then made it full 3 miles - and "fast" ones! - on 23rd - I think my body got super-psyched about being officially allowed to go. Talking about mental side...31 minutes! 2 days later I wandered off and ran 6 miles - my regular flat loop - in 1:03. It felt hard, exhausting, tiring - yet exhilarating and totally unbelievable!

I vowed to take it slow. I am at ground zero, and I know it. Between being out of any exercise for exactly 3 months (not counting a 50 mile walk at Ozark), loosing a lot of muscle mass, gaining a lot of fat tissue, loosing cardio-vascular fitness and even simple breathing pattern, and still being on the tail end of whatever I carried all that time in terms of illness - it all put stresses on my body. This week I ran twice, and it was a tad slower both times than last week (3 miles and 6 miles) - but I am ok with that. I ran. That is the part that matters the most.

I re-joined the gym and began doing things in there as well. Little weight lifting, some upper with dumbbells 5 lbs lighter, some squatting with half the weight I am used to...some spin class time (controlling my heart rate), some Stairclimbers (that knock me out after 10 minutes). I am using flat roads to progressively build endurance only, and cardio equipment for training my climbing muscles. Speed is not even on horizon anywhere, and that is just fine too.

It is amazing how much patience I am learning with all that. It's not that I am afraid the running will suddenly disappear again, it's just that waiting so long shifted priorities. I do have races I am signed up for - but I don't have pressure to do well at them. Funny that local running store Rogue had contacted me with offer to join their team - I applied last September and totally forgot about it. I emailed back my thank you - and my honest "where I am today". I haven't heard back...and that is ok too.

My mood is changing and it is not surprising at all - it's been a long-known fact that natural endorphins are best enhancers of happiness. The technique is used for treatment of patients with depression, PTSD, PPD...even in jails. Apparently, I didn't know I was THAT bad until Larry mentioned I got better:) Well, now we know.

I joined 40 days of Personal Revolution journey at my local Baptiste yoga studio. I love those guys. It's been a week as we are asked to practice yoga daily, meditate twice a day, and mindfully forgo something that matters for those 40 days - I chose to not log into computer before 8 am or after 9 pm (and, luckily, I don't own i-Phone). It is amazing what a crutch it is, our addiction to the Powers of Internet. Nothing happens between those hours - yet I feverishly log in and check Facebook updates and see if anybody emailed me. Granted, parts of my personal business depends on communication - but I am not saving babies from the fire, so things can wait till morning, right?

It is amazes me how I thought not training hard will free some of my time - and I've been busier than ever. Why did I sign up for the 40 days that will require me to commit to an hour a day at least to extra things? I'll never know, but there is never a good time. I am blessed to be so busy - it means I have a regular job that serves me with a stable paycheck and medical benefits, and I have people that utilize my skills for helping them in either reach their goals or feel better physically. I have no regrets (well, may be to spend more time actually talking to my husband, who is the most amazing patient partner a woman can possibly want during this transitional time for me). 60 hrs a week between a "job" job and things I do for business (and I don't have a powerful job of a business woman with career), 45 min commute each way each day, and at least 2 yoga classes a week. Who can get 8 hrs of sleep in this life? Never happens to me...

But I recently stumbled on a quote by no other but a Hollywood star Cameron Diaz, and it resonated with me: "Discipline isn't about denying yourself; it's about giving to yourself. It isn't about loosing; it's about gaining. Every day I get up to exercise ('or mediate, or journal, or knit'), I think about what I'll gain from it and what I will loose if I don't do it. 9 times out of 10, I will only gain by doing those things and lose by not doing. Discipline is always a gain in the tallying of life". I love discipline, it makes me feel safe. I missed discipline of waking up and getting out the door. It's a good thing...

There are things that I ran into as a road block as I announced this year as a year to take care of myself. I ran some x-rays and was diagnosed with hip height discrepancy (not surprising at all, always knew it, and it's one of a few causes of my consistent injuries on one side, all stemming from herniated disks back in 1998) and cervical kyphosis, what freaked me out much more, as it potentially can lead to my cervical vertebrae being fused. Not a prospect I am looking forward to - and it totally explains how my neck has been bothering me for over a year now (I keep choosing not to throw my head back during yoga's backbends anymore, or do it briefly at the end), and how the pain in the area had been getting worse in the last month or so. Time to take care of it with aggressive treatments (mostly deep tissue type of things to break scar tissues to free the movement first, all procedures quite painful and not covered by medical insurance, of course), and then re-train my neck into a curve again. Here goes my free time...But it does fit into "taking care of me year" description, and since the "training" is rather simple and basic at this time, there is no better way.

I certainly am a runner in my heart, there is no question about it anymore. But at the same time, I am more than that, and not being seen for more makes me resentful of being a runner. Does it make sense? (all that daily journaling for 40 days and my visits with a therapist make me think too much?) Obviously social media is a crazy thing to use as a judgment point (and of many reasons I joined 40 days at Yoga studio is to meet real people I'd talk to, and I make an honest effort to keep meeting with my friends in real life too, for a cup of coffee and a conversation, past month had been wonderfully full of those), but it does tick me in a wrong way when I post on FB "I ran 2 miles" - and get 70 likes, but when I say "I practiced yoga" - it'll be 3 (and one of them is Larry). Granted, 90% of my friends (and I still keep the "number" down to real life people I met and talked to on "other" matters beyond races) are met through running, but we are ALL people with many more sides! Being a freak I am and an introvert, it cause me to battle a wish to shut down FB and NOT run. 

May be I am just getting older...and processing a lot more things in a way I didn't have time to before.

Breaks are good. Breaks from habitual experiences are  awesome. I realized I love running - from a whole new perspective, every time my break is forced upon me. And every time I, also, realize what else I am besides running. It's a process. I hope it never ends.

(In the meantime, I am throwing away the scale, because in the last 2 weeks of actually exercising, I haven't lost a single pound, and my clothes still don't fit! Ugh! Rant over:))

p.s. I'll be at Rocky Raccoon 100 this weekend crewing for Pam Smith (yes, THAT Pam Smith) and cheering my friends out. Yell me hello! 

p.p.s let me venture and add here (as you can see from the very first comment and my response below) I get somewhat defensive when I am asked about Whole30 these days - and I get asked a lot, and obviously, I set myself up for it since I wrote how it helped me to get in (better) shape in 2013. I DO NOT EAT JUNK FOOD! Ok, yelling is over:) The reason I don't call it Whole30 or Paleo anymore is because it is not - I have IBS and have enough restrictions to keep up with. I do not eat processed food, I don't like deserts (lucky!), I can have an ice cream scoop once a month (and have a stomach ache later), or a slice of cheese once a week (same outcome). I eat either slice of bread or cup of brown rice as an emergency once a month. I don't subscribe to organic and grass-fed grocery idea (too expensive). I will refer all to Pam Smith's latest entry HERE as she describes "diet" close to what I do - without back-carbo-loading for me due to not training really and due to my IBS. My breakfast is either 2 eggs with tomato and spinach and salsa, or a shake of water/protein powder/spinach/berries. My lunch is salad of greens with no dressing and some chicken or canned fish. My dinner is cooked meat (chicken or pork due to price tag) and veggies. This is normal to me, not diet or eating plan. I do have a piece of dark chocolate daily. I drink Latte once in a blue moon when see my friends for a date. As rarely if not more so I drink wine - once a month? As I told my doctor last December when he tried to propose may be weakness in running is caused by dietary deficit - if he finds someone who eats healthier, I'd like to shake hands (I am aware a number of my friends are extremely healthy eaters, but I was speaking in general terms). That said, I will not put myself on calorie restriction or food restriction for the magic of getting lean/fit at this point of my life. My priorities changed. I want to be healthy, but not focused on being a very good athlete at the expense of other aspects of my life, including meals with my husband, who is normal - and, by the way, eats healthy, since I am the cook:)

Bottom line is, just as we "can not outrun bad diet", we can not "out-eat no exercise". It has to go hand in hand.
Cardigan I started 10 days ago from a fantastic yarn is almost done!

Coffee date with my good friend Cris Strong

Snow apocalypses in Austin
Hawk in the backyard (bad picture)

We have a woodpecker too, keeping company to our owls!

Henry and Janice visiting - and then we visited their new home!


Julie said...

I always enjoy your blog posts, Olga. :) Very real and heartfelt. I'm so glad you are healing and taking your time about returning to running. Love all of the pictures!

Do you think you will return to Whole30 at some point? Curious what your thoughts are on diet as you work on regaining your tiptop shape fitness again.

Will you be at RR100 this weekend? Would love to see you! I'll be there crewing for one of my best friends who'll be running her first 100.


Olga King said...

Yes, I'll be at RR as a crew member, not volunteering.
I don't think I'll do Whole30 strict any time soon - I am staying as close as I humanely can, but I do have a husband so I cook for two, and we both subscribe to "sometimes you just have to cook a cup of rice" - read here: http://theturtlepath.blogspot.com/2014/01/nutrition-part-1-your-perfect-nutrition.html
I think what helped me last year is cutting calories in general while on Whole30 and returning to more speed and hill intervals than I had done in a few years prior.
I do need to come back to some kind of watchful eating in terms of what exactly I put in even as veggies because of my IBS - and that is the limiting factor, as I can't have over half of what normal Whole30/Paleo people eat, and this ends up being 5 items on a grocery list.
Also, with coming home at 8:30 pm 4 nights a week and working through the weekend doesn't leave me much time and energy to entertain cooking mindfully, often I just gulf anything in sight.

Ronda said...

So glad your getting out and able to do some things now. Enjoy the process and I'll see you in a couple of weeks! have fun crewing Pam!

Will said...

It's amazing how hard it is for runners to really, really focus on base training. I think it is all about the barriers the ego puts up. For me, when I run with my buddies, I can't work on MAHR base training because they all want to run fast. So I just don't run with them when I'm working base. I'm planning on spending the next two months running slow base, even though I'm not hurt. This has been my key to avoiding injury. Be patient (as you have been) as it will pay huge dividends for you.

Ryan said...

Love this post! Please do keep us updated about your running so I can improve from running 5k to 10k? :)

Sarah said...

I'm glad you are able to get back out running again, doing what you love. Breaks are good, but so hard when they come at a time not our choosing! And yes, you are so much more than a runner...and that's a very good thing!

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