Tag Archives: friends

Getting Uncomfortable

TGIF

I really feel like I’m saying that a lot more frequently than normal. Again with time dwindling away…

Where does it go?!

Actually, I think I only feel like this because I always posts on Fridays, therefore my forced Friday acknowledgment makes the time seem to go quicker.

That’s my justification.

Hello! Welcome to the end of the week, and another round of “I have too many other things to say there I’m not doing Friday Favorites, AGAIN.”

Sure, I could save up all of my running-related thoughts for posts in the future, but I’m the kind of person who doesn’t necessarily like to wait on the things that are currently going on in my brain. Also, I never “draft” posts—that would be way too productive. I’m sure you thought I spend days ahead of time writing my posts, given their not-at-all rambling and stream of consciousness nature.

Sorry to let you down. I fly by the seat of my pants and often have typos.

So, despite my lack of dedication to Friday Favorites and my fear of the speed of time, I am generally feeling rather cheery today. Superb workout (including RUN!) and my beautiful, tall, law school attending bestie Anna is coming to visit for the weekend.

Friendship! This is actually one of the few “nice” pictures we’ve taken.

Anna and I get along for a number of reasons, but mainly because our friendship takes little effort; it’s easy, it’s fun, and it has no filters. We also enjoy many of the same things, namely being active and food—sometimes in that order, sometimes not. With that said, our weekend will consist of some hiking, some Ikea browsing (also known as people watching, impulse buying, and getting lost), and food consumption.

There, that’s more accurate.

Additionally, I have some pretty exciting endeavors/news in the works. Exciting is relative, meaning it might only be exciting for me, but I am PUMPED for some things going on in the near future. More on that on Monday! Let’s just say I spent the better part (aka: all of) yesterday morning plotting/emailing/texting/Tweeting with Nicole about some pretty sweet and sweaty plans. I love having people that can share in my athletic delusions ambitions.

Oh, you want a hint? Here.

I’m in this weird balancing act right now of settling into a routine of not running as much, trying new things, and wanting really bad to run again. The thing is, though, it’s becoming just that: a routine. And truthfully? I don’t hate it.

Yes, I love running all the time. Particularly long, salty-sweat face runs that leave me in a heap of endorphin-filled giddiness on the couch, whilst stuffing oatmeal in my face and planning my dessert for the day.

Running is the best. DUH.

But, I have to say I am really digging discovering all of my body’s short-comings and working on them.

Do I have calves that don’t fit into most boots? Yes. Do I have quads that could likely strangle someone? Yes, not a pleasant thought there. But other than that…I’m realizing that I have a lot of room for improvement in terms of my strength, and it’s both humbling and exciting to figure that out.

Case in point: the current state of my rear. It’s sore. It’s been sore since Wednesday. I definitely have not been massaging it in public.

With the exception of some occasional leg lifts, I rarely did any kind of glute work when I was logging heavy miles. This isn’t awesome…considering the strength of your rear muscles and the propensity of getting injured are directly related, but the truth is I never had any interest. I might love a long, exhausting run or a sweat-covered spin bike, but honestly…I actually shy away from things that I know will be hard. Once I am confident in doing something (such as the aforementioned cardio activities) I have no problem hopping right into them…but give me something I’ve never done before and I curl into a ball of stubborn reluctance.

And thanks to my new-found need and interest in testing out my weak points, I’m realizing that being a good athlete isn’t actually about focusing all our energy and attention into the things we’re good at. Sure, if we’re good at something—we want to capitalize on it, but being a good athlete is actually more about finding the areas we need to improve on more than the things we already excel in.

I am so guilty of getting into a place of routine with my workouts. I know they will be fulfilling enough to tide me over, I know that I will get through them no problem, so I’m content with never changing them. Sure, a 10-mile run every Tuesday is a great workout, and it kept me in great running shape, but hand me a pair of hand weights and make me do single-leg lunges? I turn into a crying toddler.

Do you see the imbalance? I think a lot of us do this…and although it’s great that we can excel and be great at certain things, that does not excuse us from making our bodies work hard in other capacities.

Which is a very wordy, roundabout way of bringing back to where I am now. I don’t think at least one of my muscle groups hasn’t been sore in the past two weeks. I’m doing exercises that I have long proclaimed to loathe, simply because they are hard. I’m accepting that not being the best in a class is okay, and I’m letting instructors give me advice.

And I’m loving it. I love being sore, even though it necessitates doing things that are uncomfortable or even painful. I love feeling that there’s a lot of room for improvement, and I love my new mentality of “all-around” fitness as opposed to the one-dimensional cardio focus that I tend to hide in.

This whole way of approaching my physical health hit me right between the eyes this morning when I thought about trying to run. And while I bellyache about not running, and all I seem to think and talk about is when I can run again…I somehow felt reluctant when it was go time. Was it because the walk/run is annoying? No, I’m getting to be okay with it. Was it because the weather was bad? No, no rain.

It’s because I knew it would be hard. Hard, sure, because of my persnickety IT band, but mainly just hard, physically. Even in marathon shape, you can’t go a month with minimal running and expect to just jump back into it effortlessly.

A part of my brain, the newly-developing humbled part, knew this as I went back and forth with the running decision. All of a sudden, my go-to, default mode of exercise has become a little more difficult to force out…and it scared me. It scared me the same way squats and lunges always scare me. It scared me the same way biking scares me, and lifting heavier weights, and trying a new yoga pose scares me.

(Side note: Running is hard no matter what. I am simply speaking as someone who is normally in running shape and is currently out of running.)

Running has become a little more ambiguous than I’m normally used to. That bothers me a little, but I’m happy that running can slowly become a part of the mix of things that I’m working on getting better at. I am fairly confident that once my injury whittles away, my running is going to come back no problem—but for now it’s something I need to challenge myself with. And that’s okay.

What’s my point? I don’t really know…there’s a lot of rambling going on in there.

Ultimately, I think I’m realizing the importance of leaving our comfort zones. You might be able to bust out miles week after week, but are you actually challenging yourself to be better?

I encourage you to look at the fitness safe zones you stick to—and maybe try and step out of them a bit. Improving upon your weak spots isn’t going to take anything away from the things you’re already exceptional at, and in fact—it will probably make you better in them. Whether it’s adding speed work to your training routine (I’m speaking to myself when I say this one) or going to a weight lifting class for the first time—try getting a little uncomfortable.

You’ll be sore, you probably won’t be the best in the class, and you will probably utter many swear words during the process. But you will positively leave in a better space than you started off in. We cannot get better by sticking to the same routines—we plateau, we get bored, and eventually our fitness can actually decline. We get better by pushing our own limits, doing things that are hard, and regularly questioning how we can improve.

What kinds of things do you want to incorporate in your fitness routine? What do you actively avoid, for fear of failure or it being “too hard”? 

Running with Friends and My First Personal Ad

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m really really really over the whole dark-til-8am thing.

It has been taking every single bit of my willpower to hoist myself out of bed at 6am, and that’s after getting plenty of sleep. It might be a version of that seasonal mood disorder, but instead of getting down about the weather I’m just down about the darkness.

This is somewhat strange to me, though, as the dark to me is very solitary in a comforting way. I love running in the dark (although starting off isn’t always fun), and once I get going I love the feeling that I am alone in the quietness of the early morning. It’s different in the Summer when the sun is shining overhead on my early runs, although it may be the same time that in the Winter I feel completely alone.

I know feeling alone might ordinally evoke a feeling of sadness, but for me it’s kind of the opposite. No, I’m not emo, depressed, or completely socially inept—only slightly—,but I’ve always been the kind of person that likes to be by themselves. When I was younger, I preferred to entertain myself as opposed to playing with friends or having sleepovers or whatever was normal for younger girls. I was a bit of a loner, and it was completely fine with me. Today, I still enjoy being alone, although I have managed to accumulate some people that I love spending lots of time with.

{If you are thinking I’m a huge weirdo at this point, it’s okay—you probably should.}

I think the fact that I like being alone is one of the reasons I love running so much. I’m accountable to no one, and I have the unique opportunity to count on no one but myself for strength and guidance. Additionally, running alone activates a certain automated calm within my brain; it’s as if my consciousness has adapted to recognize the act of running as one in which it must let go of lingering thoughts and concentrate on the present moment.

With that said, I am both puzzled and curious about the runners who run together. I can count on two hands the number of runs in my running career I have done with someone else, and although those people are great friends and runners, I honestly can’t remember actually enjoying those runs. I’m sure it’s due in part to the fact that I wasn’t used to it, however I think it’s also just the nature of who I am and the running habits I’ve developed.

My question, then, is why do some runners prefer to be alone, and why do some prefer to be with friends?

Is it simply in our personalities? As in, I’m somewhat anti-social, therefore I prefer antisocial running?

Or is it more in the way we learned to run; if you started your running career with another person, are you drawn to the group-running setup?

I ask these questions because I am, truly, very interested in pursuing some more social interaction in my running. I have heard and read several stories about the power of having a running buddy, and I can only imagine the kinship that comes from sharing miles together. There are running groups in my neighborhood, however whenever I think, “Okay, this week you’ll go,” I shy away from it for the sake of my solitary runs. I think it’s one of those things I need to admit is on my “I’m scared to do this” list and just suck it up and go for it. I did make a New Year’s declaration to banish the things that scare me, didn’t I?

I have this dream of finding a few people that I can do my long runs with, sign up for marathons with, and make cookies and drink wine with while gushing about how much we love running and each other. Sure it’s romanticized, but I can’t help but think that friends who run together have an exceptional bond that’s rare and lasts a lifetime. So this is my personal ad:

If you’re in the Seattle area and think the best way to spend your Sunday morning is to run for 10+ miles and you’re therefore somewhat insane, pretty please contact me for a run date? I promise to provide gorgeous scenery, a stellar recovery breakfast, and an odorless presence. Just kidding! I’ll smell a lot. But so will you, so we can still be friends.

 

In relation to this topic, I AM excited to say that I have a running/friendship combo coming in the form of a relay race this weekend. BF signed us up to relay a 10k race, and while it won’t exactly be running together—it is closer to group running, right? Our team name is Grizzly Bird, and I’m still hoping to convince him to make shirts with me…

Hope everyone’s week is going well so far!

Question: Do you prefer to run alone or with a friend?