Archive | March, 2015

The Pit

6 Mar

To follow up on yesterday’s post about the winter, I want to address a more serious winter side effect. This winter (and most winters) didn’t just sideline me physically. It sidelined me mentally. The “winter blues” are real, seasonal changes in mood and well-being is a thing. Melancholy, apathy, lethargy, whacky moods, generally feeling some kinda way, all of this hit me hard. Starting around November, and rolling on through until, well, pretty much last week.

Truth be told, until last week I didn’t even want to run. I didn’t really want to do anything. When I was in my mental health diagnostics class (and my cognitive behavioral therapy class) (and my clinical practice class) (and probably at least 3 other classes I’m now forgetting) in grad school we learned about anhedonia. For those of you not in the field, anhedonia is defined as the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable. I remember thinking in early February, “I now know what means.” All I wanted to do was watch episodes of Parks and Recreation, play Candy Crush and listen to audiobooks. Period. Not run, or read, or make a craft, write a blog post, see friends, or spend real quality time with my husband. Anhedonia, my friends, at his/her/its finest.

Over the past few weeks I’ve felt the mental cloud start to lift, and I had this mental image of me climbing back out of a pit. Like I spent the winter in a pit, a pit that I imagined would be called “The Pit of Despair” (I listened to Cary Elwes “As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride” while I was in “the pit”), and I was finally getting back up towards the top.

In case any of you have felt this way, are currently feeling this way, are also suffering from the winter blues, or often find yourself in a general state of melancholy.  Here is a little advice to help you climb back out:

1. Read this blog entry by The DIY Couturier: 21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You’re Depressed  (Full credit for these tips goes to Rosalind Robertson, the author of The DIY Couturier, who I have not met, but was seriously inspired by)

2. Surround yourself by a support network. Even if that network is one person. Find someone(s) who you can talk to, who will listen, who will be there when you’re feeling down, and who won’t judge you for how you’re feeling.

3. Get off the couch. As physics has shown, an object in motion, stays in motion. So get up, turn off the TV, go outside, hell, even just go into another room. Makes plans with someone and follow through, sometimes just knowing that someone is counting on you can give you the push you need.

4. I fully and totally second The DIY Couturier’s number 17. Turn off the external drama. We have a year round rule in the Main house “Comedies only.” When people ask me if I watch Scandal or House of Cards or Insert-Other-Drama-Here the answer is no. Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, that’s where it’s at over here. I also do not watch the news, and I limit my Facebook clicks to cute kittens, silly quizzes, and lists of “Life Hacks.”

5. Baby steps. Small wins. Acknowledge them all, and be proud of them. There are some days that I’m super pumped that I unloaded the dishwasher and loaded it back up, and then walked to work. Win! Let’s see what we can do tomorrow!

Please know, if you’ve also found yourself in the pit this winter, sometimes I fall into the pit, you fall into the pit, we all fall into the pit. Little by little, the sun will shine longer and brighter, the top of the pit won’t seem so far away. And now to end on a lighter note:

 

 

 

 

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Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

5 Mar

No. No, I do not want to build a snowman. I want to run. I want to run outside. I want it to be over 40 degrees, and I want the sun to come out, and I want to go outside, and I want to run outside!

I’ve never liked snow. As a child I grew up in Charleston, SC, so snow didn’t happen with great frequency. The first time I saw snow was on a visit to see my grandparents in the Philadelphia suburbs. My parents were so excited to show me snow for the first time, like most parents seem to be, so they opened the front door and had me gaze at the wonder. I promptly replied, “Get that white stuff offa my car, I wanna go home.” They bribed me with a Happy Meal to play in the snow, I lasted roughly 15 minutes.

A year or two later it did actually snow in Charleston. Again my parents were excited for the opportunity to play in the snow. My dad wanted to do the father-daughter bonding activity of building a snowman. We got the snowman erected and he headed into the house to find something to use for arms, I believe he was thinking BBQ tools would work well. While he was gone I decided I was done with the snowman and knocked him over. My dad was displeased. As you can imagine.

Me - Sitting on the remains of the snowman

Me – Sitting on the remains of the snowman

Then there was the time that I went sledding and injured my knee as I flew down the hill.

Are you noticing a trend?

So, here we are, watching another 4-8 inches of snow fall on Philadelphia, and here I am thinking, “Hey, Mother Nature, there’s this little thing called the Broad Street Run, maybe you’ve heard of it, yeah, so, I need to train for that. Can you cut me some mother*$@&ing slack??” This winter has been wrought with below freezing temperatures, thin ice, thick ice, sleet, and snow, and I’ve been trapped inside.

Over the winter I’ve seen many folks running outside, sometimes even ON THE ICE. But as you’ve heard over the course of this blog, I fall down. A lot. I’ve had to answer yes to the question that the doctor asks at your annual physical: “Have you fallen more than twice in the past year.” My nickname as a child was Calamity Jessica, a take on Calamity Jane. So running on ice, or snow, or general slickness ups the likelihood of me falling (which is already rather high) by, oh, let’s guess, 1000%. It’s not an option for me. When I see those runners I lament that I am not running, but then I remember what Amy Poehler says in “Yes Please”: “Good for her, not for me.”

So this is me right now, wanting to do whatever Frozen things do….In Summer!

DISCLOSURE: My husband loves snow and has every desire, that I do not share, to build a snowman. Out of devotion to the man I love, I have agreed to craft an Olaf out of snow this afternoon. So I will in fact be building a snowman. Just needed to be up front about that.

The Blog is Back

3 Mar

So it’s been awhile. I just took a look at the blog it seems that I only wrote 3 blog posts in 2014. That’s sad! Especially given the fact that I “vowed” to write more in 2014 in my first post in January… whoops! So the bad news is that the blogging lapsed, the good news is that the running didn’t.

I’m sorry that I didn’t chronicle my running journey in 2014 because it was my best running year to date. I ran with more consistency in 2014 than ever before. I trained for my first marathon. I ran in six races, and though I didn’t PR in any of them, I completed four half marathons, one 10k, and one 5k. I traveled to a race for the first time and ran a half marathon with one of my best friends in D.C. I ran a half marathon in Philadelphia with my cousin who I inspired to start running. I logged hundreds of miles (I can’t give you an exact number, I’m bad at keeping track) all over Philadelphia, even eschewing the streets and hitting the trails.

But for all of the good, 2014 wasn’t without its setbacks. During the Nike Women’s Half in D.C. I aggravated my IT had to walk the last mile. I was sidelined for 4 weeks while I went to physical therapy, which meant I had to miss the Broad Street Run (again). IT band injuries are no joke, while they don’t cause lasting permanent damage or need surgery, they do feel kind of like someone has shoved a screwdriver under your kneecap every time you take a step. Fun!

Did you notice above that I said I trained for my first marathon? Did you also note that it was not listed among the 6 races that I finished? Yeah…about that. I started out 2014 calling it “The Year of the Marathon,” and instead it turned out to be “The Year I Trained for 20 Weeks to Run a Marathon and Then Fell on My Face Three Days Before the Race.” I’ll write out a full post with all of the gory details, but to wrap it up here, the marathon still looms off in the distance, unachieved, unsavored.

Weather aside 2015 is off to a good start, with some big goals. I’m going to do my best, I’m not going to vow this time, to fill you in on the higher (and lower) points of 2014, and keep you up to date on what 2015 has in store. So stay tuned.

I couldn’t write the title of this post without conjuring up the lyrics to this song in my head. So get your Tuesday started with some Elton!