Invisible Hills.

I've been going back and forth in my head with deciding on whether I was going to publish this particular post. But I decided to move forth in writing this because these days, I do not see the point in being without some sort of vulnerability. This is what it means to me to be Human. It's a far far distance from what I used to think, and often times still struggle with, about emotion.

So this is me being vulnerable. Not the smiling, event throwing, running all the hills, drinking all the craft beers, music loving woman that has come to be. It's not even the stubborn, strong willed, resourceful, get things done and take no shit woman either.. I am still those things, but I am also other things at other times.

Picture this.

You're on a long run and you're about 36% through it, and you begin to feel an incline of sorts. Nothing drastic, but you can definitely feel the difference in your legs as the rest of your body shifts. As it continues, your mind may be wondering if it's indeed a hill, or if it's just an incline that will soon pass. As the incline continues on, your legs start to feel the lactic acid build, and you begin to work harder and your breathing gets a bit more labored. Then, the incline dips down granting you the perceived opportunity to recover, but it only goes right back to an incline. This isn't a hill just yet, but it's definitely making you take note and start to really ask when it will be over. Then as soon as that thought crosses your mind, the steepness increases. The uncomfortable lactic acid build in your legs is now turning into pain, and you realize this is for sure a hill and you try to push harder through it. As you push harder and harder, it makes the pain unbearable and you have to stop to rest. At the resting point, you possibly get angry at yourself for stopping, or you get angry that you didn't pay attention to the route before you started to run, or you didn't use your experience to know that for hills, especially on long runs, you don't increase your effort, but you maintain it and allow your pace to slow (you'll make it up on the downhill). You allow yourself to be angry, to hurt, to start to recover because it's ok. It's ok, because once you gather yourself, you begin to climb up the hill again. First with a brisk walk, into a trot, and into a steady pace. It's still hard especially after stopping, but you're continuing and although you may need to stop once more or a few more times, you keep going. After a bit longer you begin to see the peak, the light from behind the road, and the line that you need to reach, you hold steady, and you come to the crest.

The above scenario is totally plausible and has happened to me on literal runs. This is also an analogy for what I am going through in life except the hill in my current case, is Invisible. The Invisible Hill. That which is The Anxiety and The Depression.

I've mentioned that I have dealt with Depression and Anxiety since I was a young adult, but I've never gone into much detail about it and I don't intend to because that could take ages. So instead let me give a brief summarization... In my youth, I didn't really know what it was at the time, but looking back, I realize now what I was going through. Towards my late 20's and early 30's the Anxiety was still there, but the Depression was at bay for the most part. However, it was always something that was lingering in the background of my life. I've had tough years, I've dealt with hurt and guilt, and I've overcome them all due to my resourcefulness and the will to be better.

If we use the previously given hill analogy, I'm right now finding myself at the resting point. The first resting point. The gradual incline represents the first signs that a Depression may be hitting soon. Sometimes it doesn't, and others times, it does. Let's assume The Anxiety is always there, but when it has it's sibling around it tends to spiral. Sometimes The Depression just comes out of nowhere and other times it's triggered by oh....all sorts of things...music, pictures, movies, places, random thoughts, certain toxic people, social media, you name it...it's been a trigger.

So how do I try to get through this? Because, there is no choice but to get through it.
Well, obviously, I'm big on exercise and you guessed it...running is something I've turned to in the past. Last year (2016) the trigger that sparked a major D&A instance and changed the way I felt and dealt with things (so much more intensely), was the death of my Grandmother. I was grieving and even though at the time, I didn't know what that meant or how I was supposed to. Admittedly I still don't know how to, "really" grieve but I've come to terms that it just is and you just do. Which drives me slightly insane because I need reasons and proof of everything! Needless to say I'm still grieving and I have also realized that once you lose someone that means so much to you, you will be grieving for the rest of your life. Throw that into a pot along with a toxic relationship and emotional abuse and you get some really interesting results.
So..
I ran. And I ran. And I ran. And I had a heart breaking, non eating, cried numerous times a day almost every day kinda of year. But I also had a great season and even though an injury crept up, I still had a PR for my goal marathon of the year. Talk about ups and downs. During this year, I also sought help, because I knew I needed it and I found a meditation practice and an amazing Counselor because who knows how that would have turned out if I had left it up to my own stubborn devices..

And here I am now.

I'm thankful that I am no longer in the moment of 2016. But here I find myself in the moment of 2017, still dealing with the residual impact from my heaviest year. It is a different kind of feeling...I've come so far and done so much and I KNOW that I am no longer that person from last year...so why do I still hurt?

I wrote this on a comment to a post a few days ago, but I deleted it out of embarrassment because my stubborness makes me think that it shows weakness. I saved it though, because I felt like I was getting closer to figuring out what is going on..

On Depression and Anxiety:
"Which then leads to more irritability because people don't get it and then makes me feel even more shitty because I'm now mad at myself because on the outside, I really do have what I need so then I feel guilty and then that leads to more anxiety because my depression made me not want to leave my bed/couch due to my head either spinning with the anxious thoughts from worrying about the things I'm NOT doing or the things from the past still plaguing me or I missed my training run or didn't do the 1000 things I have on my to-do list. Or the ever present loneliness that occurs even though I have tons of friends but I isolate myself because I don't want to bother anyone when I'm feeling like this..- so I'd rather just sleep or at least keep my eyes closed with the cover over my head. But no one really knows this goes on because I've learned to mask it well and get through my life responsibilities. Chemicals suck."

Invisible Hills.

What got me through that day was not sleep, but it was the simple gesture of having lunch with a friend. I MADE myself reach out because I knew I had to. Being out of my apartment, not at work with insignificant stress that it brings, but being out with someone that I call a friend and listening to their stories, and just having a simple single presence. I tried to run it all off that morning but honestly, all my runs have been plagued with Anxiety. If you've never run with Anxiety, let me briefly explain it..it's like your legs are covered in concrete, your body stiff with the tenseness of your thoughts, shallow breaths, not because it's 98 fucking degrees outside, but because you can't deal with the immensity of what is flowing through your head. It's really fun, trust me..it's really fun knowing what possibly awaits you for an early morning 14 miler. But I still train.

So WHAT IS IT?

INADEQUACY is the best word that I can find to describe a lot of what I feel. INADEQUATE. Everybody sees all that I do and am, but all I see is what I'm not doing or what I am not.

How DO I FIX IT?

Do more! NO. That is not the answer. The answer is, I keep going. The answer is, start slow and be steady. The answer is, I rest when I need to. The answer is, to be kind to myself.

I am certain that eventually, the crest will appear as it always does and I am certain that there will be more Invisible Hills. The salvaging point is that I know each time they come around, I will always be better equipped to handle them.

Invisible Hills.

Thanks for reading.






 

What Does, "Run All The Hills" Mean?

Well, it's not just in relation to running but a way of tackling life. I was privileged enough to learn with my marathon training that you can pretty much conquer anything. At first I wasn't fond of hills, but after training with them, I learned to love them. While running them, they made me hurt, they gave me pain, they made me work harder, they made me want to quit, and at times.. Made me question my sanity. But once I reached their peaks, I felt accomplished, I felt satisfied, I felt invincible, I felt happy, and I felt like doing 5 more! After running them, I felt stronger, I felt faster, I felt smarter, and I felt like I could push for more each time.

You see I relate hills to life. When something unpleasant occurs (ascent), we get uncomfortable and most often it hurts! When we reach a point of feeling better (peak) we feel happier. When we reach a point of healing (recovery), we feel stronger, wiser, and better equipped to handle the next difficult situation.

When I encounter a hill, my strategy is to run the hell out of it. Feel the hurt. Enjoy the release. And take advantage of the benefits. 

I suggest you do the same.

Run all the hills life gives you.

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Running with a Broken Heart

I took a day off from work today. No, I wasn’t physically sick or ill. I didn’t have a family emergency. No. Today I took what one would call a mental health day. You see I have been dealing with a broken heart for months now and it has once again been agitated. I found out She went back into a relationship with Her ex. Now without being too descriptive of Her business I can just say that, I was the rebound from that initial break up..the one that was there to pick up those pieces. That alone is enough to send my ego into a fit of rage. But really, it wasn’t that long that we had been dating..a few months..a mere blip in the timelines of great romances in my life. Why has this taken me so long and why does it still render my emotions so intense that I have nothing to give to the world on days like this except tears? (How is that for dramatic?) I fell deeply hard really fast. I genuinely felt that this was the person I was going to marry. That just never happens to me. Then it just fell apart and I’ve been dealing with the difficult aftermath of it all on top of the depression and anxiety that I’ve been working through after my grandmother’s death. I’ve made a ton of progress but this is one I just can’t shake.

I’m in the middle of marathon training, so I begrudgingly brought myself out of bed, washed my face from the night and early morning cry fest, put on my running clothes, and laced up my Asics. It was the middle of the day and I thought to myself, “It’s going to be really hot at this time, is this a good idea to go now in the late summer months of South Texas?”
Actually yes, it was the only idea and the only thing I could think to do to try to ease the tension. So out the door and up the street I went. At first it felt pleasant, there was shade on my block along with a breeze. I was admiring the blue sky and the flowers on the trees as I passed them by. (The first mile is always a liar.) Since I have began training without music, thoughts about Her and our situation take way too much of my time and energy as much as I hate to admit it. On especially long runs, when all I have are my thoughts, when my mind begins to wander to those negative feelings, I tell myself that the run is not Hers. It is mine and if I want to make it the whole way, I need to save that energy and not expend it on something that I have no control over. I use radical acceptance and meditation practices of focusing on the breath during those times. However today, that was just not the case. As I continued on my run I came to a long stretch where there was no shade. The sun began to beat down on me and the thoughts began to come in like a waterfall. All the hurtful things said and done, the resentment, anger, the loss, the pain…my body began to tense and my eyes welled with tears. So I ran harder and began to focus on the the uncomfortable heat and pace of the run. I wanted it to hurt a bit; I felt that if it hurt more than what my heart was feeling, maybe I could stop focusing on it for even a few minutes. But the immensity of what I have been feeling for months took over. I was not able to push it aside today and I began to cry. First, just a few streams of tears down my face, but eventually I began to sob. I gave in. I Gave Her My Run.

Crying while running is difficult because your energy is being distributed to two different places, so I had to eventually stop and wipe my face from the sweat and tears and gather my breath. It was hot, I was sad, and I just wanted to crawl back into my bed but I was 2.5 miles away from home and didn’t have much of a choice. So I started to run again…this time slower because I had already began to exhaust myself from the emotional break down. I had two more moments of tears but I made it home. I wish that I could say that the run along with the letting go made me feel better, but it didn’t. They say that curiosity killed the cat, but I’m more than positive that a broken heart did.

I am unfortunately sure that I will have more moments like today. I’m sure that I will run into both of them randomly in the ice cream isle of the grocery store on a Friday night while I’m alone with an 8lb bag of Epsom Salt and cat food in my cart and they will be happily picking out beer and food to eat for their Netflix and chill time together. These things go through my mind, and as silly as it sounds they certainly do happen to me. But I do know one thing, She will never have another one of my runs again.

Run all the hills life gives you; the hard, the heartbreaking, emotionally exhausting ones…Especially run the ones that look like they are going to hurt because they most certainly will. But don’t stop, just keep running. I have faith that there will always be peaks that we reach for every hill we encounter no matter how far down we feel like we may be in the beginning. I may not have reached my peak just yet in this situation, but I am certain I will.

Original Post Date: Sep 12th, 2016 6:25:09pm

Obstacles.

There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them.
— Ralph Marston

I’m nearing the end of my first week of Marathon+ training and today I had a tempo run scheduled. I’m a lone runner for the most part, but I try to not run on the trails alone as they are a bit too secluded. So I went back to my old stomping grounds of Woodlawn Lake where a few years ago, I trained on my own for my first half marathon, mainly because it has people, bathrooms, and water fountains.

Upon my arrival after work, it was the usual hustle and bustle that comes along with that park. Football practices, soccer games, runners, walkers, and all types of people and pets. Which in all honesty, isn’t my favorite time of the day to go but it was either 7pm or 5am and the 5am didn’t happen and will rarely happen during the work week because sleep. So because of all the activity on the regular track, I usually opt to run on the street that goes around the park. Without getting too descriptive on the run itself, let me just say that the warm up was good, the tempo runs were hard and the cool down even harder (the longest 20 mins ever).

It was a hot one today, and the route itself does not offer much shade. There were cars and cyclists getting way too close to me. There were people blocking my path. The water in my bottle was warm. My legs started feeling 20lbs each after the first tempo set. Sweat was getting in my eye…basically I felt like everything was an obstacle.

With every obstacle that came into my path, I began judging. “That person should slow down” “I wish these people were more considerate and would move over” “Gosh this guy almost ran into me” and with all that, I would notice that my body would tense up more and more which in turn made the run even less enjoyable. I was making the run harder for myself.

A little bit of backstory: I recently started a meditation practice and seeing a counselor for anxiety and depression and have made tons of progress. One of the things I have been trying to put into practice, is noticing when I’m judging and also noticing my anxiety triggers/symptoms before they get out of control. So once I started acknowledging the tense in my body, I reminded myself that I had no extra energy to expend on that because I needed it for the run. I acknowledged the “obstacles” which really were more like inconveniences and instead of viewing them negatively, I started to see ways to simply work around them and let them go.

One of the things I enjoy most about running is that it goes along side by side with life. I will always have inconsiderate people in my life, I will always have things that don’t go perfectly as planned, I will always have challenges and obstacles…and it’s easy for me to get sucked into the negative thought spiral but all that does is make it all much more difficult to deal with. My practice continues in stopping the negative judgements of the obstacles in front of me and instead, figuring out ways to overcome them and then doing it.

In the end, I completed the run and it was still really really tough but what made it great is what it allowed me to learn about myself. Which is really what I feel running is all about.

Happy Running.

Original Post Date: Aug 26th, 2016 12:17:36am

intro.

Whatever happens to you belongs to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself even if it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you, because it will.
— Cheryl Strayed

A brief intro:
In one week I will begin another journey on my second year of Marathon Training and I cannot begin to describe how excited I am. I have new goals, and a little experience under my belt from last years training so I’m ready to take it on.

During the training in 2015, I attempted to make progress posts on social media but didn’t have the proper platform to adequately describe a lot of my experiences. Since this current year has brought on a new awareness of myself and my surroundings, I hope to more accurately capture them in words and pictures. This is not just a running blog, but a life blog with a touch of humor, sarcasm, and a lot of passion.

Hopefully some readers will learn a little more about myself and hopefully, so will I.

Run all the hills.

Original Post Date: Aug 13th, 2016 2:01:46pm