Monday, July 29, 2013

Vicious Cycles

Don't pretend you didn't miss me!

Instead of being silent about why I've been so silent, I'm sharing a little bit about what's been going on lately.  We are having some serious family issues right now with one of our college-age kids, and it's really been getting to me.  It is affecting every facet of my life, including running.  I know for a fact that a good, sweaty run will improve my outlook on life, my mood and consequently, I run happy again the next day, and the day after that.  Well, it stopped working.  I mean, what the hell?  I thought this running thing was supposed to make everything better.  Can you actually build up a tolerance to running, like people do with drugs, where you need more and more to get your fix?

In the real world, bad stuff happens, and for me, running usually gives me a different perspective on the bad stuff.  Sometimes, all you need is a shift in your perception to change your reality.  But lately, the perspective has been going nowhere, and therefore the running is going nowhere too.  Add to that the heat and humidity of July (minus two wonderfully cool, glorious days last week), multiply it by the kid issue and snap!  You've got a vicious cycle on your hands.

So if you're in my head, this is what you'd hear:

Starting Point:  I feel like crap, so I'll go for a run.
While Running:  Jeez, I thought this run would make me feel better, at least temporarily.  So why the hell am I crying?  Oh right, because, unlike baseball, there IS crying in running.
Post-Run:  Well, that sucked.
The Next Morning:  I still feel like crap, so I'll go for a run.  Hold on.  This didn't work yesterday. Why would it work today?  But hey, you never know what fun things might happen when you get out there, so just go.  OK, fine.
While Running:  I got nothing.  Just nothing.
Post Run:  WTF?!?

See what I mean?  So the gigantic elephant in the room, the 100-lb. gorilla, the $100,000 question is...WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO ABOUT IT, HUH?  Something's gotta give.  We cannot continue to do the same thing day after day, and expect different results.  Routines can be great, but when you've got this vicious cycle thing happening, you have to break your routine and do something different.

So mid-blog, I've decided what that would be.  I reached out to a friend and asked him to run with me this week.  I know it sounds like nothing, but I normally run alone, on my own schedule, according to my own psychoses.  But wait.  I do know that every time I drag myself (getting out the door is sometimes the hardest part!) to my running group, I always feel so freaking great afterwards.  I get this sparkling energy from my running friends, and it lasts me until the next run, and maybe even the next, to the point where my starting point dialogue magically changes.  This is exactly what I need in order to break the cycle and get a good run under my belt.

I know myself well enough to understand that once I get this way, I need a chain gang of people to pull the bad stuff out of my head, to make space to cram some positive energy and thoughts back in there. I'm usually pretty "up", especially when it comes to running.  Like, don't even ask me about a race, or my last long run, or how my already slow paces are just getting slower, or you'll see my inner running geek rear it's ugly head.  I'm normally pretty quiet, but when it comes to running, I'll talk all dog-gone day about it.  It gets worse when the running gets bad.  My husband is a great supporter of my running, but when I get into this negative spin cycle, he checks out.

I don't blame him.  Sometimes, I need to check out too.  Maybe I can't change my family issue right now, and I certainly have no control over the weather.  I can only change what I can control.  I know what works for me, and what doesn't.  I'm going to make this one small change this week, and I have no doubt that it will turn my running upside down, which is exactly what I need right now.

I hate to be a Debbie Downer in this kind of a setting, but I realize that everyone has ups and downs. Facebook is a wonderful tool for giving and getting motivation, but you usually will not see the mundane trials and tribulations of people's everyday problems (that's not 100% true--we all have those "friends" who share absolutely everything.)  I wouldn't be true to myself if I were to project only my happy self to you.  I've been in a slump lately, for sure, but I'm doing what I can to pull myself up out of it, with a little help from my friends.

What do you do when you find yourself in a negative spin cycle?

Did you ever realize that raising kids was this hard?


  1. Another winner!! Despite the pain you write from, you find humor. Well written!!

    I would rather have honesty than Polly Positive from phoney people. Nobody has a perfect life.

    That running group you refer to has been my salvation many times over...!! And you know that.

    Negative spin: I focus on my running goals and reach for help when I need it. I learned a long time ago you can't go it alone.

  2. Wow, as you mentioned on my blog, we share the slump. Love your writing on this post and 'your honesty' as well. I am around the corner (in either house :) if you need a chat, or a silent running partner.

    I need to join that running club! I don't run the big ones anymore (knee issues) so I take it slow and easy for 'fun' and exercise. Which is what usually helped me in my slumps. Like you, life can get in the way, and be very exhausting, keeping you from doing what is good for you. I've noticed as much as I procrastinate, if I just get it done, every little bit helps.

    Keep on runnin' xo