Guest blog: Pain Is Temporary, Quitting Last Forever

Well – I am at an utter loss for words. One of my favorite friends, Meg – the “Meg” I’ve mentioned a couple times on this here blog before, agreed to write a guest blog post for me awhile back, and I kind of left it open – sort of “whenever the thought strikes you” kind of thing. Her timing is impeccable – I must say. I am traveling for work through the rest of the week and, sadly, won’t have time for much blogging fun, and lo and behold – her guest post landed in my inbox while en route to Houston today.

And – as I’m finally sitting down to read it in my hotel room, I’m utterly stunned by how honest, real, and incredibly passionate her words are.

For context – Meg is one of a few friends who has agreed to go on this “Wicked Half” journey with me this fall – something I’m equal parts excited and scared witless about! Her story follows – and let me tell you – Meg is one hot chick, and her words have inspired me beyond belief.

Without further ado – her version of “Why I run:”

Just some simple facts of who I am:  long-time reader, first time guest blogger,  blue-eyed, light brown hair, 5’4”, super cute, 31 year old Boston/Irish/Catholic, large and nosy family, sarcasm is my native language, Risk/Compliance officer at my work (read that as a Narc), adore beer, hate drama, shockingly single, 18 months post gastric bypass patient (down 122 lbs as of Monday) and training for my first half marathon which is in 4.5 months.

On New Year’s Eve, in a moment of weakness (PS I was the designated driver and wasn’t drinking), I agreed to complete a half-marathon.  “Why” you ask?  I decided this is the year I am going to live dangerously; this is the year to ask why not; this is the year I run.

I have done a few triathlons in my life, even prior to surgery, and I completed them but I didn’t compete in them.  Don’t get me wrong – I was in no way a threat to the elite athletes in the race – but I didn’t challenge myself to do well, I only challenged myself to finish.  Each time I was near the back of the pack, sometimes the final finisher; but as always, there were cheering family, friends, and strangers for the chubby girl coming in last.

No. More.

Running is the most painful activity, physically and emotionally, that I do.  To be honest, surgery and recovery were easier.  I struggle through it with every single step.  On Tuesday, I had a setback where I only could get a half mile in before my legs just quit responding to my brain.  And it sucked.  It sucked BIG TIME.  And there it was: standing on the treadmill, breathing hard, and pouring sweat, was my very first glimpse of who I was versus who I want to be.

Do I want to be a quitter?  No.  Do I want to be the person who just shows up?  No.  Do I want to be the person who just completes life, instead of someone who challenges it and truly enjoys it?  NO!  These 13.1 miles are so much more than 13.1 miles for me.  There is 30 years of change being poured into them.  Unhappiness, extra weight, and a lifetime of passive existence are being left behind on this 13.1 mile course. Change is not easy.  It is very much like running:  you have to swallow your pride, suck up the pain, and keep going. Because I cannot not keep going.

So, as I train and as each step is a leg burning, lung seizing, soul destroying display of resolve, I only need to remind myself of how far I have come and how much farther I need to go.  The pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever.

DOMS – now that’s what I’m talking about!

DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) – oh, how I love thee.

Yes, call me strange, but I LOVE when a workout leaves me so sore it’s hard to walk, blowdry my hair or get out of my chair to grab something from the printer at work (which actually inspired me to write this post, ha!).

To me, it’s a sign of a really good, intense workout if it leaves you whimpering (in a good way, not an injured way!) the next day. The culprit behind this particular instance of DOMS? The random STS legs workout (from meso 1 – endurance) I decided to do yesterday vs. heading to Group Power at my gym after the two-week self-imposed hiatus I took from weight training. I chose to work legs yesterday since my left shoulder is very sore (I think from all the hooks in Kick) and thought it would only exacerbate things if I tried to get through Power. Boy – STS did NOT let me down, not like it ever could. It’s an incredible workout in and of itself. And wow, did I miss it!

And, if you couldn’t tell – I feel so much better after last night’s rambling blog post, about everything. I already feel so much more excited by my workouts versus viewing them as a stressful event. Even Kick seems less frustrating today – probably because today’s workout involved running through all of the tracks, only to find that I not only know all of my “assigned” tracks for Saturday’s class but I pretty much know all the other ones too, without even really trying!

To me, that signals huge progress and I’m proud of that accomplishment in and of itself. I think looking at these small things as victories is important, and something I probably wasn’t doing enough of lately – and instead, was focusing on the big honkin’ goals like passing the BTS video assessment and getting my own Kick class. I’m jumping too far ahead of myself – little victories and celebrations is the way to go, I’ve decided. So today’s victories – embracing the DOMS and also, realizing that learning all ten Kick tracks in two weeks was totally doable, afterall. 🙂

Something I’ve realized from blogging – I’m much more of an emotional person than I think I realized. I have such reactive tendencies (again which I think stems from my Type-A ways and lack of patience) that rather than taking that all important step back to consider the bigger picture, I get caught up in all the little details instead which is why I’ve been such an up and down-er of late.

It’s so funny to me the things I’ve already learned about myself since I started blogging last fall. Who knew, huh??

Back to basics

Ok, I think I’ve figured out what’s been getting to me, of late. I need to get back to basics. In all aspects of my life. (and bear with me here, parts of this blog are similar to my thoughts in the past two weeks – I am finding that “blogging it out” is the only way to get my thoughts straight sometimes…)

For instance – I’ve let Kick spin out of control a bit and it’s become more a root of frustration and stress than what it should be: a passion fulfilled. I’ve mentioned this before and I’m mentioning it again as I started to fall back into the “Kick is so frustrating because…” mantra.

My workouts, as a result, have been less invigorating and fulfilling (aside from my amaaaaaazing run on Saturday) which is just sad, really. I LOVE to workout. You all know this. I know this. It’s what I love. It’s the one thing I do just for me, yet here I am muddying the waters by making it a stressful thing (um hello HR monitor freak-out the other day??).

Aside from working out, I need to get back to basics at work and at home. I find myself so wound up at work that I end up being entirely ineffective and uninspired. I’m such a Type-A-er but lately I’ve found I’m not necessarily doing my best work and I think its due to stress and making everything bigger than it needs to be.

At home? I’m so scheduled and regimented. Which works in many, many ways, but in other ways I just need to relax, breathe and let go of routine more often. This is one area I think I’ve done a better job of getting back to basics, especially now that Scott has been around more often. It’ll be far easier for me to break habit for “fun” things like a random picnic on a Saturday afternoon vs. whizzing through my afternoon list of chores, errands and cleaning. Life is too short to zig and never zag.

In doing this little audit of my life, of late, its made me realize that one of the bigger sources of anxiety, stress and frustration has, sadly, been workout and body image related. I admittedly think I may have swung too far in terms of my commitment to working out everyday (sometimes twice a day) and have gotten so focused on the “wow” factor of skipping a rest day for weeks at a time or seeing just how many calories I can burn in one workout or one day or one week, thanks to the Workout Manager I’m obsessed with.

I’m saying all this not because I think I have a problem – because I don’t think that I do. I am saying this mostly as a reminder to myself that sometimes simple is better. As Heather said the other day, its ok to “lighten up” and stop trying so hard to be perfect all the time. It’s definitely something that does not come easily to me – I like to be great at everything and I like to be great at it immediately (this is really why Kick has been so frustrating for me – I haven’t been great at it immediately which just doesn’t sit well with me).

I don’t have the answer or some big resolution to lay out here in terms of how I’m going to get back to basics. But, one thing I do promise is this – I will get back to loving my workouts for what they are – for keeping me strong, fit, healthy, happy and energized and NOT for how many calories I burned, or how many workouts I fit into a day or a week, It’ll come, with time, and patience (my patience pants are hiding in the back of my closet, clearly).

Wow, I am SO rambly today, and I apologize in advance for that. I sort of just started blogging what I was thinking and very clearly my head is all over the place today. Don’t mind me…;)

Runner’s high, like whoa


Today’s run reminded me why I run – and why I love to hate it so very much.

It was one of those wow-I-could-run-forever days. My legs were moving along fine, my breathing was right where it should be, I wasn’t battling side cramps and I really took the time to stop and breathe in the entire experience.

I was IN the moment more than ever.

And it felt amazing.

Even during the tougher parts of today’s run, I thought back to my “why I run” reasons from a few weeks ago (an excerpt):

I run because it forces me out of my comfort zone.

I run because its an outlet for my mind to wander.

I run because it makes me feel alive – those moments when I don’t think I can push  myself any farther and somehow my body just reacts.

I run because I can do it outside, with Scott by my side – some of our best conversations (even if some are one-sided while I’m huffing and puffing!) are had when we’re running together.

I run because I heart runner’s high.

I run because its hard. It’s painful. It’s rewarding. It’s a rush.

Every single one of these reasons rang true for me today, in a big way. Especially the mind wandering, the rewarding rush afterwards. Those were huge for me today.

And the best part? It was my longest run to date – I still need to track it but I think it was around 7 miles or so.  Awesome. I even kicked it up at the end, quasi-negative split style per Kelly’s recommendation. I didn’t even think I had it in me to kick it out at the last half mile or so but, with Scott next to me rooting me on, and the finish line so close, somehow I flew to the finish.

AND you’ll all be happy to know that I actually enjoyed using my HR monitor today – mostly to feel out how I’ll probably end up using it mostly for running to keep my HR in check more so than to track calories (though seeing today’s calorie burn did give me a tingle, not gonna lie…).

Speaking of running, I’m sending good vibes and a little shout-out to Naomi who is running her first ever marathon today. I am in awe – I can’t even fathom what that must feel like. I am fully confident she’ll rock it today and can’t wait to hear how it all went down for her. Rock on, Naomi!

Up and down and up and down…

Wow, I am QUITE a rollercoaster the past couple of weeks, I’m realizing now upon quickly scanning my last handful of blog posts.

One post will be uplifting and inspirational and positive.

The next day’s post will be down and out and full of frustration.

Then the next will be back to the uplifting and inspiration.

And then back down.

You get the picture.

What is going on?? Well, I started to ask myself that very question.

And then it struck me.

I’ve been so focused on chugging along, pushing towards reaching my various goals (that seem to be mounting by the day, especially that darn Kick goal!), without really giving myself a chance to step back and breathe when things like Scott’s lay-off come into play, for example. Talk about not cutting myself ANY slack whatsoever. No wonder I’ve been on the up and down parade the last two weeks.

This reminds me very strongly of my fave blog friend Heather’s recent post on “lightening up.” She hit the nail on the head – we are VERY similar in how we approach life – we want to be perfect. ALL. THE. TIME. And well, it’s just not realistic or balanced or even healthy to live life as perfectly as possible. Giving yourself a break is not a sign of weakness. It means we’re human. And even us Type-A-ers who want to do it all, 24/7 are allowed to stop and breathe. Seriously, the world will not end, I promise. <—this is me coaching myself to finally believe it. 😉

So, here’s my first shot at lightening up. I had planned a “double” yesterday by adding a run to my routine last night in addition to yesterday’s Kick run-through at home. It ended up raining by the time I got home from work, PLUS I had a raging headache and was starving. So, I told myself (and Scott) that we’d run tonight after work.

On a Friday night.

Um, why? Because in my head I thought I needed to “make up” for the fact that yesterday’s workout wasn’t as intense as I would’ve liked it to be, at least not according to the darn HR monitor. Rather than trying to push myself to run tonight after work, I’m going to head home for what I am sure will be a peaceful, restful, fabulous Friday night date night with Scott. I have nothing special planned aside from the sheer fact that it’ll be SO nice to have him home at a decent hour for once, that I plan to soak in every minute of it. Plus, I am gearing up for a LONG run tomorrow so I better save my legs for that.  And, well, I’m human, and deserve a little break tonight, wouldn’t you say?

The numbers game

Ok, so by now you all know how anti-“numbers” I am, in general.

I hate scales. Stepping on one immediately dashes my confidence and forces me to focus on the number that lights up – if its too “high” in my mind, I beat myself up, always striving for the “perfect” number (let’s be honest ladies, will any number on that scale EVER make our eyes light up??).

And for that matter, I don’t think one should be measured by the size of her jeans or what size t-shirt she buys at Banana Republic.

I no longer keep a food diary because it made me OVERLY conscious of what I was/was not eating. Given my Type-A tendencies, this was a smart move for me – I know for some a food diary works, but for me it got to the point where I thought about food and calories much more than was healthy or sane.

Those are the numbers I hate.

The ones I like? Calories – as in calories burned.

At least I *thought* I did until I tried out my handy-dandy new Polar F4 heart rate monitor this morning. It was like an immediate response too – as soon as I realized I was burning fewer calories than I thought I was meant to/should be burning while running through my Kick tracks at home, I started to freak out a little bit. Ok…I started to panic.

I thought – ok so all this time I thought I was burning WAY more calories and I’m clearly not so now what? Am I a moron? Have I been working “hard” in my mind without that hard work translating to results (i.e. calories burned)?

Then, I realized (with my sister’s help, as usual) that there are SO many factors that go into that calorie burn. Today? Those factors were numerous – I woke up feeling like lead. My body was not moving as fast as it normally can and should. I’m burned out from the week and overtired due to PMS (it always wreaks havoc on my energy levels). So, long story short, I was not working nearly as hard in my living room running through Kick as I would under more normal conditions, and definitely not nearly as hard as I would in a team practice or in a teaching setting.

Yet, as soon as I saw numbers, all rational thinking went flying out the window. Like seriously, I need to get a grip or this whole heart rate monitor thing may end up going out the window along with my rational thoughts. 😉

I think I’ll give it another shot – with a good run, or a regular Kick class or a spin class to see how it goes. I’m also anxious to see how I burn during a weight lifting class or during STS. All fun environments to test out the monitor.

I think (and hope) I just need to realize that a number is still just a number – the benefits of a good workout are far greater than just how many calories I burned or how many miles I ran. I know this, based on the zillions of posts I’ve done on why I love to workout. Calories burned is just one of the zillions of reasons.

With that said, I still need to figure out all the nuances of using a heart rate monitor, especially as it relates to running. I haven’t gotten that far yet. Would love to hear from ya’ll on your heart rate monitor experiences though – am I alone in this numbers craziness??

“Every setback is a set up for a comeback”

“Every set back is a set up for a comeback.”

– Joel Osteen

Well if that isn’t a slap of reality and, uhh, perspective, I don’t know what is. As my husband so smartly brought to my attention tonight (as well as my sister – who I’m sure is going to be SO pleased to be the inspiration yet again behind my blog post today), I need to pick myself up and stop looking at Kick so negatively.

And they are right. A LOT of my posts related to Kick include words like “frustrating” or “challenging.” I’ve lost sight of the forest for the trees in a big way.

I know, I know – I’m “allowed” to feel that way, to work my way through those frustrations, which I’m a big fan of – the good ‘ol “blog it out” mentality.

BUT, enough is enough. This setback (aka re-taping my assessment video) is seriously not the end of the world. If I really sit back and think about it? My fitness director surely wouldn’t put me through the stress of re-taping if she didn’t have confidence that I could do better. As my fab friend Ames pointed out in her comment to my blog post yesterday – this is not a sign of a failure, it’s simply an opportunity to do better.

Now, doesn’t that feel much better or what?

I have a book sitting on the windowsill in my office that I sort of don’t pay attention too – its just “art” or a conversation starter or whatever. But Jo pointed it out to me today. Why? Because this is what it says in big bold letters: Never, Never, Never, Give Up. (I actually might take a picture and update my post with it tomorrow when I’m back at work. We’ll see if I remember to do so.)  Regardless, its another awesome reminder of something I truly believe in – giving whatever you do in life your all, and never giving up. Never, never, never.

So yeah, you could say I’m back and ready to “get fierce” with Kick again. I will admit that learning the new tracks for the Spring ’10 release have re-inspired me. The music is great (aside from “Maniac” which just gets stuck in my head all day) and the moves are intense, lots of knees and elbows and propulsion jumps. I’m also WAY excited to test out my new Polar F4 heart rate monitor tomorrow during my at-home Kick practice run-through to see how many calories and how my heart rate spikes during those muay thai moves. I will most certainly report back tomorrow on the heart rate monitor experience, I’m thinking it’s going to be an interesting one. 😉

And, one final side note – reason #5 bajillion why I seriously have the cutest husband ever. He texted me right before I left work tonight and this is what he had to say:

“I love you, those three words have my life in them.”

I mean really, the sweetest, most loving, most thoughtful, most romantic thing he might have ever said to me (aside from “will you marry me, that is!). You’d think after almost 6 years of marriage, those little romantic gestures would be few and far between, but nope, perhaps stronger than ever actually. And I’m very proud to admit that, not gonna lie. 🙂

Frustrating…so there?

Frustrated Frannie here.

Got an update on Kick and my video assessment from my fitness director.

She *finally* reviewed my tape and think I ought to re-tape before sending it into BTS. <sigh> There are about a million things that frustrate me about this.  In no particular order:

  • I’ve been asking for her specific feedback on the tape/next step for weeks, probably a month or more even.
  • Since that taping (which now seems like a lifetime ago), I’ve been working REALLY hard to improve the power of my moves and really embodying the badass Kick instructor I know I need to be to pass by BTS standards but also my gym’s standards.
  • I am SO sick of the Oct ’09 release (which is what I trained on) and to even think about re-taping on that same release in two more weeks is soooo annoying. I am sick to death of the entire thing from doing it non-stop since, ohhh, December.
  • I am NOT good at not being good at something. Not that I’m a know-it-all or think I’m hot-to-trot but honestly, it’s very hard for me to not be good at something that I LOVE. You all know how much I love this and yet here I am struggling with it. Why? (because it’s a challenge and challenges aren’t meant to be easy. See? At least I knew the answer to that one!)

None of this is news to you all, you know what my frustrations and challenges have been all along but yet, here I am, still frustrated. Still plugging along, working my butt off.

The thing is? I STILL really want this.

Despite all the frustration.

Despite the fact that I want to cry right now because I’m so sick of the rollercoaster (PMS *might* have something to do with that though, LOL).

Despite the fact that this feels like a step back.

Despite the fact that this feels sort of like failure.

As  usual, I was venting to my sister who is in the same position as me in terms of re-taping and she, as always, had some good perspective.

So what.

We have to re-tape.

It’s for our own good.

It’ll help us reach OUR goals, not the gym’s goal or our fitness director’s goal, but OUR goals.

The gym members who take our class genuinely LIKE our style and enjoy coming to our classes.


We’re having fun with Kick (mostly) and are pushing our bodies and minds further than we ever have.


We are realizing our dreams (come hell or highwater!).


The point? That no matter what little setbacks we’ve faced, we’ve tackled them head-on. We’ve already overcome some pretty major obstacles (hello cueing??) so why not face and overcome one more? It hasn’t been pretty. I’ve had plenty of “moments where I’ve questioned if this was really worth it, and I still say “Hell,  yes. ”

At the end of the day, I want to prove to myself that I can finish what I started. That I can pass the damn BTS video assessment and that I can gain our fitness director’s respect and committment needed to get my name on that group fitness class schedule at my gym (which I’d promptly frame…kidding…kinda).

Can I get a “Hell Yeah!?”

Disclaimer: This was my attempt to shake off “Frustrated Frannie” in favor of “Fierce Fiona” — not just to get over my annoyance at this latest turn of Kick events but to get my game face on for Kick practice tonight. So far, it’s working. 🙂

One thing I can always count on…

…a good sweat always makes me feel better.

Add this to the books as reason number five bajillion why I truly love working out.

I’ve been so scattered both this week and last week, mostly due to work being a little on the chaotic side again but also partly due to the recent changes on the home front as well. It’s caused me to be very distracted, for obvious reason, but that has certainly impacted how productive I’ve been lately (read that as not very productive – which, for those who know me, is very out of the ordinary for me!).

On my ride into work this morning, I got lost in my thoughts as my sister sat next to me blackberry-ing away (in her defense, she was busy scheduling our Kick practice tonight, ha) and got to thinking about my blog and what it was that I wanted to write about today (since I was bound and determined to get one written before tackling today’s to-do list at work!).

It suddenly struck me – no matter how busy life gets, I can always, always, count on a good sweat-fest to make me feel better, more energized, more centered, more me.  And now, more than ever, I need that consistency in my day – I need to know that I can count on a good workout to reinvigorate me. It might sound counterintuitive to some of you who wonder how on earth I manage to work out as much as I do (or love it as much as I do). For some, when the going gets tough, nothing about a workout is appealing. It’s more intuitive for most (I realize I’m in the minority here) to want to sit back, relax and just be. And there is nothing wrong with that. Seriously. For me? I’ve just found that getting rid of that excess energy is almost like relieving my body and mind of toxins – I just feel like all is right in the world afterwards. Whatever it was that was stressing me out, causing my brain to go into overthinking overdrive, or making me anxious suddenly seems a little bit less of an issue after a good sweat.

I realize I’m totally rambling now but hopefully you see my point. That’s the kind of consistency I need in my day and that, my friends, gets to the root behind why I love to workout, why I truly love it. And, if you’re wondering, this post is totally inspired by Kelly’s recent post on motivation, over at Healthy Living with Kelly. Go check it out when you get a sec, I told her the same thing I’ll tell you – I think we share a brain, I totally could’ve written that very same post! 😉

“IF on Top of the World”

“IF on Top of the World.”

I read this quote from a recent Jillian Michaels interview in Women’s Health and it totally spoke to me at just the right moment.

For context, this is what the quote was in reference to, from the article:

“As the interview dies down, Jillian points to a painting she recently acquired: an Ed Ruscha made just for her. A big IF sits atop a half dome, against an orange backdrop. ‘It’s called If on Top of the World,’ she said. ‘It’s all about possibility.'”

Possibility. Dreams to be fulfilled. The unanticipated.The unknown.

These are thoughts rolling around in my head as Scott and I embark on the next phase of our lives together. I truly and firmly believe his layoff was for a specific and very distinct purpose.

Yes, it sucks in the short-term and is a little bit scary, indeed.

But, God never gives us more than we can handle (thanks for that reminder, Em!).

I am a big believer in that and am trying so hard to harness that feeling, to find the strength I need to have to help Scott, support him throughout this next step. I know he’s a little bit more scared than he’ll let on to me. I also know he’s prideful – and it’s gotten to him a bit that he’s “starting over.”

Though – to me, he’s not starting over at all. Quite the opposite, actually. He’s about to stumble into greatness. Not just stumble into it, but embrace greatness.

IF on Top of the World.

The possibilities are endless.

And I’m really excited to join the ride to see where it takes us. I just might like what’s around the bend, I have a feeling.


The purpose of this post tonight? To get all the thoughts in my head down on paper so they made sense…I knew there was a reason for my slight freak out tonight for no apparent reason. My brain was telling me to slow down, stop, think, listen.

Ah, this feels much better.

Thanks for listening. 😉 I’ll be back to normal “programming” tomorrow, promise.