Getting Comfortable With Discomfort

Today is Wednesday. On Sunday night, during the annual Fall wind storm, we lost our power. This morning when I woke up and left for work, the power was still out. No power = no heat, no water, no lights, no internet, no heat, no lights…you get the idea. Luckily, we have a wood burning fire place to keep one room in the house nice and warm, and we’ve been camping out in there.

From a distance, it looks as though I have been taking this whole situation in stride and not letting it bother me one bit. But, to be honest, there was a desperate, whiny group text that went out to my sweat sisters yesterday informing them that I wasn’t handling the situation well at all and someone needed to help me snap out of my funk because all I wanted to do was run away. 

In response to my whiny, emotional text, I got exactly what I needed. This quote: “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.” And then a prompt to face my frustrations head on in the form of a growl, a Miley style twerk, or a run. And if that didn’t work, wine was recommended, in addition to offers of hot showers and warm houses to stay at. How could you not love these girls?!

Luckily, I had already packed my running clothes and knew that that was the only thing that was going to help me feel better. Unfortunately, I got stuck at work late and only had 45 minutes to get in a run, take a shower (at my sister-in-law’s house), and dry my hair before I had to pick the boys up from daycare. As I was driving to start my run, I was contemplating whether or not it was even worth it. The most I’d have time to do was 3 miles, and that was if I was pushing it. I was having a little pity party (for the second time in one day) when I suddenly just decided I needed to suck it up and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I decided that I was going to run those 3 miles as fast as I could and really push myself (which I really dislike doing). After all, it was only 3 miles.

So, that’s what I did. I parked my car in my sister-in-law’s driveway (which just happens to be my old house), got out of the car, started my Garmin, and took off. I had decided to do an out and back in the subdivision because I knew I could run that faster than heading into the park and running through the woods. I was pushing it pretty hard. When my Garmin beeped for the first mile, my time was 7:35. Wahoo!!! I was pumped, but immediately thought I was going to die. It’s that whole mental game. I wonder if I would’ve started feeling that awful if I hadn’t looked at how fast I was running…

Anyway, I continued on as fast as I could without hyperventilating. And it was hard. Really hard. I kept telling myself that the more uncomfortable you are with something, the more you need to do it so that it gets easier. By the end of 3 miles it did not feel any easier. But, I was able to finish all 3 miles in under 8:00 min each. It felt awful, and yet so good. And although it wore me out physically, it gave me the mental toughness to go home to my dark, cold house and enjoy the evening stress-free with my family.

What an amazing thing to be able to do. I love when I can recognize my bad attitude and fix it! That is what running can do for me. And that is what makes it so amazing.

Today, after work, I came home to a house that was lit up and being warmed by more than just the wood burning in the fireplace. That was pretty amazing too. Because even though I am pretty good at handling discomfort for a short time, I certainly wouldn’t say I’m comfortable with it.

 Sparkle. Pounce. Boom.

You vs. You

Today is November 4. Over the last couple of years, my running (and all fitness related activities really) have taken some significant time off throughout the fall (namely, September, October, November, and December). That’s because the last 2 years I spent 6 days a week from January through August preparing for Ironman races. As you have noticed, I didn’t do that this year. I did run the 50K at the end of September, so that helped keep me on track. But if I’m being completely honest, my fitness is no where near the level it was at when I was in Ironman training.

So, what’s the point? Well, a few weeks back I had a revelation that I was a real runner. I was so excited to have motivation to run just because I loved it so much! Finally, I didn’t need a race to train for, or a goal to reach. I was running solely because I love the way it makes me feel and the energy it gives me. 

And then, about two weeks ago my schedule got tight and I didn’t find the time to run once. Not one single time in a whole week. I didn’t have a training schedule to follow. I was busy with the day to day things that all moms with kids in school and full time jobs have to manage, and I just didn’t plan running into my days.

Obviously, this isn’t how I want things to go. I’m happier when I’m sticking to a running schedule. But it’s not easy. October has passed, and the wonderfully stress-filled holiday season is upon us. And I have been having an inner battle for the last 4 days. On November 1, I had an idea that I should do a running challenge for the month of November and call it the November 99. It sounded kind of catchy and I was pretty sure that it would keep me motivated to run. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that I just didn’t have time in November to fit in that much running. My son’s birthday is this month, there are parent teacher conferences, and of course, Thanksgiving and all of the family gatherings that go with it.

So, I decided that I would change my challenge to the November 90. That sounded just as catchy, and somewhat more manageable. The problem? I wasn’t sure that I really wanted to do it. (You read my list of excuses above, right?!?) And I definitely wasn’t ready to commit to it out loud. I tried to recruit my sweat sisters, and didn’t have much luck. But I did get a response of “tempting” and a reassurance that 90 miles is only 3 miles a day, which is doable. 

HHHmmmm…what to do? I could continue with my little inner battle and just decide as the month progressed whether or not I was really doing it. (Yes, I know that wouldn’t end with me reaching 90 miles…) Or, I could put it out there, and tell people that I was working towards that goal.

Well, today our family schedule worked out just right for me to fit in a 6 mile run after work. And I had run 6 miles on Sunday. That’s 12 miles done on November 4. Are you doing the math? Yup, that’s an average of 3 miles a day. After my run I was pretty sure I was ready to make the commitment to my November 90 Challenge. 

And then, the craziest thing happened. I got an email from a guy in my triathlon club saying that he decided to start a November 90 Challenge to keep his running going through the month of November as the days grow shorter, darker, and colder. Are you kidding me?!? How awesome is that?! And he even shared a Google doc where I could input the miles that I’ve already run. Wahoo! It’s officially out there. I’m officially committed. November 90, here I come!

Man, I am thankful to have people to push me in the right direction. And at the same time, I have to admit that I am a bit frustrated with myself about my unwillingness to commit to a goal that I know will be good for me. 

Push yourself 
May the better you win!