Today is one of those days in Boston that we wait for all winter, and remind ourselves will eventually return, even as we are in the kung-fu death grip of one storm after another.  It’s  not bathing suit warm outside, but it’s in the high 40s/low 50s, and the sun is shining.  One of my friends texted me earlier while he was hanging out in the city, and I could just see the happiness and huge smile that was very likely on his face, just watching all the people that were out running, etc. (He’s a triathlete, and the only one of all of my ex’s friends that makes a concerted effort to stay in touch with me.)   To me, he is a true friend.

This afternoon, I’ll be volunteering at the number pickup for the 5K I’m running tomorrow, called An Ras Mor, which is run by my running group, the Somerville Road Runners. There are definitely some super fast people in the club (the track coach ran in a Masters race recently, and did the mile in, oh…4 minutes and something like 41 seconds. We all know Masters are over 40, right?  That’s freaking amazing.)

One of my friends emailed me after my post the other day, and said she was learning about anti-depressants and how they work, from my blog. I was glad to hear that, as I do hope that my words can clear up a lot of misconceptions about them, some of which I used to hold.  They are not what people might think are “happy pills.”  It’s not like you immediately feel no pain or sadness in your life just because you are taking them. But they can help on a day like I had Thursday, where I definitely felt more down than normal. 

Whereas last summer (when I was very sad, confused, not knowing which way was up or down), a day like that would have sent me into a tailspin, and I’d not be able to focus on much other than what was making me sad, on Thursday that was not the case.  I knew why I was feeling down, and I also knew it was something I could work through. I knew that I might not be able to get rid of those thoughts that day, but I knew the next day could be better, and Friday definitely was. It helped to just be able to look at the day for what it was, and know it was temporary.

 I also reminded myself of how few and far in between those days have become for me.  Last summer, I never would have thought that was possible.  Back then, my friend and officemate told me of someone she knew who had been through a divorce, and that she’d said she was much happier than even a year before. I remember thinking at the time, “wow, I wish that could be the case for me, but right now, I just don’t see the road to get there. I don’t know which route to take.”

I will also say that it helps to have people to talk to.  Having somone who is paid to talk to you, and be objective, and point out when your thoughts are going down the depressed route, is definitely worth the co-pay I pay every week. Having really good friends who don’t judge you also helps, more than you will ever know. I’ve kept a lot of my old friends and have met many new  ones. Many of them are younger than I am, and at first I felt like they must think I’m immature, or weird, or something like that, but not anymore. I realize that in many ways, I’m in some of the same life stages that they are.  We’re all still trying to figure out our lives. It’s not like you hit a certain age, and a light goes on in your mind and you suddenly have everything figured out. (Wouldn’t it be nice if that were the case? Frankly, I think it’d be boring.)

So, one of my new friends has introduced me to the world of indoor climbing, or rather, I should say, planted the seed in my mind.  I went to an Intro class last night, and it was a lot of fun. I definitely realize I have a problem tying knots the correct way (I’m a visual learner, so I had to do it over and over) but today I keep playing it over and over in my mind, so I think I’ve got the idea down. Now if only I had some rope to play with!)  So yeah, my group of 3 didn’t get as many climbs up the wall as others might have, I felt bad about that. They just kept telling me that they didn’t mind, and they wanted to be safe up there anyway, so it was ok to take time and make sure everything was done properly.

Even though I am afraid of heights, I found that as long as I didn’t look all around the room when I was on the top of the wall, and just focused on what was in front of me, it was ok. (Seriously, people, when I’m standing on the 4th floor of a stairwell, I get scared looking down.) But last night was definitely ok, and it was kind of liberating the first time I climbed up. I knew I had someone really qualified standing below me, who was not going to let anything happen to me, and I liked the fact that I seemed able to scale the wall pretty easily.  (Now I know which shoulder muscles I need to work on.)  Some people said “yep, she’ll just spidey up the wall” to refer to me, and that was a nice ego-boost. I think it’s probably because I’m small that it may be easier for me than for others. That and I’d say all the running and more recently, strength work on my arms, that helped a lot. (Hey, people even clapped for me after my first time up the wall, and no one else got applause!) What can I say,we were a bunch of beginner nerds/dorks :-)

I will say one thing I liked about it was that you have to strategize ahead, and in the moment, as to where you are putting your hands and feet, and be able to readjust if a move doesn’t work out the way you planned. I also liked the fact that you work in pairs (usually but not always because this gym has some automatic belays in case you are on your own) and that you need to watch out for each other. I can imagine, being outdoors, the stakes are much higher so you’d definitely have to have a lot of confidence and faith in your partner.  (Read: your face could become “one” with a rock.  So not pretty.)  

I think it can also be an activity that is confidence boosting, and not always just from the climbing standpoint.  They had me belay a guy who was easily 70-80 pounds heavier than me, and she had him intentionally fall a few times, without telling me he was going to, and I caught him with no problem. (Of course I was anchored into the ground.)  And the instructor kept saying “she’s so light!” which definitely felt good to hear.  It was cool to know I could have a partner that much larger than me, and believe me, he was kind of spastic with the falls (not sure if it was on purpose or not), but to have the confidence in myself that I could take care of him.

Oh, and the culture of the people there – they all seemed super chill. The guy in our group was all upset because people were late, and I just wanted to say “dude, RELAX. This is supposed to be a fun thing, not something to get all worked up about!” (What a change in attitude from my law school days. Still blows my mind I was like that at some point in my life.)

Anyway, I considered the day a success, as I think today will be too. Volunteering and meeting a very good friend for Thai food for dinner. Of course, it’s Thai food. That’s my go-to food before a race, even though it’s a short race!

I’ve got my goals for tomorrow, pace-wise, I’ll let you know if I reach them, afterward.  Just want to enjoy myself and see how all the strength training, inner growth, and confidence-building can come together at one time.  If a negative thought comes into my mind, I’ll just remind myself “Girl, you did an ELEVEN minute plank on one foot. You can DO THIS!”

:-)

Yes, I am being as my husband would say, “so-oo-oo dramatic!”  Of course, normally, it’s in a complaining way so I can get a back rub, but tonight it’s in a good way.  My run didn’t start out that way however. I started screaming when I saw that after about 2 seconds, my iPod was on red, which is NEVER  good thing.  And then I saw that my Garmin watch was taking forever to find the satellites, even as the precious battery life of my iPod was draining…  I just finally said, “ah, screw it, mom’s distance by car odometer will have to do for this evening” and took off. What was meant to be a somewhat regular run became a tempo run out of necessity.  I am happy to say I ran 3 miles in 26:23, which is pretty good for me! I can honestly say I don’t remember running that distance that fast anytime since high school, and well, I’m 35, so you can do the math as to how long it’s been. Yay! 

One of my goals for this year is to run a 5K under 26, so I think that after all the training I’ll be going through over the summer, that could finally be within my reach.  Every time I looked at my pace during the first two miles, I saw the number “8” in the “minute” place on my watch.  Wow! Even when I felt like I was dying (again  I’m being on the dramatic side) during that last mile, for part of it, I was running something like 8:49! Woohoo!  I really did want to stop at one point, then I remembered Alissa’s post on Mental Toughness, kept repeating that to myself for a bit, and then kept on going. I said to myself, “you big baby – you’ve been running for too long to allow yourself to stop here.”  I call myself  a big baby a lot – it helps to make me mad and keep on going. :-)

I may be naive to say this, but I think the physical part I will be able to get through this summer, given time.  It’s the mental part that is going to take a lot of work, to get rid of the self-doubts that start to creep in when I am getting tired.  If there are any books that any of you have read and found particularly helpful in this aspect, or if there are any tricks you know of that can work, I’m all ears.

 

 

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