Tag Archives: life
The fear of failure re: half marathon.
The looking forward to vegging out and feeling healthier (oxymoronic though that may seem).
The long distance that I hoped to close – and the potential for things to go spectacularly wrong.
I didn’t fail. I completed the half marathon in < 2 hours. 1:49:55, to be exact. Position #553, and 50th female across the line.
So that was one thing.
I have barely exercised since (unless ascending & descending 102+ stairs every day counts), but plan to change that (gradually) starting soon, as I still feel the same as before.
I closed the distance. I got a job in the city (bleh, the city), and moved in with Him. Unfortunately the job contract is temporary, ending Christmas. Fortunately I have interviews for more permanent ones coming up, and a decent chance of being kept where I am if those don’t go well.
‘Bleh, city’ has been basically the only downside in all of this so far. There have been no catastrophic fuck-ups yet. Ok so I don’t really feel like my work (Social Research) can ever contribute more than 0.00000000000001% to anything that really matters in this world, but hey; I’m not dead yet. I’m not even old, yet. I’m not even not-that-young, yet.
Here is a photo of myself and my brother in the garden back home, wearing our medals and t-shirts and pretending to be cool a couple of hours after the race;
Hope you guys are all good :)
I spent some time thinking, late last night. I was in a small amount of pain as a result of my most recent half marathon training effort, in which I managed 2.5 miles – for the majority of which I genuinely thought I was going to die. And this pain led me to panic to no small extent about the real thing. I have six weeks to go from thinking I am dying during a 2-mile run, to surviving 13 miles. And there it was; fear of failure.
This maybe isn’t the best example of what I’m trying to say here, because it didn’t take me all that long to come to the conclusion that, hey, how many people ever get this far in the pursuit of a fitness/exercise related goal? How was I to know, when I started out, that the regular exercise we all believe to be holy and divine and to have the power to transform us into our very best selves, was in fact going to destroy my health inch by disappearing inch? How many people have ever been in that “enviable” position of neither needing nor wanting to lose any weight or burn any more calories than they did before they started running 20 miles a week? That place where running 20 miles a week will leave them feeling wiped out all the time, weighing scarily less than they used to and bingeing on all the junk they can find (whilst at the same time trying to fit in the recommended amounts of healthy stuff every day) in a desperate effort to feel alive and get some kind of a figure back?
No; all things considered, it wouldn’t really be a sign of failure if I were to heed my body’s sage warnings and end this madness. I could do something less potentially life-threatening in aid of the charity people donated money to in my name. Although the whole point of my doing this was so that I could feel like I’d achieved something at the end of it, I was labouring under all of the universally held assumptions surrounding physical exertion. I still have every intention of continuing to train, of completing the race, of achieving the aim; I am just massively looking forward to vegging out and returning to a healthy weight and not-feeling-like-a-zombie when it’s all over and done with.
From that train of thought I guess I finally figured out what He meant when he said I need to fuck up more.
There aren’t that many everyday fuck-ups that are impossible to get through, to survive and recover from. Whether I run the race and come out of it hideously unhealthy or pull out and find something else admirable to do for the charity, things will work out and everything will be ok in the end. At the very worst, at least I know a kick-ass way to lose weight should I ever need to.
And yet, with most of everything I do (or want to do, could do, should do but don’t) I am held back by the crippling terror of it all going horribly wrong. The reason I am so afraid is because I’ve so far never allowed anything to go horribly wrong enough in my life. I haven’t experienced the outcome of that, that recovery from that crash, that new door opening because an old one closed. I haven’t taken the calculated risk, because I got too scared during the calculation.
Except in one area of my life; the one He became a part of as a result of my past fuck-ups. Relationships. Having been messed with in all imaginable ways by past partners (I know that makes me sound like an old woman at the tender age of 21; there have been less than a handful of past partners, just enough to teach me most of all I’ll ever need to know) I have reached a position of relative fearlessness where my current one is concerned. Ok so a sizable portion of that may just be due to the fact that he isn’t an asshole like the others were. A sizable portion may be due to the fact that I knew that about him all along, even before I chose to ignore all rationality and spend a stupid amount of my precious time with one of said asshole others. A sizable portion may be due to the fact that eventually giving in to common sense felt like going home from a long vacation in several cities where I could never belong.
Of course I still have worries, I still have doubts, nobody is perfect. But the thing is, I know now that whatever happens, I will be ok in the end. I will survive, I will recover. After my very first proper relationship failed when he cheated on me for the second time (with one of my good friends, no less) I didn’t think life could go on. I thought I had lost the love of my life (ha. ha ha ha). I was devastated, heartbroken. Nowadays I am embarrassed to think that I ever indulged in such emotions for his sake; really, he was never any good to me. I am baffled as to why I never figured that out at the time. Perhaps I did, maybe I always knew we weren’t right together but was just too afraid to admit it and let go. And so he trampled all over me and… I survived. I learned. I learned to look at things differently and realised that things turned out for the best on all sides. Ok so I took a longer and more dangerous route than I should have to get to where I am now, but I made it; I am still here and I have developed a backbone and I will never put with that kind of bullshit in a relationship again. As one half of a couple, I now have self-worth. In the event of misbehaviour on His part, we both know that I will be ok. I will survive, I will get over it, I will maintain that self-worth. Sure, he could hurt me… but I could heal. And this is why, despite the long-distance nature of our relationship, we have managed so far. This is how I have the strength to trust him, to believe him and believe in him, to back off when he needs me to and to never be jealous or clingy or have ridiculous expectations of either of us. I have no intention of hurting him, and I believe him when he tells me he would never do anything to hurt me. Oh, and we’re both smart enough to realize and take responsibility when our actions have unintentionally harmed each other. Without speaking too soon, I think this really, really works.
Now I just need the courage/stupidity/naivety to throw more than my whole self into something work-related and be prepared to watch it go gloriously tits-up (as the saying goes round here), in the name of closing that long distance.
but as I write this I find myself, yet again, contemplating the possibility of having all of my hair chopped off. This time, though, I’d properly 100% go for it. Sinead O’Connor/Natalie Portman style. Maybe I could do it for next year’s charity fundraising efforts? It would be a whole lot easier than running 13 miles, for sure.
Which brings me to the subject of the half marathon.
I’ve had a lot of time off from training recently and am now left with just over 8 weeks to pretty much bring myself up to race standard from scratch. I was doing really well; I’d managed 8 miles whilst keeping up my best pace of around 8mins 30secs per mile. Then I got a cold, and the frequency of my training efforts took a nosedive.
Then I felt better for a week or so and started to get back on it… and promptly caught another cold/got attacked by a second round of the first one. Second time round it came with the most horrendous cough I’ve had since I was a kid, and so that put a full stop to training for more than a week. Then once I felt better I ran a couple of short distances in the days before I had to go under general anaesthetic etc. to have all of my wisdom teeth taken out.
That was a week ago. At least one of the teeth still hurts a bit, but I plan to run tomorrow. I anticipate doing so with trepidation. For the entirety of the 2.78 miles I ran just over a week ago I pretty much thought I was going to die. I mean to the point where I genuinely considered stopping, in the middle of a deserted road, and just sitting on the ground crying like a baby.
That feeling of being utterly overwhelmed by the task I faced really made me think. At the time I was thinking much more poetically than I feel capable of today, but I mostly realized that this whole marathon thing is kinda just my life in miniature (I avoid talk of ‘metaphors’ because the word is overused and I just don’t like it).
Try hard, make progress – make amazing progress – get knocked back to a lower low than the one from which you started in the first place. Get up, try some more, claw your way up a little, lose your grip, fall back down (further still) and then…?
Well. I would like to make it quite clear that I am not, I am NOT going to give up. On June 30th 2013 I am going to run 13 miles. It is GOING TO HAPPEN, just like all those other things I am struggling to achieve. I’d take the burning muscles and straining lungs over the burning of abject terror in my blood and the straining of huge chunks of my mind hanging on by a thread, any day. Unfortunately, as I have lately come to realize, I am at some point going to have to just take the lot; I cannot keep avoiding it. Perhaps the rest won’t seem so hard after the 13 miles of lung and muscle punishment?
And Here also, for your enjoyment, is a picture of a baby and a cat on a swing;
to no small extent,
on the day that I find myself being the one saying – without any shadow of my own doubt – “hang in there, it’ll happen” to another human being. Preferably a youthful, decidedly green, almost-pretty-but-somehow-not-quite, apprehensive and excruciatingly self-aware human being in possession of her own troublesome pair of X chromosomes.
Then, and also on the first ever morning that I wake up from a pleasant dream.
is enjoying her half-birthday. Reasons for smiles today include;
- This being my second consecutive day off from work, and the first for a long time in which I have absolutely no obligations whatsoever towards other people. I am wholly free to do exactly as I like with this day.
- I have so far spent the day cleaning the fish tank, tidying my room, cleaning my car, singing along to the pick ‘n’ mix of songs selected by various shuffle buttons and making plans for the rest of the day/year.
- Tonight is choir night – which means more singing slightly too enthusiastically, and time with my sister. Before that, thanks to some decent weather at last, I plan to go out for a walk/bike ride with my camera.
- Last night I spent some time chatting and catching up with three of my best friends from university. Despite my being irrationally nervous about the whole thing beforehand, it made me feel so much better about life than I had been feeling. Turns out I do need friends after all, who knew? ;)
- For no apparent reason, as happens from time to time, I seem to have woken up with more energy and optimism than I’ve woken up with in a stupidly long time. Maybe that’s because the sun is shining on England for the first time in even longer, or maybe it’s me and maybe it will last – even if the sun doesn’t. I really, really hope so.
In short some invisible, small-but-disproportionately-heavy weights have been lifted from my shoulders. I actually feel like I might be capable of kicking some ass today and hereafter. Hopefully this won’t be just another cruelly transient hormone/brain chemical-based mood fluctuation.
If I get any good ones I’ll post the photos from my walk on here soon.
Wish me luck?