Climbing Back From My Hole

Wow. I cannot believe how long it’s been since I last wrote. After four years of regularly blogging in here, I suppose I needed a break. That, and I haven’t really had anything interesting to blog about.

The plain truth is this: I have not run for 5 months.

Because of that I have spiraled into a very deep, dark hole. I’ve hit rock bottom. Isn’t it always true that before we can instill change in our lives, we need to hit rock bottom? Well, I’m there and it isn’t a very pleasant place to be. While my weight has been very steady and only about 4-5 lbs more than my summer, running body weighed, my body fat has shot up and hit the bell. Yikes! I worked so hard to get rid of all of that and was successful, for a while, holding steady. Well, my 40-plus-year-old body loves that body fat, especially when I stop exercising.

The thing is, for the first three months I couldn’t exercise even though I wanted to. When standing up, a slight movement in any direction – I’m talking to the nth degree – would send shooting pains down my back and into my left leg. My leg and foot would tingle and go numb. It was painful, scary, and infuriating all at the same time. I lost a lot of strength in my leg and foot.

My second epidural and a more robust drug stopped all of that but my doctor insisted I wait a month until my next visit before I started running again. So I waited and wallowed. I started eating junk and all of the bad stuff in that food, the saturated fats, found a new home in my body. Suddenly, I shot up two whole sizes in my pants and I still have a muffin top which protrudes through my shirts. The only thing I’m comfortable wearing is sweats.

I got the “okay” from my doctor but suddenly it was the holidays (I even skipped a holiday party because I literally had nothing in my closet that fit me,) and then I got sick for two weeks with bronchitis, sinusitis and pink-eye, all at the same time. The first round of antibiotics didn’t work so I began my second course of antibiotics and suddenly it was the first week of January and I am feeling fat and unhealthy and disgusting. The gym membership I purchased the day before the New Year with all of those good intentions remains unused.

And so must it be when one hits rock bottom. You must really FEEL it. You’ve got to feel low and desperate and angry.

This is how pathetically unfit I am: We recently bought a Wii and along with it, Wii Fit Plus. I’ve been logging on with my Mii character every couple of days and working through some yoga and strength training exercises, and playing the little games packaged in there. Basically, the entire point behind Wii Fit is to work on your core muscles which are the entire reason I am in this mess to begin with. One of the training games, basically a caricatured step class, had my calves yelling at me a day later. My back muscles were talking to me a day after working out with the boxing class. Here’s the kicker: I used to make fun of people who would use Wii Fit and act like they had a workout. That was back when I was hitting the trails for five hours at a time as I base trained with the intention of running a 50 mile trail race. Now, I am so out of shape that the very game I once mocked actually does give me a workout.

The problem is that when my body is weak and lacking in correct nutrition I tend to get sick, a lot. Right now I am existing in that desperate place where I want to work out but life isn’t exactly throwing me a bone to do so. I know it sounds like an excuse. It probably is. Yesterday I had to be home all day because we had contractors in the house, this morning I have a mammogram. I only have three hours at best without kids, and my gym does not have childcare. It’s tough to fit everything in during those three hours of calmness and tranquility.

Besides, the lack of exercise in my life and feeling like a big blob, I have been diverting my energy that was once reserved for working out to other things in my life such as my husband, my kids, the house, baking, I’ve even been picking the guitar back up lately. It feels good to be doing all of those things. So, in some ways my break from a regular fitness routine has definitely had some hidden gems.

But it’s time to get back into the swing of things. I’m hoping that this desperation I am feeling right now will be what I need to kickstart my fitness habit because I really need it back.

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5 thoughts on “Climbing Back From My Hole

  1. Baby steps, my friend. There is nothing wrong with using Wii Fit as an exercise tool. After such a long break, you are almost starting from scratch. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Use it to motivate you.

    You know what you’re capable of. It may take a little time, but you will get back there if you so choose. Believe that and the rest will follow.

    Meanwhile, we’re all still rooting for you.

  2. Aw, man, injuries are tough. I had a stress fracture over the summer, but at least I could do pool running and ride the stationary bike – I can’t imagine being in pain trying to do ANYTHING at all, and I’m not surprise you ended up wallowing in misery. One step at a time. Remember how good you felt and recapture that. Good luck!

  3. So sorry to hear it. Really. My advice, pick your chin up and pick a goal race for the spring. A 5K, 10K , whatever. Make a plan – a small plan. And go nail it. The rest will follow.

  4. I’m glad your hip is feeling better and I am so sorry to hear about the rut you’ve been in. I stopped running after the Boston Marathon last spring and started again in October. I felt the same way you are feeling right now. The first few weeks of my return to running were really hard and frustrating, but then my muscles seemed to “remember” what they used to be capable of and it gets a little bit easier. It still takes time to get the endurance back, but you will. You know you are always welcome to come and check out any of my yoga classes – always a good place to start after an injury. Hang in there…I know you will be back out racing and running before you know it!

  5. The positive spin I always try to put on injuries / time off is that when you start up again, you will be constantly improving for a good while.

    From a mental perspective, it’s always good to know you are improving, even if you are far from your all-time PR’s.

    I find it can be more frustrating to be in great shape and wondering why you’ve been in a slump lately then be out of shape but knowing you are making a comeback.

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