Better in than out?

I’ve been having a bit of struggle recently with some negative talk. I was at a run training session yesterday and I was clearly slower than the rest of the group. I was okay with this, as the other runners are generally faster than me, and I’m still coming back after (another) injury. I’m slowly building my fitness back up and I’m okay that this is going to take me time. I asked to amend the session for myself so that I wasn’t always so obviously behind, this was a sensible suggestion which after a few reps the coach agreed to.

However, I then spent the rest of the session justifying to people that I really was okay. I got told to ‘be more positive’ and ‘ignore the negative self-talk’ and ‘be proud for trying’. It’s so frustrating though- as I am proud of myself for trying and for being realistic about my abilities. I don’t think my talk was all negative- I was saying things like ‘this is hard for me at the moment, can I start further up to even it out?’ or ‘I just find sprinting so hard, good thing I never want to be a sprinter’ or ‘I’m not built for running fast’. I was told to think positive and to not engage in negative talk as it will just bring me down.

Except- I spent years keeping my negative talk in and that didn’t work so well – I ended up  miserable and ill. I have finally found my voice to be able to say when things are hard or that I’m not quite doing okay, but actually people don’t really want to hear that. I’m discovering that it’s a hard balance between what to keep in and what to let out.

In general I am  fairly positive person, I’ve been described as annoyingly optimistic before! – but I do feel frustrated that I’m slower than others, that I’m larger than others and that my PhD is taking me longer than others. Not speaking these words don’t make these thoughts go away, but I can see that my friends want me to not feel this way and don’t think saying it out loud helps.

Maybe I just need to think about the context in which I’m saying things, and that actually if I am okay with how my running is at the moment that my talk should reflect that and I need to pay more attention to what I say. I don’t think I’m quite ready to go around saying I love my body, but my running is something I can be okay about. I’m pleased I can run injury free, I’m pleased I’m back training, I’m pleased I can run with my friends again. This is what I need to be saying, and maybe then I can convince people that I really am okay.

This was a bit rambling sorry but just the thoughts going around in my head!

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A letter from my body

This post has been on my ‘to-do’ list for blogging for a while now. It turns out that having a blogging ‘to-do’ list puts me off blogging as I get panicked about what I wanted to do being good enough so I’ve learnt not to commit to writing about a specific topic anymore. However, I did really want to do this post so I’m just going to let the words flow and post whatever comes out- apologies in advance if it’s rambling!

 

This post is inspired by firebyfly from lastthingoutofthebox who back in January wrote a letter to herself from her body. While I have written (privately) to my body from myself, I have never done it this way around. Firebyfly’s post was honest and raw and made me see ED from a different perspective so I thought it was worth a go for me to try. (On a side note firebyfly has been such a lovely and supportive blogger over the past while and I am thankful for each and every one of her comments!)

Dear MyQuietRoar,

I’m not sure you’ve ever really liked me.  I can remember as far back as aged 7 you saying that I was too fat. You got cross with me for not being small and petite like the other girls, for being too round and flabby. You hated me in a leotard; I used to love ballet class and gymnastics – it was so fun to spin and tumble and stretch – but you were ashamed of how I looked. We would master new skills together and I thought you would be proud, but instead you would cross your arms over me in embarrassment and pinch at me in disgust, longing enviously for someone else’s body.

You still do that now – compare me to others and find me wanting. I sit with you in changing rooms while you cry over how I look. I tolerated it when you removed all the mirrors at home because you couldn’t bear how I looked and would spend hours judging and criticising me. I see you delete photo after photo because my arms look fat, my chin is pudgy, there are rolls on my stomach. Every now and again I think I look great, I’ve pulled it together with nice hair and makeup and lovely clothes – I cherish those moments when you think ‘you’re okay, you’re enough’ and pray they will stretch out in time before you end up back hating me.

It’s  not just how I look either, it’s what I can do. I remember not being able to climb the rope in sports acro and for you never forgiving me for that. 25 years on and that still gets to you. I see the same thing now in other ways.  The activities may have changed but I am still the same body, still working with you to help you do the things you want to do, but yet you still don’t find me good enough. I have trained with you for 6 marathons. I have run miles and miles in all kinds of weather, when I was tired and sore with blisters on my feet, I stayed with you. Yet at least once a day you tell me your are annoyed at me for not being fast enough. You do the same with cycling – just when I am enjoying being out in the countryside you curse me for not being strong enough up the hills. Yoga too – I thought we were going to relax but you berate me for not being flexible enough or strong enough.

I’m angry at you for how you have treated me. I watch you being kind to others and telling them to love themselves but then not being fair to me. Puberty was not my fault. It was my job to develop you in that way, you just needed patience to see how it would all settle, you shouldn’t have tried to fight me. You have really hurt me over the years. I have scars from where you have cut me, have healed bruises from where you have hit me. You thought while I was shrinking that you were doing something good for us, but I was hungry and cold and tired. You think stuffing me with food makes me feel better but I hate it, it makes me uncomfortable and the purging hurts. It leaves me dehydrated and drained and stops me getting on with the other things I like to do. I am fed up of not knowing what to expect, not knowing what I am allowed eat, what I have to avoid, what is too much, what is too little, what will make you feel bad. I just want moderation and balance. It really is that simple to me. I like vegetables, I want carbs for energy, protein for my muscles, nutrients for my hair and nails and chocolate simply because it’s yummy. Stop judging me for wanting the things that I need, and indulge me my giving me the things that I want.

It seems like you are exploring all options to get rid of me. I was not the body you wanted. Every time you are ashamed of me or hurt me that is what you are telling me. I was not the body you wanted. But guess what? I am all you have. And I’ll tell you something else; you got a pretty good deal with me. Even with everything you put me though I wake up in the morning and take a breath for you. I let you roll over and smile at your boyfriend. I walk you into work where you get to make a difference. I let you laugh with your friends. I let you read to your heart’s content. I let you type these thoughts out into the world. I get you to see your family and let you play with your cousins. One day I am hoping to help you bring your own child into the world. I will always be here for you. Please have faith that if you stick with me, we will be okay. I am enough for you. You are enough.

With love, your body.

 

Not-a-marathon

So today was not-a-marathon day. The injury of doom persists. I was kind of dreading it. So much so that I tried to run on Friday just to see if it might be possible, but I couldn’t make it more than 200m, so that was not going to happen. So today I was a spectator and actually, it was a great day. Just because it was not-a-marathon day for me didn’t mean that there wasn’t a marathon! My running club peeps and my boyfriend were awesome and we’ve been for a lovely meal tonight to celebrate. I cheered my heart out and I’m so pleased that I could get my head in a space to enjoy myself and be present for others. Slowly but surely I’m learning to ride the waves of life.

Be still

I saw my physio today as my pain has worsened. I can barely walk without pain now. His estimation of recovery time is now a vague ‘weeks at the least’ and I am to stop all activity for 2 weeks to let my body tell me whats wrong.

No activity for two weeks.

You can imagine the reaction in my head. Outwardly I just fell silent. Well, after I got him to clarify that no activity mean only gentle walking without pain, not swimming, not yoga, not weights, not anything (I was desperately bargaining as you can imagine…)

He said to rest and be still.

I’m not sure I can. I mean, I can, but what happens with eating? Calories? Fat? what’s in and out? what’s burnt by being still? What will happen to my metabolism? My head has gone crazy with the numbers and worry. I replaced lunch with a coffee as I couldn’t figure it out. It shouldn’t be this hard. I know restricting will just lead to b/p-ing, but I’m petrified of binging as I know the purging won’t get rid of enough- I used exercise to do that. I lack the willpower now to restrict properly, so do I just accept the weight gain? Will I gain weight? Maybe I won’t? Will a few weeks make a difference? round and round the crazy voices go.

I just need to breathe. And do structured eating. And trust the process. And avoid the scale. And focus on my physical recovery. This is a bigger test than I was ready for. Sh*t.

It’s only a run

I’m still injured and it looks like the marathon isn’t going to happen. I’ll still go as my boyfriend is running the half marathon, I’ve other friends running the full and we have accommodation booked for the night before and after, so I will paint a smile on my face and cheer him on, but I am going to have to draw on all my resources to have a good time.

There’s a whole lot of cognitive dissonance going on right now. I know it’s only running, I know it’s not the end of the world, I know I will likely be able to run again so this isn’t the worst injury, but on the other hand I keep thinking of all the training I put in and how frustrating it is to not be able to see the fruits of my labour. I have worked really hard this training cycle to get a good PB, I was aiming for a ‘good for age’ qualifying time for London, I have been beating my PBs along the way so it was within my reach. I feel it’s all gone to waste, but then I think sensibly that as long as I get better I can try again later in the year, but the thought of more 20 miles runs is exhausting and round and round the thoughts go. I just need to stop over thinking it. It is one race. It will be done with in 8 days. I will get better. I will start running again and I can do another marathon when I’m fit for it.

The eating is another thing that is taking up brain space. I’m trying my best but it is hard now I’m not running. I’ve been swimming so that has helped, but the pool was closed today for refurbishment and I ended up in tears when I realised as I had eaten a flapjack thinking I could swim it off. As I can’t walk or cycle I have no way of burning it off now, so now I’m thinking I will have to swap it for a meal. This is such disordered thinking, I know it, you know it, even something without an ED would say that, but I swear my stomach is growing right in front of my eyes. On the positive side, I haven’t purged for 4 days and I’m feeling good about that.

So, ups and downs at the moment. All I can do is ride it out and find the positives where I can. My friends have been very supportive about the running so I’m a lucky girl in that way, and I got to spend some time with my friends new baby last week and baby cuddles are great for when I’m down. It’s not all bad, and I keep telling myself it’s only a run…

Strength or weakness 

Yesterday I got the bus home at the end of my long run. I’d not been feeling great when I went out but I was down to do a 22 miler so I really wanted to get it done. I lasted 8 miles before turning around as I felt so awful, and running another 7 until I could get a bus. The bus man told me I was cheating by getting the bus and I burst into tears. I got home and sat in the shower as I was too tired to stand, then got out and cried to my boyfriend. 

I felt so rough, yet felt so awful for not finishing my run. Thing is I’ve been doing great with my training and know that had I not been ill I would have loved the run. I just wasn’t well enough. But that didn’t stop my mind beating myself up about it for the rest of the day. The truth is though I listened to my body and not finishing that run was the best thing I could have done for myself. 

I often wage this battle in my head about what is strength and what is weakness. Is cutting a run short strong or weak? Is spending a day in bed strong or weak? Is  eating certain foods strong or weak? On and on this battle rages.

Fact is life isn’t really broken into strength and weakness that way. I don’t know when or how I got so caught up in what makes me a strong person and why makes me a weak person. I’m just me, one person who can’t be divided up in that way. I’m really going to try to stop thinking about my actions in that way and instead reframe it as ‘is this good for me?’

So, today I’m sick, would running the miles I missed yesterday be good for me to do on my rest day? No! 

Would watching trashy tv all day be good for me? For a little while yes, but not all day and that will stop me sleeping tonight so I should do some small easy jobs around the house.

Would snacking all day rather than eating proper meal be good for me? No.

It’s worth a shot anyway! If you catch me writing about strength and weakness again feel free to call me on it! 

That was the year

That was the year I realised that ED recovery involved accepting the weight gain.

That was the year I realised ED recovery involved eating a range of food and a range of amounts.

That was the year my amazing ED nurse helped me on my way but then I had to say goodbye to her.

That was the year that ED shrank and other aspects of my life took over.

That was the year I got made permanent in a new job.

That was the year I got funded for two projects.

That was the year a student said I had helped her achieve her ambitions.

That was the year I set personal bests in the 5k, 10k and half marathon.

That was the year I got involved in my running club committee and made lots of new friends.

That was the year I moved in with my boyfriend.

That was the year of lovely weddings (not mine!)

That was year lots of lovely new babies were born (not to me!).

That was the year I cut my hair short.

That was the year I took a break from my PhD.

That was the year I came off my anti-depressants.

 

It was a good year, I feel lucky to have been alive to experience it all.