Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sometimes, it Just isn’t Funny

Note: The beginning of this post was written at a time when I was experiencing great emotional distress. I could have waited until the episode had passed and written a normal, funny, this-is-so-hard-but-everything-is-peaches-and-cream blog post, but I am determined to be honest, real, and open here.

I also found out that unexplained overwhelming emotions and crying can be an early sign of heart attack in women. I think I’m fine; but I will be making an appointment for a physical just to be sure. My father was about my age when he had his first heart attack, so I will not be taking any chances. I have way too much left to accomplish to be checking out this early.

Distance runners have a phrase called “hitting the wall.” Physiologically, that occurs when your body has depleted all of its glycogen supplies and must find other energy sources within itself. Science has made this a much less frequent occurrence with the advent of quick-absorbing carbohydrate supplements that athletes can easily consume while racing.

Today, I hit a different kind of wall. I hit an emotional wall. This morning during boot camp, I snapped, and not in a funny way. If you normally read my blog for the humor and rah-rah-sis-boom-bah cheerleader encouragement, you may want to skip the rest of this one. Because today was bad. Today broke me.

To be honest, I’m not quite sure what happened. Yes, the workout was hard, and it hurt, but that is expected. At some point in the workout today, though, I looked at myself in the mirror, and I wanted to give up. All I could see was a big fat beast who has been pushing herself as hard as she can for two months and it’s not good enough. I’m still weak, I’m still fat, I still quit on myself before I’ve hit my true limits. I still can’t use a full range of motion for squats, lunges, or push-ups. Nothing is good enough. I feel like giving up on myself and I feel like everyone else should just give up on me too. I lost my composure at one point; Jessica (a.k.a. “Pink”) stepped over and pushed me through. With her standing there reminding me that I can do it, that I’m almost there, that we’ve got this, I made it through that set.

But then I really lost it.

I had to run to the bathroom and let it out. I cried for at least thirty seconds, hoping that the music was loud enough that no one could hear me (funny how I’ll write all about it here, but while it’s happening I desperately don’t want anyone to know). I regained my composure and ran back out to finish the workout. I finished, struggling the whole time to keep it reigned in. Once we were dismissed, I had to bolt out of there and jump into my car. I fought to hold it together while pulling out of the parking lot, but as soon as I was on the road and away from familiar faces, I began to wail. I don’t mean stress sobs or a few tears, I mean full, power weeping. I had no idea what was wrong with me; but I could not stop. I cried hard all the way home, and through most of my shower. I was barely able to stop long enough to put my makeup on. Once I got to work, I broke down two more times before I finally felt back to normal again.

Now that I’ve pulled myself together, it seems silly that I would get so upset. I have so many loved ones encouraging me and reminding me how proud they are of me; I have so many friends and acquaintances who tell me they think I’m crazy (in a good way) and they are amazed that I am doing this; I have my new, wonderful friends at START who push me, encourage me, and will not let me quit.

I still don’t know what happened today, but I will not let it make me quit. If I quit now, I’ll never, ever have any respect for myself again. This is too big; I have to stay with it. I’ve had several people ask me how long I intend to continue doing this. I honestly don’t have an answer for that. It hadn’t occurred to me to put an end date on this. Will I stop when I reach my weight goal? No. My weight goal has become a very small part of what I want to achieve. So when do I stop? Is there a perfect fitness level where you can slack off and go to maintenance? I don’t know; if there is, I’ve never been anywhere near it. I honestly think I should just keep doing this for as long as Sgt. Ken will have me in his class.



Jimmy O. said...

What a leader you are to share this! I wouldn't have the guts to reveal this depth of honesty and vulnerability. You are really something!

As far as goals go... I think you are right on the money with 'tomorrow is another day." Show up and changes will happen. You are getting into a groove with a lifestyle change towards fitness that you may never want to let go. I know I'm grumpy when I don't get my fit on.

Aside from all our goofiness in the Boot Room there is a lot of love for you from the veterans that started this with you. I think of you as "one of my girls." It wouldn't be the same in there without you. Misery loves/needs company...I need you there!

Nena said...

Thank you, Jimmy! You and the rest of your crew have been so much encouragement for me. It really helps to know that I'm not alone, and that even the super fit folks like you guys struggle with this too.

As for being honest, I figure that if there is ever another recruit who is struggling and ready to quit, and he or she reads this and is encouraged to stick with it, then it's all worth it.

Delane said...

3 years ago I during a run about mid way I started to cry..I literally had to sit down on the path I was running and continued to cry. My pace that day was off that day, I was feeling sluggish and just wanted it to be over. I had overwhelming feelings of "am I going to be fat and slow forever," "will I ever not be in the lower 25% of race finishers."

It was bad, and I was in a funk for a good 2 days.

I think we all let our minds get the best of us. Women are particularly hard on themselves the the whole "at least your trying" isn't always enough.

Al's CL Reviews said...

THank you for the heart attack/women/emotional warning. I didn't know that.

Focus on the journey to getting to your goal (whatever that may be). And have fun (or as much fun as boot camp can be) watching yourself get stronger, get healthier, etc. You are doing great.

Thanks for putting it out there. It isn't always roses. We all have sucky days. But one more day stronger, you are.