frustration & fear

Warning. This is not going to be an upbeat post. I’m struggling and need to vent.

I haven’t been running since Sunday.

It doesn’t mean that I haven’t been active. I’ve fit in a power yoga session, and I spent two more days criss-crossing Disney World (11 hours in Hollywood Studios and five hours in Magic Kingdom, respectively) in scorching heat. I’m sure these count for something, but it’s not what I want to be doing for training.

My plan was to wake up this morning and do another 15 minutes of running, as a warm up for a bridge workout tomorrow.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans.

My throat burns and the congestion behind my nose is high in the morning when I wake up, and when I go to bed. It takes a few hours for everything to settle to kind of normal-ish, but even then, it’s not quite right. Then there’s a danger of going out in the heat, under-hydrated and improperly fueled. In the summer weather, even before the sun rises, it’s a bad idea. While, interestingly, we are not experiencing the triple digit heat waves that other parts of the country are suffering, it’s still hot and humid and one has to be safe and smart. Since June 27, I have dropped from a size 12 to an 8 in jeans. On the one hand, yay for a smaller size. On the other, the weight loss has come about from not being able to eat much and is neither healthy nor sustainable.

I’m frustrated. If my knees or my ankles were injured, I think I would be better equipped to deal with the setbacks. It would be easier to isolate the area for resting and strengthening. However, there’s not much I can do but “take it easy.” Which is absolutely not the way I function. Β However, there is really no pampering the throat. I have to breathe, swallow and talk. When I spoke to the ENT’s office this morning, they suggested I chew gum to help rebuild the muscles. Which is great, except for the fact that I have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), where gum chewing can lead to my jaw locking or misaligning. Not appealing.

The whole thing has been two steps forward, three steps back.

What’s worse is that the frustration has segued to fear. A month ago, I was gung ho about registering for races. I would scour the local running websites for details to be released about new 5 and 10Ks so I could get signed up. Now, when my running friends ask me about joining them for some runs, I’m declining. I’m scared. Terrified that I can’t do it, that I’m going to fail. I know all about fearing fear itself and you can only fail if you don’t get out there, but my confidence and bravado is waning.

I’m not going to quit. It’s just not an option. And yet, I don’t know how I’m going to edge back into training. It’s so overwhelming and I feel so behind. My legs want to run. My heart does, too. I want to be out there, putting in more miles and building my endurance, but my body is saying it’s just not ready.

For better or worse, a lot is riding on tomorrow’s effort. If I can get myself over that bridge one time, it’s going to be a huge boost. I’m hoping it will be the motivator to push through to a more regular schedule and that will help me feel better about my upcoming races, especially the Stadium Challenge in two weeks. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself, but personal pressure is ingrained in me and I just can’t stop feeling down.

I’m even considering bribes to myself. For example, I’m almost ready for new Mizunos. I am about at the point where I’m telling myself if I can complete a full week of good training, I can go ahead and treat myself. Whatever works, right?

I hate being negative and down. It’s not productive and it detracts from focusing on getting better. However, we’re all entitled to a little wallow from time to time. This needs to be it for me. I’m going to concentrate on what I HAVE been doing well, the great time we had with family over the past two weeks and the fun we’ll have in the weeks to come.

How do you conquer your fears?

Do you ever treat yourself to a motivating gift? What’s been your favorite?

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21 Responses to frustration & fear

  1. Lynda says:

    That sounds rough! My only thought is maybe try just like 1/2 mile/around the block/5 mins of jogging to just keep some momentum going. You will be back at full strength soon!

  2. Darlene says:

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. You will get it back. New shoes always work. I would buy them first. It may motivate you to,use the.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Don’t worry! You’re going to be back to normal so soon! I HAVE a joint-related injury, and I am not discounting your issues, but I can tell you that I would trade you! My knee feels better, then it feels iffy, then it feels better, then… meh. You get the idea.

    However, I DO know how you are feeling – that fear that you aren’t you without running, that fear of not knowing when you’ll be “you” again, and of course, that fear of, what if you don’t get back to everything. Believe me, I know. I’m going through it right now.

    Hang in there! Go get those new shoes. πŸ™‚
    Elizabeth recently posted…Fit Friday – I Need Your Help!My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I’m sorry about your knee. Any injury or setback stinks.

      You’ve hit the nail on the head. I don’t feel like me. Running wasn’t all-consuming, but it was a big part of me, and I feel so lazy and out of sorts without that routine to fall back into. The ENT said that even though I was clear at 2 weeks, it can take 3-4 to be back to normal. Ugh. And there are weird feelings about the weight situation – I don’t want to gain it back, which is silly because I can barely eat anyway, so how would that happen, even if I can’t really work out? It’s all going to work out, I know.

      Maybe the new shoes will give me that extra pick-me-up.

  4. Even though it’s frustrating, it’s good that you’re listening to your body. The last thing you want is to push too hard and like you said, take three steps back. I think a new pair of shoes is a great idea! It’s always motivating to want to try them out and show them off. And don’t worry, you’ll get back into the swing of things soon πŸ™‚
    Kristen @ Medium Roast recently posted…Food {Lately}My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I really don’t have a choice. The last thing I need is to be wheezing on the side of the road.

      Another vote for new shoes. Hmmm. I’m going to have to blog about everything on my wishlist and see how many votes I can get for “go ahead and buy all the things!” It’s easier to pull the trigger when there’s a cheering committee in the background πŸ™‚

  5. I’m sorry you are struggling, sending you big hugs. Listen to your body and trust your gut — if your body says rest, then rest. The last thing you want to do is wind up injured, you know?

    If you need some moral support on your weekend runs, let me know, we can do them together πŸ™‚

    PS – It’s almost time for me to get new shoes too and I need to get refitted since they discontinued mine. Lunch, pedi’s, and new shoes sounds like it needs to happen!
    Kristin Smith @ A Mom on the Run recently posted…Things to Remember ThursdayMy Profile

  6. Jess says:

    Jenn- I’ve found that running is like a relationship: it has its ups and downs, its ebbs and flows. Some days you’re so in love with running, some days it’s just not there. What you’re going through is normal, and you WILL come through it to be back where you were, if not better! It’s a journey, and this is just a bump along the way. Make a goal, bribe yourself, whatever works. I tend to bribe myself with tasty treats! πŸ™‚ Stay strong.
    Jess recently posted…Focus on Fun, not FractureMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      These are the dangers of being a control freak. I just want to be able to overcome all these things on my time and my terms. It’s been a very humbling lesson for me. Very humbling. I’m ok with having bad runs and off days, but it’s hard when you’re fighting to come back from something and can’t make it happen as fast as you want it to.

      I think if I can get through this week, I’ll get new shoes in time for my next 5K. I should be able to put enough miles in before then to make me feel good about it.

  7. Kathy Nguyen says:


    Try to give yourself a break. Your body needs time. I remember the first year I was running I had just gotten really into it and then I got the flu and ended up with Pneumonia. I was out from running for over a month. I thought I would be starting all over, but when I got back out there I found I had to build back a little but I wasn’t starting from ground zero. Don’t push too hard. Your body has been through a lot. You will be back to normal soon and this will just be a memory.

    Kathy Nguyen recently posted…Fitness FridayMy Profile

  8. Doesn’t it feel good to vent sometimes? I find that once I share my fear and frustration, it doesn’t seem so encompassing and I am able to move past. Sometimes my body says stop when my mind and heart want to go. At those times, it is HARD for me, but I have learned (yay for my 30’s where I am a little better to my body) to listen and take the break that I need. When I need motivation, I find it on blogs or reading a running magazine. Right now…watching the tour de france pumps me up. But when I really just can’t lace up my shoes…I don’t! I bike, I swim, I go to yoga, I walk, and then eventually when I am ready, I get up early dust off my running shoes and hit the pavement with no watch and no expectations. Just for fun! Hang in there and stay strong!
    Luv What You Do recently posted…9 Before 9My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      It does feel good. And I do feel a little better about everything. Unfortunately, I am having a hard time with exercise in general because of the breathing and swallowing. It wears me right out, but I’m trying. I am hoping to get into my night walking groove again to help stretch my lungs. I think that will be a huge help. Thanks for the support and the suggestions!

  9. So sorry, take it easy, relax. Walking around in all that heat counts for something πŸ˜‰ We all get in a funk, for me it has been my PF on my foot, frustrating, depressing but I know taking care of it needs to be a priority and it has been paying off.
    I am with you though when it comes to motivation, go get some new Mizunos and set small goals for yourself to get started, don’t over do it and soon you will be back in the groove.
    Best Wishes!
    Lisa RunFastMama recently posted…Getting Ready for BlogHer’13 – ClothesMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Relaxing is not in my particular skill set. I get so edgy when I can’t get out there.

      I just treated myself to a cute sports bra and top. I want to put a few more miles on my shoes, just so that I feel like I’m getting my money’s worht (unless they start hurting me).

      Fingers crossed that we’re both back in it, soon!

  10. jan says:

    First of all, don’t ever feel like you need to sugar coat things or only post happy stuff on your OWN BLOG. It’s your platform to discuss as you wish! Hearing about the good AND the bad makes a blogger more real and more likable.

    I would not be afraid to listen to your body. Even if you have to take several months easy, you will get back eventually. No rush!! Hang in there!
    jan recently posted…Newborn PhotosMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      <3 You're right, but I hate complaining when a) it's so unproductive, b) it could be so much worse and c) it's a temporary situation. Things aren't puppies & rainbows all the time, but too much negativity is a drain, too.

      I'm hanging. I think I'm in a decent place and I think being able to get back on a regular schedule will help immensely. Thank you!

  11. I’m so sorry that you are not feeling back to normal yet. It sounds like you have been listening to your body about when to run again and how much. It must be so hard doing everything right, and yet not being able to do what your heart wants to do. Continuing to send positive vibes your way!

    I think you should treat yourself to those new shoes AND new shorts and a shirt! πŸ™‚
    Debbie @ DebRuns recently posted…Running Safely on Country RoadsMy Profile

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