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Check Out and Stay In

I’m sure you guys have heard this so many times that your eyes will start to glaze over once you catch the gist of my point here, but can I just re-emphasize how much running has helped me with life in general? Especially the tough workouts. THOSE are golden. The fricking mile repeats, the tempo runs, holy shit and hallelujah those…those are the gold mines of perseverance I tap into when life gets lifey.

The first few tempo miles are aiihight: My hair feels cute and swishy, my legs feel light, my gait feels coordinated and overall, I feel like I could kick everyone’s ass. And then. I get to the last half of the tempo miles: My hair is stuck in sweaty strands along my back and arms, my legs feel like tanker trucks, I keep staggering a bit to the right and overall, I feel like the world is kicking my ass.

When my body is crying out for me to hit the red button, I slip into a trance. My eyelids hang, my jaw relaxes (sometimes I even drool!), my head tilts a little to the right as if I’m on my way to sleep. My feet glide along the belt, my hands scoop the air as if to propel me forward and bit by bit, minute by minute, segment by segment, I get there and once again, I prove to myself that my will is stronger than my body.

When life feels like it’s kicking my ass, I don’t jump off, I don’t lose my shit, and I don’t press the red button. I just go hard within myself (TWSS…omg I’m incurable) and get through it bit by bit, minute by minute, segment by segment.

Here’s a super special selfie I took after my latest tempo treadmill run. You’ll notice that it’s not cute. I’m wearing a Christmas shirt, my makeup is both missing and smeared, and I actually even look a bit green. Because this is real life.

It’s hard to tell new runners to ignore their bodies, because doing so is usually a recipe for injury, but I know my body well enough to know the difference. Do you? How often do you ignore your body and push through?

Do you have any seasonal shirts that you wear year-round even when it’s not Christmas/Halloween, etc?

What kind of headphones/earbuds do you use?


{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Megan @ Meg Go Run February 22, 2017, 6:01 pm

    Speedwork makes me feel invincible! Too bad I haven’t done it since… Sept???? Lol. How can you stand to.run without your hair in a sleek ponytail away from your face? I cannot have my hair down or have whispies.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com February 22, 2017, 8:59 pm

      We are definitely at odds with this one, I know. I can feeeeel what you’re saying, though, about flyaway hairs. I think there’s a part of me that could “go there” if I let it. I get quite obsessive about certain things and those certain things don’t usually stick for life (except how I never have nor ever will touch doorknobs with my bare hands); often my quirks shift around a little. I can see myself developing a hair quirk one day where I always have to wear a headband. I’m trying not to think about it though or it’ll start to happen. I AM SO WEIRD.

      • Megan @ Meg Go Run February 23, 2017, 4:46 pm

        LOL fascinating! I haven’t posted a lot of running pics lately, but you will notice I ALWAYS have my hair in a ponytail and a hairband.

        If someone said I could never run again unless I had whispies, I may not ever run again. Bwahahaha!

        • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com February 25, 2017, 6:10 am

          K, that’s funny. We are weird, quirky women. LOVE IT.

  • Lisa @ Mile by Mile February 23, 2017, 2:09 am

    I feel like I have become hypersensitive to my body which is not really a good thing. I haven’t pushed hard in SO long and I miss that feeling. I do think I can usually tell the difference between good pain and injury, but my body hasn’t felt safe enough to let me experience the good pain. I often wonder how much of what I feel is just in my head, and if I should just push through. But I know I will regret it if I tried that and ended up way worse off.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com February 23, 2017, 5:48 am

      Okay, you’re making me think here. Because I’ve been following your blog for a few years and I think maybe you’re onto something when you say that a lot of what you feel might be in your head–a fear of getting injured. So, this is my experience, and take what you want from it. Once in a while, a pain of some sort will stop me mid-stride. It doesn’t happen often, but it happened last week. I could walk but as soon as I picked up and started running again, I’d get that pretty sharp pain on the outside part of my knee/quad. I crossed the street and started walking back home. I’d try to run again, but my mind would be so focused on feeling that pain that the pain would happen right away. When this happens, I detach, and distract my mind with as much as I possibly can. I almost lean into it, and just take off, and so that’s what I did and I was able to run home with no problem, and the pain stayed away. Also, two years ago, I had a sore right hamstring. I’d favour it and favour it and it began to dictate my runs–I’d get slower and slower. Then one day, I was just like WTH. I’m going to try something. I picked up my pace from about a 9 minute mile and took it to about a 7:30 min/mile and guess what? The pain was gone, INSTANTLY. Because my gait changed back to my regular style, and it took pressure off that hammy.

      Just some thoughts.

      • Lisa @ Mile by Mile February 25, 2017, 3:03 am

        So interesting…and I read your reply yesterday and have been thinking about this. So what about when you feel something when you’r not running? Like in the example you gave, did your hamstring bother you the rest of the day? I feel like when I am running I can ignore things because I get a runners high…but when I feel it the rest of the day it becomes impossible to ignore (especially with the foot thing!) and THEN its harder to ignore when I am running because its been on my mind so much.
        I do think that all these injuries and being hypersensitive has caused me to change my gait. Now I dont know how to go back to that feeling of just running!

        • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com February 25, 2017, 6:09 am

          Ah. Okay, well with the hamstring issue, I only felt it (pretty much, other than once in a while if I moved weird) while I was running. So, your situation sounds more than just psychological because you’ll be feeling foot pain throughout the day when your mind is completely distracted, right? However, I bet that it’s a mixture of everything we’ve been talking about. I mean, our bodies are not just bodies. It’s not that simple. So it makes sense that your mind would be involved in this too. Maybe it started with your hip issues, and then you got fixated on the PT exercises, and then because you were doing so many PT exercises, you were subconsciously telling yourself that you’re broken. And then you “ran broken.” Your gait changed. Now you’ve got legit pains that are cropping up, which is making your mind focus even more on the PT exercises, and therefore even more on the brokenness.

          This reminds me a lot of when I used to have a dog phobia. I had a HUUUUGE phobia of dogs. It was irrational and all-consuming. I’d only run if I carried pepper (bear) spray. So for months, years, I’d run with pepper spray in my hands. Then I went through therapy, and dealt with different phobias I had and I worked through my dog phobia. Eventually I realized that my carrying the pepper spray reminded me MORE of my fear of dogs than if I were to just run empty-handed. Because it was always with me, in my hand. Each step I took, my mind told me “there’s the pepper spray, I am scared of dogs, dogs will attack me.” When I threw out the pepper spray and started running without it, the fear was still there (although slowly diminishing) but it wasn;t with every step.

          Let’s keep talking about this! It’s interesting, and I want you to be able to get back to running FREELY!

          • Lisa @ Mile by Mile February 25, 2017, 1:32 pm

            I love this too!! When I ran today I told myself I was just going to run hard until I got too tired to run anymore. My pace was like under 8 min/mile so I stopped when I got really out of breathe and walked. But I think by running hard I wasn’t able to think about my gait as much.

            You are definitely on to something. I really want to cut back on the PT stuff and just run and see what happens. I am also really tempted to go back to the chiropractor for an adjustment but I’m not sure if I’m using that as a crutch too.

            Maybe we can write a joint post about this some day!

            • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com February 25, 2017, 6:25 pm

              I think this is going to be a breakthrough for you! I hope so! Wouldn’t it be amazing?!?!?! And yes! Then we can write a joint post about it together!!!

  • Susie @ Suzlyfe February 23, 2017, 3:41 am

    Speedwork breaks me, and right now that is not an option, so I am steering clear of it. You know me–I can’t go balls to the walls very well. I guess I’m a pussy. I sometimes wonder if I was still medicated for ADHD if that would be different. That was brought up in therapy the other day, and it something that I might consider returning to in the future, especially once I’m a mom. Otherwise, I feel like I am just going to be so frustrated all the time.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com February 23, 2017, 5:43 am

      I’ve never been diagnosed with ADHD but I do wonder if I have it. I *have* been diagnosed with (mild) OCD, which I think is the lead contributing factor to this strong drive I’ve got. Now that I stop to think about it, I can see how ADHD would hinder a strong drive! I usually correlate it with having a shit tonne of energy, but not having the attention span to hold it in once place can make it seem like you don’t have a strong will. So interesting!

  • Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home February 23, 2017, 4:44 am

    You’ve pretty much described my runs lately. I start out all light and free, and by mile 3-4 I’m sucking air and slowing down. Damn it. Just like life.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com February 23, 2017, 5:40 am

      🙁 Well, to be honest, the morning runs aren’t too light and free at the beginning. Getting started when it’s still dark out and while I still have sleep lines on my face can be a bit of a struggle.

  • Gretchen February 23, 2017, 4:55 am

    I love that feeling, of pushing past mental and physical barriers. I think it’s something runners have to learn- when it’s fine to push and when you’ve gone too far. It’s definitely a balancing act. Also- you’re always beautiful so don’t even start.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com February 23, 2017, 5:40 am

      Awe shucks, Gretchy! And yeah, everything in life seems to be a balancing act, eh? I’m the one that always has to learn the hard way–by pushing too far, getting hurt, and then readjusting.

  • Laura @ This Runner's Recipes February 23, 2017, 5:30 am

    I love speedwork and racing for this reason – mind over matter. During the last 4 miles of CIM, everything hurt – not pain, but discomfort and fatigue – and I embraced that hurt for my fastest miles of the race. It is a trance, like you said.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com February 23, 2017, 5:39 am

      I’m so curious to know how many people relate to this trance concept! Is it an athlete thing? Do all runners utilize the trance to push through pain? I’m so curious!

  • Ana February 24, 2017, 1:18 pm

    You are describing exactly how my last long run was.. the first 2 miles were all “yeah, I got this, I can keep this pace for 8 more miles”… 3 miles later… “Can I just go home and sleep? forget the other 5 miles”.

    All my PJ pants are Christmas pants!! I love them, they are so comfy!

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com February 25, 2017, 6:10 am

      There really is something about Christmas pants that make them way more cozy and comfy than any other pants.

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets February 25, 2017, 5:29 am

    I can’t wear earbuds for more than a mile because I start sweating, they get slick and pop out and I spend more time sticking them back in than running.

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