Sunday, December 25, 2011

Crazy Train

The other day, I woke up in a crabby mood.  As is usual during the holidays, I felt overwhelmed and stressed out about work and the end-of-the-year craziness.  I had worked late, stayed up too late watching "It's a Wonderful Life" with Doug and the girls and did not feel good.  Rather than just rousing me from that drowsy almost-awake place like it usually does, my alarm jolted me out of bed.  Nevertheless, I sallied forth at 5am for my run.

UGH.  It was horrible.  My feet hurt, my knees hurt, the weird ache in my right bottom cheek flared up, my tummy was upset and I had overdressed so I was hot.  I made it up to the clubhouse, pottied and went on my way. 

I did not feel good enough to exit the neighborhood for my usual loop and bargained with myself about the easiest way to get my miles in.  I ran down to mom and dad's house and dropped off their paper, then headed back towards the clubhouse, thinking I'd just avoid the giant hill and maybe do loops of the regular neighborhood.  Stopped again for the potty.  My tummy was very bad and I started to think I might actually be sick - lots of viruses going around at school right now.  The general malaise that usually only comes with a fever enveloped me.  Rather than attempt any hills at all, I ran back to mom and dad's house (it is mostly flat to their house) and realized that running anywhere without bathroom access was going to be a very, very bad plan.  So, I hit upon the idea of running slowly up to the front of the neighborhood (2 miles uphill) since I could hit the golf course bathroom on my way if necessary.  If I felt good, I would turn around and return home the long way and go by mom/dad's one more time to hit my mileage.  If I continued to feel badly, I could just head straight home.

In addition to the tummy issues, my mind was in a bad place.  I could not erase my frown and the heaviness of being in that bad place made every step irritating.  I was mad at Doug for making ants in trees because it was giving me the GI distress.  I was angry at the work folks for all needing everything done at once.  I was crabby with myself for not being more efficient with my time.  Something had to give.  I gave myself a stern lecture. 

You have to snap out of this! 
Do you remember the T.V. show "Fame," where Debbie Allen says "You want fame?  Well, fame costs.  And right here is where you start paying"?  I told myself a variation:

You want to feel better?  Like a human? Well, you need a run to burn off the bad.  And this is your run.  This is where you make it better.
It was not working.  OK, maybe a little. But then those angry thoughts kept creeping back in to try and pull me down and exacerbate my foulness.

So, feeling a little desperate, I thought of something Rebecca told us at Hot Vinyasa class.

You have two sides, two wings - the feeling and the action.
Identify the emotion you are feeling, take it out and hold it in your hand.  It is good to have feelings.  Everyone has them.  Examine the feeling, its breadth and shape.  Then, YOU decide what to do with it on the action side.

I took the hard, gnarled stub of my frustration and held it in my hand.  It was ugly.  It was muddy green and brown with an irregular knobby shape and needle-like thorns and it smelled like rancid meat.  I rolled it around for a minute and let the points bite my fingers and palm.  I thought about how I could be more productive and how I could have eaten less of the ants in trees.

Then I put the feeling back and kept on with my run.  The run to the front of the neighborhood plan was a good one because the long uphill is rewareded with an easy, non-GI-irritating downhill.  I made it to the front of the neighborhood and while the running part didn't feel any easier and my GI was still protesting mightily, I felt like me again.  Sure, I still had to stop at the dark golf course bathroom and I went home the short way so I didn't get all of my planned miles, but I got most of them and felt better for it.

A year ago, I read The Cranky Princess's exercise logs and Kate from Big Peach's blog posts about yoga and made faces.  Yoga might be good for them, but it was not for me. 

But after that Hot Vinyasa class, I thought, maybe it might be OK.

And this coping skill, the two-wings theory.  It might just prove it.

Or that I'm on the crazy train.  Either way.

Thursday, December 08, 2011


In November, several of my Facebook friends (they are real friends too) and Elena started posting one thing they are thankful for every day or week as a Thanksgiving project.  I could not remember the day of the week for Elena's thankful thing on BT so I just post my things whenever I think of them.

Thanksgiving came and went, but I'm still posting the things. 

Trying to think of a relatively new thing every day (or every couple of days) has been a good exercise.  It makes me stop and notice little happy things where perhaps in the past I would have rushed right by.  I see decorations, pretty trees, how the fish gets excited when he sees me coming.  [I am thinking right now that I should be looking for more of these things]  Looking for the thankful thing makes me look for the bright side of a bad mood, a bad situation, a disappointment, everything.  One morning recently, I got up in a terribly ugly mood.  Everything about me was foul and I just hated myself.  I got on the bike trainer (a stand for the bike so we can ride indoors) and rode my heart out.  I added some extra "personality" minutes the way we used to give the kids personality naps before dinner.  It worked!  That day I was thankful for endorphins and their capacity to smooth the bumps and for Doug for setting up the trainer for me.

A similar thing happened when we got the new Christmas tree.  Our previous tree (both trees are fake, by the way) was a stop-gap measure that we bought when we realized that Annika would be pulling up on or near the tree at her first Christmas.  The potential for disaster was too scary to imagine with a heavy real tree, so we got the fake one, planning to replace it with a "good one" after the holidays.  That was in 2003.  Things don't move fast at our house.  Doug found some trees on sale this year at Sams and brought one home the day after Thanksgiving.  The new tree is more telephone pole-shaped than tent-shaped and it did not make my heart sing.  So, I jumped on my bike and then took a nice, cool run and though the tree had not improved in my estimation, the kids were REALLY excited (jumping up and down) about decorating it.  And that day I was thankful for Dr. Seuss and the Grinch saying that "perhaps Christmas means a little bit more."

It is interesting, though, that most of my thankful things are repeating themes.  My family, running, my family, running, friends, my family, running, work, my family etc. . .   I think, perhaps, that they are so extra-great that I keep coming back to them for my thankful thing.  Then again, it could be because I am subconsciously making up for the years of not thinking of the thankful thing.