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Control your Regression for Future Progression

I hope that I didn’t come off as overly whiney in that last post. I realized after the fact that I probably sounded like such a spoiled brat! I honestly am very happy to have been able to run it, and goodness knows that I needed the practice. I was just let down by 2 factors that, in my mind, RnR races are typically known for and, in this case, were severely lacking. So, thank you RnR, for an incredible well-run race. Next time though? Live up to your name!

Wish he had been there to hand out a yellow card.

Wish he had been there to hand out a yellow card.

Moving on.

I’m not going to lie, I started and restarted and stared at posts last night and afternoon for a long, long time. Words just weren’t coming. Or words would come, and they’d be wrong. My head just felt a bit on the fritz–like I wasn’t all there. So I took a break, worked on some other things, came back.

And still, nothing. FLATLINE. You know what? Sometimes, it happens! And that’s ok. Just like my body, sometimes I have to give myself a break. I am so used to being able to “perform”–you know, to just write something at the spur of the moment, like I talked about last week. But there are times with nothing pops, or I can’t find the right words. I felt like that all day yesterday. Like my head just wasn’t attached to my body. I think part of it might very well be training–I’m running long distances, and I’m running them hard. Probably too hard, and I need to ease off the pace before I get hurt.

invincible

My problem is I like to plug and chug–set a pace and just go. That’s part of the reason that I try to run without my Garmin as much as possible. I know basically how far I am going (I’ve run these distances enough over the past year), and so I just go out and run. Even though I would say I don’t reallllly care about the pace, I am used to see particular numbers on its face, so I will adjust accordingly. That is part of the reason that I ran a great deal of my marathon last year with it on my belt, or with the pace setting not shown, so that I would just run, but I could make sure not to tear around like a crazy person.

suck my dick i'm a bus

My point is this:

Any time that we put ourselves into a structure, situation, or circumstance that forces us to perform, we can get performance anxiety because we expect a certain degree of performance from ourselves. Even if we know that we should be pulling back, and that it is ok, we are used to a certain number, a certain pace, a certain result, and we can force something that hurts us in the long haul. Whether than means letting your weight go up because it means you are building muscle, or you pace slowing because you are increasing mileage, or your mileage decreasing because you are increasing pace, some times, you have to remind yourself that a little regression is necessary for progression. Because it isn’t regression, if you are controlling it–think of it like pulling a slingshot back: sometimes you have to go back to sail forward.

Alright, Ocarina of Time, anyone?

Alright, Ocarina of Time, anyone?

That said, we cannot stay in safe, or pull back mode forever. It all has to do with intention and overall scope. I was forced to pull back for months this winter due to injury, but I made sure that the pull back was a controlled regression, and I made it work for me. I used it to strengthen, gather my thoughts, and work toward my goals even though it may not have seemed that I was doing so at the time.

So the next time that you have a bad head space day, have a bad run, have a bad eating moment, or sit down to do whatever it is that is usually so very natural you but it just won’t come, instead of trying to force it and getting your knickers even more in a twist, make it work for you. Make the situation adapt to your needs–I promise there will be plenty of times when you will need to adapt to its needs.

Get like Zoe.

Get like Zoe.

And see? You’ll have a post after all ๐Ÿ˜‰

How do you approach your misfires or days when things just aren’t clicking? Do you beat yourself up? Let it slide? Or adapt and find another way?

What is the one accomplishment that is your Chupacabra? Ie that you wish you could do? I wish I could still play a musical instrument and could speak another language fluently.

I also wish that I could run without thinking about every damn step and warming up for forever, but that is what it is.

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44 Comments

  • Reply Tina Muir

    ZELDA! ocarina of time was the best game that was ever invented!!!! Just had to get that out there first…..okay, I think this is good that you are able to admit that sometimes nothing comes to mind, and its okay! I think we all go through this sometimes, you are just more honest. I try to look for the silver lining in every cloud, so usually do not beat myself up too hard…thankfully!
    Tina Muir recently posted…Adapting to Weather Changes: HumidityMy Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 6:00 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      YAYAYAY First comment, and you know Zelda. YYAAAYYY. I just feel that we so often, in training and life, put unnecessary constraints and expectations.

      July 22, 2014 at 10:13 am
  • Reply Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie

    Whenever I’m having an “off” day, I normally have to step back from whatever situation I’m in and let myself gain some perspective before going back to it. Sometimes I’ll do some yoga, watch some tv, go shopping…anything to take my mind away from the negativity and reset it. Plus, new clothes always help a girl conquer anything!
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…Everybody Loves Cupcakes: Kitty Kupcake RecipeMy Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 6:21 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      PREACH

      July 22, 2014 at 10:13 am
  • Reply Michele @ paleorunningmomma

    I can completely relate to everything you said in this post. I have been dealing with this sort of performance anxiety both in my blog and my training and I think you just put it into words for me. I’ve been having the feeling of worrying I won’t live up to the standards I’ve set when I sit down to write or to run, and it has been taking some of the enjoyment out of both activities. Then I just worry. I think “what if I’m not motivated for marathon training in 2 weeks?” or “what if I’m posting shit on my blog and can’t turn it around?” and then get nervous and continue to be hard on myself. I find it difficult if not impossible to adjust my own standards. Great post, and something for me to think about!

    July 22, 2014 at 6:51 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m glad it resonated with you in (what I hope was) a positive way. I was worried people might think that I was dialing it in (I realized this a splitsecond after posting it), but then I also realized that it is just so applicable to everything we go through in life. We are so driven, and so used to being able to produce, that when we can’t, it guts us!

      July 22, 2014 at 10:17 am
  • Reply Rae

    I definitely tend to beat myself up. I have really high standards for myself and when I don’t hit them, I get really down. I’m trying to be better about using failure as a learning experience, but it’s hard to get out of the “failure” mindset and move on. I like the notion of the intentional pullback–I’ll have to think about that next time I’m in a tough spot.
    Rae recently posted…Manic Monday โ€“ 07/21/14My Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 7:28 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m all about the perspective. And to be fair, it has taken me a long time to get to that point. I used to get all hot and bothered in the moment until I had enough things fall through that I think I am STILL surprised when things work out! So you find a way to help yourself through, and then you realize that you are still working towards the larger goal, just in a different route.

      July 22, 2014 at 10:18 am
  • Reply Suslyfe's mommy, Clare

    hmmm………maybe its age, maybe its maturity, or a combo of both, but when I’m having an off day, I just have it. I allow it to happen and I don’t worry about the bounce-back. If I do worry, then my off-ness continues, so, I just let it happen.
    I might work on our business financials, or read a book that I already have read (so the ending isn’t a surprise.) Usually, I have a Castle repeat or an old James Bond DVD on for the background noise/oops–sound!

    There are a lot more off-days than there are on-days, so I really enjoy the on-days when I have them. That isn’t as weird as it sounds–I can find something worthwhile in every day, I just have to stop “looking for it” to see it!
    Age……..yeah……it gives you the freedom to just it go, and then it will come back when you least expect it!

    July 22, 2014 at 7:44 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Exactly. I think that is the maturity, and especially perspective. You realize that sure, right now it isn’t working, but you also know that it won’t be that way for forever!

      July 22, 2014 at 10:19 am
  • Reply Courtney @RunningforCupcakes

    I think I have off days more often than I have on days. During school I always try to do too much and it leaves me running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Yes I could quit a couple groups that I am a part of or I could take a break from blogging but these things are what make me, me.
    Courtney @RunningforCupcakes recently posted…Marathon Training: Week 7My Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 7:47 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Precisely. We can’t be perfect all the time, or ever really, but as long as we are involved in what we love, it isn’t work.

      July 22, 2014 at 10:19 am
  • Reply Sarah @pickyrunner

    I definitely have had those moments, especially with blogging, but also with life. I’ve found that as soon as I take a step back, the words come. For some reason it allows me to really look at things from another perspective and as soon as I stop forcing it, everything seems so much clearer. I definitely used to (and still do, at times) have a tendency to beat myself up when things aren’t working but I’ve gotten so much better at telling myself that “it’s okay.” That’s all I really need to whip myself into shape. You always come up with really thought-provoking posts ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…The No-Plan PlanMy Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 7:53 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Lurve you. And what is so funny, and ironic, is that I sat down, started writing a post about not being able to write, and wrote a post that I absolutely adore. Sometimes, we need to drop all the extra, and just allow ourselves to focus ourselves, rather than try to force the result.

      July 22, 2014 at 10:22 am
  • Reply Carina

    I love the slingshot analogy. Right now, I’m running with a group that’s faster than me, and I have developed a bad habit of starting out too fast and then fading away. I need to think about the slingshot — holding back and then sailing forward. I love mental pictures like that.

    July 22, 2014 at 8:12 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m glad that you connected with it! It really only came to me as I was writing it, which is honestly part of the reasons that I love writing these posts (ie when I’m feeling stumped) because they get me to see the entirety and re-conceptualize what I am dealing with.

      July 22, 2014 at 10:20 am
  • Reply Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    I really need to remember this at those moments when I feel frustrated about just not being where I expect to be. I love the slingshot analogy, it’s so true. Over the past few weeks I have been much better about cutting back on mileage so that I could focus on allowing my body to recover from all the months of training and racing that I put it through during the beginning of the year. It was really hard at first and I felt like I was going to lose all my fitness, but now that I’ve made it out to the other side I know it was the best decision, and I have a feeling it will make me more prepared for my next training cycle.
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Let’s All Try To Ditch The HeadphonesMy Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 8:21 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m a big, big fan of analogies and metaphors, a) because they are fun and b) because really and truly, anything that happens in life can relate to another part of life. You just have to figure out how. And we both know, as runners, that you simply cannot do everything at once–you’ll just get hurt. And I don’t see the cut back as a sacrifice, per se, but a postponement–you are going to come back to it before lonG!

      July 22, 2014 at 10:23 am
  • Reply Brianna @ I run He tris

    I’m pretty good about not beating myself up too badly, but sometimes if I don’t perform the way I want to it eats at me. Colin has been struggling a little with that during Ironman training. He’s so used to his running pace being fast and he’s been having to step back and realize what he is training for and that fast isn’t always best. It takes my body SOOO long to get warmed up too!! I always run my best 5Ks during a triathlon (meaning it takes my body a good hour of moving to be really ready to run!!)
    Brianna @ I run He tris recently posted…Workouts of the Week 7/14 โ€“ 7/20 : Race WeekMy Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 8:36 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I never thought about that!–that you would run your best 5k during a tri. That is really quite interesting, actually! And having kids + being an athlete– you know more than anyone else about the fact that you just can’t force results!

      July 22, 2014 at 10:25 am
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner

    We all have days where things just don’t click or go the way we want mentally or physically. I usually just take a break and come back to it. I’m often too hard on myself too!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…How to stay Fit & Happy while on vacationMy Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 9:05 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Which is such a great strategy and mindset, and I’ve see you do so on your blog–you do what you can when you can and you do it as best you can!

      July 22, 2014 at 10:27 am
  • Reply Ursula

    I must admit I’ve been known to beat myself up but as I get older, I realize that they doesn’t do me any good whatsoever. I’m bound to have bad eating days, workouts and feel like I’m not getting where I want to fast enough. I really like the idea that to move forward you sometimes have to pull back. I am big on changing our perspectives to live happier lives and this is a great way to look at setbacks
    Ursula recently posted…Race Day Prep: What to Eat before a RaceMy Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 9:16 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thanks! And we are athletes, go getters, if we weren’t hard on ourselves for not meeting our standards, we wouldn’t be doing what we are doing! And perspective is 20/20, but it helps you to realize that it is ok to relax, let whatever it is happen, it will pass, and then you get up the next day, refreshed and ready, and you give it hell.

      July 22, 2014 at 10:28 am
  • Reply Mama Salt

    I feel like my life has been a total trainwreck for the past week or so and I’ve been trying to smile through it and pretend I’m cool when really things are just not cool. I really need a change in my perspective and I wasn’t quite sure where to start with it, but this post helped. So thank you and I’m glad you wrote it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    July 22, 2014 at 9:57 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m glad it did. I know that for you, not being able to run has really thrown you through a loop. But i also know that you will be able to use this time to get stronger, mentally and physically, and you now have so much more knowledge than before as to how to approach training, etc, as well as now what you might be dealing with in the future. So grab it by the horns and tell it what is what.

      July 22, 2014 at 10:32 am
  • Reply Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles

    This was an incredibly timely post. Not fitness related, but I am facing a big career decision that addresses a lot of what you talk about in terms of pulling back or readjusting goals for longer term gain. I needed to hear this analogy today, it helped me put into perspective the roads in front of me so I can make the best decision, thank you friend!
    Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles recently posted…A little sneak peek behind the scenes with ME รขย€ย“ A Blog Writing Process TourMy Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 11:08 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Aw, yay! I’m so glad that I had writer’s block, in that case! Girlfriend, you are going to slingshot like WHOA!

      July 22, 2014 at 1:39 pm
  • Reply Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    I am literally laughing out loud at the bus GIF.

    I am having a lot of off days at the moment, but just reminding myself that it is all part of the journey.
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…3 Reasons Why You Should Listen To Music When You WorkoutMy Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 11:36 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It happens, you know? It just means that you have a lot of great things going on, all at once, and your brain is like SPROCKETS PING
      That bus gif is literally one of my favorites of all time. It has become legend in my household.

      July 22, 2014 at 1:39 pm
  • Reply Michael Anderson

    And sometimes you have three drafts open, none of them finish, and you are unwilling to sacrifice time with your wife and kids so you pull out a post from an old blog from 2008 … ๐Ÿ™‚ Not that I know anything about that! ๐Ÿ™‚

    And in spite of not being a ‘console kiddie’, I love Zelda – mostly played the DS games, but of course we own OOT! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love you you fell into a great post … that is The Suz! haha
    Michael Anderson recently posted…From The Archives โ€“ Thank you for smoking โ€ฆ NOT!My Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 12:09 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think that The Suz is bigger and greater than I am. No, I know that. The Suz is like a superhero. I’m the falliable woman behind the mask.
      And I may or may not have had 3 drafts open. And I see what you did there (my bloglovin don’t lie). Ocarina is amazing. Epona’s song will live on forever.

      July 22, 2014 at 1:41 pm
  • Reply Caitlin

    I <3 you and the zoester (which autocorrect just tried to make skeeter? Fail autocorrect). You know that I am the same way. I don't hit things I expect to, and I get mad at myself. I still face this at the start of races…what if I don't do as well as I expect/think I should? What if I don't hit that pace or goal time? And my answer is now always…WHO THE F CARES?? Just go out and do the best you can. Some days that will be what you expect or better. Some days that won't be, and you have to suck it up buttercup. It doesn't mean I'm not a good runner. Just had an off day and that was the best I could do. Heads are silly and need to be kept in check, but they should never make us feel bad because we didn't quite live up to our own self imposed expectations all the time.
    Caitlin recently posted…2014 Hula Hustle 5kMy Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 12:19 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      EXACTLY. It is amazing the things that come with time. Why couldn’t we have learned this years ago? Would have saved us sooooo much anxiety and such.
      And yes, FAIL autocorrect. Zoe is yowling at you for that.

      July 22, 2014 at 1:42 pm
  • Reply Kate @ Baking in Yoga Pants

    Yes! I was writing a blog post for yoga yesterday and I could not figure out the best way to finish it. I went to bed and woke up with such a fresh perspective. It was exactly what I needed!
    Kate @ Baking in Yoga Pants recently posted…Little Did I KnowMy Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 1:57 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It can be so hard when we are working on something that means so much to us–we just want it to work. But it’s that pressure that does us in, ultimately. (kind of like how you never find a guy when you are looking for one, haha)

      July 23, 2014 at 1:16 pm
  • Reply Olena @ candies & crunches

    Oh, I definitely have those days. Before I was super hard on myself and would force myself to come up with something. However, I don’t think it’s always such a good idea, partially because I start seeing my blog as a job and not something I do for my own enjoyment. And hey, I’ve already got my full-time job for that ahah! So yeah, when I have one of those really difficult days, I just let myself relax. <3 <3 <3 xoxo

    July 22, 2014 at 2:17 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I agree. I think that you hit a really great point–we start to see our blogs as something that is similar to a job. And then we get spread too thin, and everything suffers, and we get totally burnt out. I have a feeling I might need to take a step back before long, really get things the way I want them (blog design, plug ins etc) and get fresher and cleaner. Then again, I’ve been saying that, lol.

      July 23, 2014 at 1:18 pm
  • Reply Cassie

    I WANT TO SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE. I just gave up. I know I should have tried harder… spending a summer in Italy to learn Italian then refusing to speak, quitting my French minor shy of 6 credits… I just decided it wasn’t in the cards for me. But I totally believe in cuchabraras, by the way.
    Cassie recently posted…How to Style ShortallsMy Profile

    July 22, 2014 at 9:12 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      If you find a chupacabra, ever, I want to know about it. My problem was that I took Latin, so I never really learned to speak another language. I can read others if I sit down and parse it out (thank you, latin), but that is slipping too, unfortunately.

      July 23, 2014 at 1:19 pm
  • Reply Jenni @ Fitzala

    I definitely beat myself up. As much as I like to try be relaxed (and I’m getting much better at it) when it comes to performance, I’m super competitive with myself and others. Especially when numbers are involved. If it’s a strength training day and I’m a blob, then I take it much easier on myself than if I’m running with a watch.

    But you’re right. You need to pull back often in order to make progress. Similar to how you have to rest to get stronger.

    And no, you weren’t whiny. Rock n Roll is known for their bands, why should you expect anything less?
    Jenni @ Fitzala recently posted…Strength training at home: a no equipment workout for you!My Profile

    July 23, 2014 at 4:46 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Good, I didn’t want to come across as ungrateful. I used to be so, so competitive, and I tend to get really into things. I think that I have relaxed my ways (I honestly have) but then when I get going and start getting into it… I can lose sight of my “new ways.”

      July 24, 2014 at 10:20 am
  • Reply AMBER

    Suz, a PERFECT post and completely accurate. Because we become used to a certain “number” we feel like failures if we don’t reach them or meet them…hence why I ditched wearing my Polar Watch all together, and I feel the healthiest, strongest, and most muscular WITH OUT ever knowing my calorie burn or heart rate, WIN! I WISH I COULD PLAY AN INSTRUMENT TOOO!
    AMBER recently posted…“Coodles” – Cucumber NoodlesMy Profile

    July 24, 2014 at 8:13 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m honestly really discouraged by the amount that we see Polar HR stuff out there. In my mind, that it something that should be in the hands of medical professionals–I have one, but I use it to make sure that I am not underestimating my output, and thus shorting myself on my intake! Good for you for doing so, and feeling all the better for it–you are strong, you are healthy, you are beautiful. A number can’t tell you that. UNLESS IT’S NUMBA 1!!

      July 24, 2014 at 8:50 pm

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