The Comparison Trap

Yesterday's Run:
Running in a winter wonderland...
3.06 miles in 40:00
Today's Workout:
Pure Barre Classic
Sometimes running makes my brain slow down and be still. Sometimes running pumps my brain full of the oxygen it was clearly missing and allows me to work through seemingly unsolvable problems. Sometimes running makes my brain speed up and think of a million things as once. And sometimes... sometimes running makes my brain turn on itself. Yesterday's running did that.
Six years ago today, I ran a full marathon. I often refer to this as my "first" marathon, though my "second" marathon is still yet to be determined. Possibly because finishing a full marathon was one of the hardest things I have ever done. 

Still happy to be running a marathon. This must have been before mile 16, when I started crying.
The actual race itself was brutal (I wrote an extensive recap of it and I am sure I complained about the heat at least 20 times). Weather conditions were awful and about two weeks before the actual race, even short training runs made me break down in tears. It wasn't until after the race that I learned that I had developed tendonitis in my hamstrings because of training. Training which could not have prepared me for running a full marathon in 90 degree weather with an injury. My goal time that I had trained for went out the window as soon as I set foot on the course.
But regardless of my finish time, for the past six years, I have considered finishing to be one of my crowning achievements. I still talk about finishing a full marathon. Hell, I still brag about finishing a full marathon. And while I don't see myself giving up those bragging rights, on yesterday's run, I found myself completely fixated on the fact that I had run a marathon... in the worst possible way.
To be clear, this might have been expected given how I prepared for yesterday's run. It was about 38 degrees outside and I haven't been running regularly in cold weather since before I moved back to Florida in 2012. Not only is that seven years ago, but it's also about 30 pounds ago. So when I started to get dressed, I pulled out my go-to running capris (the same ones that I ran the marathon in) and I couldn't breathe with them on. I reached for my old go-to running jacket and found that it didn't close by a good two inches. I put on a long sleeve running top that was so tight that I felt like a stuffed sausage about to pop. In the end, I ended up wearing shorts and compression socks and hoping I would stay warm. I also threw on an oversized runDisney staff jacket just to try to cover up the whole stuffed sausage situation.
The minute I walked outside, I felt self conscious. This was stupid for many reasons, not the least of which being that it was 38 degrees outside, so I saw maybe 6 other humans the entire run. But that feeling of yuck stuck with me. The reality of not fitting into the clothes that I ran a marathon in stuck with me. The knowledge that I was wearing a runDisney jacket for a slow three mile run when I used to wear runDisney stuff to complete challenges stuck with me. And before I knew it, my brain was comparing who I am as a runner now to who I was as a runner then. 
My inner dialogue was horrifying. I was making fun of myself for struggling to finish a 3 mile run - "How could you ever call yourself a marathoner if you can't even do this?! You're not a marathoner, you're just a fat girl who hobbled her way through 26 miles." I was saying things to myself that I would never say to another person, all because life happened and I gained some weight and I fell off the running bandwagon. But remember when I said that running sometimes makes my brain turn on itself? It kept turning. I fell into the dreaded comparison trap. I started comparing myself to everyone. I wasn't as strong a runner as I used to be, so I am a failure. I'm not as good at Weight Watchers as all those people on Instagram, so I am a failure. I'm not as thin as other Pure Barre instructors, so I am a failure. YIKES.
I think I spent the first two miles of my run in that trap. Just falling deeper and deeper into the black hole of feeling worthless. And then, as silly as it sounds, I thought of this.

Not to say that remembering this caused birds to chirp, the sun to shine, and all my thoughts to turn into rainbows. But remembering this did make me wonder how much of my own joy I have sacrificed in order to beat myself up over something. I told myself when I turned 30 that I would be done with the self loathing. And here I am, sneaking up on 32, and still letting it get to me.

So I reevaluated. And I reassessed. And I realized that I was being an idiot. I thought that when I went out for a run in shorts, people would stop and stare at me. You know what happened? My legs got cold. That's all that happened. No stopping, no staring. Just cold legs. We make tiny things into such a big deal in our heads, and we forget that they are just tiny things.

I wish I had the answer to avoiding the comparison trap. I wish I had the answer to blowing things out of proportion. But I guess all of this was just to say that we're all doing a damn fine job exactly where we are right now, and we ought to be proud.

That's all for now. Goodnight and be nice to each other out there.

The one where I started blogging again. Again.

It has been three years to the day since I updated this blog and that streak of silence ends today.

So much has happened in those three years that it seems hard to know where to start. The last post that I wrote detailed the Walt Disney World Half Marathon of 2016, which was my 12th half marathon. After that race, I ran two more half marathons, bringing my total count up to 14.

The Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon in Florida in 2016:

The TinkerBell Half Marathon in California in 2017 (MISS THIS RACE):

I've also finished a bunch of 5Ks and a few 10Ks, but I haven't run a half marathon since 2017. I'm determined to change that in 2019!

Another big thing happened in 2016 that wasn't documented here: Jamie and I packed up our lives in Florida and moved to my home state of Colorado! Mr. Meow got a new outfit for his big cross-country trip. He was displeased.

Since that move to Colorado, so much has happened in our lives. For one thing, we've both gone through career changes. When we left Florida, I left Disney, and really wasn't sure what I wanted to do. In search of community, I started taking Pure Barre classes and loved them so much that I auditioned to become an instructor, and I just celebrated one year of teaching classes!

I also went back to school to get my Master's degree in Secondary English Education. I just finished student teaching in December and am just two graduate courses away from getting my degree.

But perhaps the biggest change that has happened in our lives... we got engaged!

Jamie surprised me with a trip to Disneyland for Christmas, and on January 11th, 2018, he asked me to be his forever adventure partner and I said yes. We're in the process of planning our wedding now, which I'm sure will be a hot topic on here for the next few months.

I know I'm only scratching the surface of everything that has happened since the last time this blog was updated, but for now, I just wanted to get back to it. Hopefully I still have a few followers out there who might check this, and hopefully some new followers will join me soon!

For now - goodnight and be nice to each other out there.