Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

RNRAZ Half Marathon photo with Mari

One of many half marathons – this time with my sister, Marie (she’s in burgandy, I’m in green), at the Rock N Roll Arizona half and full marathon with some of her close friends.

 

This post previously appeared on Happy by Design

When it comes to achieving success, I’m uncomfortable when I don’t have a plan. Now mind you, if the goal is to coast and take it easy, then by all means, no plans necessary! Let’s just fly by the seat of our pants. But if I had to guess, I’m pretty sure you won’t see the motto “Fly by the seat of your pants” on any motivational posters. Why? Because that’s a sure-fire way to achieve absolutely nothing.

Event-based motivation.

There are any number of things that make me uncomfortable, but let’s dive into my current dilemma. I don’t have an event to train for.

I know what you’re thinking, “That’s it? That’s what makes you uncomfortable?” Yes. I’ll admit — it’s not as squirm-inducing as some high-pressure meetings I’ve been in, but right now it’s up near the top of that list.

Your next thought may be, “That seems like a pretty easy situation to remedy. Just sign up for another event.”  Well, in the past year I’ve done five events. And not just five 5ks. No, I’ve trained for two half marathons, a team relay race where my total distance was 15 miles, a 15k (9.2 miles) and then one 5k. It’s not that I’m tired of these events. But I see them as a crutch now. I use events as motivation to hit my fitness goals. And for the last year that fitness goal was to drop the baby weight. Well that happened, and then 10 more pounds came off. Which is superb! Really, I’m not complaining. But I don’t see this as just a fleeting hobby. It’s part of my lifestyle.

Does that mean that I have to sign up for a ton of events every season just to keep up with this lifestyle? I hope not. I want to sign up for events because I see it as a true challenge, or it’s an annual thing I do with a close group of friends. I don’t want to be someone who says, “I have to hit this weight or this BMI percentage and in order to do that, I should sign up for an event that will take a couple of weeks to train for.” Doesn’t that person sound boring? Okay, well I am boring sometimes.

So my other option is to just figure out how to stay healthy and continue working on my fitness goals in a manner that doesn’t require a $150 race fee for a dry-fit shirt and a medal (and that doesn’t even include the expenses for travel and lodging and gear and other expenses).

Treading in the unknown.

Right now it feels like I’m treading water in Lake Unknown. And even though the Nelson clan breeds amazing swimmers (ask any of my siblings), even I don’t like treading in the unknown.

The unknown drives a lot of fears in me. Not training for an event gives me a lot of self-doubt. If I’m training for an event, I can easily calculate what I’ve done over the week (or will do over the week) that will justify a trip to my coworker’s candy drawer or a trip to the cafeteria to see what kinds of desserts they’re serving that day. When I don’t have that mental tally ever-present, I see every bit of deliciousness as a weakness.

How long do water wings last?

I know the only way I can keep treading in the unknown is to just accept that it’s uncomfortable and then create a plan of attack. And not just, “I’m going to make an effort,” but more specifically, “I’m going to lay out my workout clothes each night, set my alarm clock and have a fitness and food plan in place before I go to bed.”

And that’s where the fear sets in.

“What’s the point?”

“What if I’m tired? Don’t I deserve to rest after training for so many events?”

“Can’t I just workout later instead of in the morning?”

“If this is really a lifestyle change, shouldn’t it be easier by now?”

To squash those thoughts, I wrote down a couple of goals for my “No event to train for” plan. I’m not going to share them with you, but it’s a way for me to keep track of my progress. Some deal with current insecurities and some deal with pushing myself beyond the limits that I know.

The ways in which I’ll achieve these goals? I only know the fitness part. Healthy eating is my weakness in terms of planning ahead or staying on track. So here are my fitness tactics:

  • Running: 10-15 miles per week, three times a week.
  • Strength training: Mix of targeted workouts for upper, lower and overall with hand weights, body resistance and yoga DVDs, two or three times a week.
  • Other: Just in general, getting outside more now that it’s summer.

Day 1 of the “No event to train for” plan – Monday, June 23, 2014.

The things that went right:

  • Before I went to bed on Sunday, I set out workout clothes and set my alarm for 4:30.
  • I downloaded an app that could track my food throughout the day.
  • The next morning, I weighed in so I’d have an accurate benchmark
  •  I got in a Level 2 Yoga DVD by my frenemy, Jillian Michaels
  • I ate a pretty normal amount of food throughout the day.

The things that didn’t go right:

  • The food app I downloaded was hastily forgotten as I got tired and thought, “I got this, it’s fine.”
  • I hit the snooze three times before finally getting out of bed at 5am.
  • When I weighed myself I was three pounds heavier than I was right after I got done with Ragnar
  • I told myself that I would do the 30-minute yoga DVD and then something else to make it a 45-minute workout, but I wasn’t specific and I only did the yoga DVD.
  • Although my food intake was pretty good, I didn’t even get through my 20 oz water bottle. Hello dehydration.

For future references, I’m not one to continually log the very finite details of my goals or my inner monologue of good vs. evil, so you won’t see this happening again. This was just an illustration to show you that even when I have successes, it’s really hard for me not to be negative when I don’t have a view of the journey I’m on and the end goal in mind like I would if I trained for an event.

This is just the beginning…

I’m not sure how long I’ll be on this “No event to train for” plan. But I know it’s important to put a stake in the ground and hold myself accountable. And I plan to check in sometime in August to give an update. So until then, thanks for hearing me out, and supporting my goals…even though you have no clue what they are at current. I still appreciate it!

And to leave you with something to laugh about, here are a few “uncomfortable” moments from my past.

Uncomfortable Moment 1: The Wafflemaker

You know when you get REALLY excited over a waffle maker and you can’t contain yourself? Oh…that’s just me? Awkward.

 

Uncomfortable Moment 2

You know that time when you thought, “Well my eyes look crazy, but I think the rest of it is good, so I should post it.” Yeah, apparently that doesn’t happen anymore in the age of the unrealistic selfie. And seriously, put the crazy eyes away!

 

The definition of uncomfortable - this picture

I don’t have a caption for this. All I can say is if you look at this and you don’t feel slightly uncomfortable, then there might be something wrong with you. But hey, there’s something to be said for being young and wildly inappropriate. No? Shoot.

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