Well today has pros and cons. Meals first:

Breakfast was supposed to be poached egg, toast, wilted spinach. Instead it was poached eggS, toast and baked beans. Not too bad…
Lunch- wholemeal pasta with zucchini, snow peas, lemon and ricotta
Dinner – chicken sang choi bow

Pros: cooked 2/3 meals which is unheard of for us on a weekend day. Went to the footy and didn’t have a meal there (usually chips or hot dog)

Cons – sprite zero and diet Ginger beer. Ok for calories but not breaking out of the sugar satisfaction habit. Had lots of nibbles of things today, a chip at the footy, a bite of rock cake, a bite of pie… Ate slightly large portion at dinner. Had strawberries after dinner that I didn’t really need. But hey – it could have been chocolate!

Went to physio re busted foot yesterday. It isn’t plantar fasciitis at all but the tibialis posterior tendon attachment. Not good. Taping, gentle stretching of my hip, one flute exercise, new shoes and a little piece of foam in my shoes to unload the muscle.

No running till walking is pain free…

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Wed:
– cottage cheese on toast (supposed to be with tomato, I went for plain…)
– smoked salmon in mountain bread – found this very unsatisfying. Was tiny and I fixated in food all day
– ended up having cup a soup and crackers..
– ratatouille for dinner

Thurs – bran and mixed berries
– leftover rataouille for lunch
– chicken with fennel, cabbage, radish and cranberry coleslaw. Interesting… Not my favourite but could easily be adapted to be delicious to me!

Friday – spiced pear and ricotta on toast
– sandwich with chicken and misc salad (and cheese!) – was supposed to be beef stir fry – but who can make that at lunch on a weekday?!
– zesty tofu and shitake mushroom stirfry- pretty tasty!

Feeling good and 2kg down after 5 days. Regularly drinking decaf coffee. Occasional tea. Diet Ginger beer and actual cordial as I seem to be craving sweet things. Need to break that habit!!

Breakfast – homemade muesli with fruit and yogurt
Lunch – leftover minestrone
Dinner – salad – greens, chickpeas, roasted capsicum (instead of tomato), beef (instead of kangaroo) with a dash of balsamic.
Snacks – apple, celery and cottage cheese

Out of plan – decaf coffee with skim milk, black decaf coffee.

Felt much better today and actually I slept very well last night. The caffeine thing is a big one for me… I think that the little bit of caffeine in decaf is enough to stave off the headaches cause I’m feeling ok. Alternatively I’ve got enough stores of caffeine for a few days and it will hit me in a day or two. Eep.

Breakfast – porridge with berries
Lunch – salad sandwich
Dinner – minestrone
Snacks – green apple, celery with cottage cheese.

Out of plan – black decaf coffee, decaf coffee with skim milk, cup-a-soup (chicken and corns), carrot.

Felt really crappy today, maybe it was the lack of caffeine and simple carbs/sugar. Was hardest at work and when I got home.

Key things I find challenging: coffee as a ritual thing to start the morning (and middle and end the morning really), nibbling on things to relax, not being able to exercise easily because of dodgy foot.

Trying kangaroo tomorrow night…. Eek!

Well I have decided to try an interesting 12 week nutrition plan that the trainer from the biggest loser (michelle bridges) has included in her cookbook. The recipes look reasonably simple and the main goal is to get more vegies in. Here is a pic of our fridge prior to day one tomorrow 🙂

Just noticed that my last post is from May last year. I had great intentions of updating regularly. Oh well – here is a highlights package of the last 8 months:

  • In May I got quite sick with ‘Mystery Illness X’ which it now turns out must have been some type of virus in my rib cartilage. It played out as trouble breathing and I was tested for everything under the sun. Turns out I am healthy as an ox 🙂 8 months later I am fine, although I need to keep active to keep the joints moving otherwise the breathing starts to play up a little again. I am pretty relaxed about it now, but it was truly one of the more unpleasant experiences of my life. I had a few months of literally being able to do nothing. I had to cancel a trip to the US which was also pretty disappointing. Somehow I managed to pass last semester at Uni.
  • I have gone from my own business to a full time job again. There are pro’s and con’s of this. I am lucky that I have an awesome job and a fabulous boss. I am getting the change to do a lot of things that I am interested in and it really is a challenge which is great.
  • I am trying a new plan for running injury free. I am running about 30-40 minutes 4-6 times a week. I think that I am about to start ramping up although I have picked a goal.
  • I am turning 30 in less than a month. Can you believe it? I had big plans of being financially, professionally, administratively and personally more together. But I am happy – and loved up – and really can’t ask for too much more.

Turns out I can’t remember too much of the last 8 months. I know that much more than that has happened, but I’m too lazy to think about it too deeply.

Will try and keep updating, at least to track my training a bit better.

This week I am attending the Happiness and its Causes Conference  (www.happinessanditscauses.com.au) . This is terribly exciting to me because the combination of my core values and my life experiences means that I am all about striving to be happier (I say happier, not “happy” deliberately – happy is truly subjective – but we can all try and be happy-er!).  What makes me tick is learning about myself and others and what brings out the best in us. What lets us see our potential and what lets us step from the ‘just getting by’ or languishing space into the ‘flourishing’ space.

 Mostly, the way I learn this stuff is by reflecting on how it all applies to me and doing what I can to implement it. I like to think that my litany of flaws and foibles means that I am more than up to the task of testing out new ideas in personal growth J. Consequently I have been pondering setting myself some really challenging goals to achieve before I turn 30 in 10 months times. Really ‘big scary’ goals. Fortunately the marathon is out of the way as it would definitely have been on the list!

 I am a truly excellent goal setter. I literally have hundreds of goals. They tend to have fairly ‘optimistic’ timelines attached to them also. It is all too frequently my story that I set all these goals and get overwhelmed and achieve none of them. Or I achieve some and spectacularly don’t achieve others. Or I achieve them – but it isn’t as satisfying as I had hoped because I didn’t have the right motivation to achieve them (hello law degree and oh-so-brief career in corporate law, and recruitment for that matter… but I digress).

 I realise that no matter what I do I am going to have goals. But maybe the next 10 months should be more of an experiment in doing less striving and more being. I am aware that this looks supremely like a goal in itself! Perhaps non-goal number one is learning to be comfortable sitting with paradox! In fact the greatest growth seems to come out of discomfort. And let me tell you – losing my safety net of unlikely-to-be-achieved goals will be very uncomfortable for me. Reflecting on why that is, I can only think that by having so many goals, I can always measure myself in terms of what I have (don’t have), what I’ve done (haven’t done) or achieved (not achieved). I don’t have to look or think any deeper than that ‘noise’ into what my underlying motivations are. So I am hoping that this will in fact allow me to be clearer about future goals rather than saying that I will never set goals again. Confusing? Yes. Let me take it further.

 The risk (or fear) for me in doing this is that without my lattice of goals I will have no direction and no structure. That is true to a degree. But actually I am not planning to use this as an excuse to sleep till midday, not bother showering and relive my glorious uni days of sitting around on the lawn all afternoon not going to classes. Tempting. But no. So as to make the whole business meaningful (don’t forget that the three – equally important – routes to happiness are meaning, positive emotions and engagement!) I want to be very clear about what my core values are and endeavour to live in accordance with those values. I think by clarifying those values I will naturally give myself a loose set of guidelines for how I want to live. Doing this should provide the structure that I need, but retain a lot of flexibility. At the end of the day (well 10 months) I want to have filtered out a lot of the goals/’should’s that I have picked up along the way but that don’t serve my needs or values anymore (if they ever did) and discovered the authentic drivers and values that make me who I am. 

Phew.

 And then I might run another marathon 🙂

 Now that I have cleared this up in my head it is time to revisit my core values. Introspection ahoy!

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Dragging myself out of bed is less like wrestling a reluctant monkey.

My muscles and bones agree to work in reasonable synchronicity.

I am not derailed by minutiae of finding appropriate clothing.

My t-shirt is on the right way the first time around.

My ritual morning excuse gathering seems less compelling.

I get to see the dawn light greeting the tree tops.

I am not paralysed by watching the metres and seconds crawl by.

Everyone is my friend.

Possibilities are.

 

On a bad day things are different. Today is a good day.

When I started training for the New York Marathon I was very focussed on the goal. I was setting PB’s in all sorts of distances and I was ready to ramp my training up and run a good solid first marathon. My goals were modest (4.30-4.45) but were terribly exciting for me. Then I went to the physio with a strong lower back/glute pain and then next thing I knew I was being injected with radioactive fluid and tearing open the sticker on a St Vincents Clinic folder to read the diagnosis. After looking at some disturbing images of my bone scans I squinted and saw a black spot and figured that was the bit that lead to the ‘recent sacral stress fracture’ bit of the letter. Bugger.

Still – I had a lot of other stuff going on and although I was very disappointed, I thought I handled it quite well. I remained hopeful of still running until I saw the doctor and got my crutches. Looks like I would be a spectator. Still – New York! Awesome! (Turns out it is less awesome when one hasn’t walked more than a few metres in the last 6 months, but being there with ones favourite person makes it a lot more fun).

Fast forward to a year later and I ran that marathon. It was painful. My lead up was patchy. Very patchy. I had a nice program to get me there and I did all the long runs, but the speed sessions and some of the shorter runs fell away. My preparation was not idea. 2-3 runs a week, and no speed work. 40 odd km a week compared to the 70-90k I was ramping up to at my ‘breaking point’. Cripes. It was a race between my body and my fitness. My body would be going well, no pain, good stability and feeling fine but I would be struggling to run more than a few km. Then I would build the fitness (slowly… very slowly) and all would be great, until the niggles started again. You get the picture. The highs, the lows, no in betweens. No consistency. 

I ran the marathon and it hurt. I had a foot injury and from about 15k it was letting me know it was there. By 21k it was shouting and by 30k it had lost its voice and was a seething locus of impotent fury. That is, it hurt like a motherf*cker. I was pretty emotional at the end. This itself is understandable – what a lead up – and I finally finished! Unfortunately it also resulted in getting literally choked up to the point of struggling to breathe. Luckily a lady at the finish grabbed me and told me I needed to remember to breathe out. Phew. That could have ended badly.

The pain continued until the nice doctors in Cuba gave me a prescription for something i believe to be anti-inflammatories. After they told me I was too fat to run marathons. Thanks. Can you see your own shoes over your gut? But point taken. 

Anyway, 6 months later and I have started to reflect on this marathon and what it means to me from the perspective of positive psychology’s self concordance theory. The theory says that there are two broad categories of goals. There are autonomous goals, and there are external goals. External goals may be introjected (the sense of the goal being something you ‘should do’ and that may be something that you carry from an authority figure from the past). They may also be purely external in that you have a goal because you are told to do it. This is frequently seen in work contexts. External goals are associated with less satisfaction upon reaching the goal and lower levels of psychological wellbeing. There are ways to work with external goals to create an autonomous goal (connecting to core values etc) – but that is not my point. I will get to the point. Promise.

Autonomous goals are different. The first category of autonomous goals are intrinsic goals. Intrinsic goals are related to things that you do purely for the love of it. Motivation is inherent. It will often be something that you have always ‘just done’ or something that you can get so involved in that you lose track of time. You love the process. It is – intrinsic and it is part of who you are. You might see this in musicians or artists who have a sense of a calling – that this is just what they do – it is as much a part of their make up as a right arm (ok this is an overstatement – but you get my drift). This would not be me and running or my goal to run a marathon. If you’d told me I would run around the block when I was 17 I would have laughed and moved on to my next packet of salt and vinegar chips, or pineapple UDL. Good one! Imagine if I knew I’d run a marathon. We can safely say that running is not intrinsic in me. But it is also not external, so what is it?

This goal would fit into the second category of autonomous goals knows as identified goals. These are goals that we have decided are meaningful and consistent with our core values and so are strongly motivating to us. The consistency with our core values is the key here. Some of my core values are health (despite my varying commitment to this one, it is there…) and challenging myself (among others). Clearly, my goal to run a marathon fits these values and thus I could continue to pursue the goal, despite a lot of hurdles because it was an identified, autonomous goal – which I was motivated to achieve. If I just thought running a marathon was a good idea or something I should check off my to-do list, then there is no way I could have persevered. But it meant something to me beyond that. It represented health, it represented a challenge and it was also connected to another core value of mine which is building relationships – and my running friends are very important to me and the support I got from them was fabulous.

Perhaps the most fantastic piece of this puzzle is that I would probably have been just as happy if I hadn’t made it to that run again. Because it is the process of training and striving to achieve the goal that provided me with the major boosts to my wellbeing. This is the bonus prize of pursuing goals that are autonomous (intrinsic or identified) is that it is the striving for the goals and not the achieving that leads to the wellbeing. On top of that, autonomous goals are more likely to be achieved – which in my case they were. But really – it was the journey that made me happier, fitter and more confident in my ability to do something that I would never have dreamed I could do. 

So now I find myself in the position of being a bit ambivalent about running. I know I don’t want to stop. But I don’t desperately want to run another marathon (although I have unfinished business with it) and I don’t even particularly want to run another half marathon. So I won’t. I will continue to run because it is part of what I do at the moment. But I will do it for the enjoyment of it until there is something that triggers my desire to jump back out of my comfort zone.

To that end, this weeks running log:

Sunday – 9k with lovely Lulu at the bay, 6.30 avg pace.

Tuesday – 8k – 6.40 avg pace – about 3k with that lovely boy of mine before he went and ran fast, and I continued to run slowly for a bit long.

 

Over and out.

Ellie