When It’s Not Working

You have to be able to admit when it’s just not working. I’m not always terrific at this. I do not adjust well when things have to change. Situations involving other people or plans other people made? Sure. No problem. Things happen. It’s not just about me. I’m all good and can roll with the punches. But plans that I made that only involve me? Difficult. I’m such a planner and think through every detail and get so committed to and excited by the plan, that when it doesn’t work, I pout over the demise of my carefully constructed plans and adjust poorly. But alas, here I am with this long pitiful post.

For all my big effort late last week, as described in this post, I had a horribly unproductive — yup, againnnnnnnnnn– running training this week. We got snow Monday (c’mon Mother Nature, BE ON MY SIDE) so I didn’t run then. I got up to run on Tuesday but the college track I run at was a sheet of ice. I would have just given up normally, so it’s actually an improvement that I attempted to run a route near work but was quickly met with construction (complete with leering crew members, so creepy) shutting down the one route I was familiar with. Then, I gave up, making the resolve that I’d have to start running in the afternoons around my city and get over the fact that people might see me in my huffing and puffing, embarrassing state.

“It’s so self-centered that you think everyone you pass will care that you’re running,” I thought, “How many runners do you drive past? You don’t usually ever have a reaction to them. Why oh why are you so concerned that a stranger you’re going to see for .5 seconds in your life might be laughing at you in their head? WHY DO YOU CARE? You don’t know them. 99.999% chance they won’t even think about you or care or laugh. Relax, self, relax.”

So I decided I’d suck it up and run after work. Then my cousin, who I was supposed to have dinner with the next night, called and asked if we could reschedule and do it that night and could I meet her in half hour. Fiiiiiiine. So I went and spend four hours with my cousin, lots of beer, an appetizer of nachos and then a dinner of burger and fries, instead of running. Wonderful.

I got home from dinner and — blame it on the ah-ah-ah-ah-alcohol — cried. I was so frustrated and disappointed in myself. For once in my life, I was trying not to slip back into my ugly habits of being stupendously lazy and unmotivated and clinging to each and every excuse I found. I know how all of this, plus my past posts, sound. But I realllly was trying. Maybe not as much as I should have been. But the weather, my schedule, horrible sleeping habits, it being so dark out when I want to run, my dumb fear of strange people laughing at me if I ran in the afternoon, basically everything under the non-existent sun,  just was not working in my favor.

I know a lot of it IS me. I’m still making excuses. And that maybe I’m not where I need to be mentally yet because of my fear of being laughed at or mocked.

For example, no one I’m acquainted with in real life knows I’m starting to run. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone because I was wary of failure (haaa). I didn’t want to start, then have to give up and be forced to embarrassingly answer questions of “How’s the running going?”

And, as we all know, I have major self-confidence issues. And not only do I worry about what they are saying aloud, I worry more about what their thinking, and what they might gleefully tell their friends (who I doubt care, but I envision that it’s probably funny news). I imagine all the bad things they might possibly think.

Upon hearing the news I’m starting to run..

“That’s awesome! Good for you!” (their internal commentary: I wish I could see this! Watching her try to run is probably hilarious)

“Whoa, good for you!” (their internal commentary: if I looked like that, I would have started to run a loooooooooong time ago)

Then, you know, as they see me throughout the weeks…

“How’s the running going?” (their internal commentary: she’s totally given up by now)

“How long do you go for?” (their internal commentary: wow. Notice how proudly she said that? And that’s ALL she did? Pathetic)

“We should go running together sometime!” (their internal commentary: so I can see this freakshow in action!”


So after a lot of thinking, I joined a gym.

When I came to the realization that this would be best at this point in time, I felt excited and rejuvenated. But a little sad and disappointed. I felt like I was cheating the whole learning how to run thing and that it wouldn’t count, for some reason. But that’s wrong thinking and will get me nowhere. It’s not even a setback. It’s Plan B.

Um, Caitlyn, you whine allllllll the time about how your salary is next-to-nothing, can’t afford a gym, and all that jazz. The whole reason you decided to start running was because it was cheap and you could just lace up those sneaks and hit the open road.  Oh and also because Color Run is coming to town and sounded fun.

All still true.

But something needed to change. Lacing up and hitting the open road on my own wasn’t working for me at this point in time. I still have dreams of just lacing up and hitting the open road. Especially once the weather gets better, you better believe I am so looking forward to those days!  I really just picked a horrible time to start training outside. The timing for that training plan now is just not right. And I still am signed up for a 5K in 7 weeks that I desperately need to start training for.  That’s the priority for right now. Doing whatever I have to insure that I’m prepared (in a healthy way) to run the whole 5K. With the race looming ever closer, it’s past the point of hoping and waiting for spring weather and other things. I needed to accept what I wanted to do wasn’t working. And I needed to reroute and figure out what would work for me.

While I do have a problem with motivation and accountability, the one thing that always motivates me and keeps me accountable is…money. As is true for 95% (probably more) of people. If I’m paying for a gym membership, I will actually go. Because it’s coming out of MY pocket each month and I need to justify that the expense is worth it and feel like I’m getting my money worth. When I’m just going on my own  with no costs whatsoever, it’s harder for me to get out of bed than it is when I’m paying dearly for it every month.

Thanks to tracking and budgeting my money with help of an app, I realized I actually can swing the $69/month gym membership that I always assumed I couldn’t.

The gym also deletes my “figuring out where to run” problem because A) I don’t need to figure out a route and B) they have many locations, all of which I can go to if I’m a member. They have a location 1 mile from my house that two of my roommates go to. They have a location 10 minutes from my house downtown, that I drive by on my way to work, and is open 24/7. They have a location 7 minutes from my work. And while the other 2 locations I just mentioned aren’t 24/7, all open at 5 AM which is perfect. The one near my office has a “cardiac cinema”. It’s a big room with treadmills and bikes where all the lights are off and a movie continuously plays on a big-screen. I can run despite this horrible out of shape stage I’m in and nobody will see me, haha 🙂 By joining the gym, though, I’m hoping it will eliminate the logistics problems my running has been facing and I’m also hoping I will just get over my fear of people possibly laughing at the pathetic shape I’m in and possibly thinking watching me exercise is hilarioussss since I’m so out of shape.

Now..what does this have to do with running and training?

I’m going to treadmill it. I know I’ll need to run outside eventually since treadmill is drastically different from the street. And maybe by then, I’ll be a decent-ish runner and won’t be nervous I’m being laughed at (again, such a ridiculous fear). I’m also pretty sure I’ll be “5K-ready” faster this way because I know I’ll be going to the gym more, bad weather or not!

So. I’m VERY hopeful & excited. I’m still motivated to learn how to run and all that. I actually think this will be a really, really good thing for my running training and just jump-starting my weight loss.

And maybe I’ll even make friends?

Blah, this is a horrible post. And unnecessarily long when it can be surmised in two sentences: Realized I needed more help than I thought. So I joined a gym. Stick with me kids, I promise I’m going somewhere. Eventually.

The End.

Yet, it’s also kinda The Beginning.




14 thoughts on “When It’s Not Working

  1. Excellent! Loved how you attacked your problem and came up with a solution! I live in upstate NY so I completely understand the issue of running in rotten weather. Nobody should have to do that … and there are huge advantages to starting your training on a treadmill. 🙂 Congrats on your new gym membership!!

  2. I think you are being so hard on yourself which won’t make it any easier! The best thing to do is start small. It is easier to say, ok just one mile or two miles this morning. Or one mile after work. Also get some buddies to text you or remind you of your goal. I think a treadmill will def be good but when the weather gets nicer i swear it will be even easier to get a run in

  3. I think it’s great that you’re running! I was going to suggest trying a gym but you got to that half way through your post! haha I hope it will work out for you! Maybe you can even use the machines/weights to help too?

    When you talked about having to reschedule a dinner it reminded me of a tip someone gave me once. The tip was making sure the most important parts of your week do not move. We always think its rude or something to not move things around to make time for friends/family, but that’s not true. If you have a routine or want to make one you have every right to make it something that just can’t be move.

  4. I think this is a great idea. If you are really committed to learning to run, then the gym membership is the right choice. Especially when it is so dark out and your neighborhood gets scary. I think it’s pretty cool that you realized what you needed to be successful and you went for it. That takes a lot of self-awareness. Get after it!

  5. I think joining the gym was an awesome way for you to go at it! We all have to find our ways!!! Like you I have had in the past some “self esteem” issues about what others think about me when I run. I am not the skinny size 4 runner like most. I like to say we are all perfect the way we are, but that doesn’t help us mentally very much! For me I took my “guessed opinions” on what people are thinking, and a few comments that were made, and I am using them in my favor. Dropping some pounds (15 pds already). I pound my dislikes and others opinions of me out on the pavement and I am working on not caring what anyone else thinks. Because what I think is far more important! I think you’re giving it a great start! It’s hard, but eventually I think you will get there, and do what you want because you want to do it, and it won’t matter what others think! (Because we as runners are totally awesome!!!)

  6. you’re being way too hard on yourself. running takes time to learn; i myself am a newbie runner but i used the couch to 5k app on my phone and was quickly able to run 5k… you can too! it makes it SO easy because it basically tells you when to run and when to walk, eventually changing up the program every week so that your run durations are longer and your walk durations are less frequent/shorter.

    people really don’t think any of those things that you mentioned above; if anything, they think it’s great that you’re doing it because running isn’t easy. KEEP IT UP!!!!

  7. When I fist started running it was really hard for me, its still not easy by any means but I have really learned to enjoy it! I think that once you can become comfortable with your running you will find that you want to go run, crave a good run!

  8. Pingback: Marvelous in my Monday, Easter Weekend Edition | city & the cubicle

  9. You made a great decision to join a gym. When i lived in Boston I got so frustrated by the weather and it messing up my workouts, and it wasn’t worth it because we can’t control it! Remember running is hard for most everyone, even if it doesn’t look like it, it is! I look forward to hearing more about how you like the gym!

  10. I started running about 2 years ago and at first I had so many of the same fears about people judging me on my lack of ability to run. Heck, I could barely make it 1/4 of a mile without dying and was pretty much convinced that I could actually walk faster than I was running. I was pretty sure that everyone who saw me was probably judging me on my great ability to make my attempt at running look like a sad water creature trying to survive on land. So I avoided running in public places, didn’t tell many people at about my attempts at running, and pretty much refused to run with any of my friends! The fact that I actually made it to the starting line my first 5k is amazing…but its lead me to so many incredible places!

    Now, 2 years later I’ve run multiple 5ks, half marathons, and triathlons. I’m currently training for my first Half Ironman (in 2 months…yikes) and will run my first marathon later this year! And if there is one thing that I’ve figured out…no one is judging you about running. Most people are wishing that they had the nerve to get out there and run 1/4 mile, a mile, or 10 miles. And other runners, heck, we’re all just like…RUNNING! Yes, let’s talk about running cause its the best thing ever and I just want to talk about it. Trust me, I’ve literally seen people running along while I’m driving to work and the first thing I think is…Man, I wish I was out running…even if they look miserable and like they want to die.

    Keep it up! You’ll get there and the journey will be great! 🙂

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