April 5, 2012

Lower your expectations, increase your happiness

Resting-from-running workouts: two spin classes yesterday and one Bodyflow class today. It felt so great to get my heart rate up yesterday. I'm feeling more relaxed about really resting, instead of sneaking little runs in every day to check my leg out. You know that once you start running it's hard to stop before you get to the number that the master plan lists on the schedule that day. So it's better for me not to do little test runs because they just turn into regularly scheduled runs. I have absolutely zero pain when I am not running, so it's hard to tell if the rest is healing my leg.

I'm still planning to run 13.1 on Saturday at the Oak Barrel Half, so that will be my testing ground. The good thing about the injury is that it takes a lot of pressure off of the race. I'm planning to make it a fun race now, instead of a bust-your-buttocks race. If I have to stop, I have to stop. No big deal. The worst is when you aren't prepared for a crappy race and it happens anyway. It's much better to go into it knowing that there is a high chance that it will be only slightly better than a walk shuffle.

This same principle applies to everything in my life. Movies: yes. Take the Hunger Games movie, for example. I loved reading all of the reviews about people hating it and being disappointed with how it didn't follow the original story. Seriously, I love reading the lowest star, most degrading reviews of a movie I'm about to see. Then I go in expecting it to be another Twilight, and if it is anything better than that, which Hunger Games was, I am pleasantly surprised.

Wish I could say the same for The Vow. I didn't read any hater reviews, and I cringed a million times in the movie. Not during the one butt part, just the other 99 parts. Especially the parts where the hipster friends get together and make jokes and where Channing Tatum is a music producer. Huh? Maybe I should have watched Step Up to prepare myself for this movie. Step Up, lowering expectations for the rest of Channing Tatum's career.

Other than injuring yourself and not completing half of your training plan, what other ways can you lower race expectations? Read race reviews from irate people! The more irate the better. No porta pot when you had diarrhea running down your legs? Only curdled milk at aid stations for the last 10 miles of your marathon? I love these people who write when they get fired up about hating something. They give a lot of details that you don't find in the I-love-everything reviews.

The one time that I didn't prepare for a negative scenario was when I was birthing my twins. I had already had two kids and zero epidurals. The pathway was cleared and ready for two tiny twinlets to pop out without a look back. But it didn't happen that way. Instead, I went into labor two months early. Of course my doctor wasn't on call when my water broke. Side note: the water broke for only one twin. Isn't that cool that one twin's amniotic sac can still be intact while the other's isn't? Back to the story. The on-call doctor felt uncomfortable delivering them the way I planned with my doctor. She presented c-section as my only option. There was no prepping for the worst-case scenario in between the contractions and wanting to jump up on a table and kick everything in sight.

Can you tell I'm still bitter about this one? Part of me thinks I'm not justified in being so bitter because I have two beautiful healthy babies, but I still feel that the c-section wasn't necessary. The point is maybe if I had read more about all of the terrible swelling, bleeding, oozing, and general weakling-ness you experience with a c-section, I would have felt much better about the outcome.

Bring me your horror stories. It can only go up from there.

So the moral of this post is maybe it's good to set a low bar occasionally so that you're happy when you can step (instead of jump) over it. And bonus, this works really well with kids. If they expect to only eat veggies all day and they get a piece of fruit, they are excited. If they ate a ton of candy, that same piece of fruit will be torture. You might as well be waterboarding them for all of the complaining you will hear.