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.

12 comments:

  1. Oooohhhh! Birth stories! I love birth stories (and I mean that totally seriously!) For my first, I had this complete idea that I was going to go the natural route. I didn't even entertain the idea of an epidural or anything. (I even had a doula!) Water broke at 5 p.m. on a Friday after work - already a bad sign. I then labored for about 27 hours, pushed for three hours, and STILL ended up with a c-section. I gave in on the drugs at about Hour 19. Anyway, yeah, lesson learned. You just need to be a bit more flexible in some (ALL) things. For #2, I had a planned c-section (due to doctor's orders), and recovery went so much better. :)

    Glad that you are feeling flexible about your race this weekend! Good luck on it! Hope everything feels great and surprises you. :)

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    1. My sister-in-law is a doula, though I've never had one at a birth. I had a midwife for #2, and it was awesome. Epidurals are scary! When they gave me whatever they gave me (can't remember if it was a block or epidural) for the c-section, it really freaked me out. I don't like needles in my spine at all. Your story reminds me that I am glad they let me know right away about the c-section so that I didn't basically birth both ways. Pushing for three hours and then a c-section would make for one exhausting day!

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  2. I have no birthing stories (no babies yet).

    I am all about the low bar. The last time I went into a race (half marathon) knowing it would be bad, I didn't feel so crappy about it when it was, so I completely concur. I mean, it was hilly, but my finish time was about 20 minutes slower than my PR. Considering I was spending the majority of my time on the pooper the day before, I'd say it was a win.

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  3. I just read all three books. After the first one, my husband and I went to see the movie. I thought it was fine but not as good as the book, but I never find a movie as good as the book:) I did notice the difference since I saw it so soon after reading.

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    1. The movies are never as good! But I liked the casting for this one. The girl playing Katniss looks like my sweet niece, so I think it subconsciously made me instantly love her in the role.

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  4. Oh man this post made me chuckle. I often aim low so as not to disappoint myself. Though sometimes I have to woman-up and have a real goal besides 'not die' during a race. I hope your leg is feeling better soon. Being injured is the worst but sounds like you are dealing with it in a great way by cross training and keeping your mind occupied versus my tendency to sit on the couch and stew while eating ice cream.

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    1. Not dying while racing is always one of my top goals!!:)

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  5. I am big about setting low expectations so that I can get a lot of joy from unexpected outcomes!

    Case in point, races. I always put my goal time lower than I can probably do because I don't want to stress myself out, because I KNOW that will make me slower. Afterward, I can revel in the excitement of achieving something way better than I thought was possible.

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  6. And I had some questions about your leg injury.

    I had a stress fracture in my pelvis and had to take off 5 months from running in fall 2010. The key point that led to an accurate diagnosis was that it hurt when I beared weight on it. Could NOT run through the pain.

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    1. So far my leg hasn't hurt so bad that the pain stopped me from running, but it hurt enough that I felt nervous that something bad might happen if I push it too hard. That's really not very specific, is it?! The standing, walking and cycling I did this week haven't caused any pain. It has only hurt while running.

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  7. No babies and no clue over here!!! But I'm a little pessimistic at times so I tend to do this naturally!

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