Skip to main content

Huffing and Puffing: Episode 7: Failing Forward

As published at News957.com:

"Is it the shoes?" asked Spike Lee in a 1991 TV advertising campaign for Nike Air Jordan shoes. "It's gotta be the shoes!"

In my case, I've learned, it's not the shoes. I mean, the shoes are nice, but they are clearly not the solution to my problems.

A friendly and startlingly laid-back man from Aerobics First outfitted me with a new pair of Brooks Dyad shoes at the deep-discount clearance sale at the Halifax Forum's multipurpose centre. The price was right - $150 sticker, $60 marked down. They fit. They look sharp. They're very comfortable. But there's more to running the right way than choosing the right shoes.

I had high hopes for the shoes after weeks of shin and knee pain. Running in the new shoes did not fix anything, as far as I can tell. My shin muscles still hurt, and now my shin bones are sore right in the middle, like I'd done a three-quarter speed roundhouse kick to a telephone pole.




Once again, that pain got in the way of my weekly exercise homework. I wanted to push myself hard, but my tibialis anterior muscle felt like an over-inflated balloon strapped to my leg. Program leader Jayne Norrie got in touch by e-mail during the week and suggested I tone down the exercise a bit so I can finish strong.

At this point, I just want to finish.

I'm really starting to think that I'm not built for running. I imagine runners as tall, sleek, thin, stick-like. They check their watch and launch off into a machine-like pace. Their feet don't go SMACK SMACK SMACK when they run. When they're done, they go "whew" and smile and say "good job." They don't bend over at the waist, dripping with flop sweat, huffing and puffing and groaning.

Am I being a bit too hard on myself? Or, as I imagine, am I being too hard on my body? I'm still between 235 and 240 pounds, on a 5'7" frame, and what I can remember from high school physics suggests that I'm exerting intense forces on my lower body every time I take a step. I feel like I'm abusing parts of my body while I'm making other parts healthier.

But what I came to realize this week is that quitting smoking would probably be the single biggest thing I could do to make things better. Exercising more during the week didn't do it. New shoes didn't do it. Eating before going out didn't.

My goals this week were two-fold: first, skip my usual two cigarettes before the Saturday exercise meeting, and second, go an entire weekday without smoking.

The first goal was half-way completed. I skipped the get-out-of-bed smoke, but had one when I got to the meeting at Saint Mary's University. As I inhaled, I felt what energy I had that morning drain from my body. I was expecting it to be a pick-up, but instead it was a huge bring-down. So, that lesson was learned: even a stimulant can suck the energy out of you.

On the second goal, the less said the better. Fail fail fail. Fail. FAIL. I put it off and put it off, eventually picking Friday as the go-day. I skipped my morning cigarette, but gave up while I was waiting for an appraisal on what was supposed to be a minor car repair. ($1300 to fix a scratch? Are you serious?)

Add it all up, and I'm feeling like a failure this week.

Now, I've failed at plenty of things in life. In doing so, I've learned that failure is only absolute if you give up trying. I haven't given up trying. I haven't really made a concerted effort to quit smoking. I blew my first two goals the first time, but as long as I learn from these failures, I can continue moving forward.

Failing forward. I am flawed but self-correcting.

The 5km Lung Run with the rest of the Bad Ashes team is now just weeks away. Over the next week, I'll continue with the exercise and maybe even try cutting down on the smoking. Next week's episode will feature some tobacco cessation talk from the Learn To Run group's leader.

External Links:

Comments

  1. my dear friend, I am proud of you for continuing to work towards your goals...have I told you lately that you're an inspiration to me? :) It is disappointing to not reach a goal, but at least the second/third/nth time around you'll have a little more experience to nudge you closer and closer to your goal.

    I think I'm not built for running either, my feet do the slap slap slap thing. (my belly dance teacher once likened me to a stampeding elephant. I inferred that she meant I'm not very light on my feet) but I try to run on the treadmill anyway. My lungs are holding me back from greater progress...I sincerely believe that incorporating weight training has really helped build up the stabilizing muscles in my legs. For all of the foot problems I've had, I'm surprised and delighted that my legs and feet feel so good when I run.

    Keep at it, buggy, good luck Saturday!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, buggy. I agree, weight training can help with those supporting muscles. I actually read a report two weeks ago that said strengthening hip muscles can improve knee pain in runners, so it's not even always the obvious stuff. And thank you for the sponsorship! I'll keep you up to date!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Gordon turns four and has questions

Gordon wanted to know where mommy went.

Not what happened to her body, but where SHE went.

We celebrated his fourth birthday this weekend with three gatherings. One at our house with his little friends. One at nana and grampa's house. One in Stratford with the Simpson clan.


The big party for the kids was a success. I'd never planned such an event. Thank goodness for the Internet, where I found a Martha Stewart article that laid out the basics. And thank goodness for Party City, which had a ton of Transformers party stuff ready to buy. I wasn't feeling well, but managed to pull it off. Thanks to sister Shannon and SIL Amy for being the Designated Adults who helped in wrangling and last-minute logistics. G thought the whole event was kind of loud, but he really enjoyed it. And I feel like a winner for making it happen -- some of the other parents even chimed in that they now know what goes into a kid's party, since they were as clueless as me! Great!

Great time at nana&#…

Hard to believe it's been a year - but it has

One year ago today, we lost Amanda.

Time plays tricks on all of us. We can think "that was so long ago" at the same time as "it feels like yesterday." I run into this all the time with Amanda's death.

Yes, it feels like just yesterday, or last night, or later today, that Amanda collapsed in the kitchen and died after that long, brutal battle with ovarian cancer. But every day has ticked by at a pace like any other, and it's been a whole year of those days, with incremental and sometimes revolutionary change.

As I move about our home, it's hard to fathom that she's been gone a whole year.

Many of the decorative items she carefully arranged throughout the house are in the exact same place as the last time she touched them. She had the vision, not me, so I've been reluctant to disturb her decisions on what looks good and works.

In other places, I'm reminded that it's been at least a year since something's been in place. Like the fully-s…

Chugging along through a slump

Gosh, I haven't posted since before Christmas.

I got through Christmas. I put on a good Christmas for Gordon. Maybe a great Christmas. But I also got a nasty cold and came out of the holidays in a funk.

As you've seen here on the blog, I was full of HEY, LIFE! and WOW, OPPORTUNITY! and BLANK CANVAS! sentiments for months. But then I just fell flat and seemed to lose interest in everything. Social life, self-care, home improvement, good food, personal finance, hobbies. It just all went plop and I didn't really dig doing anything any more. Thank goodness for friends and family asking me to come out and do stuff.

Now, I'm not one to shirk responsibilities when others depend on me, so I'm lucky that others depend on me. Business has been picking up at work, so that's good. And Gordon is my inspiration to keep things interesting.

We got out and about to some fun stuff, including an overnight road trip to Hamilton to see Paw Patrol Live.


Something weird happened at t…