I ran my first half marathon about ten years ago.
That sentence makes it sound like I have run many subsequent half marathons, which is false.
Even though my foray into distance running was short lived, those 13.1 miles taught me a great many life lessons. One of the most important of these teachings was that sometimes running long distances puts you at great risk for an adult bathroom accident in public. Since this is not a sensation I look for in my leisure activities, my running shoes have been hung up for some time now.
But the half-marathon-related lesson I want to talk about today was imparted to us by our running coach during a training session and has stayed with me ever since. She said, “just because something feels bad at mile two, does not mean that it will feel bad at mile two and a half.”
Basically, don’t panic.
The key is to stay in the present moment and know that comfortable and uncomfortable moments are temporary, even though our brains are wired to automatically holler, “This is bad! This will always be bad! Could you imagine three more miles of exactly this? We should definitely stop!”
I’ve used this as a strategy to talk myself off of workout induced ledges, when every internal message is telling me that I am definitely too old to do CrossFit, I just want to be fat and unhealthy and all exercise must cease immediately.
I think about it when I’m stuck on the tarmac on hour three of an intractable delay and think I will never ever get to where I’m going.
I think about it when I have the plague, the blood of a granddaddy tortoise and think that I will never be vertical again.
And I have thought about it a lot during Whole30.
If I believed my brain when it told me that it was always going to feel like hour six of day four, your girl would have been outta here. Thanks to Melissa, the infinite Whole30 resources and the camaraderie of the Whole30 community it has been easier than ever to normalize the less-than-pleasant sensations, know that they are temporary and that Tiger Blood is around the corner.
But here is what I need help with.
In almost every case where I have used this strategy, when I get close to the respective finish line, all bets are off. No more zen. No more appreciation of the temporary nature of sensations and emotions.
I have one singular emotion…the emotion of Being Freaking Done.
So on Day 25, with the finish line in sight, I feel compelled to share that I would currently like to jump in a vat of queso with an oversized curly straw as a snorkel, and then use that curly straw to periodically drink from a vat of margarita on the rocks with salt. Once both vats are emptied (into my belly via curly straw) I would like to then consume cupcakes with cream cheese frosting while reclined in a chair made of baguettes.
It is such an odd sensation because I haven’t had cravings since the early days! And now that I have emerged victorious over the plague, I feel great! Why would I want to dive head first into a 10 gallon bucket of Fruit Loops? These aren’t even things I ate before Whole30!
I was lamenting about this with Jen today (because I am a human again that leaves the couch and interacts with other humans) and she told me that Melissa talks about this in Food Freedom Forever. This. Exact.Thing.
Jen told me about an example of a study that looked at the cravings of flight attendants who were smokers and regardless of the duration of the flight, the cravings hit maximum intensity as soon as they were close to landing.
Yes! That is exactly it! I’m the Whole30 equivalent of a chain smoking flight attendant!
It is oddly comforting to know that this is a more of a psychological situation than a physiological one and that the Slaying of the Sugar Dragon was way harder than getting my mind right with five days to go.
Once again, Whole30 normalization FTW, shared in hopes of normalizing this for someone else out there resisting the urge to buy a recliner built of baguettes.
So I’m back to the mantra that this Vat of Queso stage is temporary, just like all of the others, and that I would be well served to stop thinking of Day 30 as the finish line and more of the beginning.
P.S. While I feel like a bit of a hot-mess-queso-craving-express, Jen is totally rocking this Food Freedom Forever prep and managed to dodge a divorce in the face of a tea cup disaster! Definitely a must read.
PSA: if you reside in the DC, SoCal, San Francisco or Dallas areas and want to give Territory’s Whole30 Approved meals a whirl, use code JANW30 when creating your account to snag $50 off your first order. Or just click the magic box below.