People love numbers. Well, people love good numbers! Numbers can mean so many things. The thing is most people work hard to create the data they want instead of looking at the data that they need.
As a runner, I've used a GPS watch for years to generate all kinds of data for each run. How fast, how far, how many steps per minute, and heart rate. So many numbers. The number I always look at first is the pace. It ruled my opinion on what a good run was and if this run had been a good one or not. My running was governed by numbers. It's no wonder I burned out and felt like I couldn't get anywhere while dealing with some setbacks. But then I stopped thinking with a fixed mindset and ditched the watch. No more data. I had to go by feel. How far did I want to run? What pace did I feel like running? It changed how I approached my runs and with my new growth mindset I started to realize there were other metrics to determine what a good run was.
Numbers are a daily part of my job. How did that social media post do yesterday? What kind of numbers? The thing that I've noticed is a lot of people put a lot of stock in good numbers when it comes to social media and marketing. Good numbers are always nice, but you know what, the numbers can't be good all of the time. It's impossible! Most people are so driven by having good numbers that they forget about their brand and mission. If you only post the things that do well you're in a fixed mindset. Everyone wants to grow. Grow their brand, grow their business, and grow their sales. If you limit the people who see your content by posting the same things all of the time, it's hard to grow. One of the first things I learned for myself about social marketing was that mixing things up is important. If you want to get better, you have to be willing to try new things. You need numbers! You also need to know which numbers are important. Don't be afraid to grow. Try something new. You might surprise yourself!
For most of my professional life, I've struggled with my mental game. The thing with being a professional musician is you're always competing. Competing for jobs, attention, who has the best position... And the auditions, they just weren't my thing. It got to the point where I was burned out and tired. Tired of the judging, the competing, and tired of living off of nothing.
You know that moment when you're getting dressed and all of the sudden you notice that you can't button your jeans? It's no secret that running and I have been struggling to stay friends lately. Pair that with life changes, being sick on and off, and allergy issues and I now find myself close to 15 lbs heavier than I was when I got sick 1 1/2 years ago. It's nothing that a little spring shopping can't fix, but it messes with my head.
The funny thing is on most of my runs these days I can tell how much stronger I am from days past. Oh yeah, I'm running again! It's not much. In fact it's more like I'm re-starting from the very beginning. It's also meant changing up when I go running. I use to wake up early and enjoy a run as the city started to wake-up and I loved it. It was peaceful, energizing, and got the day off to a good start. But lately I would try to wake-up early and either hit snooze or get stressed out about going for a run. There were always so many things that seemed more important than taking care of myself by going for a run. Learning to managing my time with my new position with Big Peach Running Co. has been challenging. I would find myself getting up and heading straight to my phone at 7:30am to make sure all of the social accounts were okay or answering e-mails from the few hours I actually slept. Then one day I decided to go for a run after my 3 meetings were done. It was fabulous! Tackling the to-do list at work let me relax and focus more on my runs and even relax a little. I still get up early, but now it's to knock out some work before meetings and then go out around lunch or the afternoon.
It doesn't explain the 3 lbs I seem to have gained in the last 2 weeks, but I know the things I'm doing are going to help me get back to where I want to be. Most importantly I am determined to be strong and healthy.
Where oh where has my running mojo gone?
I've been asking myself that question for months. At some point last year running just got hard. Hard to get out of bed, hard to get out the door, hard to get motivated to lace up my shoes. No matter how I tried to motivate myself or bribe myself there was just no getting around it. Running wasn't fun. It felt like work. Something that I had to so that whenever someone asked if I was a runner while I was helping them in one of our stores I could say yes.
It finally got to a point where I just stopped running. Why go for a run when none of them go well? For a week and a half I did nothing other than work. Why did I dislike running so much? Finally it dawned on me that my emotional side was clouding everything. With two music degrees and nearly 15 years of playing music professionally I am good at channeling my emotions into work. They always live just under the surface ready to come out. Even now in marketing I am still channeling emotion in the stories and images I help craft. All of the emotions there mixing with the stress of a new job, long hours, and jury duty. Every day I would wake up and just know that if I tired running nothing would go right.
Finally one day I just decided to try. So I laced up my shoes, left my GPS watch sitting on my dresser and just ran until I wanted to turn around. It wasn't amazing, but I didn't hate it. I wasn't being held hostage by my watch, a training plan, or the feeling that I wasn't living up to my own expectations. I tried new cross training and strength workouts. Heck sometimes I even made them up as I went. I changed the time of day I was running. Somehow waiting until I got the work that was stressing me out done helped me relax and feel more free. I even liked running in the heat of the afternoon & evening. For nearly 10 years I've trained for one race after an another. Now I'm just trying to find my running mojo, and rediscover that running can be fun.
My brain is all over the place these days. From the moment I get up to the moment I try to go to sleep at night it races at 100 mph. It's no wonder I never feel like things are going right or that I'm not living up to everyone's expectations. Most days I plug my headphones into my computer, put iTunes on shuffle, and try to drown out all of the voices and focus on the pages and pages of copy I create everyday.
My focus on my runs has been the worse. I'm never going to have a good run if I keep focusing on how my my Achilles still bothering me, how defeated I feel when I take a walk break, or how sore my whole body is from trying to get back to running while battling tendonitis from drug side effects. This week two things happened. I started reading Mindset, and I got some tips from my friends John & Abby Keenan from Intrepid Performance. Quickly I realized that I was letting the stress of everything, and the fact that my tendonitis made me feel pretty lousy, affect everything I was doing from work to my runs. I needed a mental reset and trying to motivate myself by saying everything was going to be okay wasn't getting me anywhere. I needed to find another way to grow. Enter the power statement! A simple phrase that I could focus on instead of the pain. It was simple, effective, and it got me to feel like I was accomplishing something on my runs, which made even the not so fun runs seem a bit better. In turn my work got better, and slowly the stress and frustration started to melt away.
Sometimes it's easy to let the whole world get to you. Stay true to yourself, keep growing, and find a way to focus your thoughts and what seems impossible will start to become attainable!
Levaquin - What they don't tell you
A year and 2 weeks ago I finished the antibiotic that finally killed the bacteria infection that took 9 months and 11 doctors to diagnose. Lucky for me my history included the fact that I was active, a runner, and working in run specialty. I still feel bad for the nurse that had to call me that day to tell me I couldn't do any kind of exercise to avoid tendon damage for 10 days. "I'm a runner, so if I don't run can I do other things, right?" No, I needed to stay of my feet as much as possible. My poor coach had to listen to my meltdown on the phone. Like the other drugs I had been put on I was convinced this one wouldn't work either.
Fast forward a year and I'm bacteria free but I feel like my legs are twice their age. Back in May of 2015 I started having problems with my right foot. I figured it was just from standing at work, and I needed to replace my work shoes. 3 pairs of shoes later there were days I could barely walk let alone stand without pain. I tired everything I could. I got massages, and saw my chiropractor. I put inserts in my shoes, wore compression sleeves, and foam rolled my foot at least twice a day. Nothing worked. The podiatrist said I had plantar fasciitis, but it didn't feel like PF. My pain got worse the more I moved not first thing in the morning.
Somehow I sort of trained for, and finished the 2015 Marine Corp Marathon. By mile 9 I was crying because my foot hurt so much. The legs were tight like they had been for most of my training and I all I wanted was to be out of the rain and curled up on a couch. A couple of weeks earlier someone finally said what had been in the back of my head. It was probably the antibiotic that caused all of my problems. Despite having a fantastic doctor, who was also a runner, guide me through 10 days of levaquin I realized that I had not walked away unscathed. I still struggle with tight Achilies, and there are days, like today, when all of my joints hurt after a run. Nothing seems to help, and there are days when I ask myself why I keep trying to run when it's so challenging. It use to be so easy, and my body would do what I asked of it.
There isn't a lot out there about how long the effects of levaquin last. If you Google levaquin tendon damage you find nothing about how long it stays in your system or how long the tendon issues last because they don't know. So, this is my story for those looking for information. One day I hope that I will feel like myself when I'm running again, but for now it's one foot in front of the other hoping that I'll love running again no mater how slow I have to go for now.
Bonnie is a native to Atlanta, once a professional violinist, who now works in social & digital marketing for Big Peach Running Co.