Sunday, December 10, 2006

Training for Life

the weather though wet at times never really amounted to much this weekend. chalk one up for the weather guessers.

just as i stepped outside this morning around 8:45 it started to drizzle. about 20 minutes into the run it picked up...slightly.....but it died back down and i ran 5 miles relatively unphased by the rain. yesterday i mapped a route from my house. it was pretty much flat with a few gently rolling hills except for one short steep climb at the halfway mark.

i wore a watch this time and the first 2.5 miles took me 25 minutes. i felt like i slowed down a bit on the way back. i sought a "bring it home" song and with the help of Santana picked things up and finished the run in 50 minutes. a shorter but faster sunday run. tired, i walked past my house for a bit until i cooled down.

as i entered the house i was greeted by a haze of smoke wafting from the kitchen. m was cooking...unsupervised. normally, this is the kind of thing that would have me go ballistic. she knows she's not to use the stove without an her mind there was an adult..... he just happened to be sleeping in the next room.

she made pancake batter from scratch and couldn't figure out why they were burning on the outside and still raw on the inside. i had her open the sliding glass door and i turned on the vent and proceeded to calmly explain that the batter was too thick and needed a little more liquid. the amazing thing about it was i did not raise my voice...not once. i was careful not to go over the top about using the stove unsupervised...yes i did caution her strongly but i didn't yell. i then proceeded to thin out the batter and finished cooking the last few pancakes.

yes, i was annoyed but instead of freaking out i kept a lid on the emotions. a little later i said to her "we've had a pretty peaceful weekend haven't we?" and she replied "actually this has been the best christmas window season ever!" kids are pretty smart....despite the dumb things they do. she's been extremely receptive to my new approach. when she's arguing with me and i give myself a time-out or just keep my cool she's often the one to approach me later contrite and apologetic for her behavior...something never evident when i would yell or engage in an argument.

i'm still going to get irritated, angry and pissed-off...of this i am certain... but i'm also feeling more confident in my ability to not let these feelings escalate and make things worse. i'm in training and consider this early phase similar to when i first started running. it took time to build up to 30 minutes of steady running. i walked alot. nowadays, some of my most enjoyable runs are upwards of 3-4 hours. i never would of imagined that a mere 2 years ago.

our assignment in anger mangement last week was to observe the feeling of anger. in other words when you felt yourself getting mad resist the urge to "do" anything about it. the idea being that feeling angry is's usually what you "do" that's not okay. they compared the feeling of anger to a wave, like a wave anger rises, crescendos then eventually tapers off. i've often felt compelled to "do" something when i got mad...usually yell.....i was aware of feeling angry, i even counted to 10 sometimes...but i was oblivious to the crescendo and tapering off segments...the anger felt unending because i tend to fan the flame.

i was swept up in the crescendo portion and then would further escalate the situation by catastrophizing...feeding the angry feelings with thoughts like..."she's being disrespectful, if i let her get away with this she'll....., or at work, "their jerking me around, they have no respect for my time or effort, 'why is this person still on caseload, their so unmotivated........." dumping fuel to the fire so to speak.

i thought the whole wave crescendo taper thing was a crock of shit but still i wanted to be open and i knew that i would have opportunity to test the theory. m was happy to oblige the following morning getting ready for school and i made a deal with myself to not yell and just let the feeling of anger wash over me and resist the urge to "do" anything. i felt my heart begin to beat faster, my jaw started to clench as she dilly dallied getting ready i went into the kitchen and made her lunch instead of into her room to move her along and by taking my attention off of her i spared us both alot of drama.

lifestyle changes require time and quick fixes. right now i can't imagine not getting angry but i can imagine dealing with it differently.

baby steps.

i was talking about learning to swim in my group last week. how difficult it was and how pissed i got when my swim instructor suggested that it wasn't the end of the world if i couldn't participate in the tri4fun. while the instructors words were most likely an attempt to help take off some self-imposed pressure ...the implication that maybe i couldn't learn to swim in time for my race just pissed me off and made me work harder at it. and it paid off. proof that not all of my anger is necessarily unhelpful.

face it. i'm never going to be that nice quiet calm girl. i'm latin, intense and i feel things deeply. but that's not to say some changes aren't in order. change is hard and tedious. progress is sure to fluctuate....setbacks are inevitable. but i commit to show up everyday and that is half the battle.

i'm pretty certain i will always have to "manage" my anger, that i'll never be completly anger chronic pain. i will fill my life with activities and interests to take the edge off. if training for tris this summer has taught me anything it's taught me to appreciate the need for small consistent effort that builds slowly over time. a couple of years ago i just wanted to lose some weight. the weight of which i write about now is so much harder by comparison. but i think the same principles apply.