Mojo · self help · ultramarathon

On Being Petra (and every dog has its day)

New year came too soon for me this year, or so it felt.  We did so much traveling around before, during and after Christmas and New Year that much of that time was a blur to me – I don’t feel I ever sat down during those days without thinking of when I needed to get up again and what I needed to do next.  It was wonderful – but there was no time for reflection.  Top that up with the fact that I was no allowed to run for 10 days due to my *&^%$£@! injury and my mind went a little bit loopy – I don’t function well when I don’t have processing time.

January has been a lot calmer – I’m mostly in one place and everyone else is returning to their routine, so I can return to mine.

Over the past months, and in-between life’s inevitable highs and lows, I have had a chance to calm myself down a bit and find some mental space to make some resolutions for me.  In fact, it’s just one resolution.  It’s to be Petra.

Now let me back up and explain. I’ve spoken before about how much I love Gretchen Rubin.  I loved her Happiness Project, I loved Happier at Home and I really love Better than Before.  Cue gratuitous fan photo:


One of the things she talks about in all of her books, but particularly her first, is the idea of “Be Gretchen”.  With that she means – figure out what works for you and not to be afraid to realise that things that might be fun for others might not be for you, and the other way round.  This might sound entirely obvious to you – and that’s wonderful.  But I’ve come to realise that I rely a great deal on the input and approval of others. I ask others for advice before I’ve taken time to sit down and figure out what I need to do.  And I act on other people’s suggestions before thinking whether they are actually right for me.  So it’s a huge thing for me to realise that sometimes what might work for others won’t, in fact, work for me.

And so I too had a “Be Petra” insight yesterday.  For well over a year now, I have been trying to do yoga.  Everywhere you go (on social media anyway) you see wonderful bodies doing yoga, wonderful outfits for yoga and people who generally espouse how wonderful yoga is for you.  I am a highly suggestible person so it doesn’t take much social pressure for me to drink that koolaid.  I was on board.  So much so, that I signed up for a yoga teacher training course this year.  Despite the small matter that I do very little yoga.  Very little yoga.  That I regularly start classes, online or real classes, and then it peters out after a few weeks.  Like a bird hurling itself against plate glass, however, I keep trying again and again, banging my head hard each time.  Yesterday I signed up for a 2 hour session.  And for the entire 2 hour session I was thinking of ways to get out of it.  And when I finally did get out I had this staggering insight.  That Being Petra meant, for now, not trying to love yoga.  Because I just don’t.

Before you go nuts on me – don’t.  I have NOTHING against yoga per se.  I can see that lots of people love it.  I have really, really, really tried to love it.  But I don’t.  I know the most amazing instructors – I really do.  If these people can’t make me love yoga, nobody can.  I respect them, their knowledge, their skills, their dedication enormously.  But yoga – right now – is not Petra.

In fact, I was so antsy when I got home that I decided to go out and run on my injured foot.  It’s slowly healing but I need to keep my mileage low.  5 miles later after a cold windy run I was a different person.  My head had been swirling with worries about the future, my racing calendar, my ability to run any of the races I’d signed up for. 5 miles later I realised that this – being able to run 5 miles when I wanted to – pretty much sums up my wishlist.  Running is definitely still part of being Petra.

Which is a good insight to come to because I have no idea about how much more running I will be able to do in the near future.  5 weeks or so after getting injured I am slowly coming back but progress is 3 steps forward, 2 steps back.  In honesty – and this is the first time I’ve faced this – an off-road marathon in 2 weeks is probably not going to happen.  At best, I will struggle to get round.  At worst I will be in pain on a course where it’s hard to cut it short.  And I’m really not sure where it leaves my ultra at the end of April – I am simply not able to run very far at the moment.  30M a week is pretty much my limit and even then I’m not pain-free.

I’m contemplating having a very low mileage february – 25M a week – and adding in two days of biking.  I’ve resisted the latter as I haven’t been out on my bike in over a year (painful truth!) and getting back on requires finding the gear, making sure it’s working etc.  But it’s time to face facts – right now there are no long runs for me.

And before you tell me to buck up – I am fine!  As I said – getting in those mind-clearing, fog-busting 5 milers really is fine with me.  I’ve been on this roller coaster long enough to know that every dog has its day.  Mine will come – 2016 or 2017 – I will be back!




3 thoughts on “On Being Petra (and every dog has its day)

  1. You sound very wise & grown up to me! Amen to being you. I am with you on that–thanks for the reminder! Sorry about the foot, that sucks! I have to say I totally agree about yoga! I have also considered signing up for teacher training — because yoga is so just beautiful & I thought that would force me. But–no.
    Also: I cannot believe how much you look like Gretchen!!!

    1. Haha! Maybe I should “Be Gretchen” instead? I’m glad I’m not the only bonehead who thinks about training to teach something they don’t actually enjoy doing. What’s up with that?

  2. Hey, still on the ups & downs of life and fitness then? It’s a new/ish year still so there is plenty of time. Injuries come with our territory as well, but are just hurdles to overcome, sometimes that means adjusting goals & targets. Don’t worry if you have to do that, there will always be new targets!
    Time we set a new target for that chat, let me know some ideas!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s