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Go. Now.

**There’s still time to enter to win Made To Crave by Lysa TerKeurst!  Go HERE and give me some songs for my running playlist!  Comments have to be in before 3/14/12 at 12:00 a.m.
'Running Trail' photo (c) 2010, Crystal - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

If you’re anywhere around my neck of the woods, the weather is just about perfect for a run.

So I want to challenge you to go for a walk or a run.

Like now.

Go further than you’ve ever gone before.

Seriously. Now.

I’m going. What are you waiting for?

Ugh

'Fear - Graffiti' photo (c) 2006, Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I’m coming off a long weekend of misbehaving with my diet.  And I feel horrible.  I’d planned to go for a long run, but with a wind chill of 5 on the only day I had time to run, it just didn’t work out.  I don’t mind the cold, but I can’t handle the wind.

I booked my hotel today for the weekend in Nashville for the half marathon.  That still kind of makes me nauseous.  I guess I’d better sign up for the race soon.

There’s something terrifying to me about this race.  What if I’ve built it all up and I don’t finish?  What if I get down there and pull a muscle?  What if I get sick?

These are the thoughts that are swimming around in my head.  They’re not fun thoughts of winning.  They’re not fun thoughts of doing something worthwhile and achieving my goals.

They’re thoughts of fear and of failing.

Jon Acuff, a blogger and author that I highly respect, posts pictures of notes that he writes and hangs around his office for motivation and little reminders that dreams and goals take work.  Today he posted this note:

“Fear only bothers you if you’re doing things that matter.  So if you find fear waiting for you at the front door of this week, congratulations.  You’re doing things that matter.”

And I get it.  There are going to be days that the working seems endless and the goal seems too far away and then fear just jumps right to the front of the line.  I guess that’s where I’m at.

But I’m not going to give up.

I promise.

But if you see me eating unhealthy this week, give me a swift kick in the rear and remind me that I’m going to weigh in in a week or two…

Tuesday Motivation

'Yellow Couch + Yotei' photo (c) 2009, studio tdes - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone still on the couch. ~ Unknown

Do you ever have days you really just feel like staying in bed?  I came down with a bug Wednesday.  The blisters in the back of my throat led me to believe that it was strep throat, but we didn’t test.  All I know is that the medicine got rid of them and my sore throat.  I hate taking antibiotics, but when it comes to a sore throat, I don’t mess around.

But Bridget and I decided in light of the sickness, it would be a good time to rest.  So I went to work the rest of the week, but after work I secluded myself inside my home.  I watched a few movies, read four or five books and just rested.  I really wanted to make sure that rest was a big part of my recovery.  And I think it’s probably been one of the biggest parts mentally and physically.  I was just tired.  Whatever I had did a number on me.  I was tired.

So I rested.

And on Monday I was totally unmotivated to work.  I’d been resting for so long that work was just about the last place I wanted to be…and I love my job.  And then I thought maybe doing a workout would get me out of my funk.  So I signed up for the 5:00 p.m. class.

There’s nothing like a good workout to iron the kinks out of your bad attitude.  

So bad attitude and all I tackled the workout:  30 Double Unders (jump rope passing under your feet twice in one hop), 25 push-ups with release (going down all the way and lifting your hands) and 20 jumping lunges.

I’d been trying to do just 1 double under since October.  Tonight right before the workout started I actually completed my first one.  I was pretty pumped.  But I chose to do single jumps in the workout.  The only thing with that is you have to triple the number.  Still it worked out best for me.

I left the gym feeling refreshed and tired.  After a week of being sick, I think tired is how you’re going to feel.  But I also think a good sweat can sometimes just turn your attitude around.  Besides, I’ve heard that sweat is just fat crying.

99% of the battle is walking out the door.  I don’t care how long you’ve been workout out.  The first thing you have to do is take that first step out the door and head to the gym.  It’s easier not to, but it’s going to make you feel better.  You’re probably going to hurt a little, but you’re going to feel better.

So for those of you who are worrying about being slow, don’t.  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you’re out there.

You’re already ahead of the game.

What keeps you motivated to work out?

I Didn’t Want To Tell You

I got an email a few months ago that I was really interested in, but I didn’t want to tell you about it.

It was to do something that would push me way past any limits I had, and that made me not want to tell you about it even more.

It wasn’t something I was ready for.

So I didn’t tell you.

But in that email from Nike they were telling me about a virtual half marathon to raise money for research to help find treatments for leukemia.  My 25-year-old cousin died almost two years ago from leukemia.  I could form a team and then raise money to donate to the cause.  And while I don’t believe in giving money to these huge organizations — I’d rather give locally to people actually affected than to research — I did want to run in this race to honor Christopher.  Because he would have loved to see me be able to run a half marathon.

In order to participate in the half marathon all you had to do was sign up, pay the admission, track it with one of the devices and the upload it to the Nike website.  We’re all supposed to get bracelets in a few weeks for finishing, but I’m not much of a jewelry girl.  I am, however, crazy, so I signed up for it.

But I didn’t want to tell you because I didn’t know if I could do it.  I talked to Bridget a little about it, and she offered to come run with me for moral support. I couldn’t wouldn’t have done it without her.  The great thing about it was was that I could chart my own course.  I could stop and go whenever I needed to.  All I had to do was be on the lookout for cars.

So I charted my course.  I thought that it would be great to run somewhere familiar, so I clocked it one night to my friends’ house.  It was 6.5 miles from the end of my road to their house.  So my plan was to run a little past their house, get some water and use the bathroom and then get back running.  So that’s what we did.

The first four miles I felt pretty good.  Which isn’t bad considering the longest distance I’d run straight through was 3.1.  I was pleased.  Then it started to set in.  My side cramped a little bit after drinking some water too quickly, I started getting aches in different places all over my body and the course I chose was ridiculously hilly.  Like it was all hills.  Looking back, I don’t know what I was thinking.

After the four-mile mark, Bridget had to start getting a little creative.  We’d run for two minutes and walk for one.  We did that for a while.  After we got to my friends’ home, we did run one/walk one for a long time.  Most of the way back, though, was downhill, for which I was extremely grateful.  What I was even more grateful for was that we walked up the hills and ran down them.  A good trainer knows you and knows how far you can go.  I’m ever so grateful that she didn’t make me run up them.

Once we got to 12.5 miles we started running every other tenth of a mile.  The time limit to finish at the Nashville Half Marathon is 4 hours.  That was my secondary goal…following closely behind just finishing.  We hit 13 and Bridget said we’re going to walk half of the last tenth and run the last.  Those last .05 of a mile I had this burst of energy out of nowhere.  All the moments of “I can’t go another step” went out the door as we passed the finish line.

I still had to walk a little ways to get back to my house.  That was followed by protein drinks, water and some serious stretching.  A couple hot baths and a shower, and my body is trying to tell me today that I’m crazy.  And maybe I am.  But I’m okay with that.

Because I just finished my first half marathon.

And in my own way I was able to honor my cousin.  And I know Chris was cheering me on and helping me push past those walls that just kept getting in my way.

I think this post is getting too long.  I’m going to go into a little more detail Thursday and share with you some things I learned through the process.  So for now just know that I’m relaxing because my whole body hurts and that you may not see me much at the gym this week.  Feel free to send Icy Hot or something.  I take donations of Aleve, as well.

But also know that you are capable of things far beyond what you could ever imagine.

So go out there and do it.

There’s nothing holding you back now.

In Which I Call You Brave

'Brave things do not simply occur' photo (c) 2005, Nic McPhee - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

You’re so brave.  Did you know that?

You’re brave because you’re here.  Not because my writing is so crazy that you’d have to be brave to even venture to this page, but you’re here searching for something.

Maybe you’re not sure what it is.  Maybe this blog isn’t the place to find it.

But you’re searching.

My friend, Kathy, called me brave in a comment on a previous post.  I’ll be perfectly honest and admit that sometimes I think she’s right.  Sure. I’m putting myself out there.  I’m setting myself up for epic failure.  And that’s why I’m brave.   But then I look at it from another angle…the angle that wins out more frequently than the brave angle.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve lost my ever-loving mind.

But whether we’re crazy or brave, we’re all here, and we’re trying to change our lives.  We’re trying to feel better so we can live better.  We’re trying to be there a little longer for all of our families and trying to keep ourselves from being any sort of burden in the later years of our lives.

My friend, Nancy, called me last night on her way to bootcamp in Dallas.  She didn’t want to go, but she was on her way.

She’s brave.

Every time you step into a plan of action to effect change in your life or the lives of others, you’re brave.  Deciding to eat a little healthier?

You’re brave.

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator to get a little move activity in?

You’re brave.

Walking out that door to go to CrossFit or bootcamp or out for a run or walk?

You’re brave.

Every step you take towards change is a step you really don’t have to take…and yet you choose to.  In my eyes that makes you some of the bravest people I know.

Anyone can take the easy way out.  It takes someone special, someone strong and someone brave and probably someone with a little bit of crazy to walk through that fire.

So here’s what I think:  I think you fit the mold perfectly.  I think you can do whatever you want.  I think you can change your life if you so choose.  I think you can rise above the tough times.  I think you’re a fighter and once you set your mind to it, I don’t think there is anyone out there that can stop you.  And I think you just might be crazy enough to not only change your life, but change the lives of every person you come in contact with.

Want to know why?

Because I think you’re brave.

No.  I take that back.

I know you’re brave.

So are you ready to do this?

 

**There’s still time to sign up to win the cookbook, too!  Go here to check it out!

Food Hangover

'Day 2/365 - New Years Resolution' photo (c) 2009, jeff_golden - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

So we’re about a week out from New Year’s.  And with New Year’s Day there are usually several resolutions that go along with it.  One of the most popular resolutions is to lose weight, which is always a great one.  But I want to give you some tips on how to stick with it this year…or at least some tips that have helped me on my journey so far.

1.  Find something you like.  This is imperative.  If you start working out and you hate it, you’re not going to stick with it.  So try out different things.  That’s one of the things that I love about CrossFit.  Every workout is different.  Yes, there are still set days that I run, but the three days that I do the bootcamp/CrossFit workouts, I never know what I’m headed into.  Keeps it fresh.

2.  Find a meal plan you can stick with.  What I like about the Paleo plan is it’s food that I already eat.  I don’t have to go out and buy low-fat artificial stuff.  I go and buy bacon and ham and turkey and hamburger.  I just don’t buy the bread or sugary stuff anymore.   My buying habits haven’t changed significantly, so it makes it that much easier to stick with it.

3.  Plan to cheat occasionally.  Being two months into the training, I still look forward to my cheat days, but definitely not as much as I did before.  What I’m finding is that the better I eat daily, the worse I feel when I cheat.  I’m getting all the bad stuff out of my system, so sometimes it feels like what I envision a hangover would feel like except from sugar and carbs.  But plan ahead for the cheat days. I’m not going to say no to my grandma’s red velvet cake or pecan pie at Christmas, so I planned to cheat.  But come Monday morning I was back at it.

4.  Know that there are some days it’s just going to suck.  This is hard.  There is no question about it.  It’s not the physical stuff I have a hard time with.  It’s the mental stuff that usually gets me down and the rest of the people who quit by February on their New Year’s resolutions.  If you know ahead that there are going to be bumps in the way, you’re already better prepared to fight them.  Take for instance Carb Flu.  About two weeks in my whole body hurt from my head to my toes.  I felt nauseous. I felt horrible, but I felt better, if that makes sense.  It lasted about two days, and I’ve never had it since.  I think my body was so used to being fed all these sugars and carbs that I was in withdrawals.  My friend, Adam, had told me to expect it, so I was, but it still sucked.  And had I not been prepared for it, I probably would have had a cookie or something because when I feel bad, I want to eat bad.  But knowing what to expect helped me over the bump, and I’ve never looked back since. (ps. click on the link and read the article.  It’s very interesting!)

5.  Find people to take the trip with you.  They may not need to lose a pound, but just about everyone can stand to eat a little healthier. I’m a firm believer that life is better when you have people to walk through it with you.  Grab a bunch of friends or make some new ones at the gym.  Either way start building a community of like-minded people so that when you do get down, you’ll have somewhere to go for support.

6.  Finally, never EVER give up on yourself.  Seriously.  This is the most important.  I’ve been battling my weight for the last 10 years.  99% of this battle is mental.  I know I can get up and do the things necessary to live a better life, but I didn’t believe that I was worth keeping up with the fight.  I don’t know what it’s going to take for you to get to the point where you will fight for yourself, but do it.  You are totally worth it.  You’re incredible.  Don’t ever give up.

So there are a few of my tips.  What are some things that have worked for you?

Confession

'Benefit of the Doubt' photo (c) 2008, Neal Jennings - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
I started this blog to be a way to keep myself and others accountable in our weight-loss journey and to try and set goals along the way to count it a success. My ultimate goal is to run 13.1 miles down in Nashville, TN on April 28, 2012.

Most days I feel like there is no way that I’ll be able to do it.

Especially the days that I run.

My bootcamp and CrossFit days, I sort of feel like I can do anything. Really.

But if I’m being honest, when I get out there to run, I feel like I’ve got all the weights from the gym hooked around my waist and I’m dragging them along for however long I run. It’s not really that fun. And I really don’t know of a way to make running more fun. Sure I could put earbuds in my ears and listen to some great tunes that pump me up. I could maybe make it a game and start chasing rabbits and birds along the side of the road, but in the end I still have to run.

So I run.

And I breathe heavy.

And sometimes I have to stop and stretch.

But I run.

And I still have trouble thinking that I’ll be able to run the whole thing in April.

Lately the backup prospect of the half-marathon in St. Louis in October seems way more feasible.

And it probably is.

But the goal is April 28, 2012.

I know that there are going to be days when I don’t feel like running or working out. I get it. And maybe that’s just what this is. Maybe I’m getting a little scared. Because what if I’ve done all this work by going to all these bootcamps and CrossFit sessions and then can’t run the race?

So here’s what I had to remind myself this weekend:

Even if I don’t end up running this race, this journey is not for nothing. I can look back at my before an after pictures and see that it’s changing me. And it’s not just changing me physically. It’s changing my mindset.

Yes. When Bridget tells me to deadlift 95 pounds, I may still ask her if she’s crazy, but I’ll try it. And what I find is that when I try, I can do it. And when she tells me that I can use a 35-pound kettlebell for my kettlebell swings instead of a 15, I may ask her if she’s sure that’s the weight she wants me to use, but I’ll try it. And I do it.

So I’ve found that I can’t really trust these voices inside my head that tell me I can’t do something or the voices that make me doubt that what I’m doing is the right thing. Sometimes you need to rely on the voices that know what they’re talking about. I don’t always see all that I am capable of. I’ve been plagued with self-doubt for most of my life, and it’s not an easy thing to get rid of. And a lot of times it’s easier for someone to look into your life and see your potential.

And for that I am thankful.

I’m thankful that I have people there willing to encourage me along the journey, friends that honk at me when I’m out their running in the cold and they’re sitting in their nice warm cars and people who will push me to try the things that I never thought I could do.

So for now the doubt is pushed back. I’m sure it will rear it’s ugly head several more times along the journey, but I know that the support system is already in place for me to succeed. I just have to learn to rely on it.

How do you fight self-doubt?

It’s All About Perspective

I’m learning that it’s good to get someone else’s opinion on things.  Clothes I wear may or may not look as good as I think they do.  Decisions I make may or may not be the best decision for me at the time.  The way I run may or may not look like the picture above.  (for the record, I’ve been saving this picture for a while.  I love it!)

It’s always better to get thoughts on whatever you’re doing from someone who has experience in the matter.  So when Bridget and I went for our run and she gave me pointers along the way, I was very thankful.  Because let’s face it, I’m not a runner.  I’m a big girl who decided it would be good for me to train for a half marathon in order to get into shape again.

Go figure.

So when I thought taking smaller strides was beneficial to conserving energy, Bridget called it shuffling and told me to stop.  And when I picked up my pace going down hills, Bridget told me to take longer and slower strides to conserve energy.

Some things you’ll never know unless you ask for help.

So Saturday evening I went for a run.  My goal was to run down to my parents’ house and then have one of them take me back home because it was getting dark and the coyotes were howling something fierce.  I wasn’t focused on speed.  I wasn’t focused on my back tightening up again.  I was focused on my form and my breathing and getting into a rhythm with my pace.  And had I not had to stop a few times to stretch out my back, I would have beat my best mile time by about a minute and a half.

Proper form is going to be one of your biggest assets in training.

And it’s going to feel awkward at first.  And you’re probably not going to like it.  But once you learn how to do things right, then there is less of a chance for you to be hurt and more of a chance for you to reach your goals.

So if you’re looking for a proper running technique or lifting technique, there are tons of YouTube videos you can watch. Or you can just do what I did.  Admit that you don’t have a clue what you’re doing and ask for help.

What are some things you’ve tried that you would have been much better off just asking for help?

5 Things To Look For In A Trainer

When I decided to start seriously training for the half marathon, I had a decision to make.

Do I try to go it alone, or do I find someone to help me along the journey?

I’m a person who100% believes that life is better lived with people.  I also believe that I quit too easily on myself, so I decided to look for someone to help me.

I had met Bridget over the summer when my crazy friend had talked me into going to this bootcamp thing. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with bootcamp ever since, but since then I’ve come up with a few things that I think you should look for when looking for someone to work with as a trainer.

1. Someone who gets results. If Jillian Michaels hadn’t had such crazy success on The Biggest Loser for so many years, she wouldn’t be putting out a new workout DVD every six months and have her one vitamin line and things like that. People want to see results. We want to feel like those who are leading us know what they’re doing.

2. You want someone who’s been there, someone who’s been through the same workouts and can work you through them and someone who has or is training for something themselves. Would you want someone who has never driven a car take you on a racetrack? No. So why would you want someone who has never done the exercises to lead you through a workout?

3. You want someone who expects you to perform. They know that there are going to be some nights you’re going to have it and there are going to be some nights you’re not going to have it, but they expect you to be there and give it everything you’ve got. And if you’re doing something wrong or halfway, then they’ll tell you. If you’re doing something right, then they’ll tell you. Don’t go with anyone who will settle for anything less than 100% from you.

4. Someone you can be friends with. I think this is a key element, and maybe you disagree with me, but hear me out. I’m not talking about the kind of friend that tells you that your butt doesn’t look big in jeans that are two sizes too small. That kind of friend really isn’t any good for anyone. You want to kind of friend who is going to tell you when you’re being stupid or ignorant or lazy. The kind of person that’s going to tell you that you need to work harder and run faster.

5. You want someone who is going to see to it that you reach your goals. I hadn’t been doing my distance runs. It was dark by the time I got home, and I just hadn’t been able to get up in the mornings like I was during the summer. I was going to head into town Friday night to run under the street lights instead of in the pitch black country roads where I live. I asked Bridget for ideas on where to run. She asked if I wanted to come run with her.

To be honest I totally did not want to. (Sorry Bridget.) The only reason I didn’t want to is that I knew that if I ran with her, I would be expected to do my best and not give in a tenth of a mile in when my back started hurting…or the five other times we stopped to stretch something that was tight.

But here’s the key part. She took time out of her Friday evening after she had already got her run in and her workout in and ran along side me and encouraged me on my way. She told me how to focus on my stride and my breathing and little changes I could do to make a run feel better. And at the end she pushed me to go faster and dig deeper. And we finished the run together.

So when you go out to look for a trainer, I think you need to look for characteristics you admire, look for characteristics that stand out and look for strength and honesty. I don’t think you can go wrong with that resume. Oh, and if you’re in Fairfield, I would recommend you look for Bridget.

What about you? What characteristics would you recommend?

Make It Hurt So Good

I woke up yesterday morning well aware of where my arms were.  Yes.  I know where my arms are on my body.  Yes.  I realize that was kind of a ridiculous statement.  But this morning it was like they were screaming at me.  Hey, you idiot.  What did you do to me last night?

I’ll tell you what I did.

I went to bootcamp.

And at bootcamp we carried around weighted bars while doing wall squats, running in place, doing sit-ups, bicep curls, etc.  Also, it wasn’t just my arms that were screaming at me.  It was my lower back that was a little sore and my butt.  As the day went on the soreness set in a little more. I started noticing a few more aches the closer I got to my Crossfit workout last night.

Part of me wonders why I keep doing this.  I keep going to work out and then the next morning I keep waking up to stiff and sometimes sore muscles. The other part of me, the obviously smarter part of me, realizes that it’s only when I’m feeling the discomfort that I’m actually getting something accomplished.

Maybe it’s just me, but the things that I have to work really hard for and the things that I still have scars from, whether they’re emotional or physical, are some of the times where I’ve learned the most.

So I keep going to the gym.

And I keep waking up a little sore.

And my waistline keeps shrinking.

And I learn that I can totally do this.  And when I say I can totally do this, I’m also meaning this video below.  Because I did seven of these things as part of our workout last night.  Not 7 in a row, but I completed 7.  And the last two I didn’t drop down to my knees.  I’ve never been able to do anything like this in my life.  I was pretty darn excited.

So even though some days it hurts more than others to raise my arms to wash my hair, and even though some days I can hardly go to sit down without wincing, I keep going.  The more I go, the stronger I feel.  Both mentally and physically.  I get things done.  I’m more motivated.

An object in motion stays in motion…or something like that. (science wasn’t my strong subject)

Anyway, if you’re just sitting around, you’re going to keep sitting around.  If you start moving, it gets harder and harder to stop.  I’m afraid to miss.  I don’t want to rest too long for fear that my desire to rest will again take over my desire to move.

So, yes.  that’s me in the purple on the gym’s new rowing machines.  It’s blurry because I’m moving so fast.  I love these things.  Such a great workout.

So what are your first thoughts when you wake up the next couple mornings after a good workout?

 

 

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