Finding Strength 

Hey There Followers! 

I know it’s been FOREVER! I don’t have any good excuses. But I’m back, and my plan is to be posting more consistently again because I’ve missed sharing my journey here, plus I’ll have lots to share as I train for my first marathon this fall. So thank you for continuing to follow me.

To get back in the swing of things….

What does strength mean to you? 

Strength to me used to mean that I was strong enough to lift a certain amount of weight, do pull up or any other physical activity. 

But what I’ve learned during my years of fitness is that strength is as much of a mental gain and is as important in your life as physical strength is. 

My fitness journey has never been about weight loss, in fact I’ve gained weight, but has been more about building mental strength more than anything else. Yes I’ve developed muscles, yes I’ve gotten stronger, yes I’ve gotten better at push-ups and pull-ups but what I’ve gained mentally can’t be ever touched. I’m more confident, Im always working toward a goal, I feel empowered , inspired and have a more positive outlook. 

What sticks out to me the most when I think about the last six years of my life is that when I first turned to running I found it was the one thing in my life that I could control. I was on the verge of losing my job at the time, working through a breakup and I just felt a little lost. A year and a half later I felt even more lost, I was even more unhappy with my job, I was going through a bigger heartbreak and I felt like as a 25-year-old, I wasn’t where I thought I’d be in life (expectations are bad I know), but it wasn’t helped that I was overly emotional due to side effects of medication from endometriosis. I used to look in the mirror and I didn’t even recognize the person that was looking back at me. I vividly remember spending half days in my bed crying, which isn’t like me AT ALL. Needless to say my self esteem was at an all time low and I could barely get through an every day conversations without crying. It got to a point where I started seeing a counselor because I didn’t know what else to do. Not many people know that, but it’s part of my story and I wanted to share it because I’m not perfect, I have problems too. 

After about six weeks of talking, I began to realize that the power to change my life lied within myself and between daily journaling and working my way through P90X (90 day strength program)!I was finding my way again. People around me started noticing physical changes (getting toned) but what they may not have seen was the mental changes. I pushed play everyday on my workout even if Infelt sore, I listened to my youngest brothers advice and I started saying yes to more things, to try to discover that elusive happiness and to do things for MYSELF vs for someone else and one thing I did was decide to pursue my MBA (one of the BEST decisions I EVER MADE) and that sent me on a trajectory to change my whole career and subsequently my life and that was in large part to have the confidence and the mental strength to do it. 

I thank the jobs that made me unhappy, the heartbreaks and the tears for leading me to where I am today. 

As a result of my fitness journey I have more positivity, I have a stress reliever, a goal to work toward and am a part of a motivated, encouraging online community which carries over to all areas of my life. 

That’s why I feel compelled to share my journey with others. In the hopes that you’ll be encouraged to say yes to yourself and discover you are capable of so much more. I’m no one special, just a girl who hasn’t given up. 

We are all stronger than we know. 💪🏼

First Race of 2017- Forks XV

The first words always seem to be the hardest for me. It has been 3 months since I last wrote, and what it really comes down to is I haven’t made this a priority like I used to. It is currently 5:30am on a Saturday morning, and I figured- “enough procrastinating already just rip the bandaid off and write something! It can be short, long and it doesn’t have to be groundbreaking just get back in the habit.”

The point of this blog was to share my running and fitness journey with a little life now and then, so I thought the easiest way for me to get back into writing is to recap my first race of 2017.

To give a quick recap of my running over that last 3 months it has been ok. I am not where I had hoped I’d be, mainly because I was having some knee issues that lasted for 2 weeks at the end of the February. I haven’t had knee issues for over 5 years so I didn’t know what was causing it. I ended up starting to wear a knee brace, and changed the cross training I was doing,  thinking maybe that was irritating it. It’s better now, not 100% but it gets better everyday. I am also nearly 15% of my way to my goal of running 1000 miles this year, I have mapped out the remainder of the year and with a marathon scheduled for the fall I expect to be able to achieve this goal but anything can happen in the next 9 months.

Onto the topic of this post, I ran a 15K on Sunday, March 26th. It was the 2nd oldest race in my area (44th Anniversary) that a few hundred people completed. After running for the last 6 years this is my first time running this race because with it being at the end of March, and a longer distance I wasn’t always trained enough for it.  The fun fact is that my Dad also ran this race 4 times in the 80’s, so it was fun to add that to a list of races we have both done.

I arrived at the race about 45 minutes before the start, and picked up my bib. The pick up was in a school, which was nice because it was about 40 degrees out. I stayed inside and warmed up in the hallways, listening to music, trying to clear my mind and get in the right mindset. I was feeling pretty good. I headed back to my car with about 15 minutes to go until start to drop off my race tshirt and sweatshirt I was wearing and then arrived at the start line with 5 minutes to go. Just enough time to get this picture 🙂


This race was my first big test of my last 6 months of training and recovering from a hip flexor injury. Despite my Dad’s warning, I ended up going out too fast on the first mile (I let my ego get the best of me), but found a good rhythm from miles 2-6.


It was a rolling hills course, and I paced with a couple different people until about the halfway point when I ran mostly alone but had others in my eyesight. My legs started to feel a little fatigued around mile 6.5, and then the hardest part of this course was from mile 7.75-8.25, a big hill. At 7.75 it was up and around a corner, and I had hoped it was ‘the hill’ everyone had referenced, but when I got around the bend and saw another hill I had a few choice words! Thankfully that 8 mile hill wasn’t as bad as it looked, after I got over that it was was downhill and flat until the finish. Unfortunately I started my kick a little too early and the last .2 miles I was hurting!

I finished in 1:21:26 (8:41 pace), which I am happy with considering it was my first time running the course, and I didn’t pace as I should’ve, I didn’t remind myself to ‘run my own race’ as I usual do during the early miles. There is room for improvement for my next race in 5 weeks, a half marathon.

Thanks for reading, I’ll post again soon, I promise!

 

P.S. February 22nd marked my 2 year anniversary of having this blog!

First Steps to 1000 miles

One week into the new year, and as committed to on my Facebook page, I am writing one blog post a week to share my fitness journey, which will include tracking one of my goals of running 1000 miles in 2017.

1/1-1/8/17 Recap

Sunday 1/1- Happy New Year! My first workout of the year was a Core De Force workout. These workouts are still a fun way to challenge my coordination and feel like a fighter!

My first run of 2017 was on Monday January 2nd. I decided to change up my ‘usual’ route and headed for some hills. My first mile was a steady incline for 330 feet. It was slow and steady but I wasn’t going for speed rather the challenge. During this run I thought a lot about how I made what seems like an ambitious goals with aiming for 1000 miles. But we only grow from our challenges, so I reminded myself that just like running up a hill, I will get to those 1000 miles 1 step at a time.

Tuesday January 3rd, my first day back to work in 10 days! Ugh, I had a really hard time getting up! So I only did about 20 minutes of Insanity Asylum Strength workout. It was better than nothing. I intended to finish the rest of it when I got home from work, but got home late, so that didn’t happen.

Wednesday January 4th I did the “Grab bag:Power” workout by Joel Freeman through Beachbody on Demand. I didn’t have a sandbag so I just used weights. I really liked it though, it was 35 minutes of circuit training.

Thursday January 5th I had an extra hour of time in the morning so I went for a run even though it was 20 degrees out. I was surprised when I started running that I was running an 8:15 pace (my “normal” pace is closer to 8:50-9:00). I have no idea where that pace came from but I was so pumped about it, only to have my watch die right at the end of it! Thankfully the data still saved, because I would’ve been bummed if it didn’t (runner problems!)

Friday January 6th was my last day at my former job, and I went to bed late the night before so had a super hard time getting up. Even an early morning text with my best friend seeing if she was working out too didn’t get me out of bed. I succumbed to the fact that I needed some rest on a day that would feel surreal and maybe emotional. So it became an unplanned rest day, filled with cupcakes and cookies too.

Saturday January 7th became a double workout day (to almost make up for yesterday). My first workout was at a Super Saturday Beachbody event, and after a very informative and motivational morning learning how to grow my coaching business, a group of 50 of us did Piyo Live with a Master Trainer. It was a lot of fun! Throughout the years I have thought about maybe becoming a fitness class instructor, but I am juggling too many other commitments. I talked to my best friend about this (I saw her over the weekend) and her response was ‘of course you would like it, but with what time’ haha. Maybe down the road. But either way it was a lot of fun, because I love Piyo and got great results from it.


Later that afternoon, I visited with a college friend that I haven’t seen in a year and half, and we were able to sneak away from her husband and 2 kids and I introduced her to MMA Speed (Core De Force). Again it was fun to do with a friend.

Sunday January 8th, I was staying with my best friend and we had agreed to go for a run together without realizing that a snowstorm was going through! The roads were COVERED, there were 15 mph winds and it was close to 0 degrees out. But we got 3 miles done, and felt soo much better about our day when we finished up.


Monday January 9th, was the first day of my new job and new schedule when I will be getting home earlier. It was also the first day of my January fitness accountability group. It was the perfect day to start fresh. Over the last few weeks I haven’t been following a workout plan as best as I could be because the routines were 45+ minutes and I wasn’t waking up early enough or the holidays, etc. But there is no benefit in listing excuses, so I decided to just start a new program (p90) in the hopes that the shorter workouts (30 minutes) and new routines would jump start my motivation to get back on track. Plus knowing 6 people are looking at me to be a good example, is keeping on track.

Thanks for reading. Did you make fitness resolutions? How are you doing with them?

2016 Racing Reflections & 2017 Goals

It’s that time of year again, a time for reflection and setting new goals. An opportunity to start fresh and make changes.

Within the next few days I will write up my final entry regarding my 2016 resolutions (I have a big announcement to share so stay tuned for that) and share my “life” resolutions for 2017. In the meantime I wanted to write a recap on my 2016 Running Races and share with you my running goals for 2017.

I had hoped 2016 would be the year I became a marathoner, but as many of you know I suffered an injury in August and couldn’t run for 3 weeks, putting that goal on hold. While it would be easy to dwell on the things that didn’t happen or didn’t go right, it’s much more productive to focus on what did go right.

This includes:

1) Completing my 3rd half marathon in a new personal best of 1:55:22. Bettering my previous time from 2 years prior by nearly 2 1/2 minutes. This was my first race of 2016, and I changed my training to be more speed focused than the previous 5 years I have been running. I still ran 3 days of a week, but instead of just ‘getting the miles in’, I spent 1 day completing a tempo or hill run, 1 day completing intervals and 1 day was my long run. The change in pace paid off.

2) Running a sub-25 5K, a 6 year goal. This was an “unofficial time” on a training run about a week after I ran my half marathon. I was feeling good, and decided to see if I could do it. I never thought I would achieve this goal, even changing it to something more realistic. Read more about it here

3) Completing my first 20K. This was a long standing local race that was really cheap to run, so I figured it was a great excuses to have some company on my long run for the week.

4) Finishing my 5th Boilermaker 15K under my goal time of sub-80, 1:19:30. This turned in a very memorable race as I landed in the medical tent post race.I can truly say I gave it my all during this race, Read more here.

5) I Participated in my first Cross Country series and made some new friends along the way. This was a step out of my comfort zone since I haven’t run cross country since I was in middle school. But it helped ensure I ran once a week, and I really looked forward to seeing everyone every week and mixing up my running.

Some these races seem so long ago, especially because I haven’t been running as much as I should and would like. It’s so easy to forget what my body is capable of, but the pictures, my scrapbook and this blog help to remind me I can do hard things. I just have to believe in myself and stick to a schedule.

With that in mind, and after a lot  of thought, I have (mostly) decided on what my  race schedule will be for 2017 (subject to change ;)) along with my overall running goals.

My races will be:

2 15ks: 1 new one in March, the other my usual Boilermaker in July

My 4th Half Marathon on May 7th: Goal is 1:52:30 or better.

My FIRST Marathon (take 2): Wineglass Marathon Oct 1st with the goal of finishing with a smile on my face 🙂 A Sub 4 hour would be nice too!

I also enjoyed the Cross Country Series, so I will most likely participate in that again.

Mileage Goal: 1,000 miles. This seems a little unreachable, especially because 2016 I am finishing up around 475, but considering the last 4 months I have only ran 1-3 times per week, I think this goal will help keep me motivated even when I am not training for a race.

What are your goals for 2017?

“If we write our dreams and goals down, we dramatically increase our odds of realization. If we share them with other they become potent and alive”-Kristen Armstrong

Fitness Update: Nov 20th-Nov 27th, 2016

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family.

This past week was a good week for me. I am starting to see improvement in the Core De Force (an MMA Inspired/Kickboxing) home DVD program I am doing, and was able to get a 2 short runs in.

So I will start with last Sunday 11/20: This was my last Cross Country race in the series I have been participating in since the beginning of October and it was quite a way to end the series! Living in Central NY it finally decided to snow a couple of inches. So in a matter of 24 hours it went from mid 60’s to low 30’s with 4+ inches of snow overnight.


So the race was at a local obstacle course, so I was anticipating the worst. I could have easily bailed due to the weather, like my other teammates did, but I figured I would go, have fun and not worry about my pace. So I bundled up and joined about 30 other people to run “the wimpiest obstacle course” or “the hardest cross-country course”, there were roots, lots of turns, hills, snow and mud! It was quite a way to end the cross-country series and I was glad the wind held off so I didn’t freeze along the way!

Monday 11/21- Due to the Lake Effect snow storm going through, I had to leave for work (a 40 mile drive) earlier than usual so I bumped my workout from the morning until after work. As good as it feels to get workouts out-of-the-way, it actually gave me something to look forward to all day. The really great thing about the workout today was after an active recovery on Saturday, and a run yesterday, I was well rested for this workout. I was FINALLY able to complete a “Ground to Fighter Stance”. I was cursing it a few days beforehand, and it’s right up there with a burpee! But today I felt strong, more agile and it was great to feel the improvement.

Here’s a video:

Tuesday 11/22- Was similar to Monday with the snow, so I split my 45 minute in two in order to get to work on time. I did 6/12 rounds + a 5 minute core challenge before work, and the remaining 6 rounds after work.

Wednesday 11/23- I mixed things up a little and swapped out my 45 minute workout, for a 27 minute one called MMA Mashup, it was 6 rounds instead of 9 and was 2 rounds of some of the other workouts (MMA Shred, Dynamic Strength & Power Sculpt). Plus I did 15 minutes of Core Kinetics, one of the hardest core workouts I have ever done.

Thursday 11/24- Happy Thanksgiving!! I am grateful for my health to be able to complete two workouts today because I really wanted to “Earn the Feast”. So I started my day with an unofficial Turkey Trot (because almost every other runner was doing one!) with 3 miles around my neighborhood. 

Then I did Power Sculpt, which had lots of plyo moves so I was hurting doing it right after my run!

But I wanted to be able to enjoy some pie without feeling guilty- I love apple and am a new fan of pumpkin pie!

Friday 11/25- On a non related fitness note, I was awake at 6am without an alarm to watch Gilmore Girls: A year in the Life. This is my favorite tv show, I wanted the series from when it was first airing in WB network when I was in high school, watched the DVD box sets several times throughout college, and had been looking forward to this day for over a year since it was first announced the revival would happen. What can I say, I am a loyal fan!

After my binge-watching (it was 4 90 minute episodes), I did MMA Plyo. This was the first time I did this workout and I was expecting it to be REALLY hard with lots of plyo moves. But it wasn’t, there are other workouts that were more cardio/plyo based than this one. It was still fun though, and really tested my coordination with many combo moves.

I also received my FREE tshirt just for completing PIyo. This tshirt can’t be bought only EARNED!


Saturday 11/26- Was kind of an off day, I ran different errands, went bowling with my nephew, and tried to be productive in catching up with some projects I have gotten behind on. I told myself I would do my workout in a little while, or after dinner, etc. Before I knew it, it was 10:15pm and I still hadn’t worked out. So instead of just taking a total rest day, I did a 20 minute Active Recovery routine to get my blood flowing a bit and get some quality stretching in- especially since I was feeling my double workout from Thursday some. The stretching felt great and I reminded myself that a 20 minute workout is better than a 0 minute workout.


Sunday 11/27- Was Dynamic Strength day again (see Tuesday). The 12 rounds seemed to go faster today, probably because I have done this routine at least 6 times now, so I am more familiar with the moves, but I just take it 1 round at a time. I am seeing my strength improve though, as I was able to complete 2 rounds of triple wide pushups (tricep pushup out to regular pushup then out to wide pushup, then repeat back in & out for 50 seconds) without going to my knees. So the improvement is small, but getting there.

That’s all for now… until next week!

How do you keep yourself motivated when the weather changes? Do you have any improvements to share?

Quote of the week:

If we reach the big victory our joy will not be diminished by having celebrated steps taken in the right direction along the way. And if we don’t reach the goal, we may be disappointed, but we will have fully embraced the journey—and perhaps that is the real prize all along.”-Kristin Armstrong

 

Overdue Running Update & Piyo Review

I don’t even know where to start on this post. It has been so long since I have written about my fitness progress!! I got off track from writing weekly following my running injury. I didn’t feel I had anything worthwhile to write, then I began exploring a new opportunity (which took a lot more of my time than I expected), I was also coaching on a local swim team 4 nights a week. So needless to say time has gotten away from me. This is the first weekend since September that I feel like I am not playing catch up on things that get pushed aside during the week, and I can actually get some things done that I enjoy- like this blog.

So what have I been up to since my last fitness update on the end of September?

  1. I finished Piyo, an 8 week low impact pilates/yoga program. After the struggle of going through an injury, this program gave me a new spark to working out and improving. I woke up earlier each weekday to get the 30 minute workout done before work. This was a huge gain since I have never considered myself a morning person. I have been on this routine for the last 2 1/2 months now and I am slowly starting to become maybe a morning person (what?!). It does feel great to get my workout done first thing.   I started seeing results with this program after two weeks, and it was motivation for me to keep going. When I started this program I wasn’t sure how I would like it since I had never done pilates or yoga before, but the low impact was gentler way to wake up my body in the morning vs a High Impact workout.

So you may be wondering what my results were- I lost 2.5 lbs & around 7 inches overall. I would recommend the program to anyone, especially runners, as it was great for my core, and it increased my hip flexibility. Comment below if you would like more information about it!

(If pictures aren’t appearing go here)

I am purposely not sharing a before and after picture because I read an article yesterday that really struck a cord with me. My progress should not be about more defined abs, it’s about the mental gain, excitement about finding a program I liked and the inches lost. Those are the things that can’t be questioned based on good angles or lighting.

2. Even with Piyo, I have been running but fairly inconsistently. Sometimes once a week, sometimes three times. It varies based on my coaching schedule and the cross-country race series I have been participating in since the beginning of October.

The last miles I ran as a 28 year old! The best birthday gift I could ever get is another year of health!
I wasn’t sure whether I would like the cross-country series, because I have strictly been a road racer since I started running almost 6 years ago. But I signed up with a team and even though I knew only 1 person at first, I met a handful more and looked forward to seeing everyone every week. Here are a few pictures.

I also had a moment when I really appreciate running with a buddy. I have run with friends here and there before, but this particular moment worked out really well partly because it was unexpected. A few weeks ago I was at my college Alma Mater for Homecoming and I had signed up for a fun run which alumni and students were supposed to participate in. However, only me and two other alumni (a couple- Amy & Zack) showed up. It was windy, but actually turned out to be a perfect morning to run- mid-40s. So after the 2 mile run around campus, Amy and I kept decided to keep going and get some more miles in. We ended up running 6 miles- my longest run since the end of July!! Even though we didn’t know each other before the run, we bonded over running and chatted about our lives. We felt great after the run and it was really nice to have someone to run with that morning, it made the time go by so much faster and was a perfect way to start my day.

3. I have registered for my first race of 2017 and started planning out my races for the year! Some may not understand why I pay for someone to allow me to run, but runners know that it’s not about the money, it’s the experience. It’s having an official result of your accomplishments. Plus having a goal race over the years has helped to keep me motivated on days when my energy levels are low.

So far this is what my race calendar looks like:

March 26th: Local 15K
May 7th: Bridge Run Half Marathon (recap from this year)
July 9th: Boilermaker 15k (recap from this year)
Oct 1st: Wineglass Marathon (my first one!)

I may do a few more cheap local races, but I want to see how winter training goes. I am hoping to make it through the winter without spraining my ankle again!

I guess that’s all for now! Thanks for reading!

Improvement: Sept 19th-Sept 30th, 2016

I’m aware that I haven’t been writing as much as I was early this year, but as I mentioned in my last post I want to get back in the habit. In all honesty, I just haven’t felt like I have any thing worth sharing. I have been over thinking many things lately, and my brain just feels a little overwhelmed. If you happen to be overwhelmed too, check out these 11 tips to help overcome it.

Writing has always been my outlet to process, but I just haven’t sat down and done it, even though I know it would make me feel better- it’s a bad cycle!

So this is just a general short update on my workout routine (with pictures, so if you can’t see them, be sure to click here).

In general, over the last 10 days, I have woken up early (6:30ish) to get my PiYo workout done before, and if I am not (swim) coaching I will also workout/run after work.

When I started PiYo I was really skeptical on whether I would get the results I wanted. The first workout (lower body) was 25 minutes and I didn’t even break a sweat, and it wasn’t that challenging. But 3 weeks in and I can now say I have not been this excited about Home DVD program in 4 years, when I completed P90x. At the 2 week check-in I had lost approx 4 inches overall, with 2 inches of that being in my hips (every girls problem area!). I get out of bed every morning with little delay because I am excited to try something new, and the workouts are about 30 minutes long (but clearly effective). They are also low-impact so I don’t have to worry about whether I am waking up my downstairs neighbor.

My schedule has been as follows:

9/19: Core

9/19: Core Day, doing PiYo pedals

9/20: Define Lower Body (Warrior Variations)

9/21: Buns- Various Lunges and Squats

9/21: Buns
9/22: Core


9/23: Define Lower Body

9/24: Rest Day for PiYo, but had a great day running, only my 2nd run for the week. I was short on time, so I started running faster than I have been. Throughout the run I felt the positive impact PiYo is having on my form. My hips feel better aligned, and my stride felt smoother. I FELT like a runner today, and the progression of my improvement can’t be denied. I am not completely back to where I was before, but each day I am getting closer, and I am confident I will come back stronger.

9/25: Sweat

9/26: Strength Intervals

9/27: Sweat in the AM. I had an appointment, so I was home an hour earlier than usual, which mean I was able to fit a run in before heading to swim practice. My plan was to run for 3, but halfway through my legs were feeling fatigued, seeing as I had worked out earlier in the day, I was just going to stop after 2, but then I went for 2.5 and eventually finished up at 3.  It was really nice to have a chance to run outside and clear my head some, and I appreciated the ‘extra’ time in my day, it made me wish for a job closer to home to get the commuting time back in my day.

Still smiling, after doing Sweat in the morning, then 3 mile run after work
9/28: Hardcore on the Floor: This was a bonus video that came with the my order. It is harder than “Core”, but it’s suppose to be! It’s fun to try different exercises.


9/29: I had Day 2 of my Leadership Program today, and didn’t have to be out the door as early as I usually do, so I did “Drench” today vs tomorrow because it’s a 45 minute length workout.

9/30: Buns


Other improvements: Besides the running and thanks to the couple of inches lost already, my pants are fitting better, and my ‘skinny’ jeans, that I had put at the bottom of my pile not thinking I would fit into again, now fit comfortably. That’s not meant as a brag, but rather an example of what happens when I changed up my fitness routine to something new. I took a chance and invested in a new program, and its paying off.  Don’t be afraid to try something new, you may just really like it!

I’d love to help you achieve your fitness and health goals too. Reach out to me on Facebook, Instagram or here

Have a great weekend!

10 updates for my 100th Post

I can’t believe this is my 100th post!! When I started this blog in Feb 2015 I didn’t know how long it would last, what exactly I would write about, where it would go and whether I would connect to people. I just knew I enjoyed writing, and I wanted to share my story.

So in honor of this monumental post I have decided to share 10 things (in no particular order) that have been going on in my life since my last update. No one topic in particular, but since its been a few weeks since I have written anything, I wanted to share a couple of things that have been going on with me and some that have really made me think the last few weeks.

  1. As I mentioned in my resolution update, I was accepted into a local Leadership Development program. It will be 6 months long, and a few days ago was the all day (8:30a-7pm) retreat to kick things off.

There are 20 participants in the program, and we started with some team builders (which are soooo much better than ice breakers!). As a group we actually impressed the facilitators on our quick problem solving, and set a record time in one of the activities. So we were setting ourselves up as high achievers haha. It made me excited to spend the next 6 months with this group of people.

After the morning team builders, we went out into the woods for some ropes course activities and challenges. All challenges were by choice, but I went up on a 30 ft catwalk, and honestly the hardest part was transitioning from climbing up the tree to the log that I would walk across. I am not afraid of heights, but I tried not to look down because I knew it would make me nervous.

The next station was a 40 foot rock climbing wall. I had never done a rock climbing wall before, and after watching 5 guys only get about halfway up, I didn’t expect to make it very far. I slowly worked my way up, and even though I had to stop a few times to rest because my legs were shaking, I tried to keep going. I got frustrated a few times because I couldn’t reach the next pegs or figure out where to go, and I felt like I wouldn’t get any closer than 6 feet from the top. I thought strongly about stopping, but seeing how close I was, I didn’t want to regret not going further. I received some encouragement from those watching below, and I was able to turn a peg that was loose to get a boast for my foot and after 15+ minutes on the way, I got to the top. Something only 2 other people did that day did. I was so proud of myself for not giving up.

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough”

Rocking Climbing

Overall, by the end of the day, I felt like I was able to be myself (a leader) which I sometimes don’t always feel, as I feel like I have to hold back. It was also interesting because all day we only could share our first names and we couldn’t talk about where we worked so we had to get to know each other as people vs titles. It was a little awkward at times, but it forced us to ask other questions to get to know each other. At dinner we shared our jobs, and fun facts about ourselves and for some their jobs and facts didn’t seem to fit their personalities that was seen throughout the day, which is the point.

2. On Sept 7th I started a new workout program, PiYo, to complement my running. As you can see from this picture, I have pretty poor flexibility, so I am hoping for some good results. If you are interested in learning more about PiYo, let me know!

As a result of this new program and trying to manage other commitments in my life, I have been waking up early to get the 25-30 minute workouts in so I don’t get off track on the plan and miss a day. This is something I did last fall, and I liked getting my exercise out-of-the-way for the day, even though I like my sleep. So I’ll see how long this continues.

3. Today (Sept 18th) was the day I was supposed to run my first marathon. But as most of you know, I had a hip flexor injury that derailed my training in August so I wasn’t able to adequately complete my training. I made the decision to not run the race. Although I don’t regret my decision it didn’t stop me from thinking about how different the last month of weekends, and the last few weeks would have been like. I would have had long runs to complete, and I would’ve been tapering for the last 2 weeks and carbo loading the last few days.

But everything happens for a reason and by the end of the morning, I was glad this race didn’t end up being my first marathon for several reasons with the top reasons being. A) I felt like the finishing stretch was unsafe as the runners had to cross a busy intersection and since the course wasn’t closed the police patrolling traffic didn’t always see the runners and several runners almost got hit by cars as they were sprinting to the finish line. B) There was a total of 400 runners that completed the half, relay marathon and marathon, which means that it would’ve been very lonely out on the course and hardly any spectators.  I really wanted to like and support this race, but unless something changes, I don’t plan to run this race in the future.

4. I was happy to volunteer for this race, even though the communication on what my actual shift needed to be was not good. I volunteered to hand out race medals, figuring I wouldn’t need to get up as early as those who were doing water stations or race marshals, but it backfired on me when I was told I needed to be there at 6:30 to unwrap medals. Go figure, but within 5 minutes of me arriving the medals were all unwrapped because there were 10 other people there working on them. So I had to kill time until 8:30 when the 5K runners started finishing. It was frustrating, and I know I should’ve taken it all in stride but I didn’t because I was tired and grumpy for having to get up before I really need to.  I did think about offering to help with volunteer organizing next year so others wouldn’t feel the way I did (if they do the race again because they weren’t even sure they would break even this year)

When it was finally time to hand out medals, I did enjoy doing that, and it made me even more determined to try again for a marathon next year.

5. Over the last few weeks I have been able to get 2-3 runs in each week, my hip flexor feels pretty good. I tried doing some intervals on Thursday (.5 miles x 3) and didn’t focus on time, but rather my feel and form. My legs felt heavy, and my stride felt off, and I didn’t know how my hip flexor would feel. Thankfully as tough as the intervals were while I was doing them, once I finished my run I felt good for getting my run done. But it was clear that I have a long way to go to get back to where I was. I know I can get there, but I have to keep running a priority.

6. I mentioned in last months resolution update that I decided to try being a fitness coach. The first 10 days or so of that was very overwhelming because I was trying to find the time to learn everything, and the more I learned I wondered if I made the right decision, and whether I would be successful. My goal is to help others see the value of fitness in their lives. I know what it has done for me and my confidence, and that’s all I want for others. Thankfully, the overwhelming feeling has settled down, and I am starting to find my groove with it. I am planning on hosting a Health/Fitness Challenge group (if anyone is interested check out the Event Invite  for more details) and I am trying not to worry about how I will be able to coordinate everything. I will just have to take everything a day at a time, and do what I can while staying true to myself.

7. It has not been as much a priority for me to not only write for myself (daily/ weekly journaling) but my blog has also slipped a little. I really like journaling because it helps me process my thoughts, and I need to make it a priority again. As for my blog, without a current running goal I wasn’t feeling like I had anything worthwhile to share. But you can expect some thoughts on PiYo in the future.

To me, I really just need to look at all of the things I am involved in and really evaluate what brings value to my life and do more of that regardless of what I feel I “should” be doing.

8. The swim team that I coach for has started back up again and I don’t have a set schedule with it because I am in charge of scheduling and if no one else can work I have to cover. Which is just messing up my workout routines. I hope within the next 2 weeks or so this will settle down, but if it doesn’t I will need to say no to certain nights of that, in order to say yes to myself.

9. If you aren’t already, please follow my Facebook Page: Sarah Chasing Life or Instagram: Sarah Chasing Life, to keep up to date on my latest running updates and information related to me being a fitness coach

10. Although this isn’t really an update, I will wrap this up by saying a HUGE heartfelt THANK YOU to all my readers, especially my loyal followers that have been with me since the beginning, your support means a lot to me. I wouldn’t still be writing it if weren’t for you.

Time for me to head to bed though, so have a great week!

Running Update: Small Steps Everyday

Since the beginning of this year I have written about my running. I wrote about my preparation for my 3rd half marathon where I achieved a personal best and lead me to achieving a 6 year goal. I continued running until I officially started training for my first marathon. Last week I shared that after training for 9 weeks, I was sidelined due to a hip flexor problem and made the decision to postpone running the marathon. Now that a week has gone by, I still feel good about the decision. I know it is the smart choice and I even decided to volunteer for the race instead, but without running I have felt a little off. Running has a become a part of my routine and my therapy, and without it I felt like a little piece of me was missing.

I am happy to share that a few days ago I was given the green light from my physical therapist to run again, and Saturday I was back on the road. It was my first run in 26 days and as I laced up my sneakers and headed out the door, I felt nervous, which seems silly. I have headed out the door many times on a Saturday morning to run, but this time I felt different because I didn’t know if it would hurt. I didn’t know if it would be a step forward or back to the drawing board and more PT appointments. I wanted it to go well.

As I took the first steps, I expected them to hurt, but they didn’t. Then I noticed I was still running stiff to avoid pain so I tried to loosen up and relax. During that first 1.5, I felt like I hadn’t run in months vs weeks, and I felt like aiming for 3 miles would feel like I was starting over in my running. Thankfully my run took me to my local track where I saw someone I know and stopped my run to walk 1/2 mile with her to catch up. Turns out that was just what I needed because after the walk break, my stride felt better and as I crept closer to running 3 miles, I was feeling good so I decided to try for 4. The further I went, the better I felt, and the last 1/4 mile I really opened up my stride and (surprisingly) ended running a sub-8 minute pace. I finished 4 miles in an average 9:22/mile pace and it was my first run in almost 7 weeks that was PAIN FREE.

The best motivation to keep running, is the feeling you get after finishing a run. The satisfaction of knowing you were brave enough to start and strong enough to finish will leave you wanting more.
So without a marathon goal, what’s next for me….I’m eyeing 2 races this fall, a 10K and a 10 miler, which will help keep me motivated and focused on getting stronger.

As I wrap up this post, I want to admit that I struggled a little with starting to write because I wasn’t sure what to say,  but as I started writing the words came out. Just like running, the first steps are the hardest and then it gets better.

Are you struggling with anything? Are you recovering from an injury? How do you feel after taking the first steps, or writing the first sentence?

Have a great week.

Marathon Training: Week 9 7/31-8/6/16

I am writing this update as I watch the Olympics. I love watching the Olympics, and become close to obsessed with it and watching coverage every day. I look forward to the swimming, beach volleyball, women’s gymnastics and this year will have more interest in the Track events since my interest in running has grown since 2012. What events do you look forward to watching?

As much as I could go on about the Olympics, I will write a quick update on my training week.

I left off Week 8 with my hip feeling better and I hoped I was on the road to recovery. Unfortunately when I went for my run on Monday 8/1, what was supposed to be an easy 5 mile run, was anything but that.

When I started running, it was slow, I was limping and I know my form was terrible. I had hoped that after the first mile I would get in the groove like it did on Saturday 7/30, but I was running so slow I felt like I would’ve gone faster if I was speed walking. So at 1/2 mile I was getting frustrated and had to stop and stretch my hip out. After a couple of minutes of that I started back up again, and it felt a little better, but at 16 minutes I had to stop again. I STRONGLY thought about quitting, chalking it up to “at least I tried”, I finally succumbed to realizing that after 3 weeks of this pain/discomfort I should probably really go and see a doctor. After the stretch session I continued my run trying to at least finish 3 miles and hoping it would eventually get better. Which it did, and I was able to finish the 5 miles. Not anywhere close to the times I am used but I finished. During that run I was listening to a “Running on Om” podcast interview with Zach Miller, it was good timing because one quote from him was “Some training days are for physical gains and others are largely about mental gains”, and that was how I felt this run was.

Tuesday 8/2- I took the afternoon off from work in order to get myself to a doctor, not that my pain was any worse but I had the time so I stopped making excuses and just went to see if they could tell what was causing the issues. I was being so stubborn to see a doctor because I didn’t want them to tell me no running. That was exactly what I was told: stop running until I see a physical therapist for muscle issues 😦 That day I also had an X-ray done, because even though I didn’t fall and knew that my hip was broken, I wanted to make sure I had covered all bases so I could have more than enough information. So with that news, the only workout I did for that day was some upper body and core work for 30 minutes.

Wednesday 8/3- I replaced my interval running day with 45 minutes (2100 yards) of swimming. Even though this was non impact, I still could feel discomfort when I twisted my body a certain way or did a flip turn and was pushing off the walls. So I had to use a pull buoy aimg_7628 lot, and just do open turns. It felt good to be swimming again, and I was especially grateful that I work at a place with many different fitness and wellness facilities to utilize.

 

 

Thursday 8/4- It was a first Physical Therapy appointment, and it turns out that part of my discomfort is coming from a maligned Sacroiliac (SI) joint. So my therapist worked to fix that. Since the pain started I told friends that it just felt like I needed to stretch my hip and pop it back into place, and it turns out that I was right. This PT session was more an evaluation to see where the pain was stemming from and then coming up with a plan to fix it so I could get back to running ASAP.

Even though that appointment was in the morning, I still worked out after work completing some new circuits of upper body and core (battle ropes, curl to press, pull ups, rows, lateral shoulder raises, push to plank, planks) and I also made time for some hip flexor stretches.

Friday 8/5- Even within 1 day of PT and taking some anti-inflammatory, my hip was feeling MUCH better, not 100% yet, but I am able to walk normally for more than a few minutes. I have been having this discomfort for so long it weird to remember that I can walk without having pain!

After work I swam again- 2500 yards in 52 minutes. It felt better than Wednesday, but I still didn’t do a lot of flip turns.

This pool will be my sanctuary until I can run
Saturday 8/6- It was felt sooo weird to be able to sleep in today and not go for a long run, which was supposed to be 16 miles. Instead I went to see my PT. They administered some heat therapy, massage, realigned my SI joint again and I did a handful of exercises to help strengthen my hips. Each day I am feeling better and better so I hope by next Saturday, at the latest, I will be able to run again. I want to do it even more because doctors have told me not too! It’s been hard to follow orders because I don’t want to get behind on my training, but at the same time I know if I don’t complete commit to taking care of my body, I could develop chronic pain that would stop me from running indefinitely. I have a little wiggle room in my training, and I figure if I could get a 3 hour run in 2 weeks before my marathon then I will be able to run the race. Otherwise I will have to alter my plan.

With only 6 weeks to go until Race day, stay tuned to see what happens!

Recommended Read: 3 ways to make up for a missed long run

 

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