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

 

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Marathon Training: Week 3 6/19-6/25/16

Training Week 3/15…. Total Miles 17.67

Read previous weeks recaps: Week 1, Week 2

Since I ran a 20K at the end of last week (6/18) and it was my longest run since my half marathon on 5/1, it took a few days for my legs to recover. I had some tendonitis flare up in my lower left leg that I haven’t felt in 2 months.  So as much as I thought a “shake out” run might help,  I took it easy on Sunday 6/19 and went for 30 min walk instead. The walk helped to just stretch out my hip flexers, and I didn’t feel like I had another rest day, since that is usually Fridays.

Monday was a running day for me. But it was pretty warm out (mid 80’s & humid) and it turned out to be a slow run. I didn’t try to overexert my body after Saturday and push my limits in the heat, it just wasn’t worth it. I still did a hilly course, but I just got the miles in. A run is a run, no matter the pace.

Tuesday was a cross training day, and I had a new round of exercises. I was excited to start, and challenge myself with the new moves, but unfortunately I didn’t get through all of them as I had to squeeze the workout in during my lunch hour. (*Disclaimer- this workout was designed for my fitness ability. I share it to give others ideas of what I do, but it is not meant as a personalized plan for you.)


Tuesday evening I was feeling sore from the runs the previous few days, and the new workout. So on Wednesday when I was warming up for my interval workout, I accepted that day’s workout wouldn’t go great.

But I was WRONG! I did 1 mile warmup, 4 x800s w 1 min walk 1:45 jog in between, 1 mile cool down. My warmup was slow (as it should be), but when it came to my 800’s my splits were 3:25.6, 3:19.7 (!), 3:23.3, 3:26.8 for an average of 3:23.8. Not only was that my best average but also my most consistent!! This unexpected performance is what makes bad runs worth it, because I never know when the next run could be a great one. Isn’t that why we all stick with sports, to have those good moments?

Thursday I was up early to work out before work to get Day 2 of new cross training complete. Again, I didn’t get through the whole workout because the new warm up took longer than expected, so I picked the exercises that I thought would get me the “most bang for my buck” so that I wasn’t late getting to my office.

Friday was a rest day, and as I was leaving work I was thinking about how despite the aches and pains I had earlier in the week, I was feel much better. The pain never lasts long and when it’s gone I almost forget the soreness ever happened. Pain really is only temporary.

Saturday was a long run day, my training schedule had 8 miles, so I did just that. It wasn’t as fast as other longer runs paces have been, but its summer so the warmer weather really affects my pace. The run was uneventful, but I did think a lot about the upcoming Utica Boilermaker, and I just hope that I will be able to achieve my goal of running a sub-80 15K since I haven’t been able to really get my legs moving on a long run over the last few weeks. But I got my mind off it by listening to the newest “Ask Lauren Fleshman” interview on the podcast Running on Om, and the topics were Overcoming Mental Barriers and Finding your role models. I recommend all Lauren Fleshman episodes.

In case the 8 miles wasn’t enough, within about 45 minutes of the run, I went on a 2 mile hike with some of my family. It was a busy, but good Saturday.

Quote for the week “Everything you’ve ever wanted is a step outside your comfort zone”

How was your week? What are some reasons you stick with running or working out through the tough days?

Recovery & Nostalgia

After finishing my half marathon on Sunday, this week has been one of recovery and a little nostalgia, I’ll warn you now I get a little sappy toward the end of this post.

Monday I had taken the day off from work, and I was glad I did to catch up on sleep, and just relax for the day. During the afternoon I went for a 30 minute walk to stretch out my legs and hips, which helped A LOT.

On Tuesday, I left work on time which gave me time to get a half hour workout in before coaching. I decided to complete Week 3 of the Jillian Michael’s Body Revolution program, something not super challenging but not too easy either. It was a good workout, and even though I consider myself in shape, it has been months since I did this workout so I used some muscles I haven’t used in a while, which meant I felt it a little the next day.

Wednesday I was back to running, I did a 1/4 mile walk/warmup, then 3 miles @ at 9 minute/mile pace. I probably should’ve gone a little slower, but after the first half mile my legs didn’t feel as much like lead anymore so I kept going! Following my run I did some planks, pushups, and marching glute bridges, 3x through.

Thursday I wasn’t as lucky as Tuesday and was only about to get a 20 minute workout in today before I had to leave to coach, so I did most of Body Revolution Week 4 , I wasn’t as sore the next day following this workout.

Friday was a good day. I met with a trainer at my work’s wellness clinic to go over a cross training workout plan for at least the next 6 weeks to complement my marathon training. Most of the exercises were all ones I have done before (glute bridges, dumbbell press, neutral grip pull ups, etc) but the plan adds ankle weights or instability, then it progresses to get more difficult with each passing week. I could have probably come up with a plan myself, but by delegating to a physical therapy student, I provided her with a learning opportunity, and gave me one less thing to try to figure out in my life. I am going to do a ‘test run’ of the full workouts next week to determine whether anything needs to be tweaked before officially starting my marathon training.

Today, Saturday, I did a ‘long run’. It was slow and steady (9:19) for 50 minutes, which came to 5.37 miles. Some parts of it felt better than others, but I just enjoyed being out on the road and entertained myself by listening to Me Before You on audio book. Is anyone else planning on going to see this movie next month? (Here’s the trailer)

Over the next 2 weeks or so I am not going to push myself in working out/running, I just want to ‘go with the flow’/see how I feel, and I give myself a little mental break before officially starting my marathon training plan.

Besides working out, May 6th, also marked my 4 year anniversary to the date since I finished my first half marathon, my first big running accomplishment. Which got me thinking about how much my life has changed since that day; I am in a different apartment, started this blog, have a different job, I started and completed my MBA, I have been through a lot of personal growth, and pursued things I’ve wanted. But one of the things that hasn’t changed is my running. It still brings me a lot of joy (more than frustration and anxiety), and has showed me that I can achieve anything by dedicating myself.  4 years ago I would have never thought it was possible for me to run 9 minute miles, let alone complete a half marathon at an 8:45 pace. 4 years ago I didn’t picture myself running 2 more half marathons or getting ready to train for a marathon. Each year of running I learn more about myself. Each race I get faster and it makes me want more. I have goals of running a sub-80 minute 15K, sub-25 minute 5K, and over the last few days I realized that I want to complete more half marathons and would love to eventual complete one around 1 hour 45 minute. It seems out of reach now, but I know with consistency, commitment and hard work I can get there someday. “I may not be there yet but I am closer than I was yesterday”

Running has taught me how rewarding it is to push my limits and to work toward a goal. It is my stress relief, my ‘me-time’, the one thing in my life I can control. (For more reasons on Why I Run)

What has running meant to you? Do you ever look back at your life a few years ago to see how much it’s changed?

One last thing, in case you are interested, you can now follow me on Instagram @sarahchasinglife

This is it: Half Marathon Training Final Week

This is it, tomorrow is the big day! Just a brief update and final thoughts before I toe the starting line for my 3rd half marathon.

This week was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. After a 5.75 mile run last Saturday, I took it nice and easy (maybe too easy?) with workouts this week.

Sunday I spent the day spring cleaning and doing some yard work. Even though I didn’t do a specific workout, I didn’t lay on the couch all day, and it felt good to just get my mind off the upcoming race for a few hours.

Monday I planned to just do a nice and easy 3 mile run around campus. But my legs felt heavy. I am still trying to get a new pair of shoes to fit right, so I was thinking about those, and my stride just didn’t feel smooth. So by the end of it I had a lot of self-doubt for the race; have I done enough? Will my speed workouts pay off? What sneakers should I wear? On and on the questions went….. What helped what seeing this:

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It reminded me that if I have self-doubts going into the race then I won’t succeed. I know I needed to just relax because I have done the best in races when I didn’t over think everything, but it was far easier said than done…

Tuesday I took a rest day, probably should have completed some light body-weight exercise, but I did ensure I got 9,000 steps in that day so I could feel like I was active in some way. Wednesday was my last run of the training program- another easy 3 miles. I ran around campus again, but stayed on somewhat flatter areas. My legs felt better today and I was able to run around a 9 minute mile, then picked up a little the last 1/2 mile to stretch out my legs. My goal for race day is to better my previous time of 1:58:58 (9 min pace), I would LOVE to get around 1:55 (8:45 pace), but rain is expected so I am not sure how that will impact things. This last run helped my confidence and I hoped that with some good carb loading and a few more rest days I will be able to reach my goal.

Since Wednesday, I have been taking it nice and easy;  drinking lots of water, sitting vs standing all day at work (I have a standing desk), getting some lunch time walks in to stretch and trying to go to bed early to be well rested (Though the last episode of 11.22.63 kept me up a little late on Thursday night).

As I write this on a Saturday morning, when I usually go for my long runs, it feels odd to have some extra time in my day but I feel more energized and excited now than I did at the beginning of the week. I am ready and anxious for tomorrow, and I just have to trust the process and have faith in the last 12 weeks! 🙂

 “No matter what happens on race day, you have already succeeded” Read more: Dear Runner—You’ve Got This, And Here’s The Letter To Prove It

A few closing thoughts:

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What It’s Really Like To Run A Half Marathon (As Told By Mindy Kaling) – This made me laugh because it’s all true! I encourage you to check it out

The Best Emotion Running Can Teach You

“Running has given me the courage to start, the determination to keep trying and the childlike spirit to have fun along the way. Run often, and run long, but never outrun your joy of running.”

 

 

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Feeling Ready: Half Marathon Training Week 10

With my last run of this week behind me, it’s all downhill to race day from here! My taper officially begins, and its coming when I feel my body needing it.

Monday was a tempo run day, my goal was to run sub 8:30 pace like I have been doing for the last few weeks, but my legs just couldn’t get in a groove. They felt tired, and I just couldn’t get my turnover going. When I realized there was no way I would be able to hit the 8:09 pace I did a few weeks ago I just tried to run on average what I hope will be my half marathon race pace..so I ran 4 miles in an 8:40 pace. I felt good, and it was good practice to try to get a feel for that speed. It would be awesome if I could keep up that pace for 13.1 miles!

Tuesday I worked out before work and did the 25 minute circuit workout I have been doing for the last few weeks. Nothing too noteworthy about that, but I did have to ice my ankle that night for seemingly no reason because it started twinging earlier in the day while I was sitting down eating lunch. It just seemed odd since it wasn’t like I was doing anything strenuous. My big toe on my right foot also started feeling like it had pressure/a spur or something on it due to the my form pronation. Needless to say I can tell my body will welcome the taper.

Wednesday I was excited because I reminded myself it was the last hard run I’d have to do until race day! Even though I had one more long run, I knew that wouldn’t be as mentally draining because that is an easy pace and I could just zone out. I have realized that over the last 10 weeks as beneficial as speed training is for strength/muscle development I feel it has sometimes been mentally draining to have the energy to really hit the paces I’ve wanted.  When I have uneventful and quiet days at work, I have lately found it hard to somehow come up w the energy to run fast. Since that day I was feeling the drain I decided to mix it up a little and did a 3.3 mile fartlek run around campus, which did include a little hills. I didn’t have a specific time or distance in mind when I picked up my pace but that’s what made it fun- it was whatever I felt like. I ran 2 light pole lengths, or from where the sidewalk rounded to the stop sign, or a little section of sidewalk in between buildings, I chose when and how far I would pick up my pace and then I didn’t feel bad to slow jog for a couple minutes. By the end my legs were tired going up the final steeo uphill but during that run I found my stride again and I felt good. I followed it was some ab wheel rollouts, Russian twists w a medicine ball, one knee military push-ups and donkey kicks. As I drove home I thought about how much of a “rock star”(aka runner’s high) I feel like when I challenge my body to different exercises and have a good workout.

Thursday was a rest day. Friday was a low key day, I did 8 miles (20 minutes) on a spin bike, then the same circuit of body weight exercises from Wednesday. I liked riding the spin bike, it almost made me want to get into cycling more, maybe I will end up riding more for cross training with my upcoming fall marathon. I will have to see.

Today, Saturday, was my last long run. It’s a little hard to believe, this training went by so fast and didn’t feel as overwhelming as the last 2 times I have training for a half. Back when I made my training schedule I had today marked down for 11 miles, but instead my Dad (a former collegiate runner) suggested I complete 10 miles again, but push the pace more than I did last week. So that is what I had in mind. I started off really good, my mile splits were 9:20 or below this week, vs 9:30 plus last week. Granted, last week I had sleet pelting my face, and it was about a 40 degrees difference between today and last Saturday, but it was a big mental win to feel ready for race day. With each mile I tried to have negative splits, and mile 7 I ran in 8:54, then it crept up to around 9 min miles again. But I was feeling really good. I have always been the kind of runner that seems to get faster the more miles I do, maybe it’s because I play it too safe in my early miles, but I prefer to consider myself an endurance athlete that just takes a while to get warmed up. I didn’t quite make it to the 10 miles I planned because around mile 7.5 I started getting a stabbing pain in my lower left leg above my ankle. It didn’t cause me to limb, but seemed random because I have never had any issues with that area before. I hope that it is just a little overuse injury that will be fine by race day, but I didn’t want to push it, so I just ran enough miles to loop myself back home. I ended up running 9.6 miles in a 9:08 average pace, so I was very satisfied with that.

For the next 2 weeks its crunch time to really take care of myself. Eat well, get plenty of sleep and not do anything stupid to risk an injury. Stay Tuned!

“Out on the roads there is fitness and self-discovery and the person we are destined to be”

“Every day gives you an opportunity to improve. With every run you can try to be better. Not just a better runner but a better person”

What makes an Optimist?

When describing myself to others, I would never include ‘optimist’, it’s just not how I see myself. I associate optimism with: always being happy, smile on your face, upbeat mood, not letting anything bother you, etc, so as someone who is more likely to called grumpy, grouchy or be found with a “resting b**** face“, than a smile or bubbly personality, I haven’t ever felt like I would fall into the category of being an optimist.  However, when two recent conversations with colleagues ended with them complimenting me on being an optimist it made me step back and think about it- so of course I thought it would be a great opportunity to write a blog post about it!

For as long as I can remember I have always LOVED quotes of any kind;  running, life, inspirational, I enjoy them all, with one of my all time favorites being any variation of “Everything happens for a reason”. When something bad or unexpected happens that was the only mantra that would get me through. This was especially evident in the 6 or so years after I graduated college when I went through 2 major heartbreaks, losing a friend in a car accident, multiple job changes, meeting new people and then losing touch with them, etc. During this time I can connect many dots of: I met this person which lead me to this job, which lead me to meeting this other person who taught me this or lead me to do that, etc. Life is so crazy on how one event or person can have a domino effect on other parts of your life and your future. I loved seeing these connections, it made all the ups and downs worthwhile. So when there were years when I waited for the next link, and wondered if it would ever come, I struggled. I wanted to keep the hope that something better was out there, but it was hard to stay positive, when it seemed like nothing was going right. I didn’t want to hear the cliques from others of “the right job is out there”, “time heals all wounds” or “you’ll meet the right guy someday”, because my answer to that was “How do you know for sure?”. Some times it seemed that as much as friends and family care about you, they may not have the right words to make you feel better.

So I turned to quotes to help me find some answers for an attitude adjustment.

“And maybe a happy ending doesn’t include a guy, maybe it’s you, on your own, picking up the pieces, and starting over, freeing yourself for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is just moving on”

“There is always a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs”

“Life is like a book. Some chapters sad, some happy, and some exciting. But if you never turn the page… you will never know what the next chapter holds”

“Life is like monkey bars, you have to let go if you want to move on”

“Tough time are like physical exercise. You may not like it while you are doing it. But tomorrow you will be stronger because of it”

“You need to see that life is not always perfect. We will not always get what we want. And thought it hurts a lot, what should’ve happened, happened. Who should’ve left, left, and whatever’s thrown you off course will always bring you to where it is you need to be”

“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that its going to launch you into something great. Just focus and keep aiming”

“Closing the door, turning the page, moving on, etc. It doesn’t matter what you call it; what matters is that you leave the past where it belongs so you can enjoy the life that’s still available to be lived. This ending is not THE END, it’s just your life beginning again in a new way. It’s a point in your story where one chapter fades into the next. Take a look at the first page of this new chapter; it’s a beautiful one.”

“Sometimes you have to fall down because there is something down there you are supposed to find”

“Sometimes God doesn’t give you what you think you want, not because you don’t deserve it, but because you deserve better”

“When one door closes, another opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully on the closed one, that we don’t see the one which has opened for us”– Alexander Graham Bell

“Don’t think of things falling apart, but rather falling into place”

“Never let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life. Bad days come sometimes just to remind you that you have plenty of good ones to look forward to.”

“Yesterday I was sad. Today I am happy. Yesterday I had a problem. Today I still have the same problem. But today I changed the way I look at it.”

“Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.”   *This was especially true for me when after a heartbreak I decided to complete my MBA, one of the best decisions I ever made for myself!

“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure in fact whether the storm is really over. But one this is for certain, when you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in.”

Having ingrained most of these quotes in my mind gives me a different perspective on a situation. It gives me hope, so when someone else is going through a difficult time; work or personal life wise, I try to share these quotes with them. Some times it’s what they need to hear, other times I fail at saying the right thing, but it seems that these quotes have turned me into more of an optimist than I realized.

An optimist is defined as: 1) disposed to take a favorable view of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome. 2)reflecting a favorable view of events and conditions and the expectation of a positive outcome. Which brings to mind a time after one of my job changes (which happened to be a demotion due to civil service exams) a coworker said they admired my optimism and positive attitude about taking a pay cut. My response was, “what else can I do?”- I could come into work depressed that I am making $5/hr less, or I could still be happy that I have a job at all. Which attitude helps the days go by better. I know choosing your attitude I know is MUCH easier said than done (believe me I know!). But thinking through all of this it’s clear to me that I am more of an optimist than I have ever realized. Which also goes to show that no matter how well you think you know yourself, someone else’s perspective may just be the key to unlocking a piece of yourself you didn’t see or appreciate before.

Have you ever described yourself as an optimist? What comments from others has helped you grow? Did you connect with any of these quotes? What life lesson did you learn the hard way?

Make Time to Run: Half Marathon Training Week 3

TGIF! It’s been a full week for me. I don’t like using the word “busy” because I feel it’s overused and is used as an excuse, because to me you are never too “busy” to make time for what is important. I have had something going on every night this week, and as I sit down to write this on a Friday night I feel like I finally have some “me time” to relax and watch one of my favorite shows (Gilmore Girls).

My week 2 post left off with plans to get a 5 mile run last Saturday. It was a perfect day to run outside, mid-40s & sunny. It had been a few weeks since I had run outside and after running on a treadmill I was prepared to feel like I was moving slow (for me). I was guessing my distance as I ran and when I mapped it out I finished 4.8 mile in just over 46 minutes. It felt so great to go through the rest of my day knowing I completed my long run! I enjoyed my rest day on Sunday.

Monday, I was up early to get a tempo run in before work. I did debate completing this run outside, but talked myself out of it since I don’t have a GPS watch to help me keep pace. As I write this out I realize I would’ve used an app for this, but at 6:15 on a Monday morning my brain wasn’t fully functioning! So it was a treadmill run, I split my 20 minute tempo run to 12 minutes at speed 7.1 & 8 minutes at 7.2, a shift from last week of a 15/5 minute split.

Tuesday was a strength training workout- push-ups, jump rope, various upper body exercises and a little core work. I repeat it 3x through and it takes me about a 1/2 hour to complete.

Wednesday it was back to running before work. It was an interval day, so I kept up with the routine of .25 mile on, .10 off. I started the high interval @ 7.6, increasing each round by .1, and even pushed it on the last interval running it @ 8.

Thursday I did a Runner specific strength workout, a set of 12 exercises for a minute each, it includes walk out push-ups, curtsy lunges with a hop, glute marching bridges, side planks with leg raises and superman planks, etc. I have decided this will be my regular routine for a while because the last time I did this routine consistently I noticed an improvement in my core strength and hip flexibility.

Today (Friday) I slept in a little because I planned to run after work. I usually run on Saturdays, but tomorrow I will be at a swim meet all day. So I had to be flexible to change my plans to fit in the run. Then I proceeded to debate ALL day about whether to run outside or complete the run on a treadmill. My dilemma was because it was 14 degrees out with a bitter cold win, and wouldn’t be able to complete the run before it got dark out. I know it was making excuses, which I wanted to try to improve on as one of my resolutions. But the treadmill was appealing because I wouldn’t freeze my butt off, AND I could distract myself with watching Fuller House (now on Netflix). I ended up deciding on the latter, what can I say I am a dedicated 90s child! Anyway, I knew looking at the miles tick up would make the run seem slow, so I covered it up and could only see the time elapsed. The first 25 minutes or so were harder until I got in my groove. Watching Fuller House was keeping me distracted so much that at one point I almost forgot I was running. A run begins the moment you forget you are running -Adidas. I run the 6 miles at a 6.5 pace (~9:13), and then stretched out and did a little core work. When I got home I felt really good knowing I had finished the 6 miles. It would have just been too much to try to squeeze it in some time tomorrow.

Other than running, as I mentioned my schedule was full,  I coached 3 nights this week, started late at work one night, but I still made time for running since my half marathon is in 65 days. It makes the weeks go by a lot faster when there is something going on, but I am looking forward to enjoying a long weekend of relaxation at my cousins in a few weeks.

In other news, I did finish all of the Fuller House episodes already, and felt it got a better the more episodes in. The first episode was too forced and some actors overacted, but then it improved, so we will see whether there will be another season. I think they should.

My blog site is currently down as I write this, so only those on WordPress and my email subscribers can read this for now. Hopefully it will get fixed soon. It has been frustrating to try to make the complete shift to WordPress Hosted site vs having my domain name through BlueHost. I get 1 step forward and 2 steps back….

I plan to write my Month 2 Update on Resolutions by Monday Night, so you can look forward to that!

Have a great week and consider this…. We are all created with equal amounts of awesome. It’s up to you to decide how much of it the world gets to see.

Run & Be Happy: Half Marathon Training Week 2

Where to start? I always find my first sentences of anything to be the hardest to write! To recap the week it was a pretty good week. I hope yours was the same.

Week 2 of my training included a tempo run, intervals and the long run will be tomorrow- It is supposed to be 45+ degrees out, my perfect running weather!

Monday I did my tempo run, even waking up early to complete it before work. It was on the treadmill. I started off with a 3 minute walking warm-up then cranked up the speed to 7.2, after about 5 minutes my legs were starting to get a little fatigued and I wondered why, so I checked the per mile pace (as I had the screen locked on the distance instead), and turns out I was running an 8:20 pace, which was too fast, no wonder I was tired so soon! So I bumped down to 7.1 (8:27) and felt better. You wouldn’t think that 7 seconds/mile would make a big difference but it does! I ended up running the 7.1 for the next 15 minutes. Then I cooled down and headed to work. It wasn’t until I checked what I did last week (20 minutes @ 7.0, 8:34) that I realized I was already increasing my fitness level. I have also noticed my jeans fitting better, not that I have lost any weight, but after running 3 days a week for the last 3 weeks, it is making a difference.

Tuesday morning I worked out before work with some body weight exercises- jump rope, push ups, squat with shoulder press, a little core work and assisted pull-ups.

Wednesday I was back on the treadmill for intervals. I did better with starting off on the right speed this time! 3 minutes of a warm-up, then .25 sprinting starting @ 7.6, .10 of walking. With each interval I increased the speed .1 until I reached 7.8 then maintained that speed for each interval until total time reached 22 minutes, then I jogged @ 6.5 for 3 minutes.

Thursday I repeated what I did on Tuesday, so nothing too exciting there. I rounded out my week just having a light day today (Friday), riding a stationary bike for almost 20 minutes then getting some much-needed core work in. It was relaxing and it was nice not to feel rushed like I feel when I run in the mornings.

I am looking forward to running outside tomorrow, though I know I will feel so slow after running on treadmills for the last few weeks! It will be a 5 mile day, and that will mark 2 weeks down in my training. I feel really good about where my training is headed and excited to see what this year in running will bring.

Besides my actual workouts, I am staying inspired by finally reading “Running for Women: From first steps to Marathon” by Kara Goucher, a book I’ve had out from the library since the Fall! It’s a very easy read. It’s structured to provide short tidbits to make up the chapters, vs just full pages of writing. Since I am not a new runner some things I already know-invest in a good pair of shoes, stretch after running, mix up your runs and routes to prevent boredom, etc. I am only 3 chapters in, but think I will learn some new tips later on.

Besides a running book, which is my lunchtime reading book, I am continuing to read “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce for my bedtime reading. I am still enjoying it, it’s an easy read, but I do have to set a timer every night so that I don’t start reading and then all of a sudden it’s midnight because I get too into the book!

Last point on this week’s entry… this weekend marks ONE YEAR, since I started my blog! There have been times when I wondered whether I have really wanted to continue. Some blog posts have been read more than others, but just like it one takes one person to make your day, the few pieces of feedback I have received keeps me going. A very sincere THANK YOU to all those who follow me on WordPress or via email. Thank you for those who have taken the time to comment. Thank you for supporting me in this experiment of mine. I will continue to keep writing for the foreseeable future. I like writing, and I like sharing and in the end if I make a difference to one person; if I inspire you to run, to keep running, to start working out, whatever it may be,then I will have accomplished what I set out to do.

Have a great weekend and I will leave you with this thought:

Whatever you want to do, whoever you want to be, wherever you want to go: decide, commit, and be consistent. Work to close the gap between what you say you want and what you actually do, and change will follow every time.

What are the real steps to success?

Forewarning… this post is quite a bit different than my usual fitness updates. The inspiration for it came on very strongly and I took the opportunity to type it out at first just to process it on my own. I even considered not sharing this at all, but remembered the reason I started this blog was to try to relate to others. So I am hitting publish. I hope you like it, and if my words connect to at least one other person, then it was worth sharing.

Do you ever feel like there is so much you should be doing in life in order to be considered “successful”? Write a book, start a business, read a ton of different leadership books, follow best practices for higher productivity, have pinterest inspired recipes and home decor, prep your meals, wake up at 5am…the list could go on.  There are countless books, podcast, and email list-serves to follow of people sharing all of this information, and as someone who a few years ago felt lost in their life and in their career I grabbed onto all of these sources as a way to try to find an answer. What job am I meant to do? What will make me happy?  But I recently realized is that sometimes too much advice, and too many opinions or options can be a bad thing. It makes you feel like your life is not good as it is. This year I am trying to simplify my life (clean out the unnecessary) and filling my inbox with half a dozen email subscriptions just gives me one more thing to keep up and is a reminder of more self-reflective worksheets I should take the time to fill out, or groups to be involved in, events to commit to. When does it get to a point that it’s too much to keep up with, and its more stressful and overwhelming than helpful?

It’s always good to be content, though not complacent. But to feel like you have to conquer the world, do all and be all by a certain age is not realistic. I don’t have to own a business, write a book, etc to have a successful life.

Success is looking back on your life and the memories make you smile.

After 4+ years in a job environment I didn’t feel challenged in I started pursuing my MBA which helped me to realize how much I love learning, and that was solidified when I recently took the Strength Finders Test and my #1 strength is learning, it validated to me why I easily get bored at work when I don’t have things keeping me busy, it confirmed why I always read multiple news articles a day. I want to know a lot, but it doesn’t mean I have to do everything. I don’t need to start a business just because a blog I follow swears that how to find true happiness in life. I don’t need to write a book, start a non-profit or try to run an Etsy shop out of my apartment. I like where I am working now and I shouldn’t feel like I am settling for that, just because I am not following what other “successful” people have done. I’ve realized success needs to be in my own terms and maybe I just need to “be quiet” for a while and remove all of the outside ‘voices’ and opinions to find out what success really means to me.

Focus a little less on the future, and a little more on the present.

There is no reason why I can’t just enjoy my life as it is now, instead of feeling like I always need to be moving toward more. In my experience, sometimes when its quietest you get the best answers. Trying to force myself into thinking of a business idea, or writing a book, or doing whatever, will only cause more pressure and stress. I feel like I have trying to “find and do more” for a handful of years and it’s hard to put the brakes on it, fearful that I will feel like its settling. But when I really think about it, I’m not. I found a great work place, an environment I love, and I am fortunate to still live close to family and be able to make memories with my nieces and nephew. When people look back on their life isn’t that what they remember more? The relationships they built and the memories made, not the amount of money they made, or the accolades they collected. Success isn’t measured in medals, but in memories. If the “achievements” happen along the way, great, but as one of my good friends reminded me, “you can plan your life all you want, and God has other plans”. Why not be more open to them, instead of getting stuck trying to do so much.

Life is not about missed opportunities, but enjoying the ones we have.

It is in this slower quieter time where I feel like I will discover what I really want to do with my life. I found this article 10 Way Creating Space can Change your Life, and nearly everything in this list I relate to. I want to create space to destress, to live, to learn, to love, to serve, to think, and my favorite; for serendipity.  Maybe someday I will own a business, or write a book, but I want to come to a decision on what to do with my life on my own, vs feeling like I have to do something because others have, or say that’s what I should do in order to be successful. I decided to pursue my MBA 100% on my own because I was tired of being in the work situation I was in. I had true motivation to achieve this goal, and it was hands-down one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. That’s what I am hoping will come from simplifying my life, and removing myself from email list-serves that just make me feel like a failure because I am not trying to be an entrepreneur.

I can do anything but not everything.

For those who have been avid readers of my blog you will remember that right after I graduated with my MBA, I felt like I needed to decide on my next big goal, because without it I felt like I had no purpose. But since then I have signed up for a wellness program at work, registered for a half marathon and marathon, coaching swimming more and have projects at home I want to complete.

It’s not to say you shouldn’t try to achieve greatness, but don’t be overwhelmed trying to do everything at once. If I am fortunate, I will have many years ahead of me.

I realized that recently juggling the schedule I do, that I really need to set my priorities, and my fitness achievements are at the top of that list. It won’t earn me extra money, but it will provide me with a goal to work toward, and joy in training for a race. Although I really do enjoy being a swim coach committing to too many hours there has prevented me from exercising as much as I’d like and need to. I just want to have time to just relax without being on the go or feeling like I need to be working on something.

In the end, I just want to focus more on what I like to do, and be open to whatever plans may be lined up in my life without feeling guilty about it, even if all the guilt is in my head.

Does anyone else feel like they struggle with this? Do you ever feel like you aren’t living up to your “potential” just because you aren’t listening to others? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

Positive Steps

1 week into the new year and I feel like I have started off on a good routine, I just hope I can continue it for the rest of the year. I heard on the radio that 88% of people do not succeed in keeping their New Years Resolutions, and I have every intention to be that other 12%. Once I decide on doing something, I am very determined to complete it. I have had success in past years keeping resolutions- teaching myself a new skill, writing in a journal on a daily or weekly basis, having monthly dinner with friends, etc.

The steps I have taken to be more successful in following through my resolutions are: I have written them down along with steps on how to follow through, shared with others in order to be held accountable and think about the goals everyday.

When you know clearly what you want, you’ll wake up every morning excited about life– Mark Victor Hansen

This week I have found out how true this is. I started off the year great with being able to go for a run for the first time in nearly 3 weeks after spraining my ankle and I thought I was on the mend to being able to run consistently. So on Monday I planned to run at my campus’ fitness center, but when I went there after I got done with work, I found it closed because the students are on break. #Fail! I had checked the schedule the night before! So I was frustrated that I had made such an effort to run, only to not be able too. I didn’t bring the proper clothing with me to run outside in the below ZERO weather, so I just headed home to do a DVD workout instead.  I didn’t want the change in plans to be an excuse to not workout at all.

Over the rest of this week, I got back into my habit of waking up early and getting my workout done before work. I am liking it more because then I don’t have to rush through a workout after work before I have to coach swimming. Between my motivation, and wanting to keep my resolutions, it’s getting easier to stay on an early schedule. The downfall has been that my ankle started bothering me more throughout the week- I guess it hasn’t healed as much as I thought, either that or the new dress shoes I bought are not great support. As a result I have been icing it every night and trying to take it easy on the workouts over the last few days. By mid-February I need to be running regularly again because I have a half marathon I am planning on completing on May 1st.

This week was also one of the best weeks I have had on my still fairly new job. I have been there 8 1/2 months, but the work load during my days aren’t always consistent, and sometimes that’s discouraging for me because the day goes so much faster when I have tasks to do. This week was different, I work in a Budget Office, and our Budget is due 1/22 so its crunch time right now. I have learned a lot and did a lot of problem solving, and I really enjoyed it.

To wrap up my weekly recap, I have finished my first book of the year…30 Days to 30. It was about a women who lost her job, and boyfriend in one day, and finds herself moving back home to her parents house a month before she turns 30. While there she finds a list of 30 items she wanted to do before the age of 30 that she wrote when she was 18. As a way to get herself out of the funk, she decides to try to achieve those items. I won’t ruin the ending, but it was an easy read that moved quickly with straight and to the point writing. It did make me think about how setting a deadline on accomplishing tasks, especially those that push you outside you comfort zone, motivates you to accomplish them. It made me consider making a list of my own, and it reminded me that around this time last year I did create a vision board with items like ‘starting a blog’, ‘running a marathon’, ‘find a new job’ and ‘buy a home’ on it. They aren’t all accomplished yet, but as I look at these ‘visions’, each day I get closer to achieving them without even realizing it. But that’s the point; throw these goals “out into the universe” and you may just find your life directing you into achieving/accomplishing them (self-fulfilling prophecy). So instead of a list, I am planning on updating my board by the end of this month.

Goals are a preview of future events and experiences in your life

How are you doing on your resolutions?  Do you have a list of things you want to get accomplished before a milestone birthday?

I hope your New Year has started off as good as mine has.