The Judgmental Side of Health and Wellness

tumblr_mekji0xReh1r6u05ro1_500_largeI am not a psychologist. I don’t even play one on TV. Neither am I a physical trainer, a nutritionist, a coach, a dietitian, a counselor, nor a circus clown. I make all those qualifications to ensure that you understand that I realize I may not be the most classically learned individual on the planet and, therefore, there may be something about today’s topic that I am missing (I threw the clown thing in there to see if you were paying attention).

I will also concede that I may be guilty of the very thing that I will push against. I am both saint and sinner, with the latter winning more often than the former. Call hypocrisy if you must, point the finger at me (I am a big girl, I can take it); but then, please, let’s move along and address the issue.

You need to eat a cheese burger? I can see your ribs.  Kinda gross.

No one needs his body to be like that !!!!!!!

Not feminine at all.

Your bloodlust diet (edited for language)

And, my favorite

I totally respect the hard work. I’m just saying it is not attractive….everyone is entitled to their own opinion!!

**Note: I took the liberty of correcting spelling and grammar to keep your (and my) head from popping off. You’re welcome.

Aaannnndddd, yes, I found all of these comments on public forums where they were responding to people who had put themselves out there publicly. Quite frankly, I am tired of that being used as an cop out for folks to be nasty to each other. If someone is walking down a public street and you don’t like the way they look, do you just go run up to them with your finger in their face spouting, “eewww you unfeminine beast!! You’re effing nasty!!” No, you don’t. The “public” thing is crap.

The debate on diet, exercise, and general “how to” for health and wellness has been going on for decades. I think the debates are wonderful. Listening to smart people discuss smart stuff is one of the major ways in which I learn. I have little problem with differing opinions.

In all honesty, I think the issue I have is not with the ideas, but the structure in which the ideas are conveyed and supported.

I do “A” because “B” sucks.

I don’t do “B” because I am better than you.

I don’t really understand why anyone would do “B” because I don’t want to do “B.”

“A” is sooooo superior to “B” because…look!! Unicorn!!!

At what point do we as idea havers realize that knowledge changes every day and is therefore a fluid possession? That we should probably be a little more gentle with our “oughts” as they tend to have big teeth and will bite us in the ass (regardless of said ass size).

Should we not concentrate more on supporting our own positions rather than tearing down that of another? I love to run long and lift heavy.

Does that mean I wish everyone would run long and lift heavy? Yes!

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The Amazing Natalie. Yes, her first name really is “The Amazing”

Does it mean that I find people who don’t to be less than? No!

  • I am amazingly inspired by the yogis who can bend and balance in amazing feats of strength.
  • I long for the grace of the swimmers that cut through the water as easily as one runs down the road.
  • I am floored by the dedication it takes to prep for shows and drop those last body fat percentages.
  • I am envious of those whose relationship with food is not addictive and can practice that wondrous nirvana of moderation.

In all fairness, there are things at this point in my life (see, there’s that fluid knowledge awareness) that I personally do not want. I see how some folks do it and I would not do it that way.

I will use the Paleo Mama as an example because she knows how much I adore and respect her.

I could say:

I function on a plant based because eating meat is so horrible. Those poor animals…your heart health…your fat intake…your cholesterol…you must have never seen Forks over Knives. I will let you borrow my copy of The China Study.

Or

I function (when I am on the wagon) on a plant based diet. I feel, look, perform at my best when I am living in that zone. I think a plant based diet is awesome because it is humane, healthy, and empowering.

Amanda

Beautiful. Sexy. Strong. Warrior. Winner. Amanda.

The difference is understanding. I understand what works for me. I also know eating meat, or having a differing opinion on the food chain, does not make one  inhumane. I know that there are beautiful people like Jackie who are rocking that Paleo lifestyle, getting really healthy, and raising an amazing family.

Yes, I know everyone has a right to their own opinion. You have a right to voice that opinion. I guess you do also have the right to behave like an ass.

As I proof this little post, I wonder what it is that motivates the irritation and the drive to vent it. I suppose it is the numerous people that I come into contact everyday who are trying so hard to do better. Like me, they are not perfect, but they are attempting to be better than they were yesterday. They don’t have it all right, but they are working hard on less wrong. They still have some indulgences that, quite frankly, they aren’t real interested in giving up.

The work that they, you, are putting in is tough. It is a journey. It is a walk of successes, failures, and run of the mill normal. It can be enlightening and oppressive. The thing it is typically not is easy. I get frustrated when the outside world, because of their “right” to an “opinion” makes it harder.

You are amazing. Your journey is amazing. The differences make us better. Go get your happy.

 

Photo credits

That ARThletic Girl
Black Tie 
Gym & Motivation 

Ultra Balance

bikeI don’t really do “race recap” posts. I guess looking at the last time I actually hit the “publish” button, a case could be made that I don’t really do posts at all! I’ll address that point first (and I feel a bit meandering today, so I will try to stay concise!)

I have always been a writer. It is commonly thought that writers should write something – anything – everyday. I started blogging in 2006. The one constant in blogging is the idea of regular postings. In many cases I saw the “write something everyday” and the “regular postings” ideas collide…and by “collide,” think “train wreck.”

So early on I just got comfortable with gaps in my blog. I don’t love it because it usually means there is something happening on this side of the keyboard that has the balance in my life thrown off. But I don’t hate it either. It just is what it is. The goal is always to make adjustments and keep it out of the ditch.

Brandy

Brandy!!

Since my last post roughly 2 months(!) ago, I have run in three ultra events, wrestled with my supplementation, jacked up my food choices, and wrecked my schedule. I had a million blog post ideas go through my brain. But my center was in the stratosphere somewhere and that just doesn’t work.

Even now I struggle to stay on point and offer you a coherent discourse. (In fact, I just deleted FOUR whole paragraphs. You’re welcome.)

I bagged out of Bad Marsh. It was really unfortunate. I had a great crew in the beautiful Brandy Mai. The group of runners there were amazing and inspiring. There was cold beer in the cooler. The race hat swag was awesome. It should have been perfect. It sucked.

Parking, I thought seeing my ultra family would help my melancholy mood. It didn’t. Not even the duck.

Lap 1, “just run for a minute, you’ll feel better,” I thought. Wrong again.

Lap 2, I was looking for a reason to quit.

Lap 3, I committed the ultimate fail – I bagged on my best runner buddy ever.

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Lucky she still loves me…

Lap 4, I tried one more time. I questioned my entire existence as a runner, as a person even. Sounds a bit melodramatic, I know. But it is what it is.

I quit. Sure there was this facade of ankle pain (it really did hurt) and “living to fight another day” and all that. Truth is, I have hurt worse and have ran through pain. But that day, that race, that moment, running sucked, I sucked, life sucked, and I just plain didn’t want to be there or do that.

Worse than the DNF, I couldn’t find it in me to stay and support my ultra family. I was wiped and my soul was somewhere else. To this day I am not really sure where that is. To be honest, I have still only caught fleeting moments of it in the past 2 months. If I am being completely transparent, it has been as elusive as Peter Pan’s shadow.

But there are some solid truths…

I am a runner…
I am a warrior…
I did write this
I still mean this

And when all else fails, listen to folks smarter than you…

“For me, the larger ‘hurt’ factor during an Ultra is when my body is physically ready for a race but my mind is mentally not in it. In that case there is almost nothing you can do other than take a break, rub some dirt on your soul and hope that your mind can come around,” ~ Tim Waz, Owner/RD, Lowcountry Ultras.

Photo credit **Simple Reminders**

Staying Motivated

KeepGoingFeatIn my last post I told you that the “how to get started” question is the one I am asked the most. It is, hands down. In the effort to be completely transparent, I must clarify that this is the case because I don’t consider any version of  “are you insane” to be an actual question. That wins the thing most often said to me and is therefore not in the running to win anything else.

The series of conversations usually go something like

~ How do I get started

~ You just do…I have expanded on this a bit before…you can see it here, and here, and here

~ How do I keep going

~ **Crickets**

I absolutely love these questions and conversations. I wish I did a better job answering them. I am just so keenly aware of how personal running is, I try never to say you “just have to” do anything except wake up.

But I was asked again yesterday…and the day before that. And I have promised to give you something. And I will. But know that this is just one woman’s journey. If you have something else that works, do that! (And tell me so I can try it!) If you try something you read here out and don’t like it, that’s fine too. I have tried on strategies from some of the coolest people in the game only to find out we are just practicing a different brand of cool.

I am not you. You are not me. Running any distance at all is a test. We all do what we have to do to get through it in the most body and spirit appreciating ways possible.

dc201bd1411190c7d12c96534a23e3e4Let me highlight that “any distance” part. Sometimes folks get hung up on the distance they do or don’t run. Hell I get hung up on that. Don’t. I have run 20 milers that felt like eating cotton candy and 5ks that felt like they were trying to rip my legs off. Right now as I sit here writing this I am procrastinating like a big dog to keep from running my short training run.

**Update – I did go run…in case you were curious 🙂 **

It is any given day. Just because you felt it yesterday doesn’t mean that you will feel it today. When I use the words “run” and “love” in the same sentence – I mean it. And I am one of those people who put “love” in the verb category – it is not something I feel, it is something I choose to do.

But it isn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it is so hard, it doesn’t happen. And in all honesty – 9 times out 10 it is a mental failure, not a physical one.

282272_405509929495292_1880671413_nLet me clarify a few things in that sentence. First there are some times that you really shouldn’t run. I am not a doctor or anything, but I am pretty certain that rest, recovery, and rejuvenation are vital. I am not talking about not running on those days. As I have said – there is a difference being being smart and punking out. You know what that difference is.

Second – I did use the word failure and I meant it. If I intend to do something, am capable of doing that thing, and choose not to do that thing in a way that I feel guilty about later – that is, in my book, a failure, You may call it whatever you like. To me, that’s about as close to textbook failure as a person can get.

So here are a few of the things that work for me more often than they don’t…

Pain is temporary Be accountable

I tell people about my insanity. Do my facebook posts seem obnoxious to you? Does the fact that I blog about this stuff seem self indulgent? Do you know that when I am in a room the topic of running will probably come up? Yeah, I know all that stuff too. When I am thinking about bagging a run, skipping it all together, or otherwise under performing, I know you will see me.

It is my fishbowl accountability. I hate the punk out. It makes my soul hurt. I am not public about all this stuff simply because I am proud and seek accolades. I do it because I am scared and have the tendency to be a lazy cow. I do it to keep my laurels from getting comfortable. I know there are folks either making better choices because of my story or poised ready for me to look stupid.  I plan on being a serious win for one and a huge waste of time for the other.

600672_539915602739929_1109972797_nKnow Your Why

You need to know why you do it. You need to know what makes you want to what it is you are doing. And don’t let others feel self conscious about your why. I have some who say they run because others can’t, to raise money, to save humanity. Others run for beer, chocolate, and chicks. Hey man, whatever. This is your race. Just know what it is.

Run with a Friend

Long runs have become an incredible time of bonding with friends. It is also a great way to pass the time and learn new techniques. In some places, it is also way safer. Buddy running or group running can seriously energize an otherwise halfhearted run.

Run Alone

Yeah, I know what I just said. But sometimes, spending 4 to 6 hours with another person is more painful than the run itself. There is a lot of mental stability that comes with spending that time with yourself. It is also quite possible it will happen in a race. You need to know how to deal on your own just in case the need ever arises.

Read

This has been an amazing technique for me. I have Audible on my phone and some really great books. While I hardly ever have time to sit down and flip pages, you can cover a ton of chapters during a multi-hour run.  Podcasts work really great too!

Pray

God and I have the most wonderful conversations on my runs. It has been some of the most powerful prayer moments that I can remember. I have found apps to put The Bible, The Liturgy of the Hours, and The Rosary on my phone. Talking to the Creator, using the body He created in the midst of His creation…just awesome.

This is still a work in progress for most people I know so I would love to get your feedback on it.

Respecting the Injury Without Punking Out

limitsThe last thing I want to write about is being injured. Nobody wants to read about it really. It’s like that scene in Days of Thunder (yes, I just went there. I LOVE that movie – don’t judge) when Harry Hogge, played by the wonderful Robert Duvall says to Dr. Lewicki, played by Keith Urban’s wife (my feminist friends love it when I do that!)

Drivers can’t stand to be reminded of what can happen to them in a race car. They, they don’t go to hospitals, they don’t go to funerals. You get a driver to a funeral before he’s actually dead, you’ve made history, darlin’.

Same thing with runners. We just hate talking about injuries. Unless we are injured. Then we want EVERYBODY to talk about them in the faintest hope that somebody, somewhere had the exact same thing, found the magic bullet, and it will work for us too.

I also don’t care to write about it as it typically means it is top of mind because I am injured. I am.

I took a fall this weekend and the bump to my head has me out of commission just a bit. I don’t think it will be too long. Probably another day or so. But I missed an epic weekend of running with some of my best run family. And I missed my freaking training goal. Again. And the Oreos…crap the Oreos.

But this is not my first injury. Hell, it isn’t even my second. And it is certainly not my worst.

I fractured my right heel September 1, 2012 during my long training run for my first marathon…that was 6 weeks away.

Then I tore my left calf muscle on December 13, 2012 during a light jog during an interview for a local news station. Dawn wanted to talk about my first Ultra…that was 4 weeks away.

I ran both races. One I finished amazingly well – better than I could have hoped for. The other? Well, let’s just say I left plenty of room for a PR on the next 50k.

On the surface, it may seem like I rushed both injuries. I don’t think I did. What I do think I have successfully accomplished when dealing with injuries, is learning how to respect the injury without punking out.

The first time was pretty hard. I didn’t really respect the injury. In fact it took almost a week to even admit that I had one. I had no frame of reference for dealing with such a setback. That resulted in some serious confrontations with depression.

The second time was easier. Respecting it was not an issue – I couldn’t walk at all. But, I had been here before. I knew it would get better and I knew I would run again. But this injury hurt – a lot. And that was scary. I was timid getting back into it. I listened to folks, while well intentioned, tell me that I couldn’t do it. I completely punked out on myself from time of injury until about mile 15. At that point it was good enough to finish, but not soon enough to perform well.

This third time I am fortunate. The injury is minor at best and really has nothing to do with my running mechanics. It is enough of a hurt to put me out but not so much so that I can justify being out for too long – easy respect/punk balance. And I have gotten into a pretty good routine of injury management. (PS ~ I am not a doctor. I do not play one of TV. I have less than no medical training unless you count that time I spent on WebMd. This is just my anecdotal thoughts on recovery)

  1. Seriously consider the need for a professional. It is no secret I don’t believe every booboo needs an labcoat. I never saw one for my calf. I had crutches, I monitored the swelling and the bruising, I lived and breathed RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). But my heel was undoubtedly improved by a trip to Ledesma Sport Medicine. I am in the process of making a chiropractic appointment to make sure the fall didn’t knock me outta whack now. I know it isn’t cheap. I know it isn’t convenient. But if we can make the time to run for 3 hours on a Saturday, we can find the time to drop into a free injury clinic that are offer by bunches of run stores. Just call one.
  2. Diet, diet, diet. Food is as important, if not more so, during recovery than during your actual races. Your body is consuming huge amounts of resources to fix what is broken. You can either give it what it needs so it can get about its business, or, you can keep shoveling food like products and just wait until the resources are there.
  3. Don’t neglect what you can do. In the beginning, that may be complete rest. THIS IS DOING SOMETHING. Rest is like food – your body needs it. However, none of my injuries required complete rest for an extended period of time. It is important to do something. Walk, lift weights, swim, stretch. Just don’t stop asking your body to do things. It will get lazy and lazy punks easy.
  4. WarriorListen to folks with a filter – even me right now. There is tons of good recovery information out there. Take that in, see how it works for you, and appreciate the input. But, not all advice is good advice. Additionally, no one knows your body better than you. Some will push you too hard. Most will pull you too far back. Grain of salt is a good rule of thumb here. **Bonus – my favorite phrase in this instance is “I am so glad that works for you.”
  5. Stay in the game. Be supportive of others. Stay on top of the going ons. Don’t seclude yourself. Injuries are depressing enough without recoiling into a self made hole. If you can run yourself, this is the best time to pitch in on the other side of the tape. In all honesty, you will probably learn more helping others with their training than you ever did focusing on yours.
  6. Don’t be a punk. You were a warrior before the injury. You are a warrior with an injury. You will be a warrior after the injury. Period.

All that being said…my goal completion for last week sucked…and it was looking so good… But, what good is accountability if I am not going to be accountable? So here it is.

Week of May 6, 2013 Results

Log my first +40 run week to include 2 speed work sessions
– 16.5 miles with 1 speed work session

3 Cross Training Workouts
– yeah…none

15 minutes of stretching every day to include one Yoga class
– 3 stretch days…no Yoga

Plan and track all food, drink, and supplementation
– 3 of 7 days

Week of May 13, 2013

  1. Log +30 run week
  2. 2 Cross Training Workouts
  3. 15 minutes of stretching every day to include one Yoga class
  4. Plan and track all food, drink, and supplementation

 

**Photo Credits

The Fitness Fashionista
Daily Fitness
Chamomile Green

Finding Success in the Failures

success-consists-of-going-from-failure-to1There is something interesting about that word “failure”. Actually, there is a lot interesting about that word. Rest assured I am not in the mood to get into all of them right now. It can be kind of a downer for a Monday morning and seriously, who needs that?

The interesting thing that I am thinking is as often as I still use the word, I rarely ever mean it as a soul crushing defeat description anymore. I am, thank God, getting to the point where I don’t really have those very often anymore.

What the word is becoming to mean the majority of the time is

I had a goal of “A” but I only got to “B”. What do I need to do about that differently?

Now don’t get all excited. I am not jumping on the “everybody gets a trophy” bandwagon. What I am saying is that if striving to be an Ultra runner has taught me anything, it is this

If you continue to define yourself by one moment, one meal, one training session, one run, one goal – good or bad – you will miss all the wonderful things that ultra running, that life, offers. The joy is in the fondness of memories, the seizing of the day, and the respectful preparation of the future.

Last week I did something I never do – I set written, short term, measurable goals for myself and published them here. I thought it only proper to report of how the week looked compared to how I actually did.

Track all food and drink

This went beautifully! I learned that I am not taking in enough calories to compensate for my activity. The problem is I drink a lot of water and I eat a lot of food. However the food is big bulk low calorie coupled with the water – I feel full most of the time.

I am also at my target weight/body fat. Therefore I have nothing to pull from when I am empty. Couple that with a poorly planned fueling strategy this weekend (which I will talk about in a sec), I am the poster child for a great article written about the importance of taking in enough calories by Madeline. (I can’t find the article – Madeline, will you link it in the comments?)

**Note – The Lose It app takes into consideration exercise into the daily calorie counts. The calorie count you see is a net of what I ate minus what I spent. The budget is based of calorie allowance for weight maintenance. 

15 minutes of stretching every day

What can I say? I find stretching painfully boring. Yes, I realize it is super important. Yes, I know i should do it any way. I did manage to do the stretching routines 3 times this week. And that is 3 more than last week. AND I have scheduled myself a fantastic Yoga class on Friday at Awaking Yoga studio  in Richmond Hill with the fabulous Jillian Stafford! Progress, baby!

N TC3 Nike Training Club Workouts

This one I did too, although not without some serious discomfort. If you have never used the Nike Training Club app, you really should consider it. I was thrilled when it finally became available for the Android after being exclusively iPhone for so long. It is free, it is easy to use, and it is hard on the body.

After the first workout, my suspicions were confirmed. My lack of cross training was seriously affecting my overall ability to stay fit. My runs were suffering. The morning after the Drill Sargent workout my whole body hurt. I expected my upper body to be sore, but my lower half? I am a distance runner for goodness sake! Couple squats and I’m walking funny? Yep, gotta use those muscles in all kinds of different ways.

Log my first +40 run week

I didn’t quite get here. But I am am a better runner for the short fall. I picked up three key points that I did not really have cemented in my mind. They, for me, are big ones.

  1. Speed work is important. I am never going to get faster and stronger if I don’t work faster and strong. 
  2. Planning routes does have its place. While there is a lot of freedom is going out and just running, some days there is comfort in knowing just where you are going to achieve your desired goals.
  3. Preparation is key. I can’t make up for water I didn’t drink, food I didn’t eat, training I didn’t do yesterday today. It doesn’t work that way. I also have to remember that my life now requires that spur of the moment trip packing requires more than just a toothbrush. I no longer live out of a drive through window or on chips and salsa. Before I zip up the duffel bag, I need to remember what it take so give my body the best chance to do what I need it to do.

The biggest success this week? Goal setting works. And I don’t mean it works in the global sense. I mean I am making it work in the personal sense. There were quite a few times this week when I thought about cutting corners. But I knew that I was tracking the progress. More importantly, I knew that you would know. Accountability is an amazing thing.

I appreciate you all being here for it.

Week of April 29, 2013

  1. Log my first +40 run week to include 2 speed work sessions
  2. 3 Nike Training Club Workouts
  3. 15 minutes of stretching every day to include one Yoga class
  4. Plan and track all food, drink, and supplementation

 

**Quote Photo from Lifehack.com

“I’m Bored…let’s find something hard to do!”

My dear husband swears this is the mantra of my life…

I’m bored…let’s find something hard to do!

The first time he said it, I wasn’t sure if it was a compliment or him making a bit of sport at my expense. The third time, I realized it was a loving little bit of both.

I thought about it for while as this perception is not necessarily one I wanted to communicate. However, I first had to figure out if it was true.

And, at its root, it is.

He didn’t say relaxed, comfortable, having a bit of downtime. He said bored.

And if I am bored, then there is no challenge. If there is no challenge, I get lazy. I get lazy, I become a lesser version of myself.

And, no, I do not care to be a lesser version of myself. 

So while it may look like I just enjoy the hard, the more true thing is that I would rather discover all the God given potential I have been blessed with. I would rather see exactly what I am a capable of – then try to do more.

I didn’t realize I had gotten bored. But I did. Just a little.

I blamed it on the weather…when it is cold, I have a hard time getting out of bed and outside for my early morning runs.

I blamed my schedule. I am still adjusting to working a 9-5. The gym time that I used to switch up my routine and add in some cross training has become nonexistent.

I blamed my sudden change in diet. While it wasn’t really that big of a change or that sudden, it was pretty profound and for reasons I had never had to deal with before.

I blamed it on a lot of stuff…and with blame nearly always comes complacency. Complacency cannot run 50 miles in Beaufort in July. Complacency cannot care for her family. Complacency is not healthy.

And I have come to far to go back to being unhealthy.

Combating complacency will be different for everybody. It just depends on what areas of your life have been affected the most. Mine are schedule and diet.

Because my time is under some pretty hard constraints, I find myself wasting a lot of it. My brain says, “there is no time to do anything productive, so let’s not do anything at all.” Yeah that works.

Because my eating habits can be seen as faddish, extreme, difficult, unhealthy, unnatural, and temporary, I have forgotten that my food is my business – not a result of an online poll. True, I share (and I will more in the immediate future) and I ask the masses. But not for permission or validation, rather a constant evaluation of being my best self. I have allowed myself to make exceptions without structure. This leads to irresponsibility, guilt, and a useless 5 pounds.

So, I’m bored…let’s find something hard to do. 

Life ChallengesBlock schedules kill me. Tracking drives me nuts. It just triggers a part of my brain that rebels against the structure.

Goal writing scares the shit outta me. Especially the little, timed ones. The big, long distance ones are less scary. There is room for error, procrastination, catch up. But the other, especially the weekly…those require pretty intense focus and allows for very little sway.

So, without further fear or hesitation, my first set of weekly goals made a bit more serious by the sheer act of publicly publishing them…

Week of April 22, 2013

  1. Log my first +40 run week
  2. 3 Nike Training Club Workouts
  3. 15 minutes of stretching every day
  4. Track all food and drink

Now, let’s see what happens 🙂

 

**Photo credits
Believe to Achieve
…and Spiritually Speaking

I said I would run WHAT?!?!

I’m still not sure how I came across the post originally. It could have been the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge Group. It could have been my feed-reader. Maybe a random stumble on. I don’t know. But I found it…

And it is true, I am a sucker for great marketing and coolio little badge thingys. I adore social groupy stuff. Little bit of friendly challenge/competition  Heehee I love it. And it’s running too? And I was already a bit revved up on wild changes. So, when these things combined for a 2013 challenge to run 13 races in 2013, I was obviously interested. And they didn’t all have to be super long distances. I could shoot for the halves with a few fulls and ultras sprinkled for variety and still be in…so what did this all create??

Perfect storm for this post >>>>

And so what do you do when

  1. You really like to run (and a half marathon distance wants to be your favorite)
  2. A chick who rocks hard enough to SHAVE HER HEAD for charity says you can do it
  3. The female with the physique you use as motivation says go for it
  4. A run buddy uses the pronoun “we”

You sign up…

Seriously…

What the hell was I thinking 🙂

Actually, I think it will be a lot of fun.

How does this involve you? Well, a few ways

  1. Join in with us (See Jennifer, I am so comfortable with that idea – “Inadvertent” or otherwise!). Check out Jill’s blog and pick the challenge that works best for you.
  2. Root me on! Subscribe to TTSW and watch for my updates. The comment section here, my facebook page, and my twitter are great places for tidbits of encouragement. *Side note – I promise to return the favor!
  3. Help me out. Finding different races and paying for it all can be a bit tough. If you know of a neat race (at least a half marathon in distance), have ways to find discounts and reduced rates on entry, travel, and lodging, or know of a business that would love to be bragged on for their awesomeness in exchange for not having to run the race themselves 🙂 let me know.

I do have a few planned already ~~~~

  1. 01/12/2013 ~ Ledesma Rails to Trails Ultra Marathon (50k)
  2. 02/02/2013 ~ Critz Tybee Run Fest Half Marathon (13.1) 
  3. 06/22/2013 ~ Bad Marsh Night Ultra (50k)

Last year I would have thought the above list was pretty impressive…now it’s less than 25% of what I have committed to… perhaps I need to BE committed…

…LOVE MY RUN FAMILY 🙂

Are You Gonna Run That?

There are two kinds of people who say they hate running

  1. People who secretly wish to run but don’t
  2. People who who don’t realize they secretly wish to run but don’t

In all seriousness. I am not saying anything about the motivation or the what other folks need to do or don’t do. I try not to function that way. I get that what is “good” for one is not necessarily “good” for another. Like I said to the twigs – I ain’t mad.

I am talking to those of you who are making changes. And not just necessarily just running…maybe you are eating different, picking up the weights, putting down the smokes, getting rid of the old clutter, bringing in some new friends…whatever.

I am going to tell you something you probably already know…some people around you are not going to be quite as excited as you are.

The truth is, most people are not going to care. Because this is a big deal to you, this is going to feel like non support. I get that. Rest assured, it isn’t. They simply don’t care either way. It is a neutral. Go ahead and be okay with that. There is a bunch of crap they do that you don’t care about either. It is okay.

That is most people. But there are others…the ones that swear you are going to ruin your knees, lose too much weight, eat the wrong foods, hang with the wrong people, become overzealous, take on too much, not get enough, waste your time…you get the point. You have probably already heard it. I got a dollar that says you just read that in somebody’s voice who says it to you now.

Ask me how I know 🙂

Complete strangers will feel free to comment on my distance, my pace, my clothes, my shoes (OH MY SHOES!), you name it. It is almost as bad as being pregnant. Mommies know exactly what I am talking about. Nothing extracts unwanted, unsolicited advice like a preggers belly (except maybe some hot pink vvf’s).

Is it right? Probably not. Is it useful? Not typically. Can it be hurtful and demotivating? If you let it. Is it ever going to stop? Probably not.

And it also isn’t helpful to cheese it up and say things like, “I don’t do it for them anyway,” or “Who cares what they think?” or the ever popular, “I have to do what I have to do to make me happy.”

Bet I just stepped on one of your favorites. How do I know? Because they are mine too. So before you storm off and swear me off, let me explain.

The truth is that some of these folks may be your children, your spouse, your family, your friends. You are, to some extent, doing this for them. You are looking to provide a better example, be around longer, participate more. In other areas of your life, these people provide counsel, are a sounding board, they are your shoulder. You do, to some extent, care what they think. And all this is not making you happy.

Making it takes more than a hackneyed phrase and 10 deep breaths. It takes balance, intention, and serious consideration. Some really great support sources help too 🙂

Persevering through the exterior noise takes as much training as actual exercise. And there are typical ideas that work in most cases. I have found it very helpful to

  • consider the gripe
  • consider the source
  • consider the context

Don’t just brush it off. I mean, unless you are one of the few people who can actually do that. I can’t. I pretend like I do and then I spend the next four days going over it again in my head and letting it fester. Yeah, not effective. Go ahead and process the noise so you can put it away. It may be a legitimate issue you need to address. Could be a crazy person that is always looking for stuff to be pissed off and negative about.

Or it could be someone who wishes they had the backbone to do what it is you are doing and being brassy with you is easier than being brassy with themselves.

Best part, I think your backbone can handle it. And I hope you have heard that before.

A few more excuses…

If you have not read this, (I will tell you about my diet and fitness choices…but we have to talk about this first) please do that first. Seriously. Thanks 🙂

Yeah, that will be at the beginning of all these posts. I am kinda serious about it. I realize I can be kinda snarky, this topic is kinda sensitive, and we all beat ourselves up enough. It is important to me that you know that is NOT happening here.

If you missed my First Steps

This comment was left on the last post (when it was originally posted here)…I loved it because it yet again proved I was not alone. I have thought this same thing over and over again.

We all have excuses. Just a few more things to get in place, then I will be ready. Tomorrow, Monday, the beginning of the month, the beginning of the quarter, after this season, at the New Year…whatever. If you are anything like me. That time will just keep pushing itself backwards to a new milestone. I have heard of this phenomenon somewhere. I think it has a name…oh yeah, procrastination. (Don’t you like how I pretend I don’t know this cat amazingly well?)

First, I am not a fan of the word “excuse.” I think, by definition, it conveys the appropriate idea. By connotation, it sucks. When we say “excuse”, we assume lazy, non committed, unable, failure, lack of discipline, untruthfulness, and general full of shitness.

We are not any of those things. I am not any of those things.

What I am is a married mother of four children with a demanding profession. I am active with my family, friends, parish, and community. What I am is what you probably are – challenged to do one more thing in your non-forgiving 24 hour day.

I prefer “challenges” to “excuses”. And if you are one who thinks that is little more than a cop-out or feel good semantics, just keep going with what ever works for you. But most people I know already have more than enough self hate speech going on in their heads. If that kind of motivation works for you, go with it. Seriously, I am for whatever helps you achieve your goals. But for me, it is paralyzing and defeating. Then, not only do I have real challenges to contend with, but I have to move past the mental sewage that just stink piled in my brain. No thanks.

Second, I found no point in morally sorting my challenges. Do I lack time because I watch too much TV or because I have four kids that need homework help? Do I eat fast food because it was the only option or because I just really wanted that cheeseburger? Did I make this choice because I am a good, upright super citizen of the world, or a big, fat piece of crap? See, how it doesn’t matter? Just more brain sewage.

But, I DO have challenges. The most pressing one is time. And there are a ton of reasons this is a challenge. Some could be classified as legitimate and some not. Not the point. The point was not beating myself up over choices I had made with my past time, but making this new thing a priority…making new choices in spite of, and without carrying the baggage of, the previous choices.

I am always thinking about how to answer your question. “April, how did you do it?”

The answer is I haven’t done it. I am doing it. And it is a process of waking up every morning, identifying the specific challenges to my priorities for this specific day and making it my mission in the next 24 hours to successfully navigate those challenges. Not yesterday’s challenges. Not maybe unforeseen challenges of tomorrow. Not cranked up brain sewage shitness. But honest to goodness logistics of today’s “To Do” list.

There is no better day 🙂