Archive for the ‘Introspection’ Category

My niece and I had decided to run in the Quad City Marathon this month.  We were both going to use the same training program so that we could support each other.  Things started out swimmingly.  She’s a bit faster than me, but that’s ok.  We had talked about that and we were ok with running our own race at our own pace.


Our Playground Workout

I quickly found a friend to train with to help keep me motivated.  Thanks to her, I started getting up early to run.  The hours passed quickly and I enjoyed our time together.  We were motivating each other.  I felt blessed because she slowed down her pace to keep me company and I motivated her to keep going.

I had already modified the training plan to account for my husband’s work schedule.  My kids aren’t old enough to stay home alone and hiring a babysitter that often is just not in the budget.  So sometimes, the run had to go by the wayside so I could take care of the kids.  Thankfully, my running partner was ok with that…she had been there, done that, and was very understanding.

But then injury hit.  My knee acted up for a couple of days, and since I had struggled with it last year during my half, I made sure I took care of it.  Then my plantar fasciitis flared.  That sidelined me for a while.  We did water jogging, weight lifting, bike riding and rested.  It eventually went away.  I thought I was home free, barring the occasional summer cold.

I always knew that I was a slow runner…12-15 minutes per mile is my average, depending on the race and the heat.  The long runs kept getting longer.  The time I spent away from home kept getting longer.  I started getting discouraged, especially when it felt like I wasn’t making any progress.  I just couldn’t get faster.  I was doing ok on the longer runs, for the most part.  But things were slowly breaking down.


A hot workout…not a great experience

My breaking point was a scheduled 18 mile run.  I knew it was going to take me a while – at least 4.5 hours to finish.  Have you ever thought about what you can do in 4.5 hours?  You can watch all of Gone With the Wind (and have time left over), you can do 3 loads of laundry, you can read an entire book (maybe even 2).  Most importantly, you can help your husband by watching the little kids so that he can work on the home remodel.  And who really wants to get up at 4:15 in the morning to go for a run so that you can be home in time to do other things?  Not this girl…so the run didn’t happen.  Family first.


Kiddos reading in the hallway


It was at that point that I started feeling like maybe the full 26.2 wasn’t going to happen for me.

Over the next few days, I talked to my niece; I talked to my running partner; I talked to my husband; and I talked to myself.  It was a difficult decision.  I knew I could do the half.  I did one last year and I had felt reasonably good during my 12+ mile runs.  But deep down, I wanted my first marathon experience to be good.  I did not want to be that runner that was crossing the finish line after 6.5 hours…with the finish line being partially dismantled, the sag wagon dogging my footsteps, not having seen any of the race volunteers or refreshment tables for the last 2 hours.  I wanted to cross the finish line earlier than that.

I wanted my marathon experience to be good…not a straggling, suffering, guilt-laden one.

At that point, I decided to do the half.


My favorite view on my favorite path.

It was a load that fell off my shoulders.  I felt good about my decision; disappointed, but good.  I felt like I was letting people down; that I was giving up.  To a certain extent, I still feel that way.  But I know that I’m not ready to run 26.2 miles the way I want to run them.  Making that decision freed up my time to focus on my kids, the big projects we have going on at home, and to focus on my husband (not in that order).  While he supports my running and is at every finish line he can be at, he didn’t like me being gone so long, running alone in the partial dark, and running the chance of getting hurt.

I know that when I lace up my shoes on Sunday to run the half, it will be fine.  He will be at the finish line waiting for me with a hug and a kiss.  Most of my kids will be there to surround me with hugs.  They will be proud of me no matter what distance I run.


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Week 3 was hard for me for several reasons – primarily due to schedule, but I also got hit with the crud that’s going around.  I lifted for an hour one day – not the scheduled workout, but a strength workout with members of my Booty Buster team.  I tried to lift a second day but my timing at the Y wasn’t good.

On the plus side, I ran in the Runs for Cookies Virtual 5k on Friday (part of my #13in2013) and I beat by goal time by almost 2 minutes.  My first 5k of the year had a time of 47:34.  On Friday, I just wanted to beat 45:00.  And I did it!  I ran it in 43:02.  While I wasn’t overwhelmed with happiness with my time, I think I did pretty well considering I was struggling with being able to breathe and coughing a TON.

Another plus was that I managed to get in my fruits/veggies most of the days and I also got enough water in me most days.  I think I need to keep up with that a little bit more because the water will counteract the sodium in my meals (tortilla chips, tacos, potato oles, etc.).

I’m hoping to actually do the scheduled workouts this week.  I am a little worried about the endurance circuits, but I think I will be able to get through it ok.

Tina said in her check-in email this week that it’s not unusual to be a little unmotivated this week.  I think I was unmotivated to a certain extent.  I just got discouraged pretty easily and frustrated with my general lack of progress.  I have a lot going on and I need to be able to focus.

My word for the year has been patience, and most days have been a struggle, but especially in this last week.  I’m hoping to be able to refocus on it.

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Well, week 2 has come and gone.  Was I successful?  Kind of.


I ran 4 days and was able to finish up weeks 5 and 6 of Couch to 5k (which is the furthest I have ever gone in that program).  I lifted twice during the week.  One of those days was BBB workout A and the other day was a random strength workout with my friend Tracy.  Water is always hard for me to get in over the weekends, so the fact that I did it on Saturday was amazing.  I didn’t get any writing in over the weekend, but I got lots of thinking in.

My workout availability schedule is so crazy that sometimes I have to modify things so they fit into my schedule.  So I didn’t do BBB workout B during week 1 or 2, and only did workout C during week 1.

Overall, I am pretty happy that I decided to do this challenge, although I have realized that if I want a chance to be included in the grand prize drawings, I need to step it up for the remaining weeks.

We start week 3 today.  The workouts for weeks 3 and 4 look TOUGH, but I’m hoping they will challenge me and give me that push I have been looking for.  Goal 1 is remaining the same – drink 8 cups of water every day.  Goal 2 is changing to eat 5 servings of fruits or vegetables every day.

On a personal note, I am hoping to push myself and stop telling myself that I can’t do things.

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I have been reading Amanda Brooks’ blog @ Run to the Finish for several months now.  Her posts are insightful, funny, and make me feel as though we are just hanging out.  She runs BestFoot challenges during the year.  I haven’t done any of them so far, but I liked the one for January 2013 – Golden Mornings.


The challenge is to spend the first 5 minutes of each day in contemplation – mediation, affirming, free writing, whatever – as long as you connect to yourself.  I usually spend my mornings rushing around because I have overslept or because the girls aren’t moving fast enough (because I overslept).  I bought a small notebook and will leave it by my bed so that I can do this challenge as soon as I wake up.  Instead of hitting snooze 6 times, I will only hit it 5 (grin).

I’m looking forward to this challenge.  Mainly because I am going to tie it in to her One Word for the Year.  My word for the year is Patience.

word image

My family will tell you that I am not a very patient person.  I want things to be done NOW and I am too quick to jump to conclusions.  I need to stop and think before I react.  I need to realize that results will come.  Things can’t always come when I want them.

My lack of patience affects more than just me.  It affects my husband and my kids.  It affects my job, my workouts, and my health.  My lack of patience causes stress, which ends up spiraling into other things.  I’m hoping that by focusing on being more patient this year things can improve in my life.

What’s Your Word?

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So last week in the HBBC 2012 scores, I had a big, fat, 0 staring me in the face.  Sure, I got 7 points during the week for checking-in on Facebook, but there were absolutely NO exercise points.  Boy, did that suck!

This week, I slightly redeemed myself.  I had 6.85 exercise points (ok, so 5.85 exercise points and 1 fruits/veggies point).  Still not spectacular, but considering I waited until Tuesday to be “released” by my chiro to exercise and then my birthday was on Wednesday, I think I did ok.

Here’s how my week ended up –

  • Monday – 1 Facebook point and 1 freggies point (plus 30 squats)
  • Tuesday – 1 Facebook point (plus 35 squats)
  • Wednesday – 1 Facebook point (it’s my birthday!) (plus 40 squats)
  • Thursday – 1 Facebook point (had workout plans, but they were superseded by hubby & kiddo plans)
  • Friday – 1.75 mile run and 40 minutes of yoga = 3.75 points + 1 Facebook point (plus 1 set of 45 make-up squats and 1 set of 50 squats)
  • Saturday – 1 Facebook point (plus 55 squats)
  • Sunday – 2.1 mile run and 1 Facebook point (plus 60 squats)

Here’s why I like this challenge.  First, it’s introduced me to a bunch of new people.  Second, it’s keeping me accountable for my actions when I would usually give up and just let things slide.  Third, it’s motivating me to try new things – like a 13 in 2013 challenge.  I may not win any prizes during this challenge, but if I can lose some weight and inches, then I will be happy.

I’m looking forward to the remaining weeks in this challenge and am hoping I can get back into the swing of things, even with as busy as my schedule will get.

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I came to a realization last night while I was curled up on my couch with my Lizzie-dog.

My Lizzie-dog who likes to snuggle when I don’t feel well.

It really is the little things that matter.  I haven’t been feeling well lately – just a general sense of blah and not feeling good, compounded by not sleeping well.  I looked at what I have been doing the last few days and what I have been eating.  Here’s what I found:

  • My eating hasn’t been horrible, but it’s also not great.  I’ve been close to my calorie count the last few days – maybe a little over, but nothing excessive.  But I also know that I’ve had to estimate on some of the things I’ve eaten, or I haven’t recorded every bite I’ve taken (those darn chocolate covered pretzels!).
  • My water intake has been down.  During the summer, I was easily getting in 8-10 cups of water a day.  Now that it’s not so hot, I’m lucky to get 4-6, and that’s on a workout day.
  • My evening snacking is probably affecting how I feel before I go to bed and how well I sleep.  I usually have a small handful (or two) of chocolate chips or part of a Hershey bar at sometime during the evening.  That probably needs to be cut back.  The same goes for my snack after work.  I just need to make better choices.
  • My workouts have suffered because I haven’t felt great.  I haven’t stuck 100% to the schedule I set at the beginning of November.  That always makes me feel guilty.  However, out of 8 scheduled workouts, I have completed 6 (7 if you count the night I substituted a DVD for a scheduled run).  It’s not horrible.

The accumulation of all these little things affects how I feel about myself and how I feel in general.  Laying it out helps me to see what I can fix.  I am going to commit to the following things:

  • Increase my water intake.  This is going to be my primary focus for the next week or so.  If I can get back into this habit, I think it will go a long way toward helping me feel better.  I will be less likely to snack, which will help as well.
  • I am going to stick to my workout schedule.  I’m not too far off, so I will need to pull a couple of long workout sessions to catch up, but I should be able to do it.  I may need to be creative about when I workout, though.  By the end of November, I want to be where I planned to end the month.  I will also have to be slightly more realistic when I plan December though.
  • I’m going to be more mindful of what I put into my body.  More fruit and vegetables, more protein, less sugar.

I didn’t gain weight overnight and I’m not going to lose it overnight.  It’s taken me almost a year to lose 40 pounds.  Sure, that’s an accomplishment, but I also know that if I had focused a bit better and not let myself get distracted, I probably could have met my goal weight by the end of the year.  That’s not going to happen at this point.  There are 6 weeks until the end of the year, and all I can do is to make the best of them and do my best to follow through on my plan.

But it really is the little things that matter.  All those steps, all those reps, all those bites, all those hugs from my girls and husband, all the comments from friends and family about my progress, all the notes of encouragement.  Everything makes a difference.

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This summer, I was training for several races, the longest of which was a half-marathon.  I found this picture in the spring and referred to it a lot. It brought me around when I thought of stopping, when my training fell apart, when the heat was overwhelming.  How can I tell my daughters not to give up when I wanted to give up?

It doesn’t matter what you are up against…if it’s just a Monday, if it’s financial difficulties, a job situation (or lack thereof), a bad run or workout, or just a bad morning with your spouse/significant other/kids…don’t give up.  Keep going – just one foot in front of the other.

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