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Posts Tagged ‘choice’

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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You know, sometimes, life just happens.  Sometimes things don’t work out how you have them planned.  That’s been my experience with HBBC the last few weeks.  Between school concerts, choir practices, meetings, and just plain schedule issues, workouts haven’t happened.  Meals have not been the most organized thing happening.

Are those necessarily valid excuses? No.  I saw this picture (from Run with Jess).

Source: Run With Jess

Source: Run With Jess

But are they my excuses for the last few weeks?  Yep.  That doesn’t make me a bad person, that just makes my choices different than maybe they should have been.  I was focused on keeping my kids at their activities, getting my things done, trying to stay rested (and healthy), and keeping myself sane.

I had some HBBC Facebook interactions during those 3 weeks.  Plus, I got in a bunch of cleaning/cooking time on Christmas Day.  But I know my attitude suffered while I wasn’t eating right or exercising.  I know I’ve been more stressed out than usual.  I know that if I had followed through on my plans, all of that would have been different – even slightly different.

So what’s my goal for the last week of HBBC?  To make it through the last week with some kind of mileage and workouts.  We will see.

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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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Motivation Monday

I am a horrible procrastinator – just ask my husband.  I can make a project last a long time…even if it means that there are totes of clothes in my living room.  I will also find almost any excuse not to do something…(what, read this month’s book club selection?  but these other books are like candy!)

That’s why I am making a point this fall and winter to get things done.  Weather is NOT going to be an excuse for not working out.  I can run on the treadmill at the Y or my parents’ house.  I can even run outside.  If hubby’s work schedule isn’t going to work with my workout schedule, I will find a way to make it work…if that means I need to take the girls with me to the Y, fine;  if that means I get up at the crack of dawn or stay up late, fine.  I have to make it work if I am going to achieve my goals.

During Hurricane Sandy, one thing struck me.  If the soldiers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers can stand guard during that, I can surely get my butt off the couch and workout.

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Thoughts About My Journey

I saw this on MyFitnessPal this morning (from yoovie) and I thought it was something to think about.  Too often, I am wrapped up in my own head when it comes to my weight loss and exercise plan.  I often forget about why I am doing this and how easy it is to slip up.  I have had a month of slips and I really need to get back on the wagon.  I need to remember that it’s the end game that matters, not the day-to-day battle against temptation and my own inner voice.

1. The people that succeed are the ones that want it the most.

2. The ones that want it enough, shine bright as the sun with inner light.

3. If you want to succeed, you will research and study and find out the truth for yourself instead of mindlessly eating up whatever anyone tells you. Pun intended.

4. Happy is a decision.

5. It is possible to fear success – and that is one of the hidden hurdles no one tells you you’ll have to break through.

6. There is no end game if you are doing it right, you simply become capable of more and more and more.

7. You’ll never succeed if you dont honestly believe you deserve to succeed. Because otherwise you’ll accept any excuse to lag behind.

8. You are going to realise terrifying, life-changing, sanity unhinging things about yourself and you are going to be shocked at what you are willing to change and sacrifice because you can finally see that it will be better in the long run. many things will devastate you, many will destroy your spirit. temporarily. and then you will realize that you made a decision that would prevent ugliness and resentment in the future and you stood by it and you can be proud of the dignity you will have later, for making the awful decisions now.

9. You finally understand that selfishness is not always a sin and in many cases, goddamn late showing up in your life- you need it, you cherish it, you thrive because of it- and are in a better place to be able to help others because of it.

10. if you think that temptation to eat bad around your friends/husband, not being able to get out of bed to exercise in the morning or hearing discouraging things from the people around you are good reasons for quitting all the time… you should quit for good, you just don’t have the chops for flying.

 

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In January, I started a new way of life.  Nothing dramatic, but it was time for a change.  I decided that I was tired of the way I looked and felt.  I decided to become more active and to eat better.  I signed up for MyFitnessPal; I started a “Biggest Loser” type of competition at my local Y; and went on about my day.

 As I sit here at the beginning of month 8, I decided to look back at what I have done. 

  • Achievement 1 – Weight Loss – to date, I have lost about 30 pounds.  I’m not done yet, and it’s not coming off as fast as I would like, but that’s ok.  Am I eating better?  Mostly.  Can I do better?  Sure, but who wants to give up chocolate?
  • Achievement 2 – Running – to date, I have raced in 2 virtual 5k races and 3 other 5k races.  I am not the fastest runner, but I am working on it.  I will say this though, as much as I like the 5k races with other people, I really like the virtual races.  I don’t feel as much pressure that I am going to be the last one to cross the finish line.  I have at least 3 5k races, a 4-mile virtual race, a 10k, and a half-marathon planned for the next 3 months.
  • Achievement 3 – Weight Lifting – if you had asked me in January to lift weights, I would have headed straight to the machines and gone to work, but not challenged myself.  In April, I decided that I needed more of a challenge.  I poked around on some forums and other websites and found New Rules of Lifting for Women.  I started the program in May and am in the 2nd phase.  I have (mostly) enjoyed what I have learned while doing it.  In addition, I feel stronger and a bit braver…especially those days in which I am the only female in the free weight area.
  • Achievement 4 – Clothing – I have dropped 3-4 sizes since January, depending on the brand, style, and type of clothing.  This has to be one of my biggest complaints – garment manufacturers cannot seem to standardize their sizes.  On top of that, the classic size 8 is not the current size 8 (in my opinion anyway).

 What do I see for myself for the rest of this year?  Here are my goals:

  • Goal 1 – Weight Loss – lose another 10 pounds by the half-marathon, lose remaining weight by the end of the year (but NO LATER THAN March 1).
  • Goal 2 – Activity – stick with workouts.  I have found that it helps me to plan them out for each month.  Then I know what to expect and I can plan the rest of my day with certain expectations.  I also need to find something to train for.
  • Goal 3 – Weight Lifting – finish New Rules of Lifting for Women by the end of the year.  I should be able to accomplish that, unless my half-marathon training interferes too much.  After that program, I need to decide what I am going to do.  I may go back and start over, or I may decide to try something different.  Who knows?

This journey hasn’t been all sunshine and unicorns.  It’s been tough.  I’ve hit a few plateaus.  I’ve struggled with food choices.  There were days that I didn’t want to log everything I ate, but I did anyway.  I made myself accountable to the online friends I had; I made myself accountable to my husband and daughters; and most of all, I made myself accountable to me.  There are a few friends that have stuck with me since the beginning – with weekly weigh-ins that we text to each other, friends that listen to me whine and complain (and then help spur me on), friends that cheer me on when I run.  To them, I say

 thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I would have given up way before this without you.

The end of the Grandview Freedom Run Race (7/4/2012).

Without a doubt, this has been a hard journey (kind of like the race pictured above).  It’s not going to get easier.  I’m lucky that I have a supportive husband and two little girls who think it’s a lot of fun to “exercise” with Mommy on those days I decide a DVD is going to be the extent of my workout.  I’m lucky to have supportive friends.  I’m thankful for those people in cyber-land who run contests, who blog about their efforts, who are always willing to give information to newbies, and serve as inspiration.

As I refocus myself on the rest of the year and the activities I have coming up, I would like to say thank you.  Let’s keep supporting each other.

 

(reblogged from my other blog: jenpeterson.wordpress.com dated 8/1/2012)

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I am Determined

I’m a new runner.  I only started running about 6 months ago.  Since then, I have completed a couple of local 5ks, several virtual races, and gradually increased my mileage.  I’m not the fastest runner, but I try hard and I am learning.

The last 2 months have been difficult for training.  Between the heat, other activities, and several injuries/sore muscles, sometimes it’s hard to get the mileage that I want to get.  Especially since I am training for a half-marathon in October.

My biggest problem is pushing too hard, too fast.  It usually means I will end up hurting something.  That usually means I am out of running commission for a while.  For me, that’s hard.  I want to do my best and I want to be out running.  I can’t improve if I can’t get out there, right?

The last week or so, I have been battling a knee injury.  I’ve done something to it…probably a strain.  I figured something was wrong when I tried to do an 8 mile training run on Sunday and only made it ¾ of a mile…and even that was a struggle.

So why is this a problem?  Some people may say: “Just stop running.”  “Just ride a bike.”  “Just don’t do it.”  The issue is that I need to keep running.  I can’t do my half-marathon on a bike.  I can’t continue to improve my lifestyle without activity like this.  Running has helped me in so many ways.  It’s improved my health, it’s helped me lose weight, it’s made me stronger.

The result of my injury is that tomorrow, I will have my first DID NOT START (DNS) for a race I signed up for.  It makes me sad to do this.  Until this morning, I thought I was at least going to see if they would let me switch from the 10k to the 5k, because I can at least walk the 5k (they don’t allow walkers in the 10k).  But the knee is just not cooperating and it’s telling me I need to rest it some more.  I wanted to do this race – it was going to be my longest race to date and I wanted to put some more points on the board for the local Grand Prix competition (I’m currently in 4th place for my age group – yippee!).

While this is upsetting, I just have to keep my half-marathon in the back of my mind.  That race needs to be my priority.  It’s important to me.  It’s with my niece, and it will be our first half.  Vacation time has been requested and approved; the race has been paid for; plans are set.  The only thing that will keep me from running that race is if a doctor says I can’t.  Otherwise, I will be at that starting line with her on October 6th, race bib on, and ready to go.  I don’t care if I run/walk, run, or crawl, but I will be in that race.

 I am determined.

(Reblogged from my other blog: Jenpeterson.wordpress.com)

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