Sunday, February 26, 2012

Propel Yourself Forward

Week 2 of half marathon training.

“You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back.” - Steve Prefontaine

I often struggle with this. There have been so many times where I start something ambitious, but the journey to the finish line is rocky. I see this feeling a lot when it comes to fitness. I start P90X, make it to day 8ish, start losing the determination, then slowly quit. I lose 20 lbs, get so excited when I see the number on the scale that I take it easy for a little while. That usually turns into a longer period of time than I hope, and before I know it, I gain 5-10 back even though I am still so far away from my goal. I ran my first 10K and took some time off after because I had this "I just ran farther than I ever have in my life" mentality. When I finally ran again, I could barely run 2 miles. I essentially had to start over and get it all back. This is going to be my biggest challenge of this journey. Not week 1, not getting out of bed on May 6th and running the race, but finding the motivation and drive within to see the entire process through. I usually get so excited about jumping over a minor hurdle that it causes me to trip up. I am a big believer in celebrating the small successes, but not at an expense of losing the finish line.

Monday - Rest

Tuesday - 3 Miles
3.15 miles - 31:52 - 10:06 pace
Slightly built on the time, but the best thing about today was how I felt. For the entire way, the legs felt really good. I think the 5 miler over the weekend helped. Slowly but surely, I am optimistic that I will see progress :)

Wednesday - 3 Miles - Pace
2.14 miles - 22:10 - 10:21 pace
Today's run was absolutely terrible. It was my first morning run of training (besides my race) and it followed an evening run last night. At about .5 I started to feel weird - almost as if I wasn't acclimated to the altitude. by 1 I was ready to be done. At 1.5 I stopped to walk for a while, then ran again at the end. Now I'm sore, my back hurts, and I'm exhausted. Physically and emotionally. Here's hoping tomorrow is a better day.

Thursday - 3 Miles
3.15 miles - 32:15 - 10:14 pace
Tonight was pretty solid, and it definitely made up for yesterday's train wreck. My calf and back hurt as a result of the fiasco, but it still felt strong. I find it interesting how both Thursdays were the best I've felt... since it is the 3rd day in a row and my body can definitely feel it. Slightly confusing, but I'll definitely take it!

Friday - Rest
Yes please!

Saturday - Cross
First time playing in over 3 months. It felt so good!

Sunday - 5 Miles
5.09 miles - 54:29 - 10:42 pace
I meant to do this run in the morning, but it ended up happening at night. It was pretty cold... the first 2 miles felt strong, but then the next 1.5 was pretty brutal. I caught a second wind, but still less than stellar. I am not too pleased with the time, but happy that I made it the full 5 - during my run I wasn't so sure it was going to happen. Overall, not a bad way to end week 2.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Single Step

As I embark on this half marathon journey, I want to be able to chart my progress and see how it goes - share the good and the bad. When I see it in front of me, I can see my successes as well as my failures. It can serve as a source of kudos as well as a wake up call. So here we go - the first chance to document my training.

Week One

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Tuesday - 3 Miles
3.23 miles
Not the great start I was looking for. I've taken a couple of weeks off, and I mean from a running and nutrition standpoint. Usually the first run back is 1.5-2 to "cleanse," but that wouldn't be good enough for my day 1. So am I glad I pushed through and made it the 3 miles? Yes. But did it feel good? No. But it was a successful day 1. The journey has started, and that feels great. I realized mid way through that I should probably time my runs so I can adjust speed as well as see progression. But oh well! Next time...

Wednesday - 3 Miles
3.22 miles - 32:58 - 10:14 pace
Today was pretty cold, so I was more bundled than I usually am. It was my chance to test out my new athletic jacket I got for Christmas. I'll be honest. Today hurt - just as I was a little surprised I made it the whole way yesterday, I was equally surprised today. I kept wanting to go faster and faster, but my legs didn't want to keep up. They were pretty dead, which was a little disheartening. Granted, this is only day 2 and I haven't been running that frequently recently, but if I struggle this much the 2nd day in a row, will I make it 3 months? I actually thought the pacing would have been slower, so I'll take it. I'm going to be sore tomorrow...

Thursday - 3 Miles
3.34 miles - 34:34 - 10:20 pace
This one was the hardest to get off of the couch. I didn't want to. At all. But what a beautiful night! Chilly, but not quite cold. I started off feeling amazing! I hit a nice stride, and my legs felt great. Until about 2.5 - that's when I started feeling this whole running 3 days in a row thing. I haven't run 3 days straight in a long time. If I would have guessed, I would have thought the time would have been a little faster. Not a thoroughly impressive run, but very solid. Now that I'm getting into a routine again, I can start cutting down the time.

Friday - Rest
Yes! I made it through the first trifecta, and now I can relax. Grabbed dinner, watched a movie. Life is good :)

Saturday - 4 Miles
5 mile race - Snowman Stampede - 51:10 - 10:14 pace
February race is in the books. The first mile was a little frustrating because of the amount of people putzing along. I felt strong until about mile 3.5, then I just started getting tired. And chafing. Then it just became about finishing. This is the first 5 mile run in a few months, so I wasn't expecting a whole lot out of today. All things considered, I'm pretty happy with my time. I'm also excited that the running portion of week 1 is completed, and I exceeded the mileage on every run.

Sunday - Cross
Still a little sore from yesterdays race. Let's take it easy and gear up for week 2!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mama Lou

I met my friend Linsey 2 years ago at a NACA conference - and from the moment we met, I knew she was someone incredibly special. She is a professional strongwoman, going by the name of Mama Lou. She was challenging people to different feats of strengths, and I reluctantly decided to embarrass myself. I walk up to her and choose a challenge. She tells me I have to bend a nail in half with my hands. Ok, I get the trick. I attempt something that I can't do. I struggle and make a fool of myself. She does it without really trying. I get it. I keep telling her how I don't think I can do it. She hands me the nail and cloth to protect my hands. I try. I feel it bending, but I'm convinced it's just in my head. Keep going. Keep going. When I'm done, and take the cloth away, the nail is almost at a 90 degree angle. I'm shocked. She pulls me in closer and says "This is why you never doubt yourself. You never know what you're capable of until you try."

In that moment, Mama Lou changed my life.

Throughout the rest of the weekend, the chaos of the conference was apparent, but I found myself always stopping by and chatting with ML every time I saw her. She challenged me to blow up a whoopie cushion until it exploded. Challenge accepted. After a handful of minutes and getting extremely light headed, challenge completed. In her shows, she always picks on a "villain." For the conference, she chose me. She made me put on a sparkly orange leotard and try to rip a phone book in half. Not a chance. I tried, and tried... nothing. Mama Lou to the rescue. She grabs the phone book and with a few bursts of strength, there lies the phone book in 2 pieces.

Over the last two years, I'm so glad we've been able to keep in touch. We had her perform at our campus in Florida, we've met up when she was in town, we saw each other again at the conference, and have kept in touch over facebook. She is also a Words With Friends extraordinaire.

Linsey is without a doubt one of the most uplifting people you will ever meet. She believes in you and encourages you whether she's known you her whole life or even just a day. She is such a pleasure to talk to - whether it's our passions, running, life, or our shared love of pancakes. She also has some of those qualities that so many people are missing. I feel that people get so caught up in the future that they lose sight of the here and now. People set limits on each other and themselves, and they make decisions based on a track that they may or may not ever make it to. Linsey is different. She has told me that she wants to be a college professor. She would be amazing. This is her future path, but not her current one. She looks at her life and says "Yes, this is what I want to do, but not right now." She feels she can do that later in life. For now, she is more than happy with and feels inspired the path she has chosen. A street performer turned professional strongwoman who challenges people to find new strength. An aerialist who teaches so many people to soar to new heights. Linsey's path is touching the hearts and lives of everyone around her.

Mama Lou has a blog that I find inspirational. Along with some updates in her life, most of her posts are about challenging yourself to do things you thought were impossible, pushing yourself and expanding your comfort zone, accepting yourself, and the beauty that every person has, and thinking differently about the world around you. If moms want a role model for their daughters, look no further - Linsey is simply one of the best people you will ever come accross. The other day, I wrote a letter to myself for when I cross the finish line of my first half marathon in May. Linsey let me know that she wanted to include it in her blog, so she made a post about me.

So this is my rebuttal post to one of the most amazing and awe inspiring people I know. She even met her husband while traveling on a bus. Two strangers sitting by each other struck up conversation, and the rest is history. How cool is that?

I am so proud of who Linsey. Above all else, one of the things I have taken away from her is she lives, encourages, and inspires one of my favorite quotes in the world:

"When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it." - Into the Wild

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dear Jeff

Today, I started a journey.

Today was day 1 of training for a half marathon.

I'm not the greatest with recognizing my own accomplishments, giving myself credit, or feeling proud of myself, so this is my attempt at putting some thoughts down - in the style of a letter that I am writing to myself.

To be read on May 6th

Dear Jeff,

I want you to take a few minutes and reflect on what you just accomplished.

Over the past 3 months, you ran over 200 miles. Put that in perspective. You ran from Chicago to Indianapolis. From NYC to DC. From Seattle to Portland. You went out running 48 times - in snow, in rain, in cold, in heat - and the pavement became your best friend.

You thought about your future, you thought about your past. You shared stories you've never told anyone. You've recalled memories you've long forgotten. You've spent countless hours pushing yourself so you can reach a goal you set for yourself, but never knew you'd obtain.

You just crossed the finish line of your first half marathon!

There have been so many people in your life that have said you can't do it. People have put you into categories because of your weight, and they placed limits on you. Doctors have told you that you shouldn't be running. Time and time again, you have been told to quit. But you didn't listen.

Instead, you listened to your friends and family that always believed in you. You clung onto the words of inspiration. You turned to them when you wanted to give up on yourself. They wouldn't let you quit. They wouldn't let you fail.

Now, every time you look at your medal, I want you to think of the journey you just had - all of the pain, anxiety, joy, and success - and I want you to smile. Because when it was looking like you wanted to throw in the towel, sit on the couch, take a day off, and take the easy way out... you didn't. You earned this, and nobody can take it away from you.

...and I am SO proud of you.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hitting the slopes

I finally had my first experience of skiing in the mountains. I learned a few things from the experience.

-The mountains of Colorado are slightly bigger than anything in Minnesota.
-I thought I had leg muscles, but I was mistaken. Not even half way through the first run, my legs were throbbing.
-If I want to be any good at skiing, I have to go more than once every 6 years.
-There is no way to look cool when you are walking in ski boots.
-I love everything about Colorado.