Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's Not Always Sunshine and Roses

Sunrise over Oman
I know I may, at times, make it sound like picking up a more athletic lifestyle is easy. Well I'm here to tell you it's not. This post is not meant to discourage anyone but instead acknowledge that it can be tough. At times you may run into people who think you are crazy or less than encouraging. When I run into these folks often, it can impact my mind and I may start to believe it.

Recently I was telling one of my biggest supporters about my desire to attempt a half iron man at some point in the near future, just to be met with skepticism. I honestly wasn't expecting it and was a little taken back. I realize the intensity and time it takes to train for any endurance sport takes persistence and is more about the power of the mind but if there was any time to take on the challenge it would be now when I am childless and enjoying the positive benefits of my new lifestyle. When I was faced with this less than positive statement I felt like I hit wall, a roadblock; and when my mind encounters a road block it can be very difficult to figure out which direction to move.

I haven't been feeling my best this week. I had a sore throat yesterday and was extremely tired today. I took a nap after work, which is unheard of for me, so I could go out an run 10 miles tonight. The 10 miles were less than stellar. I found myself running too fast in the beginning, slowing down to a walk many times during the run just to accomplish 9ish miles. During the run I was faced with discontent, frustration, sadness and doubt. If today was a battle between my mind and body, I would absolutely have to say my mind won. I cried, I stomped my feet, I pretended I was happy when I passed other runners, I beat myself up for stopping a few times. This time anthems never played in my head to get me more motivated (reference to my Five Mile Meltdown). The positives never appeared, instead I heard the voices of the less than supportive people saying that I am crazy, unbalanced, trying to prove something and the list goes on.

The reality is I am trying to prove something, everyone is crazy and unbalanced at times. Does this make me a bad person? Does this mean I shouldn't do it? Does this mean I am not going to hit the trails again on Friday? All this means is I need to keep battling the negative thoughts that are running through my head until I find the sunshine and roses again. I know they exist for me so I will not give up! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Torture (trash) or Treasure

Doesn't that snow look delightful? 
As the depths of hell, or what I might think hell feels like, descends on Columbus Ohio I have been reflecting on whether my desire to run/be an athlete is a personal treasure or torture. This morning I ran to work in the thickest humidity. I had a big bottle of water in one hand and a smaller bottle of G2 in my other hand. The water was half frozen when I departed on my journey to work, half way there it was thawed and warm. I kept pouring it over my head and saying to myself "why do I do this to myself."

Most things we do in life have either positive or negative ramifications. Every once in awhile something that is good for us may feel like torture but what you get in the end is a treasure. I am always baffled when people make decisions to continue torturing themselves when they know the end result is going to hurt. It pains me to watch people continue to walk into the same wall over and over again, when they have the choice to instead walk around the wall. Some people may read my posts week to week with the belief that I am torturing myself, but I can tell you what I am doing, even when I have a tough week like this week, the positive result my running has on my spirit is a gift that I will thank myself for throughout the rest of my life. If running was damaging my spirit in the long run or destroying my body and health I would put it down once and for all.
Heat index today? 110 degrees. Heat index in picture? 10 degrees

As I write this post I know that when I make decisions in my life I need to spend some time reflecting on how they are going to impact me in the long run. If the results are or continue to be torture with no positive benefit I need to make the decision to throw that idea away and move on to better things. If the results are going to be treasure I am going to embrace that decision/action and carry it with me through life, the trash is going to be thrown away and only reflected on for the lessons learned. Cheers to a healthy body and mind!!!

One of the things I promised when I first began this blog was to share funny stories from my journey. I am not sure the following story qualifies but I'll let you decide:

As I mentioned earlier I ran to work this morning. When I bike or run to or from work, I try to carry as few items as possible so as not to weigh myself down. The goal is to have a successful workout session.

Today I left my house with two bottles of water, a house key, twenty dollars, my drivers license and my bus pass. I got to work drenched in sweat, so much so that I left drips around me when standing on the sidewalk outside of my building (I know, I know TMI); that is how HOT it was this morning. I walked into my office, reached for my filing cabinet, which is where I keep my towel and other shower items, and realized the cabinet was locked and my big ole mess of keys was probably laying in the middle of my living room floor with the remaining articles I decided to shed this morning. After pacing the hall way for a few minutes cursing my forgetfulness I went in my office, grabbed the scissors and broke into my filing cabinet. I am not sure that cabinet will ever lock again but at least I smelled good today!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Feet Time, Friend Time

Before you begin reading, go and press the play button on the video below. It is great background music for today's post.

I always get nervous when I begin to miss workouts. This weekend instead of running on Saturday, like I should have done, I was at the Dave Matthews Band Caravan Tour in Chicago. There is nothing better than sitting back or standing and dancing to the sounds of awesome music. You name it, I heard it this weekend. I got to listen to moe, Ben Folds, Umphrey's McGee, Michael Franti (a personal favorite) and OAR. I spent more time on my feet this weekend than I would have running six miles. If the coach of my running group is correct what matters is time on your feet. Well let me tell you folks, I got that time.

Today I started getting that rise is blood pressure I encounter when  I realize I didn't do everything I was supposed to do. All I could think of was needing a friend to make me feel a little better. I have two of the most supportive running friends within the world friends. I also have a great friend who used to be my concert buddy.  I always know I can count on any of them to lift me up or bring me back to the reality I need to get moving again. The two running friends get to read through my 'inspirational' email of the week. And the concert buddy has to listen to me talk endlessly about the most recent show I have been to or even the most recent race that failed me or changed me. In reality the inspiration emails only include a countdown to our three big races this fall with some random quote that I bumped into that moved me in the last week. I was at a loss for words when sending my weekly email this week but of course my good friend Michael Franti came to the rescue.

Because I am in Chicago I am a little off workout kilter. I will get back on the wagon tomorrow but for now I just have to remember that, like I said earlier, feet time is most important and, if needed, I have supportive friends. If you are working on a life journey, whether it be fitness related, health related, love related, etc. remember you always have a friend; it will get you through anything!!! Also, spend a little time on your feet dancing it out.

I am sharing this song so you can all understand how the blog and all of my friends/family support my journey to the finish line of the marathon. Enjoy!!! Oh and if you can't sit still (I never can when Michael Franti is playing) stand up and shake your bones!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Capturing the Weekend

I have many of visions of a perfect blog post regarding dreams; stay tuned it will appear in the near future.

Instead I am going to tell you about my adventures of a long unplanned weekend...

The Fourth of July was approaching and I had no plans. It was killing me to think that I might lay on my couch watching TV while the world continued to rotate without my full participation (remember I am a bit dramatic). I started getting anxious and began planning berry picking, canning, cleaning, etc. I was determined to not lay around. What I got from bad planning was instead an awesome weekend with friends and great exercise.

I went to my friends house on Friday night and made some plans to connect the next day to go berry picking. I did my morning run in the rain and humidity, nine miles to be exact. I met my friend at the North Market since we couldn't find a place to pick berries. The weekend exploded from there. I walked around the zoo, went to the waterfalls in Columbus, fixed my bike, went to the beach, went for a bike ride, met a friend for dinner, went to a parade today and grilled some tasty veggies.

Among all of this fun I decided to stop in Fleet Feet on Sunday to see what runs were happening on the Forth of July. I needed to run 5 miles today and figured I could find some event to get some of my miles in. I found the Freedom Four Miler. It was so much fun!!! There were only two hundred participants and the race ran along a parade route. The roads were lined with people who were patiently waiting for the parade to begin and they cheered us on along the way. The field of runners for this race were so fast that I believe I was the second to last finisher but the support from the crowd was amazing.

Exercise has changed my life for the better. It has allowed me the ability to enjoy every activity to the fullest!