Sunday, January 27, 2013

No Excuse is Good Enough

Damn it was cold!
I woke up Saturday morning with little interest in meeting my group for a run. It was so bad that I thought of texting Sue to let her know that I wouldn't be there and I started of thinking of all the excuses I could use to cancel. The included the following:

  • I'm tired! Although very true because I got only five hours of sleep, it is a totally lame excuse.
  • It's cold outside. Well this is not an excuse because I LOVE running in the cold and my running buddies know this.
  • I don't feel good. This was true too but it was self inflicted. I know better than to have a draft beer at a grungy concert venue but I did it anyway the night before. Just two beers gave me a hangover.
  • I have a cold. This would have been a flat out lie and I get annoyed when people tell me lies regarding anything. People can see through this stuff and then you become the unreliable running buddy. Forget that.
So what did I do? I crawled out of bed. Took Dukie out, gave him his medicine, sat on the floor with him for 10 minutes and finally put on my clothes. I got in my car and let it warm up for a little bit and begrudgingly drove to the high school. I found Sue sitting on a bench and I sat down next to her and told her I was planning on cancelling. She was trying to think of an excuse to cancel to. But you see we committed to training for this half marathon together and neither of us could come up with a good enough excuse that the other wouldn't have thought totally lame so there we sat getting ready to go out for our run.

We decided we were going to take it slow and stick with the group the entire time. Within a quarter mile we knew this wasn't going to be an ordinary run. The hills, oh the hills... Did I mention the slushy snow that was also bordering the streets we were running on? Oh yeah, that added to the challenge too... 

But we did it!

This is how I felt going up some of the hills. 
We ran up and down hills through a neighborhood that challenged us to the core. The pace leader likes hills so every time we started going up a hill, our pace quickened. And it seemed as though we went uphill a heck of a lot more than going down hill. 

After twisting and turning through the neighborhood we were back at the school. And you know what happened? We exchanged comments on how that was a good run and we were glad we did it. I also mentioned to someone how I am never disappointed that I made it out for a run.

Moral to this story? No excuse is good enough to cancel. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Finding the Balance.

This morning!
This morning I set my alarm for a 4:45 am wake-up call. The purpose? To get myself prepared for the early wake-up calls that will begin on February 11th. What happened when the alarm went off? I hit snooze, and then again, and again and again, until 6:30 am. I'm starting to wonder how I am going to make this new training schedule work in my life.

I got to work today and was chatting with one of my colleagues about my workout schedule and I was telling her that it needed some adjusting because the fact of the matter is I need friend time off the trail. I mean I often work out with a few of my very close friends in Columbus, they know everything there is to know about me but I like hanging out with them off the trail too. And all of the other friends that I don't work out with? With a weekend that includes two big work outs, one on Saturday and one on Sunday, basically, I will be working out a lot!!!

I kind of freaked out when I realized I was only going to have Saturday and Sunday nights free. Especially since I'll have to make a 4:45 wake-up call on Monday morning. That doesn't really lend itself to participating in evening activities that I enjoy (and are often late nights).

In life we all need balance and because I am a people person and my friends are extremely important to me (my dog too) I need to be sure I have time with them while doing other things I enjoy like concerts, dinner, movies, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, etc. So this means I need to make sure I absolutely have time to do those things. So what to do...

I adjusted my training schedule to make sure I have one weeknight off a week! AND I am committed to doing my Sunday workout when I wake up and not at 7:00 in the morning like originally planned.

Balance is important. Take the time to find it, adjust if needed. After all finding the joy is extremely important  and the joy is most frequently present when there is balance. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Carpe Diem

Unexpected opportunities come around from time to time and you have to make a choice. You either have to seize the opportunity, stare it in the face and accept it, or dismiss it and not recognize it as an opportunity. So my sister called me last week to tell me she was thinking about registering for her first half iron distance triathlon. I listened to her talk about the race and why she wanted to do it and every conversation I have had with my colleagues over the past couple of years flashed before my eyes. I told my sister she HAD to do it! I don't think, nor did I want any of my encouragement to impact her decision and I don't really think it did. All I know is that within an hour she posted on Facebook stating she registered for the event.

I immediately wanted to do it too... I didn't really see the opportunity until the next day. I went to work and told my colleagues what happened the night before and about my desire to jump on the bandwagon. Both of my colleagues pumped me up and told me to register! I emailed a couple other people who offered words of encouragement. I was so excited about the prospects of doing this event and then the naysayers started to appear. I heard some of the following statements:

  • I'm not sure you are ready for this. - Perhaps true but here's what I have to say to that, when will I ever be ready for something like this? There is only one way to figure it out and that is by trying. 
  • You realize you are going to have to train six days a week. - Yes, I realize I can't just show up race day and think I am going to be able to do this event. If you remember, I did train for a marathon. That was so much more than just one run a week. Sure some people are able to do races in such a fashion but I know (one) from experience that doesn't work too well and (two) that people who do that can hurt themselves. I really have no interest in hurting myself and actually enjoy training. I certainly don't want training to be my entire life but I also don't mind spending hours on my bike, running or swimming.
  • I have been met with dead silence. - Silence has been the worst. I like to hear what people are thinking regardless of whether I will like it or not but as one of my friends pointed out, if you have nothing nice to say it is better to say nothing at all. True that but seriously, what happened to being encouraging? Even if I am skeptical I do offer words of encouragement to others because the truth of the matter is I don't know what anyone else is capable of until they show me what they can do, and quite honestly we are only responsible for proving things to ourselves, not others.
I went to work the following day and my colleagues asked me if I registered for the race to which I had to respond no. They were confused because I was so excited the day before. I explained that as I was talking with various individuals my decision was met with skepticism and my excitement had waned. I was so focused on the negative that I forgot all of the positive comments. My colleagues pulled the positive comments out of me which included (and some of which they were responsible for):
  • So much fun! You are going to be awesome!
  • You have been talking about this for years, I can't wait to hear how it goes!
  • I'll run with you to help you prepare, how cool!
  • Awesome, I'll have someone to swim with!
  • You are going to feel great when you accomplish this goal!
  • I know you can do it. Seriously, you have done all of these things before, now you just need to put them together!

So what did I do that night? I wrote a training plan to determine the feasibility of this event, I compared the pool schedule at my gym to my workout schedule, I checked in with my sister and then I REGISTERED!!!!!

Dukie in his trailer.
Since registration day I spent some time setting myself up for success. I entered my training plan into runningahead, I fully converted my bike trailer into a dog trailer so my dog can be with me during training and I organized all of my work out gear/equipment so that it is easily accessible...

So, on February 11, 2013 my training will truly begin!!!

Wish me luck, call me crazy, be skeptical, be supportive... While you are doing all of that I will be excitedly embarking on a new journey!

And hopefully I will have another picture like this to share with all of you!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dukie's New Ride!!!

This is a quickie for today. I'm working on another post but was way to excited about a completed project to wait and post this tomorrow (or later)...

In my next post you are going to learn about an unanticipated opportunity that came about this week. It is going to be a lot of work and will require many hours on my bicycle. The thing I value most in life is my family. Well here in Ohio, my family is my dog. I can't leave him for extended hours while I train because I already leave him enough for work.

So what to do... Bring him with!!! I converted a kid bike trailer into a dog bike trailer. Dukie will now be able to go on all of my bike rides with me, well at least the rides on the bike trails around town.

Here is a picture of my buddy testing out his new ride:

Total cost of this conversion? $17.68.

Dukie is excited!!! Now if I can figure out how to convert a jogging stroller... Need to find a free one first. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Confessions of a Cranky Runner

Have you ever tried figuring out the difference between the words moist and damp? I have. How about often and frequent? Yep, had that conversation too. I have actually spent countless hours trying to answer these questions much to some of my friends' dismay. As a matter of fact, I had this conversation TWICE while running this past week.

Running is my therapy. I've said it before and I will say it again, going out for a run puts me at peace after particularly challenging days. I work hard, play hard and run hard. Sometimes when I get myself into living overload, meaning I am not taking time to relax, even running can seem less therapeutic, but a couple hours later? Well, that is when I find my peace, it just takes longer.

This week I was a fairly cranky runner. I would show up, run silently or tell stories or argue over a simple word for the sake or arguing. Someone told me that I sometimes say things just because I need to disagree not necessarily because I actually disagree. Who, me? If my mom is reading this, she is probably chuckling right now because she knows how true this statement can be...

I have read a lot about how you know you are overtraining. I can tell you for certain that I am not currently over training as I'm only averaging about 18 miles a week but I am starting to wonder if the signs of overtraining also apply to life in general. Some of the signs of overtraining include:

  • Heavy legs - Now this is one sign that can only be related to running but it manifests itself by making your legs feel like bricks.  
  • Chronic muscle aches - This manifests itself as, you guessed it, muscle aches that don't go away. I can relate this to life! I know when I am having sensory overload when I turn the radio off in the car. That is my sign to take a day off and go off the grid. I actually did this on Wednesday this past week. Aside from my run I didn't interact with people at all because I simply needed peace!
  • Lack of enthusiasm or mood swings - When I am feeling overwhelmed with life I get road rage and am uncommunicative. I have heard that over training can lead to anger/crankiness and often can be identified through aggressive behavior, disinterest in running or being argumentative. Hmmm... I may have had a little of that in me this week. 
  • Change of sleeping pattern - When I have a lot going on I can find myself getting very little sleep and then crash when I finally have a moment free. As it is related to over training, sleeplessness is a sign of over training.
Relating this to every day life is enlightening. I guess it isn't only running that we sometimes need to step back from simply to get some rest. All of these signs have been present this past week ESPECIALLY the crankiness.

So why am I really writing about this? Well, the sole purpose of this post is to apologize to some of the friends I run with. I was cranky this week and because they are so kind and almost like family to me I sometimes forget that they aren't required to like me after I am cranky with them, like my mom is. But at the end of the day, they forgive me too.

Like acknowledging you are over training, it is also important to acknowledge when you need to apologize... 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Keeping it Real

I went out for a run with one of my friends today. This wasn't just a run; it was a HARD run. I don't know why... It wasn't all that fast (we were averaging just under 12 min/mi), it wasn't all that cold, it wasn't long, it just was hard. 

Sometimes it simply can't be explained... Or can it?

I don't talk about weight very often on my blog because who wants to hear from a heavy set athlete? But the fact of the matter is I have run a number of half marathons, a full marathon, countless sprint triathlons and finally tackled the Olympic distance triathlon in 2012. I know many people who wouldn't even attempt anything like this so I need to be proud and embrace where I came from!

Pre 97 lbs weight loss
I have joined and broken up with Weight Watchers on so many occasions I honestly can't even believe it. During my most recent relationship with weight watchers I actually lost 97 lbs and then I took a break. I honestly don't know why but it may have something to do with having a very rough patch in life: loss of friendship, almost losing my dog and the darn stress fracture! Simply put, I got off track. I have been slowly 'recovering' from all of those events and have had phenomenal experiences since then. In 2012 I rediscovered some interests, was blessed with one of the most amazing relationships so I now know it is possible, made great friends and conquered fears over the past eight months but I quit paying attention to what I put in my body.

I had to quit training for the Chicago marathon in 2012 because of injury and I do believe that impacted my concern about what I put in my body. Well that has to change!

Post 97 pound loss
About six weeks ago, one of my friends texted me to ask if I was still a weight watcher and I told her no. She asked me if I would join again and go to meetings with her. I immediately jumped on the opportunity. We went to our first meeting and in the first week I lost 4 pounds, the second week lost .8 pounds and then the Holidays happened. We don't need to go into major detail but I will say I gained some of that weight back, not all of it though. 

Last week I discovered that my approach to weight watchers was flawed. Rather than figure out what I was doing on a daily basis and then correcting the issues one by one, I was trying to change everything all at once. Well if my athleticism taught me anything, it is that that particular approach simply doesn't work for me. If you go back to the beginning of this blog you will see that I didn't become a runner over night. The initial purpose of me becoming an athlete had everything to do with me wanting to be able to do triathlons more successfully than what I did in the past. I broke it down and attacked one sport at a time. That is what I need to do with my food consumption.

Most recent picture
So getting back to this running thing from today. My colleague and I were eating lunch and I was writing down everything I had eaten over the past couple of days because I chose to eat like 'normal' (at least for me) this week and then start tackling the bagels one by one and what I discovered is that basically one meal a day is what has potentially halted my weight loss goals for the past year. What meal might that be? Only the most important meal of the day: Breakfast. Yep, my favorite meal of the day is certainly not going to help me lose any weight, so tomorrow I will make one small change in my nutrition and see where that gets me over the next couple of weeks.

While we were looking at all the crap (I honestly can't even call some of it food/fuel) that I put in my body over the last week, it is no wonder my run SUCKED today! How could I be so blind! Just like your car, if you put the wrong fuel into your body at some point it isn't going to run (no pun intended) as intended.

So I'm going to announce it right here, as I did to one of my best running buddies Sue last week... This is the year that I am finally going to tackle the remainder of my weight. My guess is I will see fewer hard runs like today simply because the food that I choose to put in my body will actually be fuel. 

Now that is real!