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Monday, June 30, 2014

Halfway There 2014

It is the end of June and officially half the year is behind us.  A good time to see how I am doing with my goals for 2014.  .

1) Stretch past my self-imposed limits and boundaries - This means both physically and mentally.  I have been trying to work on this.  I have been trying some new things and I registered for a summer half on September 6th.  I am not a big fan of running in the heat!  I have also faced the  death of my brother and a move.   I went back and joined a gym again so I could go back to strength training.  I think I am stretching myself.

2) Live my priorities - I have actually been doing pretty well with this.  I have been leaving work on time.  I have been altering my schedule and I even work through lunch so I can get to the gym on time.  Now that things are settling down I am blogging more.  Hubby and I have been spending time together and when my family needed me I took a week off to help wit my brother.  I also put my phone up earlier.  Whatever it is I am home and it can wait.

3) Run Everyday that I am able - March and early April this took a nose dive with pneumonia.  Prior to that and after that I have been doing great.  Right now I have been on a running streak since April 16th.  I plan to run through July everyday. 

4) Practice gratitude - I think I have been doing well with this.  To be candid it is easier to be grateful when huge things happen that remind you how lucky you are. Aside from that I try to recognize the small moments that make me truly fortunate.

How are your goals mid-year?

Today I am grateful to be imperfect but striving to be better.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Crossing the Gateway - I am never...

So I  am a good girl.  Like I never did drugs and kept my drinking to a few colleges binges and now maybe a daily glass of wine.  I never really understood the idea of gateway drugs.  You know people say Marijuana should not be legal because it is a gateway drug.  Using Marijuana will lead you to use harder drugs.  I have to admit I just took people's word for that since I never opened that gate.  It occurred to me on Thursday, as I was ordering my first GPS Running Watch a Garmin Forerunner 15, that running may be the ultimate gateway hobby. 
I think what classifies a gateway drug, is that despite the fact you try that first drug you say I will never use heroine.  Well flash forward past Meth, Coke, etc. and you are on the heroine train.  Again anecdotal observation, never tried any of those drugs.  However, running is an actual real life experience for me.  I think the words beginning runners say more than any other words are "I will never..."  fill in all appropriate thing that sane people would say.  I was definitely that runner.  So for today's blog I thought I would look at my own decline into full blown running addiction.   
It started when I was 42 and my husband said "all I want for my birthday is for you to run one 5K with me." Of course I was like "what?"   I was one of those...why would I run no one is chasing me?  There he was all expectant wanting this birthday gift.  Even that day we saw some of his friends and they were like "how cute you are running together."
I said "Take a picture because I am never doing this again."  I fully believed that, until I crossed the finish line and thought wonder if I could do that again?
I remember scoffing at my husband as crazy for his running streak.  Running everyday?  Are you kidding I can barely run 3 times a week without bribing myself with wine and pizza.  Flash forward and I am currently on day eighty of my latest streak.  I have committed to run everyday until the end of July.  This is my fourth mini-streak. 
I remember rolling my eyes when my husband said he needed a new pair of running shoes to rotate.  He had at least 8 pairs. I had one pair of running shoes and they seemed to be fine.  I mean I started running in my gym shoes, cross trainers. Flash forward I currently have 7 pairs in rotation. You know changing up your shoes makes you a stronger runner?
I always said I will never run more than a 5K.  That was so true until my husband said, "wouldn't it be fun to run the Peachtree Road Race together?"  All of sudden I was running a 10K.
I  thought all of this tech gear was crazy why couldn't I just wear my t-shirt and old gym shorts?  Hello chafing!  Also when I met my dear friend body glide. 
I always said I will never run over 10 miles, who needs to run over 10 miles?  It turns out if you are going to run a half marathon you have to run over 10 miles, and not just in the race, but on Sunday mornings when you used to sleep in, eat French toast, read the paper,  and drink coffee.
I always said I will never get a GPS Watch.  I have a running app on my phone.  I know how long I run.  Well I love my new Garmin.  It was so cool to download my workout today!  I know it will help me train for my upcoming half marathons, still deciding on the shoes to wear, and I hope my new Run Like a Girl Tech Shirt will arrive before Diva half. 
I wonder what else I am never going to do when I am running.
Today I am grateful for my new watch and a great run with the best running partner!
What will you never do?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Runner's Random Thoughts

If you are old like me you may remember that Saturday Night Live Skit Deep Thoughts.  It would really be hysterical if they made one about Runners on a run.  So I am a soccer widow until the World Cup has less games a day.  This morning after yesterday's fun in the broiling sun; I decided if I was going to do a long run alone I would get out of bed and right out the door.  So that is what I did.  I had planned between 5-6 miles.  Still acclimating to summer and my half is more than 2 months away so no need to burn out. 
I ended up including cool down doing nearly 7 miles.  Sometimes I get carried away, don't pay attention to when I should have turned around and of course there is only one way back.  I don't know about you, but if I am not working through something on a run or chatting with my running partner the run is a series of very random, not so profound, thoughts like the one above.  So for 7 early morning, humid miles today I had a random array of thoughts:
Running is probably the only way a 45 year old can get away with wearing pig tails.
My running clothes are mostly purple and pink...should I get a purple flip belt? I think my pink one clashes.
Did I put on Body Glide?
I wonder if my glucose store is adequate from last night to run 6 miles without eating anything.
Would my husband answer his cell if he had to come pick me up at  the bike depot?
I wonder if they found that cat that was lost on the trail.
Did I put on Body Glide?
It is still hot.
That was nice of those cyclists to ride single file to pass.
Those cyclist riding three across forced me off the trail.  You don't own the trail you know!
What would I do if a burglar came running down Silver Comet from one of these houses carrying a TV?
You would have to be pretty fit to rob a house and run down Silver Comet with a TV.
Did I put on Body Glide?
Why am I running so fast? I am supposed to be slowing my pace.
Does anyone out here have whiter legs than me?
Can I wear flats at work tomorrow?  Yes, I don't have any meetings.
Are my hips more even now that I am going to my chiropractor?
I thought "YMCA" was on this running mix.
Hey, did I put on Body Glide?
So as you can see I got a lot of important things done today.  At least I got my run in and after a Slacker Saturday, followed it up with 40 minutes of upper body and core work at the gym.
Today I am grateful all I have to worry about is really nothing. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Running in the Heat

Today I remembered why I get up at 4 in the morning to run in the summer.  I hope you are sitting down for is hot in Atlanta in June at noon.  I know right?  Who would have thought?  Right, everyone.  We had to grocery shop this morning and were kind of enjoying Saturday morning, but then we went for our run at around noon.  Something my brave, crazy husband does every day and something whiney me, does like, never.  It was like running on the sun, only with a side of humidity. 

I know heat training makes me a better runner, even if it felt like running through quicksand today.  There are a couple of things I do to make sure I can make it through the summer season.

Body Glide on the feet and thighs for sure before a run. 
Preferred running attire is a tank, definitely.  Lucky me I can wear just the tank so lose the sports bra layer.
Hydrate, but not just right before the run.  Hydration is a habit.  I just drink water all the time during the day.  I want to always be hydrated.
SUNBLOCK!  I wear 70 on my face and 50 on my body.  I am only a shade paler than an albino white rabbit so it is essential. 
My hat after it has spent an hour in the freezer.  For a long run I will wet it first then put it in the freezer
Just got a new sweat band with beads I am supposed to wet and wear.  I have not tried it yet but might.
I add an electrolyte mix to a couple of my bottles of water during the day. 
I try to wear light colors.

All of that said I think I may just run when I get up tomorrow.  I would get it done, especially since storms this afternoon gave me an excuse to bail on my strength training at the gym and I need to get there tomorrow.  I am not like my husband and at my peak at high noon.

Today I am grateful for a house that keeps me cool, safe and dry.

How do you keep cool and safe in the summer season?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Today I met Jeff Galloway

Today Cobb County's Wellness Committee, of which I am a member, brought Jeff Galloway to teach a lunch and learn on running, health, and nutrition.  It was pretty cool if you are a running geek like me.  It was also inspiring.  Jeff will be 69 next month and he and his wife run a marathon a month!  He used his run/walk method to qualify for Boston this year!   Oh yeah and he ran the 10K in the Olympics. 

Today he was focusing on running and enjoying the experience and small health changes we can make.  I was disappointed we only got about 40 people there, considering we have 4000 employees, but I was there.  Not just because I am on the wellness committee. I wanted to meet a guy who trained with Steve Prefontaine, Frank Shorter, Amby Burfoot, and Bill Rodgers.  It was pretty cool.  I was fascinated that he admits he no longer runs competitively not even in his AG.  He said when he ran competitively he was injured about every 20 days. Since focusing on running consistently and listening to his body, he has run injury free for 30 years!  That was pretty impressive.  I am sorry I did not go up and ask to have our picture taken together for the blog.  I am not very brave about doing stuff like that.  Still it was a cool experience to meet a part of running history and get some advice.

Top Tips

You don't need to take water for a run under 6 miles.
Water is the preferred drink during a race, you won't rally have time to digest electrolytes
No two runners are alike so you have to experiment
Running safely and consistently is the key to enjoying it
What's said in the running group stays in the running group
Running, any exercise, makes your brain healthier and your cognitive function higher
Short strides are a key to injury prevention
Adding walk breaks gives your muscles time to recover so they can run stronger
Do not overstretch
Don't run through pain
The best diet tool is writing everything you eat down.  Makes it a conscious action.

He took a lot of time to answer specific questions rather than talk about himself and that was cool. 

Today I am grateful for rare opportunities.  Have you ever met a famous runner?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Good Week for Goals

My running week ends today and it was a good week for fitness!  Joining the gym has been great.  I have been pretty consistent getting there at least 3 times a week for whole body strength training.  I can definitely feel the difference when I run from regular strength training.  I also made my weekly Chiropratic appointment. 

I have been streaking, not like that.  Get your mind out of the gutter!  I have been running at least a mile everyday since mid April.  My goal is to get through the whole month of May, June, and July.  So far so good.  One day at a time.  Also I was good about brining my lunch and cooking healthy at home.

I even got to add in a little cross training.  This is something I rarely do.  I did a little work on the elliptical and the ARC trainer at the gym.  Today I got to hike 4.5 miles with a friend who has been working so hard and has lost 100 pounds over the last year.  Pretty amazing.  Today I have a summer vegetable soup in the crock pot.  I needed something healthy and easy for hubby to grab since he is in the grips of World Cup fever.

It has been a good week.  Hoping to keep it up this week.  Hope things are going well with all of you.  Today I am grateful for good friends who inspire me. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Attitude Adjustment

Disclaimer:  I AM NOT A DOCTOR.

This is just my experience.  This post is not what the title implied though I can say my attitude truly improves when I get regularly adjusted.  Yes, I see a chiropractor and I think it makes me a better runner. Two years ago I had an ankle injury.  No matter how much I rested it I could not get it to heal.  My assistant at work was in school to become a Chiropractor, which she is now.  Still works with me part-time.  She recommended a go to a Chiropractor.  Of course I was like "ummm it's my ankle not my back."  She just looked at me. 

"Chiro is for the whole body you are out of alignment so you keep reinjuring your ankle." She explained with all the reverence you would to your dumb a@# boss.  I wanted to run, nothing was working I went to a Chiropractor.  After an evaluation and X-rays, etc. he pronounced I had several areas of spinal subluxation and several imbalances that were causing me to run in a way that was putting more of a strain on my right side and my ankle was the result. 

He began adjusting me that first visit.  Let me preface this by saying "I am not a hugger."  I don't seek folks out I don't open myself up to touching.  In fact come at me at work to hug me and I will likely be diving under my desk.  All that said if you have ever done Chiropractic to say they "touch you" would be like saying Mike Tyson was nibbling on Evander Holyfield's ear.  I mean they are right there.  I think for the first 6 months I heard "just relax" out of my chiropractor more than "what is tight today?" 

So I am obviously a fan of what Chiropractic did for me, because as discussed above not fond of the sudden intimacy. It did help.  I found I could run faster.  I was injury free.  On a side note I had always suffered with migraines and regular headaches and those went away.  I overall felt healthier than I ever had.  Of course when something is working is when you should quit going.  I felt like I was probably adjusted and I quit.  It was fine for a while. Months even but now heading into a year I really missed the way I felt. I could tell my hips felt out of alignment and I heard a lot more snaps and crackles.  So I am back.  This time I felt like I just needed maintenance.  I joined the Joint.  You can go once a week takes 10 minutes.  You pay a monthly fee and you get your adjustment.  My new Chiro is a runner and personal trainer.  He takes a real interest in my training and asks about my running.  He also understand the special stress  runners put on their bodies.  It has worked for me and I know I will be grateful as I start back on training for my halfs. 

It might be worth checking out.  As I got adjusted today Dr. Peter said this will give you a competitive advantage.  I think he may be right.

Today I am grateful for a better aligned spine and my health!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Finally Settled on My Half Marathons

I have been trying to decide on Fall Half Marathons.  I had been considering doing two that were two weeks apart. I could not figure out why I could not commit and just register.  Something just kept telling me it is not the right choice.  The Alien was at night and everything I read about it with characters jumping out at you while you run in the dark (hello every female runner's worst nightmare)  and a medal that looks like a big green alien head. It just did not seem fun to me.  This weekend I got an e-mail about the Diva Half Marathon in Peachtree City.  It is September 6th so it will be hot, but it is also 6 weeks from the Silver Comet Half on October 25th.  Also all the bling is pink and it is a girls only race.  I think that will be very empowering.

With the cost of Halfs I only do two a year.  Looks like this year it will be Diva's Half which is a series all over the country so check it out! In October I am still sticking with my plan for Silver Comet.  It is so close to home and pretty flat. Silver Comet will still be my time goal race.  I plan to use Diva as a fun training run. I mean there will be boas and tiaras!  You have to take some time to enjoy the girl power.  As soon as I decided I also went ahead and registered.  The die is cast.  No backing out now.  Nothing like summer distance training in the ATL.  I will definitely be a bad ass when this is done, provided I am not carted away with heat exhaustion! 

Have a great day.  Today I am grateful for a good job and a safe home.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Getting Older

After our 6 miler today I still got it!
Seriously, there is something great about being in your forties, mostly it is that you aren't in your twenties or thirties anymore.  At first that might sound crazy, but there is a certain acceptance that comes in our forties and it is very liberating.  It is kind of like the last stage of Kubler-Ross's Grief cycle: acceptance.  First we have denial.  We see that things aren't where they used to be, we realize that the guy wolf whistling on the corner is for that pert 19 year old who just stepped out of her car, but we convince ourselves we are still young. "If I had a micro mini on that whistle would be for me."  No, it wouldn't.  That sound would be a police siren and I would be arrested for indecent exposure.  Next we have anger.  "Why did I marry someone so oblivious that he did not even notice that I bought a new micro mini?"  "I wonder how many years in jail if I just bump that little 19 year old with my car?"  It was probably an accident...aren't reflexes the first thing to go at my age? Then bargaining, definitely the most expensive phase of the aging grief process. "If just get  a gym membership, and have facials once a week then can I look like I did 10 years ago?"    "If I give up every food I love and substitute kale chips can I find the fountain of youth?"  Then there is depression, or a period of time we all spent in sweat pants with a messy pony tail, thinking why even try?  "I bet my AARP card comes in the mail today."  "I wonder where the nearest Denny's is?"

Then ladies the clouds part and we arrive at the Holy Grail of acceptance.  Acceptance, the place where you let go of the fantasy of ever being that 19 year old girl again, enough to find the empathy to remember how insecure we felt at 19.  In acceptance, in my forties, I find that I know who I am and I kind of like me.  I have read a lot of books: I have been a lot of places so I have some things to talk about, besides reality TV.  I have lived through some tough situations and I have lost: people, jobs, hope, temper, sanity, and insecurity.  I have become me, as imperfect as anyone can be, but gentle with myself and a fan of all I have done and all I hope to do.  I have stood in the mirror and tried on bathing suits and thought, seriously?  What am I working out so hard for if this is still just a terrible experience?  But now at 40 I regroup and I look at the imperfections and I think of how strong that imperfect body is.  I think about the half marathons we have completed together.  I think about the times we ran under an 8 minute mile.  Then I hit the racks and get rewarded by finding a Nike suit that looks like my running tank and shorts and Voila!  I am back in business. 

I have accepted that I am the pale girl running.  I no longer spend my morning or weekends searching out the perfect self tanner and the rest of the week hiding my hands so no one can see the remnants of the application.  Self-acceptance frees up a lot of time, because we do a lot of stupid stuff trying to be something other than who we are. I am a good runner, a good wife and I am pretty good at my job.  I have some close friends and a pretty serene life.  I won't ever be a competitive athlete and I will never be a golden goddess with ripped abs, and you know what?  I am okay with that.  I will be slower than some and faster than others, and on any given day that can change.  I am mostly lucky, and finally old enough to realize it.  So for those feeling every inch of forty today...Good for you!  You are the culmination of all you have been through, accomplished, and triumphed over. I don't know about you, but the map of all that gets easier to read everyday.  It might just be my pale skin, though.   

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

National Running Day Top Ten List

Happy National Running Day!  One of the only national holidays that is not built upon excessive food consumption, at least not until after we run.

In order to celebrate I already completed 5K this morning and I am using my lunch hour to post my National Running Day Top 10 list. 

I run Because...

10. Bagels and wine exist (not at the same time, unless it has been an unusually late night)
9. My butt did not get any smaller sitting on it, so thought I would give this a try.
8. I know stupid people...and apparently assault is illegal.
7. There is no other way you can say Fartlek in a legitimate conversation.
6. Shoes...I mean really, come on.
5. The look on a co-worker's face  on Monday when they ask you what you did this weekend and you say "LSD" and walk away. 
4. Since the disco age has passed, it is the only acceptable place to don skin tight spandex, and not garner unwanted attention.
3. Cheaper than therapy...maybe not, but certainly more fun and definitely better outfits.
2. Because nearly everyone said I couldn't do it.

Thank you to my hubby who always believed in me, especially when I did not!
Get out and celebrate the run, because not everyone can...oh yeah run Fartleks! (See legitimate usage)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Feeling Like Me Again

It has been slow going but I think I am finally getting back to myself.  This has been a really rough couple of months.  First we had the first robbery, then the second robbery, the move (see event one and two), pneumonia, then my brother's terminal illness and death.  Through it all, not the pneumonia, but the rest I had running.  I kept running even though a part of me was like "I think you could say it is all too much and stop."  Still I kept running.  I am grateful.  When things were tough there was always that 30-90 minutes of running, just me and my thoughts, even when the thought was don't think. 

Even though I ran, I felt like other things kept slipping through the cracks.  I felt behind at work, like my mind was not really there.  I felt like that hamster in the wheel running and running and getting nowhere.  I could not find the time to strength train and nagging things that I usually take care felt like they were piling up in the chaos of my life.  Recently, as things have finally settled down, I feel like myself.  Regaining more of my life.  Last week I felt like I caught up on old work projects and finally actually felt fully engaged.  Amazing what you can accomplish  when you are really paying attention!  I am not a person who gets overwhelmed by to do lists or obligations but lately everything seemed like one thing too many. These will seem small and insignificant but this weekend I knocked some thingsthat had been hanging around off my mental to do list. 

I got my hair cut and dyed (yes that is a necessity just ask my husband).  I got the car into the shop.  Good thing the main cylinder that powers most of the car was wearing out and the belt was stretched out.  The car runs like new and the fixed they oil leak that mocked me everyday.  It is amazing how good you feel when your car is taken care of and running great.  I think it has to do with the freedom that symbolizes.  If I needed to take off at the last minute I could. Don't ask!  That need arises out of a past it would take20 therapists to unravel.  Suffice to say I am girl who values her independence and freedom.  I also got my cats' health check ups scheduled.  They have been on the back burner as we dealt with ever bigger and more devastating issues. 

I rejoined the world of gym goers to beef up my strength training.  I know this will make me feel stronger and make a better runner.  Plus I have really enjoyed being back at the gym.  I have gotten time to get back to reading and I finished 4 books last month.  I also have gotten back to blogging, something I enjoy doing. I also am now able to get back to follow you all on your journeys on your blogs.  Lastly, today I did something that I have been talking about for months.  I started back at the chiropractor.  I have always valued chiropractic as a way to stay healthy and improve my running.  I stopped going almost  year ago and I have really missed it. My new Chiropractor is a runner and personal trainer so he totally gets runners.  He got all excited when he realized I was coming in because I believe in chiropractic as a preventive health method.

After months of feeling like I was just keeping ahead of the boulder rolling towards me, I now recognize myself again and feel like I am back on a good path.  Just a reminder that all things pass good or bad.  Just hang in there and keep a positive attitude.  I hope things are going well for you and if not I understand and you are in my thoughts. Like running, it is one foot in front of the other until it feels effortless again.

Today I am grateful for the many things I have in my life.