Motivated, not skinny!

Hi!  I didn’t forget about you even if you were thinking I did.  I just have been doing a lot and not had a lot to say but today I finally was motivated to blog because something was really getting under my skin and wondered if anyone else had the same issue or experience.

Let’s start with, let’s be nicer to each other.  I say this not directing it at anyone in particular but most of us have battles going on that no one else knows about or can see especially when it looks like we have it all together.  Sometimes that is just an illusion.

Now to what got under my skin….

I am skinny, I know it, but still have my own issues with areas of my body that I don’t like, especially with my abs.  I work hard on my core and for all the work I do, I want to see it better.  (But that is a talk for another day)  My main beef is that I get lots of people, women especially, say things like “I could never be skinny like you” or “of course you can eat anything, you are skinny.” dsc_0325

Well guess what peeps, I’m skinny because I dedicate a large part of my life trying to grow old gracefully.  For me this includes spending 5, 6, or even 7 days a week at the gym or running outside.  And these days are not just 20 mins on the treadmill, we are talking hours devoted at each session doing these things.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it and I do see results which keeps me motivated to keeping doing it but I feel each time someone makes one of these comments to me it just puts me on the defensive trying to justify why I look the way I do and really makes me feel self-conscious.  I work hard to look this way because I want to.  I am motivated and driven to do these things because of how they make me feel and the results.  I love to set goals and achieve them, surpass them or even fail at them because that is when I learn the best.  I run races because I like the bling but they are also very motivating.  I have a wall in my house that is not out in the public spaces that is dedicated to “living Large”  (a play on my last name “Large).  It’s a place where I hang all my medals and bibs and I can see it every day to motivate me to go that extra mile or extra miles! img_5283

In 2016 I ran 2075 miles which is more than twice as many miles as I did in 2015 and this year I have set a goal to run 2017 miles in 2017 (that number is even scary after I ran all the miles I ran this year).  Also this past year, I was able to complete two marathons (Vermont City and NYC Marathon) and half marathons number 13, 14, 15, and 16.  I set a new half PR and a new 10K PR.  These are huge accomplishments but I got them not from being skinny.  I got them from being motivated and dedicated. motivational139

So if you want to say “of course you did that because you are dedicated or motivated and I could never do that” then say it but don’t say it’s because I’m skinny.  I can help you with motivation!

My body is a result of how I live my life not because of some blessing of waking up daily and being skinny.  Believe me if that was the answer and all it took,  I would take it (but I would probably still run because I like the bling!)  🙂

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My second job…

 

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In the midst of my 18 miler a few weeks ago.

As I was leaving my work today and headed home to change for my workout/run the thought popped into my head that I was actually headed to my second job.  I don’t know about you but when you work hard all day the thought of going to your second job (that pays you but only with better performance and healthier life/not financially) I get a little overwhelmed because I’m tired.

I tried my best to change the thought, get excited about the 9 miles I had ahead of me but no matter how hard I tried it was just not happening.  I went to the gym and pounded out 3.5 miles on the treadmill and then the sun came out so I decided to jump off the mill and head home to complete the last 5.5 miles.  I even stopped 3 miles in and helped an elderly lady with her trash bins since tomorrow is trash day (she informed me).  Always glad to help and take a break.  She was very cute in asking me how far I was going and how wonderful that is for me.  If she only knew I was really just trying to avoid the run by helping her.  I probably would have cleaned her house if it would have qualified as my 9 mile run.

I know we all have bad runs and not every run is going to be a moment where I think, “woohoo, I can’t wait to work out this evening, let’s do this.”  Today was definitely not that moment!

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Recent recovery run through the woods

I remember when my friend Judy was doing this training plan for the first time and her and I were chatting.  She mentioned that she was feeling tired and ready for it to be over.

I don’t think I am there, yet.  I think I am ready for the race to be here, to put this training plan to the test.  After my 20 mile race I feel pretty good and last weekend’s 22 miler was strong.  I already feel ready for the marathon but know that these last 7 weeks are crucial to keep this all going and then of course the all-important taper.

Tomorrow I have a 14 miler on the plan and I really need to get out of the mode of thinking of this running as my 2nd job. I need to change the thoughts to a little more positive.  Like what a huge accomplishment I have already completed this month with 113 miles completed in only 12 days.  May not be an actual 2nd job but is sure does take up a lot of my evenings.

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This weekends 22 miler

So my thoughts now are how thankful I am that I get to do this.  That I do have the time in the evenings to put in the time, the mileage and the effort to all this training.  I can hardly wait to get to that moment in the marathon when I cross over that starting line and know I am prepared.  I have done everything I need to do to get there and it will be only 26.2 miles to complete this path (well until the training for the NYC marathon starts).  No longer my 2nd job but something I “get to do” because not everyone has these opportunities.

How is your training going?  Any struggles?  Feeling ready?

Holy Crap Training update…

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12 miles in – so close to being done!

 

Well that got your attention.

Yeah.

Really for some marathoners this training update will be nothing but for me it’s all about the miles.  This week I ran 62.4 miles.  Yep you read that correctly.  62.4 miles and I am only in week 4 of my 18 week plan.  I knew that each week of this training plan would have me pushing farther than I ever have but I think the distance is really sinking in.  This plan is a 55 miles to 70 mile plan.  So I’m getting there.  But the huge shock is each week new PR mileage and how fast it adds up.

Also, it’s how my long runs at the end of the week feel.  Today for example was my first 18 miler of this plan.  Going in I had already run quite a bit and yesterday my 5 mile recovery run was very slow and my legs felt tired.  But today, today I felt stronger as the run went on.  Dave came out with me and rode the bike, gave me more water when needed, and we had some fun conversation and pics.  He even commented on how the last 18 miler he rode alongside I struggled from about 15 miles on and it was a flatter course.  That run was also farther into the training plan like week 8 or 10 but that was not the case today.  So maybe this is working.  I really think this is.  I already feel confident that my next marathon will be more successful.

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I was sticking my tongue out at Dave but that didn’t come out so we figured this could be captioned multiple ways, “why are you following me?!” or “just running, nothing to see here”

Now to define that success:

No walking

Keeping a constant pace

Fuel properly

No WALL

Feel good at the end

If I hit that new PR that would be good too!

It is wonderful to already feel your hard work coming together because really I didn’t just start running 4 weeks ago, I have now been running for almost 6 years now and it started with a 5K in 2010 and my first marathon was in 2013 (hard to believe I’m training for my 6th marathon).

Now time to relax and enjoy my rest day tomorrow because Tuesday will be here before you know it and I will be right back at it with another week of PR miles!

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All done!  It felt great!

How is your training going?  Any big races coming up?

Still training…

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Beautiful Oklahoma sky!

So there I was ready to write a blog a lot more often and talk about my training for my upcoming marathon and then it happened.  Life again got in the way.  This is not to say that the training came to a stop because it didn’t, it was just the blog that came to a stop again.

Now I am hoping to get back on track…

Recently I had an impromptu trip back to IMG_3588Oklahoma to see my mom, family, and friends after my Grandmother passed away.  Even though this was sudden, it was a blessing in disguise.  My mom had been spending a lot of time taking care of her mother and was suffering a few health issues from the stress this was causing her, so I am glad she can get back to taking care of herself.  This is a great learning moment because it is always so easy to put yourself last in life.  I believe if you do not take care of yourself, how can you possibly take care of others in your life.  This is the one main reason I run.  It helps me regain focus on my life and what needs to get done.  Sometimes if the day at work is long, I find it better to leave at a normal time, go for a run and then spend a few moments during the evening finishing some of my work projects.  It is such a better use of my time and does make me feel better.

Back to the marathon training……

The month of January was a great training month.  In fact I ran more miles (168.21 miles) during the month than I have ever run and ran more days than ever (24 days out of the 31 days).  The good news is that it felt good.  I started my training plan having run 50 miles the week before which is a very aggressive plan but something I think I need to do to reach that goal of a new PR marathon.  Unfortunately I was unable to hit all my goals last week due to my travels to Oklahoma but have been right on track this week.    So far I have completed 39 miles and have a 16 miler planned for tomorrow.

IMG_3621I was spoiled while I was in Oklahoma with some incredible weather and was able to get outside for all my runs.  I even got to run a 10 mile training run last Saturday with about 200 people from the OKC Landrunners.  This seems like a great group of people who are all training for the OKC marathon.  I will hopefully see some of them when I return in April to run the half marathon on this same day with these marathoners.

Some of the most interesting things I have found about this plan are the variations of the runs.  Most of my runs are not even close to marathon pace.  I knew this was going to happen but when you are doing it, it feels so strange.  I spend a lot of time running at a slower pace which I think is the hardest because I want to get the run done.   There is also speed work involved and half marathon pace work which is not really speed work but holding a faster pace for a long period of time.  I think before this most of my runs were at the same pace all the time which is not really a good way to train.

Something else that is hard are the midweek long runs.  Yes I meant for that to be plural.  Think about trying to get in 55 miles or more a week…. Did you figure out how to divide up those miles?  Well this plan has you completing a 13 miler on Wednesday, 10 miler on Friday and a lot longer run on Sunday 15 + miles.  I am use to only one long run on Sunday so I am having to figure out how to give myself the time it takes to run this much.  I do know that in the end this will pay off.   I am also fairly certain that there is no way I could have done this plan when I still had kids at home so I feel so lucky to have this time at the end of my day.IMG_3613

Please don’t think I am complaining, I’m merely explaining the plan.  It is a very involved one, mainly because it is “Advanced Marathoning”.  I think what I am learning in all this, is that in order to be more serious about this marathon thing is that I need to run more to prepare for it.  When you really want something, you have to work hard towards it.  Like I said in my last blog my new motto is:

“Things you want, don’t come easy”

With this in mind time to get some rest for tomorrows long run.   🙂

How is your training going?  Any new plans you are trying out?  Any goals for your next race?

Half Marathon #11 – Wolf Hollow

IMG_2994I don’t usually do Half Marathon recaps in fact I’m not real good with many race recaps except those big crazy Marathons, which by the way I just signed up for Marathon #6 – Vermont City at the end of May, I am really starting to think I’m crazy but that is for another post.

Anyway, today was the Wolf Hollow Half Marathon.  What I thought was going to be a normal somewhat flat rail trail run (I run a paved rail trail all the time and it is mostly flat and paved) turned in to a jaunt through the woods where most of it was on soft surface/gravel/dirt/leaves/pine needles and it was mostly flat but had some killer hills at the times when we never really want them, which during a half marathon I believe is all the time.  This is not to say that it was not fun.  I really did enjoy it.  I went out with the intent to have fun.  In fact Dave asked me what I thought I would run and I said I wanted to keep it under 9 min miles and that is what I did.  Just 600 of my closest running friends doing a long run and getting a medal and t-shirt at the end.  My idea of how to spend a Sunday morning.  🙂

Near mile 9.5 I met Ian who told me that he had been following me for most of the race.  Usually we would call this person a STALKER but in the running world, somehow we are flattered that someone would pace off of us.  Made me feel good.  Since I was just having fun and quite frankly I needed someone to help me through the toughest part of the course which was two huge hills we began to chat.  Always fun is the conversation where we continue to tell each other that they can go ahead if they want to because I don’t want to slow you down and then we both realize that really we have been running the same race the whole time so why not finish together.

Ian and I finishing the Half together!

Ian and I finishing the Half together!

It was great to get through the tough hills pushing each other (sometimes physically because around mile 11 and 12 when you are going up hills running in a straight line is optional).  Also nice is to have someone pushing you when you think you are giving it your all and the other person says, “I think you can do more” and out of the blue you find that extra gear.  It was a great race.  As we crossed the finish line we exchanged hugs, told each other congrats, oh and I introduced him to Dave so there would be no crazy questions about why I am hugging this random stranger.

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Getting for the race. A little chilly and a little rain, perfect for running! 🙂 One happy girl!

This is why I love running.  I love going out for a race, enjoying the run, facing new challenges and meeting people along the way.  My new friend Ian and I talked about races, running, family, work, and why we run.  For him it’s a stress relief from being an Assistant principal at a local middle school.  Gotta keep up with those crazy middle schoolers under control.  For me we all know it is therapy.  I know when I don’t exercise I am a bear and really I am shocked about how much time I spend at the gym and out on my runs but I know if I don’t do it, everything else suffers.

Since today was a essentially a trail run and trail running is a lot different then road running, I know that there will be muscles that hurt tomorrow, probably because I can already feel them.  Here is hoping I can move.

If you are in New Hampshire in November, I would really encourage you to run this race.  It’s a double loop so you get to see the trail the first time and then the second time around you get to dread the hills but find a friend and you can make it through the second loop!  🙂

Ever find a friend during a race?  Dave says I always do!  What can I say, I’m very social.  🙂

Enjoy some more pics from today:

The beginning of the race.  So happy to be moving.

The beginning of the race. So happy to be moving.

Mile 8, this is the last big hill you do at mile 12 too.  Such a pretty area to run in.

Mile 8, this is the last big hill you run at mile 12 too. Such a pretty area to run in. (the pic is a little blurry because I’m so fast or Dave was cold and shaking.  I’m going with my speed.)

Happy to be done and starting to get really cold.  What you dont see is me shaking!

Happy to be done and starting to get really cold. What you don’t see is me shaking!

My new turkey running socks.  Seemed fitting for the race right before Thanksgiving.

My new turkey running socks. Seemed fitting for the race right before Thanksgiving.

The final results.  Not to bad.  I was 57th out of 316 women and 14th out of 92 in my age group.  I will take it!

The final results. Not to bad. I was 57th out of 316 women and 14th out of 92 in my age group. I will take it!