Staying Motivated (with running)

IMG_0062This year I started a progress jar.  The goal was to add a quarter for every mile I ran and if I did some strength training as well as stretching and rolling I would add a quarter for that too.  The idea is to keep me motivated to keep going as well as save some money to do something special at the end of the 2017.

Well we are officially 3 months in and the pic shows the progress.  I do have to say that there are some flashy bills in there too buried at the bottom (okay the biggest one is a $20 but the quarters don’t tell the whole story).

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For a little perspective, here is a nice roll of quarters just waiting patiently to be added!

I have also committed to run with a running club that meets on Saturday mornings at 8:30am.  To me this is a very doable time.  I don’t mind getting up early during the week but really I want to sleep in a little on Saturday so this is a perfect time for me.  Plus the benefit of this club is that it is part of a running store which is good for several things:

  1. The quick bathroom break before you head out, which is always needed.
  2. Warm place to stretch when we finish and a place to change into warmer clothes instead of in my car.
  3. Oh and occasionally they bring in some guests on Saturdays like today where we got to do some strength training at the end of the run with two wonderful physical therapists.

I also joined the Run the year at the beginning of January.  So basically I have set myself up to run 2017 miles in 2017.  But really if you do the math it is about 39 miles a week, which when I put it that way seemed way more doable.  The progress on that is that I am close to staying on track.  Had a smaller than usual week when we went on vacation but know that when I am training for my next marathon (Marine Corps – Oct) I will be doing way more than 39 miles a week so I can make up for some smaller weeks.

Another motivation tool I use is telling others about this craziness and my running goals whether they want to hear them or not.  I talked about my next goal here so feel free to read it.  This is truly motivating because once you put it out there, unless something major happens, I have to get it done!

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Today’s freezing cold getting it done.  12 degrees with negative windchills btu 6.5 miles done!

Finally I have also been able to be a part of a women’s running group on facebook which is a great support system.  They are all local ladies who cheer each other on and hopefully this summer I will be able to do more with them.

So really it takes a lot to stay motivated. But it is worth it in the end to see those goals achieved.

Is there anything you do to stay motivated? 

Trying something different….

Okay, let’s be honest, it is probably not something different because it involves running (surprise, surprise) but I guess you could say I’m changing things up a little to spice up my running. Let me explain…. This year one of … Continue reading

The Perfect Storm

 

According to Wikipedia, doesn’t every great blogger refer to Wikipedia when they need information, a perfect storm is “a confluence of events that drastically aggravates a situation.”  Or as a person who was raised in Oklahoma and have been around when the weathermen begin to go crazy weeks before storms come into the state, I begin to think of those moments when all the right things are happening to create a big weather event a perfect storm.

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Looking good for 44!  Happy Birthday to me!

Now I am not saying that this week was a “perfect storm” in the form of a weather event but more of a “perfect storm” for many moments of melt down in my life.  Okay maybe that is a little much but it was a tough week and this was the only way I could think of it.  (If you can’t handle any whining now might be the time to step away and come back tomorrow for motivational Monday! 😉  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

As many of you know I am training for my 6th marathon and have tried a new training plan.  This one had me doing up to 70 miles in one week.  I have worked harder than ever before to get better at this crazy marathon thing.  I have felt pretty good the whole time and have completed more miles in a short amount of time than ever before.  For the month of April alone I ran 286.17 miles.  That is more miles than I even drive in a month.

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My 16 mile bike ride from this week.

Anyway, things have been going well and I have felt very confident that this was going to be my best marathon ever!  Then on Monday morning of this week (the day after my last 20 miler) I woke up with so much calf pain in my left leg, I struggled to walk and my mind took over.  I started to doubt I could complete my marathon in 3 short weeks, I started to count my dreams out of ever getting a Boston Qualifying time.  (Can you say, Drama queen much, I know!)

This was one ingredient to my “perfect storm”.  In fact here are all the “confluence of events” that made this week my perfect storm.  One: calf pain, Two: taper time – basically time to reduce the amount of running to prepare for my marathon.  During this time I am usually very anxious because I start to visual the race and how I am going to handle it all and my expectations begin to really come into play.  Third: hormones!  For those that don’t have it, that time of the month is no cakewalk and for me I tend to be even more emotional during it.  Four: added work stressors, really no need to explain that one, we all have them.  Five: Turning a year older.  Not really that stressful but I thought I would throw it in because it was an added event that happened this week.  All the ingredients were present for the “perfect storm” in my mind this week.

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14 miles almost all pain free!

I am happy to report that I survived it!  I didn’t get the t-shirt but I made it through.  Thank goodness I work really hard to stay motivated and in the present moment. Here are some tips for how I survived:

  1. Slowed things down and tried even harder to stay in the present moment. Taking a deep breath when I felt overwhelmed with not only the pain but moments at work when I thought I couldn’t handle anything else.
  2. Went for a massage! I highly recommend them.  I go at least once a month so my therapist knows me pretty well and she was able to really work my legs and hips so I felt so much better.
  3. Spent time doing other things with my family. You know those people you don’t see when you are running 70 miles a week and working a full time job.  I find it is so much better to stay busy than sitting around feeling bad for myself.
  4. Slowly easing back into running and riding my bike more. Even though the plan called for a certain amount of runs and mileage, I was able to not run as much and realize that all my training will not go away if I take some time off or take things a little slower.  In fact, I might even feel better and more prepared for the race.  Plus I was able to take my bike out and go for a nice relaxing 16 mile bike ride, which I have not done in forever!
  5. Finally, looking at my last plans and results. I know this sounds weird but for me I was able to look through my running journal and my tracking miles and realize that I am farther along than I have ever been before and I am prepared (well as long as I don’t just sit on my butt for the next 2 weeks).  It was a great boost of confidence.
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Stretching and rolling while being protected from the winds and cold and happy that “I got this!” feeling is back!

So I guess what I am saying is that when faced with the perfect storm, if you are prepared you can make it through.  Your family me get tired of you for the week because there might be some whining, but if take a breath, take control of your mind, you can make it through.

Anyone else ever struggle with this?  How did you make it through your taper time?

What would you be willing to give up to reach your biggest goal?

question-markThis is the big question rolling around in my brain right now.  And the reason is because I had an incredible friend who ran the New York Marathon yesterday and did something amazing.  She improved her marathon time by almost an hour and is still flying on Cloud 9.  I am soooo proud of her and glad it happened.  She totally deserves it.

Then that normal human trait hits and I start to wonder, “will I ever be able to do that?”  I train hard but really she trained harder.  I want it just as bad but then I remember how much she ran, how much she gave up each day and how she pushed herself almost at points of never wanting to run again and do I want it that bad?

I love to run, I love to feel free, go distances I never thought I would and achieve things I never thought I would.  I feel very comfortable at distances from a 5K – half marathon and know that those are all very achievable and for the most part I usually do very well at them.  My last half marathon I was third in my age group (I’m very satisfied with that).

But that marathon….it’s elusive.

I train really hard and do what I think I need to do and then the test hits and I do my best and hope and pray I will hit my goal, yet it still hides.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am very happy completing 5 marathons and each one I learned a ton.  This last one I did improve my time by 23 minutes over my April marathon but the desire inside me to go faster is really eating away at me and I’m not sure how to fix it.

Really what this tells me is that I’m not done.  We all knew that.  We knew that I was not done with the marathon even though at mile 23 in the marathon I have a very strong urge to never get there again.  I really do think I don’t want that feeling either.  I want to be successful.  I want to reach my goal afterall isn’t that why we set them.  To achieve them, to be inspired by them and hopefully obtain them.

I haven’t solved the question but I think I realize it’s gonna take some more sacrifices to get there.

Motivational Monday 9/28/15

 

Less than 2 weeks!  In less than 2 weeks I will be done.  Okay maybe not done but my 5th marathon will be in the books (I am optimistic that it will be a success).

I have now almost completed training for 5 marathons and it is true if you want to change your life train for a marathon.  Each one has been different.  My spring marathon I completed during the snowiest winter ever, completing four 20 miler runs on a treadmill (needless to say I try to stay a long way away from treadmills for this training plan!).

This summer brought it’s own challenges of relentless heat and humidity which only started to subside last weekend right after I finished my last 20 miler.  That’s okay, my hope is that it will not be this hot and humid in Chicago in two weeks.

So this brings me to my quote for today.  It’s one of my favorites and something to think about on this wonderful Monday!

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Happy Monday!  I hope you have a fabulous day!

 

Lots of changes and no telling when that’s going to stop…

change3Sometimes I feel like I continue to apologize for not blogging very often and then other times I think to myself that I will blog when I’m ready.  I guess you can say I’m ready…. I don’t know….. Maybe I’m not…. Okay maybe I am a little bit.  😉

There has been a lot going on besides training for my 5th marathon which I think that alone is pretty taxing on ones time but no that is never enough for me….

We are still in the middle of our remodel on our home that started in April, I guess this is what happens when you only hire professionals for the big stuff and we say to ourselves with confidence that we can do the rest.  Well I guess you can tell how that is going or maybe you can’t because you can’t see it but it is going very slow.  We have a bathroom that is small and almost completely done and then the one that has the shower that only has flooring, shower and a toilet (it’s all the essentials, right!).  Good news is that our kitchen is no longer in our living room and our house is very liveable and we could even invite people over if we were ever home to do so and we would only be apologizing for a few things undone.  So those are some good changes…

We are both changing jobs in the same month which I am sure will not cause to much stress (insert sarcasm here)!  Mine is at least with the same company but a new role with about a ton more responsibilities because it is running a new facility.  I can do this (at least that is what I keep telling myself).  I also tell myself that the people who hired me think I can do this which does help too!  So tomorrow is my last day in my very familiar, somewhat comfortable role as a clinician and on monday I begin to take on the responsibilities of program director very close to home.  I sometimes feel like that this is the moment that all my other jobs created me for (I hope that makes sense).  It’s the role that without the other jobs in my life I don’t think I could handle but now seems to be a good time to try something new.change4

My other half will be taking on a new challenging role in an established company about 40 mins away from home.  We are very hopeful that this will be the last transition he makes in his career.  It seems over the past 5 years the companies he has gone to work for have not turned out so well and have eventually closed their doors which is very stressful on my end but we are pretty sure this place has some long term stability.  Yeah!!!! So another good set of changes…..

Now on to the running part (I know you thought I would never get there!)  This seems to be changing too for the better.  I am doing the same running plan as my last marathon but added an extra day and the exciting part is that I am not having to do it all on the treadmill like I did for the spring marathon (I never want to do that again!).  Today I went for an eight mile pace run and I neglected to look at my training plan before I went out and thought I remembered it saying 1 mile easy, 6 miles at 8:38 pace, 1 mile easy.  So that is what I tried to do.  I struggled at first and had trouble getting into the pace but then just decided to relax.  When that happened I began to get faster and in the end my last two miles were 7:57 and 7:49 and they felt pretty easy.  I don’t know how that happened but I think it comes from all the crazy track workouts and sprints I have been doing in the insane heat and humidity.  So once again some changes…..

Really our whole life is about change, isn’t it?  I feel like if I don’t learn something new each day or challenge myself in some way each day I am not making the necessary changes in my life to be a better person and/or a better runner.  I really do want to be the best me I can be!  (sounds very crazy but it’s true)  I want to get the most out of my life because as I tell my clients, “We are never promised another day and we should really live in the moment and that is why it is called the present, it is a gift.”

change5So there are lots of changes going on in my life and as much as I am resistant to those changes because of the anxiety they create, I also want to welcome them with open arms because without them I will not grow, progress or change and I need to do that to live!

Falling apart yet falling together….

falling apartOver the past couple of months I have felt like this quote but I have been unable to notice things actually falling together.  This is very hard to admit because I like to think I am a very optimistic person who can find the positive and just persevere.

Yes this is why I have just kept things to positive, motivational quotes and Juneathon,  oh and I began marathon training AGAIN!  (I’m starting to think I am insane)

Well recently I have noticed things beginning to actually fall together.

Whew…. glad to have that happening.

I recently (Monday) accepted a position closer to home with the same company and more responsibility (more pay too)  but a next step in my career which is scary and exciting all at the same time.  Our house is finally getting back together after the remodel that started in April (hoping to be done by the end of August at this point).  My other half’s job has extended him until the end of August too which helps my crazy stability need.  So I would say things are falling together.

Sometimes I sit with my clients and work on trying to help them piece their lives together while mine feels like it is falling apart.  It is much easier to help others than keep the focus on ourselves.  Then I would find myself coming home and feeling extremely anxious and practicing coping skills to deal with this anxiety which you guessed it, includes lots of running!

I do feel like each time I go through one of those overwhelming challenging times I try to at least learn something and try to improve myself.  So far I have learned that I need to relax and realize that things happen for a reason and eventually things fall back together.  Sounds easier said then done, but I’m working on it!

Any challenges for you recently?

I’ll update on the marathon training:

week #4 – working hard, hot, humid and hopeful that this is all beneficial in the colder temps of October in Chicago!