Motivational Monday 11/23/15

As we come upon one of my favorite US holidays (Thanksgiving) I thought it was only fitting to take a Monday to be grateful.  Happy Monday!!!

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Chicago Marathon Recap #1 of 2

chicago8Sorry for the delay in my Marathon Recap of the Chicago Marathon and let me apologize about the length but it is full of pics too so enjoy and I did divide it up into two different posts so you have to come back tomorrow to get the end.  🙂

Well…. I finished.  I also finished over 23 mins faster than my marathon in April.  Unfortunately it was still not to the goal I had set but more on that in a little bit.

The weather for the trip could not have been better (well, it could have been a little cooler on Marathon day but definitely a beautiful day).  We arrived in Chicago on Friday afternoon and made it to our Airbnb residence for the next 5 nights.  Here is the view:

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After taking Uber to the expo to pick up my bib it was time to relax and get ready for my first ever group shake out run with Another Mother Runner.  On Saturday morning, I woke up and ventured down to take my first adventure on the Chicago Transit system to make it to the meet up location.  I do have to say I was impressed.  It was easy to get around and pretty cheap too.  (Let’s just say that we did not use Uber after we figured out the subway)  Here are some pics of the run on Saturday morning…..

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Sarah in the middle is one of the creators of Another Mother Runner. Go check out their website here and get some cool another mother runner bling.

Great shot at Lake Michigan and the background of Chicago

Great shot at Lake Michigan and the background of Chicago

At the "Bean" in Grant Park with another running group we hung out with. So much fun.

At the “Bean” in Grant Park with another running group we hung out with. So much fun.

I was so happy to have spent some time getting the nerves out of my system and thankful to meet so many other mother runners.  But we all know that the day before the marathon you should not walk around too much so we opted for a River Boat Architecture Tour on the Chicago River.  It was a great idea and there are some fabulous buildings along the river.  Take a look….

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Sunday morning arrived and believe it or not, I was not really nervous.  After all, as my other half says, “You’re a pro.  You have done 4 other marathons.”  Well I am not really a pro but I am beginning to really learn what works and does not work before races and have developed a sort of routine like visiting the bathrooms early because they fill up as the race gets closer and then sitting in the corral because we didn’t even get started until 8:20 which was almost an hour after the race started (that’s what happens when you are in the slow group but I did not mind.)  I look pretty ready for the race here:

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Right before I said Goodbye to Dave to head for the Corral.

Right before I said Goodbye to Dave to head for the Corral.

 

Once we got going I was very excited.  I also tried to not let the excitement get me to go out fast and I would like to say I did a great job of that but really I have no idea.  Why you ask?  Well, let’s just say that my wonderful Garmin watch does not like the very tall buildings of downtown Chicago and since that is where we are running I was at a loss for pace from almost the very beginning.  My first mile went pretty well but when my 2nd mile chimed on my watch and I was nowhere near the 2 mile mark according to the course and the clocks where off because they started with the elite runners I knew I could not trust the watch so it was time to just run based on feel.  Now I am not sure you have ever tried running by feel in a huge race (45,000) runners but if you haven’t and I really didn’t train that way, trying to do it for 26.2 miles is a little bit of a challenge.  Really I did not let this factor into my mind though and focused on enjoying the race.

Right after mile 2. Who needs a working Garmin? Im having fun.

Right after mile 2. Who needs a working Garmin? I’m having fun.

Even though the weather got up to 75 by the end of the race, it was a beautiful day to run.  The first 13.1 miles where pretty much in the shade of the huge buildings of downtown Chicago and through the parts of Chicago that had lots of trees and were very beautiful.

In fact, a little side note… I did something I never thought I would do.  At one point in Lincoln Park, I did jump off the course and find coverage in some of their draping trees and gave back to nature.  Hey, when you have to go and you are only at mile 5 and the bathrooms are all 10 deep at each water stop you do things you would never do before and really I had no desire to pee down my leg which I have heard some people do.  Yuck!

Anyway, back to mile 13.1… I felt great.  It was the best I have felt at the halfway point in a marathon EVER!  (big accomplishment #1)  Here is photo proof:

A big thumbs up for just over halfway!

Little did I know that after mile 13 was the heat wall.  Apparently when you leave the downtown area there are no more tall trees and the buildings are shorter too so it’s just you and the sky (oh and those 44,999 other runners)!  So it got warm and it got warm fast but more on this tomorrow…..

Day 3/30 – National Running Day

Today is National Running Day and unfortunately I did not get to run for myself or even for Juneathon.  Today’s juneathon activities included working late and running up and down stairs delivering paperwork to different departments.  (I believe this counts as exercise!)

Instead of pouting that I did not get to run on this beautiful day I will spend a moment being grateful.

I am grateful that I got to sleep in for my late day at work.

I am grateful that the weather has turned from rainy to sunny and supposed to be beautiful this weekend for my longer run.

I am grateful that there were a ton of people out there running and posting about running on this wonderful day (a little jealous too)

But most of all grateful that I can run.  That I have been given the ability and desire to work on myself and push myself to reach goals I never thought possible especially in the world of running.  Also looking forward to my 5th marathon in Chicago in October.

Lots and lots of gratitude.

Happy National Running Day!!!  I hope you got out there and pounded the pavement or treadmill.

Self-Care

selfcare3What do you think about when I say self-care?  To me, self-care is doing something selfish to nurture yourself so you are more able to deal with the stressors of life/people in a healthy way.  And guess what?  I fully believe that we all need to be selfish.  We really need to spend time taking care of ourselves even when we feel like we shouldn’t.

What ways do you take care of yourself?  I have found this differs for many people but in the end it comes down to what makes us feel good which could be getting a haircut, spending time shopping, taking a long bath or even just reading a book.  I was told today by a fellow clinician that I have the best self-care they have ever seen, I found it very interesting and it made me think. KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Why is mine any different than others and really what is it?  So I started thinking about my day.  Starting with my work because in my field it is very easy to forget about yourself and work very long hours because the need is so great.  I have learned that I am not a good clinician if I work to many hours in a week.  I find that I don’t think as clear and I am not present for my clients.  So I limit the amount of hours I work (usually around 37-40) and I only have one long day during the week as well as being done working with clients by 1pm on Friday’s (I kind of feel sorry for my last client on Friday because sometimes I’m so tired by that point that I feel like they don’t get all my attention.)   I structure my day with the same routine during the week which is breakfast, devotional and daily gratitude list making me list at least 3 things I’m grateful for each day without repeating anything during the week (give it a try because it really makes you look at all the small things and be grateful).  Even when I’m not training for a marathon, I try to spend at least 5-6 days at the gym or doing some type of physical exercise a week because I really am a better person to be around if I’m doing this.  I have learned to take the positive approach to things even when the most negative things happen.  (This may not seem like self-care but if a negative thought is taking over your mind than you tend to stress and beat yourself up about things that are out of your control)  And finally I have found that adding a massage to my life once a month not only helps the stress release but the sore muscles from all that running and cross training.

Now that I spell it all out, I do have pretty good self-care.  Also, I’m pretty selfish.  But you know what, I don’t hear any complaints from my family, friends and coworkers/clients.  I really believe being selfish is a good thing.  Are you selfish?  Why not?  I will allow you to label it “Self-Care”!  🙂

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Gratitude…

gratitude10Tomorrow is the biggest day of year that those of us in the United States hopefully spend some moments talking about what we are grateful for.  I say hopefully because sometimes I think we forget about what the holiday of thanksgiving is about.  Saying “thank you”, appreciating what you have been given and the little things in life.

This week I spent some time each day in my therapy groups, requiring each one of my group members to talk about what they are thankful for.  I challenged them to think deeper.  Look at the small things because sometimes it is the small things that are really the big things.

I love having this opportunity to challenge my clients and see how they respond, mainly because they inspire me.  I heard things from grateful for my sobriety, to having the trust back with family, to being happy about health and how well they feel today, as well as happy to be alive.

I also chatted with my clients to discuss how they felt after doing this activity.  My clients commented about how this made them feel and the general feeling was very good.  I asked them “why do you not do this more often, think about things that make your life great.”  That could not be answered but it became a challenge.  Why not do it every day?!  I talked to them about how I make a list every day of at least 3 things that I am grateful for and I don’t use the same things each week.  This is quite a challenge and really makes me think beyond the obvious.  gratitude11

This is my challenge for everyone.  Why wait for one day a year to be grateful?  Why not practice it each day?  I promise you, life will change for you, your outlook on things will change, and you will be more grateful for everyday life.

Motivational Monday 11/24/14

As we in the United States approach the biggest day of the year where we express our gratitude and thanks, I encourage you to not just live one day in gratitude but each day in gratitude.

Happy Monday!

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2 months to go to reach all my running goals…

goalI took a few moments last night to look at my goals I set for the year in January here.  What I found out is that I’m not sure I was tough enough on myself.  I set a few challenges that I thought would be tough and they were a challenge but I stayed away from a mileage goal.  I was never sure really how far these two legs (and let’s confess sometimes hands when I had to crawl to get finished) could take me.

In the back of my mind I was thinking I could try to make a goal of 1200 miles in a year but I never wrote it down.  I guess you can say I just let things happen.  Well last night I took a look at my miles.  I was shocked.  I never thought I would run as far as I have.  As of today (after my 10 mile treadmill run at the gym because there was no way I was going to get outside in the cold, windy conditions) my grand total is 1054.59 miles.  Holy crap!  If I stay with the goal of 1200 miles, I should be able to actually hit that by the end of the month or close.  Then I can take next month off right?!  Well, we all know that will never happen!  Life is too busy and crazy for me to stop running!  How will I process all the crazy?  goal2

Here is how my goals have gone:

  1. Complete my first trilogy of half-marathons hosted by BA Events (already signed up for the first one in February.) – Completed it at the beginning of October! Can’t wait to get my “free” jacket in February.
  2. Run my second marathon and make it a much better marathon than my first in regards to preparation. – Well the second marathon was not so good and in fact it was my worse time ever but my 3rd marathon that I ran (and didn’t include in my goals because I didn’t plan on doing it until May) was my best marathon ever! So much fun, found a new friend and now I’ve signed up for OKC in April and hoping for an even better finish.
  3. Continue with my at least one race a month so I have a goal for each month to keep me motivated to run. – 3 more races planned – 2 for November and 1 for December.  I did pretty good with this.  I did not run a race in July or August due to how hot it was but I did 3 run/races in June and will still finish the year 14 races in the books!  I would say that’s pretty good and I am motivated to keep going.  Already looking for and signing up for races next year!
  4. Actively participate in my new running club (all signed up but haven’t done a run with them) – I did a few races with them this summer which is not great participation but I will keep my membership up and see if I can be involved with a few more next year.
  5. Enjoy running! – OH yes I do.  I am having a lot of fun, learning to relax at races and not take them so seriously and wonderful things are happening.  I love the running community!

I guess I will add on with number 6: 1200 miles for the year.  What a crazy number!  I wonder what next years will be?

Do you ever set running goals for the year?  Did you set some for 2014?  If so, how are you doing on them?goal1