Looking for Bling…

pretty cool medal to add to the collection

pretty cool medal to add to the collection

I have to admit, I look at the race bling before I enter a race.  I even sometimes don’t even enter a race if they don’t give away medals at the end.  Not sure why I do this but I guess it could be because I am wanting a reward for working so hard to get to the finish line.  (Please don’t say I’m the only one who does this)  There are some races I run because they were what I started with and they were the ones that pushed me to go farther, like the Lone Gull 10K in September.  I will never be in the top three who gets awards but my time has gotten better each race and I like to push myself in it because although it runs along the ocean it also has challenging spots that are very hilly.

But back to the bling….

The really cool medals!

The really cool medals!  Wine stoppers

I once signed up for a race the night before because the medal was so cool and I needed to do a long run that weekend anyway so why not do it with other running friends.  This year’s medal for the OKC marathon is huge and weighs a ton.  I didn’t realize how big it was until I put it next to last year’s while I was hanging in my room.  I guess it has lots of semblance too since it was the “Worst Best Marathon Ever” so it better be a big reward.

OKC marathon medal.  On the left is this years, in the middle is last years, and at the end is the year before.

OKC marathon medal. On the left is this years, in the middle is last years, and at the end is the year before.

As I prepare for this weekend’s half marathon, I find myself not real excited about the bling because it  isn’t that great.  Shame on me! I’m excited about the race because it is the same course as my PR in February and then I was still training for the marathon, now I’ve run the marathon and this should be a relaxing run by the ocean on what is supposed to be a beautiful weekend.  Not saying I’m going to PR but it would be ideal conditions.

Oh I get side tracked so easy….

Anyway the bling…. I started thinking after my short run at the gym today that really I get more than any race bling has to offer.  Through all these years (about 4 years) of training, I have gotten into incredible shape.  Not that I’m bragging but I found a couple of abs (which is nice, now I’d like to find the rest of the six pack), my butt is very perky, and I have great legs if I do say so myself.  Now I feel like I’m bragging but that is not what it is.  It is more I can visibly see the changes in my body.  For my insides, I make better choices when I eat (okay most of the time but I still enjoy wine and ice cream) and I feel healthier.  Then there is the mental aspect.  I am able to process things faster, have more energy even when my body says your tired my mind keeps us going, and I just feel nicer (most of the time).  There is also the race community.  Wherever I go there is someone who is a runner, training for a race or use to run who I have great conversations with.  That is so much fun!  This is race bling I never counted on but it rewards me each day as well as on the race course when I finish.

This is how I store my race bling.  I know very fancy.  Don't be jealous of my fancy $2 command hooks!

This is how I store my race bling. I know very fancy. Don’t be jealous of my fancy $2 command hooks!

So I will continue to choose some races due to their race bling because really I am a girl who likes to have some sparkly things but I will continue to remind myself that I wear my race bling every day and I am so thankful that I can be so healthy now in my 40’s and hopefully it will continue for many, many years.

How about you, every chosen a race because of it’s bling?  If so, what race are you planning on running, maybe I will join you!  What is the best race bling you have ever gotten?

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Run Your Own Race

pace3It has taken me a while but I think I am finally figuring this slogan out.  So much so I used it when talking to my friend who was getting ready to run her first half-marathon this weekend.  I told her to “Run your own race and that we were just going for a run with 1000 of our closest friends.”  She didn’t want to believe me but I am using it for myself at every race now and I am finally beginning to relax.  It works, I promise.  When all those faster people are passing you, just chanting to yourself, “my race, my pace” has been very effective.

This weekend I ran the Cranberry Half-marathon and I knew what I wanted to do.  I wanted a new PR but I was hoping to get 1 hour and 55 minutes.  When I started, I went out fast (8 min first mile) and I had to tell myself to slow down.  So in trying to listen, my second mile was slowerpace2 (8:10 min) I then began to just let my body run it’s race.  I let it run and mentally kept it in good spirits by smiling and thanking those who came out to cheer us on.  It worked.  I ran my race, didn’t get discouraged and was able to keep my feet going forward (no walking!) and crossed the line with an incredible PR of 1:52:34.  After I was able to get rid of my leg cramps, I felt pretty good (I still need to figure out how to work on those so they aren’t so bad).  I also noticed that I finished 12th in my division out of 108, that was even more exciting only missing the top 10 by 10 seconds!

So now the therapy part of this, how can I use this to keep me going and living my own pace in life?  Often I find myself overwhelmed and comparing myself to what others do especially at work.  I think it comes from the fact I have to hit a certain number of client hours per week and with my competitive nature, if I am not doing it and others are, I get discouraged.  But I know what I can do and what I can handle.  I know my race, my pace.  Some weeks I can handle more so I push myself harder, other times I can hardly wait for Friday and am glad I usually book it light.

Ways I slow my pace down are things like going for a run, going to my Monday night tap class, sitting and watching a movie/tv, reading a book, spending relaxing weekends away from home or even (believe it or not) cleaning my house.

Are you running your race at your pace?  Are you letting others run it for you?  What are some ways you can slow it down and make it yours and enjoy it?

Let’s do it together!

Here’s some pics from the weekend I thought you would enjoy:

A day at the Ocean

A day at the Ocean

DSC_0194

Cranberry Half-Marathon Medals waiting at the finish!

Cranberry Half-Marathon Medals waiting at the finish!

me, Liz, and Jennie waiting to start!

me, Liz, and Jennie waiting to start!

Relaxed at the beginning

Relaxed at the beginning

Finished with a gun time of 1:52:47 but official time of 1:52:34 and a new PR!

Finished with a gun time of 1:52:47 but official time of 1:52:34 and a new PR!

 

 

 

 

Anticipation

anticipationAnticipation also sometimes interpreted as anxiety.  Well whatever it is, I’ve got it!  I think it is anticipation though.  Tomorrow is my favorite race, the Lone Gull 10K and why wouldn’t I like it.  It was the first real race I ran as a distance runner, it is along the ocean and every time I have run it I have had wonderful weather and wonderful people there to support me.  This year will be no different. 

The course has not changed and since this is my third year I have a really good feeling about it.  The weather is supposed to be beautiful with the race temp being in the 60’s.  I have also got a few more miles under my belt as well as a few more races so I finally feel like I can relax in a race.

My goal is similar to last years which was ”run it in under 50 mins”, last year I missed by 15 seconds.  Here is hoping that that is not the case this year.  Something really fun about this race (other than we run along the ocean at 9am in the morning and it is beautiful) is that the amount of people registered to run is twice as many as usual.  I think that is awesome.  I am so glad for the organizers that they have been able to grow this wonderful race (so now I will be running with 1000 of my closests friends!).

Early morning at the Lone Gull in 2012

Early morning at the Lone Gull in 2012

Now what to do with all this anticipation/anxiety and how to turn this blog post into a little something more than me talking about a race….

For me I burn anticipation/anxiety by redirecting my thoughts and keeping busy.  Today I spent some time doing some things for myself (got an unexpected manicure by a friend) as well as the normal Saturday errands including laundry and grocery shopping.  But the one thing that was missing on this beautiful day was a run.  And believe me that was hard because it was gorgeous outside.  (I try not to run the day before a race no matter how far the race is.)  But usually the best way for me to decrease my anxiety is go out for a run and not one with a determined amount of time.  I find that my body tells me how far it needs to go to help me feel better.  Just last weekend I went out for a run and what was gonna be a 10 mile run turned into a 14 mile run.  But in the end I knew I was able to think through my thoughts and I felt less anxious about beginning my work week the next day.

Some other good ways to decrease anxiety:

  1. Relaxation/Breathing exercises – for me yoga is good especially the low-impact type and breathing is vital to do this well.  Also breathing exercises can be done in a stressful situation to help you regain focus too.  Like today when the cashier at Wal-mart was a complete jerk to me and all I wanted to do was scream at her because she was so rude but instead I just looked at her and said to myself, “you will not still my joy and I will have a good day despite you!”
  2. Exercise – I know right, I keep coming back to this but when you are actively doing something you use that pent up energy and you concentrate more on the activity than the thoughts going on in your head.
  3. Write it down! – Sometimes when feeling anxious, it is a good idea to write down the thought.  Then look at it and see if you can reframe it into something different.  I call it restructuring your thoughts and my clients as well as myself, call it difficult but it does work.
  4. Distracting – all of these are forms of distractions.  But for this one I guess I mean consciously make the choice to finding something distracting.  I have a client who watches movies.  He tells me that he goes by the two hour rule, because that is how long most movies are.  At the end of the movie he takes a moment to reexamine himself and see where he is and if he can’t handle things, he pops another movie in.  This works for him because he has a lot of time on his hands but for others I tell them to try distracting themselves for 30 minutes then reexamine.  If 30 minutes is to long then how about 15 mins or maybe even 5 mins but be sure to reward yourself with positive thoughts after you make the time you have allotted for yourself because only by doing this will you get the confidence you need to continue.  

How do you deal with anxiety/anticipation? 

I’m off to bed early because I have an hour and 15 min drive in the morning to make it to my race and I want to feel rested so I can hit that goal!

Who wouldn't want to run along this scenery!

Who wouldn’t want to run along this scenery!

Cherishing the moments… (Juneathon 6/7 & 6/8)

Didn’t post yesterday due to this:

My daughter and I after she graduated!  So hard to believe she is done with High School.

My daughter and I after she graduated! So hard to believe she is done with High School.

But I did get some exercise.  Not formal but I was running around like a crazy person getting ready and then because I couldn’t sit still I was up and down (read us doing squats and stretching!)  I would say my heart rate went up probably more stress and emotions but sometimes that is more tiring and really felt like I had done physical work by the end of the evening.

Today we walked.  We walked, we ate, and then we walked again.  No pedometer to measure the distance but we were up and moving.  Here is some of the scenery we were blessed with.

Some well used lobstah traps!

Some well used lobstah traps!

 

Where the freshwater meets the saltwater and also a great view during dinner.

Where the freshwater meets the saltwater and also a great view during dinner.

A little shopping while we walk in this quaint New England downtown.  Looks like it did probably 100 years ago.

A little shopping while we walk in this quaint New England downtown. Looks like it did probably 100 years ago.

Not the best walking surface but in pretty good shape.

Not the best walking surface but in pretty good shape.

Spent some time on the beach walking too.

Spent some time on the beach walking too.

My walking buddy, aka Dave!

My walking buddy, aka Dave!

My other walking buddy, aka my mom!

My other walking buddy, aka my mom!

It was a beautiful day!

It was a beautiful day!

Two more days of some exercise done, just not as formal as I would like.  I am hoping to get back to a regular schedule as soon as all this graduation stuff (party next weekend) is over.

One more, a beautiful sunset.

One more, a beautiful sunset.

Lazy Weekends

relax1As I sit here in my PJ’s relaxing after a long day of not doing much, a little guilt comes over me.  The guilt is from the fact I don’t feel like I did much this weekend.  I only got one training run in on Saturday and it was only a little over 12.6 miles (which gave me the most miles run in one week ever!).  I was hoping to go farther because the weather was beautiful (finally) but my legs were not having it.  If you remember (or read my blog) on Friday evening I did weighed lunges and my thighs hurt so bad after I could barely walk.  Well that did not change much over the weekend.  Saturday while I was running my legs were like, “are we done yet? Are we done yet?” until finally they decided we were done!  Luckily I was close to home.

Then today I did headed off to church all dressed up but in pain, came home and fixed breakfast in some pain and then our Easter dinner/lunch which maybe I will call “linner” or “dunch” (I’ll let you decide) with some pain.  relax

So now I sit, trying to decide whether I over did it or whether I will wake up tomorrow glad that I did those lunges because now I feel so much stronger (I will just avoid doing them again anytime soon).  But I also wonder why I feel guilty for not doing much.  How does one relax without feeling guilty?  Well my reasoning right now is that the next few months are going to be crazy with dance competitions, graduation, recitals, and oh yeah, a trip to OKC for a marathon.   So relax while you can.

relax2I hope everyone else had a wonderful relaxing/lazy weekend.

Random Thoughts/Questions

random1So here I sit on a Friday evening at home all alone… oh sorry, I didn’t want you to feel sorry for me.  I am enjoying my time (okay it is a little lonely but I am glad everyone in my house is doing something they find enjoyable outside of my house and away from me).  With no one to talk to, I begin to think (I know!  Look out because that is dangerous!)  I haven’t written a blog in a few days so what could I write about with all of this free time to just relax.  Well I didn’t just come up with some brilliant thing to write about it was more like “here are some crazy thoughts, see what you can do with them.”  So instead of writing about one specific thing I thought I would share the craziness that is going on in my brain (I sometimes call it “Cray Cray!”)  So here goes:

When I am warm, why are my toes still cold?random2

How can I run 18 miles and feel pretty good but when I do three sets of weighed lunges my thighs burn like nobody’s business and I find it hard to go down stairs for a day or two.

Never eat the jelly beans and easter egg fillers while getting easter baskets ready because if you haven’t eaten a full meal before doing this, you will end up with the shakes and feeling like you just drank a whole pot of coffee.

Will I ever do all the crafts or bake all the things I pinned on Pinterest (probably not but I keep pinning).

Whatever happened to teams wearing the same uniforms down to the same shoes.  (This came from the University of Miami’s basketball team wearing different colored neon shoes.  I mean seriously I know shoes come in all different colors so why neon green or orange!  Whatever happened to black or white and letting how well you play be the thing we remember.)  Maybe I have watched to much March Madness!

The smell of fresh popped popcorn sends my stomach into overload and it begins to growl.  (Happened to me this week at a Client’s home and it was only 10am.)  You’re welcome.  I know you are now smelling it and now all you want is popcorn!

I wear jeans every day.  I don’t like to spend more than $20 on jeans.  Am I cheap?  Probably!

My work depends on seeing Clients.  No Clients, no pay.  Why do some make appointments that they don’t intend to keep or it takes a letter sent to them to almost close their case before they find your time as important as theirs?

A friend posted this on facebook and maybe it is what created these thoughts going through my head: When people are physically injured we’re ok with them taking the time off…but when they have mental issues we see them as weak.

So now I leave you with those thoughts to ponder, come up with ones of your own, or just ignore because you are not sure how you found my blog anyway and I really am cray, cray! random

Have a wonderful Friday evening!

Tunes, ooh how much I need them!!!

musicToday’s daily prompt is asks: What role does music play in your life? 

For me music is needed on a daily basis.  If I am hearing the upbeat music, with my earbuds that means I am getting a run/workout in (which also means that I will be a happier person after I am done.)  If I am listening to music during the day, it usually means I am taking a break between clients.  Some of the other clinicians I work with listen to NPR, I however don’t want to listen to anything that makes me think.  I want to get out of my head whether it is a quick 5 mins between clients or as much as 1 hour between clients.  I just want to relax.

While in a session with a client recently we were talking about his coping skills he uses when he gets overwhelmed.  He suffers from an ear issue with creates vertigo very easily and creates a lot of anxiety for him because he is always concerned about how things will affect him.  Anyway, he reported that he has found instrumental music played at a low volume, very peaceful and calming.  I think the only reason I found this a little odd because I was concerned that due to his vertigo that he would find music overwhelming but good news, that is not the case.  Proof that music can be a good coping skill hence the reason us therapist recommend it! music1

I also find music makes me cry.  Most of the time because I am reminiscing about the moment I heard the song or it is a story I can relate to.  Some of the songs that make me cry the most are songs like any version of Amazing Grace, Halleluiah, Rascal Flats “My Wish”, Martina McBride’s “Teenage Daughters”, and that is just to name a few.

In saying all this, the role music plays in my life is huge.  It is included daily.  Sometimes it makes me cry, sometimes it makes me smile (most songs by Brad Paisley), sometimes it gives me energy to run a little farther, and other times it just helps take my mind off of things and relax.  

How about you?  Is music a vital part of your life?music2

Sleep, who needs it?

sleep4Meeeee!!!  Well technically we all need it.  Some of us need more than others (I feel like I am one of those people).  But is there a difference between sleep and rest.  I believe there is.  I can wake from a full night’s sleep and not feel rested.  Do you ever feel like that?

Always wanting to bring you up to date information, I googled sleep and of course chose the Wikipedia site to fully engage in proper research.  Here are some interesting facts:

“Human sleep needs can vary by age and among individuals, and sleep is considered to be adequate when there is no daytime sleepiness or dysfunction.”

“Sleep debt is the effect of not getting enough sleep; a large debt causes mental, emotional and physical fatigue.” sleep3

One of the questions I always ask my clients is, Are you sleeping?  How much?  Too much and there are issues, not enough and they generally fall into the category of someone who is in sleep debt and is probably not making good decisions.  It is amazing how not getting enough sleep can affect our lives.  But again it brings me back to do you feel rested after you sleep?

Recently I have been trying to establish a better sleep routine in hopes of answering that question.  Craving the desire to feel rested.  This may sound weird but my new routine begins once I get home and know that I am not going anywhere else.  I generally change into my PJ’s.  I know this might sound unusual to be in PJ’s at 6pm but I think it is really important.  This begins to tell my body that it is time to relax.  I’m comfortable and I’m not going to go out anymore (and on a night like tonight when it is snowing, I don’t want to go anywhere!)  One of the more important reasons to change clothes early rather than later is that you don’t want to startle your body awake by putting on cold clothes right before you go to bed.  (I totally understand this because I hate being cold!)

sleep2Something else I found helpful has been to get my stuff ready for work for the next day early in the evening otherwise I am thinking about what I need to do first thing in the morning.  Let’s be honest I forget things if I wait until then.  I also have tried to read a little bit before I go to bed.  I can’t say that I do it every night but when I do, I do wake up feeling more rested because I have checked out of the electronic world and spent some quiet time to myself or with my new friends in my book.

These tips have helped me feel more rested from a night’s sleep.

So now on to the fun reason I posted this post.  I was on Pinterest (my other addiction) and found this person’s blog about leaving a history for your kids.  One of the topics the person had questions about was sleep and I found it very interesting.  Here are the questions about sleep, I’ve put my answers in, share yours if you would like.  Just something fun for the end of a Monday!

 *How many hours do you like to sleep at night?  I get 7 to 8 hours

*Do you take naps? I would like to but usually only happens on the weekends.

*Do you like a lot, or few blankets and pillows? I like blankets and my piller!  I use to take my piller (pillow) with me when I traveled but I started thinking that a 40 year old looks ridiculous in the airport carrying her pillow.
*Can you sleep anywhere, or does it have to be in your own bed?  I sleep better in my own bed.  Not a fan of hotel rooms but can usually sleep if a fan is running or something to create white noise.

*What are your favorite conditions for a good-night’s sleep?  It has to be cool in the room and I wear ear plugs and a mouth guard.  I am a sight to see!!!  A true wonderful nights sleep comes when I don’t have to go anywhere the next day and I can wake up when my body wants to as opposed to the alarm waking me up.sleep

*Does it have to be completely dark and quiet? I like dark but fall asleep to the TV on but turned really low with the timer which turns it off within the hour.

Here is hoping we all get a good night of sleep tonight!

A week in somewhat of a review!

christmastree1I am so happy it is Friday.  The unfortunate part is that by the time I write this post and get it posted, it might be Saturday.  But I don’t care, I’m doing it anyway!  Not even sure what I am gonna write about but I felt the need.

I guess I will start with what I learned this week:  I learned that being a therapist is hard!  Okay, I already knew that but this week was a real challenge for me (especially in the midst of what felt like my own breakdown/breakthrough).  I got into therapy to help people and I guess with it comes the unfortunate wanting to “fix things” for everyone.  But, hey guess what, that can’t be done.  I know this but have to constantly remind myself I am just there to help others find their strength.  They have it inside them, I’m just there to help them.  So I guess that is a pretty big lesson to keep reminding myself of or just relearn again, over and over again!

I don’t know about you but I was also overwhelmed this week by the fact that this month has gone so fast.  I once heard someone say (and I totally believe) “we rush through our childhood wanting to grow up and then when we grow up we want things to slow down so we can enjoy them.”  I’m screaming for things to slow down!!!  Can you hear me?!  Not sure whether it is effective because life still seems to be cruising by.  So this weekend my goal is to try and slow down.

I did take a great step in slowing down tonight.  We had a Christmas show (I performed a tap dance with my daughter and it was wonderful) and then poof it was over.  Everyone cleared out and the place was quiet.  I waited around for the person to come back to lock up and I just sat in the silence.  I looked around at the trees that decorated the facility took a couple of pics (here is one)christmastree and just tried to relax.  I thought about my week, about the tragic news in Connecticut, and just thought “I need to continue to enjoy my family, tell them I love them, and never be afraid to be who I am because life is short.”  Maybe that is why you are getting this rambling blog tonight.  Maybe I want you to hear, “Life is short.  We must take every opportunity to cherish what we have.”

This weekend, this is my focus and something I want to continue to practice throughout the month as well as next year.  Maybe that will be my word of the year.  Last year’s word was “gratitude”.  Maybe this year will be “cherish”.  I think it sounds like a plan.

How was your week?  Did you learn anything new?  Are you glad it is Friday?  Do you ever pick a word and think/reflect on it throughout the year?  Why or why not?  Love to hear from you!

Date Day and “Triathlon Weekend”

Dave and I in a previous date night picture but thought it was cute.

This weekend was a packed weekend but in many ways relaxing.  I know sounds crazy doesn’t it!  Packed full of things but relaxing because I got to spend it with Dave and do things I/We wanted to do.

First things first: I completed what I am calling my first ever “triathlon weekend”.  Now before you get all excited because you want to jump up and down that I completed a triathlon, let me explain.  It is pretty exciting that I can still walk but it wasn’t really a triathlon.  On Saturday I went for the run in the beautiful 40ish degree weather and it was so nice I just kept going.  It felt so good.  I think I went a little over 10 miles but in my haste to get outside, I forgot to fully charge my ipod all the way and so at mile 8.5 it died and along with it my music, nike plus app telling me how far I had gone, and my timer.  But I did not lose my stride and knew about how much farther I had to go (Yeah for running some of the same paths).   I think I finished with a steady pace of about 8:26 per mile.  And it felt good.  So long run – check!

Then I decided for date day (something we try to do at least once a month) we should do something cheap (hey it is almost Christmas time and we need to save).  So we headed out to the local rail trail (if you don’t have one of these around, find one!  They are so nice).  Anyway we decided to do the whole thing, 24.6 miles.  The first half was great and then coming back was okay until we got to the last 6 miles and hit the strong headwinds and I swear it was all uphill!!  But we made it, the whole thing in a little under 2 hours at a 10-12 mph pace.  Not bad.

My ride!

Finally I finished my “triathlon” by swimming/soaking in a COLD bath for about 20 mins in hopes that I will be able to walk again tomorrow.  So see, my first ever Triathlon completed!  🙂

I also think date day was a success too!  We had a great time chatting along the rail trail and finished by going to one of our favorite restaurants for appetizers (yummy nachos) and libations.  Not normally recommended after a long bike ride but remember it was date day!

I love to spend time with my other half and do my form of “relaxing” over the weekend.  It gives me new energy to make it through the week and plan what wonderful things we can do next weekend and as a bonus it clears my head!  I am really starting to see the importance of taking some quality time for myself in such a stressful and taxing job, which by the way, I really do love!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend too!  Did you do anything exciting/relaxing?