Mind Over Matter (Even if the Matter is Your Butt)

Yesterday, I woke up happy. In fact, I felt great. I took note that my skinny jeans (which are a little too tight) felt pretty good and not-so-tight. I was happy with my outfit choice and I looked and felt refreshed.

Feeling ambitious, I stepped on the scale thinking I must have lost a few pounds to feel so great (the issue is already clear).

Well, to my shock, I had actually gained four pounds from two days prior. Four pounds. Huh.

I tried not to let it bother me. But, it did. I kept thinking, “How could I possibly have gained weight? I have been eating healthy. I missed a few workouts, but had an active weekend. How could it be possible that I’m getting fat?” (Fat… from four pounds… really? You can see how the issue is building.)

Within an hour, I found myself reaching for a muffin.It doesn’t matter,” I thought. I’m gaining weight when I eat healthy so why not eat a muffin. Why bother trying?

I didn’t drink that much water. “Puh, drinking extra water clearly doesn’t help my fat-butt anyway and I’m tired,” I said to myself. So, I relied on coffee for most of the morning and found myself nearly falling asleep at my desk after lunch.

Around 3pm, tempted by trail-mix in the break room, I caved. I gobbled down the trail-mix with the lingering, Why bother? You’re getting fat anyway,” thoughts in the back of my head.

By the time I left work, I was tugging at my too-tight jeans and wallowing in self-pity because I felt gross.

We ate dinner as a family and, instead of playing with the little dude, I put Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the TV because I was too tired to do anything else. I mindlessly munched on chocolate chips and spent the evening on my laptop.

By the time I put my tiny guy to bed, I couldn’t wear my skinny jeans anymore because they were so uncomfortable. I ate more chocolate chips.

I put on baggy jammies and went to bed disappointed, down, grumpy, and feeling exhausted.

All because the scale said, “You gained four pounds.”

I took a perfectly good start to the day and let my own perception of what an extra four pounds meant create negative self-talk, dictate my food choices, impact my activities, and result in a pretty awful day.

It’s sad and unfortunate.

Don’t be like me. If you feel good, embrace every part that feels good. If you don’t feel good, don’t let negative thoughts impact your choices or drag you down. You can feel better with good decisions, a little positive thinking, and some movement.

Mind over matter does work – both ways. Choose the positive way.

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Thankful Wednesday: Running

I’ve been wanting to write about the NYC Marathon since I got home from the race, but I keep getting intimidated by it. To express how I felt that day seems almost impossible. And, thanks to our digital world, I’ve already shared a lot of pictures, my race time, and other details about the race online in several formats (so sorry for the overkill!).

But, during this week of thanks, I have to express how thankful I am for running and especially for the opportunity to run the NYC Marathon. I finished the race in 3 hours  57 minutes and 3 seconds – exceeding my goal of 4 hours and 15 minutes by so much more than I expected.

Throughout the race my legs hurt, my left arm went numb and my feet ached, but the energy of the crowds and the excitement of running through the burroughs of New York kept me going. Also, a little prayer for special people in my life at the start of the hardest miles helped immensely.

When I hit mile 22, I knew I had a chance of finishing under four hours. And it was then that I started to really break down mentally and physically. But, lucky for me, that’s also when I hit Central Park.

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Literally thousands of people lined the streets with motivational signs and whistles, clapping, and loud cheers. On my left side, buildings reached up to the perfectly blue sky. And on my right, the golden leaves of hundreds of trees in Central Park sparkled.

When I saw the ‘1/2 Mile To Go!’ sign, I was passed by the 4-hour pacer and I became panic-stricken that I was going to miss my newly formed sub-4 goal. So, I kicked it into another gear … and pain shot through my knee.

At that moment, I realized I was literally giving every last piece of myself to get across the finish line. I put the pacer out of my head, confident in my timing, and gave all that I had to cross the finish. And, once I crossed, I cried.

Never in my life have I tried as hard as I did that day. Which, truth be told, may not be a good thing. But, it was certainly life changing. To know what could be accomplished and to understand what it feels like to fully give my all made me realize that I can do just about anything. If I try that hard in other aspects of life, there’s no telling what could happen.

Today I am thankful for running the best marathon and best race of my life. Running gives me peace, relieves stress, and keeps me sane. I’m thankful to have found a passion that compliments the rest of my life so well. Thanks for listening to me talk about the race one more time … I’ll stop now. :)

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Happy Thankful Wednesday! What are you thankful for today?

Training Tip Tuesday: 10 Minutes

Training for the NYC Marathon is getting tough.

The financial commitment is looming out there on the horizon. And even the logistics of navigating the city on race day is starting to burden me down.

The running itself has had its ups and downs, too. My 17-mile training run left me wobbly and sore for days; I was convinced I’d made a mistake and would never be able to finish the race. However, my 18-mile training has left me feeling strong and ready to take on this challenge. Strange how much can change from week to week. Even day to day.

Some days, getting in a 5-miler is no problem. Easy-peasy. Other days, it can be extremely challenging to get inspired to lace up – especially when life is throwing curve balls (like floods and fires) at you.

But, to succeed on November 3, I have to get out there and do it. Right? (Yes. The answer is yes.) And for you to achieve your goals, you’ve got to keep going too, right? (Also, a yes.) So, how can we get out there and do it day after day even when we’re tired, sore and unmotivated? What is there to do when sheer will, determination and stubbornness have worn off?

My suggestion: Trick yourself.

It works for me just about every time. If I’m having trouble mustering up the motivation to get out there and run, I just tell myself I’ll only go for 10 minutes. And if, after ten minutes, I still feel like I don’t want to run then I can stop.

Over the course of my running history, I think I’ve actually stopped once after tricking myself with this method. Every other time, the little bit of energy produced from that 10-minute warm-up (and the creeping endorphin rush) took over and I completed my full workout.

It’s kind of silly because deep down I know that I’ll go for longer. But, saying it’s okay to stop and take a rest day when my body really isn’t responding to a warm-up seems to get me going every time (except maybe that once). And, quite honestly, if your body isn’t responding after ten minutes, you likely really need the rest day!

So, next time you don’t feel like running, walking, or participating in your chosen physical activity, just try doing it for ten minutes. I bet you’ll surprise yourself by how often you get in a complete sweat session. It totally works.

So, how about you? Do you trick yourself into a workout? Does it work?

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Thankful Thursday: State of Mind

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Happy Thursday!

Well, it’s another day of rain for Northern Colorado and things aren’t looking good out there. Lots of flooding in our part of the state and the rain is still coming down. Please send us good thoughts to dry us up! And, if you’re in the area, be careful out there!

But, that said, I am thankful for today. I would be more thankful if there wasn’t flash-flooding but I am thankful nonetheless. Why?

 …. Running!

I know, you’re getting sick of me talking about running. I can’t help it! I think about it all.the.time.

This week, I’m thankful for running because it has had a very positive impact on my state of mind in recent weeks. Endorphins aren’t just giving me a runner’s high every so often. Oh no. I’ve been better equipped to handle stress and all the ups and downs of life. I’ve been happier, more calm, more relaxed, and have experienced less anxiety. And, I believe it’s due to running a lot (like a whole helluva lot).

There are a ton of great quotes that sum up how running really does impact your overall well-being (you can find 41 of them here) and these are a few of my favorites:

  • I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought. – Arthur Blank
  • If you train your mind for running, everything else will be easy. – Amby Burfoot
  • Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about. – Patti Sue Plumer

And this one seems especially fitting this week:

  • When it’s pouring rain and you’re bowling along through the wet, there’s satisfaction in knowing you’re out there and the others aren’t.  – Peter Snell

I hope you find your never-ending runner’s high. Stay dry out there!

Happy Thankful Thursday!

P.S. Clearly the image above isn’t about running but it is amazing state flag art I recently purchased from my friend, Matt. (State of mind. State flags. Kind of all goes together, no?) Aren’t they awesome!?

Image via Matt’s Instagram

Training Tip Tuesday: Love It.

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Training is hard. Whether your training for a race, trying to get healthy or hoping to lose weight, training can be difficult.

Every day, you have to get up early or skip your lunch hour or make time in the evening to do your training. And it can quickly become an exhausting, cumbersome task.

But, there are people who do it. Those people used to leave me wondering, how?? How can you go the gym so diligently? How can you dedicate hours to a club sport? Who on Earth has time for training?

But, I’ve figured it out. And it’s my #1 training tip: You must love it. Whatever sport you choose, for goodness sake’s, choose something you like to do!

Whether you’re a runner, a swimmer, a tennis player, or weight-lifter, you have to truly enjoy what you’re doing to be successful at it. I mean, getting healthy, getting in shape, acheiving a goal, participating in an event are all fine and likely on most of our ‘lists.’ But, if you’re doing something you don’t enjoy, you will fizzle out.

The good news? You can stop doing whatever you don’t like and start doing what you do like! No one said you have to run to be in shape! No one says you have to lift weights to get in a workout! You can play basketball or go hiking in the mountains or ride your bike.

I write this because I am often asked why I run (specifically why in the world would I actually want to run a marathon). People think I’m crazy (along with all the other runners) or some kind of health nut. Quite honestly, for a long time I wasn’t sure how to respond. Did I run solely to get in shape? Was it to lose weight? Why a marathon? ‘Cause it’s on my list … but, why is it on my list? Why am I not interested in riding in a 100-mile bike race or participating in a weekend softball tournament?

Because, simply, I don’t enjoy those activities. I mean, I do to an extent … but I don’t love them the way I love running. I LOVE the feeling I get after a good run. I actually crave losing my breath and sweating. During particularly hot runs, I have actually lied down on the ground, put my face on the concrete sidewalk to cool down, and then got back up and kept running. And, I’m sorry, but you only put your face on the sidewalk for something you love.

It’s like when my good friend (who I write about all the time on here) was pregnant, she played tennis until, like, her eighth or ninth month of gestation. Yeah. You couldn’t have paid me to play tennis when I was that pregnant. But, with the go-ahead from her doctor and a very healthy lifestyle overall, she played like a boss! Why? Because she loves it. And she figured out that running every day or lifting weights weren’t going to keep her active throughout her pregnancy … doing something she loved would.

So, the point of all this: Ask yourself why you’re pushing yourself so hard to do something you don’t enjoy. If you’re struggling to get the gym or have a tough time lacing up your sneakers, it’s okay to stop and change (don’t totally stop being active, though!). Choose yoga, go swimming, or try kickboxing. Test out activities and sports until you find something that you like to do. You’ll be surprised at how far you can go when you do something you love (you might even run a marathon).

Training Tip Tuesday: LOVE what your doing (go ahead and apply that to life, too).

P.S. I am fundraising for the Jackson Gabriel Silver Foundation for the NYC Marathon! Please consider donating! Thanks a bunch!

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The NYC Marathon – JGSF Donation

I mentioned last week that I am fortunate enough to run in the ING NYC Marathon this fall. This is a huge bucket list item … I’m scared, excited, nervous, thrilled, and my legs are already feeling the burn from training runs.

We have just about fifteen weeks to go and it’s time to start getting the word out about the wonderful organization that has made this happen.

In order to secure guaranteed entry to the race, my sister (she’s running, too!) and I have committed to fundraising for the Jackson Gabriel Silver Foundation (JGSF).

JGSF exists to eradicate EB (Epidermolysis Bullosa) which is a devastating disease affecting children from birth. For a child with EB, even the slightest touch or friction can cause their skin to tear or blister. For more information, please visit their website.

It absolutely breaks my heart (and I am sure it is breaking yours) and although its an extremely rare disease, it deserves a lot of funding and needs help gaining awareness, which is where you come in.

To save the children who affected by this disease, we need to share their stories, inspire action, and provide resources to the families who are facing the challenging battle of caring for a little one with EB.

Over the last three years, JGSF has raised over $1.5 million in funding for research and aid for families who need financial assistance to pay for the bandages and necessary treatments for their children. You can read about the progress they’re making here and see images of the little guy who inspired the foundation, Jackson. His family, the Silvers, are responsible for starting this amazing non-profit and it’s easy to see in his sweet little face how he’s been an inspiration to so many over the last few years.

I don’t want to upset you with sad or frightening images or scare you with terrifying and dismal survival statistics, but I do want to help find a cure and stop this disease from hurting precious little ones.

Please consider donating to my charity page on Crowdwise. By donating and sharing the mission of JGSF with others, you’ll help spread awareness and support the work of the Silver family to find a cure and end EB.

Thank you for your help! I can’t wait to share this journey with you! xoxo

Find Some Place …

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And pray. Pray for the runners. Pray for the bystanders. Pray for those who lost their lives, their legs, and their loves. Pray for those who didn’t get to finish what was likely the biggest race of their lives. Pray for the volunteers and the first responders.

And pray that we won’t have to keep praying for victims of senseless tragedies. Pray for peace, for understanding, and for hope for our society. And then go for a run.

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Resolution Run: Pacing Problems

Hello friends!

We’re officially one week into the new year! How are your resolutions going? I am sure you’re all exceeding your own expectations.

To kick off the new year and get myself back in shape, I participated in a New Year’s Day 5k. It was a pretty good run … but freezing. I think the it was something like 13 degrees outside. Chilly.  Thankfully the race organizers are awesome and they gave out running headbands to keep our ears warm (instead of t-shirts). I was already wearing a headband … so I wore both. It.was.cold.

Here’s me with a big ol’ cheesy pre-race grin:

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You may think I was cold because I wore running knickers instead of pants. You’re right. But enough about the weather.

For not having trained for the race, I’m pretty pleased over all. I completed the 5k in 25:18 minutes (breakdown below). I think I ran fast because I knew they were handing out mimosas at the end of the course (or because I was cold).

  • Mile 1: 7:55 min
  • Mile 2: 8:16 min
  • Mile 3.1: 9:05 min

I definitely made some ‘I haven’t run in three months’ pacing mistakes. As you can see from my splits, I was a little overzealous on mile 1 and proceeded to get slower and slower. I tried to really kill it on the last mile and just didn’t have any juice left. Looking at my mileage is good motivation to keep up my training, even without another race on the horizon until March. I definitely don’t want to make the same mistake again.

How about you guys … any races completed in the new year? How do you pace yourself?

Where Are You, Runner’s High?

Nearly a month ago, I did road race. It was #5 of my Summer List items and I’m glad to say I got to cross it off before the Fall Solstice.

The race was the Crossroads 5k here in Fort Collins. I was supposed to do the half-marathon but I wasn’t ready for 13.1 miles so I had to settle for 3.2. It was a pretty decent run, I finished in 26:46 minutes. Certainly not a PR, but not a terrible time given my current workout regime.

(I forgot to take a picture at the race so here’s me training for it. I take pics of myself while running…I’m a weirdo.)

So… my current workout regime. Here’s the thing, I’ve really been struggling to get on a regular training schedule these days. Between work, the little guy, and whatever else I do all day (still trying to figure out exactly what that is), I just can’t seem to get a routine started.

I still love to run and I want to be in better shape but I keep failing to actually go on a jog. I can’t seem to wake up before work to sweat out a run. I rarely get to take a lunch break these days and, if I do, the only running I do is running errands. And, by the time my little man goes to sleep, I’m way too wiped out to get moving in the evening.

I know, I know. I’m just making excuses…. I’ve always thought if something was truly a priority that you make time for it. But, as much as I swear I want to, I regularly choose reading a book or watching tv over running these days.

How can I break these habits and get back to my runner’s high!? I miss it! I need my endorphins! I miss the stress release! But, there’s more…..

I miss being myself. I don’t believe being a mom means giving up who you are, but somehow I’ve let go of two of the biggest things that defined me pre-baby, which was running and blogging. I don’t really know who I am without those pieces and yet they seem to be the two things that I can’t squeeze into the day.

Today, I’m writing a blog and I’m going to go for a run (on my lunch break). And tomorrow, I’m going to do it again. And the next day and the next (although I probably won’t post the blogs until next week) because I have to get these critical elements of me back! It’s important for my well-being which ultimately impacts the little guy’s well-being.

So, if any of you busy runners have advice on how to get back into a good training program or if my lovely blogging friends have tips on how to keep writing when the words don’t come very easily, I’d love to hear it!

Thanks for reading my self-indulgent post and have a great weekend!

P.S. If you were keeping up with the Simple Summer List – I didn’t manage to go on a bike ride (unless you count my stationary bike), get to a pool, or buy a swimsuit. Blarrgh. But, we did squeeze in home-made ice cream (#4)….it was everything I’d imagined it be.

Here’s to the Olympics!

Are you excited to watch the Olympics?

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After a summer of anticipation, I’m pretty darn glad the Olympics are here! I admit, I’m not incredibly knowledgeable about all the events that take place during the games but I have a few favorite sports I’ll be following.

When I was younger, my favorite events were all gymnastics. What little girl didn’t want to be a gymnast at some point in life, right? I even took gymnastics for, like, a week. But the grace of a gymnast is a quality I do not posses (nor is balance or flexibility), so I took to soccer, running and rugby (where you’re encouraged to fall).

For the 2012 games, I’m hopeful for U.S. Gold Medals in all events but my energies will be focused on rooting for the U.S. Women’s soccer football team.

And I’ll be checking in on the running events, swimming and the triathlon, too. Hopefully, I’ll glean some inspiration from the athletes and get motivated to get off the couch!

Happy Olympics, World.

USA! USA! USA!