Monday, February 23, 2015

Topic 21: What is my Biggest Regret This (past) Week?

Ugh. Regret. Regret is like a dirty word for me. I have had regret in my past. Some pretty serious regret. But what I have learned from that regret is that I can't do anything about the past. All I can do is recognize it, acknowledge it, evaluate it, learn from it....and use it in the future to make better, more informed choices. I try so hard to do things that will ensure I will not have regret, and if the time comes again where I look regret in the eyes all I can do is forgive myself. We all know hindsight is 20/20.

So what is my biggest regret this week? Other than eating a red velvet cupcake (ok, ok, or two) for dinner? I can honestly say I have no significant regrets from the past seven days. Maybe there are some small regrets like not getting enough sleep, not eating healthier, not getting my run in on Wednesday and letting laundry pile up. But overall there is no deep, soul crushing regret. And for that I owe thanks to the many trials I have faced and overcome over the past few years.

To ensure I have as little regret at possible this coming week I have created my weekly Road Map, an activity that helps me set a goal (or more) for the week and identify just how I am going to accomplish those goals. I can check in throughout the week and make sure I am on track. Most of my goals this week have to do with eating health, working out, saving money, and being more productive. So far my weekly Road Maps have helped significantly. I am working on a bigger Year Long Road Map but this one takes considerably more time and effort.

Coming up on 5 Miles Calendar I have a local 5K (or maybe I'll do the 10k, depends on if I run with my LB and my niece). This will be my first race of 2015...and really maybe even of 2014. That is sad. But I am hoping 2015 will be somewhat of a comeback year.  I hope to do the OKC Memorial 13.1 end of April but I better step up my training! I am ready for spring and better weather...this winter stuff is for the birds!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Topic 20: The first thing I do in the morning....

....besides hit the snooze button 5 times?

My morning routine tends to change quite often. But for now, the first thing I do in the morning is look at my phone...As if anything super important has happened in the night. But sometimes I have a message waiting for me, "Good morning baby".... And a smile flashes across my face...Then I remember I have to get out of bed.

I also use a sleep app (Sleep Cycle) that I love, it keeps geeky stats of my sleep quality. So I check in with that right as I wake up.

I think it's kinda funny; it asks how I am feeling each morning when I wake up. No matter what I always choose the white blah face or the angry red face and only ONCE did I use the pretty little smiling green face, and I actually have no idea why. I hate waking up. I hate getting out of bed....But then when I look further at the stats it says that in the past 45 days I have spent 2 weeks of my life in bed it freaks me out! Who wants to spend that much time in bed?! Asleep?! Not even out enjoying life!! But I have always been a person who requires a lot of sleep. And actually here lately I have not been getting the sleep I normally require. 

I also love the Sleep Quality stat. My best sleep lately has been 96% sleep quality. My worst at 47%.  It measures your sleep cycles (awake, sleep and REM sleep) based on movement (or lack thereof) while sleeping. Once upon a time every single night I had at least 92% sleep quality or better. Here lately, notsomuch....When I looked back over those days I realized I was doing a 9 PM Hot Yoga Class, running more, and eating better. Hmmmm....rocket science? I think not. 

Another cool thing I love about this app is measuring my heart rate when I wake up. I have seen it drop significantly over the past two months since I have started the swim team and running more. Usually, these days it is the high 50's or low 60's....those days when it is mid to high 60's....well I'll just say it may be on those mornings when I wake up to a text, or a dog paw to the face...or a kid leg across my body. Who knows? I guess only I do..... 

After I check my phone and sleeping stats I get out of bed and usually go about getting ready for my day. Then LB is off to school and I am off to work....then we do it all over again tomorrow. 

 I love stats, this is almost as exciting as my Garmin and all my geeky running stats! How about you? Do you monitor your sleep in any way? 

******Some of you have asked about the app, it is called Sleep Cycle and looks like this:

Sleep Cycle



Monday, February 16, 2015

Topic 19: 7 Things Your Boss Wants to Know About the Marathon.....

Well, given you have even told your boss that you are training for a marathon, s/he will want to know some very important information. Here are the top 7 things your boss is going to want to know.

7.  Is all this training going to get in the way of you finishing XYZ project/deadline?
6.  Why on earth would you or anyone run that far?!
5.  I didn't know you were a runner. Are you a runner?
4.  Did you run to work this morning?
3.  I drove that far this weekend, why don't you just drive?
2. Are you really going to finish?
1. Will you be at work on Monday following your marathon?

I kid, I kid.....kind of. Really I have no idea what YOUR boss will want to know about the marathon but here are 7 things I'd like my boss (if I had one, I am my own boss. BAM.) to know about me and running a marathon.

7. I am motivated.
6. Once I make up my mind I am dedicated.
5. I will overcome anything in my way.
4. I will not let you, myself, or anyone down.
3. I am not a quitter.
2. This marathon is synonymous to my life in this office. Ups. Downs. Good. Bad. Ugly. Hard. Euphoric at times. And downright scary, awful, and painful at other times.

And finally #1:

Don't you worry 'bout me and my "crazy ideas"....I'll run my marathon and do your job, and I'll never skip a beat.  And trust me, you WANT me to run this marathon because running is what keeps this smile on my face and the pep in my step....and the office standing.....can you say "Someone stole my stapler....."

Now excuse me while I go for a run......




Friday, January 30, 2015

Topic 18: 10 Signs You Should Invest in Health

Self care is hard. If it was easy we wouldn't have a society plagued by chronic stress and the almighty "Busy Schedule". Having a busy schedule is not something to brag about, it is something we all should really evaluate and adjust.....Sometimes we associate being busy with being IMPORTANT. Well let me tell you, I don't agree. Many important people could be less busy and still be just as important. I could be less busy and still be important. But I digress.....

Investing in your health is investing in YOU, in your LIFE, your FUTURE, and not much is more important than that.... I'm no doctor but I am a mental health professional and here are 10 signs that I pick up on in my office that tell me that you (I, we) should invest in your health.

1. The scale is creeping up up UP.
2. You are grumpy and snappy, at everyone, for anything....
3. You are unhappy most of the time.
4. Your body is achy and sore even though you've been skipping your workouts.
5. You find yourself day dreaming of the beach (mountains, rivers, Paris...you get the idea) more than focusing on your work, family, other responsibilities.
6. Your house is messy and things are piling up.
7. Your kids are grumpy and don't want to be around you.
8. You can't sleep or your sleep habits have either drastically or minimally changed.
9. You have headaches often.
10. You find yourself wanting to punch people in the face (this is my favorite and one I experience often, it tells me I need to start taking care of myself).

So there you have it, 10 in-your-face signs that you might need to invest in your health, in yourself, in your future.....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Topic 17: Why We Love Love (And You Should, Too!)....

Oh. My. Goodness.

Am I done with the 30 Day Writing Challenge that has been happening since October yet? Ugh.....And to top it off I have to talk about loving love? Let me see what I can do....

Why we love love (and you should too!)....

Well love is awesome. When it is good it's GOOD. It feels so great. But when it's not good....it's so not good. Few things in this life have the potential to murder you like love. It doesn't murder you nicely or quickly either. It seems to take joy in your slow, smothering, painful death....But when it is good, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, flowers are blooming, four leaf clovers abound....life is awesome.

Love gives meaning to life. It gives us a reason to wake up each morning, to look forward to each day. I'm not talking about just love for a significant other either. I'm talking about love for yourself, love of life, love of all things good and beautiful. Love of hope, love of fun, love of kindness, love of making others happy....Love makes the world a better place.

If you recall a previous post written to someone I needed to forgive, (HERE) I talk a little bit about love. Love is the difference between good and evil. When you are filled with love there is no room for anger, aggression, hate, vindictive behavior. When you come from love you want what is best for others, you want those that you love to live happily. You want them to feel love, to love and be loved...even if it is not in the way that benefits you.  I truly believe the old saying that goes, "If you love something let it go free. If it doesn't come back, you never had it.  If it comes back, love it forever." How good does it feel when they come back to you?! There is no better feeling than that of being confident in love.....so again, I chose love and it feels good.

In my job when I see couples having trouble I give them this, The 5 A's of Love:

Appreciation
Acceptance
Affection
Attention
Allowance

And if those don't speak to your heart maybe this will: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 

And this my friends, is why we love love and why you should too.....

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Myths About Running a Marathon Part III....

Ok, the last 5 myths about taking on the marathon are here! I know you have been on the edge of your seat, just waiting for these final thoughts....if you missed it click here for Part I and here for Part II.

I know by now you have probably already picked your marathon and registered! So these last five myths may make no difference to you at all. I still feel it is important to finish what I start...(get it? Finish a marathon?? Hardy har har!!!).

Myth #16: It's pointless.

Maybe so. But for me it was not. Deciding to train for and run my first marathon was a huge life changing decision for me. I have written a number of blog entries about this. One in particular I wrote about how running a marathon made me feel like I had a unfair advantage in life, a secret weapon, a super power that people would not ever know just looking at me. From the moment I hit REGISTER to the moment I crossed the finish line I was growing and changing as a person. I went from grumpy, unhappy wife and mom, depressed and without direction to an empowered woman. A woman who knew that no matter the challenge, what ever roadblock I come up against, I would prevail. I would take it on and over come it. I would be OK. I would take on life.....just like I did 26.2 miles. So NO. For me running a marathon was not and is not pointless. It is a turning point. A beginning. It will become a keystone to the days and months ahead. You will find yourself in conversations saying things like "Before my first marathon....yadda yadda yadda.....After my marathon I...blah blah blah...." It will change your life.

Myth #17: People will be jealous of me if I do it. 

Well, I can't say for sure or speak for everyone but  yes, someone will be jealous. And it will be awesome.

Myth #18: My dog will love to train with me!!

Um, I'm certainly not a vet nor an animal professional...but I'd have to say FALSE. Of course your dog can run some of your shorter runs with you but that much mileage for your four legged BFF actually isn't good, in my opinion. I'd definitely talk to your vet about it first. Just like you have to work up to it, so does your dog. Just use common sense and don't overdo it. Hip problems are devastating to your dog and it's quality of life.

Myth #19:  I'll do one marathon and that's it. 

Maybe. Just maybe you will be the one and done type. Maybe not. I have known a few to complete one and mark it off their bucket list. But the majority end up being hooked and wanting to do at least one more. So who knows? Not you until you do one!

And finally...

Myth #20: Runners High, it's not real.

Oh yes it is real....that Runner's High is as potent of a high as any drug (not that I know first hand, I can only assume and I have been told by those who do know....and the chemical feel-good hormone released is the same hormone released in others when they get high from other not-so-healthy ways).  The Runner's High is in fact what keeps us going, keeps us running...you've heard it before, "She's out chasing that Runner's High!" Of course! And why wouldn't we be? It feels so good, so amazing! It truly is hard to put into words other than it is something that doesn't always happen but when it does it is amazing and you find yourself chasing it...and wanting to experience it again and again.

So there you have it. 20 myths about the marathon either validated or debunked. So what are you waiting for? It's the perfect time to pick a race, register, and get out there and catch that Runner's High!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Marathon Myths Part II.....

There are so many reasons to not run a marathon. Most them are not true. Not legit. Not anything other than excuses. Of course time is a factor. Logistics alone can be a nightmare. But the truth is if you want to, you will. If you don't want to, have ZERO desire to put your body through 26.2 grueling miles then you don't have to. No biggie. I don't care. No skin off my back. But lets call it like it is....most people don't run a marathon because they either plain and simply don't want to...or they think they can't.

Call a spade a spade. You're afraid. Afraid of the distance? Of failure? Of pain? Afraid of what damage will be done to you body? Of how hard it will be? Afraid of commitment (hey, I don't judge....I've got my own commitment problems, and committing to a marathon is NOT one of them).

If you missed my Myths of Marathon Part 1 you can find it HERE. Now,  let me tell you a few more myths of the marathon.....

Myth #9If I try and quit then I'm a failure.

False. Making the commitment alone takes guts. Stepping out of your comfort zone and daring to say maybe I can is a win! Many people try and do not cross the finish line. That is not a failure. I have completed three marathons (not a lot, many people have done WAY more than me!) and DNF'd one....and I am here to tell you that DNF (Did Not Finish) hurt in more ways that I can explain. It was one of the THE toughest courses in the U.S., Big Sur California. It is coined THE destination race of the United States. And yes, it was gorgeous. The view was breath taking. The course was killer. And it killed me. I had to quit at mile 20 after beginning a run/walk at mile 11 and finally coming to a complete walk at mile 18. I knew I would not be able to finish and found myself in the shag wagon. It hurt my pride but my knee hurt worse. Quitting was the best option and one that I knew would ensure I could recover and return to the road after I fully healed. So quitting is not a failure. Not starting because you are afraid? Well you be the judge.....

Myth #10I'll have to put an annoying 26.2 sticker on my car.

Nah! You don't have to. But I bet you'll want to!

Myth #11: I'll have to buy lots of expensive gear.

Again, nahhh.....you might end up wanting to get all the new techie gear, the latest New Balance, and the all-important compression tights. You can train and run in a simple cotton t-shirt (HIGHLY RECOMMEND NOT DOING THAT) but you may pay for it with chaffing and skin rubbed off....but you can get by with simple moisture wicking fabrics that don't cost an arm and a leg. You will find that quality gear just feels better and makes you run faster.....er.......

Myth #12: I'm going to have to run like 127 miles a week. 

Nope. Not at all. It is best if you have a good running base of at least 15-20 miles per week and depending on the coach some say you should have been consistently running for at least a year. I agree that that would be optimal HOWEVER....with the proper plan and smart training you can train for and finish a marathon as a complete Novice, a noob if you will. And you can do that with minimal weekly mileage. Throughout my training for my first marathon my highest mileage week was 40 miles. Everything else was between 10 and 30 miles. The key is to train smart and be realistic about your training and your goal. Training to finish is WAY different than training to qualify for Boston.

Myth #13: I might poop my pants.....

Well....I cannot lie....poop happens. And it's gross. And it's embarrassing. Personally I have never pooped my pants while running but I certainly have had some close calls and thank my lucky stars there was a Honey Bucket close by (and for all y'all from the south, a Honey Bucket is a Porta Potty). Part of the training is figuring out your nutrition, what you can eat and cannot eat. What happens during a run after you eat XYZ? And adjusting accordingly. Running also gets your intestine all worked up and things just happen....and sometimes you poop. Hopefully not in your pants and not on the road. I've seen so many people pooping in bushes along the road or trail....it's just part of it and not for the faint of heart. If you absolutely cannot imagine yourself doing that then just know going in that there is a strong possibility that if you can't find a bathroom or a honey bucket, you might just have an accident if you absolutely refuse to use a bush.

Myth #15: I travel for work (or insert any reason for missing chunks of time in your training plan) and will miss workouts...there is no way I can swing it. 

Nope. Not completely true. My go-to marathon and running guru Hal-Higdon writes that you can stop running for up to 5 days without losing significant conditioning! So that business trip to Vegas that will have you at the slot machines  in a conference 12 hours a day will be fine. Simply ease back into your training plan once you get back. Don't be afraid to take walk breaks or slow your pace. You'll regain that fitness within a week or so.  But really.....we all know that most hotels have finiteness centers....or you could at least go for long walks. The activity will be good for you after sitting all day anyway!


Ok folks....If you have any marathon myths you'd like debunked let me know! I have five more to go.




Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas and all that Jazz....

It has been a crazy week and the holidays STILL aren't over! What in the world? Take forever!

With LB out of town visiting his dad I have had some free time on my hands. I have been working late a few evenings but when I am not working the house is quiet...my tree is still up with presents under it, waiting for LB to come home and open them. While I am more than ready to take that tree down and put all my holiday stuff away I have to remember that it's important to leave it up....for just a bit longer.

Of course I miss my Little Buddy like crazy when he is gone but I try to make the most of it. I've been able to get my workouts in and on a couple of occasions I've even gotten in two-a-days. While I am still struggling with running I have definitely caught the swimming bug and been getting back in to yoga. Man it feels so good and just after a few classes I can feel I am getting stronger. Swimming has increased my strength as well! I noticed over the weekend that I wanted to go for a swim SO bad! It was that longing like I'd get for a good, hard (or long) run! I just wanted to get in the pool and swim. It feels good to get that desire back. It's been a long time since I've felt that. It doesn't help thought, or maybe it does help (??), that I have put on a few winter pounds, you know to keep me warm and all. The extra weight makes me feel so gross and lethargic and slow....and gross. So I'm motivated to get busy and lose it, but the extra weight makes it that much more difficult to get out there and get moving. UGH.

So with the poundage piled on it really hit me this weekend that I can definitely empathize with others who struggle with their weight. It is hard. And while I don't think I could ever just give up and say "Wow, it's too hard, too much, I'm too far gone..." I can totally see how that would happen. You just start to get bogged down with the extra weight and it feels impossible to overcome it, to lose it. I've been swimming now at least twice a week for about a month.  I know it has taken 6 months to put these extra pounds on and they won't just fall off after a month of a little exercise. But I am hard on myself, and I want to see change (as I put a delicious pizza in my mouth).

I know the reality. Reality is that I have to change my eating habits. But I had thought that since I had been somewhat inactive for 6 months after my shoulder surgery that adding even a little exercise would make a huge difference. But nope. It's not enough. You cannot outrun a....er, fork? Is that how it goes? No, you cannot outrun a bad diet. And that is HASHTAG TRUE y'all.

So I'm not waiting for the New Year to make changes. Change is happening now. Today.  This photo below my friends, is a half marathon training plan, complete with swimming, yoga, and strength training. It goes 17 weeks and puts me running the Oklahoma City Memorial half marathon....Again. After I almost died last time. But I think it is time for a rematch...It also has some information about Whole30, an intense Paleo diet change that will help me break my cycle of sugar and bad eating habits, and hopefully reset me back on track, a path of health and feeling good!



This is the previously mentioned homemade pizza that my bestie's husband made in their outdoor brick oven...it's true, authentic Italian. And delicious....


And of course a picture of Ace recovering from his Holiday Hangover......We partied hard for one week and now it is time to buckle down and get back on track.



So maybe there will be a 5 Mile Year End Review coming....maybe not. Maybe there will be some New Year's Goals coming. Maybe not....and I will soon complete my Marathon Myths. But for now I am focusing on breaking these new habits that I created after moving to OK and getting back to a point where I can race 5 Mile Style again....ready for any race, any distance, any day...

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