It’s not a funk! You just need to RUN!

Ok, so if you’re reading this, you’re probably a regular runner. You like to sleep, eat, and breathe running. Getting Runner’s World in the mail is the best day of each month, a new pair of shoes feels like running on pillowy clouds, and you likely pack your running gear in your suitcase before your ‘civilian’ clothes before going anywhere, vacation or otherwise.

Unfortunately, as much as you love it, some days just feel more difficult than others. I had one of these days yesterday.

Afternoon lethargy creeped up on me in the afternoon at work. I tried to kick myself out of this feeling by sipping on a small cup of coffee and eating some oatmeal. It didn’t work. I went home, sat on my couch with my coat still on, and thought to myself,  “Do I have to run today?”.  Cue the endless cycle of bad thoughts and justifications for thinking these bad thoughts.

I’ve only run once this week.

Why am I so tired?

I am so behind.

Rest is more important.

It’s cold out.

I don’t want to go to the packed gym.

The treadmill is so boring.

Am I going to meet my goal this spring?

Is my mileage too low?

What can I accomplish if I don’t run tonight?

Won’t I feel better if I stay home & watch TV on the couch?

And so on.

So I did what I usually do in this situation. I decided to settle. I would run easy for 45 minutes and move my tempo workout to Friday morning. It was a good solution. I wasn’t in the mood to push myself, but I knew that A run was better than NO run. I just needed an easy run to clear my head.

Something happened when I left my apartment. It’s been balmy here in Chicago all week. And last night it was 32 degrees when I left for my easy run. A weird foggy mist was in the air and it was a calm night with light wind. In other words, perfect running weather. I got started and instantly felt lighter. I looked down at my watch after only 0.84 miles. Already? If I had been running on a treadmill, this probably would have felt like an eternity. Somewhere between 0.84 and 0.99 miles, I changed my mind and decided to suck it up.

“I will run my tempo tonight afterall”. My watch beeped at the 1 mile mark and I pushed the pace. And I’m so glad I did. Because 7 miles later, I returned home feeling accomplished, refreshed, proud, and relaxed. I didn’t feel like a blob for backing down from a tough workout.

It only took about 6 minutes of physical activity for my body and mind to tell me the same thing:

Thank you! You just needed to RUN!

-J

Advertisements

Staying Centered & The Little Things

One week left in January and I feel like I’m off to a good start. I’ve been very busy. Outside of my 9-5, a lot of other things are brewing. Some days I wonder how I’m going to get it all done (secret: most days… I don’t). I don’t know what I’d do without my giant yellow planner with plenty of doodle space. I really should start using pencil to jot down my TO DOs because over 70% of what I scratch in it occurs on a different day than I intended. But so it goes.

I feel like a broken record on my blog. In the past few months, life has been so busy that this blog really just allows me to take a step back and look at where I’m at and what I could be doing better (running, or otherwise). But I guess it’s important to reflect. And so, I will.

I wrote about my 2012 goals a couple of weeks ago and I have to say, I’m doing very well so far! 10% of my income has gone into my savings account where it shall not be touched. And I have been writing down my “moment of the day” every night before I go to bed. Some days I forget, but I can always think of something that made me happy from the day before. If you’ve ever kept a journal before, you probably know that it can be time-consuming and become more of a list of things you don’t actually enjoy about your life. I’ve side-stepped that process and so far, I think it’s working. Let’s call it “PAUSITIVITY“.

I’ve been pretty inconsistent with my training since the Chicago Marathon. Just check out the image below to see how sporadic it is. October through December was a period of “run when I want to, don’t run when I don’t”. I dedicated some time to exploring a yoga routine. And…I rested. Yes, rest! Sweet, glorious rest. I didn’t obsess over when I should run based on my busy schedule. I didn’t think to myself, “I should have run ONE more mile this week just to make it to so many miles”. It was nice to have some down time. And now I’m back at it (if you could consider 3 weeks of 25+ miles consistent!).

Weeks #42 and #1 are the only weeks in the past year when I didn’t run 1 mile. Week 42 was the week following the Chicago Marathon when it was incredibly important to stay put. And Week 1 was a sick week spent at home under the covers and drinking hot tea. I don’t like to see gaps in my mileage, but hey. I worked hard and resting was my reward.

[Another confession: The last time I ran over 100 miles in a month was September and I’ll surpass 100 this month. It’s the little things.]

The little things that have made me happy lately:

  • Rearranging furniture and making the apartment feel a bit more homey (if that’s even possible). Manny and I had some of his family over a few weeks ago for their first visit to the new place. We had mimosas and they told us how proud of us they are. :happy:
  • Hot tea. Every night lately has been a ‘tea night’. And I can’t get enough of my peppermint fix.
  • The option of running inside OR outside during the winter months + my short commute to the gym. My gym is a few blocks from my apartment, rather than a train ride away like last year. It’s allowed me to be consistent and relaxed at the same time. (I thrive on my alone time at home to keep me sane!)
  • Puppy cuddles. ‘Nuff said.
  • Time with loved ones. Nothing’s better than a lazy hotel stay with my mom, drinking beer, eating pizza, and watching House Hunters International (before falling asleep around 10 pm :-))
  • Nuun! I depended on Nuun for my hydration strategy through my training and racing of the Chicago Marathon this past year. I am addicted. And I was so excited today at work when I realized my shipment would be waiting for me at home after work. (Again, it’s the little things).
  • A good book (or two). I finished 1Q84 last week and will finish Bossypants by Tina Fey this week. The first–deep, methodical, whimsical, and intriguing. The second–fresh, chuckle-inducing,  and silly.
  • Lavender-scented candles at night. :Relaxation:

I’m going to continue to be patient with myself and realize that not everything I want to accomplish will be accomplished this week, but that it will be accomplished eventually. What are your “little things”?

-J

She’s growing up!

When I say “she”, I mean my sister. And when I say sister, I mean TWIN sister. Over Christmas, her boyfriend of many years proposed and…

She said YES!

It’s all very exciting. We’ve become thoroughly addicted to Pinterest (not that we weren’t before, of course) and we already have plans to get together in February to begin the dress hunt. She’s so on top of things, even though she thinks the countdown has already begun. We’ve got 8 full months to make sure it’s a special day.

Congrats, sis!

-J

Concrete & Loosey Goosey Goals of 2012

I’m not really into the whole “New Year Resolution” thing, which is probably why I just came up with mine and it’s already the 9th of January. Resolutions feel ‘fake’ and chummy to me, especially when you stop and consider the small percentage of people that actually follow through with them. But I’m determined to be one of those people that makes it through to January 2013 with dedication to one thing….allocating 10% of my paycheck earned every month to my savings account. I’ve been fairly organized about my money and where it’s gone in the past year. I use Mint.com and try to avoid those red bar lines as often as I can. The 1st of the month is a success and a letdown all at once, but at least I have been able to pay those darn bills and feel good about the money that I can spend on fun things at the end of the day. But I want to save up and make sure I’m being wise about the future.

When I want to do something, it has to happen. That’s the way I work. No ‘ifs, ands, or buts’ about it.

I worked really hard last year to accomplish my running goals. And this year shouldn’t be any different. I have a feeling it’s going to be just as tough (if not tougher) to have a certain time goal in mind. On that note, my goal is to run a half marathon at or under 1 hour 40 minutes. My current PR is 1:43:48, so I’ll be focusing a lot on speed in the next few months. I’ll be running three half marathons before the end of April and I can’t wait.

These kinds of goals mean that I either succeed or fail every month. And to be honest, they’re probably the type of goals that breed failure more often than success because they demand true commitment. But I think it’s also important to stop and think about goals that maybe can‘t be measured. There are things I want to ENJOY this year. Rather than being a slave to accomplishing these things, I’m hoping I can take a step back and attribute time to doing things I love with people I love.

Here’s my short list:

  • Enjoy reading a good book every once in awhile– the easiest way to do this is to read when I’m on the train and right before I go to sleep each night.
  • Take the time to cook more meals at home and perfect easy recipes–it might take dedication but it always makes me slow down and enjoy my meals more often.
  • Don’t be afraid to say “yes” OR “no” to someone–decisions can be hard but I shouldn’t feel guilty about deciding either way once I do.
  • Write down my “moment” of the day every night before I go to bed–something that made me happy, something that made me chuckle, a deep thought I had on the train, a wish for the following day…anything! The goal is to be mindful of the good things in life.

It’s a short list, but it means a lot. What will you accomplish this year?

2011 Reflections

I guess it’s that time of year to reflect on what has happened in the past 365 days. So much has happened in the past year, that I don’t even know if I could do the entire year justice by recapping it here. But 2011 will always be remembered by me as the year that I ran my first marathon. I didn’t just run it, I raced it and all the hard work paid off. I think the one thing that I try to communicate to people that ask me about how I got into running and why I love it so much is this—the hard work always pays off. Even if you have a tough day at work or there’s something larger going on in your life, you can always count on a good run to calm those emotions. If you dedicate time to taking care of your body and mind, you will always come out on top.

I ran 1,026 miles in 2011.

I’ve always been athletic but this year I became a “runner”. I am looking forward to a lot of races in 2012 and see what else I can accomplish not only through running, but personally and professionally. I’m already registered for 3 spring half marathons, but I’m on the fence about my fall marathon (especially considering my Boston training will need to start in late December or early January of next year). I’d like to run at least 1,500 miles in 2012.

I’ve come across this quote a couple of times this year and I’m using it as fuel to make some changes in the next 365 days.

Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s dominate 2012!

-J