Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry {Day After} Christmas

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas! My Christmas ended up being extremely quiet, but still wonderful.

Christmas Eve started out with an easy 6.25 mile run on the treadmill at the gym. Needed to get in a good run before any Christmas goodies! Plus, I needed to keep the Runner's World Holiday Streak alive! After my run, I showered, got ready, packed up the car and headed up to my parents' house.

The moment I walked into the house I was told my dad had the flu. Every instinct in me wanted to turn around and go back home! I take every precautionary measure to not get sick on a daily basis and being around someone who had the flu sounded horrible!! But, my dad stayed upstairs most of the time (poor Dad!) so my mom and I could enjoy Christmas Eve together. We ate delicious crab legs and a salad for dinner, took silly pictures on the puppies and just got caught up on life, then watched a cheesy Christmas movie. It was a great night!

On Christmas Day my dad woke up feeling a little bit better so he could enjoy the festivities a little bit. I got in a quick mile and a half run on my parent's rickety treadmill (works great for walking, a little shaky for running!) to keep the streak alive, then my brother showed up and it was present opening time!

Honestly, I had asked for very little this Christmas, and everything had a running theme! I wanted needed new shoes, a Garmin and protein bars instead of candy. Well, I got everything I wished!! I got my shoes a few days earlier - I decided to go with the Mizuno Wave Riders since everyone raves about them - and my parents got me a Garmin. Yes!! My mom also did a great job of putting together a bag of protein bars to try, homemade almond butter and some peanut butter - perfect gifts for me! It was definitely a runner's Christmas for me!

The rest of the day was spent visiting with my family, eating a delicious ham dinner, playing with the dogs in the snow and, of course, eating Christmas treats. Overall it was a wonderful Christmas with my family!!

Until next time~

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Why I Run

As I enter day 25 of my personal running streak and day 21 of the Runner's World Holiday Streak, I know there are some people who think I'm crazy. I take no offense to that ("you're crazy" = a runner's favorite compliment!). I've covered over 100 miles already during this streak and I'm not slowing down anytime soon. But that brings to me a question I'm asked often ....

Why do I run??

Each and every day (well, now at least!) I put on my running gear, lace up my shoes and hit the pavement or treadmill for some sort of run. What drives me? What keeps me going mile after mile? 

I run because it's my therapy.
Running clears my mind. It relieves my stress. It can make headaches disappear. It takes my frustration and with each foot strike, leaves it on the pavement, even for just that moment in the run. I don't have any deep, meaningful thoughts when I run, just the letting go of things weighing on me. Even just for that run, I feel lighter and happier.

I run because it makes me feel alive.
When I'm running outside, it's just God, nature and me and I just love that feeling, that connection. 

I run because it takes me out of my comfort zone.
Running has taught me to reach past my boundaries, step out of the quiet, comfortable life I'm building for just a bit. And it's in those moments outside of my comfort zone, the moments where I've felt discomfort, where I have really found strength in myself.

I run because it's a challenge.
I'm not the best or the fastest runner. When I started back in May, I honestly thought I wouldn't be able to do it. But I've improved so much in these past seven months and will continue to improve with each run, and each new distance and speed I attempt. It's all still so new to me and is never really easy. Running is a slow and sometimes painful process that is teaching me to be the best version of me.

I run because I love it. 
Plain and simple. There is no other way to describe it. I know many people don't understand that; they think running is painful or a punishment. But for me, it's not that. Running is freeing and a place of happiness. 

I don't run for weight loss or donuts or cake. Those aren't BAD reasons to run, they just aren't what drives me. I run for the pure joy of it. Even through the bad or hard runs, I can find something good. Every run is a blessing.

Why do you run??

Until next time~

Monday, December 16, 2013

Always Being the "Strong" One

I couldn't even begin to tell you how many times I've been told to "stay strong" or "be strong" since my husband passed away. It's what everyone tells you to do or how to hold up in the face of tragedy. Not that there's anything wrong with telling someone that; it's words of comfort to some people. And really, it is a good choice when dealing with tragedy; the best choice (in my opinion) is to let the tragedy strengthen you. However, I also think it's okay to NOT be strong some times. To break down, to cry, to yell and for once, not be the strong one.

Last Sunday my grandpa had a massive stroke. It definitely wasn't looking very positive for awhile last week and although he's making progress, he's far from being back to where he was and things change day-to-day so quickly we don't what to expect. Once again, I heard encouraging words of "stay strong" when I finally told people about it. I felt like I was pressured to visit him because I'm the "strong one" who can handle seeing my grandpa in that condition.

My honest reaction? Why do I always have to be the strong one? 

I've survived and stayed strong through losing Rod, losing a friend to cancer earlier this year and always, always was the strong one so everyone else could feel better, could grieve, could cry and break down. When is it my turn to NOT be strong? When is it okay for me to break down?

I'm trying. I promise I am. Trying to be strong even as my grandpa looks scared as I approach him. I don't know if he doesn't know who I am or what, but that look of fear on his face was heartbreaking. 

I'm trying to stay strong for my family because that's what I'm expected to be, but the stress and the pressure of being strong for everyone else is weighing on me. I know I'm fiercely independent and have survived a nightmare, but I'm also a little fragile. I know I'm supposed to be unbreakable, but I don't know if am. I know I'll get through this; we all will. Sometimes though, I want it to be okay to not be strong, to break down, to cry, to have someone take care of me. But I will figure it out, how to be the strong one now as we figure our way through this with my grandpa.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Holiday Streaking Update

So who is streaking this holiday season? 

And by streaking, I mean doing the Runner's World Holiday Streak, silly. This is a challenge the magazine puts forth to run at least one mile daily starting on Thanksgiving Day until New Year's Day. Sounds fun, right???


So today marks day 10 of the running streak, and day 14 of my personal running streak. Woot woot!! I can proudly say I have not missed a day!! Nor do I plan on missing any. No matter what, I will figure out how to get a run in every day!

Figuring out how many miles to run each day/ week will be a test for sure. Today I woke up extremely tired, with a headache and achy legs from all the running. I'm starting to foam roll and stretch a lot more after each run! Here is a recap of this last week ....

Sunday: 6.38 miles + squats and ab work
Monday: 1.12 miles (rest day!)
Tuesday: 6.02 miles + free weights, squats and planks
Wednesday: 4.05 miles + ab work and squats
Thursday: 3.3 miles + 5 miles bike + cable weights and planks
Friday: 5 miles + leg day and stability ball ab work and planks
Saturday: 5 miles + planks

Total Miles: 30.87 running + 5 miles bike = 35.87 total miles

I'm definitely covering a lot of miles! The week before I did 36.33 total miles, but less running miles. I did a few shorter runs, plus cross training on the elliptical and bike. I'm really starting to like those cross training days with the bike and am going to try to add more of those in next week! I like doing something different!!

This week I also fell on the ice after my first run in the snow on Wednesday. That slowed me down on weight lifting and Pilates. I really need to get those added back in because I miss them when I don't do them as often as I want. It's all about finding the right balance for my body.

I'm really looking forward to continuing with this streak. I'm hoping it will help make me a better, stronger, faster runner! I'm planning on tackling a few half marathons and my first full marathon next year so I need to become a better runner and am hoping this will help. 

I do wish the weather would get nicer though. Currently our temps our subzero and near 20 (or worse!) below with the windchill, which means I've been having to take too many runs on the dreadmill treadmill. Seriously, how do people do the treadmill daily? What I love about running is being outside, feeling my feet hit the pavement, enjoying the quiet nature and solidarity, and clearing my head. That just doesn't happen at the gym. Too many people and always some creepy old guy staring at me! Please get warmer weather!!

Covering the display really helps me get my miles in!

If you're streaking, I hope it's going well! If you're not and think I'm crazy, you can follow me on my journey on Twitter or Instagram. I try to post on those two daily about my runs and for support!

Until next time~

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Weighty Issue

About two months ago I was out with a "friend" who asked me how much I weigh. Now, I normally don't tell people how much I weigh. I don't think it's anyone's business other than mine, my doctors and maybe my parents. However, I'm also not embarrassed by it. I figured this person was a friend and wouldn't judge so I told her.

Her response? 
You weigh that much?? I feel so much better about myself now if you weigh so much!

To a person who has lost over 50 pounds and maintained that loss for about a year, I don't think I weigh "too much", but I found myself defending my weight.

Well, I lift weights three times a week, too so I'm not just "skinny."
I workout six days a week and eat pretty clean so I think that's healthy.
I wear the smallest size jeans they sell in women's sizing!
I've lost over 50 pounds, what's wrong with what I weigh? 
Am I supposed to weigh less??

But then I just stopped. Why do I need to defend my weight? My weight is in the healthy range, and I know there are plenty of people out there who say I'm too thin, so why was she shocked at my weight??

I tried talking with her about why she thought I weighed so much, and what I thought it meant to be healthy, but her only answer was that we should aim to weigh around 100 pounds. Women are "supposed to be" super skinny. Seriously.

I think some people just put too much pressure on that number of the scale. They let that number define them. I know I struggle with it when my weight fluctuates, but after a year of maintenance, I'm finally realizing that my weight is going to fluctuate occasionally. And it usually has nothing to do with how I'm eating or actual weight gain. It's hormones, water weight, etc. It always levels back out at my "normal" weight. 

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves, or others, to weigh a certain amount? Why does that matter so much? And why would someone who is 5'8 want to weigh 103 pounds? That isn't even a healthy weight for my 5'4 frame! 

I'm trying not to put so much pressure on myself for what the scale says. I know that I'm healthy. I run every day (because I'm doing the Runner's World Holiday Streak!). I eat healthy and stay away from junk most of the time, but also allow treats. Although I do weigh myself often, I try not to let that number define me. I go by how my jeans fit. And honestly, once you have to start using a belt on your size 00 jeans and you're buying your running clothes in the girls' department not women's, you don't think you need to lose anymore weight! You actually start to think the opposite.

Now, this "friend" hasn't talked to me since that dinner date. Apparently I did my job of making her feel better about herself and I was promptly dumped. Which is okay, because I don't need people making me feel bad about myself just to make themselves feel better. Friendships shouldn't be based on that.

So, my question is, how do you respond to those who want to bring you down because of your weight? Or something similar? Why aren't we lifting each other up rather than tearing each other down when we know how hard we can be on ourselves when it comes to weight??

Until next time~ 

Monday, December 2, 2013

MIMM: Thanksgiving and Birthday Weekend!

So I took a week off from blogging. I'm sorry! I wrote a couple of week's ago that I was in a crazy funk and it just got worse, I wasn't sleeping and I figured I shouldn't blog when I was in a place like that. However, I think I've gotten through the worst of it and am feeling much happier! I took the afternoon off work today and I think that, along with sleeping through the night last night, really helped. I felt happy today and even put up some Christmas decorations! My tree looks so pretty!!

Obviously last Thursday was Thanksgiving. I started the day off with the Turkey Trot in Minneapolis. It was so much fun!! I didn't run at a super fast pace. Actually I was supposed to run with my friends, but I lost them in the crowd of other runners! I just kept a pace that felt comfortable and enjoyed the run!

I then headed up to my parents' house for dinner (yum - turkey!!). It was a good day. I do have to say my favorite part of the meal was the peanut butter pie I made for dessert. It was heavenly!! I could eat that every day. I'm such a peanut butter addict!! I used this recipe except I used a graham cracker crust because I'm not a huge pretzel fan.

Thanksgiving was also the start of the Runner's World Holiday Streak. I did lots of running over the weekend. Turkey Trot on Thursday, 4 miles on Friday, 5 on Saturday and 6.3 on Sunday. Friday and Saturday were different since I was at my parents' and they live in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road. Dirt roads feel different than my usual paved trails! But it was fun with a nice change of scenery. Today I only did one mile since my body needs a rest day. I actually started the running streak early since I haven't had a day off since two Saturdays ago! Lots of running last week!! And I wonder why I'm so tired and worn out??! Ugh... my pace is so slow lately!!

My birthday was on Saturday and it was a quiet day spent with my family. I kicked the day off with a five mile run. I chose running over birthday pancakes! My mom, grandma and I went to see Frozen that day. Great movie and I highly recommend it! My mom made one of my favorite meals for dinner, chicken enchiladas, and my grandpa came over for cake and ice cream. The awesome necklace in the photo above is what my lovely parents got me for my birthday present!

That was my weekend. Lots of running, eating (wish I still had some of that peanut butter pie!!) and spending quality time with my family. It's all I needed! Now onto the rest of the week! It's going to be cold and snowy, but I WILL get my runs in for the holiday streak. No skipping out for me!! 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Anyone else participating in the Holiday Streak?

Linking up for Marvelous in My Monday!! 

Until next time~