Challenges, Obstacles, and Being an Overcomer

A 4ish mile run yesterday morning.

And you’re thinking….sooo… what’s new? you went for a run….

Thing is, it was my first run since I raced last Sunday. I haven’t gone that long not running in… I don’t even know when…… I traveled home Monday and my natural inclination (usually) would’ve been already plotting a run for Tuesday.

But disturbingly, this thought crossed my mind Monday evening,
“I don’t really care if I run anytime soon….”

It freaked me out. Like, where did that come from ??

True, I was tired.

Friday-Monday each day I had traveled about 4 hours at a time, I ran 13.1 miles Sunday ( literally…. ran them all… other than walking through water stations to get fluid in) and even though I mentally dismissed it as “only running 13 miles” fact is, it’s still a good distance to run.
Let’s not forget the complete and total… frustrating let down… of not getting to run the 50K….or that at race day I had logged (roughly) 990 training miles since August.

I guess it was a breeding ground for my “whatevah if I run again” crazy thinking…

I messaged a running friend who assured me I wasn’t a freak but to just allow myself a little down time. He told me I’d be back on my game again soon. Sometimes you just need someone to remind you that you’ve put yourself out there, given your all, worked hard and ….resting… is an ok thing.

So I did. I mean I wasn’t a total and complete sloth. I did do a few days of strength training in my week, but I never looked at my running shoes. ( I think I heard them crying at night 😉

Therefore, yesterday morning, when I knew I was ready to get out there it was totally with the intent to run easy…. and run wherever I wanted….. and however I wanted…. no agenda.

And you know what? It felt amazing. Those creepy feelings were gone. I was back out where I needed to be. I felt alive.

I’m refocused and moving forward and know what my new goals are.

You know those moments we go through where we feel laid low… are often the times where we… once again… redefine ourselves.

Challenges and obstacles define us. They can either take us down, defeat us, and make us want to quit….OR…. they can push us, shape us, and mold us into overcomers.

We just need to decide how we will respond.

How do challenges or obstacles help you move forward ? How do you deal with them ? Do they strengthen you ?

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Runner IsShoes

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A colorful collection of my running shoes…..

Ok, you knew I couldn’t stay away from talking running for to long, right ?

Well, actually truth be told, this is more a post about the most important thing involved in running, shoes. Well at least I think so. Good shoes are a requirement to do what we do, keep us comfy, and protect from injury.

In fact, when new runners ask me what they need, I tell them they can run in just about anything but they need good quality shoes.

Then the inevitable question…. “what brand do you wear?”

My response is this: go to a good shoe store, try on several pair, you’ll know them immediately when you slip them on.

I then tell them: I wear Asics.

I jokingly tell them I’m married to them. Other than a couple brief flings with Mizuno’s to see what the hype was about, I’ve been in Asics from the beginning of my running career (4ish years now). I’ve always loved the fact I can just go out and put miles on them straight outta the box with no “adjustment” period. They perform well, offer a variety of styles, colors etc and at decent prices.

Other than buying the Cumulus style… which almost destroyed me… the toe box was so small, the heel part was brutal… I was like a disappointed child at Christmas finding out Santa wasn’t real… don’t let me down now……

I was thick in marathon training last fall with those and one day for a shorter run pulled out an old pair of GT 2000 2’s.

Immediately… it was like… OMG…. I’m home…..that’s when I knew… I wasn’t just married to a brand, but a style in that brand.

Does that make me a real, serious, runner now ???

After the marathon, moving into the 50K training,  I knew I seriously needed shoes again. Being 6’0 and not small, I probably beat shoes up faster than someone smaller.

If you run, you know though when it’s time, don’t you?

This time, my mission was simply to get my hands on the GT 2000s. I wasn’t sure if the 2000 3’s were out being new, but figured I’d be ok with the 2’s. I got to the shoe store and after a swift assessment saw no 2000’s at all. I was rather crushed but they had a vast amount of other Asics so I figured I’d find a comfy pair between one of those.

After several pairs tried on, I’m back digging around on the shoe display, when, seriously, what to my wondering eyes should appear?

A single pair of Asics 2000 3’s…. in my size…. and in cool colors. I rubbed my eyes concerned it was a mirage. Nope, the box felt very real in my hands.

I eagerly pulled them out and slipped them on.

**Deep sigh**…. I was home.

I looked again through boxes and never saw another pair. I kid you not, it was all I could do not to squeal like a girl on a roller coaster.

Literally, the next day, I did 10 miles in them, and they felt like I had already been running in them. I think as a runner, that is THE most important thing. I don’t want to have to think about my feet.

Ah, but then, at the end of their running life cycle, what to do with them ? I have several pair that went to yard work before I finally threw them away. Some are still good for a few short miles. But as you can tell, I have many pair still taking up space in my closet.

Is it weird to not want to part with them?

Do I need… therapy? 😉

Ok…. share with me…. are you married to a brand ? What happens to your shoes after they’ve served their running time?

Pills, Shakes, and Other Magic Potions

I’m a pretty passionate person and that passion usually carries over into a lot of things I do… what I believe… ideas I support and embrace.

It’s no wonder then I feel passionate about wanting people to be successful on their health and fitness journeys, and  especially in the area of weight loss. I know half the battle is getting your mind on board and determining you’re gonna take those small baby steps to get it off.

When I began my journey I felt like this:

I want to be thin…now. I want the fat to go away…. tomorrow…. now… make it happen. Skinny jeans be on.

It’s unfortunate we live in an instant gratification society. We’re used to having things instantly. No waiting.

The reality is…. losing weight and keeping it off….. isn’t an overnight process. You didn’t put it on in 2-4 weeks it won’t come off like that either. I know it takes dedicated, consistent effort for it to be long lasting and sustainable.

That is how I encourage people to approach weight loss.

Sane. Balanced. Livable. Sustainable.

It allows the mind and body to work together doing what needs to be done.

Now saying that, here’s where my passion really spill over.

The plethora of products out there promising fast, quick, easy, weight loss in a matter of weeks. The modern day snake charmers.

I can’t tell you the times I’ve challenged down one current trending product with their hype of Lose 15 lbs in 21 days!!”

Now I’ll freely admit to not being a great math wizard in school… but I can tell you what they’re promoting is a loss of 5 lbs per week, given 21 days equals 3 weeks. I’ve had them come back and say “it depends on person” yet all the advertising continues to be boldly proclaimed that this will be the results you get.

Not. Realistic. Is there a show of hands that would agree to that ?

Not to mention I think you’d eat the diet of a gerbil to actually, really, lose that in such a short time. Yet, all I’m told is that there is more food than you can eat each day. Somehow that doesn’t all balance to me.

Then there’s the trendy pink drink, and the drink your meals plan ( honestly am I crazy for wanting to eat real food and not drink it?) I like to eat food……

Never mind… there are wayyyyy to many to talk about and I’m not interested in offering free advertising anyway….

People are desperate. They are willing to take their hard earned money and drop… a lot of it…. on these products.

All I can think is… why not go buy real food with that and get out and go power walking?

The diet industry is a mega business to put it mildly. There are so many things out there today promising to be the magic genie in the bottle for weight loss but if you want to be successful and keep some of  your money it comes down to this…. are you ready?

You have to expend on a daily basis more calories than you take in and create a deficit …. consistently doing that…will lead to weight loss.

Revolutionary, right? Maybe I’m on to something 😉

So, yeah, I am passionate about this. I want people to be successful on their journey and STAY on their journeys, not give up and go back to old ways when the “diet” ends…. or their money runs out.

Changes have to be made. New habits formed. Goals set and reset. Forward progress. Every day.

My suggestions? take it one day at a time, use your money to buy good food, and celebrate each victory and before you know it you’ll reach your goal =) and then, you can use that money to buy smaller clothes 😉

I Don’t Do Diets

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Hey boys and girls =)

How is life treating you today? It’s been (the usual) busy day for me and I’m catching a few moments to type out this post.

I see my title, and find myself ironically amused that I’m camped in Starbucks drinking coffee and nibbling M&M’s while I write this.

Haha…. blogging in a coffee shop. Have I arrived yet?  😉

The diet thing…. or as I think of it… the diet trap….. that often has no end in sight. Let me tell you, I have had my experience with “diets” over the years and what I remember most about them is counting down the days till it ended, much like someone waiting to finish their prison time.

Is it coincidental the first three letters of the word spell….. D…I…E ?

I’ve certainly been on a few that left me feeling so hungry I thought I might.   Worse yet, diets were often deprivation of the worst kind. You might as well have had a Scarlet Letter on your chest at family get togethers as you dutifully nibbled celery sticks and drank water enviously watching everyone else eating “the good stuff”. And having to watch them eat chocolate cake…while you had none… or worse yet you had some and then felt like a failure for doing so, or had the usual questions leveled at you…

“But aren’t you…. on a diet ??”

You counted off the weeks till things got back to “normal” again.  Food was the only thing you thought about. You were on the scale every single day looking for validation from the damn thing.

Oh let’s not forget when you made the decision that “tomorrow was the day”.  You got rid of the stuff you loved by eating it all the night before and prepared to never see it again.

You stocked up on celery. You pondered if you’d ever  get to really experience chocolate in the rest of your lifetime.

Then one day I changed the game up.

I realized after one diet venture, that food, has a lot of power. It speaks to us in many ways.

It feeds our bodies and our emotions. It often comforts us. But it can be a mean task master too, controlling and manipulating you to lose sight of your goals of good health and carrying a comfortable body weight.  I realized if I removed the power from food and quit playing “good food/bad food” games, and taking away everything I loved, and told myself it was there if I wanted it, that maybe I’d get the upper hand.

I decided to try my theory. I told myself nothing was off limit.

My goals were simple: begin to make overall better food choices each and every day. Eat enough to satisfy my hunger but not over eat. If I really, really  wanted ( fill in the blank here) I’d allow myself to have a little. Note, not go on a binge, just enough to satisfy the craving.

I remember about a month into my experiment the fam went out to get burgers. Did I order a salad and stare longingly at their fries ? No…. I had my own. And I just moved right on with my goals in sight. I didn’t have the attitude I ate fries I might as well throw the towel in. Oh, I certainly wasn’t perfect. There were days I felt like were a total bomb. I just picked up and kept moving forward.

Every single day.

Let me tell you….. there  was complete and total freedom of feeling…… in control…. of my food choices. I hadn’t gone off the wagon with my “nothing is off limits” approach.

Time marched on. There were holidays. Family birthdays. Events. And I enjoyed each one. I learned to sample. I learned to be very selective and eat only what I truly enjoyed and that it didn’t take lots of food to manage my hunger. I paid attention to my natural body signals and started obeying them.

I learned there was freedom in saying “no”  to things.

And something crazy started happening…… I was losing weight! How could that be? No suffering? No doing without good foods I loved ? Yet somehow, steadily, week by  week I was diminishing.

I’ll tell you what I’ve learned these past few years:

I  now WANT to eat “healthy” foods. I often have salads simply because I love them. I love veggies and don’t think of them as something I have to eat. I actually crave that stuff.

The more I ventured into running the more aware I became that food is “fuel” for my body to perform and that it was important what I put into it. Endurance running has definitely made me understand the necessity of it.

So yeah….. I don’t “do” diets… and neither should you.  Embrace life. Trust you are smart enough to make good choices for yourself and you will lose weight.

Slow and steady, the way you should, while you live life.

Oh and those M&M’s I mentioned in the beginning?

I didn’t even eat them all…

Tell me your success stories…. or the diet traps you escaped from…. in the comments section =)

Strength

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Strength~ the quality or state of being strong, bodily or muscular power, vigor. Mental power, force or vigor.

It’s no secret, I love running. However, one thing I found I enjoyed a few years ago was tossing around some heavy metal objects, namely weights. When I first started I had these cute little 5lbers ( don’t give me a hard time…. I didn’t know better 😉

I moved up to 8’s, then 15’s, 20 and finally to what I use mostly now, 35’s. I got a 35 lb kettle bell for Christmas I like working with. At this point, I’ve built some wicked arms. Not only that, building my upper body has made me a stronger runner.

When I slip on these gloves…. it makes me feel all business. I know I’m planning to work. I love how strong I feel when I’m doing it and I love the strength and muscles I’ve built. These gloves are like… work clothes 😉

Strength has become one of my, life words, in the past year. Strength isn’t just necessary in a physical way, but mentally, spiritually, and emotionally too.

Strength became such an important life word to me that I made the (very) permanent decision to have it tattooed on my wrist as a bracelet. The word is in the banner, and chains surround my wrist to reflect the strength of iron, while the flowers bring my feminine side into it.

I guess I feel rather, passionate, about it.

There are so many times I glance at that when I’m going through something and it reminds me: I can bring home the final miles of a marathon. It reminds me when life situations threaten to swallow me. It challenges me to look beyond what I think is difficult, to fight back and push against the very pressures that are (ultimately) giving me strength.

The culmination of events, good and bad, in my life have forged this out in me.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times I wish I could’ve passed on, but then, would I have developed the mental and physical strength I have now ? Things happen for a purpose and if we let them, they shape and mold us to be stronger.

Do you relate? Have you been through things that you feel have made you stronger ? Share with me in the comments.

50K Road Adventure Continued……

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My first ever ultra bib…. and my first time to have my name on it!

20150228_14023920150228_14515820150228_144823-120150228_141130Hey boys and girls!  It’s been a busy couple days and I’ve missed writing and talking to you… time to make up for it 😉

Warning… this is kinda like a mini novel…..

As you learned in my last post, I was road tripping it to Ft. Worth Tx. for the Cowtown Marathon/Ultra Marathon race. I was super excited to be heading into the event that would be really, the culmination, of my months of training and essentially kicking my own ass… (oops, can I say that??) Not just that, months of making sacrifices, pushing myself in new ways, training in all kinds of weather, taking on more and more mileage, managing my nutrition as well as mentally training myself for the task before me.  I’ve learned so many things about myself preparing for this endurance run.

I’ve learned I have great strength, determination, a strong will, an unwillingness to “settle” without asking as much of myself as I can, that my mind is a huge factor in my success, and that I really can, always, do a little more.

I headed off on my road trip as prepared as I could be………

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Excitement and eagerness at a high octane level…..also helped along with some caffeine……

I had scaled my mileage back to taper and really focused on eating good carbs days out. I hydrated constantly ( well, that I always do) I increased my sodium intake ’cause I sweat out a ton when I run, I was getting to bed earlier… basically doing everything I could physically to ensure I went to the line as prepared as possible.

It was almost show time.

Saturday it was off to Ft Worth….  as we got closer…. the weather started looking different….. there was ice on roads and bridges….. and snow blanketing roof tops and filling fields. I had received e-mails Friday saying that they had cancelled Saturdays races, but Sunday’s half, full, and ultra were still on.

Ok, no worries, I had googled the weather for Sunday and it promised chilly with some precipitation but nothing horrible.

I am… always … the eternal optimist.

But then Saturday going to expo to get my runners pack and number ( see my first ever ultra bib …with my name.. how rocking is that ??)

I see this…. which is basically the area the race starts in……

20150228_145951do you see those streets? Ok… still upbeat…  hoping that stuff would go away ….magically…. overnight….

I kept checking my e-mail for updates like a school girl waiting for a message from her boyfriend. About 5:30 an update came through.

It was simply stated: The Cowtown Marathon and Ultra Marathon…are cancelled.

It took my breath away. My chest felt tight. My stomach felt like I had been punched. I tried to choke tears back….pointless…I was trying not to cry like a baby…..

Even typing this now brings tears to my eyes.

I wish I could fully describe all of what I was feeling.

Frustration. Major disappointment. Agony realizing…. all… of my work for these past few months… to this one… single… moment…. gone. The culmination of my efforts… to not take place.

Don’t get me wrong… I understood why. I had seen many of the streets…. can you say….slushies ?? This was one of the areas the race was scheduled to go through….

20150228_170122see those streets?

But still….. I wouldn’t be running the biggest event of my life the next day. I felt crushed. They were running the half and offered it to the full/ultra runners to participate.

I hadn’t gone all that way NOT to run.

But I’ll tell you , the next morning, waiting in the corral with temps lurking above freezing, my ultra bib on amid mostly half marathoners and some marathoners, I stuck out like a sore thumb. I tried not to think how different this day was playing out from what I had imagined. Or the comment from another runner… “oh, this will just feel like a warm up race to you” ( I didn’t want to tell him that was pretty true)

I was going to run but definitely going easy because even though I had trained in cold and pouring rain and heat, this day was literally my first time dealing with slush and ice. They had done a good job of mostly clearing the course but there were still lots of areas to exercise caution.

I will honestly say there were moments of emotion in that race I had to just work out.

Coming around the corner to the finish line….. another moment I had imagined so differently. I did shed a couple tears crossing that line… I just couldn’t help it.

But I did it. I ran the race. I did my best.  I didn’t back out or quit because it wasn’t what I had planned to do. On the bonus side… I got the coolest medal I have to date.

20150301_14484220150301_112614-220150301_125045 You can see my pics….. one is obviously post-race cold and sloppy look…. and my “hey I clean up ok!” look. Being all comfy in my fav RBX gear.

Sooo there you go….. my 50K…… crunched….. I will freely admit I’ve struggled with frustration … and tears have even cropped up writing this.

I don’t know what my next steps are yet. I already had a half marathon I was aiming for at end of month. 50’s are a bit harder to find.

I will do it though. I’m strong. I’m a fighter. And I don’t flippin’ quit.

I will do it even if it means I take off on my own and do my own personal 50k… I will do it.

Oh and before I go… I gotta give kudos to this amazing guy in my life who supports my craziness…cheers me on…and loves me when I’m sweaty and stinky 😛

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and thank you reader for sticking with me this far.

Come back and check in and see what life lessons I’ve pulled out of this situation…. because I know there are lessons to be learned…. it’s how we grow….

50k Road Adventure

Hey boys and girls!

I’m Ft Worth bound now for my big race tomorrow.
Things have been a little touch and go with the weather. Updates I got yesterday had them cancelling all of todays races.

The email I got started

like this:

“All races have been cancelled. …”

My heart sunk. I felt the tears forming.

Then I read the next line….”for Saturday’s races. Sunday’s will start one hour later”

Ahhh…ok..engage happy face again 🙂

I do feel for those who were prepared to run and won’t get to.

I won’t lie.

If they cancelled the big races on Sunday…I woulda shed tears.

Tears for time, sacrifice, early dark thirty runs, exhausted legs, training in rain and cold all the while doing it with

THE GOAL

In mind making it worthwhile. The race is the final cumulative thing to all of what I’ve been doing, right? The reward for sacrifice,  discipline,  and perseverance.

The payoff.

So the race at this point, is on. Gonna pick up my bib and runners pack later….always such a high for me…never gets old….

And…then attempt to chill the rest of the day 🙂

Stay tuned for my weekend adventures. …