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.
Hey 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………
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……
do 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….
see 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.
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 😛
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….
No, actually, I’m VERY new in blog world…. but it’s exciting and fun and I’m finding it a wonderful way to let stuff…. outta my head…….. which contributes to my overall sanity…. which in turn benefits those I come in contact with on a daily basis 😉
So what am I overall about ?
I consider myself…. primarily…. a runner.
And often find myself pondering……
“How in the heck did that happen”?????
But happen it did, and I love it. I will talk about it a little tons here in blog land.
But there’s a lot more to me as well. I love doing other active things like weights, some biking, and boxing. I think it’s really made me a stronger runner doing all that cross training.
Not only that, it’s given me arms the boys get jealous of 😉
Needless to say on my journey I’ve also learned more about nutrition and eating better…. ’cause how the heck can I run for a stupid number of miles if my poor body isn’t getting good fuel ? I still totally dig Peanut M&M’s… it’s just a few usually do the trick to satisfy me.
And along the way I’ve learned the best way to lose weight and keep it off successfully is not to go all crazy and do stupid stuff you hate and want to quit like… in 24 hours…. but to make small daily changes… every single day… and I found if you do that…. in time… things happen! And because you’ve not done anything crazy but have been doing things that make it sustainable to you… you have success…. that will last!
My formula…. eat good the majority of the time… find a physical activity you want to do .. and then…. own that sucker….. do it most days of the week. Find another activity to toss in to keep from possible boredom AND to make sure all your muscles are getting worked out.
Seven years later…. 55lbs gone.. a ton of inches…. 5 pant sizes smaller….
Shhh.. I think it might be working…….
So yeah, I will be talking about everything from nutrition and goodies, to practical ways to lose weight, be healthy, and do it in a way you want to keep plugging along in day after day, oh, and then there will just be randomness thrown in ’cause that’s just how I roll at times.
But then… there’s this…. running thing.
As in my upcoming adventure this weekend.
I’m taking on my first ever….. 50K….. because 26.2 miles just weren’t enough to run 😉
My plan is to blog and post all about my adventures from Ft Worth and the whole Cowtown experience… writing and photo stuff… ’cause I really dig doing pics with things… and it’s more fun for you than just staring at all my words…….
Soooo I hope you’ll be back and hang with me… and live vicariously through my antics on the road…
You do one more rep. You keep pushing yourself farther each mile… pushing your pace. You don’t back off when you think you can’t do anymore… because you can always do a little more… you can…it’s in you. Sometimes you’ve gotta dig deeper than ever…. but it’s there.
Do that enough… and in time… things happen.
I was reminded of that on my last “long” run (before my 50K). I had 15 miles set to do which kinda turned into 15.73 😛
I realized I was almost at 13 miles and still felt really strong.
That is a half marathon distance.
I thought of my first half I did Nov 2011. I had trained through 10 miles. All training plans assured me I’d be able to pull off 3 more miles even though it would be my first time doing it.
And I did. I remember thinking after the 10 mile marker…. “ok Toto, we’re totally in new territory now” but I did those miles and crossed the finish line, tired, but feeling victorious.
And then the other day…. pounding out those miles… feeling strong and like I was just getting warmed up… yet running my own personal half (and a little more) but understanding it’s taken some time, work, and not settling and being comfortable remaining where I was in my first half marathon to get where I was today. If I hadn’t continued to push and challenge myself ( 4 more half marathons, and 2 full marathons) I wouldn’t be heading into the biggest endurance race I will have ever done this upcoming weekend.
And you, my friend, if you take on what you’re doing, press on, and don’t allow yourself to settle and stay where you are, will continue to improve and hit new goals for yourself. You’ll reach new heights. Do things you never thought possible before.
Bigger. Stronger. Faster.
You have everything you need deep within you to do it…. trust me…. you do.
If you’ve spent any time on the internet, or follow any fitness pages, you most likely saw a post with a young woman in extremely good shape, with her kids, and the title “No excuses” posted over it. Besides her age, it’s also evident she took care of herself before, during, and after pregnancy. And let’s not forget this too…. she’s also blessed with some really good genetics.
It got a lot of attention in good and bad ways. I’m not naming names here ’cause I think there’s been enough advertisement on that particular person. It made some people mad. It “inspired” others. There was LOTS of conversation in both directions.
Don’t get me wrong. I really understood what she meant. I did. It was simply meant to say (now this is my opinion here) I have a life, family, work, and stuff going on but I make time for my workouts as well.
See, I get it, ’cause several years ago when I started my own health and fitness journey, I had to remind myself…. “No Excuses”. As you can see in my pic, I made a simple Post-It note that was in my bathroom staring me down. .. reminding me… every morning…..to do it. As my journey progressed and I lost weight, I added my labels from my diminishing pant sizes to remind me why I wasn’t making excuses to not put my workout into my day. Those were victory moments for me at that time. I cheered myself every time I finished… sometimes… I still do.
You see, in the beginning, it wasn’t easy. Some mornings when it was cold and grey it was tempting to say…. “not today, but tomorrow”…. and I realized if I succumbed to that thought…. day after day…… could potentially go by with me finding an excuse to not make time to take care of my body.
You know what’s way cool ? You do something long enough it turns into a habit.
Something you can’t imagine NOT doing. Like the “OMG I forgot to brush my teeth!” kinda feeling.
And as time went on, it got easier. I got up in the morning and landed in my running gear prepared and ready to do it as soon as everyone was launched for the day. I got over the “it’s cold, grey, wet” whatever feelings and just did it.
Now days the only thing I won’t run in is 1) lightening 2) icy conditions… both are obvious safety issues. On those days, the plan I developed years back, was to start strength training or boxing when I absolutely couldn’t run. I’m glad I did because the strength training has also made me a stronger, more fit, and healthier runner.
That Post- It is still in my bathroom.
I really don’t need that reminder anymore. I’ve landed in a comfortable, slim size pant so those numbers really don’t drive me so much either. I moved to a point of viewing exercise as a gift to my body and to my mind as well. Now I schedule appointments around my training!
Maybe, you’re somewhere in that zone. Perhaps you need “no excuses” to be a challenge to you…. that you are worth that small investment of time in your day to be a better person, parent, spouse, worker. I realized after my workouts even being tired, I felt better prepared to deal with the rest of life… and I don’t know about yours…. but mine can get crazy at times! It might be cliché but running really is good therapy for me, on a lot of levels 😉
Don’t let the words “no excuses” be a form of condemnation, but rather, allow it to challenge you, to move you onward to your goals and overall health and wellness =)