Shut Her Up

I set out to run a total of 500 miles in 2014. Late this fall, inspired by my niece, I decided to kick it into high gear and complete a 100 day streak – which would force me to complete my mileage goal. There were days when I really really did not want to get out there and run. Days when I just had to force myself out the door after wearing my running clothes around the house for 3 hours battling that little quitter voice in my head. You know the one. Most of the time that voice tells nothing but lies. Every time I ignore that voice and do what I know will make me feel better (in this case running or working out) the next time that voice gets quieter and easier to shut down. As of today, I have shut her up 100 days in a row.

I shut her up when she told me that a goal of 500 miles was too aggressive.

I shut her up when she said that it doesn’t really matter what I’ll do – I’ll never get “there”. Wherever “there” might be.

I shut her down when she focused on how tired or sick I was*.

She stopped talking when I did my runs on vacation, while moving across the country, and while staying in the Navy Lodge.

I shut her up when she tried to make me feel like a bad wife, or a bad mom because my fitness was taking time away from my family. (As if self care doesn’t benefit them by my not being a raging lunatic!)

She didn’t have much to say when I challenged myself to virtual races, 5K Resolution runs, half marathons and even the Tough Mudder.

And she will shut up again tomorrow when I run 4 more miles to round out the year with 500 miles total.

Fitness doesn’t come naturally to me. That voice and I battle all the time. The more I ignore that voice, the stronger mentally I become. These 100 days have shown me how to deal with the procrastination, the natural laziness, and am so much better for it. I also set myself up for success. If I set a goal, I announce it. That holds me accountable. There is no way I could say “I’m running a streak,” and then not do it. Not a chance. By using Facebook and even this blog – I hold myself accountable.

I just love our running and fitness community.

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How cool is it that people who don’t know each other randomly grin and high five – simply because we are both out there doing our thing? I think it’s AWESOME. 10 days ago I calculated that I would need to run 5 miles everyday to the end to get these miles done. You know what happened? People volunteered to virtually run or walk them with me! Who volunteers to help out? Fellow runners, that’s who!!! Knowing my niece was up in the middle of a Minnesota winter running these miles with me, or that my pregnant friend was walking her miles with me, and my other niece who runs half marathons while dealing with Crohn’s  – that and more has kept me motivated more than you know. It gave me the push to the finish and I am so humbled and proud to say I am a part of your ranks. Runners: You ROCK!

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the one person who helps me shut up the voice on a daily basis; my husband. While not a runner himself (even though he can, has long legs and runs like a gazelle – grrrr….so jealous!) he knows how important is to me, and to my sanity. He always asks how my run was, if I got it in and rearranges his schedule to accommodate runs. I could not ask for better support!

Here’s to a fantastic 2015, a new year, new goals and continuing to shut up that voice that says you can’t!

Because you totally can. 

*A note on working out while sick: my rule of thumb is that if it is neck and up, go for it! If the sickness is in your chest, aka, neck and below – take a day off. All my sicknesses where colds/germs brought home from the minions and the germ havens (aka preschool and kindergarten) they attend. 

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The Two Keys

Today is day 81 of running at least a mile a day for 100 days. There are many nuggets of wisdom in this process, but two key elements that keep coming up for me over and over.

1. It’s a mindset shift.
If you don’t give yourself a choice, exercise is just a given. If it’s something you do everyday – you will find a way to get it done. The “choice” of whether or not to exercise is taken away. Magic happens when that shift occurs.

2. You can’t wait to “feel good”.

If you wait for feeling like it – it’s never going to get done. This applies to running, strength training, meeting new people – any area of life where stepping out of your comfort zone is necessary. What we fail to realize is that the feelings come AFTER the action. It’s in the doing that confidence is built. Go and do. Feel good after. It’s so worth it!

Have you committed to a fitness goal? What nuggets have you pulled out of the experience?

It Was the Best of Times…

In a recent writing prompt, it was asked to describe when the phrase, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” accurately described life.

Now.

Now is when that phrase is so appropriate.

I am on a great running streak, day 73, in fact. I’m almost there in terms of hitting my mileage goal for the year. Yet, I feel the goals slipping away as the icy grip on my throat starts to take hold. It burns when I cough. I try to keep quiet and still; willing myself to not be sick.

I can’t be sick. Not now. Not when I’m rounding the corner to the finish line.

This sucks this sucks this sucks this sucks this sucks.

No, in terms of real life stuff, this doesn’t even show up on the radar.

I’m not willing to let go of 73 days of continuous streaking. I’m not even ready to give up my 500 miles for the year quite frankly, although I better get well fast because I need to go nearly 4 miles a day to hit that goal. Here’s the deal: my legs have carried me 395 miles so far. I just have a little more to go. My annual miles are nearly 100 more miles than I’ve ever run in any year. Anything I do at this point is better than what I’ve done in the past, so there is that.

This process has taught me a few things:

*Running daily keeps the winter blues away. (And yes, even in Texas, it is possible to feel the winter blues.)
*There is always time to squeak in at least a mile. When you can do it everyday for 100 days, you can find the time every day.
*If something is important, you’ll make the time for it. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen.
*Some days are just better than others. In running, in parenting, and every other facet of life. Ride out the rough miles to get to the really great ones!
*Everyone needs something, that “thing” that is only theirs. Alone time, meditation, prayer, running, yoga – whatever it is that charges your batteries – you need it. You. Need. It. Everyone is a better person when their self-care is in check.

I have 27 days left to reach my 100th. I know there’ll be gems tucked in those runs, just waiting for me to scoop them up and tuck them away.

Here’s to stillness, quiet, medicine, rest, and plugging though even the seemingly “worst” of times to get to the “best” of finishing this year!

Learning

Today marks 57 days consecutively that I’ve walked or ran at least 1 mile. (I actually thought I’d hit the half-way mark a while ago, but discovered I had miscounted, darn it!) While my poor sick daughter was resting comfortably after a bit of soup, I knew my daily mile was still waiting for me. It wasn’t much, but I walked it around the house, chased the dog, played fetch, raced the dog across the back yard, did laps around the inside of our house, and walked up and down the driveway. Then I repeated that a million times until I’d clocked in my mile.

It occurred to me during this little jaunt around my home that this 100 day streak thing has taught me a lot. More than I expected, in fact. It’s taught me be to be creative. That a workout doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective. The laundry and the dishes can wait. The house doesn’t need cleaning first. I just need to choose to get it done. Even on vacation. Even when the kids are home. (They need exercise, too!) Even when I really don’t feel like it.

Making the time to get in at least a mile a day is essentially an appointment on the calendar. It’s become an appointment I don’t cancel. I don’t tell myself, “Next week.” Or “I’ll start Monday.” It’s today. It’s everyday choosing to move. You know what? There is time in the day to get it in. It may seem easy for me as a stay-at-home-parent, but I have plenty of friends who work full-time, have families, and still manage to get in daily physical fitness. It can be done.

I’ve had to relearn in this process that rest and recovery are just as important (if not more so) than going balls to the wall. There is nothing like the feeling of a crazy strenuous workout. You feel AMAZING afterwards, but rest days are actually where the muscles rebuild themselves. If all we do is tear them down during training and don’t allow for adequate recovery, we set ourselves up for injury. I’ve felt disappointed on the 1-mile days at times because it can feel like I’m not doing enough, that everyday should be a beast day. With cross training as well as running, recovery time is essential. I am typing this still sore from a leg day two days ago! It was painful to walk a mile yesterday, and today, less so. Tomorrow I will be back at it, but only because I’ve let my muscles rest and repair.

Finally, goals and accountability are crucial. When I know that I have friends in my corner rooting for me, it helps me keep going when I don’t feel like it in the moment. In these 57 days, I’ve never finished a mile or a workout and thought, “Meh. That sucked.” I’ve felt better at the end than I did at the start. Every. Single. Time. I also have a really, really hard time setting a goal and then not following it though. It bugs me. It’s just easier to tell my mind to hush up and then go get it done.

Here’s to the remaining 43 days!

Everyday.

I’m in the middle of a fight. A bad one. She shows up and challenges me. She thinks it would be much nicer, more convenient to just take a day off.

“Relax,” she says. “Come sit in the sun with your pup and just sip coffee for a while…oh, you could read your book! How long has it been since you read a really great novel?”

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I would love nothing better. “I am kind of tired…,” I think.

“Do some writing,” she offers. “That’s doing something. Practice mindfulness. Just be. You know this time is yours to do with what you want. You can do anything you want with this time – and no one will know.”

“But, I’ll know,” I counter.

“Mmmm, leftovers in the fridge…they would be tasty. Another cup of coffee, love?” Distractions are her gift. “How about a quick message or two on Facebook? Ooh, hey. Let’s get some ideas from Pinterest!”

“I really should get moving. I always feel better when I do. You know, I’m doing this 100-day streak thing. I’d hate to quit when I’ve got such a good flow going. I’m on day 38, that’s almost halfway there…”

“Whatever. You know nobody cares about that crap! So you’re the ‘fitness-loving-type”? That’s just a label. Don’t let people label you. You can do whatever you want. One day won’t make a difference.”

“But I feel it makes a difference. I know it makes a difference. I feel better physically. I release endorphins that make me happier, and definitely more pleasant to be around. I’m more patient when I take this time to actually move. I crave it. It keeps me from feeling anxious and depressed, too. Movement helps me sleep better at night.  And maybe, just maybe, there might be someone out there struggling. If I keep pressing on, maybe that gives someone else the motivation to do the same.”

“Okay. Fine. I’ll chat with you tomorrow…”

And back she comes. Every. Single. Day.

Here’s to defeating my inner sloth yet again….

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Day 18

I’m about to head out on my 18th consecutive day of running. My niece over at Hanging By a Thread was inspired to run a 100-day streak. What this means is that you run at least a mile each day for 100 days. No excuses, find the time, or carve it out if you have to, every single day.

With both minions at school for three hours, finding the time hasn’t been too difficult. My alone time has become my workout/running time. What has been difficult is my own head. Some days I get up and am ready to knock out my miles for the day. The last few days – not so much. I’ve felt crappy (the start of a cold) and I (insert whine here) just don’t wanna!

To run 100 days consecutively is the goal I set for myself. Mostly just to see if I can do it. (Plus it helps with my other goal which is to run 500 miles by year end). If I am the one who set these goals, why the heck do I not get out of my own way and just go do it?! Why must I bargain in my head “oh, who cares.”, “You know, you really should rest.” Or “if you’re getting sick (barely sniffles) running may not be the best idea”. Even now as I type this I am procrastinating. Why?!

I think that’s part of the exercise. For 100 days – we have to eliminate the excuses. Get it done no matter what. Battle the sloth inside no matter how convincing she is. (And yes, sometimes she is really good at her job!)

Even when you don’t really want to…
Even when you are tired…
Even when the house could stand to be cleaned…
Even when there’s laundry to fold…
Especially when the couch is inviting, or the bed… Or the bathtub….
Even when you’d rather sit and type a blog post first…

Just run.

And that, my friends is what I shall do! The path awaits!

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Lemons, Lemonade and other Crap

Ever have the kind of life where everything goes smoothly in ALL areas? Yeah, me neither.

First the good stuff! My daughter was first on the wait list at her PreK and was able to get in class this week! This means I have 3 hours ALONE! To do with as I choose! Yahoo! Do you hear that? Listen really close….
Yeah, it’s quiet! I LOVE that sound!

Having these hours to myself has been just what I’ve needed. For the first time in nearly 6 years, I have a regular time that I am alone. As an introvert, I need this time like I need air. I’ve mainly been using it as exercise time.

The three hours to myself during the week allows me to refocus my goals. One is to be a “streaker” like my niece (you can read her awesome blog here!) and run at least a mile a day consecutively for 100+ days. The other is to complete my yearly mileage goal of 500 miles. This goal was set based on The Proclaimers’ song, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). I’ve reached a yearly goal of 300 before, and I thought 500 sounded good and, well, I just really like that song. And I plan to play it all day long come January 1st! I love going for a solo run…it really is my therapy.

I also use this time to pick up groceries, clean up around the house or do the little stuff that is just so much easier sans minions.  I also play fetch with Buck. A lot. I cherish these few hours.

As for the lemons, it’s been a regular orchard around here this week. After begging to go to school for the past 5 weeks, my daughter has cried and said she doesn’t want to go every. single. day. At pick up, she’s all smiles and laughter and non-stop diarrhea-mouth about how much fun she’s had and what her day entailed. In the morning she seems to suffer from amnesia as it’s tears watching the clock tick down to class time. I know I’m doing the right thing, and we are gentle with our encouragement, but man is it hard on the parental heart to see that lip quiver as she walks away from me.

My son is learning what to do and not to do with our family pet. Poor Buck. The dog has had blankets thrown on him, been chased, chased the kids (Go BUCK!), dodged clumsy legs that weren’t watching where they were going, got too close to mom’s feet in the kitchen, and even taken a tennis ball to the face. On purpose. If Buck the dog were a horse, he would be bombproof. I got the chance to make friends with a lizard as it impaled itself into my legs trying to escape the rain as I let the dog out. That involved the usual squeals and general freak outs. The dog looked at me as if I were insane. I probably aged a decade.

And the pièce de résistance of the week was the call I got from the principal of my dear son’s school. She called to inform me of an “incident” involving both my son and another student. The kid kicked my son, Jacob tripped him and “accidentally” bit him on the nose. How the heck does one “accidentally” bite another? Perhaps we should ask Mike Tyson. Oy.

Yeah, I know. When life hands you lemons…Ugh. It’s so easy to say trite things that we *think* are helpful, but in reality the opposite is true. It’s not helpful. I don’t want lemonade, dammit.  Gimme that glass of wine!

What about your week? Lemonade or wine?