Showing posts with label Run this Year. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Run this Year. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Wellness through the years #WellnessThatFitsYou

What does wellness meant to you?

What does wellness meant to you?

Over the years, the meaning of wellness has changed for me.

In my 20s, wellness meant looking good in a bikini. Bouncing back quickly from a night of partying. Never much of an athlete, I started running 5ks and 10ks. Battling anxiety, I began to learn that I could gain a lot more than physical fitness from my new pursuit of wellness.

In my 30s, I became a mom to 2 boys. Wellness took on a whole new meaning. Not only did I want to regain my pre-pregnancy fitness, I wanted to stay mentally fit. Less concerned about body image, I learned that running could bring me that calm I needed to face the day. My runs were a priority. I ran before the sun came up to get it done. A new activity, yoga brought serenity and recovery. I made time for wellness. Hey, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy, right?

In my 40s, wellness meant tackling middle age head on. The goal was to be able to keep up with my growing boys. I didn't want to be one of those moms who sat on the sidelines, watching her kids having fun. I upped the ante on the road, running half marathons and my first full marathon. Those long distances became an addiction and a prescription for the stresses of raising preteens. With the increased pursuit of wellness came a natural transition to healthier eating.

Now in my 50s, my wellness has taken on an even greater priority. This mom of teenage boys does it for herself. Besides yoga and running, I've been strength training with a CrossFit coach. I am running at paces besting those I hit in my 30s. I joke that I've found the fountain of youth. But really, it's no joke. With smart training, I plan to continue to challenge the conventional wisdom that older women can't compete. The past 3 years have left me amazed at what my body is capable of. Mentally, I have been challenged with teenage drama and life stresses, but I draw on my strength as a runner and a yogi to navigate those challenges.

Wellness. Joy. Strength. Energy.
So today, what does wellness mean to me?
-Wellness means lining up at the start of a race ready to run and be competitive in my age group.
-Wellness means taking up new challenges on the run.
-Wellness means enjoying an ice cream cone and not worrying about the calories.
-Wellness means keeping up with my sons.
-Wellness means still being able to get up on one waterski and slalom my way across the lake.
-Wellness means getting up into a headstand and not worrying that the fall to the ground will hurt me.
-Wellness means a good night's sleep.
-Wellness means staying strong in the face of life stressors.
-Wellness means loving my body for how it looks and all it can do.
-Wellness means finding joy in the journey.

Wellness is my biggest motivator for staying fit. Wellness gets me out the door. Wellness makes me run. Wellness makes me ride. Wellness makes me strong.

Wellness lets me breathe.

What does wellness mean to you?

I'm submitting this post for an entry to win a week at Wellfit Malibu. The contest is sponsored by Run to the Finish, The Healthy Maven, and Fit Foodie Finds. Wouldn't this fit nicely in my year of destination races? Ok, it's not a race, but it's all about wellness and health. Hey, a runner's got to recover, right?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

It's a wrap!

It's the end of the year as we know it...

It's time to take down all the holiday decorations and get back to my regularly scheduled life. But first, I've got a few loose ends to tie up here on the blog. The Weekly Wrap, hosted by Tricia and Holly, is the perfect place to do it! You may want to check out what everyone else is posting and while you are there, wish Tricia and Holly good luck on the WDW Marathon, happening next weekend!

So let's get this party started! First things first, a few leftovers from 2015:

I did a data dump with my Garmin and found all kinds of fun statistics. I'm kind of a numbers geek. My Forerunner 10 gave me a surprisingly large amount of interesting (at least to me) data. I've summed it all up in this fun infographic:

This week I received a few reminders of some awesome events I participated in this fall.

My official Chicago Marathon participation certificate arrived:

In case there was any doubt.
I also received some photos from the Underground Polar Express run that I participated in a few weeks ago. A fun day with friends, it was a great event for a good cause. I'll be back. So fun.

Me, Marcia, and Sara

Never one to miss a photog! But check out the shirtless guy behind us. Really? In December? At a Santa run?
This past week, I hit my final goal for 2015, that #RunThisYear goal of 2015 kms/1252 miles that I set for myself one year ago. That is my highest yearly mileage ever, and this was my first year ever that I didn't miss any time on the road for injury. I am thrilled with that, and I need to give credit to my coach Becky, who has worked hard with me to strengthen and balance my glutes, hips, and hamstrings. She also developed a marathon training plan for me which was tough, but effective. Low miles, lots of cross training, and plenty of mental toughness sprinkled in.

As promised, after this run, I hung up my running shoes to devote some time to recovery. Hoping my hiatus will be brief. But I need to get this PF under control. My love/hate relationship with my faux Strassburg sock continues. Got heel lifts? Downward dogs? Compression sleeve? Foot strengthening? Did you even know this was a thing? According to this article, it is THE thing for PF.

So yes, I'm doing those heel lifts. What else can I do?

The first thing I did was treat my feet to a pedicure on New Year's Eve. Afterwards, I slipped on my new Oofos sandals, which I won from Kim at Kooky Runner. I think I'm in love. Let's just say these flip flops are my new favorite thing! Have you tried them yet?

It's all about the pretty toes...and the super comfy shoes!
I also went to see Becky for my weekly workout--she had me doing more cleans, front squats, and deadlifts. Since she's a corrective exercise specialist as well as an endurance coach, I asked her for any advice she could give me that I wasn't yet doing for my foot. She talked with me about doing some arch rolling on the lacrosse ball as soon as I get up in the morning, before I even stand up.

Since Becky was on board with my plan to take some time off running, I was able to leave the CrossFit box with a bike trainer to use for the winter. Can you say win?

Thanks to YouTube, I rode for an hour on Saturday through the Italian countryside and on Sunday, I rode along the beach and up a mountain. I'll be sharing more about indoor bike training in a separate post, but let's just say it is a worthy successor to the treadmill. Equally as boring and tough. I wore my heart rate monitor to make sure I was getting a decent workout, and I stayed in "the zone". Oooh, the pain! The sweat! My husband had to turn on the ceiling fan. I chugged my Nuun hydration throughout.

Completely non-running related but worth a mention: I went to see the movie Sisters with my sister Lisa. We had heard that the movie had received mixed reviews. But it's Tina Fey and Amy Pohler! We both thought it was hilarious. In fact, we laughed so hard we cried. If you liked Bridesmaids, you'll like this one. There are so many one-liners that I can't remember them all.

We decided that we need to up our dance game. Not that we ever had one...

What did you do this week? Ready to go back to reality? Seen any good movies (besides Star Wars?)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

#RunthisYear 2015 March Summary

March came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. Weather-wise and otherwise. So for the last day of this tumultuous month, I wore this RunHappy shirt from Brooks. Because that has been my mantra for this month. Actually, Brooks has some pretty awesome ladies running gear--wouldn't you agree?

Let's sum it all up...shall we?

Looking at my goals--how did I do this month? 

Run a sub-2 marathon: Yes please. Yes I did. This race, my backup plan, the Get Lucky half marathon, went better than I could have dreamed. Not only did I sub-2, but I PR'd by over 4 minutes. My finish time was 1:52:08. My previous PR was in 2011 at the North Shore Half Marathon where I finished with a time of 1:56:31. That race was memorable for my 3 portapotty stops. This year's race was memorable for no portapotties along the course. Man, was I lucky I didn't have to stop. But this race was also no frills in other areas. I came in second in my AG and there will be no award for that. Seriously. Who does that? Oh, that would be Team Ortho. Every other race I have run provides awards for the top 3 finishers in each age group. For my $80 entry fee, I expect some kind of memento. A pint glass? Maybe I could trade my cheesy sweatshirt for an AG award medal? Oh well. I'm not one to be greedy, and hey, at least I can be proud of an amazing finish.

Tom caught a puffer fish! LOL! He puffed right up. The fish, not Tom. At least he let me take this picture. And I've never seen a puffer fish outside a tank before.

Matthew on his way to a "try"
Control the mama drama: Not so much. I do think I was able to channel much of my angst into an amazing month of running. I had some of the fastest mile splits of my 20+ year running cycle. I hate to call it a career, because it's more of a hobby...but I digress. I ran 114 miles this month, and all of them were sub-9 minute miles. That is crazy fast for me and such a thrill. I can't help but wonder how long I can sustain this. Hey, if my oldest son keeps bringing trouble into my life, all I can do is take it to my favorite therapist, the road, right? We took a family vacation to Florida at the end of the month, and while he was pretty rotten to me the first couple of days--god forbid I'd take him away from his friends and make him go to Florida--he did thaw as the week went on and we ended the trip on a really positive note. After all I've been through with him, I'll take it. Now I have to figure out how to pay all these medical and therapy bills. On the plus side, my youngest son is playing a new sport this year, rugby, which he has fallen in love with. I've only been to one scrimmage--the brutal weather this month forced cancellations of many of his games--but he scored a "try" and made this mama proud. 

Becky keeps me working on my core strength. Any of you participating in that multi-blog core challenge? I'm a little scared...
Stay injury free: I'm knocking on wood as I write this, but I had a pretty uneventful month on the injury front. I was really good about foam rolling, yoga, and doing my hip stuff (clamshells and supermans) until we went to Florida. My big toe, my nemesis, is talking to me this week, but it is more sore than anything. It's time to switch out my shoes, and I think that's what my toe is telling me. I hope that's all it is. Damn toe. Usually some body part starts to hint that my shoes have exceeded their mile limitation. I probably have about 400 miles on these shoes. Even though they have a lot of good juju in them--see my race above--it's time to put them aside for the spare pair in the closet. They'll be great for CrossFit. Speaking of CrossFit, after a 3 week hiatus from Becky, I restart back this week. I'm actually looking forward to it. I have no idea what she has in store for me. It can only be good. Right? Back to the pain cave....

Remember, the link will be live April 13! Patriots' Day!
Grow the blog: The blog views have been growing. I've found new outlets for attracting new readers and that's been really fun. I'm getting approached by vendors who want me to test and review their products. That has been even more fun! I loved the Lily Trotters compression socks, and coming up this month will be a product review from SpiBelt. The first month of the book club was a huge success. I had an email interview with the author of our book, and a ton of comments on the book itself. It was so fun and rewarding to have that kind of interest. Hal Higdon has committed to an email interview for this month's selection, which I've chosen in honor of the Boston Marathon. I also have experienced some frustrations with my attempts to grow the blog and I'll be writing about those in the future. It's been interesting.

So what's up for April?

I have my favorite race, the CARA Lakefront 10 miler, on April 18. This is a runners' race, with fast finish times and great post race treats--including Lagunitas IPA at the finish line. I'll be running with my pals Sara and Marcia this year, which makes me happy, since I've done this one by myself both times in the past. April weather is fickle, and I sure hope Mother Nature cooperates! And if any of you Chicagoan bloggers are going to be there, let's plan to meet up at the beer tent after the race!

I'm hoping to get more miles on the bike. I did get out once this month, and rode 20 enjoyable miles. I love my bike. This year, I get to look forward to having some rides with Karen and Michelle, who are biking now too! I hope we can at least get one ride in this month. I've never ridden with anyone, but I imagine that it would be like running with people. So maybe not as fast as I like? We'll see...

And more rugby games with my youngest. What an exciting sport!

I hit the 300 mile mark in paradise!
The stats
-running miles: 114.18
-cycling miles: 20.79
-races: half marathon 1:52:08 PR and AG 2d place

How was your month? Any goals that you crushed? Any new mantras? Do you have lucky shirts? And does your body talk to you when it's time to change shoes?

Thanks for following along!

I almost forgot to link up with the ladies at Workout Wednesdays! Please check out all the other awesome blogs that link up at their sites!
I'm also trying a new link up with FitFoodieMama, AngelinaMarie, Pretty in Pink Fitness, and Bold Fit Mom. Oh my gosh! So many fun blogs! Check them out!
Linking up with Tuesdays on the Run for their goal check in!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

#Run this Year 2015! February summary

Saw him this morning on my run. He may even have waved in solidarity...
For the Chicago area, this has been the coldest February and the snowiest February on record. I know other parts of the country have been affected too. My Facebook feed is full of posts from friends who are struggling to meet their running goals and/or train for races, including Boston. This winter has tested all our resolves. How did I do with my goals this month?

While I continued to train for what I hope is a sub-2 half marathon, the half marathon I'm training for has changed. Because of continued mama drama at my house, I pulled out of the Sarasota half marathon and cancelled the first half of my trip to Florida. This was a difficult and heartbreaking decision for me. I've had my eye on this race for 3 years. But putting my priorities in line was more important, and my son comes first. However, I didn't want to let all that training go to waste, and so I found a local half marathon on March 14, the same weekend as Sarasota. The silver lining is that 2 of my friends, my tribe, were planning on running it, and so I'll be in good company. I've got Sara riding down with me to keep me company. I won't lie, though, I'm certainly not as excited about this one as I was about Sarasota. Maybe next year...

I've got the weight of the world on my shoulders or at least it seems like it....still sore 3 days later...
Anyways, my training continues to be a bright spot in what was otherwise a challenging month for me. Becky and I completed my heavy lifting cycle and now she has had me doing CrossFit intervals. Lots of burpees (my nemesis) and time on the rower. The hardest thing she's had me do was lunges with a 50# sack of shit  something on my shoulders. As I write this, I'm still feeling pain in my glutes. My foam roller and I have been inseparable the last couple of days. But I'm not complaining. My mile splits on all my runs have been fast, my hamstrings have been cooperative, and I've been finishing my runs with a smile on my face, even in spite of the cold.

Lots of snoga this month. Half moon on the run.
For the month of February, I also participated in the #TaketheLeap 30 day yoga challenge. Similar to a running streak, I've done and posted a yoga pose every day. This has been really fun for me, and it's been nice to see the pictures of myself in various poses, since I never have seen myself doing yoga. Some are prettier than others... Some of my friends want to continue the streak, but it has been challenging at times to get the poses in and posted, and so I'm on the fence. I found another yoga challenge,  this one on instagram, 30d of handstand prep, sponsored by Alo, and that might be kind of fun. I will continue with my weekly yoga session though.

The blog continues to grow! This month I received news that I was accepted as an ambassador for Girls Gone Sporty! And even better news, I was contacted by The Active Times to be a featured blogger and maybe write some articles for them. I'm so excited about this opportunity. I also was featured on Another Mother Runner--not once but twice, once for a story I submitted about breaking up with a unwanted running partner and for my frosty running selfie that I posted in one of their weekly piles of miles posts on Facebook. Writing is my passion, and I'm really thrilled to have all these opportunities coming my way. I also launched the Taking the Long Way Home Book Club and am really happy about the response. The linkup will go live March 14. Have you picked up the book yet? Click on the link to learn more.

My boys and me. Hoping for some more magical sunsets on our trip this year.
But in spite of all this good news and good running and good training has been the black cloud of the mama drama looming over me. I've written a little bit about it, actually, I write about it almost every time I post because it's always on my mind. He's on my mind at work, when I see new parents with their infants and I think about all the dreams they have for their child. I think about him when parents of toddlers share their struggles with me--oh, I'd go back to those days in a heartbeat. I look at him and my heart just breaks. Do you know that feeling? As mad as I get at him (and let's just say those slam balls Becky gives me to do are therapeutic), I just love him all the more. All I have to say is that raising teenagers is tough. Some kids are easy and just move through adolescence without any major issues. And others struggle...with self esteem, acceptance, trying to find their place in this very challenging world. As his parents, my hubs and I continue to take this challenge day by day, and stay optimistic that he will find his frontal lobe and start thinking logically. Either that, or I'm going to call the neurosurgeon and see if he's willing to do a transplant...

Goals met. Miles total 102; YTD 209

So that's February! Overall, it's been a productive month. I'm hoping for a PR in 2 weeks...and then we head to the beach for some R and R and R. Rest, relaxation, and running!

How was your month? How are you doing on your goals?

I'm linking this post up with Tara at ReadingNRunning for her Weekend Update. I'm looking forward to reading her LR Marathon Race Report! Head on over and check it out.

Monday, February 23, 2015


When everything hits the proverbial fan, it takes every ounce of resolve I have to lace up my running shoes, head out the door and go for a run. I actually consider just going back to bed and pulling the covers up over my head. Have you ever felt like that? It's a slippery slope towards depression, and I don't want to go there. After all, that's one of the reasons I started running 20 plus years ago. And that in and of itself is my biggest motivator to get out the door.

What else do I do to motivate myself to run?

If you don't want to race or if you need more goals, you can stay accountable by signing up for a virtual race or group. In 2015, I signed up with Run This Year. While no longer in operation, the goal of Run This Year was accountability. I always have a loose goal of running 100 miles per month, and I set a goal to run 2015 km in 2015 (which translates to 1251 miles. The organizers,had Instagram contests to keep participants motivated. They also encouraged participants to print out bibs every 100 miles and post a picture to the website. At the end of the year, I met my goal. What a great feeling!

Reading about running can be motivating! Shameless plug: as you may or may not know, I'm hosting a running book club right here on the blog! This is a great chance to read books that you might never have considered picking up! You can read more about the book club here. And if you are one of those people who don't read books--I don't understand you but I know you're out there--you can read magazines about running. There's a ton of websites with articles about running. And I know a few awesome blogs about running. Obviously, you do too....

Connect with other runners via social media. I cannot say enough how much having my virtual running friends helped me train for a successful Chicago Marathon last fall. It takes a village to train a runner, apparently. Just ask Jenny Hadfield! If you are a social runner, find a running group in your community. Be with your people. They get you and if your mojo is flagging, they can help you find it. I get by with a little help from my friends.

Adopt a mantra. I continue to use my "I can and I will" mantra to not only get me through my training but also through my mama drama. It sounds corny, but it really works. Music gets me moving too, and I've written plenty about how listening to motivating lyrics can really push me through a tough run. Some of my friends listen to podcasts.

I feel like the Yeti these days!
While it might seem superficial to some, having cute (or if you're a guy, cool) running clothes really is a great pick me up. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get some fun things to wear. TJMaxx and Marshall's is a great source of inexpensive, name brand gear. Target's C9 brand is high quality and fashion forward. Old Navy is another great source for cute running clothes. There are plenty of other options, but as they say, you don't have to spend a lot to look good. Sometimes just buying a few new items is enough to perk up even the most depressed winter runner. Clearly, though, I've been following this advice a little too closely. But do you want to be that runner wearing inappropriate clothing? I didn't think so.

How do you find your mojo?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Run this Year! 2015 January summary

How's your training been going since the new year? I have to admit that I have never been really diligent about keeping track of my miles until I got my Garmin last year. Now it's kind of fun to log in and see where I'm at. For 2015, I signed up with Run This Year, to participate in a community of runners and to see if I could achieve a yearly goal of--no, not 2015 miles, but 2015 kilometers. That's 1252 miles, y'all. I think this is something I can do--if I accomplish what I set out to do this year--stay injury free. So where am I at on my 2015 goals so far?

Staying injury free? I'm all about avoiding any time off the road this year. At the end of 2014, I was having big time issues with shin splints and high hamstring pain on the right. I've been working hard with Becky at CrossFit again. I don't know if she didn't hear me when I talked about my pains or if she was ignoring me. She just kept pushing me through my workouts. We finished up a cycle of heavy lifting, which we started at the end of 2014, with 2 PRs! Deadlift PR= 175# and Box Squat PR=155#. Now we are in a cycle of CrossFit intervals and wow! are they intense. But I'm happy to report that the pains I had at the start of the month are gone. Now I have a little achilles pain, but it comes and goes, usually after a run. I'm working diligently on foam rolling, stretching, and hip strengthening at home, as well as yoga 1-2 times per week. 

Deadlift PR!
Run a sub-4 hour marathon/sub-2 half marathon? I'm lumping these together, since I'm not planning on a marathon until fall. I started training for my March half marathon, the Sarasota Half Marathon. Since the race is in Florida, I have absolutely no way to train for the heat I may encounter. Or do I? Remember last year's Florida half that I ran? In the 75F 90% humidity? Where I wilted at mile 4? I have no desire to repeat that experience. So I talked to a seasoned marathoner that I know, and he told me really, the only way to train is to run inside and wear lots of clothes. So that's what I've been doing. I call it a "paced heat run", and it's tough! Every week I add more layers. This past week was the toughest, as I piled on fleece lined tights, a fleece hooded sweatshirt, and a hat. These runs are for one hour and I try my hardest to maintain a steady pace. I did pretty well until mile 4, when I had to slow it down just a little. But I still averaged 9:14 min/mi--I think. My treadmill isn't that accurate. But I'll take it. I've also started doing speedwork, in the form of mile repeats, and that's been going well too. It's hard to pace my miles on this treadmill, since I really don't know how fast I'm going. As long as I end up going faster on the last mile, that's all that counts. 

Yep, this is indoors running at its best!
And about that mama drama? Oh, that oldest son of mine. He tries so hard to get me going. Sometimes he does. I'm trying not to let it happen. Even when he gets a terrible report card. His response? "At least I'm not failing anything..." I've decided to back off and see what happens. Because, as I said in the previous blog post, his bad grades really don't affect me, per se. We all want our kids to do well in school but he's going to have to deal with the consequences, not me. I know I'm not alone here. Why can't they stay little?

This guy is now 17! It was so much easier when I could just strap him in the jogger and go!

Grow the blog? Things have taken off beyond my wildest dreams! I found out this month that I've been chosen to be a #Fitfluential ambassador and a #SweatPink ambassador! I couldn't be more excited and admittedly, more overwhelmed! There's so many opportunities to interact with other bloggers...opportunities for affiliating with advertisers and companies...participation in fitness campaigns...I'm just trying to sort through everything and decide what I want to do. One thing I don't want to do is lose my voice, and so I want to be really careful about what I pick. I started blogging to interact with other runners, and that desire still drives me! And in the when it rains it pours when it snows, make snow angels department, I was also featured on Another Mother Runner this month, sharing a story I about when one of my neighbors decided he wanted to run with me. It was kind of an ugly break up. It's all good, and all I can say is wow! and thanks for following along. I'm excited about what's to come! 

107.19 miles

I'm linking this post with Tara at RunningNReading for her Weekend Update!