Tag Archives: inspiration

Staying Tough, Mentally

It’s almost August – I really don’t know where July went. I suppose I spent it logging miles, nursing my little hound, and teleworking a lot.

As of August 4, I have exactly a month until my Half! I’m excited and looking forward to the challenge. The miles we’ve been logging (seven last weekend, six the weekend before, and five the weekend before that) have bolstered my confidence. Yet, I’m also scared out of my mind. 13.1 miles is a long way. I felt so accomplished last Saturday when we finished our seven mile run. As I cooled off and walked home with Hubs, both sipping our iced coffees, I realized that we will be running 6.1 MORE miles on the day of the race. Right now, that feels inconceivable.

I know I’ve come a long way during training. Where I am now, two miles, three miles, even four miles don’t seem like long runs anymore. These are no longer “stretch” workouts for me — instead they’re my evening runs. It’s what I do when I get home from work. I love that feeling and it’s so nice to see what my body can do. Around Memorial Day, I was worried about finishing a 5k. A month before that, I could have maybe run one mile (if chased). I really love the level of fitness I’m working toward. I love that I’m healthy enough to get out and sweat after a long day at work. It’s nice to know I’m pushing myself again.

I’m trying hard to stay positive and motivated. I try not to think about the mileage increases each Saturday. I just think about the next mile. However, I do catch myself sometimes thinking about Saturday’s long run in “how in the world am I gonna do that?!?!” terms. But, I get out and I do it. Having Hubs with me is super helpful and really spurs me on to keep running. I really enjoy the time we get to spend together on our runs. Even when we devolve into grunts and panted questions about which direction we’re going next, seeing him running beside me motivates me to keep going.

Have you trained for a distance race? How do you stay mentally tough during training? On race day? I’ll take all the advice I can get!!

Also, y’all, I am suffering from the worst planning mistake ever! My passionate love of college football (especially my alma mater, the University of Georgia) has collided with this race I’ve been planning for the past seven months. I failed to look at a football schedule. 😦 Georgia’s season opener, at the Georgia Dome, Saturday night prime time, on ESPN, is the night before my half. *Insert huge sigh here* I anticipate struggles sleeping anyway, so maybe it will be nice to have the tv on in the background as I try to fall asleep? Or, there’s always the chance I get sucked in, get worked up, and get little to no sleep the night before I run 13.1 miles. If that happens (and if we lose) I will be VERY, VERY cranky. All right, I’m done being melodramatic. It’s one football game, but I’m committed y’all!

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Onto the next one

Better late than never! It’s time to welcome July with a quick look back at June.

1. Get my mileage up! (2/4) I did pretty well with this for most of the month. Even though my mileage wasn’t as high as it needed to be, I was pushing for long runs and running more often. The last week in June definitely suffered after Buddy’s accident. I’m looking forward to really kicking up a notch in July.
2. Weight train (at least once a week). (4/4) They may have not happened once a week as planned, but I did get (at least) four strength training sessions in. Sometimes it was just arms, sometimes it was the P90x “Ab Ripper X” dvd, sometimes it was both. I can’t wait to continue this and see my running and fitness continue to improve. 
3. Read three books that are non-fiction or classics. (4/3) I crushed this pretty much. Books: The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball, The Good Soldiers by David Finkel, Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
4. Get Laptop fixed. Seriously, Anna. I did get an external hard drive for our fading desktop computer and I got a wireless USB thinking that might fix our laptop connectivity problems. But, unfortunuately, it still doesn’t recognize our home wireless even though all our other electronics do. 
5. Make a savings plan for summer fun trips. Hubs and I knocked this out pretty quickly. We’ve been following it successfully as well. 
6. Make four new recipes. (3/4) Again, I think I could have nailed this if we hadn’t spent the past week in a daze/frenzy after Buddy’s run in with a car. Still, three new recipes isn’t shabby! Quinoa salad for lunches, pound cake, and Thai Chicken Soup — I would make all of these again!

Time to look at July!
1. Try out four new recipes. I already have at least one in mind for next week! If we’re staying in with the hound for “house arrest” we might as well eat some good things!
2. Run 45 miles in July. After my Saturday run, I “only” need 42.5 more miles!
3. Read six books, three non-fiction or classic. The Kindle has been spurring on my reading. And with “hound house arrest” I should be able to read even more.
4. Share at least two book reviews. I’ll aim for our current book club pick and something perhaps a little fluffier.
5. Complete six strength training sessions for the month. I like seeing my body get stronger and my running get better.
6. Post at least 10 times this month.

What are you up to this month? Any suggestions for books to read or recipes to try? I’m all ears!

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Oh, so that’s what it’s like…

I remember what a good run feels like! 

After my blog post about intimidation and my bad mindset when it comes to running, I chatted with a few of my runner friends and Hubs. Basically, the jist was — if you’re not going to enjoy it, why do it? Hubs reminded me that I need to think of running as fun and enjoy what I can push myself to do.

Tuesday, I came home to a sweaty Husband — fresh off 3 miles from our training plan and the treadmill.  I knew I needed to run, but decided that outside was the way to go. I set out with the aim of running 2 miles. I finished those two. They were not easy, but they were definitely not as hard as I had thought they would be. I decided that, after a half mile walking break, I was going to finish another mile. Hubs was not going to “beat” me! 

And, I did it! Granted, the last .4 mile was spent in the large parking lot across the street from my house. Cops use it for motorcycle training so it’s  closed to traffic. I’m sure I looked like a loon — jogging slowing back and forth across the parking lot. I was BRIGHT RED and at the point in my run where I didn’t give two damns if I even looked like I was running. My level of effort was a run in my mind, so I trekked around that parking lot until my trusty Garmin said it was quitting time. Proud doesn’t cover it!

Perhaps I needed the element of competition. Or, maybe I just needed crunch time? I had another pretty good run on Thursday. That time I stuck to 2.25 straight and walked it out to three miles to complete my mileage. After two recovery days (my poor, sore legs), I hit the treadmill this afternoon. (It was a little warm and sunny  for my pale skin outside.) This time, I ran intervals to keep myself from getting bored. 2 minutes at 5.5 and a minute at 6. With half a mile left, I increased my speed by .1 mile every minute until I finished my 2.5 miles. (Much speedier than normal too!) It sucked, seriously, but I made it happen and I’m pretty pleased with myself. I walked another mile to meet my mileage. (Cannot wait until I can run the full mileage for the week!)

So yeah, here I am, less than a week later, with three (for me) fairly strong runs under my belt. Our families are coming into town this week for Hubs’ graduation, but I’m going to try to still get my three runs in this week! Hooray consistency and double hooray for finally enjoying (for the most part) running again!

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Pulling the Trigger

Because, you know, signing up for smaller races wasn’t getting me motivated…

That’s right folks, I pulled the trigger and registered for my half. I’d signed up for a 5k at the end of May and a 4 miler at the start of June and I still wasn’t getting out to run. I was reading Runner’s World and thinking about running, but when it comes to actually running I’ve been a huge slacker. So here’s to hoping I can change that.

I need an outlet right now and I’m hoping running can serve as that. There’s a variety of not so wonderful things going on in my family/personal life lately. It’s nothing I’m really willing to share on the blog, but it’s not fun – let’s just put it that way. Running, here’s to you! May you take my mind off of all this nonsense.

Hoping for some good progress and consistency. I don’t want to flounder horribly come September.

What do you do when you need to get your mind off of something?

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Catching on

I think cheering at races is one of my new favorite things. It’s super inspiring! I had a ton of fun cheering at MCM2010 with Thea back in October. This time, I got to cheer her and Ashley (as well as tons of other people) on. I had great company too; I met up with Caitlin and Emily between miles ten and eleven. There were signs, hollering, tissues, swedish fish, and even a “just the tip” joke. Very fun!

It was also great to see my friends looking so strong! Many congrats to Ashley who tweeted shortly after the race that she set a new PR!

Watching races gives me race fever! I really cannot wait for April 13 to roll around so I can sign up for my VA Beach Half (with $13 discount)! It’s going to be so cool to be one of the runners in a few months. Smile 

Congrats to everyone who raced today! Y’all make me so proud!

All right, I need to grab some lunch and pack for our night away at the Chesapeake Bay for our one year anniversary – that’s just CRAZAY!

What makes you want to run?

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Moved.

Sometimes, in life, we stumble upon things that move us deeply. Simplicity, kindness, beauty, size. I’ve always liked to look for inspiration and I love feeling, that stir, that comes along with being moved. It makes you want something bigger than yourself and it brings all of your issues and problems into perspective.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy of Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea at a book club book swap. It has been on my “to-read” list for about four years and I was excited at the chance to mark another book off the list. The subject matter teetered on my areas of interest (the Middle East) and I found the gist of the storyline (building schools for underprivileged children, especially girls, in Pakistan and Afghanistan) intriguing.

I was expecting to enjoy the book, but I was blown away. I’m not sure if I can adequately put into words how I felt about this book.

Mortenson, a mountain climber, winds up in a poor area of Pakistan by accident after a failed climb. This series of seemingly random events transform his life and the lives of villages across Pakistan and Afghanistan. Three Cups of Tea tells the story of his mission to bring education to some of the least privileged people in the world.

His travels take him far from the “civilized” world that we are comfortable in and, toward the conclusion of the book, directly into the heart of the start of the War on Terror. He holds that the solution to the Taliban and other forms of extremism is to provide accessible education. So many children enter strictly religious madrassas that, in some cases, teach the hatred of America and terrorism that bring us extremism and violence. With more of Mortenson’s schools, more children would have the chance to receive an education without indoctrination or dogma.

These schools are not “pro-America” and they do not teach our religion or values. They provide an unbiased, fair education to children that otherwise may not receive it. Mortenson also worked to build bridges (literally), community centers for women, and medical centers to help reduce the alarmingly high numbers of preventable deaths. This is a man on a wonderful mission, and I am moved.

Please, please do not judge this book based on my review – go out and get a copy for yourself!

If you want to help in a more tangible way, visit the book’s web site or purchase the book using this link. Any purchase (of the book or otherwise) from Amazon using the link above gives Mortenson’s organization (CAI – Central Asia Institute) 7% of the proceeds.

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Pacer’s Quarter Marathon

So, after writing my post yesterday, inhaling as much vitamin c as I could, and resting up, I decided to go for it with the race today. I didn’t want to let myself or Kelly down.

4:30am found me wide awake about an hour before my alarm. I managed to rest for a little bit longer before hauling myself out of bed. I’d laid out my gear the night before so it was nice to not search for anything in the dark. I chowed down on a slice of peanut butter toast and grabbed a Naked Juice and Cool Mint Chocolate Clif Bar for the car. (I have to say, that is now one of my favorite bars!)

I was ridiculously early to meet Kelly, so I found a parking spot and tried to “harness my chi” and get my mind right. We met up and took a cab to the race start where Kelly picked up her packet and we dropped off our bags. After a quick port-a-potty break and a jog around the block to warm up our legs, we were ready to go.

The first two miles were great! Kelly is a joy to run with and talking with her really took my mind off of the fact that I was running a race I was ill-prepared for. (Yes, that’s right folks, I talked while I ran! That’s another first for me and I was surprised at how “easy” it was.) We crossed the mile three marker before we took our first walking break — I was pretty proud of that.

We ran through mile five and then walked for about half a mile. My left ankle was feeling rather tight so it was nice to walk a little and let it loosen up. The entire time, I was monitoring it for “bad pain” and thanks to Caitlin’s post about “normal pain” I felt like I was able to assess the situation and keep going.  Normally, I would have used that as an excuse to stop but I knew nothing was out of sorts so I kept pushing through.

Kelly and I set a goal during our first walking break of finishing in 90 minutes. Neither one of us was really prepared for this race so it was more about having fun and finishing. The race was also a half marathon — folks completing the half ran two loops of the course. It was really inspiring to see the lead runners for the half!

I struggled through the last mile and having Kelly there kept me moving. She told me that if we pushed, we could really kill our goal and complete the race in under 80 minutes. With that goal in mind, we stepped it up a notch. We crossed the finish line around 79:30, got our medals and celebrated!

Officially, this is the longest distance I’ve ever run. We averaged just over a 12 minute mile. For a race run sick, tired and un-prepared, I’m so so thrilled! (I think I would be thrilled even if I wasn’t sick!) Even though I walked and even though my times are nothing compared to some of the amazing women whose blogs I follow, I know that I personally have to start somewhere. I’m proud that I gave it a shot. I’m thrilled that I ran the first three miles straight. I’m elated that I finished under my goal!

Kelly and I also chatted about running the Disney Princess Half in about a year. I’ve never been to Disney and her husband-to-be hasn’t either. Stay tuned, I may be buying a tutu and training for a half!

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