Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The new me vs the old me

I am sure you are sick of me talking about this silly marathon and those darn 13 seconds...guess am I!  I am trying the hardest I can to get this out of mind and focus on the good.  Trying so hard to think of all the times that I haven't done what I set out to do and remembering how I handled that.

How many times have you tried a new recipe and it was horrible?!?!  Tried a new class at the gym and it was just not for you...couldn't get into it.  Made a recipe that you have made a hundred times and it was just no good that night.  Planned out your day perfectly and then take your daughter to the wrong farm for the birthday party she was to go to.  Left your wash in the washing machine long enough that a new cycle was needed.  Cut your own bangs and they are WAY too short.  You washed your hair with conditioner.  The list goes on.  I suppose this could be a list of failures and if that is the case I am failing everyday all day long!  

The problem with these 13 seconds is that I created this new crazy person that was holding herself to a crazy high standard.  I wanted something so badly even though I may not have had all the tools necessary to get it in only my second attempt.  People train and run for years to reach Boston and I thought I could just do it in my first true attempt...that is pretty darn gutsy.

one of my zig zags...but all smiles to see my crew
Looking back over the race more and more-I messed up.  I didn't eat enough during the race so my energy level was dropping drastically.  I didn't hang right next to the pace group for the whole thing...sometimes in front, sometimes with...lots of zigs and zags.  I was an amateur trying to pull something amazing out of no where. 

So today I realize it wasn't a mistake, this race was a lesson...a very hard one to swallow but still a lesson. I still get a burning sensation in my eyes when I think about could I not push just that much harder to get to my goal.  I guess it's the same reason you run out of a key ingredient even though you went to the store that day, then you go to make a meal and you substitute something else and it just doesn't quite taste the same.  This new me...the crazy runner girl me...wanted it to be perfect.  The old me is still here and I need her to be there.  She will continue to help mold this new person into the best one she can be and teach many a lesson along the way.  

A friend of mine asked what the old me would think of the fact that I ran a 8:25 paced marathon.  The old me would have put down her chocolate chip cookie and laughed with crumbs falling out of her mouth.  She would have gotten off the couch in her tight sweats that were worn out on the inner know what I am talking about... and told you-you were crazy.  Running would never be a part of her life and all was good in her world.  There was no room for those types of goals.  That old me can go fly a kite...I did it and I will do it even better next time!

So I will continue to get stronger every day and keep that goal of the "perfect" race in my mind.  It will happen and it will be even better than I dreamed it to be.  Next weekend I get to go away with 11 women to run Ragnar Cape Cod and just have fun!  This will remind me of why I love running and there will be no room for failure or numbers, just fun and friends.   My running heart needs that right now.

The NJ Marathon is now 50% off and I told G1 about it yesterday, asking him if I should run the same course again and sign up.  He said I should absolutely do it, don't let that race beat me or hold me back.  Love the wisdom and honesty in a ten year old boy!  

I will begin again and be smarter this time through.  I will continue to fail a little bit every day in all aspects of my life...but I will realize that I need these failures and it's okay.  And it's okay to be sad about them but don't let them define you.  You are far brighter, stronger, determined and driven of a person to not continue to aim towards something greater.  Two steps forward, one step back is sometimes just how things need to go.  Keep yourself with people that help lift you up and walk with you towards your goal.

Embrace the suck...choose you!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

What I learned in 13 seconds....

One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, four one thousand, five one thousand, six one thousand, seven one thousand, eight one thousand, nine one thousand, ten one thousand, eleven one thousand, twelve one thousand, thirteen one thousand.
at start-ready to kick butt

That is it...that is the amount of time I missed qualifying for Boston...13 stinking seconds!!  So many things I sit here now and question if it was the right decision and why in the world could I not pull out .05 second per mile over the course of that run yesterday.  I had all things going for me at the start of the race-I felt great, weather was perfect, tummy was settled and I had a great night sleep.  I was there at the start of my second marathon ever and was ready to throw down!!

I woke up this morning and remembered how I ran over to my cheering family two times out of my straight line of running to drop off layers of clothing while running and give high fives...and get my energy going!  Where those trips 13 seconds of time...water under the bridge but totally messing with my head.

fuzzy math at mile 25
Looking over the pictures they at mile 25 I am looking at my watch...trying to do math on a crazy tired brain.  My goal was to stick with the 3:35 pace group until 18 and then leave them as I would still be feeling good.  Well I stuck with the group until 18 as planned but I did not push ahead but rather started to separate from them behind.  I could see them at slight curves in the road and they were getting further and further away.  I was telling my self to just do little pick ups to inch closer but nothing seemed to bring them near to me.

I then decided that I am okay...I can still qualify with something over 3:35...and then we got to mile 22....and I heard a large group of people behind was the 3:40 pace group.  UGH!  I then told myself they started a little after we started so as long as I keep them in my sight I will be under 3:40. Mile 26 NEVER seemed to watch had beeped for 26 but their marker was no where in sight. I did not see the 3:40 group anywhere.  I knew I was off a bit but this was not in my mental plans of making it under the 3:40 time.  

mile 26 marker
I pushed my legs when I realized I had 1:30 to run .2 miles...I felt like I was running in mud and was horrible!  An old college buddy screamed out "Go Julie" while charging up to the finish line.  My pace for my last .49 miles was a 7 minute mile...who knew I had any juice left.  I crossed...looked at my watch and sure read 3:40:13.  I didn't make it. 

The last time I ran a marathon was in 2009...just for fun...did 4:17.44...this was a HUGE PR for me and my first real attempt at trying to qualify.  I should be proud!  I walked to get my pic taken with my medal and just kept telling myself to keep moving to find my crew.  I made it to a field of grass and started to stretch out my legs...I knew I had to sit down.  By the time they found me my teeth had started chattering and the leg cramps were in full swing.  I then laid down on the grass on a blanket with two sweatshirts on and more covering my body while Ben tried his best to rub out the cramps.  My body had nothing left and was tired...I had given it my all.
Splits for 26.49 Miles

cheering crew
cousins and aunt and uncle
Well here it is a day post race and yes I am proud of what I accomplished in my first real try.  I had many family members on the course cheering me along just when I needed it.  My hubby and four kiddos were at all the spots they said they would be along the way...wearing their Orange Visors.  I came home after a LONG LONG day and my friends had decorated the house and lots of positive words written on the driveway in colorful chalk.  It was wonderful.  Reading the comments from many friends on social media telling me how I how I should be so proud...that it was a true all really started to sink in...and those 13 seconds were not in the front of my mind.  
great art work awaiting me from friends

I ran for three hours, forty minutes and thirteen seconds and I never stopped.  I pushed as hard as I could on that day.  I ran my second ever 26.2 mile race...and did the best I could.  I improved on my last race and am crazy sore today...rightfully so.  I embraced the suck that was every moment of that race-the quiet times on the back 8 miles where there was no fan support...the headwinds off the ocean...fighting off the desire to want to stop...but kept going...realizing that I was probably not going to make my goal but still pushing hard at the finish to get as close as I could.  

Finisher!! 3:40:13
I will do it again and I will make it...I will be under by more than 13 seconds.  I will continue to be proud of this accomplishment and not let those 13 seconds hold me down.  I worked my butt off for 18 weeks and did something amazing.  Just because there is some Boston qualifying time hanging out there doesn't mean I didn't run a great race and should hold my head high.  Again-I thank you all for your support and encouragement through this whole process.  I can't wait to call on you again to get me through another 18 weeks...maybe somebody reading this will join me on the next one!

Embrace the suck...choose you...and don't let 13 seconds hold you back from feeling proud and trying even harder next time!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A long time coming...

Holidays, family get together, visits with old college roommates, a vacation getaway somewhere warm, the quintessential Disney trip....all things that we long for and may even have a count down to them out and visible so everyone can build their excitement level as the day approaches.  The great thing about these items is they are in your control and you for the most part you can make sure they happen.  One most amazing weekend get away with girl friends may not be replicated perfectly a second time around but it still feels wonderful to be with the ones you care about so much.

So my countdown is coming to a close...t-minus five days till my second marathon.   I still have to laugh at myself that when I started my "first" fitness journey back in '09 I was not embracing anything running related and just thought of this as another potentially fun thing to do that could also help shed some weight.  With that I uncovered the competitive person I was back in high school sports and realized that this running thing was not a fad but something that was going to be my thing.  November 8, 2009 was the date of my first marathon and here I am 6.5 years later and doing this again.  I NEVER thought I would run one marathon let alone two.  

4:17:44 Marathon OBX '09
Orange Visor on backwards ;)
 Eighteen weeks of focus, drive, determination, sacrifice and all too many highs and lows.  Running long runs on ice covered streets in my neighborhood to get me to 20 miles when I had to basically trot along to not wipe out giving me a slower than desired pace.  Meeting with so many new and old running friends for any portion of my runs made that day amazing.  As much as I do like to run alone the little change ups over the weeks were VERY welcomed-THANK YOU!!  Checking in with my cousin who is also running this weekend and hearing how great she is doing in the training and knowing we are almost done!  Can't believe she did so many LONG runs on the treadmill but being in the NE in the winter makes that a reality.  Being the escort to my friend who lives in my hood who is training as well for this weekend and honking at her along the way to get her home after her solo 20 miler.  Having my hubby and four kiddos standing on the other side of the door cheering for me after a crazy long run...making me feel like I just won the gold!

So for all the crazy early DARK long runs, black and blue toenails, chaffed skin, smelly sweaty laundry and over all exhaustion...I could never be MORE excited to run these 26.2 miles Sunday morning.  After watching Boston yesterday it only has energized me more and I really feel like I am ready to make a dream a reality.  I can understand the addiction to the sport and I wonder why it has taken me over six years to suck it up and run another beast of a race.

I now know the answer to that question.  I believe in me.  I know I am strong.  I know I am fearless.  I know I am prepared. I know that this new person I have unleashed can do amazing things.  I know that I have more support than I will ever know.  I know that others believe in me.  I know that anything is possible.  I know it will not be another six years before I let something amazing happen again.  It feels too good to not let it shine!!

Three believed in me then...I have two more to cheer louder this race!!
So many things that take a long time to get there turn out to be amazing.  Christmas morning is always magical...and we have to wait 365 days every year for that!!  This race on Sunday will be all that I want it to be...everything that I have put into it will be there to reward me back.  Take a moment and really think about what you want from yourself and realize the sacrifices you will have to make to get there.  I promise you the prize at the end will be worth it all.  You can be in control of this amazing transformation into a healthier, stronger, more confident you!  It has been a long time coming for that person to emerge but you can do it...they are in there waiting to get out!!

Embrace the suck and choose you!  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

One day can make all the difference

So those two LARGE bags of Cadbury mini eggs that I bought last week did not last long!  I was so frustrated with myself-I just kept eating them until they were gone!  Proof again that certain things just DO NOT belong in my house.  I am in the home stretch to my race weekend and I promised myself clean eating and pretty sure they would not make that list.

The rest of this past weekend, after devouring the mini eggs, consisted of a whirlwind of activities and prepping the kids and myself for whatever the next event was we were going to tackle.  I got my work outs in and kept my food in check...but I had to make sure I was keeping it all in the front of my mind at all times.  

There are some days where I am about ten minutes late to dropping my daughter at preschool because I have climbed back into bed after my run and shower and fell back to sleep.  On these days I more than likely have arrived in my pajamas...and that is okay.  Yesterday was the LONGEST day of my life...and my house is still trashed and picking small projects today helped me to bring it back to an acceptable level of normalcy.  Kids clean laundry still piled up in hall...but hey...I have clean sheets.  Bought a rotten onion at the store yesterday-it was a was just a stellar day all around!

So today was a strong day, it had to be.  I did my run early...knew what was going to be on my plate over the course of the day both figuratively and literally...and created some order in my chaos.  I was showered and might of even had makeup on at preschool drop off, not in my pjs...and was relatively on time!  That one day of drive and focus can really cancel out all the other days of misguided decisions.  That one day can make you feel like you can duplicate this effort again wasn't that hard.  That one day makes you believe in yourself.

At the end of all of this...that is what it is really about...believing in yourself and surrounding yourself with others that are willing to help you reach your goal.  Realizing that you are more than you currently are and you have all the tools within you to make yourself stronger.  Telling yourself everyday that you have made the smarter decision and many of those together will snowball and create success.  Remember that everyone struggles with something and your belief in yourself may be what they need to help them get out of bed early and go for a run, head to the gym or not make unhealthy food choices over the course of the day.  The example you set for yourself and your family will last long after you are done training for a race or reach your goal weight.  

That one day of success triggered you to start making a difference within yourself-be the difference!  Success requires a lot of hard work but it's just a day at a time.  Believe in you and amazing things will start to happen.

Embrace the suck...choose you!!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Because you can

It has been a crazy week here in our little town of anywhere USA and you inevitably hear of very sad and tragic stories and are reminded of old ones as anniversary dates seem to roll around so quickly.

With all these heavy hearts around it also reminds me of the fight I GET to put up every day, the choice I GET to make.  So many people would love to continue to run, spend quality time with their family, compete in a 5k for the first time, become active with the ones they love, and just have one more day, one more chance.  

Making the choice every day is hard and sometimes feels impossible.  As I try to help others find their success I want to reach out to them and wrap my arms around them and just say: I am here to help you, not judge you or be critical of you-I KNOW what you are feeling...have felt it 100 times!!  I still have to make the choice every day to drink  my water, measure my food, log the bad days, put on my sneakers, go for that run, not give up on myself, and head upstairs to bed early so I do not continue to eat everything that is in my kitchen.  I GET to make these choices every day.  As hard as it may seem on most days it's something that others around me, especially my four children, see me do.  That means so very much to me.

I love my kids so very much, they mean the world to me and I am so grateful that I am fortunate to be a mother to the craziness that is our family.  There are days where I want to wave the white flag and throw in the towel...some weeks more of those than I care to admit.  But it is the other days that I have to remember so that I can continue to push through the chaos and come out on the other side.  The constant monitoring of everyone's happiness level and then making sure yours is up there too is exhausting and that alone is a full time job!  You are only ever as happy as your saddest child...and wow is that so so true.  

The one reward that my kids don't even know they bring me is their constant checking in and acceptance of their parents' craziness.  They know my big race day is coming and that I am in my 16th week of training.  They know that dad is away for the weekend so that he can take the classes he needs to become a triathlon coach.  They see our progression over time during our training and will remind us that this is our longest run's going to be a tough one.  They know that we have goals for ourselves as well as our family.  They know that together we can make it work and when one wheel is out of line, its a rough road for everyone involved.  They look forward to the celebration at the END of the accomplishment just as much as the participant.  

Post Ben's First IronMan Florida Nov 2013...Family Celebration

So I GET to do all of this great stuff for not just me every day.  I GET to keep myself strong and healthy so that I can be a better person for the people that need me most.  Many people are sad today because the person they have loved cannot make those choices any more.  Life is to short to live with regret and bitterness.  Embrace what is around you, use it to fuel your fire that will get you to where you want to be.  Choose to be the best version of you possible.  That person is in have to be willing to uncover them no matter how messy that process may be.  Let those that love you most help you and in turn you will help them reach success as well.  This is a world of give and take...and it feels so good to be the one to give...remember that!

Embrace the suck-choose you...because today you can!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A moment of weakness

Target two days after Easter...candy marked 30% off.  I tell myself I am looking for cute decorations...yet I am parked on the candy aisle.  All mini packets of Cadbury mini eggs are gone...leaving only the larger what is one to do....why buy two bags of the large bags!!

What was I thinking??  Well I was thinking ... I CAN control this.  I can count out my 12 eggs per serving and not eat the entire bag in one sitting.  I can make sure that portion control can happen and I can still have all those things that I LOVE.  I can make sure I am only eating these on days that I have the calories to do so.  I had redirected my shopping cart all season long and today I gave in.  I am not going to beat myself up over this choice.  My kids still have candy left over from Halloween, Christmas, you name it.  They do not have that same gene that I do where it's all about entire consumption!  

My big race is just 19 days away...ugh that is under 20 days.  I need to focus on clean eating, lots of water, listening to my body, and resting when needed.  I also need to realize that these next 19 days will not be perfect.  There will be more moments of weakness but there will be great success as well.

I guess not all moments of weakness result in bad things.  In a moment of weakness six years ago I got talked into running a marathon after another moment of weakness first talked me into signing up for my first race ever...Army Ten Miler.  Amazing things can happen when you let your guard down and start to believe in yourself.  

OBX Marathon 2009

How does one go out and run 22 miles for their last training run on Easter Sunday when all the family is relaxing at home prepping for the festivities???  They tell themselves that they can do will be long but it will result in success.  Every moment that you push yourself out of your comfort zone only preps you more for the journey that is coming your way.  Everything probably feels like it is against you at times but once you start believing in you, it will get easier... If you believe that you can do it, it will happen.  It doesn't have to be 22 miles or 5 miles or can be just drinking 64 ounces of water every day for a week, not having fast food, waking up early and trying a new workout class or going for a run, or something as simple as believing you can do this and trying.

Take the good and the bad moments of weakness and turn them into something amazing...we only get one chance at this...don't stop trying...and enjoy a Cadbury mini egg on occasion ;)

Embrace the suck...choose you!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Energizer Bunny???

So here I am 14.5 months after starting this journey and I have met my goal a few months ago and am still continuing to grow and stay strong.  I have always thought that maintenance was harder than the losing side of this battle but still doing my best to keep this dream alive.

Every day we make this crazy decision that we are going to keep going...and all the things that are the hardest to overcome are just staying in your head all day long.  It's that adage of don't think of "x" and that is all you can now do.  You lay in bed or on the couch and all you think of is that you need to get some exercise in, yet you don't move.  Then starts the mental battle of you telling yourself that you are failing...then that bad thought...why should I even bother?!?!

I know that it is so hard to have faith in yourself and think that this is going to work.  I know that it seems so much easier to make the wrong choices and accept that and lose all belief in you.  I know it takes time to find new healthy recipes, go food shopping to get these items, prep all the ingredients and then tell yourself that this tastes better and is more satisfying then the double cheese burger and fries that are easier and quicker to acquire.  

I know the idea of starting to run for ten to fifteen minutes seems unrealistic, finding the time to get to the gym for half hour a few times a week seems like it won't fit into the schedule, getting into workout clothes that you don't feel comfortable in is a horrible idea!!  You have survived the winter months in your comfort shell at home, baking cookies on every snow day, wearing many layers to hide your new layers, but knowing at the back of your mind that warmer weather is coming...and the layers will have to be shed.  

So how do I stay the course and how did I tell myself during the process that it was going to work?!?  I have always had a crazy competitive edge with myself and wanting to improve.  I have gone up and down many times but knew this last time was going to be the final down and would uncover the person that I am today.  I have a husband that is equally crazy on wanting to be the strongest and has that same inner competitive person in there.  He doesn't shake his head when I suggest crazy new recipes or insane fitness schedules.  I sign up for races so that I HAVE to get out there and add up my miles on the pavement.  No one is going to make me run...I have to make that decision.  I am not the kind of person to show up for a race and not be prepared...I want to come in as strong and ready to kick some butt...specifically my own.

spring break with my buddy...we both made big changes in just one year-smile is a bit bigger!!

I don't think this is something you can teach's a drive that you have or you don't.  I do think it is contagious and something that can be acquired once that person flips the switch.  I know each day that I am charging toward my goal and without putting in the work that I know is required....I will not reach that goal.  Failure is not an have one chance at this to make you the strongest you...why would you not want to do anything but your best!

So yes...stop the pity party...find something that you can keep at and let yourself know that success comes will just sneak up on you and there you are at the top of the hill.  Bumps and bruises will happen along the way but the fight makes the success even more sweet!  Keep yourself in check...ask for help...sign up for classes or a race...have a buddy...your success will encourage others and they in turn will help you...I promise you this!!

Embrace the suck...choose you...believe in YOU!