Thursday, January 26, 2017

I didn't know I was a runner...until I ran

People that know me for a long time probably really think this whole fitness part of my life was a fad...but they also know that I am a committed, determined person.  Family is my number one priority and will do anything to keep that going strong.  When I first met my husband it was just us, in love, doing all things that made us happy.  Then we grew...literally and figuratively...and our bond with each other stayed strong.  My family continued to be my number one, I continued to grow as a mom and a partner in crime...but I felt like that was my identity.

I remember a friend from back in 2000 who would just plow away miles on the treadmill and I found that so crazy.  She would be a sweaty mess post workout and it sounded beyond dreadful to me.  I was focusing on fitness for the first time in my life for me...and I was taking classes at the gym and doing a little bit of circuit training...running was no where in my radar.

Running Army Ten Miler over the years
Fast forward just seven years and the idea of running came creeping in.  A different friend asked about a race and I really had no reason to say no...and it was post baby number two so I thought I'd give it a go.  I remember sitting at my computer and mapping out routes through my neighborhood.  My first training plans started with two mile runs.  Two miles that were probably the most dreadful and lung burning runs I have ever had.  I have zero clue how fast or slow I was running.  I never felt amazing during the process.  I checked the boxes each day and that was probably the most exciting part.  Having this plan that I was supposed to follow made it a little bit more manageable and having a training partner to do it with was key.  Although he was not suffering as much as I was in the process he was still there for our weekly runs.  I was not a runner but just a girl that was following a running plan.

I think after I finished my first few races my hubby bought me a runner girl sticker for my car.  I still had not felt worthy of putting it on my car.  I was not a multi time marathoner, I was not fast, I was not out there every day.  I was a mom trying to stay sane with her growing family and trying to keep her fitness in check while maybe discovering a passion along the way...uncovering a stronger, more confident girl.  I was a matter what distance or pace...still a runner.  No matter how many races you have completed or not get up and you lace your shoes, and you run...therefore you are a runner.  

We often don't know what we love until we lose it.  I have yet to lose running to an injury or overall burnout but I can tell you as I have become more immersed into running the days that I take for a rest I go a little stir crazy...I look forward to my run (most days.)  I love the release that the run gives me.  I love that I know it is something that I can hopefully always have.  I love that my family will be active with me during my runs whether biking along side of me, cheering as I do loops on our street or push a jogger along side me.  I love that they don't begrudge my run but embrace it as well.  I love my relationship with running and who it has molded me into.  I love that it has made me a stronger me which allows me to be a stronger mom and partner in crime.

I know that running is not for everyone.  I don't think one has to set a goal of running 2000 miles in a year..that was a crazy 2016 for me...but I do think it's worth a try.  Not a toe in the water and run away because it's not magical the first time you do it.  There are days where I don't feel the run until mile 2 or 3 or sometimes not as all.  On those days though I still feel so much better than if I didn't do it at all.  For me, I wanted something for just me...another identity...something I could find myself in and dive into a community of people that love the craziness of it all as well.  I love that we all have crazy running idiosyncrasies that make us just plan awesome.  I love that we support every person at every level and encourage you to try something different or push harder on a day where you wanted to throw in the towel.  I love how strong I feel after a race or a hard training run and know that I did that and I can do even more.

girl in orange 2000
So from this girl...the one that didn't want to run even if someone was chasing me...I am a runner...and have been since day one of trying.  I didn't know that this passion was within me until I just knew...I love this...all of it.  The chaffing, the nasty tasting gels, the cold wind in my face, the darkness and silence of an early morning run, the moment when I am running with a friend and I realize our stride is in perfect sync.  

Nothing changes if nothing changes.  Do something different, get uncomfortable, try something new.  You never know, you might just find your passion, a new side of you, something that will lead you to amazing people.

Embrace the suck...choose don't know until you try.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

enough already...yes you can

With a New Year comes new aspirations for yourself.  It had me thinking about how I often want to make sure all is good for everyone in my life.  Do they really care that they have cute winter flannel sheets on their bed, do they know I hunted and gathered all things Christmas for months leading up to the big day??  I know that I never knew how much my mom did for our family until I became a mother myself and as mine has grown and require even more....and have bigger problems...I know that it was a lot and continues to be a lot for one mind to manage.  However, we keep doing it, we want what is best for everyone that is closet to us and many times that means putting ourselves at the bottom of the to do list.  

So with all that prep and focus on the holidays one can only know what will happen to their goals.  I can't even begin to tell you how hard it hurt when I feel off the wagon over the past month and half.  I had no limits for myself, I kept up my running but for the most part they were junk miles, nothing quality, just getting it done.  I hit my goal of 2016 miles in 2016 and that was truly amazing.  I set a goal, I worked my but off to reach that goal and not one that I am looking to redo anytime soon.  I am avoiding wearing jeans until these pounds are off...I would not be able to handle the pain I would be in wanting to have them off of my doughy body.  I lost sight of my overall goal in focusing on my mileage goal and am paying the price now.  I am not going to beat myself up over it...I am not weighing myself daily, in fact I am not weighing myself at all.  I am focused, determined, driven and that is what is going to get me there...I know what I am capable of and don't need a number to dictate my mood for the day.

I also have started journaling.  It has only been five days worth but I am hoping it will help me look back and see how certain nights of sleep effect my mood the next day or even my exercise habits.  I thought 2015 was the year of the new Julie but I think it is really 2017.  2016 was a lot about testing my boundaries and seeing how I work best and where my weaknesses still are.  I did my thing in 2016 and it was great...had a great full marathon and did two Ragnar Relays but I am hoping for even bigger things for 2017.  And what it comes down to at the end of the day is...yes I can.

It is that simple.  We all have the choice it's just what do you really want.  I could give you a hundred reasons as to why I don't want to do something and probably no reason as to why I can't do it.  Are we busy with the right things, are we choosing to make a stronger you or are we busy making sure everyone is improving while we sit back and help.  Don't get me wrong...I make sure I am on the to-do list but this year I am going to go even more ALL IN.  There is no reason not to.

I am still finding new ways to fall in love with fitness.  I think that is a very important part of life's journey.  For as much as I talk about routine and how that is helpful on my path to also need to make those changes so it remains fresh and you want to do it not just because it is a part of a training plan.  Just like you grow with your partner in life you have to grow with yourself and your relationship with fitness.  

So what am I focusing on for 2017...this will be my year for my Boston Qualifier...I can just feel it...I have a full marathon in April and with coming out of 2016 with 2016 miles run I have a great base under my belt.  I am now running less and according to my training plan so that my legs can have a bit of a breather before I get into the meat of the training plan.  And a bonus I age up this year so my qualifying time is a little bit slower...pays to get older ;)  Then me and 11 of my crazy girl friends will head to Canada to run Ragnar Niagara Falls in May.  After that I will turn things towards the sport of triathlon and do two races over the summer, sprint and olympic distance, which will lead up to a half iron distance in September. 

I tell my kids all the time not to use the word "Can't." I am going to stop using the word as well in 2017.  I am going to continue to try new things, not feel defeated because things don't always go my way.  Just because an initial goal is not met does not make one a failure.  I never would have have guessed this girl from 2014 right here would want to do anything like try for a third time to qualify for Boston after missing my mere seconds, or say I will tackle a full IronMan in 2018, or hope to inspire others to keep pushing towards their fitness goals.  I am not just a mom and a finder of all lost things.  I will continue to kick my own butt and tell myself as much as I may not want to...yes I can. I can do hard things and will continue to push to see where my limit may in fact lie.

january 2014

Embrace the Suck...Choose You...
Today is a new day for you...yes you can.