Fit Friday Motivation: 4/20/2018

Happy Friday everyone!  We have *almost* made it through another winter-wonderland-wonderful week (here in Southwest PA, at least).  Seriously, is winter ever going to end?! We better have an awesome summer after putting up with all this snow nonsense these past few months.  I’m no stranger to running in freezing temps, but snow and ice and COLD are definitely not my favorite conditions to run in.  Or live in, really.  I’m sooo ready to log some springtime miles.  Soon, hopefully.  If not, I’m going to become an early-age snowbird and ship myself off to warmer climates.  Preferably near a beach where I can lay and sip margaritas every night after the kids go to bed… okay, now I’m just daydreaming.

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Source: Google Images

Enough griping about the weather.  On to more important things– it’s the day before a race weekend! Woohoo!  That in itself is all the motivation I need to get myself through the day.  Tomorrow I’m waking up early and running one of my favorite local races– the Takeoff 2018: Trooper Kenton Iwaniec Memorial Race.  This race supports a great cause– honoring DUI victims and raising awareness about the serious implications of impaired driving– and always brings a large crowd with many members of law enforcement attending.  There is a beautiful and moving service prior to the race to honor local State Trooper Kenton Iwaniec, who was killed in a tragic DUI accident in 2008.  It’s so empowering to see so many members of the community come together in support of such a great cause.

This race holds a special place in my heart because it was the first 10K I ever ran back in 2011.  Despite the terrible conditions that day (I can still vividly remember the rain, cold, and extreme wind), I enjoyed the race so much and was in awe of the fact that I could not only run but race for a distance of 6.2 miles.  It was the start of my love for “distance” running (“distance” being relative at that point in time).  The 10K still remains my 2nd favorite race distance to run (13.1 being my all-time favorite, of course).

Since that first 10K in 2011, I’ve only had the opportunity to run this race two other times, so I’m really looking forward to running it tomorrow.  My fastest time here was in 2014 when I ran it in 54:44 (an 8:50 pace).  Ah, the speedy (for me) days.  My main goal for tomorrow is to finish in less than an hour (a 9:39 pace minimum).  I haven’t run a 10K distance race in over two years, though, so I don’t even know if that is realistic.  My most recent 5K pace was 9:02 and that included some unfortunate walking incidents, so I’m hoping that a 9:39 pace for 10K is sustainable.  Only time and my Garmin will tell, I suppose.

My past few races, I’ve been getting sidetracked (not completely sidelined, but sidetracked) by side stitches.  Ugh.  Aren’t they the worst?!   I have no idea what is causing them, but I’m planning to use the next few weeks to try to figure it out so I can hopefully avoid them during the Pittsburgh half in May.  My first thought is that my core isn’t strong enough, because after two babies (one being a c-section) and zero core work, it’s not strong at all.  I’ve done some core moves this week, although for this race it might be too-little-too-late.  My second thought is that my nutrition is completely inadequate, because it isn’t focused on my training at all right now.  My plan for yesterday & today is to go heavier on refined carbs and lighter on fats, as well as hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  The side stitches that I got during my 10-miler a few weeks ago were 100% the result of not being hydrated sufficiently.  I used to make sure I was drinking plenty of fluids the entire week before a long race, but during my two-year-running-hiatus I guess I completely forgot that was something that I do, haha.  I drank too much during the race itself to compensate for my dehydration (I was SO thirsty), and the side stitches showed up not long after that.  Big oopsie.  Live and learn, I guess.  So hydration is the name of the game today.

I’m really looking forward to hitting the pavement tomorrow; I’ll be sure to come back and update with how it goes.  What are your plans for the weekend??  Are there any “sprinter” (spring that’s actually winter) races on your calendar?!

It’s Friday, so it’s time for some fitness motivation.  I don’t know about you, but Des Linden’s first place victory at Boston has been my all the motivation I’ve needed all.week.long.

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Source: Google Images

Watching replays of her victorious finish seriously gives me goosebumps!  I don’t know that I’ll ever be blessed with the opportunity to run Boston, but Des and so many other women like her are my running role models– I would LOVE to not only be able to run another full, but to be competitive when I do it.  After her victory on Monday, I’ve set a new goal for myself: run another full marathon, and beat my previous time when I do it.  Although the logistics (i.e. two babe under 3) make this a long-term goal, it’s a definite new goal of mine.  When the time is right, I want to start training for another 26.2.

So, in the spirit of competitive running, this Friday’s Fit Motivation comes straight from the champion herself:

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Source: Google Images

Any fitness endeavor, running most definitely included, gets to be hard at times.  We get tired.  We lose our spark, and wonder why we ever started in the first place.  In these moments, it’s easy to talk ourselves into quitting.  All motivation seems to be gone.  But, there was a reason you started– and that reason doesn’t just go away because you’re going through a hard time.  Even when you lose sight of that reason, just keep showing up.  Even when you don’t want to, just keep showing up.  Don’t give up on your dreams and goals.  Just keep showing up.  If you do, you’ll get through it.  You’ll improve.  You’ll remember why you started.  And you’ll find that spark again.  Whether it’s a tough race or a months-long fitness funk, just keep showing up.  If you do, you’ll be proud of yourself for reaching your goals.  If you don’t, and if you give up– you’ll never reach your goals.  You’ll only be letting yourself down.  Disappointment is a downwards spiral that you don’t want to pull yourself into.

I don’t know about you, but as an overwhelmed mom-of-two who is struggling to get back into the running scene after taking too much time off, this really speaks to me.  I look at my pre-baby paces and get discouraged because I’m nowhere near where I used to be.  So many times I go into a race with high expectations and get let down when I see the clock at the finish line, minutes later than where I had hoped to see it.  Or I am mid-race, holding a great pace, and ruin it all by making a rookie mistake (e.g. dehydration).  In these times, it’s easy to say “what’s the use?” and give up.  Some goals just take time.  And time takes dedication.  If you give up, you never reach these goals.  If you keep showing up, you do– it’s as simple as that.

There are so many ways you could interpret Des’s words, but this is how they speak to me.

Happy Friday, everyone– enjoy your weekend!

 

 

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Fit Friday Motivation

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Source: Run U Mother Facebook page

I think everyone has had these runs at one point or another– the ones where your defenses break down and you begin to doubt yourself, your abilities, and your training.  It might be during a race or during a training run.  And as much as I dread having this type of run, I never let it defeat me when it does occur.  I push through to the finish line because I know when I do, I’ll be a stronger person and a better runner.  These are the kinds of races, training runs, workouts that show us what we’re really made of.  They force us to put our heart and soul into them just to get to the finish.  They teach us things about ourselves that we never knew before.  They show us that we’re capable of so much more than we thought possible.  In my opinion, these are the runs that make a runner a runner.  They makes us stronger people and stronger athletes.  I dread the experience, but I love the after-effects.  =)

I hope everyone has a fun, fit weekend!! =) 

Fitness Friday and My Weekly Recap!

Hey all!  It’s been a while since I’ve done a Fitness Friday post.  Since it’s the start of a new season and the start of a new month, I thought it might be a good idea to seek out a little bit of fitness motivation and share it with you.  So here goes… You really can’t go wrong with inspiration from Nike!

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Seriously, when it comes to fitness {and all other things in life}, there’s no time like the present to get started on something you’ve been thinking about doing or been putting off doing.  Especially in the fall– with the inevitably colder temps and the busy holiday season approaching, it’s so easy to say “there’s no sense in starting now, I might as well wait for spring to get here.”  Um, no.  Get off your butt and get started NOW!  When the spring comes and you’re fitter, healthier, and happier than before, you’ll be glad that you did.  On a related note…

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Don’t prolong your goals.  Get started now, because in a month, a year, a decade– you will be glad that you did.  The passing of time won’t make you any more motivated than you are today.  The time will pass, and you’ll still be saying “I’ll start some day.”  So make that “some day” today!

With two 5K races and two half mary’s coming up in the next month, I’ve been running a good bit lately (much to my liking!).  Last Sunday, a group of us did a very scenic 8.5-mile loop full of uphills, downhills, and flats.  I normally do my long runs on my favorite running trail, which is a flat, soft-surface, rails-to-trails.  I knew I wanted to get in a tougher training run before my October 6th half marathon, and last Sunday’s run definitely fit the bill.  It felt great to check out a new route, get my heart rate up, and test my legs’ limits up over the hills.  I really wish I’d have had my phone on me to take pictures, but I didn’t– some of the sights we saw were absolutely beautiful.  We are planning on repeating the loop this coming Sunday, so hopefully I can snag some pics to share then.

On Wednesday, my bestest running friend Emily and I ran a nice-and-easy 10 miles on our favorite running trail.  Once upon a time, if you’d have told me I was ever going to say that a 10-mile run was nice and easy, I’d have laughed at you.  But seriously, we took it nice and slow and I felt great afterwards.  I love distance running, and I especially love feeling like I’m improving at it.

Last night, my brother and I went on an easy 3.1 mile run with a family friend who is training for his first 5K.  I treated it as a recovery run in preparation for tomorrow’s 5K race, but in reality our route had some nasty hills on it!  I was feeling the burn in my legs and the burn in my lungs from the chilly fall temperatures.

I did a little bit of strength training this week, but nothing to write home about.  I’m using strength training more for injury prevention now, but I’m hoping to kick my strength training up a notch once all this half marathon training slows down in November!

I hope everyone has a fun, fit FALL weekend!!!

=)

Fit Friday Motivation

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I saw this on a recent Facebook post and just knew it had to be the basis for my Fit Friday Motivation post.  Like many women, I, too, have suffered over the years with body image issues.  I went from being overweight and uneducated about health & fitness (the teenage years) to being underweight and still uneducated about health and fitness (the quarterlife crisis years).  Throughout my entire weight spectrum, I was never happy with my body’s appearance.  When I was heavy, all I wanted was to be thin and tiny.  I put my body through hell until I was finally the thin, tiny person that I wanted to be– then I was unhappy with the shape my body had taken.

Throughout all of the disrespect and abuse I put my it through– starving it of meaningful calories, pumping it full of fake sugars and other dietary toxins, and pushing my cardio sessions to the extreme– my body never failed me.  It carried me through each day.  My lungs gave me the oxygen I needed to survive; my heart pumped nutrients throughout my body, my brain gave me focus and clarity, my muscles worked together to make me capable of each and every movement, and so on.  But I didn’t see all of that– all I saw was the reflection in the mirror of a body that was not good enough.  I disrespected my body and I took it for granted.  Until I started running.

It’s like my body stood back and passively accepted all of my negativity and insults until I started running.  Then, it was like my body finally decided to stand up to me and say, “Hey, you think I’m not good enough– watch and see what I can do!”

Pushing my limits, pressing on when all I want to do is give up– those are the ways running has shown me what I’m really made of.  When I first started running, I was so surprised by what my body could do.  It could do things that I never thought it was capable of doing.  I was no longer disappointed in it; I was impressed with it.  Breaking barriers and reaching new goals was such a wonderful feeling.  And, over time, my relationship with my body began to change from a negative one to a positive one.

Running has taught me so much about my body.  It’s not inadequate.  It’s not weak.  It’s capable of so much more than I ever gave it credit for.  It’s stronger than I ever thought possible– not just physically, but mentally as well.

Now, three years after I first began running, I can truly say that I respect, appreciate, and love my body.  And I only have running to credit for that.  My body isn’t perfect– but my body is strong and it is healthy, and I respect and appreciate that.  I’m proud of it for carrying me through life the way that it does.  The fact that I can run 13.1 miles without stopping has a much bigger influence on my self image now than the number on the scale or the reflection in my mirror.  And that makes me happy.

I feel like many runners have had the same experiences since beginning running.  Has running had a similar effect on your life or on your body image??  

Fit Friday Motivation… and a Weekly Recap

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I saw this meme and fell in love with it!  Maybe I’m crazy, but I love the feeling of (slightly) sore muscles– it lets me know that I accomplished something with my workout and that I’m changing my body for the better.  When I take a few days off from working out, I actually feel worse because my body doesn’t feel like it has been challenged at all (most likely because it hasn’t! duh).  When you just don’t feel like working out one day, think of what you’ll feel like the day after– would you rather be sore or sorry?  =)

It’s Friday, and I’m happy to say I’ve had an active week this week!!

Monday:  I ran 5K (just the distance, not a race) with my boyfriend and my brother later at night after the heat and humidity started backing off.  Of course I forgot to press “start” on my GPS app, so I have no stats- but I think we did pretty well!!  We have a 5K next week and wanted to get some training in for that.  I’m super-proud of my boyfriend for doing such a great job– he dropped from 360 pounds to 235 pounds a few years ago and seriously kicks my butt (and most people’s) in any kind of athletic event.  His last 5K time was 24:47 (3rd in his age group- wahoo!), and he’s shooting for 22:45 in his next one.  So proud of him!

Tuesday:  I took a rest day on Tuesday, but I spent 4 hours in the evening getting my CPR/AED certification– just one step closer to getting my NASM CPT certification!!  I have to take the test before August, so {hopefully} in another month I’ll be an officially-certified personal trainer.

Wednesday:  Wednesday was trail-run day with my bestest running friend Emily!! We did six easy miles on our favorite local running trail.  Since we aren’t training for a specific long-distance event right now, we took it easy and enjoyed the scenery and conversation.  It was H-U-M-I-D outside, and that really slowed us down despite the fact that the temperature was in the mid-70’s.  Ah the joys of summertime running.
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Thursday:  Thursday evening was my weekly hour-long spin class!!  In case you don’t follow my posts, I just started spinning again a few weeks ago.  Those first few sessions are always rough (for me, at least) because it takes a while for my leg muscles to adapt.  It’s almost more of an anaerobic workout than an aerobic workout.  Last night, I felt like I finally crossed the threshold from anaerobic into aerobic– I was huffing and puffing for sure, and my HR was through the roof!  I was content with my workout when I left they gym.  I was also able to talk my little brother into going to spin class with me– it was his first time spinning, and I think he enjoyed it!
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TONIGHT:  Tonight I’ll be running in a local 5-mile race!  My bestest running friend Emily is also running.  I have done this race the past two years and really enjoyed it, although the weather has been less-than-perfect (i.e. hot and ridiculously humid) each time.  Tonight’s weather looks to be about the same as the past two years, but I’m sure it’ll still be enjoyable.  I’ll be sure to recap sometime next week!

I hope everyone has a fun, fit weekend!!  

Fit Friday Motivation… and a Weekly Recap

Are you on Tumblr??  I’m a big fan of social networking, but that’s one site that I haven’t broadened my horizons to yet.  I am, however, on Pinterest (maybe more often than I should be).  I keep seeing a lot of random pins from this reasonstobefit.tumblr.com site, so I decided to type in the address and check it out myself.  I sure am glad that I did!  As of today (6/21), the site has 958 super-inspiring memes sure to get your a** motivated to step away from the computer and get moving.  If you are ever in need of some extra motivation, seriously– check out this site.  If you don’t hear from me in a few days, it’s because I’m too busy checking out these memes and/or giving in to my uncontrollable desire to work out and get fit! 😉  Here are just a few of my favs that I found this morning:

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Ah.  I don’t know about you, but I could sure go for a good sweat session right about now!

This week seemed to fly by for some reason!!  It’s summer– doesn’t time know it should be going  s l o w e r???  Anyways, I didn’t make it to the grocery store last weekend (panic), so I had to throw my Monday lunch together with a few things that I had on hand.

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Herb & garlic tuna, some cucumbers, and brown rice topped with salt, pepper, & parmesan.  Not too shabby for just throwing something together!  Although they’re made with oil (I’m not a huge fan of that), I really like the Starkist Tuna Creations pouches.  They’re super-delicious and easy to take along if you need lunch-on-the-go (or even not-on-the-go).  You can use them in recipes, but I always eat them plain or on a wrap with veggies.  Yum.

My boyfriend and I attend the same gym chain, so we met up Monday night for a lovey-dovey sweat session together.  I worked on my shoulders, triceps and abs then spent some time on the elliptical (LOVE running, HATE the treadmill).  My bf ran a 5K on the treadmill then did an all-over body workout in the weights area.  He’s a cardio first, weights second kind of guy; I’m the opposite.  So we didn’t get to spend much “quality” time together there, but it was still nice to hit the weights together instead of hitting-the-restaurants or hitting-the-movies-and-snacking-on-popcorn together.  We decided we are going to try to hold “date night” at the gym at least two nights a week.  I love how he thinks similarly to me in terms of health and fitness.  =)

Wednesday night = running night with my bestest running friend Emily!!  Since neither of us are training for a specific event right now, we decided to do a nice-and-easy 6 mile run on our local trail.  The weather was in the mid-70’s and beautiful; perfect for a mid-week, after-work run.

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Emily and I decided to grab dinner and work on “reducing the inflammatory response” (that’s what we prefer to call it) after our fun run.  There’s something magical about the taste of a nice cold beverage after a run on a warm summer night.  Hits the spot every time!

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These are sooo good.

Last night, I went to spinning class.  On a beautiful, warm evening, I typically don’t like to spend my evenings indoors.  But one night a week (more than likely on Thursdays), I’ve decided that I need to get my butt to spin class rain-or-shine.  It’s a great cardio workout, and it’s perfect cross-training for the mounds of 5K’s that I have coming up.  I went to the local YMCA for their spin class.  There were only two students there including myself– it’s such a shame that more people in my area don’t take interest in spinning (or health and fitness, for that matter).  My calorie burn doesn’t tell you much about the hour-long turmoil that I faced, but my still-aching legs sure do– we did an hour of pretty much nothing-but-hills!  Since leg day at the gym is my least favorite, I was glad to get a killer leg workout disguised as a cardio-spin-session.

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I also spent a good deal of time this week studying for my NASM CPT exam.  I have to schedule my exam by 8/7, so I’m down to the wire!!  I just have a few more lessons to finish up, then I’ll be ready to sit for the exam.  I’m pumped!

Oh yeah, I spent 45 hours behind my desk this week too.  I usually don’t write about that, though.  😉

I didn’t get in as much weight training as I’d have liked this week, but every now and then I think it’s good to throw your body a curveball and keep it guessing.  I’ll be hitting the weights hard again come Monday!

I hope everyone has a fun, fit weekend!! =)