Fit Friday Motivation ~ 5.6.16

Happy Friday!!  We have officially (almost) made it through the week!!  I know that I personally cannot wait for two entire days off of work in a row.  This week feels like it’s been dragging on forever.  What does everyone have going on this weekend?  Last weekend was so busy with the marathon going on, plus I had a hair appointment, plus Miss H had her 6-month shots, so I’m looking forward to a relatively relaxing weekend.  We are ordering pizza for lunch at work today, so I’m planning to cook a healthy dinner with my hubby tonight and RELAX with him and Miss H afterwards.  I’m going to do a shake-out run tomorrow at some point then do some super-clean grocery shopping afterwards.  My diet has been less-than-ideal lately, and it’s been taking a toll on my energy levels and my waistline.  It’s time to plan ahead and make some clean meals for the week.  I’m thinking oatmeal, grilled chicken salads, and sweet potatoes will be on the menu– I plan to make a “What I’m Eating This Week” post next week so I’ll update you then.  Sunday is my very first Mother’s Day, and I cannot wait to spend it with Miss H and my husband! I have no idea what we are doing yet– we’re last-minute like that– but I’ll be happy as long as we are together.  I’m really looking forward to it.

You may or may not remember that I have two half marathons on my schedule coming up in the next month, and I was waiting to see how Pittsburgh went before I decided whether or not I was actually going to do them.  Well, Pittsburgh went reasonably well for me (see my recap here) and was actually a good reminder of why I love running in the first place.  With a new baby in the picture, running has obviously been on the back burner for me for the past few months.  It’s easy to fall out of love with something when you aren’t doing it regularly, and I have to admit that I was falling out of love with running before the Pittsburgh half.  Which isn’t a good thing, since running is essentially a necessary therapy for me (read about why I run here).  Although I took a much-needed hiatus from running right before and right after Miss H was born and I have no regrets about that at all, I’m ready to start logging the miles again. I love the endorphins that come along with a challenging long run– they keep my emotions on an even keel and keep my stress levels manageable.  If I’ve learned anything about my return-to-running the past few months, it’s that a happy mama is a better mama, and I would give anything to be the best mother I can be to Miss H.  So, although spending time with my family will always be my first priority, I know that I need to continue running long distances whenever my schedule allows.  Miss H is on a more predictable sleep and nap schedule now, so it will be easier to plan my long runs for a time when she will be (mostly) napping or sleeping.  Since I am already signed up for the two upcoming half marathons, I have decided  that I want (or need, rather) to run them.  I feel like the picture below pretty much sums up how I feel about long runs, and it was kinda perfect for this particular Fit Friday post.  Enjoy.

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Source: Google Images

What’s on your fitness agenda for the weekend? 

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It’s Official…

I’m officially registered for my first FULL 26.2 miles!!!! Wahoo!!! I’m so looking forward to the training, the race, and all the pain and glory that goes along with it!

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I’m excited to see me at the start line, too!  Hehe =)

Like the OCD-type runner that I am, I already have my training plan figured out.  I’m going to follow one of Hal Higdon’s plans, which you can find at www.halhigdon.com.  And, of course, I’ll be sure to keep everyone updated on my training along the way.

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Anyone else training for their first full marathon??

How Do You Hydrate During Your Long Runs?

I’ve made my mind up (pending any potential sidelining injuries like I’ve had in the past) that my first full marathon will be in Pittsburgh in May of 2014!!  Wahoo!  Here it is, August of 2013, and I’m already super stoked about it (yeah, I’ve already mapped out my training schedule, which starts on 12/29).  My bestest running friend Emily will be joining me throughout the training and the race itself.

Last night, Emily (who is just as stoked as I am) mentioned that she is looking into buying a Camelbak to carry on our longer training runs for hydration and asked for my thoughts.  My first thought was that a Camelbak would be heavy and uncomfortable for running, but would provide plenty of water for our 20 milers on the trail.  So, immediately I knew there would be pros and cons.  Of course, this got me thinking– we really will need to find a good hydration solution for our long runs, and I never buy anything without doing plenty of research to make sure I’m making the best choice possible.  I needed to hear the pros and cons from people that have actually used Camelbaks and other hydration vests during their training.

Next step: Googling.  I love Google.  You can find just about anything on Google.  And I love the blogging community, especially the running blogging community, for their candid reviews based on past experiences and their willingness to share any info that will help others in their running ventures.  So, I started Googling “best hydration vests for long runs” in search of blogs and other reviews that would give me an honest opinion as to what has worked for others.

Want to know what I found?  Not much.

Not much recent info, anyways.  I found a few older blog posts and reviews for products that might be helpful, but I fear that new products and advances in technology have rendered those reviews slightly less useful.  I don’t want to buy a hydration vest that was kick-butt in 2007 but doesn’t hold a candle to some of the products on today’s market.

I currently run with a hydration belt, but it tends to bounce around a lot and generally drive me crazy in the process!  I would love a vest for its water storage capacity and easy access to water/gels/etc.  But I don’t want a vest that’s going to be hot, bounce up and down, or make annoying sloshing noises (I might be asking too much here!)  I’m eyeing up the Nathan Intensity vest because it’s designed with women in mind (and, well, because it’s pink), but I’m not quite sold on it yet.

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Image Source:  Nathansports.com

So I’m sending out a cry for help to my fellow marathon-running blogger and non-blogger friends– how did you hydrate on your longer training runs??  What worked for you?? What didn’t work for you??  Have any interesting distance-running-hydration tales to tell??  I’d love for everyone to share their stories with me!!  I’m hoping you can help me and any other readers out there that are asking the same questions! =)

Running is More Than Just a Hobby

… It’s a way of life. An identity.

I saw a quote on a Facebook fan page this morning that said “Love the sport. Running is what you do. Runner is who you are. Be good to yourself.” (from Debra Morrow, Runner’s World Challenger of the Week on 6/7/13).  This quote really made me think about the role that running has played in my life.

I was a different person before I started running. Looking back, I really can’t recall my attitudes and viewpoints in life before my running days.  That sounds strange, but it’s true.  What did I look forward to?  What were my personality traits and how were they formed?  How did I face life’s obstacles and challenges– did I have an optimistic, headstrong attitude towards them, or was I cowardly and afraid?  Was I content with never knowing my own abilities and limits?  Was I content with not really knowing myself?  I honestly can’t remember 

Running has given my life a more deep, more profound meaning.  It’s taught me that there’s more to life than we can ever possibly understand, and it did that by teaching me more about myself than I ever knew before.  It taught me that there’s something deep inside all of us that, once tapped, breaks the preconceived limits and barriers than we have set for ourselves.  For me, it takes a good run to be able to tap into that phenomenon.  I’m always amazed at what my body can achieve when I push it further than I believed I ever could.  If you face challenges head on with a positive attitude, you are sure to conquer them.  I’ve signed up for races despite my doubts and fears and discovered that I could do them if I tried.  Running 13.1 miles sounded crazy until I signed up for a half marathon and finished it.  Climbing “The Summit” (a local 1200 foot elevation increase over 3.5 miles) sounded impossible until I signed up for a race to the top and finished.  You can’t be afraid to try, or else you’ll never know where your limits really are (hint: they’re probably not where you think they are).  This is something that has strongly defined my personality since I started running.

Running has taught me to not give up when times get tough.  Because if you don’t give up, you will be rewarded.  You have to want the reward bad enough– whether or not you know what that reward is– to keep on going when you feel like quitting.  I can’t tell you how many races I’ve struggled through just to get to the finish line.  That victorious feeling of crossing the finish after a tumultuous race is the kind of indescribable reward you can’t get elsewhere.  I’ve run races in 90 degree heat & humidity, without proper fuel, with aching legs, without proper training for a <surprise!> hilly course, etc.– and I have never regretted a single one.  I think perseverance is an essential life trait– you can’t survive in a world full of chaos and situations beyond anyone’s control if you don’t have it– and I only have running to thank for giving me that trait.  I didn’t have that ardor before I started running.  Whether it’s in a tough race or in a difficult personal matter, you can’t give up if you want to survive until the turmoil is over.

Running also enriches the emotions, in my opinion.  A good run will summon emotions that don’t surface in everyday activities (I blame the endorphins).  For example, I perceive things on such a deeper level during a long run that I am overwhelmed with joy at the simplest kind act of humanity, or the pure beauty of nature on the hiking trail.  I feel like running allows you to see objects and situations with more clarity, and you respond with more raw emotions than you would on a normal, day-to-day basis.  I’ve cried on my long runs just from the emotional rush (yes, I just admitted that).  I love the feeling of being able to tap into emotions that run deeper than I thought possible.  It’s another natural response from the body that never fail to amaze me, and it only occurs when I’m in the midst of a good run.

Furthermore, my body just doesn’t feel right when I’m not challenging it on a regular basis.  How did I get that kind of satisfaction from my 30-minute bouts of cardio before?  I don’t think that I did.  Again, I can’t really remember…

Simply put, running has molded my personality and has been a major influence on making me the person that I am today.  To those of us that run, it’s more than a hobby– it’s a way of life.  Running is a sport that I love, it’s my sport, and I always look forward to it.  Running is what I do.  It’s who I am.  I think that Ms. Morrow couldn’t have stated it better.

I think this is a blog post that only other runners can understand.  We run because we love the effects that running has on us physically, emotionally, and mentally.  It enriches our lives and makes us who we are.  Until you’ve experienced these effects for yourself, you can never truly understand them.

What has running done for you?  Has it had a profound impact on your life??