Persevere, Exercise

 As recorded by my Garmin Connect GPS running watch and online dashboard (1/30/2012):
I have run 110.85 miles in the last 30 days and burnt roughly 11,500 calories running.
I have run 25.43 miles in the last 7 days and burnt roughly 3,000 calories running.
I am 11% of the way to my goal of running 1,000 miles this year.
I missed my #marathonaweek this last 7 days by .77 miles. UGH!!! If only I had charted better I would’ve definitely gotten it in. It’s my first week of 2012 to not run a #marathonaweek. Thankfully, my biggest goal of 2012 is 1,000 miles overall and maintaining the #runstreak all year, rather than specifically running 26.2 miles a week. This is to help me stay injury free. Sometimes too many miles too soon will catapult you onto the disabled list. That is what happened to me last year. I decided in a split second to go from a half marathon to a full marathon in 4 weeks having, at that time, never ran over 13.1 miles at a time. When I reached the point of my training where I was running 16 miles at a time and then 18 miles at a time, I blew out my Achilles Tendon. A whole other host of weird medical things surrounded that as well, like the fact that I have one leg shorter than the other and never knew it, but the bottom line was that I wasn’t prepared for the sudden increase in mileage that I inflicted on myself. If I maintain #marathonaweek levels in 2012, I’ll run over 1,300 miles this year and I’m not sure if I’m 100% ready for that though with my Achilles issues. I’m sure going to go for it though, but I’m going to use caution and wisdom. It’s better to set a goal that is too lofty and only succeed at 50% of it, then to set either no goal or one that is super low. It’s like taking 4 steps forward and one step back. Instead of focusing on the one step back, focus on the 3 steps you moved ahead!

Persevere Friends! Exercise! 

Today is Monday and I’m wishing this Monday was a little more manic. Manic being defined by grandiose thoughts and energy, not being defined by an extra long to do list. I always have one of those. Lately some of my runs have been feeling uninspired. Blame it on the January Blah’s. Chalk it up to the absolutely bizarre winter weather we have had this year. Consider the fact that I keep somehow contracting the same head cold and sinus infection over and over and over again. Or, perhaps it can be attributed to the fact that my first official race of 2012 is still well over 3 months away. Regardless, some of the “Eye of the Tiger” tunes that regularly play in my head and some of the fantasies that I have surrounding me beating a Kenyan in a foot race, have died down lately. It can’t be said of me though that my passion for fitness, health, and nutrition has waned. It is natural for human beings to go through ebbs and flows in life and for our bodies to cycle in and out of passion for things, but the number one indicator of success in any area of life is perseverance. Even the Bible speaks to this on numerous occasions. Matthew 10:22 finishes out by saying “He that endures to the end shall be saved.” So, in the spirit of perseverance, I keep going.

Weighing myself daily keeps me accountable. If I’ve eaten one too many scoops of IceCream, or a whole saltshaker’s worth of too much sodium, the scale tells me very bluntly the next morning and I know to focus harder on my holistic ways that day to balance out the damage. Eventually you learn to shun all that stuff because you just don’t like how disgusting it makes your body feel. I enjoy eating healthy and staying the course 80% of the time because my body is a machine that needs the correct fuel and enjoys functioning on the good stuff. The #runstreak keeps me accountable. The fact that I’ve put all over FaceBook, twitter, and my blog how healthy I am and how much I exercise, surely keeps me accountable. The advantages of social networking in my health journey are enormous. I am not one that would find any benefit to groups like Weight Watchers. In fact, if you see that I’ve gained 5 pounds, I could care less. If I enjoyed my food and I’m feeling good about myself, a public weigh in will not hold me accountable. What does hold me accountable is that all of the blogosphere knows I’ve run 78 straight days and that I’m participating in a #runstreak. I’m linked up to neighbors and friends that I guarantee if they don’t see me out pounding the pavement, will say something. I feel accountable to those I’ve inspired to get more fit, eat healthier, and put one foot in front of the other. So, I guess you can say that I’m more concerned about my overall health and well being because of those watching me (including my children) and those inspiring me on the sidelines and those that I’m inspiring than I am about some pesky number on the scale. I will admit though, I do not like that number to budge in the wrong direction but mainly because it is an indicator of how healthy I’m eating and how much I’m working out, not because I have some phantom number I’m supposed to be.

In 2012 I started a new fitness routine too. I used to go to Curves, the circuit training gym for women. It served its purpose in my life to get me off my tail and jump start my weight loss routine, but I found that I quickly outgrew it. I began running and reached a point where I was no longer getting any more toned, but maintaining. I decided that in January I would join the YMCA with my husband. I had multiple motivations for choosing the YMCA over other gyms, one being the free child care and two being the family atmosphere and programs my children could get involved with, not to mention their mission and vision statement and how it aligns with my values. Anyway, I’ve been doing Nautilus machines and pumping iron since January 2 three times a week and I have seen a drastic change in my abs, arms, back, and legs. It is amazing how one month doing weight bearing exercise, instead of just resistance training, has transformed my body. I tell you this to say, keep your workout routine fresh. I may be running only half inspired, but at least my trips to the gym are inspired. Lately, the men over the age of 70, have been referring to me as “muscles” at the gym.

In 2012 I also decided to increase my water intake. I’ve always been a big drinker, especially of water, but I decided I would start tracking it. I have been striving to drink over 1 gallon of water a day. I realized that I was drinking a good amount, but no where near a gallon. This is good for your skin, and definitely helps stave off hunger pangs. I’ve noticed from personal experience, as well as from information that I’ve read, that oftentimes we confuse hunger and the urge to snack with thirst. Also, if I am going to be a successful runner and PR at my Spring half marathon, I need to be super well hydrated. I am tracking every ounce I drink on my “LiveStrong” iPhone app, which is also where I track all of my calories.

Anyway, to conclude this random post to touch base with all those interested in my running, I haven’t been dreading my runs, just chasing that “high”. Sometimes a run doesn’t put you into a zen like state, but you never, ever, ever regret putting on your shoes, lacing up, and heading out the door. This week I’m officially beginning my training for the Capital City Half Marathon in Columbus, Ohio.  I’m only 95 days away from gathering with thousands of runners across Ohio and the USA all chasing health, PR’s, wellness, accomplishments, and natural highs. With or without “Wizard of Oz” level winds, which have been the norm the last couple of weeks in Cleveland, a run will always leave you a sense of accomplishment, especially when you are training for a race. Whether you choose to endure the pelting snow and ice with your YakTrax on, or venture inside to stare at a wall while you pound one mile after the next on a treadmill, when you are done, you are done. When you’re so sweaty that people think you’re on the verge of a heart attack, even after running in 12 degree temperatures, you can wear that smell with pride. Sometimes you have to fight harder than others for what you know is your personal best, but it is always worth the battle.

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