Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Year of Zen

This morning as I was cleaning out my desk at work (for those of you who don’t know, I am leaving voluntarily in order to move to FL with Paul while he goes through flight school) I found a bunch of pages I kept from a Zen calendar Paul gave me for Christmas back in 2011. It was one of those page a day calendars with each day having a new Zen inspired quote as the focus.  Throughout the year, as I found ones that resonated with me, I would keep the page. I thought it would be fun to share the quotes that made the cut and hopefully you enjoy them as much as I do.
“Nirvana may be the final object of attainment, but at the moment, it is difficult to reach. Thus, the practical and realistic aim is compassion, a warm heart, serving other people, helping others, respecting others, being less selfish.” ~ The Dalai Lama
“Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.” ~ Jawaharlal Nehru
“Every minute of life carries with it its miraculous value, and its face of eternal youth.” ~ Albert Camus
“What science finds to be nonexistent, a Buddhist must necessarily accept, but what science merely does not find is a completely different matter. It is quite clear that there are many, many mysterious things.” ~ The Dalai Lama
“A tree that is unbending is easily broken.” ~ Lao-Tsu
“A human life is like a single letter in the alphabet. It can be meaningless. Or it can be part of a great meaning.” ~ Talmudic Zen
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” ~ Albert Einstein
“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” ~ The Buddha
“If I could tell you what it meant, there would be no point in dancing it.” ~Isadora Duncan
Do you like inspirational quotes? What is your favorite? Please share in the comment section

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dream Big!

When 2013 rolled around just a couple weeks ago I hadn’t really put too much thought into what races I wanted to run this year. I had only one in mind (aside from the 3M half I was about to run on 1/13) and that was the Philadelphia Marathon in November. That’s my goal this year- a full on, 26.2 mile marathon in Philadelphia, my home town. The idea of being able to complete a full marathon is nothing short of amazing but to be able to do it with friends and family cheering me on along the way, well that’s just what every little runner girl dreams of, right?
When it comes time to start training for the full I will be using the Runner’s World 16 week beginners marathon training plan. And when that time rolls around (late July, I think) I want to have been running for the months beforehand and have built up a good mileage base. I like training for half marathons. I mean, I’ve only done it twice but I really enjoy the training part; having a schedule, tracking the miles, logging in the workouts and cross training, watching myself progress and get stronger- it’s very rewarding. So I started looking into half marathons I could do throughout the year to help get me ready for full marathon training.
Here is my tentative (I need to find a job in FL before I register for any of these) plan for 2013.
4/7/2013: Gulf Coast Half Marathon- what do you know, there is a half marathon in Pensacola in 12 weeks. Talk about fortuitous. That gives me two weeks for recovery and ten weeks for training which works out perfectly since I will be using the Runner’s World 10 week half marathon training plan. If Paul doesn’t have training that day and is allowed to participate he wants to run this one too which would make it so super special to have him there with me.
6/23/2013: Chicago Women’s Half Marathon- I don’t know much about this other than it’s in Chicago and is for women only, both of which you probably figured just by reading the name. I love Chicago and would love to run a race there. Again, I would have enough time to do a full 10 week training plan between the Gulf Coast and this one, which is awesome, and another plus is that my cousin lives across the street from Grant Park (the start) and so I would just need airfare and registration fee in order to swing it.
And if you want to hear my crazy plan for this one it goes like this; fly to Chicago Friday, run the half on Sunday, fly to Las Vegas either Sunday or Monday to spend a few days with my BFF who will be out there for a work conference, fly to Portland for Fitbloggin. I think you all would agree that that would be the best week ever!
After Chicago I would have a few weeks to recover and then I would begin training for the Philadelphia Marathon. While I am in training for the full there is another half I would like to run.
10/26/2013: Silver Comet Half Marathon- just outside of Atlanta, GA this half marathon seems to be a perfect fit for a fun race with some of my SM runner friends. It is small (capped at 1700, I think), a fast and flat course, and is in driving distance from Pensacola. I wouldn’t be running this as a race but instead as a training run. To make this one happen I would need registration fee, a hotel for the night before, and 1-2 tanks of gas to get there and back. Seems pretty reasonable and I am hoping that some of my favorite people will be joining me for this one. It would be nice to a) meet them in person and b) have some great company during the race.
11/24/2013: Philadelphia Marathon- this is it folks, everything before this date will have helped me get to this point. For me, running the Philadelphia Marathon would be comparable to someone else running Boston or NY. It would really be the highlight of my running career. There are only a few full marathons I would ever even think of attempting and Philadelphia tops that list. The other two are the Marine Corps Marathon and Big Sur and I would only ever consider those other ones if I could run them with Paul. Philadelphia is my big dream and I am confident that I can make that dream come true this year.
I know that running a marathon is no easy feat and that it will take months of training to get me ready for it but I am up for the challenge. Of course, there is other part of this race that I have to work on too- saving. The Philadelphia Marathon will require registration fee, airfare and a hotel room (for my peace of mind) the night before. It will be my most expensive race but it will also be the most memorable and rewarding. And if that means I must make sacrifices in other areas of my life so be it.
So, that’s my big plan for 2013. I know there will be other races thrown in. I have a goal of finally breaking the 30 minute mark for a 5K (best time to date is 30:26) so hopefully I can fit a handful of 5Ks into my training. I also have registered Paul and myself to run two races while we are in San Antonio together before the move to Florida; a 7K (what a weird distance- 4.35 miles!) on 2/3 and the Be My Valentine 5K on 2/10.
If you know of any races (5K up to 15K) in the general Pensacola area in 2013 I would love to hear about them.
What are your running goals for 2013? Have you ever traveled for a race before?

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars." ~Les Brown

Sunday, January 13, 2013

3M Half Marathon: Video Recap

Here is my very long (sorry, almost 17 minutes) video recap of the 3M Half Marathon in Austin, TX which took place today- January 13, 2013. Please note that with about a minute left Ruby starts barking and it's loud so I apologize. Don't turn the volume up too high or you might end up with ruptured eardrums ;)

Also, I wanted to include my mile times from my Garmin but I had some issues uploading it so I will just manually type it out. I only checked it a few times during the race and just now went through each mile- I was pretty surprised with what I saw. Especially since I stopped at every water stop, took breaks when I ate my gels, and that I walked every time there was an uphill section. I could not believe how well today went.

Mile 1: 10:34
Mile 2: 10:28
Mile 3: 10:55
Mile 4: 11:09
Mile 5: 11:01
Mile 6: 12:06 (this includes my stopping/gel break)
Mile 7: 11:29
Mile 8: 11:51
Mile 9: 12:39 (another gel break)
Mile 10: 12:54 (this begins the walking segments)
Mile 11: 12:45
Mile 12: 12:58
Mile 13: 13:10
Plus 5 minutes and 24 second for .40 mile. I forgot to turn my watch off until after I took the photo at the end of the tunnel. Whoops.

My official times from the 3M site are 01:09:53 for the 10K split and 02:38:17 for the half! Yay!

My next goal is sub-2:30 which if there were no hills I totally think I would have been close to hitting today. No worries. Now I have something else to focus on in my training.

This is the post race picture I mention in the video. Don't you love my red face?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Some Thoughts

I’ve had a lot on my mind these last few weeks. Maybe it’s because with the New Year comes new resolutions and these resolutions send the diet industry into a frenzy. Everywhere I look I see ads and messages and tweets and posts for what I deem as highly unrealistic promises to change your life in a very short period of time. This makes me so angry.
It makes me angry because I was once hopeless, desperate and broken. And these messages made me feel that a) fast (sustainable) results were possible and b) if I wasn’t achieving fast results then I was just a big fat FAILURE. Countless times I set out to lose weight and countless times I felt utterly defeated when after a few weeks I wasn’t seeing huge losses. I was obese; shouldn’t I be losing 10 pounds a week? Or even 10 pounds a month?
I didn’t know any better. And looking back on where I was when I started I am amazed I stuck with it. I truly believe the only reason I was able to make it past that place of feeling like I was fighting a losing battle was because when I started this journey the last time I was at rock bottom. I was hanging onto the tiniest thread of hope. But I knew that if I didn’t commit to changing my life fully I was signing my own death certificate.
And thankfully this time around I shared all of this with my friends and family instead of hiding it like it was something to be embarrassed by. In turn I ended up with the greatest support network that has guided my through this adventure. Not a day goes by without me feeling grateful for the constant outpouring of love and support I receive. It has helped me win this internal battle I was once fighting. The battle to find acceptance and peace with the person I am. The battle to not hate myself for who I was, or even who I am now, and instead love myself AS IS. Admitting to myself that I am and will always be a work in progress- and that is a GREAT thing.
When I started this journey almost two years ago I didn’t have all the answers. I definitely had unrealistic goals (trying to run at 286 for me was unrealistic) and really crazy eating habits. I was reading back on my first blog ( the other day, looking through some of my very first posts and do you know what? When I first started out I was dieting- I was supplementing two meals a day with Slim Fast shakes. What? Really! I don’t even remember that! Lol! But it’s true. Me, the crazy, in your face, whole-foods vegan was not only following some crazy gimmick I was downing two cans of liquid crap a day.
But how I started isn’t really important, is it? The important part was that I started.
So here is my advice to you. To anyone just starting out or anyone who is struggling on their journey I say this.
Start your journey knowing that you will make so many changes and try so many new things and that is ok. It’s really the best way. Find what works for you. And if something isn’t working don’t be afraid to stop that and try something new. Your path is not a straight line. Your path may even lead you back to your starting point but don’t give up. You are worth it!
Put yourself and your health first. You are and should always be your #1 priority. This is often hard to do but it is imperative you figure out how to do it. Strive to find balance in your life. Be active. Be social. Maybe even search for ways to do both at the same time like family bike rides or girls night out at a skating rink. Spend time with your family. Spend time alone. Have hobbies. Have passions.
Eat for fuel and nourishment. Listen to your body. It will tell you what it wants. Look to others for ideas but don’t feel you have to copy them. What has worked for me might not work for you. Be creative. Use your food to help you grow stronger and faster, to help you sleep better, to help you become happier. If you let it be, food can be your medicine. It can offer everything your body needs to thrive.
Get moving. Whether it is a walk in the park or gardening or spin class get up and get active. Be courageous and adventurous when it comes to physical activity. Search for the activities you love to do so this way it becomes a fun way to spend an hour- not dreaded torture. If you hate what you are doing you will find an excuse not to do it. We are not all runners, weight lifters, or dancers. We are all different. Just like food, it is equally important to find what activities work best for you. This is the key to making sustainable changes.
This is YOUR new life so fill it with what YOU want to be doing.
Get some sleep. Your body NEEDS it! 7-8 hours is ideal. Sleep deprivation is a stressor on the body just the same way junk food and inactivity are. Take care of your body and in turn it will take care of you.
And lastly, don’t fall into the comparison trap. It’s pointless. We should only measure ourselves today against the person we were yesterday. You are you, I am me. Our stories will never be the same. Trust me there will always be someone who has lost more weight than you, and probably even faster (it’s not a race!), there will always be someone who can run faster or farther than you, someone who is stronger, someone who has a better job/house/family/life. You get the point. So to help me push those evil little thoughts out of my head when I start falling down the rabbit hole I say to myself: be proud to know someone who has fought so hard for those results, celebrate with them their successes, look to them for guidance and motivation but always know there is someone else out there who is thinking of me the same way so be a good example. Be humble, gracious, and kind. Be a friend.  Because before you know it today will be your day 100 and someone out there on their day 1 is looking to you. Be the person you looked to on your day 1.
And I vow to do the same.
"I believe life is to be lived, not worked, enjoyed, not agonized, loved, not hated." ~Leland Bartlett

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

35 in 35!

Happy Birthday to me! Today I turn 35 and as a way to celebrate this great year that is upon me I have created a list of 35 things I hope to accomplish over the next twelve months.

Running Goals

1. Run 12 races in 12 months 
2. Run in 3 different states
3. Finish a race hand in hand with Paul (optimally I would be running his pace, not the other way around)
4. Sub-30 minute 5K- current best time is 30:26
5. Sub-60 minute 10K- I have only completed one 10K and my time was 01:11:05 
6. Complete (and PR) a half marathon
7. Complete a full marathon
8. Log 750 running miles
9. Run a trail or beach race 
10. Join a running or training group

Cycling Goals

11. Attend a spin class
12. Participate in 25 group rides
13. Complete a 50 miler
14. Complete a 100K ride
15. Log 500 miles on the bike
16. Join a cycling group

Other Fitness-Related Goals

17. Attend a yoga class
18. Attend a pilates class
19. Attend a boxing class
20. Attend a Nia class
21. Attend a dance class
22. Take swimming lessons

Health Goals

23. Plant-strong for another year
24. Achieve a body fat percentage between 20-22%
25. Attend body composition and nutrition analysis through MWR
26. Complete an annual physical

Life Goals

27. Visit my parents
28. Buy my best friend a coffee (or glass of wine) and enjoy it with her
29. Meet a social media friend in real life
30. Make a new friend
31. Publish 100 blog posts
32. Read 12 books
33. Join a social group/club
34. Find a job that isn't 'work'
35. Learn a new hobby or skill

I have to admit, this list makes me really excited for this year. What a fabulous way to celebrate growing older. Maybe this is what they mean by growing old gracefully! 

I'm also going to create a page for this list and update it monthly so please check back and see how I'm doing.