if nothing ever changed…

…there’d be no butterflies.

Totally the motto of my life right now. This evening I realized how crazy different my life has become – even from just a few short months ago. So, let’s play this game. Six months ago, I never thought I would be the kind of person who:

  • runs over 30 minutes straight at a time, more than once a week.
  • can only work through problems in her mind by going running to process them all.
  • runs in the morning, afternoon, or evening without caring who saw her.
  • actually leaves a park and runs in the street and on sidewalks in neighborhoods.
  • goes to the fitness center or goes out running while traveling.
  • eats food for fuel and not just because “it is time to eat”.
  • doesn’t really crave the sugary desserts anymore.
  • actually gives up coffee and caffeine for the most part.
  • drinks huge amounts of water every day.
  • actually carries a water bottle with her all day.
  • works out twice a day.
  • hires a personal trainer to actually LEARN how to do shit properly.
  • just doesn’t give a shit what people think about her in her spandex running shorts.

It all just seems crazy to me. Crazy good, but crazy nonetheless. I honestly love my life right now. Truly. Not just the health and fitness part either – I have so many great things happening for me right now that I am feeling just really and truly blessed. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

Fresh can be defined so many different ways, in fact, the original post for this theme even includes different definitions:

The definition for fresh has a bit of a fork in it – it’s a state (new, recent, previously unknown) and it’s a taste or sensation (cool, sweet, invigorating, refreshing). 

For my post I working more with the former definition – something new and unknown – because the whole place I am at right now is new to me but there is definitely a refreshing feel to my photo as well. As mentioned, I’m away from home this week and a little limited to how much I can get out and photograph. However, I’m fortunately surrounded by some really beautiful surroundings and was able to capture this photo:

waterfall pond

The conference center I am at has these small little ponds and lakes in addition to the surrounding forested area and river. It’s quite beautiful and this waterfall grabbed my attention right away – seems fresh to me. 🙂

feeling pretty darn proud right now

This morning’s post will not be long – partially because I’m getting ready for the day of workshop activities and partially because I only have one small little update to give about last night’s run.

As expected, I felt the need to get out and do something physically active after the day was done and supper was eaten. I headed back down to that trail and picked which way to go – this time I picked toward a cool bridge I knew was down there somewhere. My intention was to run for 13 minutes, walk a bit, turn around and run back. Except that didn’t quite work out that way. I ended up just running and running – to the bridge, across the bridge, up a boardwalk hill, and then I realized I had been running for 20 minutes straight and it was starting to get darker. So I turned around – without walking/stopping – and ran back to where I started, and then I ran just a bit more. Once I hit 40 minutes, I knew I wanted to do 50 minutes because when my son and I did the 5K distance this past Sunday, that’s how long it took us, walking and running. And that’s what I did – I ran for a total of 51:23 minutes last night without stopping.

I know for most long distance runners, that is not a big deal or the fact that I run at like a 14 minute pace is slow – BUT I DON’T CARE WHAT ANYONE ELSE THINKS. I’m freaking ecstatic that I ran for 50 minutes. I honestly haven’t done that in a long, long time. And frankly, I’m pretty damn proud of myself.

That’s it – just a short post to say that I’m feeling pretty happy and pleased right now. And now, off to a day/afternoon/evening of workshops!

fitness while traveling

I honestly have never been the kind of person who works out while traveling. In the past I may have made an effort to bring along my gym clothes to go to the hotel gym/fitness center/whatever, but I never actually went. And they just took up valuable suitcase space.

Not very long ago however (seriously, like June), that changed. I’ve traveled a bit this summer and each time have actually gone to the hotel fitness center or went outside and walked and walked and walked – just to see the sights and get exercise. I kind of like it actually, it gives me down time to think while I’m away and I feel good too so that’s an added bonus.

So here I am in Illinois at this workshop for work – it is at this place called the Q Center and it sits on 95 acres of nature. Most of our days here are packed from 8am to 9/10pm (not joking, wish I was) but last night I got some time to go exploring the property and see what’s out there. My plan is to hit the fitness center early morning on Wednesday and Friday to get the training runs in for the week, but last night I scoped out the fitness trail that goes around the property and nearby river. And here’s what I saw:

 

I tell ya, it’s so much easier to get out do some exercise when that is what you’re wandering through. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I travel to Philadelphia in January for a conference – I’m fairly confident I won’t be seeing anything but cold cityscape – but who knows, maybe that will be cool also. Or I’ll just go to the hotel gym.

I have a feeling that though my scheduled training runs are Wednesday and Friday mornings, I may also end up in the gym Thursday morning as well. I can only sit and learn and collaborate and brainstorm for so many hours a day before going a little mad crazy. I’ll probably end up running on a treadmill at night just to burn off the energy. Or I’ll just go to bed. We’ll see. 🙂

training schedule update – and new running shorts!

Today is the last day of the second week of training for me and my son. Only two more weeks until the race! This morning we ran at a park in town that if you go around it twice, you’ve basically completed a 5K. We did the same thing last weekend – I figure it helps him get a feel for what that distance is since our training schedule so far has not hit that mark in distance. The schedule for today was to walk 5 minutes, (run 8 minutes, walk 1 minute)x3, walk 4 minutes. This was the first day he had to run longer than 5 minutes at a time and he had to do it 3 times. We’re slow runners so we weren’t done with the second lap when we finished the third set so after we recovered a bit, we did another set. In other words, he just ran for a total of 32 minutes and survived. 🙂

As for my own training schedule with my husband, we’re now running 13 minutes at a time with 1 minute breaks in between. Except because he doesn’t have to run the training schedule with my son on Sundays like I do, these last two weeks he has ran most of the 5K distance all at once while my son and I do our own thing. But my husband is in way better shape than me so I’m not worried about the fact that he can run longer than I can. I’m actually quite proud of him for running as much as he does considering when I told him a year or so ago that I wanted to start running he looked at me like I was crazy and said he wouldn’t run with me – he’d walk or ride a bike with me, but not run. Ha. See what a year or two will do? Now he’s just as hooked as I am.

In clothing-related news, I won/received a $100 Amazon gift card a couple of weeks ago and I used it to do some online shopping for things I cannot find in my size here in town:  really great sports bras and running shorts. This week was the first time running with my new purchases and I am in IN LOVE with my new shorts. Until now, I just ran in cut-off sweat pants or basketball shorts. I have been to many stores in town to buy real running shorts – you know, the kind that are not 15,000 inches long and full of fabric that make running basically suck – but no store here carries them in my size unless I buy men’s running shorts and those have way too much waist. So until now, I’ve just dealt with it. The last two runs were super fantastic. What a difference. I now want to buy 3 more pairs so I can have enough to not have to do laundry 500 times a week. They just became my new wish list items. Seriously cannot believe the difference. I highly recommend to others to take the time to find them online if you can’t buy them locally – it’s worth it. Truly.

Onto my day of working and packing – need to get ready to leave town tomorrow for a work thing that lasts all week. Thankfully where I am going has trails to run and a fitness center. My plan is to hit them hard and come back right on track – I’m gone for 5 days and I can’t afford to fall behind. But I have faith in myself on this one. 🙂

 

changing up the training schedule

We’ve been doing some adjusting to the training schedule – for example, I am no longer doing two-a-days as much as I was. It kinda kicks my ass. A lot. I end up turning into this really tired zombie who is not any fun to be around. I no longer run in the mornings that I run in the evening. It still ends up being that I am running every day except one rest day though so at least I still get my running fix in constantly. 😉

Another change we’ve had to make is due to the weather. I just cannot in good faith make my son go running in the 100 degree heat at 5:30pm. It seems a bit cruel. And unsafe. Today’s heat index is supposed to crazy again so we’re flip-flopping today with tomorrow. That means that he and I will run tomorrow and Sunday morning and then again on Monday. Three days in a row is about the max I would ask him to do so I feel okay with this decision. Better that than him passing out at the park while running.

I am leaving to go to a workshop/conference thing for work next week and will be gone the entire week. This means that my husband will be running with my son next week so he keeps on schedule. It will be our third week and his running times will be ranging from 10 to 15 minutes of running at a time before adding in walk breaks. And of course, I’ll be doing the same training schedule while I’m away (plus my regular running schedule) – the place I am going to has a fitness center. I’ve done pretty well this summer with using hotel gyms while traveling – that’s a huge change from the past when I would pack my workout clothes, but never actually go to the gym. The times they are a’changing.

That’s all – not much to report on right now besides a crazy busy week at work. But I will leave you with a fabulous photo of the sun starting to set in my backyard. 🙂

Gold Sky

running, losing weight, and body image

I am not ashamed of my body. I realize that according to societal standards, I’m supposed to be all ashamed of being fat (yes, I’m fat – I’m okay with that word, truly) and am supposed wear horrid clothes to hide my fat from public eyes, but I’m not there. Whether anyone agrees or not, I still equate myself with this song:

Okay, so why am I writing about this today? Partially because of a comment someone said to me – something to the effect of “it’s so great you’re running so you can lose weight” or something similar. But, the fact of the matter is, that is not why I started running. I originally started running because first of all, someone told me I couldn’t run because I was obese and obese people don’t run races. Uh, whatever. The other reason is that I’ve never been a real athletic person and I thought this would be a good challenge for me. Then, it became pure mind over matter to see if someone who is obese could run herself healthy enough to run. Notice I didn’t say run herself skinny.

Of course, because I drastically changed the way I eat, and I am running a lot, I am losing weight. In the last handful of weeks, I’ve lost 15 pounds. That’s a lot actually. My clothes fit different – some are too big. And I am excited about this – because it means I am becoming healthier in some ways, but please know it’s not all about being some super skinny woman. In some ways, the fact that it is possible that I may lose a lot of weight and be a skinny woman scares me a little – I’ve been skinny in the past multiple times. And honestly, when I’m the tall, attractive, skinny woman, I’ve been a real bitch in the past. But, I’m much older and more mature now so I’m sure I wouldn’t be that way again (even though one of my largest tattoos was acquired because of said bitchness in past life – -and I do like tattoos…it’s a long story that doesn’t make me look like a real nice person).

So, here’s the conflict that stays with me all the time:  I’m a super proud in-your-face feminist who is happy with whom she is today and I’m also excited about becoming healthier BUT I really hope it’s not for some f’d up vain “you can’t be sexy unless you’re skinny” bullshit. I’m going to have to keep myself in check on this for sure. I don’t want to fall into societal standards about beauty ideals. But I do know that I want to be healthy enough to run a half-marathon within the year and finish a marathon AND Tough Mudder before I’m 40. Yes, a Tough Mudder. Yes, I am crazy. Yes, I will for sure get the Tough Mudder tattoo upon completion.

ANYWAY, I think it’s important for people to know that you CAN run while being obese, overweight, fat, curvy, or whatever adjective you would like to use here. And of course it’s perfectly acceptable to run because you want to or because you want to lose weight or because someone told you could not do it. Whatever the reason, it’s a good one. Part of the reason I write this blog is so others can learn from it – understand that there are difficulties involved, yes (no running shorts in your size for example), but overall, it’s worth it. Trust me.