A Lost Running Soul

17457726_10155001279630450_5834278080102900452_nI almost forgot how to use this blog… it has been so long.  I’m not sure why because I switched from a full-time job to a part-time job during the last year.  I would expect to have more time, but for some reason I can’t seem to find it.  I’m not even sure what to write about, but that change is creeping up on me and I can’t avoid it so I might as well embrace it and talk about it.

Ever since moving from Colorado to Virginia I have lost my running mojo.  It didn’t happen right away because I brought the groove with me and finished my first 50K and 50-miler a few months after the move.  After that, it just started to go downhill.  Maybe the problem was that I couldn’t find any hills to run up.  Or maybe it was the loss of my running buddies.  I tried to make new ones, but that only lasted a summer.  I used my full-time job as an excuse to avoid joining any running groups.  Maybe swamps just aren’t the right scenery for me.  I’m not sure what it was, but it was probably a combination of everything.

I shared my joy of running with clients and the students at my school.  That was my way to stay positively immersed in the sport.  I wasn’t necessarily happy about my own running, but I could be happy for others and encourage them to work hard and take on new challenges.  That kept the light burning.

Then the real slump came when I trained hard for a marathon that started off great until I crashed and burned far from my goal.  After that I swore off marathons for over a year.  Then I decided that I had to run the Marine Corps Marathon since we live so close to D.C.  Once again, I failed myself even more than the last marathon.  After that marathon, I swore off marathons again as I recovered from a nagging knee issue.  My focus became directed at my job as a fitness instructor.  Running became something I just did as a form of cardio.  I needed my strength for boot camp and weight lifting.

Spring arrived and brought a handful of local races.  Fine.  I told myself I would do the local half marathon for St. Patrick’s Day.  It was just a half.  I signed up and sort of trained.  Maybe I did few long runs when I could.  I wasn’t always motivated to wake up early on a Saturday like I used to be back in the day.  Gosh,  I remember the times I would get up at 4:00 AM to train for marathons with Team in Training in Florida.  That took dedication!  I just didn’t have it this time around.  There was no waiting for me.

I just went through the motions and made it to race day.  Then I really regretted signing up.  It was the most miserable weather I have ever experienced during a race.  Not even a below freezing half in Colorado could compare.  It was pouring rain, freezing cold and extremely windy.  Yet, I knew I was tough and could just deal with the suffering (and I had paid way too much money for that stupid race).  Ready, set, go!  I totally kicked ass.  I don’t know how.  Maybe misery loves company.  But I ran hard and finished stronger than when I started.  It was one of my strongest races since that 50-miler 2.5 years ago. Did that accomplishment set a spark?  Not really, but it proved that I was still fit and more than capable of new challenges.  I’m approaching 40 here, so any little bit of encouragement helps.

I know I have been dragging my feet through the streets of Chesapeake, VA.  We are on our way out and I feel like it is time to make amends with running.  I am going to make the most of our new destination and figure out some way to bring back the spirit of running.  The same goes for the triathlon.  My bike has sat in storage for the past 3 years. It is time to bring it back out and get moving at 20 mph again.  I just have to make the best of what Puerto Rico has to offer and find ways to work around any obstacles I know I will face.  There is a 50-miler in December…wonder if I should sign up?

 

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November Challenge!

I didn't realize how much I loved donuts until now.  I see them everywhere.

I didn’t realize how much I loved donuts until now. I see them everywhere.

I love challenges!  They are definitely a nice change of pace.  This month is more like a challenging competition between three members of our household: me, my husband and my oldest daughter.  We decided that the other two little ladies were still a bit young for this type of challenge.  They just watch us and make attempts at doing the exercises.

Well, what is the challenge?  We earn points each day.  The maximum number of points we can earn per day is 5.  Whoever has the most points at the end of November is the WINNER!  Depending on who wins, the WINNER may be taken out to lunch or this individual may decide to delegate a handful of not-so-fun chores to the LOSERS.   Cleaning toilets comes to my mind.

How do you earn points?  Well, there is a list of exercises posted on our frig.  Each set is worth 1 point.  For example, 20 squats is worth 1 point.  20 push-ups is worth 1 point.  20 mountain climbers is worth a point.  Easy enough right?  Well, those points can be lost.

How do you lose points?  Eat something that is on the “do not eat” list.  What is on that list?  Um, stuff like cookies, cake, candy, soda, chips, cupcakes, scones, muffins and white bread.  Yes, my husband was not happy when I added “white bread” to the list.  I don’t know how many times I have to tell him that white bread isn’t healthy and has absolutely no nutritional value.  He whined and complained for a bit before sucking it up and saying that he was going to get 5 points every day.  Of course with the exception of our celebratory dinner date that just happened to fall on November 1st.  We were screwed with the bread and dessert, but at least we were screwed together.  Somehow our daughter managed to take the lead right away.

Once you eat an item on the “do not eat” list you can’t earn back your lost point by doing an additional set of exercises.  It is literally down the toilet.  So, who is the loser so far?  Yep, that loser is me.  I ate a scone that put me over.  Dang it!  This is much harder than I thought.  For some reason I feel more hungry than usual because I can’t find anything to eat!  What I mean by that is I can’t consume a bagel, or a piece of chocolate, or a muffin or a scone!  It is making me think that I don’t normally eat anything but what is on that freakin’ list!

I can do this.  I don’t need to eat pie on Thanksgiving.  I was loathing when my husband happily ate his loaf of whole wheat bread.  What is up with that?  The man who tears apart a loaf of white bread on a daily basis?  How can he just sit there and take it?  Why do guys just roll with the punches and not put up a fight?  How irritating!  I am so irritated because I am so hungry!

Baking.  Baking is my thing.  I love to bake.  But now I can’t calm myself by baking.  Because why would anyone bake something that they can’t eat? Oh, to tease the competition.  Right.  That wouldn’t work.  I would only be teasing myself.  They are too good.  My daughter says no when my husband offers her candy.  My husband refuses to eat white bread.  I am done.  DONE.  And the more exercising I do, the hungrier I get!

This is going to be the longest month of my life.  But maybe I will be able to lose a pound.  No, probably not.  My body doesn’t like to give up weight.  I’m just suffering now.

Hey, does anyone else want to do the challenge??  It is going to be so much fun!

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Mother/Daughter September Challenge

We even inspired the youngest child to do the workouts with us!

We even inspired the youngest child to do the workouts with us!

Well, it appears that my oldest daughter, Kailey, might actually be more disciplined than I thought.   At the beginning of the summer, my daughter expressed an interest in archery.  My husband took her to the store to check out bows.  It didn’t take long for my daughter to realize that archery wasn’t going to be an option if she couldn’t even pull the string back.  Yep, it seems that a bit of upper body strength is necessary for archery.

The summer quickly came and went.  We continued to remind Kailey that she should do some push-ups every day in order to build that upper body strength.  Yet, we were not insistent and she was not motivated.  I finally decided that it was time for a bit of structure (since all kids seem to thrive on structure… duh!).  I know that I can’t run marathons without a training plan.  Kailey just needed some guidance to get moving in the right direction.

After I finally got my act together, I decided to create a calendar of exercises for the entire month of September.  Every day I listed 3-4 exercises of 10-20 reps each.  The entire month was filled with workouts.   Each time we completed the daily workout we marked the day with a star.  Each day needed 2 stars (one for her and one for me) in order to be a success.

The month started off with me reminding her to get the workouts done.  Eventually life got in the way (as it always does).  I would have to go to work in the evening and my daughter would be left with the responsibility of completing the workouts on her own.  When I came home I was surprised to see a star marked for that day on the calendar.  Sometimes we would complete the workouts together and other times we would have to do it on our own.

My real hiccup came when I injured my knee.  I wish I knew exactly what I did to my knee, but I still don’t have that figured out.  I couldn’t bend it without pain so squats, burpees and mountain climbers became difficult.  I was pretty much useless.  However, my daughter kept on going.  She told me that I could make up the days when I felt better.  In the end, I tried to make up those days, but she had me beat.  She completed all 30 days of the challenge!

As a reward for her efforts I took her out to breakfast.  Just her and I… a mother/daughter morning out on the town.  She seemed especially pleased with herself and I must admit that I was pretty proud.  The next day she suggested that we continue the challenge into October.  However, I have been the motivation buster since I have not written up the new workout plan yet.  Maybe I should let her give that a try since she seems to be more disciplined than I am at the moment….