It Comes and Goes

I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately.

I’m completely unmotivated to do anything.  I pack my gym bag and then skip out.  I lay out my running clothes and then say forget it.

Why did I let myself get to the starting over point again?  It’s so hard to be here.  To see all my hard work gone.  To have my 3 miles feel like 30.  The numbers on the scale are climbing with my mile time.  I cry way more than I should.  I’m literally at the “what’s the point?” place and I can’t seem to find my way out.

I have a half marathon coming up in 12 weeks and I just don’t care.  I don’t seem to care about a lot of things lately…especially if they take extra effort and energy.  Once I put the kids to bed I am comatose on the couch.

I’ve become mean.  And spiteful.  And judgey.  AND I HATE IT.

I’ve got to be in here somewhere.  I don’t know this person.  I don’t want to know this person.

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A Numbers Game

My life has revolved around numbers lately.  The littlest one moving on from eight months to nine months, the numbers in my back account slowly dwindling, the numbers on the scale slowly rising.  I’m trying my hardest to get control of them all but it seems that every time I make strides in one area I wind up taking two steps back in another.

I was thinking of all these things that I want to do: vacations I want to take, races I want to run, experiences I simply want to have and I never really feel like I have enough money to do any of them.  So I decided I would look over my back account and (multiple) credit card statements and add up all the extraneous money I spent for one month: liquor store, eating out, morning coffee purchases, late fees for certain things.  I didn’t think it would be that much, but when the number stared stared back at me on my calculator I almost died.

$900

Yes, you read that right NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS.  Not nine, not ninety, but nine hundred freaking dollars.  No wonder I am not taking an vacations to Charleston or making a dent in my credit card payments.  It’s because I’m too busy buying Chinese food and wine.  Which would also explain why I’ve gained 20 pounds in the last 8 months.  Because apparently all I do is eat and drink calorie laden shit.

But I’ve noticed little things lately: the pants getting a little tighter, my energy waning, more guilt over food choices I am making.  And who has time for this.  I don’t.  Not at (almost) 35.  Not with three kids.  Not with the goals and hopes I have.

The scale has become my nemesis, staring at me with her skinny, glassy body every time I enter the bathroom.  I step on.  Close my eyes.  And pray.  I pray that I don’t see a certain number.  Or that it didn’t go up AGAIN.  But ever since I stopped really running in the fall and ever since stopped training for my marathon it has been creeping up ever so slowly.  I’m not going to list the number, but lets just say my middle number has changed twice and if I don’t get a handle on it soon, my first number will as well.  And I can’t have that.  I can’t go back to that first number.  I’ve worked too damn hard.

I’ve decided to use January as kind of a cleanse.  Shedding off the old mistakes that I made in December (and month’s prior) and trying to change my behavior into more positive choices.

  1. Make coffee at home.  Sure, it’s not my venti iced skinny vanilla latte, but it also costs way less than $6.00.
  2. No alcohol.  At least for January.  I want to see how I feel without it.  And my wallet needs to see how it feels without it as well.
  3. Healthy, non-processed food.  I want to train for the AirBnB Brooklyn Half Marathon (more on this later) and I need to do it right this time.  Healthy nutrition in…positive energy out.
  4. Stop eating out.  In December we were sick, I was stressed, we were tired.  And most nights I would come home and just not want to cook.  So I didn’t.  Of course, this affects everyone in the family, and I need to be setting a better example for the littles in my life.

Hopefully with these four changes I can begin to see a difference: more energy, better sleep, focused running and exercise, and more real life experiences.

I’m tired of simply wishing I could do and be more.

Let’s do this, January.

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Race Recap and a bunch of other randomness

“If you start soon enough, you won’t have to catch up.”

This week-end was absolutely gorgeous.  The sun was shining, the birds were singing and all that other wonderful spring-timeness that we know and love.  A friend and I completed the Port to Fort 6K this week-end in downtown Baltimore.  This was my first time ever running an event (not racing, because we all know I wasn’t going to win) that was more than a 5K.  The race itself was beautiful, but tough and had a lot of hills.  My friend walked, I ran (THE WHOLE THING!) and she beat me by a minute and a half.

I don’t know what it is about running races, but I am trying my hardest to get over the mental roadblock that I put up.  This race was a little under four miles.  I run that distance about twice a week, but I run it at home, alone, and in the dark.  This definitely felt a lot harder with crowds of people, time limits, and expectations.  I always feel like I am doing a great job and then the hoards of people start passing me.  And then the people who are miles ahead of me pass me on their way back to the finish line and I start to get defeated.

I know I am improving.  I know that running for four miles at any pace is an awesome accomplishment.  I also know that just 6 months ago I could barely run at all and it took me over an hour to finish a 5K.  But sometimes I forget that there is another part to the package.  I keep telling myself that I’m not a “real” runner so I don’t have to take myself seriously.  I keep telling myself that because I’m a real runner, I don’t have to do all that “extra” stuff.  I keep telling myself that because I’m not a real runner, I don’t have to push myself to improve.  And this is simply not true.  I am never going to be one of those runners that runs a 6 minute mile.  Hell, at this point I’m hoping for a 12 minute mile.  But I can get there if I try.  I can get  there if I stop making excuses.

I know that in order to get better I have to run more.  I know that in order to get better I have to make myself know that this is important.

I know that in order to get better I just have to keep going.

The view at mile marker 2 of the Port to Fort 6K

The view at mile marker 2 of the Port to Fort 6K

In vino veritas…unless you’re giving it up

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

If you read my last post, you know I did something completely insane.  I signed up for a half marathon.  And I don’t just mean “signed up”.  I mean paid a rather large entrance fee to run with other people who are “real runners” and huff and puff for 13.1 miles…after which  I will promptly die.  I know I am NOWHERE close to being ready for it yet, but the half marathon isn’t until October, so I know I have time to get there.

After making the commitment, I decided that I should actually get serious about it.  Since I’ve only been running off and on for a few months, a couple times a week at most I still don’t know exactly what I’m doing.  I don’t know a lot about “training” or pacing or any of that other runner lingo, so I did what anyone else in my position would do…took to the computer.  So, after much internet (Pinterest) research I created a plan that includes running and cross training and takes me to June.  This is the first week in my training plan and I’m proud to say as long as I complete my short run tomorrow, I will have followed it every day.  It’s crazy to see that my first week I’m only running 8 miles, but by June, I’m up to about 25 per week.

With getting serious about the training plan, I feel like I also need to get serious about other things, such as food, getting enough sleep, and de-stressing.  And because of that, I think it’s time to say good-bye to the wine.  Now, you wouldn’t know if from my facebook account, but I actually don’t drink that much.  But, it’s probably more than I should, I know it’s taking the place of the water I should be drinking on certain nights.  Now, I’m not saying I’m completely giving it up.  There is nothing stopping me from having a glass out with friends after work, or toasting at a wedding, but I think it’s just time to take a break from it, especially at home, and see where this leads me.

Honestly, if I’m going to do this running thing, I want to really do it and I want to do it right.  I love it and it has changed me in more ways than most people know.

I can already see so many changes since picking running back up last month.  I can go for miles (yes plural) without having to stop.  I’m not as out of breath.  I’m not as sore afterwards.  2 miles no longer seems like an eternity (though that first mile is always the hardest), in fact, to me it feels super short.  Even tonight when I attempted to take the kids out with me on a 2 mile run, they got tired before I did.  I used to simply get tired watching them play.  And that was really the most amazing thing.

I’ve also seen changes in my mood.  I’m happier, less stressed, and have a more positive outlook.  Sure, I still vent and get upset, but not to the degree I used to.

So, a toast to how much I’ve put behind me and all the things I have to look forward to in the future.  A toast to say goodbye to a stress reliever I don’t need as much any more.

A final toast with a fancy bottle for a most important occasion.

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What Goes Up…

“We may encounter defeats, but we must not be defeated.” ~Maya Angelou

I guess I should start with the good.

I finally hit my 100 Mile Challenge miles.  On Martin Luther King Day.  I can’t believe I finally did it.  So what do I do to celebrate?  Made another challenge.  Now instead of running and walking 100 miles, I plan on running 100 miles by the end of April.  If I stick with the new training plan I’ve come up with, and it stops freaking snowing, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Also, I finally it my 5o pound mark.  I have officially lost 50 pounds as of January 25 (the eve of my 33rd birthday).  I can’t believe it.  It has done nothing but motivate me to lose another 50.

Plus, I ordered new running clothes from Old Navy in my normal sizes.  Which I now have to return because they are too damn big.

And yet…

I have to admit, it doesn’t take a lot to make me feel defeated.  More likely than not, it’s because I’m not used to failing.  I usually don’t try things that I know I might fail and because I have such a deep seated fear of failure, I usually accomplish everything I set out to, no matter the cost.  But on Wednesday, I went out for my run.  It was supposed to be 2 miles, but after a mile I decided to call it quits.  It was cold (as in literally 3 degrees), I was tired, I did over 3 miles on the elliptical at the gym the night before, and really, the list could go on and on.  I probably could have kept going for that two miles, but I didn’t want to, so I didn’t. And for the rest of the evening, I was in a funk, mad at myself that I didn’t finish what I was supposed to.

And you know what?  I haven’t been running since the night I quit early.  This is what I always do.  I do what I want to do, and don’t do things I don’t want to do.  Plain and simple.  It’s pretty selfish, if you think about it.  I have trouble pushing myself past the comfortable.  I have trouble pushing myself, period.  I don’t like pain, I don’t like to feel uncomfortable so I do everything in my power to avoid it, whether that be in my workouts, at my job, or in my personal life.  And because I don’t like to be uncomfortable and because I don’t like to fail, I don’t take risks. And I need to start.

So what does a girl who needs motivation and needs to take a big risk in order to push herself do?  She signs up for a half-marathon.

Oh yes, you read that right.  I signed up for the Baltimore Half-Marathon.  13.1 miles.  At one time. In front of other people.  With real runners who don’t “trot”.  I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to run the whole thing.  I can’t even guarantee that I’ll finish.

And I’m sure people will laugh when I tell them. But I like a good challenge.  And I’ve come this far.

Plus, you should see how motivated I am when people say I can’t do something…

So here’s a toast to new life choices, to challenges, to proving others wrong, and to simply proving to myself that I can do this.

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Why walk when you can fly

“Because that’s the thing, the day before your life changes forever, it’s just like any other day.”

Finally, finally, finally.

Saturdays are a dreaded day.  The day I get on the scale.  I was worried about it, to be honest.  I was sick this week and didn’t really give it all my all.  So, I screwed my eyes up tight, got on a peaked at the number.  And it was lower.  Not by a lot, but by 1.4 pounds.  Which puts me at the lowest weight I’ve been since before Max was born.  Which puts me at 2.4 measly pounds until I hit 50 pounds lost.

And it’s those 1.4 pounds that make me realize that I can do this.  Since May my weight has been pretty consistent, gaining 1 or 2, losing 1 or 2, but never really going anywhere.  Not that I could blame it.  I wasn’t really doing anything to help it along.  I’d work out here and there, eat healthy here and there, run here and there, but never enough to amount to anything, and never enough for it to stick.

After a rocky 6 months, I’m finally ready to get back on track…and I am getting back on track. I feel like within the past three weeks, something has really clicked.  I’ve been able to stay on the healthy eating train.  I’ve stopped drinking except for one week-end day or special occasions, and really, haven’t had the desire as much as before.  I’ve been able stick to my workout plan for the most part and I’ve also been able to not get (too) upset the few times I have had to deviate from the plan for reasons beyond my control.

Overall the running is going well.  I’m still slow, but it doesn’t bother me as much anymore.  The speed will come.  One of my January goals was to be up to running 3 miles by the end of January.  Last Sunday I actually ran 4 (I still can’t believe it) so I’ve definitely met that goal!  I had never run more than 2.5 before that and to say that I felt accomplished was a major understatement.  I’m actually going to start incorporating some speed work on Saturdays with a friend (Hi Sara!).  We found the most AMAZING running trail today and can’t wait to try it out again next week.

My other January goals are going well too.  I’m halfway through two new books, have been soda free for 19 days, and have done quite a few things that I would normally have been scared to do.  I’m excited to set some February goals soon.  I’m hoping to get back on my one race a month kick, and maybe even rev it up to something past a 5K eventually.

The best part of all this?  For the first time in a long time, I’m not waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Usually, when things are going well, I tend to get scared and worried, believing that it’s only a matter of time before things start to turn sour again.  I’m gaining confidence, learning to tune out the small stuff, and battling (and moving on from) past demons that were keeping me stagnant.

And let me tell you…it’s an absolutely amazing, wonderful feeling.  I just can’t get enough.

I feel like I’m ready to battle whatever comes my way, whether it be big, or small, or nothing at all.

Upcoming Races/Runs

  • March: Shamrock 5K
  • April: Baltimore Color Run with Max (on his 5th birthday!!!)
  • May: Color Run in Queens with the Maryland and Childhood BFFs!
  • June: Charles Village 5K? Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K?
  • July: Electric Run
  • August: Trail Run at Boordy Vinyards?
  • September: Color Me Rad

And of course…the 100 mile challenge

Miles accomplished in the 100 Mile Challenge: 97.95

Miles to go in the 100 Mile Challenge: 2.05

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Challenges: The Obligatory Resolutions Post

“It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believe in myself.” ~Muhammad Ali

So, I guess this could be considered my obligatory New Years Resolution post.  I could bore you with my endless downpour of yearly recycled resolutions (drink less, eat more vegetables, be a nicer wife, be a better mother, etc.) but I won’t.  These are the same hundred or so plans that I make every year and every year I feel like a failure when I still occasionally suck at being a mom, when I still occasionally yell at my husband for no apparent reason, when I still occasionally have one too many glasses of wine, and when I still occasionally choose party mix over carrots.

And somehow, when I keep making the same resolutions year after year, I wonder why nothing changes; why I’m still depressed more than I’m happy, why I’m still not at the weight or fitness level that I want to be, why my home life is not as wonderful as it could be.  Part of this, of course, is that I never put forth enough effort.  For about two weeks I do everything in my power to change what I think needs to be changed, and then when things do change, I stop putting forth any effort and slack off…and things tend to go back to sucking. Shocking, I know.

Which is why, this year, I’m making monthly resolutions as opposed to yearly ones.  I’m hoping that this way I can keep things fresh, change things up when I need to, evaluate what’s working and what’s not, tweak and add and subtract when needed.  Also, I’ll be able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  I tend to loose focus or get discouraged or simply become complacent when I have too long to complete something.  And, of course, there is the procrastination aspect as well.  Why do today what you can do tomorrow instead?

A resolution, simply put, is the firm idea to do or not do something.  I guess, these ideas that I have for the month of January aren’t really resolutions so much as they are challenges and goals…things I am hoping to accomplish, though in the strict sense of the word I am resolute about accomplishing them.

So, long story short, each month I’ll come up with some sort of theme that encompasses the things I want to accomplish and at the end of the month evaluate how I did and make up new goals (or keep the same goals) for the next month.

January’s theme is simple: Take yourself seriously.  You are important. So many times I decide I can’t do things simply based on what other people would say if they found out I was doing them.  If I want to be a runner, I will.  If I want to learn a new language, I’ll do it.  If I want to dye my hair green, so be it.  Sometimes it’s ok to be selfish about things you want, especially if it will make you a better person in the long run.  And for those people who will judge, or be jealous, or try to bring you down, screw them.  I’ve got too much other crap going on. I don’t need any added negativity.

January’s Goals and Challenges

Body
1. Run 3-4 days a week

2. Be able to run 3 miles by the end of January

3. Complete the planking, squats, and pushup challenge (on pinterest)

4. Give up diet coke

Mind:
1. Take the opportunity to write at least twice a week

2. Read 2 new books

3. Learn a different knitting stitch than the only one that know

Soul:
1. NO cellphone, ipad, computer after 9:30 pm unless an emergency (or reading a book on the ipad, as I wind up downloading most of them).  No more mindless surfing and time wasting.

2. Do something scary each week: call someone on the phone, wear my running pants without feeling the need to hike shorts over them simply because I’m self conscious, etc.

3. Make an effort to be more world-conscious: shop more at local businesses, stop being so wasteful, etc.

4. Stop being so damn angry all the time: at my students, at my own kids, at my husband, at friends who have let me down.  I need to stop carrying this baggage every where I go.  It’s not solving any problems.

Honestly, these don’t seem so unreasonable (except maybe the diet coke :).

I know I can do it and I know there are people out there who will support me in this endeavor, and really, support me anything I decide to do.  And those are the people I really need to keep around.