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Consistency is Key

To most “March Madness” means something to do with College Basketball. I know it’s some type of big College tournament and there are brackets to be filled, but I couldn’t tell you what colleges are in it except this year since Rutgers was in it for the first time. I only know that because my Governor talked about it (a lot). Don’t ask me why they haven’t participated before because I couldn’t tell you. Being as I don’t follow basketball (or really any sports for that matter) March Madness and all the madness really means nothing to me.

Sorry not sorry.

For me though, I have taken on my own March Madness. I participated as part of a team for Dylan’s Wings of Change. Part of a Kilter challenge of Miles for Meaning. The winning team won $25,000 for their charity. We actually had 3 teams. Team 1 (not my team) crushed it. Like seriously crushed it. While not on the actual winning team, I was still lucky enough to be part of the overall team and it was amazing support system to push to keep moving and getting the miles in. These winnings will go a long way to helping their organization share their programs.

Going into this challenge, I had hoped to do 100 miles for the month. Considering that January and February that I had only done 50 miles, this was a leap for me. I would have to go back to look at stats to see the last time that I hit 100 miles running. I might have to go back a long time. Now I will say that not ever mile was a running mile, but most were. I have also changed the way I look at my running.

We have all heard it…….. We all know the truth of it……. We roll our eyes at it…….. but we can’t deny it.

Consistency is key.

It is not what we do once, but what we do over and over and over again. It’s not about showing up with your running shoes once, but time after time. Week after week. Run after run. We know the truth of it, yet somehow we ignore it or pretend otherwise. Yes, you can go out and have a great run every now and then, but if you want that feeling more frequently than you have to show up frequently.

I have taken a step in the right direction with showing up this last month. Showing up on days that I might not have wanted to show up. Doing what I needed to do in order to hit my target goal for the month. Showing up the last day of the month for 7 miles…… 1 mile warm-up walking. 5 miles running. Then a mile cool-down. I did this because I needed each of these miles to hit my target.

100 miles

This past month and following the training plan for the NYC Half have reminded me that I need to be more consistent. I need to continue to show up. Show up for myself. Show up because as I once again become more consistent in my running that I am becoming a stronger runner. I am once again learning how to control the run and not let the run control me. Consistency is also giving me the confidence in my running and myself.

Showing up is never easy. Some days it is harder than others. Some days we can find every reason not do show up. Some days these reasons are valid and some days they are just excuses. When you are doing what you love though, you look for not excuses to check out but ways to show up. I want to go back to the days where I did the later. Days where I would go out for a run at 8:00 at night because I needed to get my run in. Days where I just showed up to run…. by myself….. with a group….. on the trails….. on the road….. Anywhere and everywhere.

I recently had a Facebook memory where I said that I was heading out for “12 easy miles with friends.” So many things struck me with that…..EASY! HA!!! Although, before I ever even thought of running a half marathon that I was meeting friends just to run to run. Running long distances for no other reason except to run them. I still remember a friend on one of these runs asking me if I was doing a certain race and then saying “if you can run 12, you can easily run a half.” So I did.

Somehow in all the training and all the goals, I forgot to run just to run. Run without an end in site. Now don’t get me wrong….. All of these goals have been great. They have kept me motivated and moving but……. but……. but……. If you only keep doing something because of the end goal, eventually it becomes a job and you can’t wait to get to the end.

So it seems silly after saying that to say that I am challenging myself with a new goal, but I am. For the month of April (my birthday month), I want to run/walk at least one mile every day. I would actually like to become a more consistent runner and do 3 solid runs a week of at least 5 miles. I remember when 5 miles used to be my normal run and I think that I have been consistent enough where that is where I am now as long as I keep going.

When I first started, I needed to push myself to move. I needed to push myself to put in the work. This is not a fake it till you feel it moment because I am already feeling it. This is keep up the good work and don’t give up moment.

Where are you?

Be Brave (Take 2)

Take 2! The first published before it saved changes. Those who I text regularly could recognize my crazy voice and fat finger typing without editing……. Plus, I hate when editing does not change:)

Anywho….

Consistency is key to anything. Repetition is what takes something and makes it learned behavior. Think when you learned your multiplication tables. Who remembers those drills, pop quizzes and all those practice, practice, practice. (yeah, maybe that was just me since math was never my forte). You didn’t learn them from osmosis or at least I didn’t. You’ll learned them because you continually worked on them. Practiced until it became instant recall. My son in college seems to be doing this with formula’s I couldn’t even begin to tell you what they are called, let alone their purpose. During the pandemic many took up baking bread. As a baker, I can attest the more you do so the better the end product. Baking bread to many was like a science experiment with many complicated but necessary steps. Over time it became easier to tell when kneading was done. When your dough had the the right texture,and eventually could just do it by feel. There was no second guessing, you just knew.

The same consistency is required with training and creating a workout routine. For most, we need to schedule time for your workout because it is not part of the routine nor necessarily something we are looking forward to (yet) . Eventually with consistency it becomes part of you and it feels strange if you miss it. I’ve mentioned before how my husband transformed himself with loosing weight through the tried and true method of diet and exercise. In the beginning, it was challenge but now he couldn’t imagine a day where he was not doing something physically active. It has become part of him and he looks forward to one of his daily workouts.

It takes bravery to step out and try something new. It takes bravery to commit to something. To put yourself out there no matter how far or near out there you may go. It takes bravery and commitment to say you are going to do something and then actually do it. Even if it isn’t working for you, it is so much easier to stay in the same place. There is comfort in the uncomfortableness of the known because while it may suck at least you know what you are dealing with. To stay with what is comfortable even if it is not where you want to be instead of tiptoeing into the unknown…… So no matter how hard it is to stay in one place, it is always so much harder to take the first step and then the second.

Consistency is needed in beginning of any plan. It is necessary until it becomes part of you.

Some will go far.

Some will go as far as they can.

Some will go fast.

Some will go as fast as they can.

Pace….. Distance…. Events…..

The most important thing is to be true to yourself. With that thought process, I’ve been plugging away on my half marathon training plan. I’ve been sticking to the program which I admit is much easier to do with a treadmill now. I used to hate treadmill running (and part of me still does), but since I’ve discovered watching shows on Netflix while running it isn’t bad. I also credit the treadmill with allowing me to reboot my training and keeping me in check with where I should be running for that reason alone I owe it some love. That being said, you can’t race from a treadmill which means you need to also do some training outside.

This week for the first time since I started following my Half Marathon training plan, I took the run outside. I didn’t watch my watch, but wanted to test myself and run by feel. I wanted to keep the run conversational for the most part, but also make it a worthwhile training run. So I chatted with myself. Tested how I felt and kept myself where I thought I should be running. Hours later I looked at my paces and info from my run and I surprised myself. I hit the paces that I should be hitting. I actually had surprisingly beautiful negative splits. Most of all and this is the best part…… I enjoyed the run. There was no beating myself up because I wasn’t hitting certain paces, that I was running too slow or any such thing. There was knowledge that I was doing what I should be doing and that was enough.

Sometimes that is more than enough. I know that if I pushed myself that I could hit faster paces, but for now this is not a tradeoff I am willing to make right now. I also realized that this was enough. It is always enough. I might actually be able to push myself faster and harder, but the cost to do so is one that I am no longer willing to pay. We all have to decide what we want. What we are willing to give up. What we are willing to trade off. What we are willing to work for and what is not worth the work. These are individual choices that no one can make for us. There is no one size fits all and that is ok.

What choices are you making today? Remember not making a choice is still a choice, so choose wisely my friend

Keeping Streak Alive

My NYCM Virtual Medal from last year. Without cheering crowds, physical start of finish line or any of the normal things a marathon bring back in October I completed 26.2 miles walking. Yes, walking… walking and more walking. It was long. It was peaceful. It was grueling leaving me with more blisters than I ever got running a marathon. Most of all it was satisfying knowing that I accomplished what I set my mind to. Although I am not sure I will ever intentionally walk a full marathon again, this medal will be a reminder to keep moving forward even when you dont feel like it.

I realized something now too. I have now completed 8 Marathons. 2016 I actually ran 2. NYC and a trail race. So this led me to realize that I have now completed 4 marathons post hypopara and 4 hypopara. So the next one will obviously mean that I will have completed more post hypopara. Yes, that does mean that I am thinking of doing a marathon this year. Hopefully it won’t be virtual, but who knows.

I have seem some events be held, but these do seem to be trails. I have also seen some events open registration for fall events. I honestly am not sure if I would feel comfortable doing a big or even smaller in person event even if I get vaccinated. I say if because even though I am eligible as a child care provider, there seems to be no appointments to be had. I have happily watched friends in the healthcare field post their “I’m vaccinated” photos but now I’ve heard of people jumping the line who have gotten vaccine that annoy me. People without health conditions that do not need to leave their home for work. I’m actually not sure why they were proud of themselves, but they thought nothing of jumping the line. I admit, I will judge them for doing so.

Anywho…… I am happy to see vaccines rolling out. My Mother and some family members eligible have gotten theirs as well. I watch numbers of vaccines administered and I know they are doing amazing numbers and my turn will come soon enough. I’m just anxious as is everyone else in the world. I know once vaccinated, you must still be cautious but I guess it would give a small sigh of relief. I can’t wait to know what that feeling that is and I know it’s just around the corner.

All that being said, I do think it is going to take a long time for things to return to normal. We certainly didn’t even think we would be approaching a year of this. Remember the innocent days of almost LAST YEAR when we entered a strict lockdown. We all thought that we would just be doing it a few weeks and we would flatten the curve. Silly us. Although it and we did make a difference. There was only so much that we could do. I mean much more was asked of previous generations. We were simply asked to wear a mask and stay home.

So as things open up and return to normal, we will all have different levels of comfort. We might even get some anxiety with things that used to be normal and enjoyable. I can’t imagine going to an event with 50,000 runners with 3 waves. It just would make me hyperventilate. Then thinking about random high fives, taking food from strangers, and all the fun things that happen along the way. It just seems like too much………. for now. We will get there again, but I do wonder how big events like this will be done this year. I believe by November, events like this will be able to happen. I just think there will be changes and maybe this first year it is not the huge even we all know and love. I guess we will wait and see.

I do know that I want to complete a marathon. I realize that I think it would be cool to be able to continue to say that I’ve run a marathon every year for 10 years. So that means I’ve got a few years to go. Some people streak a mile a day. That is too much for me and really don’t have that level of dedication. I like the thought for a marathon streak as I think it’s easier. (Ha! – truth).

Anywho, I have not thought for what I will do or where but it does ramble in the back of my mind as so many other thoughts do, Right now though, I am focused on continue with my Half Marathon training which is going well. This is my only goal. I also know that by completing this goal, I will be in the right position to start formulating and planning a fall marathon.

One mile at a time.

One goal at a time.

What are you working towards?

Get Out of Your Own Way

I had planned to run my first in person 5K today. I thought it sounded fun and also safe since it was on the trails. The fun part was dressing in an adult onesie. I was all set to run in my unicorn onesie. I even roped a running friend in for the event. (Roped is a strong word……. I told her about it and asked if she wanted to sign up. So she did).

One of the best things is that my NYC Half Virtual training lined up with a set back week and running a 5K this weekend. Yeah…. When things align

Until they don’t.

Lots of snow last week made it seem like a challenge but a fun one. I do love the snow and I have Yaktraxs for my shoes and they have not been used in a long time.

Then the timing belt on my Honda Pilot decides that 100,090 miles is enough and decides that it is time to be replaced. So while I could have still gone in our other vehicle the prospect of driving over an hour in our big Truck and then trying to park was not appealing. While this is not a big rig, it is a king cab sized truck with a full pick-up bed and parking even my pilot is not my forte. So I decide not to go.

Boo……

My brave and very fu friend still goes as her daughter volunteered to go with her as her support team

Aren’t they cute?

I talked to her afterwards and she had a good run. She told me that I would have been able to park, but I think she overestimates my ability to park the truck. I’m sad that I missed the day, but it did make me realize something…….

I want to run again. Like many runners, I miss in person events and can’t wait to go to one. I also can’t wait to actually race….. Like race at my limit…….. Push myself till my sides hurt.

I did that today. I didn’t want today to be a washout, so I laced up and went on the treadmill. I did a 5 minute warmup walk. Then I cranked up the pace and ran. Unfortunately, I forgot to start my Garmin right away, so I had to actually run more than a 5K, but all is good.

It was hard……. I was pushing as hard as I could. I was sweating…….. At the end, my side was literally hurting……. It felt freaking awesome to push that hard. To go to the limit. To know that if I do what I need to do, I can get where I need to go.

Done is done

When you stop comparing yourself to others……… When you stop comparing yourself to what you once were…….. When you stop thinking about what you wish it was……….. Most of all when you get out of your own way, it is amazing to see where you actually can go.

till next time!

Start Strong to Finish Strong

I am going to run a Half Marathon.

I am going to run the NYC NYRR Half Marathon.

Of course, i will be running it in my town and not the streets of NYC. I am running another virtual race. It is what I do now. It is what we all do now. Ok, not all but I need to train for something. I need motivation. I need something. And while virtual races do not have the pull as in person, this time it is going to be different…… I hope.

I have a novel approach to this half marathon. One that I haven’t done with any of my “recent” events. I haven’t used this approach in years. Here we go………… I want to go into this race the old fashioned way. I want to go into it confidently. I want to go into it ready. Most of all……….

I want to go into it trained.

Now this is not to say that I didn’t train for previous events. You know back in the day when there were in person events. I did. I did……… Right up until I didn’t.

I stopped trying. I stopped pushing. I did the bare minimum that I needed to do to get me to the finish line. Maybe even less than the bare minimum too.

Now I want to get to the finish line not with a struggle. Not with and excuse. Not with baggage. I want to go back to the days of feeling confident in my training. Feeling confident in my ablilities. Knowing that I am ready to tackle the miles before me. In order to trust the training, there must be actual training.

I want to go back to the mantra….

FINISH STRONG!

Some where along the line I forgot that in order to finish strong, you must also start strong. And so it begins….

8 Weeks and here we go…. Starting strong to finish strong.

Under Pressure

There is usually a lot of pressure this time of year for people to be expected to make a resolution. To give something up. To start a new habit. To make a change in their life. It’s expected. It’s supposed to be normal. It’s a must. I am not sure if this pressure is only in the US or if this is a world phenomonom, but it definitely is one here.

The funny thing is that no one really expects you to keep your said resolutions. They just want you to make them. Like a way of pointing out something that is wrong in your life that needs to be better or changed. Truth is that we know that most people don’t even keep their resolutions. I read something that only 8% of people keep their resolutions and most don’t even make it till the end of the month. So basically we are setting ourselves up for failure. Why bother? When I started this fitness journey it wasn’t because of a New Year’s resolution. It was because I put my mind to accomplish something. It started in September the year my youngest started school and I started hitting the gym.

We have all seen it. The days when we were allowed to pack into the gym that come January the gym would be uncomfortably packed (even pre-covid), but by mid February things were somewhat back to “normal.” As a gym goer, we were happy to have the space back but think of how those on the other end felt. Not just them, but ourselves when we faltered on our own resolutions.

Failure never feels good even if expected. So why do year after year we fall into this trap? Part of it might be because of expectations. Part of it may be because we have eaten so poorly over the holiday’s that our spare tire looks like it belongs on a tractor. Part of it may be the shorter days of winter make us long for more movement because the couch is our best friend. This basically sums up not just the holiday’s for me, but probably most of 2020.

I am looking forward to 2021. I am looking forward to the way it ends because sadly it is going to follow 2020 when it starts which basically mean that the suck is going to continue for a bit………. But there is some hope. Vaccines are beginning to roll out. We are going to have a change of administration where science will be leading factor. We are learning more about the spread of the virus and how to treat it. We as a society, as a country, as a world want to just return to ” normal” and the only way to do that is just to keep doing what we are doing. But hopefully by spring……. by spring….. by spring…. after surviving this long winter of 2020 we can move forward.

As a recap of 2020, I give you the Match.com add which sums it up perfectly for the dumpster fire of a year.

So with that being said, I am making no resolutions. I have thought of some things I would like to do when the world opens again – Shhhh don’t tell anyone, but I think another Sprint Triathlon might be a way to start my racing career all over again. It worked the first time! Until then, I have started a virtual 2021 challenge with 3 friends. Collectively we will complete 2021 miles. I’ve done the math and it is only 505.25 miles per person a year. Broken down to 42 a month and break it even further only 10.5 a week. Not bad at all…..

At this time, I am not joining any other virtual races/events. I did several in 2020 and while they were motivating to get out for miles if I do any in 2021 I want to treat them more like events than just another run. Until then, I am just going to keep plugging away making no resolutions but still wanting to make a change.

Do you make resolutions? More importantly…. do you keep them?

Living in Reality

There is a song I remember singing in church as a kid.

“It only takes a spark to get a fire going. And soon all those around can warm up in it’s glowing.”

I’m not sure why out of all the songs we sang this one stuck with me, but it did.

Anyhoo…..

I’ve been humming it recently because I have been feeling a spark again. A spark of fire. A spark of motivation. A spark to do more. I am not sure where it is coming from, but I like it. I am feeding the low flame to keep it from burning out. I think it is easier to snuff out the flame of motivation then to get the flame burning brightly. I miss the fire. I miss the motivation.

This 30 day challenge has been very helpful. Some days I will take forever to get motivated to get into the garage aka home gym, but once I’m there I never regret it. I also realize that one thing that I often do is going in flaming hot and then burn out. Push too hard. Do too much. Don’t pace myself and make it unsustainable.

There is no reason to do any of that. The goal is to keep moving. I am not training for anything.

The summer before my surgery left me Hypopara I ran the NYC Half in the Spring 1:58:59 for a pace of 9:04. I ran a local 5K in the summer in 26:26 with a pace of 8:30. Then just weeks before my surgery I ran the NYC Marathon in 4:56 with pace of 11:18 and while that may not seem stellar that was due to not running a smart race. I literally, figuralively, and realistically was at my physical peak in 2016. I was ready to chase that 4;15 marathon. I had unlimited energy. There was no stopping me………. or so I thought.

We all know the expression, Nothing is impossible. One it’s face everyone wants to cheer it but really it’s not true. Some things are impossible. Some goals will never be reached not for lack of will but due to reality. We have to create goals that are within reach. If I were to set a goal to PR a race right now, I realistically would not be able to reach it. But if I were to set a goal to finish a race (if there were such a thing as live events), then that would be in reach. So in life it isn’t so much as failing at our goals, but setting goals that our realistically attainable. Just because goals are attainable does not mean that that you don’t need to work and work hard to reach them.

In thinking of where I want to go with my fitness goals, I think I need to readjust how I am setting them. I’ve been focusing on pace with my running but I think at this time I need to think about training by heart rate for a while. From there I will then be able to determine what realistic goals I can set with my running. Until then I will just learn more about heart rate training. In working with weights if I tried to lift weights like I did in my Crossfit days, I would injure myself. Why would I think it would be any different with running.

So here is to living in reality and working with what you’ve got. I’ve got a lot to work with mostly my ability to keep plugging along and not give up. So I will just keep plugging along.

Is this the Year for Goals?

It is a weird world right now. It is a strange and hard time right now. Even those of us getting by and staying healthy are adjusting to all the changes in our day to day lives right now. We are trying to keep it as normal as we can when there is no normal. There is just getting by.

This is the time of year many of us would start thinking about goals for the New Year. Things we hope to accomplish. Races we want to race. Distances we want to conquer. PR we want to set. As with everything in 2020, goals will be harder to set. More challenging and sadly in some cases unattainable for now.

We do not know what 2021 will bring, but we do know that all the bad juju of 2020 will not be wiped away at the stroke of midnight New Year’s Eve. I really feel that it will end much better, but it will have a bumpy beginning.

Normally I set goals. Never resolutions because I just don’t like them. I set goals. Some easily attainable. Some that need a lot of work but are still attainable. Then there are the goals that are a stretch. Goals that I have to work my ass off to reach and push myself to get there.

A few years ago, I set a goal to run a sub 2 Half Marathon. I worked with a coach. I ran often. I ran fast. I trained hard. Then the day came and I ran the NYC half in 1:59. NYRR just announced that this race will not take place next year as it is in early March and the way things are going they know that there 2021 is going to start off much like 2020 has ben all year.

2021 will be different. Simpilier…

I am setting a goal of being more connected. Now those who know me personally might be rolling their eyes and wonder how someone like me could be more connected I could be. My goal to be more connected is not about upping my online connections, but my personal connections. To be more connected to my day to day life. to disconnect a little more often from online world. To focus on the people in my life.

As I work on setting my personal goals, I saw this……

I have been participating in the Sandy Hook Promise 14 Days of Action. This is part of not just remember Sandy Hook but by honoring them by taking part in actual action. So while I think of my personal goals, I will think about some short term goals to help others. This is what I’ve come up with:

  1. Support local small businesses this Holiday season.
  2. Donate regularly to locate food bank
  3. Still working on
  4. Still working on

No matter what we do or don’t do with our goals, we must know that next year might not be the year to make big goals. Then again maybe we need big goals. Right now, I just need to keep trucking on my C25K program and see what happens.

Do you set goals for the year?

Are you setting goals for 2021?

Easier is a Relative Term

Just because something is easier does not mean it is not hard. Nor does it mean that there aren’t challenges, learning curves, or doubt. Just because something is “easier” does not mean anything except that it is different. Besides easier is a relative term that is different for each individual and changes during their lifetime. What was once hard can become easier Just as what was once easy can become hard. It is all relative and ever changing.

There are things we do in life and often think to ourselves does it really matter. Maybe we won’t buy some brands because we don’t like what they support. Maybe we avoid certain establishments for the same reason. That is our freedom. Maybe we think it doesn’t matter if we dust behind the picture frames because who is going to see it. Meanwhile we see lines at the store, people using the products we wont, maybe the dust piles up and wonder does it matter. Does it make a difference, but it does. We would know. We know.

In life, you may fool a lot of people. You might even fool them for a long time, but there is one person you can’t fool and that is yourself. If you cheat on your diet and no one is around, you know you cheated. If you tell everyone you are training, but never actually train; you will know. Some even go so far as to cheat at events crossing finish line. They may even get the bling, but deep down they know they don’t deserve it.

Currently I am beginning my training for the NYC Virtual Marathon. I have decided that I am going to power walk it and I’ve been doing my daily walks. I am still working on the actual training plan and need to mark my calandar with the day that I plan to complete the marathon. This will help tailor my training. I am leaning towards November 1rst as that would be normal date, but not sure.

In talking to my son about this, he was like how will they know you didn’t cheat. So we talked about it. I told him that I’m sure just like other events that there will be people who don’t complete the race the way intended. That would be on them. For me though, I will know if I don’t do what I set out to do which is to complete a marathon. Others can worry about themselves because I will know that I did what needed to be done.

In life that is all you can ask of yourself because what you do in private is even more important that what you do in public. It is even more important to stay true to yourself, your beliefs and your honor even if you are the only one who will know. Especially if you are the only one who will know.

So with that I begin my training of a marathon that I said I didn’t want to run. I wasn’t lying because this time I don’t want to run. I’m going to walk and know that just because some may think this is easier, it is still going to be hard.

How Does This Keep Happening

So I did a thing.   As often, I did it on a whim.   I did it without agonizing over it.   I did it without really thinking about it.    My sister mentioned it and off I went.

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What did I do now you wonder?

I signed up to virtually complete the NYC Marathon.

Gulp.

Now you might be wondering how I am planning to do this when I am only walking right now and have committed to walk through the end of the summer.   Easy Peasy…. I plan to train and mostly walk 26.2 miles.

Say what!?!

Seriously…. Once I signed up and thought, “What did I just do?”    I searched for walking plans.   I actually think since it is a virtual event this is more doable because I don’t need to worry as much about meeting a cut off time.   Plus lets be honest, last year I basically power walked 3/4 the in person NYC Marathon.

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I have been mentioning that I’ve been thinking about goals.    Completing a marathon length event was actually one.   Remember how I have said that I have completed a marathon every year since 2014?   I did not want this year to be any different and now it will be an official event.   So while this may seem like it has come out of left field, it really hasn’t.   Completing a marathon this year has always been rattling around in my head.   I just wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it happen.   Now I am.

I have not settled 100% on a plan but I have narrowed down already   My walking this last month has set me up to be ready to roll into this plan.    Walking 103 miles last month puts me in a good spot to start.   Plus we all know that I need a goal.

It’s go time.