Sunday, October 31, 2010

10 Reasons I'm happy I run

Running, which was kind of a strange challenge I gave myself, early on - has gradually gone from something I dreamt impossible, to something I was struggling through and now to something I actually have found a passion for.

Explaining how you could love running to a non-runner is nearly impossible. I can't say I wasn't once in those "non-runner" shoes of disbelief over how one could love this... it's taken time, remember this entry?

Anyway, rather than 'splaining anything, I thought I'd do a good ol' fashioned, "top ten" list of reasons running makes me happy:

10. Sweat. You burn more calories in less time. Twenty minutes of running kicks twenty minutes of walking's ass when it comes to getting your burn on.

9.  iPod time. I get time to listen to good music. When I'm in the car, I'm usually with my 3 year old - which means endless songs from the Wiggles or some other hideous kiddie CD. When I'm running it's just me and Madonna, Cher, Eminem, Pink and whomever else is referred to as only one name that I choose.

8.  Weight loss - hello smaller clothes, good bye fat pants. Seriously.  Last year I lost 7 pounds all year, since beginning to run in February I've lost 22 pounds. Thank you #10 and #9 on the list for your support.

7.  Stuff. Races = cool crap. I've gotten everything from medals, to hats, to t-shirts and even free vitamins - an elliptical machine has never given me a damn thing.

6.  Runners High. Running, still better than meds. Seriously, more bad moods and cranky feelings have been broken by running than anything else. I used to reach for a cigarette, alcohol or food (OK, sometimes I still reach for the occasional martini) but running has definitely helped me sort out more than one crabby moment or two.

5.  Health. Oh yeah - I'm healthier. Well who the hell woulda thunk it? Eat better and exercise = excellent blood pressure, low blood sugar and good cholesterol. I'll be damned. Next they'll tell me it'll help me prevent stroke, heart attack, cancer and improve my sex life. What!? It does? What am I waiting for? Better get something sexy to wear - wake my non-running hubby up!

4.  Swagger. That's right. I walk taller, feel more positive, even feel like there's a little more confidence to my step. I've run 13 miles... twice... biatch - I can do anything.

3.  Other cool stuff - remember how excited I was when I got these socks? Or these new sneakers? I can't wait for my Nike + to hit Jersey (scheduled for tomorrow). Buying fun running stuff is always motivating.

2.  Blogging. I have loved this blog, it's really made me figure out a lot of stuff, like working out of your comfort zone probably won't kill you and that eating a greasy cheeseburger the night before a marathon could be a bad idea. Running and this blog has gone hand and hand - if I wasn't running I'd have nothing to say. Kind of. I would say something - perhaps it would be far less motivational and far more cynical...

Me and Ang - Jersey Shore May 2010
1.  Friends. Perhaps one of the best reasons for all of this is the love and support I've found from new friends, fellow bloggers, family members and old friends. There's Nicole C. who has become truly one of my best friends when it comes to running & life stuff (she may be more excited about my NIKE + than  I!) - Nicole R. My long lost cousin who has reconnected with me thru this, Frannie who ran along side me (until she left me in her dust the last few miles! ;) of my second half, Leslie & Julie - fellow running bloggers and finally - Angela Lee - my biz partner and friend who's taught me sooooo much about running, life and everything in between. She showed me what friendship meant when she flew across the country to run with me on my first race, slowing her pace the whole way to be hip to hip and crossing the finish line together. They say running is a solitary sport? I beg to differ... it's taken a village to raise this runner.

XO
Jen

PS: Karen, Sara, and everyone else who's followed this journey - thank you xoxoxo

Saturday, October 16, 2010

WEIGHT WATCHER finish line is in sight...

I weighed in today and was pleased to see another 1.6 loss. I've been going along and going along and the running has become so much the focus, that I rarely even mention my weight loss goals here anymore. This month will mark my three years of attending weight watcher meetings faithfully. In all of three years, I've maybe have missed 5 meetings - and those missed meetings have happened because I've been physically out of the state. Otherwise, no matter what, no matter how bad a week I might've had - I'm there.

This has been a good weight watcher week, if you read my facebook status' then you already know my grocery store story - but I'm going to tell it again because it was significant for me.

This past week I was shopping and a woman approached to ask if I had experience with a particular product - she was doing weight watchers.  I said, "no but what a coincidence, I'm doing weight watchers too." She made a face and said, "why would you be on weight watchers - you're so skinny!" I explained that I was down 75 pounds and she didn't believe me... blah, blah blah.  PS: For the record, as of today I am down 77 pounds, thank you very much! ;)

But no one has ever called me skinny before - so, that was exciting. But even more significant is, when I was 236 pounds there was no finish line in sight - no way could I imagine being called skinny or even "just  chubby" - no way could I imagine being only pounds away from my goal weight. And now, here was this outside person shining a light on just how far I've come - the progress I've fought for.

It's kind of the same as when I started on this running thing. When I was out of breath after "running" for 1 minute at 3.8 speed - there was no way I thought I'd ever cross a finish line and do a half marathon... but alas, if you hang in there, if you keep getting up and trying, if you persevere and persist you can get there.

A fellow running blogger, has this John Bingham quote in her header: "First or last, it's the same finish line." It's true.  It's taken me a long Weight Watcher journey to get this close to the finish line and even if it takes another 3 years to get there -- it's still going to be the same finish line and it still is going to be a sweet victory.

XO
Jen

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Checkin' in

Hello all -

I've run a few times this week - and even ran outside on a beautiful Monday the other day - have been pushing myself to run faster and I also started a weight training program to strengthen and tone my arms and legs.

Now, things are starting to feel sore. My ankle is bothering me, my calves feel tight - I'm not sure what's going on. Perhaps the speed training? Hmm.  Maybe my skimping on stretching - I don't know but I'm not going to do anything tomorrow with my legs and hope they feel a little better by my Friday run. For Friday, I've decided to back off the speed and do a nice, comfortable 4 miles.

In transit - hopefully to arrive soon
In other news, I ordered this TWO WEEKS ago and am ANXIOUSLY awaiting the arrival of my new Nike + I ordered it brand new off of ebay because I had an ebay gift card but this sloooooooow delivery is killing me.

XO
jen

Friday, October 8, 2010

I am a runner. For real

I'm still flying high from my running today.  Three miles - 33:47 -- 5.39 pace and 11:19 mile. This makes me remarkably proud. Because up until now -- I never thought I'd be able to sustain that pace for more than a half a mile / maybe a mile.

It was not easy, I had to keep pushing myself past my comfort level. I had to not slow down when I wanted to, I had to keep finding my inner winner and have faith that my body would keep going. I had to keep believing in myself and make the cheerleaders in my head louder than the bitches.

So much of this is mental. So much of what we can or cannot do is about the stories we tell ourselves. I've been telling myself the, "I'm not very fast" story for a long time. As a result, up until now I've usually run around 4.5 - 5.0 on these runs... (and that's 5.0 on a good day.)

But I've proven I can go faster, it's just out of my comfort zone. I've learned that, outside of my comfort zone is where I grow - where I get better - where I take it to the next level.  And I guess that's my life lesson of the day. Progress doesn't happen when we are comfortable. Progress happens when we have the courage to face the uncomfortable and (sometimes literally) run through it, embracing the anxiety we might feel and keep going anyway.

Hey if it was easy, everyone would do it.

Anyway, I also had a defining moment in the middle of all this - perhaps it was the endorphins but I had a realization. I am a runner. A real runner. I think up until now, a small part of me thought this was "dress up." Or a novelty or the fat girl trying to get thin... but my running is none of that anymore, as I made sure my form was proper, was wiping away sweat, checking my pace - I looked into an imaginary mirror and realized that I'm a runner - no one in the gym or on a street would see me and think, "look how cute, this chubby girl is trying to run..." No. They would simply see a runner.  Perhaps, others have seen me like that for a while but today I realize that finally I do too.

XO
Jen

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Curses! Foiled again - I am queen of the dumb injury

I smile, he plots his next move...
Knock on wood, I haven't gotten injured actually running. However, this is the second time in my short running career, where I'll be sidelined due to some other dumb thing.

If you've been following me for a while, you might remember this horror of horrors of when I injured my toe nail with the fridge door, resulting in losing my big toe nail and being in a good deal of pain for a few weeks...

Now, the latest.  Yesterday, in typical 3 year old fashion, my son dumped his bowl of cereal on the floor. As I got on my hands and knees to pick it up, my son decided to climb up on to my left calf with both feet - 35 pounds or so of a bouncing toddler on your calf, probably isn't great. I yelped and got him off as quick as possible but Mommy's not sure she can run on it now.  As it was happening, a searing pain shot up the back of my calf and through my foot, cramping it up.  I'm not in agony or anything but my ankle and the area feels a little tweaked. Almost like when you "lightly" roll your ankle. I can walk on it - and it doesn't hurt enough to even have to pop an advil but I'm wondering if I should rest it for a few days?

It's very annoying because I wanted to run today, as I was putting on my running clothes I spoke to my best friend who thought it would be dumb to run and potentially aggravate this thing. She advised resting it and unfortunately, the small voice inside has been telling me that too.  

BOOO. Not my week! First the smelly guy / baggy pants incident of Monday and now this. All I want to do is get my freakin' run on. 

What would you do?

XO
Jen

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tales from the treadmill - the good, bad and the smelly

OK, so it's a gloomy rainy day here in the dirty Jerz. I was supposed to be busy all day with something but when it fell thru, I found an opportunity to get a little running in.

With my crummy mood matching the weather, I headed to the gym. Run it out.

I've recently decided after being disappointed with the three hours it took for me to run my last 1/2 that I would really start focusing on speed, by consistently pushing myself to run shorter distances in my runs for now (2-4 miles) and focus on upping the speed - Great. I figure once I can run for 3-4 miles comfortably at a consistent 5.0 - 5.4, I'll start to increase distance again. I think that's a good strategy? If you have advice throw it out there, tho.  Still not winning any marathons at that pace but I'm chipping away.

Today I planned to run for 3 miles but as soon as I started running, I realized that my favorite pair of running pants are now suddenly too big - I kind of saw it coming, they've been starting to feel a little loose but today they turned the corner into unwearable. I guess that's good news, but not when you figure it out mid-sprint. It's really not fun or comfortable to run and try to hold your pants up at the same time. They are kind of like yoga pants  so there's no draw string or anything. They just kept sliding down, uncomfortably - putting a damper on things - but I continued to run at good speeds - at some points as fast as 6.5. no one was in the gym and i had on a baggy t shirt (from my first 5K as a matter of fact!) so I was going to just deal.

I still had my sights set on 3 miles and then the final nail in the coffin arrived. A big (I'm sorry) smelly guy in his tin foil/garbage bag work out "sweat inducing" outfit decided to park his ugly butt on the machine right next to me we were thisclosetogether.  Did I mention, no one else was in the gym? 47 machines to choose from and he's on the machine next to me. BOOOOO. BOOOOO. BOOOO.

In the words of the illustrious Ludacris, "Why you all up in my grill?"

Anyhoo, this was about 1.5 in, the pants were killing me, he was suffocating me and I'd had enough. I cranked up the machine to as fast as I could go back to 6.5 or so and ran the last half mile.

So the good news is, my final time was 2 miles in 22:20 (11:10 mile!) which is really phenomenal for me. Even at that short distance. I'm very happy about that. Nope not comfortable and if I had to do the last mile I wouldn't have sustained that pace but I do feel happy that I'm taking the steps to get faster... even if my motivation is to get off the treadmill asap to get new pants and away from smelly neighbors.

XO
Jen

Friday, October 1, 2010

Safety reminders

So I read this blog today from my friend Lesley at Racing It Off.  It was really sad and a good reminder that while we are on a quest to get fit and keep running, we always have to be diligent about our safety and surroundings.

A young woman in Dallas is in critical condition tonight after she was accidentally struck by a bicyclist last night on a busy path shared by joggers and cyclists.  Apparently the young woman was probably listening to headphones (like most of us!) and didn't hear the biker come up behind her.

Ugh. So tragic.

To make matters worse, it took a good while to identify her because (often like me) she wasn't carrying ID during her run.

So, I guess the lesson is, be alert, run with one ear open and carry some ID - We run for a lot of reasons, to challenge ourselves, relieve stress, keep in shape - not to risk our lives.