The Earth, My Butt, And Other Big, Round Things.

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I had a conversation with my legs yesterday. And my butt, for that matter. I was at the gym. I’d just completed another grueling, 2 hour workout of lower body and abs. I caught my reflection as I walked into the aerobics room to return my bosu ball. I looked at myself and thought, “hey, is that my butt? -Damn, these squats are doing me well.”

First of all, I’m not conceited, nor do I think I have a perfect body. But, I realized something as I stood in front of that mirror for a full minute, checking myself out; I love my butt. I’ve been fortunate enough to be one of those girls that has always had a bit of a booty. For the first time in my life though, it’s a strong booty. And the tree trunks underneath them? They’ve become just as strong. The phrase ‘working my ass off’ doesn’t apply here. I’ve been working my ass on to get these legs and this butt.

This transition has not been without growing pains. A couple weeks ago, I realized, one, only a single pair of my jeans still fit me, and two, I cannot continually wear yoga pants in public. So, I went shopping for jeans. Oh dear, what an adventure. To realize that you need to go up a pant size because your legs and backside have become bigger is somewhat of a humbling experience. After 90 minutes of failure, I felt like I needed to have a meltdown. The negative self-talk that inevitably takes over… Ladies reading this, you understand my pain.

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Except, in this case, jeans.

Trying on pants is a real test of the ol’ self esteem. I wish this was a story with a happy ending, but those perfect fit jeans are still eluding me. And, I still rock leggings most days. But I know those jeans are out there….somewhere.

I’m a runner. So, what am I doing spending 2 hours at a time at the gym? Well, it started with this guy:

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A couple glasses of this fermented grape goodness:

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And a challenge.

This challenge included 6 weeks of ass-kicking workouts 5-6 days/week. Two days of upper body in a row. Two days of lower body in a row. Two days of cardio, and one day of all over gym goodness. The point was muscle domination.

Upon first hearing about it, I laughed. It sounded like death. I am a runner. I prefer to be outside, and I loathe the idea of treadmills. Spending 10-12 hours a week in the gym sounded perfectly awful. I can handle 2 days a week in the gym, at most. And the words ‘leg day’ meant a good, solid run to me, not squats and Russian dead lifts.

And yet, the word challenge kept niggling in the back of my brain. Why not try it, I thought. I’ve always wanted to be stronger. Perhaps I could learn a thing or two in the gym. It can’t be that difficult.

Or, so I thought.

Here I am now, with two weeks left in the challenge, tree trunks for legs (ain’t no thigh gap here!), a round booty, and arms/shoulders that are becoming too big for my shirts. In fact…

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This happened. Yes, this is a bathroom selfie. Yes, that is a rip between the shoulders of my favorite shirt. Yes, this is from my lifting gains in the last few weeks. And yes, I did cry a little. I mean, come on. The last thing I remember, I was a runner who rejoiced when clothes became loose. I wore running shorts most days and had no clue how to bench press. A curl was what I did to bring the wine glass from the table to my face. The idea that I could become a strong, fit chick is continually appealing, but it’s taking a mindset adjustment as the clothes get a little tighter in weird places. I went from focusing on electrolyte consumption and carb-loading to getting enough protein and wondering if supplements are the way to go.

On the flip side though, the progress I’ve seen in my strength in just these few weeks is unreal. I can do 3 unassisted pull-ups and 7 unassisted tricep dips, whereas I couldn’t  do any of either a month ago. I went from bench pressing just the bar (45lbs) to breaking the 100lb mark just this week! I am almost ashamed to say this, but I actually enjoy going to the gym now.

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But, how could I not enjoy the gym in a shirt like this? Instant motivation. And an excellent Christmas present.

With that, I give you my current challenge. Before and after photos to be posted after the challenge is completed. (Did I really just say that?)

Next up? Marathon training, round 4, starts next week! I’m comin’ for ya, Bend Marathon!

Here’s a little self-love (but skip to almost a minute in for it to get upbeat):

 

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10 Reasons To Date a Long Distance Runner.

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It’s national love day. It’s Oregon’s birthday. It is the completion of a hellish week in the school of dental hygiene. I am exhausted. But. This post needs to be shared.

The preface is this: I am not touting my unattached status. Technically, I’m married. To school, that is. It isn’t the healthiest relationship, as it takes up all of my time and currently gives little in return. I’m told that my patience and perseverance will be rewarded in the end, and it will become a mutually beneficial relationship come August 2015. Crossing my fingers. Plus, any and all free time is filled with running. Sorry, boys.

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While I am not a large fan of obligatory displays of love and affection fueled by Hallmark and would much prefer chocolate, flowers, or a covered race entry fee on a random Wednesday, I want to give a shout out to my fellow lady runners in their pursuit of their sole mate. Er, soul mate.

Gentlemen, listen up!

10 Reasons to date a long distance runner:

1. Short shorts.    Need I say more?  Runners wear them. Killer legs usually come with.

2. Determination and dedication.   A lazy person does not make a good runner. A dedicated person has dreams, turns them into goals, and rocks the socks off them. This is a runner. A person who is truly into long distance running is dedicated to what they do. This dedication continues on into each area of life. Totally desirable.

3. Independent and strong.   Runners tend to be self-sufficient, ‘do it themselves’ type of people. There’s a certain personality type that comes with running long distances. They appreciate running with others, but know how to run alone (even, at times, preferring it.) Their strength enables them to push themselves to achieve the seemingly impossible, like running in the snow and pouring rain or going a longer distance than ever before. There’s a certain mental toughness that must be achieved. She’s also the opposite of clingy. She doesn’t need you in her life, and you’re damn lucky if she wants you there. Just don’t try to interfere with her training schedule.

4. They’re Easy.   But not like that. Goodness. They’re easygoing, laid back. They’re what you might call a guys’ girl. They can be showered, ready, and out the door in 20 minutes after a run. The girl that gets along well with your parents and your guy friends. The girl that probably doesn’t know how to put on her makeup like a pro or how to tell whether her clothes match outside of running shorts and singlets.

5. More Brazen.   Long distance running isn’t for the faint of heart. These runners aren’t afraid to accept a challenge and try something new. They’re brazen. They’re badasses. But, they’re not cocky about it.

6. Diet.   I can’t speak for all lady long distance runners, but a lot of us run to eat. And, if you’ve ever seen a runner two days before their next marathon or ultra, you know what I’m talking about. The amount we eat is embarrassing at times. But, we don’t hold back. Food is fuel, and we may just challenge you to finish that next pint. Plus? A lot of runners I know can cook. And, you know what they say about a girl that can cook…

7. Predominately happy people.    All of those miles outside aren’t just for fun. They bring some serious endorphin and serotonin boosts. Runners, by nature, seem to be happy people. Just so long as they’ve gone on their run today. If they haven’t, well, watch out.

8. Cheap date.     I’ve learned that this is a good thing. Low tolerance = athlete problems. A couple drinks and done. Plus? A long distance runner girl is bound to be in bed early on a Saturday night. Sunday run day, remember? And that day is usually the long run day. That’s not to say that she doesn’t know how to party. That, in and of itself, is an entirely different topic. Just not during training.

9. Competitive Nature. She runs races, guys. Do we really need to question her competitive nature? As aforementioned, she’ll take on a challenge and give it her all. That being said, she may not be competitive with others so much as she is competitive with herself. 

10. Runners’ body This is a tie in with number one: great legs. Great body. Not perfect, but damn strong. Plus? Runner girls will not hate you for spending time in the gym and/or running. She does the same. And she encourages you to as well. And well, you know what they say about being in good physical shape…

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