Tutus, Snowmen, and Continuity.

8721316_orig

It was a clear December morning, and all I could hear was the rhythmic sound of my feet on the path, the thump-thump of my heartbeat in my ears, and the sound of each breath as I exhaled. With each exhalation, the fog of my breath steamed up my glasses. Crisp morning runs like these are my favorite. I ran without thought of pace or distance. I ran to let my mind flow with random thoughts. I ran to appreciate. I ran to reflect on the wonderful, beautiful year that is nearly over.

Last January, I wrote a post called Full of Good Intentions. Among other things, I wrote of New Years resolutions versus New Years Intentions. It made me smile during my run to think about the intentions I’d set a year ago. Last year’s mantra was, ‘wherever you are, be all there.’  The key was balance. Not only physical, but emotional as well. I think, even with my busy and sometimes ridiculous schedule, I managed to do a pretty good job of this throughout the year. One particular moment stood out in my mind. I was beyond stressed with school. -Multiple exams, large projects looming over my head, requirements in dental hygiene clinic to be fulfilled, not to mention an amount of family drama. Normally when I’m stressed, I either run or bake as therapy. In this case, I drove to the beach. With the sound of the waves crashing into the shore, the crunch of the sand beneath my feet, and the salty, brisk air slapping my face, I thought to myself, “wherever you are, be all there.” So, I did. I stood there, breathing deeply. I pushed out all other thoughts. I focused on the moment at hand, thankful to be alive, to think, to love. As my toes sank deeper into the sand, my stresses seemed to disappear with the receding tide. This is what is means to find balance.

This is not to say that I’ve achieved balance in life. Like happiness, I think finding balance is a continuous journey, as life is constantly evolving. That is why I want to set my intention for 2015 as the continuance of 2014 in finding balance. I want to find balance between school and play, social time and ‘me’ time (even if it means learning to say no), and balance between working out because it makes me happy and feels good and working out because I feel I have to.

My other intentions for 2014 were these:

  • Drink 80-100oz of water a day
  • Eat vegetables with every meal
  • Take more photos
  • Write daily
  • PR my next half and full marathon

I can happily report that I ate vegetables 3x/day and drank my quota of water >85% of this year. Now, where’s my skinny body?!

I also PR’ed my marathon in April, finishing more than 10 minutes faster than my first marathon. I did not, however, PR a half this year. The leg injury being a large factor in this.

Taking more photos and writing daily did not happen either. However, with this I provide a very well worded quote and excuse: “You can do anything, but not everything.” My 100% cannot be given to everything, and I had to decide where to place my priorities. Number one: school. Number two: keeping my sanity. I did take photos throughout the year (if the nearly 3,000 photos on my phone say anything.) I did write fairly regularly as well. (Whether this was blogging, writing in a journal, or the occasional bit of poetry.) But, I didn’t want to take two things I enjoy doing and make it something I was obligated to do. Admittedly, I should have blogged more often. I miss reaching out and helping to inspire and entertain others with my internet ramblings.

With that I say, bring on 2015! This year’s intentions:

  • Continuity of balance and personal growth
  • PR my next marathon (Bend Marathon on April 26th)
  • Run the entire length of Wildwood Trail in Forest Park (30.2 miles!)
  • Graduate Dental Hygiene school in August with my sanity still intact
  • Travel outside the country at least once
  • Continue making healthy eating choices (less processed food, more fresh fruits and vegetables)
  • Cross train! (I’ve actually already started focusing on this and cannot wait to share with you the small changes…in my next post.)

Goals. Goals should be measurable and achievable. Goals should have objectives. New Years resolutions are goals. New Years intentions are goals. Make them reasonable. Make them measurable so as to be able to track progress. I refuse to set myself up for failure.

Speaking of failing…

What does one do when it is the weekend before a Monday morning, 600 question, cumulative, all class, all day final exam? Run a half marathon whilst wearing a tutu, of course. Studying is for overachievers.

IMG_0101

I’m kidding. Kind of. I ran the half, yes. I also kicked out my house guests to explore Portland while I studied the rest of my weekend away. In case you were curious, I passed. Sweet relief.

The Holiday Half for the third year in a row. This was the race that started my running obsession in 2012, and this will probably be the one race I continue to repeat every year. The course is flat, the aid stations are wonderfully placed, the weather is unpredictable, and cupcakes never tasted so good as after this race. The flavor this time was chocolate with peanut buttercream frosting.

This year, I was joined again by my lovely sister, her new husband, and Eli. We all dressed as snowmen. Yes, with tutus. And buttons. And orange noses. And mini top hats. As many of you readers know, I have a particular love for doing activities with tutus (Especially this one.) I had only gone so far as to run a 15k in a tutu, but never a half-marathon. It worked out great. For the first time though, we made all of the tutus!

IMG_0044

IMG_0051

Two bottles of wine, 15 felt buttons, 4 elastic waistbands, and 32 yards of shiny white tulle later, we had our costumes. The tutus took more tulle than I thought they would. But overall, I loved making them!

IMG_0082

The race itself was fantastic. The weather was perfection. Clear blue skies and brisk, but warm enough to wear shorts and be fairly comfortable. The four of us stayed together the whole run. However,  the dude on the far left of the photo above rocked the socks off his race way ahead of us. I’d like to think he would’ve run faster if he had worn a tutu…

The only downside to the race? My 3 asthma attacks. Yes, 3. And, I even had my inhaler. As I was struggling to breathe, I reflected back to my Pharmacology class and tried to remember what the maximum recommended dose of Albuterol was…to no avail. So, I took another pull off my inhaler. The struggle was real.

I am so thankful to my wonderful family for sticking with me through the entire race, even when I had to walk and wheeze. We ran, we laughed, we sang too many Frozen songs, but most of all, we enjoyed ourselves. -And ate cupcakes at the finish line. Because that is what running is about.

**

Happy 2015, everyone! Here’s to another year of balance, growth, and many, many adventures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Full of Good Intentions

This is where I spent the last days of 2013. Where it matters most: with family and the ocean. Two of the most amazing things in my life. This photo happens to have been taken on a run. With my sister. But more on this at another time.

Happy 2014! The second day of the year, and I already have six races lined up. One of which, I’m proud to announce, is in a little over two weeks! I’m running the Redding Marathon Relay. It was a Facebook cry for help from my 4th grade science teacher. She’d lost one of her relay partners and needed someone, anyone, to take their place. Sure, it’s a 6.5 hour drive. But how many people can say they’ve run a marathon with their elementary school science teacher? A phone call was placed, and decisions were made. Redding, here I come!

As it is just past the beginning of a new year, I thought it only appropriate to embrace the proverbial New Years Resolutions. After sitting down about a week or so ago to create my yearly list, I thought about deciding on things that I would actually stick to or continue working at to achieve. Telling myself I’m going to do 30 push-ups and chin-ups for 365 days straight isn’t realistic. Nor is making it a goal to run 6 days every week. Life happens. Which is why I decided to create a different kind of list in its entirety. It isn’t a list of resolutions, it is a list of intentions. At the top of this list is ‘Balance.’ It is such a broad term, and can be interpreted in a number of ways. But, for me, that’s the point. I want balance in the physical, walking across a tight rope sense. I want balance between school and play, between social time and ‘me’ time, and between training runs and running naked and free (no watch, no music, no Garmin, just for the pleasure.) Beyond that, my other intentions are fairly typical, but a little more clear and definable:

  • Drink more water (80-100 oz per day),
  • Eat vegetables with every meal (because everyone loves spinach for breakfast!),
  • Take more photos (currently embarking on a photo a day challenge),
  • Write daily (even if it’s only a sentence or two.),
  • and PR my next half and full marathon. (without becoming obsessed with pace and injuring myself again…)

I’ve many others, but these are the intentions worth mentioning.

Along the lines of New Year’s resolutions or intentions, I’ve had a number of people ask me recently how I got into running and/or how they could begin their (surely to be) lifelong love of running. A couple even made it a goal for 2014. I’ve been contemplating on just how to present this post for a while now.

How to get started running. It’s simple, really. Get off your ass. Put on some shoes. Walk out the door. Put one foot in front of the other. Get out there and go. Shut up and run. Push yourself a little. But is there more to it?  It took a little bit to formulate how I’d even begun running. When/how I even started. For those of you who haven’t checked out my About Me page, I’ll give you a little synopsis:

I’ve been a sporadic runner for a number of years. I ran track for three years back in elementary/middle school. I was slow. I was chubby. I was that kid who turned cherry red and ran into the nurse’s office nearly every practice because I couldn’t get my asthma under control. As years passed, I started running to rid myself of daily stresses and clear my head. Never more than 2-3 miles, and I never fully enjoyed it, I just knew it would settle me down.

I ran my first 5k race in 2010, finishing with a 10:15/mile pace. Proud of myself for even finishing, I decided to run the same race the next year. In Summer of 2012, I ran another 5k with a co-worker. At this race, I ran into a good friend, who has since fallen in love and subsequently fallen of the face of the earth. (We all know how that goes.) With this friend was Lexi, a badass girl who’d just moved home from Boston. We hit it off. We even became Facebook official friends. It was real friendship. In September, she throws out a post on Facebook. Something along the lines of, “Help! I’ve just been talked into a half-marathon. Who’s training with me?!” This girl, right here. I am. I called her, and the rest is history. Holiday Half was completed 3 months later, and here I am with another year gone by.

I’m a baby runner, for all intents and purposes. I’ve been consistently running for less than 2 years. I chat with those that have been running 10+ years, and they just give me that smile. You know the one I’m talking about. It says, ‘you’re so cute with your doe eyes and eager spirit. I remember those days.’ I have immense respect for those runners. Running has become a part of their lifestyle and not just a hobby. They have this store of knowledge in all things running, and I can only hope to get there one day. For now, I’ll take the inexperienced, doe-eyed look with the unquenchable enthusiasm for all things running related and impart it to you, dear readers.

With this and a giant smile, I present a little list of how to get started:

1. Find the motivation. The desire, the drive. Most of you have this if you’re even contemplating running. The hardest step is always the first. Cultivating the want to even begin something that is sure to be difficult is commendable in itself.
2. Make a goal. What kind of distance are you shooting for? Set objectives. Someday, you want to run a marathon, yes. But right now, you need to make it a goal to complete that first mile without stopping. Or to complete that 5k you signed up for in the spring. Whatever the goal is, make it clear and measurable. Make “I want to run more,” into “I want to run three days a week consistently.”
3. Make a plan. Be realistic. Training for a half-marathon in 2 months is not realistic if you’re still a couch potato. Runner’s World has a lot of awesome training plans for 5k, 10k and half-marathons.There is also the Couch to 5k program which is perfect if you’re just getting started. I think they even have an app. You could even rock on over to Pinterest and find a plethora of plans and info. Whatever you decide to do, make it a doable plan. The idea is not to set oneself up for failure.
4. Purchase running shoes. The real, real good kind. Don’t scrimp. These shoes are your equipment. The wrong fit could cause pain, injuries, discontent. Besides, people at running stores know what they’re talking about. They’ll get you into a proper fitting shoe. My bffs are the guys over at Foot Traffic. Like most running stores, they’ll analyze your gait and get you into the shoe that you need. They’ll answer your questions, and they have more info than you’ll know what to do with.
5. Download an app. The options are endless: Strava, Nike +, MapMyRun, RunKeeper, C25k. Keep track. But not always. This will give you an idea of pace, of distance. That way you can adjust accordingly. As you start running more, a GPS watch > phone apps. But it’s all about starting small. The app will help you to stay on track and see improvement.
6. Start slow. The first time you lace up those new shoes and step outside your door, please for the love of all that is good, don’t set yourself up for failure. This goes back to making a plan. Day 1 of 5k training should not be a 3 mile run. It’s starting out slow and easy.
7. Be patient. Expect setbacks. Don’t stop. Be kind to yourself, recognize accomplishment, and don’t be defeated by setbacks. Remember why you started running. Hopefully the reason was for yourself, for self-improvement, better health. Focus on those.

Run. Do yoga. Lift. Bike. Dance. Walk. Skip. Jump. Ski. Just MOVE. It’s the new year, a new start, a new smile, new intentions. Remember balance.

b9574bb34fe365a0c787f45ae8798241