The Voices are Silent

About this time last year is when I was feeling beaten up, tired, and running was becoming a chore rather than something I loved to do.  I was constantly battling with feelings of defeat.  I was beating myself up on most of my runs and I started to doubt myself.  maf maf baby

I made a huge decision in regards to my running and I haven’t looked back since.  I realized that I needed to change my approach to running and find a way that running and training works for me or I was going to burn myself out.  That’s when I switched and started heart rate training (MAF Method), I gave up on doing traditional speed work (unless I felt like it) and just ran.  It was huge change, especially when I did it right in the middle of marathon training.  I went on to finish my training that way for City of Oaks Marathon and continued with it straight through to Gasparilla and Tobacco Road Marathon.

Where I started mentally and physically with at the beginning of training for City of Oaks and where I ended with Tobacco Road were like night and day.  I was back and feeling amazing!

So where am I now with it?

I’m still with it about 95% of my miles.  I wear my heart rate monitor for 5 out of my 7 days of running.  I give myself 2 days off, one on my mile “rest” day and maybe one other day when I just want to run by feel vs by heart rate.  Those days usually are my speedier days of running, but I’m not going all out either.  Conservatively fast, I call it.

What has it done for me as a runner physically?

The benefits of it have far out weighed any of the negatives.  Sure running every single run at the same HR pace can become monotonous, but luckily, I’m running with friends for most of my runs so I hardly notice it.  On days were I let it fly, I feel amazing.  I can run at higher speeds with a lower heart rate and it feels awesome!!  No yucky pucky feeling.  I’m efficiently burning fat for fuel.  I haven’t had to eat any kind of nutrition on any long runs in ages and my tummy is happy for that!  Proof that I’m burning fat?  I had a body analysis done in January and again in July.  Over the course of those 6 months, my weight stayed basically the same (gained a pound, but my July weigh-in was after a week vacation at the beach, I’ll take it!) but I gained 5lbs. of muscle, which means I had to have lost fat at some point and replaced it with muscle in order to stay the same weight.   (To be fair too, our diet also changed significantly from January to July too with the addition of Hello Fresh.  So that’s just an added bonus!)

What has it done for me mentally as a runner?

Health benefits aside, mentally it has given me so much confidence.  The voices that created negativity, doubt and fear are silent.  They don’t talk to me any more.  Once I realized that I wasn’t going to try and make every race my fastest or a PR,  those voices stopped. They were replaced with voices of joy, peace, and contentment.  And my goals?  They have reached higher than they did when I limited myself to just wanting to be faster.  Now, I love doing challenge races with crazy amounts of miles, picking ultra distances and not being scared of them and finding other ways to enjoy running without having the wear and tear of racing everything.  Thank goodness for pacing!  I run races with a real smile on my face not just the one I would muster for the camera.  I’m having a blast out there!  silencequoteThe negatives?

It takes tough skin to be a heart rate training runner.  You have to be really sure of what kind of runner you are.  Other runners sometimes don’t get it and that’s okay.  It doesn’t have to make sense to them to be right for me.  Those are the only voices that I have to silence now.  It’s easier to ignore those than an internal dialogue any day.

Where am I going now with my running?

Good question!  I’m sticking with this path for quite a bit longer through 7 Bridges Marathon and Crooked Road.  I don’t really see me deciding by next year to start changing anything too dramatically.  We already have some big back to back distance races in the works so I’ll need to maintain my endurance vs speed for those.  I’m just enjoying running too much to want to change anything!  It’s nice being content with my running.   It makes me happy.

This Week’s One Word Prompt is Silent.

How do you keep those voices of negativity and doubt silent?  Have you made any big changes in your running?

One Word Prompt is hosted by Lisa of The Golden Spoons and  Janine of Confessions of a Mommyholic. Head over to these ladies and see what other bloggers’ are posting!

Go be awesome! 🙂

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Small Changes

One word can cause a lot of stress…change.  For some people, change means moving out of your comfort zone, heading towards uncharted waters of life.  It can bring about stress, uncomfortable feelings and uneasiness.  Change is not always big.  Sometimes it’s small and you barely notice that there is the movement that’s happening.  It takes you from one point to another.  This is the type of change that when you look back realize that it happened but it didn’t cause those feeling of uneasiness.  That’s the kind of change I like to celebrate.  It’s the small changes that add up to become big changes.

I found this on my Timehop this week.  timehoprunningIt was from six years ago when I had just started training for my first half marathon.  I had only been back into running for 6 months and I was just finding my legs again.  We were doing one of our first track workouts and it brought back to so many memories of my track days in junior high school.  The part that I notice the most from my Timehop is the excitement I felt of hitting a timed mile under 9 minutes.  What jumps out to me too is that with the day to day running, I’ve lost sight of the changes that have happened since my first training session.  It’s not about the fact that I now can run faster and in some races, I’ve hit under 8 minute mile paces, it’s about the movement from where I started to where I am now.  It’s about the change that has happened, not the numbers.

When I started running, I had just come off of a bad place.  I was not happy with where I was.  I had to do something big.  I quit smoking in 2008, decided that I need to take control of my life and not just sit by and live it passively.  I could only move forward, move past the past, and try to do small things to lead me to a big change.  And that’s what I did.  I started running.  It gave me the small thing that would lead me to big changes.

Now 6 years later, here I am.  I see what has happened; I lived it.  I have been along through the process but didn’t stop until now to see the big change.  The big change is that I’m healthier, happier, secure in myself and who I am and will continue to become.  I’ve learned through trial and error to trust myself and my instincts.  I’ve become more reflective, more selective, and more intuitive.  Some of that has come with age, of course, but some of it has come from finding me.  Running has given me the outlet to find me.

My goal now is to look for those small changes and see how they are helping to move me toward bigger changes.  I need to continue to find ways to build towards them.  It’s when we look at those small changes that help to lead us in the direction of bigger changes.  I’m excited of the prospect of what is to come!

changequote

What are some small changes that have led you to bigger changes?

One Word Prompt is hosted by Lisa of The Golden Spoons, Janine of Confessions of a Mommyholic, and Marcia of Blogitudes.  Head over to these ladies and see what other bloggers’ are posting!

Go be awesome! 🙂

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Race Recap: Race the Bar 8K

A double race weekend means two race recaps this week!

When Christine and I signed up for this one back in March, we dreamed of a nice day, cold brews and a great run.  Little did we know when we signed up it would be 92 degrees at the start of the race.  Our goal of maybe racing it changed to run it safely and smartly.  We had to trust ourselves to make the right call.

I picked up our race packets on Friday after leaving work so we arrived to the event about an hour before the start.  We stayed in our cars for a bit and then found a shady place to hang out before it was time to go.  I did the best I could to prepare for the heat throughout the day by drinking a ton of water.  I just hoped it would be enough.  This was going to be brutal!IMG_5689

We had our post race meeting around 3:50pm and we lined up shortly after for the 4pm start.  Christine and I stepped out of the shade to line up and the sun and heat immediately hit us.  I know there were several times I second guessed our decision but knowing how Christine and I both are, I knew that we’d play it safe.  The gun went off on time!  We found ourselves running pretty well for the first mile.  I was actually surprised to look down and see that we were running under a 10 min pace and it felt okay.  I thought if we could just find a good easy feeling pace early, we’d be good.  IMG_5694We hung in there for the first mile as we turned into the Arboretum and bam!  Just like that.  Full sun and hot.  Ugh.  We both instantly said out loud, “This is awful!”.  We tried to run along this sunny section, but we were burning up.  It was thick, no breeze, just yuck.  I can’t remember who said it, but one of us did, “Let’s walk a minute!”.  YES!!  My heart rate was up, the air was so thick breathing was an issue and I was happy if we walked the other 4 miles.

We kept moving and decided that we’d try to run for 3 minutes and walk for one.  We went through a few intervals like that but then even at that pace, we were still struggling.  We stopped at the first water stop and our one minute walk breaks turned into 5 minutes.  Neither one of us worried about it at all.  This was all about just finishing.  All around us too, people were walking.  You’d see someone start running and everyone would kind of start doing the same thing.  Someone would stop and a bunch of us would stop to walk too.  We were among good company!

To my surprise, we hit mile 3 and were still smiling and carrying on. We’d run some and walk some.  Just moving forward and having fun!  Police officers on the course were cutting up with us, telling us that we signed for this!  It was all entertaining.  Several of our friends were out on the course volunteering and offering their support.  They were just as hot as all of us!  The race director planned for the heat accordingly.  There was plenty of water (cold too!) at each stop and there were wet towels at the mile 2.5/4 water stop, although we never got one.

Christine and I just did what we do well, smiled, laughed and kept on moving.  Several houses had sprinklers set up along the course and we hit everyone of them!  Thanking the neighbors for being so kind to the runners!  The miles flew by!  Around mile 4, we decided we’d try to run a bit longer than we had.  It was pretty shaded along this section and flat.  We started running along and actually the last mile was our fastest of the day, I think.  At that point, we just wanted to be done.  We passed another group of friends out on the course and made our way to the finish line.  IMG_5695

We finished in 56:30 and were thrilled that we were even under an hour.  I quickly realized that I had run the 10K in 56:02 just the day before.  The temperature was about 20 degrees warmer for this race.  It became super clear how the heat affects pace and how I feel running in it.  We grabbed our finisher’s glasses and made our way directly to the beer line.  They had cold wet rags at the finish line too!  The race director was passing out freezy pops to all of us waiting.  It was the perfect post race treat!

We later checked the results to make sure that our bibs worked; Christine’s kind of melted from being in my car.  Christine starts laughing and points to the results page.  She had placed 2nd in her age group!!!  We started cracking up!  Obviously that was not our intention when we started running the race, but what an awesome surprise!!  We waited for the awards ceremony where I appropriately photobombed her picture. 🙂  We grabbed another brew and grabbed dinner after.  IMG_5696

Even with all the heat, sun and hot, it ended up being a really great race!  Sometimes you just have to take things for what they are and treat each day and race as it comes.  You have to trust in your instincts to know that you’re making the right decision and not to second guess it.  Things went off yesterday just as they should have.  We had fun, we got to spend the race running together, and we finished safely.  IMG_5692

Do you trust your instincts when it comes to making a race day decision?

Trust is the word this week!

One Word Prompt is hosted by Lisa of The Golden Spoons, Janine of Confessions of a Mommyholic, and Marcia of Blogitudes.  Head over to these ladies and see what other bloggers’ are posting!

Race Day Recaps also at The Silvah Lining.

Go be awesome! 🙂

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Together

One word.

Together

That one word is powerful.  It means safety in numbers.  It means you and others working side by side.  It means that no one is leading or following.  It means a common bond among you and someone else.  A common goal.  It means you aren’t alone.  It means you have your “person”.  You are together.  Together through friendship.  Together through marriage.  Together in running.

I instantly thought of one of my all time favorite quotes, which often now it seems pertains to running.

If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.

~African Proverb

I like the together part of that quote.  Together, we can go farther.  Together, we can push each other, carry each other and run side by side to encourage each other to reach farther goals and dreams.  Together means that you have a partners in crime who will stand with you and help you become your best.  Together means you have someone who has your back.  Together means no judgment, only support. Together means a swift kick of reality when you need it most.  Together means listening.  Together means I got you and you’ve got me. I won’t let you fail.

I often stop and think how grateful I am that I have a supportive group of friends to run with and family at home who encourages me. That’s the “together” that makes me not afraid to take risks, to get crazy ideas that I want to run crazy distances, and to not be afraid to just try.  It’s then that I realize that I’m not alone, there is someone there who has my back and loves me, regardless of the outcome, for trying.  That’s my kind of together!

africanproverb

What does together mean to you? 

One Word Prompt is hosted by Lisa of The Golden Spoons, Janine of Confessions of a Mommyholic, and Marcia of Blogitudes.  Head over to these ladies and see what other bloggers’ are posting!

Go be awesome! 🙂

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Soon

With summer break just around the corner, there are so many things that I’m looking forward to doing and celebrating.

Soon…

School will be ending and another year will be in the books! 18 years of teaching complete!

Summer break will start and Hayden and I will be spending days at the pool, hanging out together and enjoying the time off from school.  Summer is my favorite time of the year for this reason alone!

Marathon training will start and I’ll be back on a training plan for marathon #7!

We’ll be headed to Williamsburg for a weekend away with our friends, Nathan and Katie.  I’m looking forward to have a great time running, visiting Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, and going CoLo (Colonial).

We’ll be taking Hayden to her first concert, Mumford and Sons, in June.  We thought it was going to be Fall Out Boy in July, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see Mumford and Sons.  I’m just as excited as her to see both bands.

We’ll be headed to the beach for a week with Nick’s family and bringing our niece with us.  We’ve waited for Nattie to be old enough to start traveling with us.

Hayden will be enjoying another week at the Summer Arts Immersion program where she’ll create a ton of art and play her viola.

Nick will be turning 41. 🙂

Cara and I will spend three days at UNCG in a conference for cooperating teachers of student teachers.  I’m sure we are going to have a great time and I look forward to learning ways to better support my future student teachers even more.

We’ll be celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary!

I’ll be running some really fun events with friends.

What is “soon” for you?  Anything fun?  Races?  Celebrations? Concerts?

One Word Prompt is hosted by Lisa of The Golden Spoons, Janine of Confessions of a Mommyholic, and Marcia of Blogitudes.  Head over to these ladies and see what other bloggers’ are posting!

Go be awesome! 🙂

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The Sea of Faster

I just started checking out the One Word Prompts last week and already I’m excited about this week’s word.  What’s the word?

FAST

That one little 4 letter word means so much to a lot of runners.  For many, it’s the goal.  To get faster.  We run races to earn PR’s, that means we got faster.  We do track work, fartleks, tempos and other forms of speed work to teach our bodies to run faster for longer.  We keep logs and check our race times and look for ways that we’ve already gotten faster or how can we get even faster.  What happens if you are a runner in the sea of faster and you don’t want to be that…faster?

I will say it every day, every time that I am so thankful for “finding” Cara and Christine. In that sea of faster, we somehow realized that we were different.  Maybe we can smell our own?  Sure I have goals and things I want to accomplish but none of them have the word faster in them.  And that’s okay.  It’s not that I don’t care.  It doesn’t make me an inferior runner.  I don’t try to PR, if it happens, awesome, but I’m certainly done training for 18 weeks to fall short. I run a way that makes me happy.  Failure and stress don’t make me happy. foundmyself

If becoming faster is important to you, that is awesome!  I will cheer you on all day.  Why?  Because that’s what makes you happy.  It’s much easier for me to understand someone who wants to be faster that than for someone to understand that I don’t.  I wanted to get faster for a really long time.  I trained my butt off to get faster.  I wanted to PR races, I wanted to have really good mile splits.  I love the high of running at my fastest.  There was enjoyment in that.  I would be upset when I didn’t PR and some how think that I must have done something wrong in my training.  So what happened?  Why is faster not for me?

It’s called age.  It’s called experience.  It’s called a need to slow down and just enjoy something that means so much to me.  Faster required me to feel like running was another job.  Faster made me stress paces, stress over not getting runs in, stress not achieving PR’s.  Faster meant the joy of running was getting lost and the importance of faster was taking over.  Faster meant being irritable, tired and feeling worn down.  Faster meant I was starting to hate running.

In the sea of faster, there are different degrees of it.  I run my faster.  My “I just ran up that hill” and my watch didn’t beep at me!  My “I just ran that half marathon and feel like I can run more”  My “Sure, I’ll run two long runs back to back”  My faster is just different. It’s meeting times that are taking me toward my goals and training a way that works for me.

Whatever is important to you, go for it!  Do what you need to do to make you happy.  However that looks, don’t apologize about it.  It’s your thing.  Above all else, realize that you are enough!

 I am enough!iamenough

This is one of my favorite quotes.  I posted it on my Facebook wall a few years ago and it just showed up in my Timehop on Sunday morning.  It stuck with me again just like it did years ago.

“The more I run, the more I want to run and the more I live a life conditioned and influenced and fashioned by my running.  And the more certain I am that I am heading for my real goal: to become the person that I am.” ~George Sheehan, M.D.

Check out the Fit Dish Linkup and become part of the #fitfam by heading over to Jill Conyers at JillConyers.com, & Jessica Joy at TheFitSwitch.org.

One Word Prompt is hosted by Lisa of The Golden Spoons, Janine of Confessions of a Mommyholic, and Marcia of Blogitudes.  Head over to these ladies and see what other bloggers’ are posting!

Go be awesome! 🙂

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This Moment

Happy Wednesday!  Not only is today halfway through the week, but it’s also a special day for someone who has my heart, my creative, funny, life loving daughter, Hayden.  She’s turning 12 today and I’m just in complete disbelief how quickly time has gone by.  It seems that just yesterday, she was a little baby.  When you hear that time goes by in the blink of an eye, it’s so true.

This Wednesday’s One Word is Moment and there couldn’t be a more perfect word for today!

Living in the moment is not my strongest suit.  I’m actually quite terrible at it, but I surprised myself this past weekend and did just that…lived in the moment.

My sister called to see if Hayden wanted to tag along with her and my nieces to go to the park and the Farmer’s Market.  I had just finished running and I was coming home just as she pulled up to pick Hayden up.  I had plans to do some things after running, but my sis asked if I wanted to come too.  I had a moment when I thought, I need to take a shower, I’m tired, etc.  I just let that go and said yes.  I took a quick shower (I couldn’t totally let go!) and was out the door in 10 minutes.  Nick joined in the fun too!  We spent the afternoon having an absolute blast!  Don’t let the faces fool you, my youngest niece put us in “jail”.  This was our jail selfie. parkdayparktime

I lived in the moment again when Hayden and her three friends asked if they could clean out the garage.  Our garage is our storage unit.  It’s a mess.  Things are everywhere and we bought a portable dumpster to help rid ourselves of the clutter.  I just wasn’t ready to tackle this huge job yet.  Hayden was persistent.  I let go and said yes.  Within in one hour, they had cleared the garage of 80% of the mess.  Sure I went back through and looked at what they had thrown away, but after searching through a few bags, I gave up and figured if it was in the dumpster, it was meant to be.  bagster

By the next day, The Club was up and running.  Hayden and her friends turned our nearly empty garage into their hangout.  They set it up with a old couch, a TV, a small fridge, a table with chairs, and a place to do homework.  They had this grand master plan and cleaning the garage was the only thing they needed to pull it all together.  They spent hours in there Sunday afternoon.  They were stoked!  It truly made my Mother’s Day having a house full of kiddos eating pizza, watching TV and hanging out in the garage.  It made Hayden happy so it made me happy. theclub

From just these two things, I learned that living in the moment needs to happen more in my life.  It makes the people I love the most the happiest and how could I not want that for them?  The moment matters.  It just does.

So for Hayden’s 12th year, I’m giving her the moment.  We’re going on more adventures, we’re creating more memories, and we’re doing more “stuff”.

Happy Birthday to our beautiful girl! We love you!meandhHow do you live in the moment?  Are you good at it or is it a struggle for you too?

One Word Prompt is hosted by Lisa of The Golden Spoons, Janine of Confessions of a Mommyholic, and Marcia of Blogitudes.  Head over to these ladies and see what other bloggers’ are posting!

Go be awesome! 🙂