motivation

Still Sick, but Not Defeated

“My greatest strength in life is that I am constantly underestimated. 

I am so much more than you perceive.”

The Running Thriver

It's that simple

Hello fellow bloggers, fitness fanatics, and people who clicked on this page by accident.

This morning I woke up still sick, but did my next Insanity workout anyway.  I am sure there are a lot of people who think that’s a really bad idea, but I am going to choose to tune them out. 😉  The truth is, that most people will  measure what you are capable of by their own perceived limitations.  It’s hard for other people to view the  amount of training I do as healthy, because they can’t see it as possible for themselves. 

For example, when I told my family I was going to run a marathon (which I only decided after running a full half in training) the response consisted of how concerned they were that I was training too hard and would injure myself.  I also heard from numerous other individuals that it isn’t healthy to run anything more than a half marathon and people who do are crazy to put their bodies through that kind of stress.  It’s like will live in a world filled with walls and barriers; and the fact that I’d rather go over them than live within them seems to make people nervous.  The thing is, I finished that marathon and didn’t injury myself.  In fact, it got me in great shape.  I did suffer from a few days of the flu afterward, but it certainly didn’t kill or maim me the way people predicted it would.

I have been told on numerous occasions that the limits I push myself to are insane.  People hear about the boot camp workouts and assume it’s unhealthy just because of the intensity and number of reps.  (I think it’s also hard for them to picture me doing some of the workouts because I’m petite and not visibly ripped)  Likewise, they can’t comprehend how going for a 3 or 4 hour run could not be damaging to my joints.

Damn straight!

What they’re missing is just how good really pushing hard feels.  A 3 or 4 hour run is as refreshing to me as sleep is for other people.  An intense boot camp session is like instant prozac for me.  Pushing my body to the limit is a constant reminder of how strong I am inside.  It’s an exercise in mind over matter.  Distance running is a mental sport.  It’s you pushing your body to keep going long after it wants to quit.  Boot camp and Insanity are no different- which is probably why I enjoy them as much as running.

I admit that there have been times when I have probably pushed my body a little harder than a should have (like back-to-back boot camp sessions less than a week before the marathon).  However, I have not had an injury in the past several years– DESPITE training harder and more frequently than I ever had in the past.  My point- if there is something wearing me to the point of being run down, it’s in spite of the exercise NOT because of it.  That is why sick or not, I was going to get in my workout this morning.  It’s a matter of starting my day on the right foot.  Plus, if I really was feeling awful, I would have stopped; and I have the whole rest of the day to take it easy… at least until boot camp.

If there is some far reaching goal that you have wanted to work toward but have put off out of fear (or fear of criticism)- JUST GO FOR IT.  Victories are won in inches, not miles.  Start today and make some progress.  When I first saw the ads for Insanity, I thought I would never make it through the workouts.  They had fitness instructors complaining it was too hard to finish.  Then I signed up for boot camp, and just a few months later I’m finding the program EASIER than what I’m already doing.  I didn’t just wake up one day and find I was in great shape (measured more by improvement in strength and endurance than appearance).  I built momentum over time.  I started with a 10K and worked up to a marathon.  I was terrified to do my first Tough Mudder, and then realized afterward that it was not nearly as hard as people made it out to be.  YES, it was all very difficult, but it wasn’t impossible.  Don’t let let anyone- including yourself- talk you out of what you really desire in life.  It can be yours if you’re willing to work for it.

I have spent a lot of my life being underestimated by other people.  I’m small, soft spoken, and (usually) polite.  These are all qualities people associate with weakness- but I am not a weak person.  I may be quiet, but I am also resolute.  I survived an abusive relationship and rebuilt my life.  I have endured a Tough Mudder, marathon, and boot camp.  People frequently ask me what I’m training so hard for, expecting me to list a bunch of races.  However, what I’m training for is life. Exercise and running has made me much more tough mentally than physically.  I am prepared to take on whatever life has to throw at me because I have pushed through every self imposed limitation.

Aside from my drive and motivation to meet my goals, there is nothing different or exceptional about me.  Anyone can do it.  Give up the excuses, crutches, and lingering doubts and just go do it.

Biting off more than I can chew?

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face

… we must do that which we think we cannot.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Yesterday I survived another round of Boot Camp- push-ups and all!  I was actually excited to go.  I guess that makes me a glutton for punishment.  lol Each time the drill instructor gave us a challenge, I wanted to yell “bring it on!”  Every time I was tired and wanted to quit, I reminded myself that marathon runners don’t quit, Tough Mudders don’t quit, Spartans don’t quit, and I certainly don’t quit.  When I was told to push, I pushed as hard as I could.

That being said, I woke up this morning incredibly sore.  I wanted to stay in bed, but it was the only chance I’d have this week to get in a long run.  I truly regretted not doing a better job stretching before and after our class.  In the theme of not being a quitter, I dragged myself over to the Bridle Trail and started my 17 mile run.  My legs were heavy and my body was fighting me at first, but eventually I settled, and it felt like less of an effort.  By the time I hit nine miles, I was still feeling strong and really thought I was going to get through the run unscathed.  I knocked out my first 10 miles in just over 2 hrs, which was pretty good for me given I had on my vibrams and a weighted pack.

By the next mile, I was not feeling so hot.  Another mile in,  my IT bands were SCREAMING.  I panicked for a minute, but kept pushing.  Then my body came to a grinding halt.  I tried to force myself to run, but the pain was searing up my legs.  I couldn’t get back into a rhythm.  I couldn’t even walk straight.  I still had over 5 miles to go- a very long distance to walk.  I figured I would walk a bit and see if it got better- no luck.  Then I got the brilliant idea to pull my compression sleeves over my knees, which worked like a charm!  Then next five miles weren’t easy, but at least were doable.

By the time I got to the end of the trail, the GPS was whining flashing that it’s battery was low.  I thought it was very nervy for it to be complaining when I was doing all the work and still had to keep going. 😉  At the same time, I was a little proud of myself for outlasting it.  In the aftermath, I have to admit I am having a bit of trouble moving- especially up and down stairs.  Adam has been getting quite a chuckle watching me limp around.  He assures me this is normal.  I was hoping to make-up tomorrow evening’s Boot Camp class in the morning, but now I’m not sure 1) if I’ll be able to move by then, and 2) if it’s even a good idea.  I have not really been good with taking rest days, and now I’m paying for it.  Another lesson learned!

17.19 miles in 3:45!

Getting muddy...again! And sporting my awesome hot pink compression sleeves!

Just in case anyone needs a laugh, I read this post a while back from a HILARIOUS blogger- the Bloggess.  It’s about a metal chicken.  It made me literally laugh out loud because I could absolutely see my mom and myself doing this.  Then yesterday my mom and I were at the Home Goods store, and look what I found!  I immediately took a photo (see below) with my iPhone and sent it to my sister with the following message “Look, it’s even on sale!!! Lol I think mom needs one!”  She replied “No, I don’t think so,” but I’m sure my mom would have loved it and totally appreciated the humor in the situation.

That’s all for now!  Tomorrow we are California bound. 🙂  My next post will likely be the race recap, so everyone have a wonderful weekend!!!

Chafing is no fun…

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.
Wayne Dyer

Or you could run enough miles to eat the whole package of cookies and still not feel guilty- then throw in some boot camp for good measure. 😉

I debated whether to name this post “I make mud look good” or “Chafing is no fun”… and the title went to the one I felt more strongly about.

Today I went for a 3 hour run.  My initial goal was 15 miles, but I couldn’t figure out how to work Adam’s GPS watch and figured 3 hours would be close enough.  That is exactly how long I made it before my gait started to resemble a drunken sailor, and I called Adam to come rescue me.  I stopped at a gas station less than 2 miles from home.  I knew I could push myself the rest of the way, but it would be at the expense of over-doing it (again).  I didn’t want to risk another sideline, especially when my joints were already screaming from running on the pavement- and I knew I still had a boot camp class to make.  To reward him for the effort of dragging himself out of bed to get me, I bought Adam a pint of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream (his favorite flavor) while I waited.  I also purchased a package of Vienna Fingers (no not the little one- the big one!), which I promptly dug into while the patrons pumping gas looked on with bewildered expressions (largely, I’m sure, owing to the fact that I was soaked and covered in mud).

I had just enough time in between my run and my evening torture session to grab some lunch with Adam.  I made it a point not to stuff myself with the hopes of decreasing the amount of workout related nausea ahead of me.  Overall the second class went well.  I only got light headed a couple times and barely had any nausea.  The work out was tough, but totally rewarding- I was especially proud to have managed the entire 60 push-ups scattered throughout the hour.  Adam was there to cheer me on and coach me through many of them, which I immensely appreciated.

So today I give myself a gold star for motivation!  My calves feel like jello, but my hot pink compression sleeves are due to arrive tomorrow, and I’m hoping they will help!  I am also hoping to get one more long run in before we leave for Cali and the NorCal Tough Mudder.

The downside of my ambitious workout- I have so much chafing on my back and chest from carrying my weighted down hydration pack that I am pretty much covered in itchy, raised, pink blotches.  I have scars on my collar bones from where the straps cut in; and scars, scrapes, and bruises all over my legs from all the debris and branches I get tangled in when I’m on the trails.  It’s all pretty sexy. 😉

Not visible- my calves completely caked in mud

Thanks for reading!!! Comments and questions are always welcome.  Have a terrific evening everyone!

Another day, another 15 miles

“The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.”

Og Mandino

So the photo above pretty much sums up my view of Boot Camp 🙂  Except puking is not an acceptable excuse to stop.

I survived my first session of Boot Camp- it was worse than running 18 miles!!!!!  I would consider myself in reasonably good shape, but that class kicked my butt.  I’m sure running there and back (and all the labor day pigging out) didn’t help.  We weren’t even halfway through before I felt like I would throw up.  By the time I reached the end of the first circuit, I nearly passed out.  I eased up until the room came back into focus and kept going.  It made me feel like such a wimp, until I noticed that everyone else was struggling too- including the people who had been doing it for months.  “Something to look forward to. Apparently it doesn’t get any easier” I thought to myself.

I wanted to quit.  It was torture. I reminded myself that if you don’t feel like quitting, throwing up, or passing out then you probably aren’t working hard enough anyway.  Then I surprised myself and not only made it through the whole class, but even the run home.

On the schedule today- a 15 mile run this morning followed by Boot Camp #2 this evening.  I am hoping that there is less nausea this time around. 😉

One more week until California and 10 more days until my first Tough Mudder!!!!

Boot Camp…Day 1

 

“You only ever grow as a human being if you’re outside your comfort zone.”
– Percy Cerutty

I’m about to head out to my first boot camp session.    I am terrified, but excited to be taking another step toward achieving my goals.  🙂

I’m also exhausted and I haven’t even left yet! I can’t wait to get back to work to recover from my busy weekend! lol (you would be amused too if you knew what my work day is like…)

Wish me luck everyone.  Because I’m a true badass, I think I’m going to run there and back. 🙂

 

When trails become streams…

I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.” 

~Author Unknown

I’m BACK!!!! It’s official!  Just shy of 13 miles today and only minimal IT band pain.  Wohoo!  lol  I’m so happy to FINALLY have gotten some mileage in.  Initially, Adam and I headed to Hopbrook (my favorite place to run), but it is completely under water.  We decided to do the Bridle Trail instead, which was slightly less damp.  The trail had turned into a fresh water stream in many places, which was actually pretty fun to run in.  Meanwhile, the small brook that typically runs along the gravel path had turned into class 5 rapids (See picture below).  We actually thought we heard traffic coming when we were crossing, but it turned out to be the water.  It was pretty impressive.

when brooks become rapids...

 

 

The first 6-7 miles were pretty easy, but my legs got pretty tired on the way back.  I was getting tangled in a lot of the debris from the storm, and Adam was light-years ahead of me.  He kept stopping or walking to give me time to catch up, and I felt kind of bad that I was running so slow.  I know there is a faster runner inside and I am determined to release her at some point!  I kept reminding myself that no matter how slow I was running, I was moving forward and still smiling- the 2 most important things.  Overall, the run went pretty well.  I was glad to have Adam there to show me a few new side trails and keep me from over-doing it.  Plus, he makes good company; and the view running behind him is not too bad either. lol  He even took pictures for me to adorn my blog.  He is so supportive!

Initially, when I was reading about many of the other bloggers who had run their first marathon, I noticed that a lot of them had a fair number of people cheering them on.  Many of them had photos holding flowers while posing with their finisher medals.  It made me want flowers when I finish!  Then I realized that I have something even better- a boyfriend who is willing to suffer through the 26.2 mile stretch with me to help motivate me and keep me going.  How lucky am I ?!   I am sure there are other things he would have rather been doing today than running through 13 miles of mud and debris, but he knew I would appreciate it.

In related news, I am looking into joining the boot camp program at my gym.  It looks like a lot of cross fit type training, and I’m hoping it will help me take my conditioning to the next level.  I also got an email today that my foam roller and cliff bloks shipped.  I am pretty excited! 🙂

running through the stream

 

 

 

made it!!!

Revelations

“Happiness is a form of courage.”

~Holbrook Jackson

"The Happy Person Inside"

As a survivor of abuse thriver, I have often tried to get in touch with “the happy person inside” me who was untouched by trauma.  It started with the My Avenging Angel Workshops when we had various exercises to draw this happy person out.  We did writing prompts and compiled letters to ourselves in the frame of that happier, unscarred person.  At the time, it felt so strange to write to myself in such a loving and accepting manner.  It was hard to love myself.  It was hard to stand myself.  I knew I was capable of being happier, more centered, and generally, more functional- I just didn’t know how to get there.

When I pictured my happy inner self, I would envision the photo above.  I was so fearless as a child.  I was vibrant.  My mother always told me she needed to hold me back growing up because I was ready to take on the world.  I lost that girl somewhere…

What I found instead was PTSD: anxiety, nightmares, hyper-vigilance, low self-esteem, and above all a NEGATIVE OUTLOOK on life.  I hated feeling so negative, but it followed me everywhere.    It stalked me.  It was on my back.  It kept me up at night.  Every time I thought I eluded it, I’d find it creeping up somewhere.  I couldn’t escape it.  I didn’t know how to stop it.  It was a terrible feedback loop.  The more negative I felt, the more I hated myself for it, which only made me feel more negative about the whole situation.  I was stuck in a cycle of beating myself up- overly concerned with how other people were perceiving and judging me.  I was withdrawn.  I didn’t want to spread my negativity, so I shut people out.  I was trapped.

In retrospect, I think my negativity served a purpose.  It was my armor.  It kept people at arm’s length where they couldn’t hurt me.  Being betrayed by people in my life who I had loved deeply and trusted had completely reframed my perception of the world.  If they could hurt me, imagine what other people might do.  I couldn’t handle any more hurt.  I couldn’t handle anything, period.  However, it way over-lasted it’s usefulness.  It kept me from myself.  I was surviving- just going through the motions of existing, exhausted at the thought of another day.

Today I realized a remarkable thing.  I am no longer working toward getting in touch with the happy person inside. I AM that happy person. What a REVELATION to finally have arrived at the point I’ve been struggling to ge to for so long, and it took me until today to finally realize it.  I don’t know how or when it happened, but I am here.  I have made it through the muck and finally emerged on the other side as a smarter, stronger, and more self aware person. I have taken control of my life back.  I feel so light, so refreshed, so OPTIMISTIC.  I have so many great things going for me — volunteering with CT-ALIVE, the Archangels, my blog (thank you everyone for the kind words and positive feedback), my running, fundraising… I could go on and on.

I have no room for negativity in my life anymore.  It’s not in my nature.  I only have space for positive thoughts, so the negativity and I are breaking up for good.  I am ending our two year relationship and not looking back.  I’m not entertaining anymore negative thoughts.  I’m not letting it crawl into bed with me anymore when I’m feeling tired and vulnerable.  I’m not giving in to the temptation to blame my trouble on others.

The one person in life I have power to change is myself, and that is exactly what I am doing.  I am reevaluating and renewing the relationships in my life with a more positive outlook.  As a final act of closure, I left cards for my coworkers to thank them for all their support on my journey and to apologize for being distant and not myself for so long.  I wanted to make a commitment to them and myself to work on more positive relationships with them- the kind that involve actually opening up and showing myself.  Plus, I really wanted to acknowledge all the support I had received from each of them.  I feel like now that it is all in writing- it’s official.  I have let go of any negativity still lingering in the past and stepped forward into a brighter future.  Who knows where this road will take me, but one thing is for sure- there are good things in store!

I spent so long not knowing what to do with all that negativity.  I couldn’t find a way to stuff it down or shove it out of my life.  Today I finally found the solution- I faced it head on and threw it out the window. 🙂

Once again, thank you for reading!  Comments and feedback are always welcome and appreciated.  Questions can be directed to runningthriver@gmail.com.