Have you ever had one of those days when you just didn’t feel like going out the door? Of course, no one has EVER had one of those days….right? Even though we may struggle with momentary motivation, sometimes we have to find the fun. We need to create that one thing that will get us out the door with our eyes on the prize. But how? I decided to name my run, at least for today!
Welcome to 2.02 Tuesday. I truly fought with myself today. Gym, track, or stay home? After taking a Zumba class last night for the first time in about two months, the temptation to stay home was great, but I had to keep the training momentum going. Got dressed and headed out the door – stay home, dashed. Track or treadmill? Did I really feel like going to the gym to play “push the buttons” on the treadmill to alter my running speed? (Ha, I do use the word “speed” loosely) Treadmill – dashed. I headed to the school track – just to see how many people would be there.
It seems that a school track is the place to be on weeknight. Runners, walkers, singles, families…all gather and turn a quiet track into a great place for motivation. One lap, two lap….it was starting to feel really good. Suddenly the dreaded training actually became fun. I set a goal in mind. Don’t get me wrong, I do love running, but I still had to get back home to cook dinner, I set a goal to go 2.02 miles. A goal that I couldn’t even visualize just 15 minutes before was fast becoming a reality. I will tell you, however, that I stopped abruptly when I hit 2.02…not because I was tired or that I couldn’t keep going – but the purpose of today was to set a fun goal and hit it. Now that I have proven I can do that, tomorrow I’ll set a new one. The only problem is that I have to find a catchy title that goes with “Wednesday.” Gotta love the run.
Where do you find motivation? I’ve found that it’s OK to truly love running and still have those days when you just don’t feel like it. Why is it sometimes so much easier to do something unhealthy, then it is to do something healthy? You know the days – when the only thing you want to do after a long day is to go home, take a nice shower and crawl into bed with a good book and the television blaring your favorite movie. Those are the days, however, when I have to look outside myself for motivation.
Sometimes we find motivation in the strangest places. Yesterday my motivation was a cupcake, actually a black forest cupcake. So sweet, yet so simple. One of my staff had a birthday party, which I was unfortunate enough to have missed. Always thinking of me, however, she left a delicious surprise on my desk – a black forest cupcake just for me. Next to chocolate, this is one of my very favorites.
I had spent the last two days practicing clean eating. Grapes were my “sweets”. I was loading my plate with vegetables, feeling pretty proud of myself, in fact. Here I was, however, at 6:30 p.m. with a cupcake smelling good and staring me in the face. It doesn’t take a PH.D. to figure out what happened next, yes I ate it….and I was so happy.
Time to leave work…I had planned to go to the gym, but home was calling my name; after all there was always tomorrow. The dilemma set in as I drew nearer the time to make a decision; a left turn to go home, or drive straight to get to a treadmill. Left to comfort, straight to go for a run. That was when the memories of the cupcake spoke to me (not literally, but imagine). Did I enjoy the cupcake? Yes. Did I have any trouble lifting the cupcake and eating it? No. Then why should I have a problem going to the gym? I shouldn’t. Then go…and go, I did. Amazingly enough once I got there, I did my complete workout as planned – and thoroughly enjoyed it! So what did I discover yesterday? Even on days when I’m not feeling it and I know better – just as good as I can devour a yummy cupcake, I can go for the run. So I guess I can safely say that my motivation – was a cupcake.
Not really a “first” , but that’s what it felt like. Not the first run ever, but today I put on my sneakers to run for the first time since the half marathon on February 23. When I got home, I looked at the calendar and realized that today was March 23. Somehow, it felt like an appropriate day to have a first run.
Procrastination….Yes I admit that I vowed to begin my running again on March 15th, but you know how it is (or feel free to pretend to not), I’ll do it “tomorrow”. Day after day, I kept saying, “tomorrow.” I always felt like I had great excuse. No, the pain will come back. No, I need a new pair of sneakers. No, I don’t have time to pack a bag to run after work. Funny enough, they sounded good at the time, but they really did nothing to alleviate the guilt I was inwardly feeling.
Today – I don’t know what sparked me to go out for a “first” run. I must admit that the bed was tempting. It was soft, warm, comfortable and safe. Tomorrow sounded like a good idea, after all – I just got my Jeff Galloway Running Journal yesterday and IT starts on Monday.
Reflections – I want to run. I enjoy the time to think. I want to be in better shape. As I lay in bed remembering the fun of the Disney weekend, I remember how good it felt walking through the parks congratulating medal winners and for the first time having my own half marathon medal around my neck.
Results – I didn’t go out for time or distance and it was only 2.5 miles. I went out to enjoy the moment and get started toward that awesome feeling. No pain… no problems, first run.
I read an interesting article in my daily Runner’s World email today. The topic was concerning mid-run nutrition, particularly for first-time long distance runs. I found the article particularly insightful and truthful in that everyone has to find what works for their own digestive tract. This point is visually driven home by the memories of all the multiple porta-potties lined up at every race – believe it or not, a constant reminder of the importance of nutrition.
The article suggested trying a variety of different items to find what works for you. Some runners find it difficult to chew, swallow and run all at the same time. Another visual, when the failure of coordinating all of these activities brings a smile to my face. I can see where it can be a bit of a challenge. The importance lies not only in what works for your stomach, but that you can also maneuver while keeping the gait going.
I started my half-marathon day at 3:00 a.m. I was hungry, but too nervous to eat. Tips from the “experts” floated to my mind with a twist. They said if you normally drink coffee, then it’s fine to have a cup-o-coffee early on race day. My interpretation was a diet coke and a bagel. Lesson one, eating a dry bagel and a flat diet coke are items to boldly and firmly strike off my list.
Belt material, not what the thing is made of, but rather what to include. I must admit, I sure was feeling rather smart having carefully packed gummy bears and gel packs. The problem was that the zippered opening was in the back, making it difficult to access without stopping, unhooking, twisting it around and digging past the plastic baggies to find the “right stuff”. Note to self for future races, easier access and absolutely never try a gel pack for the first time on a long race. Don’t believe me? Give it whirl. You might learn like I did.
Did any of it work? I must say, while my own gel packs and gummy bears were a little challenging, I did find that slowly sucking on the gel packs followed by swigs of water were lifesavers when the leg cramps started about mid run. No worries though, I have time to run, test and play to find the right race nutrition snack for me.
Wow, it’s funny. I never thought I would say these words – I’m getting ready for next year’s half-marathon on Disney Princess Half-Marathon weekend. I will admit, as I was preparing for my first ever half-marathon, I was determined that running (loosely speaking) a half marathon would be a one-time event; a bucket list item; something that I can say, “I did it” and move on. Somewhere between miles 12 and 13.1, I started to reconsider. I was in pain, yes, pretty much, but with better and more consistent training, I think I can actually do this again.
I learned from the experts that you should rest a few days after such a major running event. I’m definitely doing so. Not really by choice, but still working the kinks out my calves and the long drive home. I’m not wasting the time; however, I’m busy working on a new plan to get ready for next year. The plan currently consists of re-constructing my vision board, framing my bib from this year (visuals always help), scouring for training plans (there are so many free plans available), looking for healthy recipes. High priorities also include signing up for races, including the most important one – a timed 10 K race so that I can place in the corrals next year. This grandma’s got some planning and running to do.
It took one whole year of training. It’s pretty amazing. All of the training, all of the effort led up to the most amazing moment, crossing the finish line! Yes, I did. I finished. Step by step, moment by moment, I moved in awe of the runners who could run those 13.1 miles practically in their sleep. While that wasn’t necessarily me this year, I managed to step over the finish line.
Funny, the marathon was a week ago and the pain is gone. (Oh, I’ll talk about the pain soon), but it’s still sinking in. What I remember the most about that day was being afraid. What was I afraid of? What was the worst that could have happened? Not finishing? Putting everything in perspective, however, once I stepped up to the start line I had already won.
Self-doubt at mile one? During one of his sessions at the expo, Jeff Galloway talked about the three stages of a half marathon. Run the first five miles with your head; the next five miles with your legs and the last miles with your passion. I have to admit, by the third mile, I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to be using. Was it my head? My heart?
Mile ten, oh the legs. I remember at mile nine, feeling a small twinge in my right calf. By mile ten, however, the twinge had turned into full blown cramps in the calf muscles on both legs. Oh no! To get so far and have to quit? Bio-freeze, two stowed-away Tylonel, sipping on PowerAde, I did whatever I needed to do…all in an effort to get back to the safe zone of Epcot. What kept me going? The slim half mile lead I had on the balloon ladies was quickly dwindling. Seeing those balloons bobbing at the bottom of the ramp spurred me on.
The finish…I would like to say that I raced over the line with my arms raised in triumph. Unfortunately, I don’t think it was until a full five minutes after the race that I realized – I finished! I had a medal in hand. My time was not great, but technically it was still a personal record. When I think back to the fact that I finished my first half marathon, with double leg cramps – I have to say, this grandma did it. Next year… here I come!
As time drawers nearer to the Disney Princess Half Marathon, nerves are starting to set in. (HA….as though I haven’t had them for the past year). Have I trained enough? I surely haven’t posted enough. Hopefully my posting frequency, or lack thereof, won’t be an indication of my performance in the Disney Half Marathon in less than twelve days.
Back to the immediate question at hand, however. Those balloon ladies…who are they? If you’re like me, you read up on everything you can about a race. Are there any surprises? What are the other runners saying? Well for the Disney Princess Half Marathon, the biggest buzz is about the infamous balloon ladies. After the last runner has crossed the starting line, these “balloon ladies” (so aptly named for the big balloons they will have tied around their waist), will step over the start line and begin the required 16 mile per hour pacing. If you can’t stay ahead of these ladies, the current (or next) mile might be your last. Can’t keep up and you may get picked up by “the bus” and driven to the finish line. Terror!
Riding the “bus of shame”? This thought alone is enough to spark fear in any novice half marathon runner. I’ve taken heart, however, I’ve read that the volunteers on the bus make it as easy as possible for you as you wallow in whatever emotions you might be feeling…shame for not finishing…berating yourself for lack of training….or happiness because you couldn’t run one more step.
Balloon ladies or not, I have a goal. My goal is to finish – preferably without ever seeing the balloon ladies, but time will tell, however, as we begin the last count down toward – grandma running a half marathon.
Here we are January 1, 2014. It’s a day that so many people make New Year’s resolutions, with the hopes that we will still be engaging in these awesome behaviors by December 31st. The truth is that most resolutions only last a couple of months or a couple of days.
This year, I’m not calling them resolutions. I’m thinking that if I split my goals into smaller chunks, perhaps I can finish one here or there. This year, I’m going to call them 30-day challenges. Sounds more reasonable, doesn’t it? Slightly more do-able? Instead of feeling that I’ve failed by the end of the year, I can feel victorious in as little as 30 days. When I’ve successfully completed a 30-day challenge I can renew it just like a library book.
What happens if I fail? Believe it or not, failure is always an option, but it helps me to understand that I’m not perfect and can forgive myself and start again. I’m not scared of a little failure; I think I would be more scared of never starting.
The answer, I am. In fact, I know it’s probably been more than thirty days, but that is all I’m about to admit to. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t total inactivity. It was the flu, the planter fasciitis and a host of other ailments, but really the biggest excuse was more like – laziness. Who can take time to be lazy when they have their first, and hopefully not last, half marathon hanging over their head? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying “hanging” in the negative sense. More like, what a triumph it will be when I cross the finish line.
What I do know, however, is that the exercise plan, or lack thereof in the last thirty days isn’t going to get me where I need to be. Flu aside, hurt foot move aside, I need to get back on the ball with slightly larger than baby steps.
Step one – tonight sixty minutes of Zumba that included an entire song doing squats. A second song where it seemed like every other move involved doing twenty something jumping jacks. Talk about going zero to sixty. What I do know is that it feels good to sweat. What I also know is that you may not be counting, but I am and the countdown has begun in earnest.
The good thing about running is that the start-up costs absolutely nothing. Aside from a decent pair of sneakers to get started, all you need is the desire. I thought that after being away from running for over thirty days, it would be hard to get started again. Was I giving up on my dream of running a half-marathon?
It’s true, once you start making excuses for why you’re not going out to run, each day it gets even easier to not go. It almost makes you afraid to get out there and get started again. I was nervous, but my desire to feel the freedom and get back on track outweighed my nervousness and most importantly my excuses.
Today is a beautiful day. How often do you look up and see nothing, absolutely nothing but clear blue sky? The deep blue greeted me this morning at 7 a.m. After the summer heat almost scared me away, 62 degrees was just the right temperature this morning to don my sneakers, throw on some shorts and head to the track. Even better, the crowd at the track had thin considerably. Not that I mind other runners, in fact I love the camaraderie, but today I needed a moment to get myself together. I ran some, walked some and managed to go 3.5 miles. Maybe my time wasn’t the greatest. Maybe I did more walking then I would have liked. Maybe my Nike app seemed too happy to see me, but I don’t think anyone was happier than I to be back on track.