Well folks I decided that I needed to make an effort to post today since I have been slacking as of late and the post on Sunday kind of shared where my mind has been recently.  I am a strong believer in managing your chronic conditions whether they are physical or mental.  This is one way that I will work on that with depression and to spread a bit of cheer.  I don’t often join in with the thankfulness posts on FB or New Years resolutions, they seem too temporary to me.  Today however, I am going to share a list of things with you that I am thankful for, not just because tomorrow is Thanksgiving, but because it is a part of positive self-management, I always encourage thankfulness.

  • God- I am not doing the cheesy award speech thing here that makes me roll my eyes.  I truly am thankful for God and the foundation of belief that my parents gave me and that I developed on my own.  God helps me to know that there is a purpose to life and reminds me that no matter what I do I am loved.  I hope that you have some kind of spiritual aspect to your life that provides you comfort and purpose, whether you and I believe in the same God or not.

  • Family- I love my family and could not ask for better parents or a brother.  They have always been supportive and are not afraid to tell me that they love me.  I can’t wait to Skype with them tomorrow.

  • My boyfriend- I love him dearly, he makes me laugh, he calls me out when I need it, he loves my cat, and he supports me.  He also helps me to keep my calm instead of freaking out with anxiety.  I look forward to many years to come with him.

  • Friends- I have some pretty awesome friends in my life.  Some of them are close friends that I have known most of my life and others are close that I haven’t known long.  We are meant to have people in our lives.

  • My cat- I don’t have kids, but I am a cat mama.  I love how she won’t leave me alone, follows me from room to room, and snuggles up close to me at night.  She also loves my boyfriend and if I am not around they cannot be separated.

  • My blogging ladies- they are awesome ladies that have supported me and been great in answering my questions about the blogging and Twitter world.  Thank you Pamela, Suzanne, Shira, Sarah, Toni, and Kristen.  I hope to meet those that I haven’t face to face some day.  Each of you is inspiring and encouraging in your own way, I’m very glad to be associated with you.

  • My health- Despite the annoying cold I have right now, in general I am a very healthy and active woman.  I am so much farther than I was in the past and I need to remember that even when frustrated.  I mean I was able to run 13.1 miles non-stop and not die, I love that I can push my body and it responds.  I love the freedom it provides me and I will keep going as long as I can.

  • The little and not so little things- My job where I help other people, helping others has been my whole career and that makes me blessed.  My favorites like Peppermint tea, coffee, FB to stay in touch with people, my car, all those little conveniences that make life comfortable.  I remember what it was like to not be able to go out and get stuff or repairs done without a panic attack to figure out how.  I am so very blessed now.

  • My readers- I know who a few of you are, but many of you I don’t know. I feel honored that you would be willing to read my ramblings and I hope that I provide something back to you for all you provide to me.

I also love that as I was writing this I thought of more and more positive things, but had to stop myself so this isn’t too many pages long.  I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving, try not to over eat, and have fun.

Ups and Downs

Today I have been studying for my CPT exam and doing some practice tests and honestly I feel totally inadequate right now.  I have really been struggling with some of the specifics like muscles and learning the guidelines put out by NASM for their training model.  I am really not sure how I will do when it comes to the test, right now I just hope to pass.  Right now, depression is creeping in and I haven’t even failed anything…

That being said I wonder have you ever taken on a task that you found to be more challenging than you anticipated?  It’s funny how I now have the confidence to take on new physical challenges, but am struggling with a challenge that involves my intellect.  In the past it has been exactly the opposite for me, I was confident in my intellect, but not the physical.  I guess the times have changed…

To that note, while I try and focus in the next couple of weeks in order to review everything I will be posting about once a week like I have been for a bit.  I fully intend after taking the test and passing (?), to get back to posting more frequently with some nice fresh content and to share my exploits as I try to juggle life and marathon training.

This week I have gotten more strength training in, had one day that I did my food tracking, increased my water, ran 3 times, and did food prep for the next few days.  A partial success in my mind as I wanted to record food every day, I only got 4 miles in today rather than 7-8, and would like to have done some kind of exercise yesterday.  I could point out the down time my body obviously needed with running and the fact that I am starting to feel the beginnings of yet another cold, but the thing is it feels like an excuse.  Excuses, while often founded in some truth, are still an offering to the world for why we didn’t do our best or didn’t try.  I hate them and I don’t want to use or rely on them to make myself feel better.  That being said it is what it is and I can’t very well go back and change the week can I?  I can sit here and dwell on my mistakes and allow depression to continue and creep in or…

Instead I am going to try and shake off the depression, frustration, fear, and disappointment I am struggling with and move forward. I hate feeling all those negative emotions and how they can easily cascade on you.  I have some planning to do to make an actual program for myself for the strength training and to figure out how I will incorporate my long runs (we are talking 2-3 hours) into life and still maintain my responsibilities.  I have a few more weeks to study and try to gain some confidence in my knowledge and some down time at work to use towards that effort.  I’m actually looking forward to the next few months to try and do some revamping and to make some positive changes so I am going to try and focus on that hope. 


In the meantime I will continue with what I know works to help me stay on track and make more efforts to increase the other healthy habits again.  I have accomplished a lot in my life and shown my abilities, it’s simply time to regroup and remember those things.  After all one week ago I pushed my physical limits and finished the half a secret dream I put out there.  Maybe I will surprise myself and actually get another blog entry done this week. Instead of dwelling in depression, I am going to work hard to focus on the positives and the possibilities.

Rock and Roll Half Marathon Race Recap

I did it, I finished my first half marathon!!!  I can’t move today, but I did it!!!!  Just kidding (sort of), I have made an effort to move and drink a lot of water to help my legs and whole body recover.  I had to go to the DMV (much more grueling than the race) so I didn’t get an opportunity to do a recovery run, I did however stand in the lobby during my 3 hour wait and stretch my legs like a fool.  The sitting made me so stiff I didn’t really care if I got any looks.  So here’s how the race went:

I got to the strip around noon to make sure I could get there since they closed the roads at 2pm.  I was originally going to stay at the Luxor (a very cool casino btw), but ended up just using it as a landing spot to keep my dry clothes and to rest a little.  I got my gear set out, my hydration pack ready, phone charged, and grabbed some lunch. I also took the time to get a little coffee boost. 

After stretching my legs and looking around a bit I could see people already starting to gather for the pre race festivities and decided I better get my butt in gear, literally.  While I was getting ready I could hear and feel the All American Rejects playing across the street, they were so good too!  I wandered around looking for some fellow Swirlgear sisters and didn’t see any, but I know they were there along with a few bloggers I follow.  It would have been nice to meet them, but it was nice to know they were there.  I did get to see my friend from Missouri, Chelsey and it turns out we ended up in the same corral!  We also found a woman from our home town in Missouri in there, seriously what are the odds of that!

I decided to try and follow the 2:20 pace setter for the race even though my goal was to finish in 2:30.  Our corral started off at just after 5pm and off we went!  It seemed like before I knew it we had already gone almost 3 miles!  I was still following the pace setter and there was a group of us hanging in there together.  There was this really nice couple from Seattle and the wife and I chatted about how fast the pace setter was going!  She was super nice and encouraging, exactly what I expect from fellow runners.  I held in until around mile 8 and then I just couldn’t keep that pace any longer.  I lost them around Fremont street, where to be honest I thought about walking.  I was so tired by then I just couldn’t help thinking about it.  I had to do some serious self talk and remind myself of how much I had worked to do this, how long I trained and to suck it up because I was not going to give up!  Then it happened, I looked at my Garmin and saw I was at 11 miles and 1:47 for my time.  I knew right then and there I had my goal beat if I just kept running.  Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot your almost there….over and over in my head. I shuffled through my songs to get to “Don’t Stop Believing” so I could finish listening to it.

As I crossed the finish line I started to cry and then realized I couldn’t breathe so I had to take a deep breathe to control myself.  I finished in a better time than my goal and I couldn’t be prouder, I put a lot of hours of training and hard work into it.  I learned a few things too that will help me in the future: 87 songs is more than enough in a play list, when you have been running for so long it takes effort to get your legs to stop, the sport beans are not for me (stomach issues), running that long for a race oddly hurts more than training, any kind of food or beer tastes good at the finish line, and it is hard to sleep after running 13.1 miles.  My official results are: Overall/9156 out of 20566, Division/ 944 out of 2369, Gender/4589 out of 12665, 5k 32:32, 10k 1:04:21, 10mi 1:47:10, Pace 11:03, Chip Time 2:24:44. My Garmin said I did 13.45 miles at 2:24, probably from all of the dodging of people, I like my Garmin the best, HA! Up next lots of stretching tonight, a short run tomorrow, strength training increase, a few 5k/10k/halfs, and signing up for my marathon in April!

Prepping for my half and done with being skinny fat

Feels like I hardly ever get to post anymore and I really hate that, but so much is going on with life lately that something had to give and multiple posts a week were it.  Not for much longer though as some things that I have going on are settling down.  That being said I am so glad that you have all held on and had some patience with me about this.  I promise that the studying to be a CPT will pay off for you as well because I will be able to provide you some great information.

Today I wanted to share something with you that I have been noticing about my own physical make up.  I am what you would call skinny fat.  Now I know that sounds contradictory, but it isn’t if you bare with me I will explain.  I am nowhere near a big fan of BMI, I think that there are way to many factors that it overlooks.  That being said I do know that much like a scale it is a good starting point for people that already know they are overweight.  When you are fat you really don’t need anyone standing there with a sign or a chart to point it out, you know.

I weigh somewhere between 145-150lbs, significantly less than I used to and I am thrilled about that.  But with my focus being so much on running (my love!!!) I have neglected strength training horribly.  So much so that I am fearful of what my body fat vs lean muscle is.  I haven’t used any equipment to measure it, but I can feel it in my own body.  Certain clothing feels less comfortable and fits differently and my guns are more like pea shooters than the magnums I would like.  So what’s a girl to do? 

This girl is going to suck it up, decrease her running just a tad and put more focus on the strength training.  I know I have said this and been struggling with this for a bit, but part of my struggles that I have shared in my post were probably closer to planning and preparation rather than being in the action stage.  I feel like I am finally ready to take action once this week and my half is done next weekend. 

In fact I am going to take my training skills and education and write up a training plan for myself.  I still want to run and will just cut down to 1-2 miles the days I do strength and will continue with a longer run on the weekends.  I still have the goal of doing a pull up and I want to be able to kick my boyfriends butt at arm wrestling!  I also wouldn’t mind having super strong and sexy legs and back.  I mean have you seen Suzanne at Workout Nirvana and Lindsay at Lean Green Bean, they have muscles!!  Those are just two of the ladies I admire strength wise.  I will also start doing the food journal again.  I actually kept it up a few days after my car accident and then got a “I’ve been through heck I deserve this ____ (fill in the blank with junk)” attitude.  Not healthy nor smart because none of that junk helped me survive the stress.  In fact the increase in junk probably made it worse. 

So next week I am going to say no to any sugary treats (this will be hard I will have to keep some fruit around), no more alcohol for the week (having a nice beer as we speak), reduction of caffeine (another challenge), and only the run of 3-4 miles on Tuesday (probably the least stressful day since I will get to run).  After that it’s all about the tapering, hydrating, stretching with some myofascial release, and eating more complex carbs.  My race will be what it is, I want to finish it knowing I gave it my all.  I know from experiences thus far that each time I run I get faster and stronger.  I honestly felt great at the end of 8 miles today and could have gone longer, but knew I shouldn’t.

It’s 6 days 22 hours and 6 minutes and counting until my first official half marathon.  I have my bib number, know my corral number, and have people I am going to the Expo with to pick it all up.  My boyfriend may not be able to come with me, but if he can’t I have a friend that will be so I have someone nearby to celebrate!  I CAN’T WAIT!!!

Soon you are going to see a faster, leaner, stronger me!  Then DUN DUN DUN I start the marathon training back up…oh yeah I will CONQUER 26.2 on April 26, 2014!  (and a few halfs in the mean time, lol!)

The dreadmill a love/hate relationship

Treadmills aka “dreadmills” hate them or love them they are a fixture of the gym and many fitness plans,  especially for the runners out there like me.  We tend to have a love hate relationship with them.  We love that they allow us to run on a day that is nasty outside, but hate them for several reasons.

This weekend as I attempted succeeded in getting some miles in at the gym I was reminded of my love/hate relationship.  I really wondered how the heck  I got to the point of doing 10 miles on the treadmill when I first started adding distance.  I am most definitely a fan of running outside, the more I do it the more I love it.  There are so many benefits to it:

  • The fresh air ( in the gym some people really stink it up).
  • Scenery/built in distractions of nature.
  • Natural hills that just work your muscles differently.
  • Given the right temperature and a beautiful day you just don’t want to stop running making long distances easy.
  • The outdoors don’t stop at 60 minutes, enough said.
  • Easier on the knees (depending on the setting).
  • Fellow runners that give the nod/wave/thumbs up to encourage you because we are a family.

But on the other hand the treadmill offers a few benefits:

  • It’s near a bathroom, if you move a lot like running you need a place to have an easy pit stop.
  • The temperature control is built in thanks to the indoor environment.  When you live in the desert during the summer it’s sometimes difficult to find a temperature that allows for a nice and safe run.  Also when you live in a desert you become a wimp when it comes to cold, yes I am officially a cold temperature wimp now.  My Missouri up bringing and South Dakota roots have faded.
  • If I want to run, but am feeling a bit lazy it is easier.
  • Built in cup holders and a place for a towel.

All that being said the most important part to any exercise program is just doing it.  So whether you run outdoors or indoors, you have to do the action part.  I do have a few tips that I had to develop to help me back when I started increasing my mileage in the heat of the Vegas summer. 

  • Cover up the numbers on the treadmill.  If you are like me and have a hard time not looking at the time or distance and saying “OMG I’ve only gone how far???” then this helps.
  • Find your favorite songs to listen to while running. Inspiring music helps a lot not just with the beat, but to keep you in a good mood.  (Yes I am a treadmill dancer, not as fancy as on videos but I do bop around.)
  • If music doesn’t get you then if you can keep good posture watch a TV show or movie.  You don’t want to get a crick in your neck looking down the whole time.
  • Find a friend who wants to run and get them on the treadmill too.
  • People watch in the gym.  I love people watching and making up scenarios in my mind about the people I see.  It’s silly, but it passes the time and helps with boredom.
  • Race the person next to you.  They don’t have to know you are doing it, but it can be a fun little challenge.
  • Race yourself and see if you can increase your speed and get a PR.

Running outside will always be my preference, but in a pinch I will do whatever I can to get some miles in.  Tomorrow I am running inside again, just 5 miles so it shouldn’t feel like total torture.  As soon as I get some cold weather gear I am heading back out.  Since I have my Rock and Roll Half in less than two weeks and it is at night I will be getting some running tights soon!  Do you have any tips for indoor workouts or runs?  How do you feel about the “dreadmill”?

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