Motivational Pins

Some days everyone can use a little pep talk right? There are certain sayings that I glance over and they don’t mean a thing to me, but then there are some that hit right to my heart. So maybe someone who is struggling with something today will be able to be encouraged by one of these pictures. I hope everyone has a great Thursday!

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QOTD: Which of these is your favorite? What is something you tell people to encourage them?

What Makes You Fearless?

Awhile back, I was approached by someone from sheknows.com who was writing an article on healthy living bloggers and fearless living. One of the questions I was asked was “what makes you fearless?” Honestly, I took a day or two to mull it over, because I didn’t want to just spit out “the answer” that everyone wants, if you know what I mean.

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So, now I would like to ask you. What makes you fearless as someone on a journey to healthy living. It’s not always an easy one, and everyone struggles with different parts of it. I believe everyone has a strength in this department, something that makes them fearless, gives them the strength to tackle the big issues.

I would love to hear what makes YOU fearless. Brag a little today, it’s ok!

*Check out the article on SheKnows.com!

QOTD: What makes you fearless?

Things I wish I’d known when I started running

Please enjoy this guest post while I am off running 48.6 miles!

When I decided to take up running a little over a year ago, I was completely new to the sport.

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I decided I wanted to make a healthy life change and jumped in with both feet—I signed up for a half marathon before I’d ever run a mile. The next few months were a crash course in running—I bumbled my way through a training plan and across the finish line. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about running. Here are some of the things I wish someone had told me before I laced up my shoes for the first time.

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  • Shoes matter: In the beginning, I thought all running shoes were created equal. Boy, was I wrong. It took me months to step out of the outlets and into a specialty running store, but once I started wearing shoes that suited me, I was amazed at the difference it made.
  • Function over fashion: What you wear when you’re running matters. Running in the cotton race t-shirt? I only made that mistake once. Training for a race in the south means moisture-wicking clothes are your best friend, and when the weather turns cold, it is really important to have clothes that suit the chilly temperatures. It took me awhile to find the pieces that fit and suited me best—and luckily, there are so many companies that make functional, cute running pieces that sometimes it is hard to choose. Bottom line: good running clothes are worth the investment.
  • Consistency is key: Deciding to run a long distance race is a commitment, and it takes dedication and consistency. You have to be ready to put the effort in, especially as a beginner.
  • Chafing happens: I didn’t discover body glide until after my first half marathon. My first long, humid, layered half marathon. The thought of it still makes me shudder.
  • Learn how to recover: It took me awhile to learn how to recover from a long run, and that everyone recovers differently. My magic combo is foam rolling, Epsom salts and the occasional massage.
  • You have to find the best hydration plan for you: I trained for my first half pushing a jogging stroller—which meant I had plenty of room for a water bottle and refills. When I started running without my kid, I struggled with hydration. Should I carry a water bottle? Get a hydration belt? It took me awhile to figure out that my preference is to just carry a bottle, and to take advantage of the water stops during races.
  • Use gels and chews: When a volunteer handed me a gel a little over halfway through that first half, I was hesitant to try it. Once I did, though, I was completely converted. What a difference it made! I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to discover the benefits of them.
  • Make friends (on the running trail and virtually): Running started out as a solo activity for me, then I started to make friends at the starting lines of races. What a friendly group of people! I joined some online forums and groups that connected me to runners in my area and all over the country—it’s a great way to get support, cheer people on, and learn about races you might not know about otherwise.
  • Plan ahead: Some races fill up quickly, some races are chosen by a lottery, and some races have time requirements. If there is a race you really want to do, make sure you do your homework. If you miss a deadline or the race fills up, make it a goal for the next year.
  • Keep it fun: Most of us aren’t professional runners, but we often forget that. It is easy to get caught up in tracking our pace, getting a PR or filling up our medal hangers with shiny bling. Don’t let it all get the best of you, and remember that running should be fun.

QOTD: What do you wish you had known when you started running? What was the best tip you got?

Allyson Brandt lives in Atlanta, GA, and can be found blogging at www.proverbialplot.blogspot.com

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Dealing with Confidence and Bad Runs

It happens to all of us, the run that is no fun and difficult from the very beginning.

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I felt like crap, but am loving the look of my Under Armour Monza’s!

You tell yourself you just need to warm up, but two miles later you still feel like it’s pure torture. You can’t find your groove, everything seems labored and more difficult, and you just don’t want to be there.

I had one of those lovely runs yesterday morning. It was a GORGEOUS cool morning, and I hadn’t run a long run in three weeks. I had been resting due to illness, and thought I would run a great eight miler since I had been resting for so long. Well, for some reason my “great 8 miler” turned into a “yucky, slow, and depressing 6 miler”.

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My “that was a yucky run” face. Oh yes.

What went wrong? I have ZERO idea. Well, not entirely true, I have been switching up my eating, but I still don’t think that warrants such a bad run. I just felt in a funk and wanted to be done and got really mad at myself.

Why do we do this? Even though I KNOW every run isn’t a good one, and that one bad run doesn’t mean anything/that I am a terrible person who will never have a good race ever, it doesn’t seem to stop these thoughts and doubts from creeping into my mind. I left my run feeling very down on myself with little confidence in my abilities.

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This one is titled “How did THAT happen? Ug”.

What do you do when you have a confidence breaking bad run? What if it lasts a couple weeks? (I fear I may be in a burn out/funk over here!) I have a half marathon in six days, and then Dopey training (OMG yikes) and need to snap out of this!! Aaaahhhh!

QOTD: What do you do to get over a bad run or get out of a running funk?

October Look Back to 2012

These are always fun posts to write, and I can honestly say I am SO glad I am not in the same boat I was in at this time last year. While I do have a cold, I am not near as sick as I was last October!

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Never thought I would end up in urgent care two hours after this photo was taken.

We got off a Disney cruise and I was very sick and nauseated. I ran a half marathon the next day, and ended up in urgent care. Then I ended up having stomach issues that lasted until Christmas, so last fall was a difficult time for me. VERY glad that is over with! I can honestly say though when all of that was going on, it felt like it was NEVER going to end. I felt helpless and defeated, and it really taught me not to judge other people when it comes to illness, because you just don’t know what they are going through or how one sickness can affect someone else differently than you.

Not sure if ANY of that made sense, hoping it did! Anyway, I will take a cold any day over some things other deal with and what I was dealing with last year. We did however have a good time on our cruise last October with my parents, and I will never forget our jeep excursion “experience” through Costa Maya in the pouring rain and driving though enormous mud puddles to get back to the ship.

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QOTD: What is something you did or were doing this time last year you are glad you are NOT doing this year?

10 Commandments of Running

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Hello everybody! My name is Kathryn and I blog at From Dancing to Running. While Heather is in Orlando enjoying time at Universal Studios and Disney World and running the Tower of Terror 10 Miler, I’m honored that she’s given me another opportunity to share some thoughts on running with you.

Many of us have at some point come across one version or another of the “Ten Commandments of Running.” Now that we’re in the midst of the fall running season, I have found myself revisiting many of variations of this list and reminding myself of many of the commandments. I’ve now been running for six months, and am finding these commandments to be of utmost importance, especially now that I’m officially one month into my formal training plan for my first half marathon, the Disney World Half Marathon in January.

Below is my list of commandments that I’m currently reminding myself of and trying my best to adhere to:

1. Thou shall never compare one’s speed, distance, or abilities to that of another runner.

While we all may be runners, we all started at different points in time, we all have different physical limitations that we face, and we all live different lives. What’s most important is that you are out there running, regardless of how fast you may be or how far you can go.

 

2. Thou shall get enough sleep.

Statistics show that athletes need more sleep than non-athletes. Now that I’m more physically active than I was six months ago, I find myself more tired in the evenings than I used to be. Because I’m a teacher and have to get up at 4:45 every morning in order to be at school on time, I usually fall asleep between 8:30 and 9:30 every evening. Six months ago, I could easily push myself past 10 or 11 every night, and feel rested enough to face my students in the morning, but that’s no longer the case. Athletes exert more energy than non-athletes do; thus, they need more recovery time before they’re back up and at it the next day.

3. Thou shall listen to one’s body.

As runners, we’re always trying to push ourselves to be just a tad bit faster or to run just a bit more distance. This means that we’re putting extra stress on our bodies than the average American. If you’re starting to feel sick, or your body is telling you that it hurts, it’s okay to take a day or two of rest. Most training experts recommend at least one day of rest after any strenuous workout, which in a runner’s case is likely the long run or a race itself. If your body says it needs rest, then listen to it and take it.

4. Thou shall not neglect the importance of proper nutrition and hydration.

Proper nutrition and hydration are essential in order to have the necessary energy for running. This is not only important for staying healthy, but our bodies cannot perform at their highest level possible without being properly fueled.

 

5. Thou shall find a buddy to share their enthusiasm for running with.

There’s always strength in numbers. Whether your buddy is physical or virtual, finding at least one other person who you can share your passion for running with will help ensure that you maintain your motivation and passion to keep running. For me, I find my physical motivation in my husband. He’s been running for years longer than I have, so it’s natural that his endurance and speed are much greater than mine are. However, we often go to the gym or out on the trail at the same time, and just knowing that we’re out there “together” helps keep me going. On days that he wants an easy run, he’ll often run with me at my speed. We’ve run multiple races together, but opted for different course lengths. We’ve still both had to get up early for the same reason, and we both had to nourish our body the day before in order to prepare for the same event. Virtually, I have found the blogging community of runners to be invaluable, as well as those who I also follow on Twitter. It’s not only inspiring to read others’ stories, but social media provides us access to a network of other runners to communicate that physical limitations might otherwise prevent.

 

6. Thou shall keep their running interesting to them.

For most people, if something isn’t fun or enjoyable then they’re unlikely to follow through. Everybody finds different things to be fun. For me, varying where I run and the types of races that I run helps maintain my interest. Finding a running partner can also help keep running interesting. Race wise, not only are there the runDisney races, but many other fun race series have recently popped up, including the Electric Run and the Color Run. I also recently had a unique opportunity to run on the runway at Dulles International Airport. Find whatever it is that will help keep your running interest sparked so that you’re not tempted to steer away from running.

 

7. Thou shall be properly fit for running shoes.

Up until about a month ago, I was wearing basic Asics. I made my shoe selection based on what was on sale at DSW whenever I needed a pair of shoes. After my husband ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon and discovered that one of his big toenails was completely purple (four weeks later it still is), we both decided it was time to take a trip to the local running store to be properly fit for shoes. During our fitting, we discovered that he was wearing a shoe that was too small, and that I have extremely high arches that weren’t being properly supported. Although my Asics continue to provide the support I need for walking and weight training, my new Mizunos provide much greater support and I find that I have less ankle pain when I run (I first sprained it when I was in fourth grade, and after multiple sprains its strength has deteriorated.)

8. Thou shall invest in proper running attire that is both breathable and fits properly.

Along with the importance of having properly fitting shoes, having properly fitting and breathable running clothes is essential. Heather shared in her Disneyland half race recap that part of what made her chafe was that her Dumbo costume included a cotton top. Cotton and running do not get along! And girls – just as it’s important to wear a properly sized bra during daily activities, a properly fitting sports bra is just as important during physical activities. I am quite blessed in this area, so cheap unsupportive sports bras aren’t going to cut it.

 

9. Thou shall not increase their distance by more than 10% each week.

Running is already physically demanding to begin with, but not gradually increasing distance and intensity will only put yourself at greater risk for injury for also at greater risk for dehydration and other health related issues.

 

10. Thou shall continue living the rest of their life outside of running.

This commandment is by far the hardest for me to obey. A month ago I started following a specific training plan for my upcoming half marathon, with my long runs taking place over the weekend. Only a month in, I’m realizing that adjustments have to be made, not only for when you’re sick, but in order to make sure you also have time to spend with loved ones. Being an athlete is about balancing all of life’s demands, not focusing all of our time and energy just on running. I may not always be able to complete all of my runs on the days that I planned to do them back in August when I plotted out the training plan, but flexibility and adjustment will help ensure that everything on both my life and training calendars can be included.

QOTD: What would you include on this list?

Life Interupted

Hello friends! Today I wanted to share a little more about the Bible study I am participating in, “What Happens When Women Say yes to God.”.

We are in week four of the study, and I am having a great time with my first ever online Bible study. What a cool concept and thanks to technology, it is all possible. Amazing!

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Anyway, today I want to talk a little about interruptions. In the book, Lysa talks about how at one point in her life things seemed to all be going wrong, but how this “interruption” ended up being a blessing for her and her family later on. This story actually really hit home for me because it dealt with exactly the same thing I went through!

In the book, Lysa talks about her husband being an avid runner who blew out his knee and had to have major surgery. Not understanding why God allowed this to happen, they later realized not only was God protecting her husband from a potentially dangerous situation, but they also learned a lot during that time that led to so many great blessings in their lives they may have missed had this not happened.

Well my friends, if you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know nearly two years ago I suffered from a stress fracture in my foot right in the middle of racing season. I was devastated, and was in a walking boot for many weeks and didn’t run for 9 or ten weeks. At the time, I thought my world was crashing down, but looking back I learned a lot during that time:

1.) I am stronger than I think. When I was going through that trial, I thought there was no way I would get through it, but step by step and day by day, I did!

2.) New activities: Since I couldn’t run, I was forced to do new things, mainly take up weight lifting. I now love lifting and do it 3-4 times a week to complement my running. I believe this has made me a better athlete in the long run.

3.) Encouraging others: Since my injury, I have had the opportunity to encourage others going through the same thing I went though.

4.) Wait…somewhat patiently:  My close friends and family will all nod their heads in unison with this one: I am NOT very patient. When I realize I want something or to do something, I do everything I can to make it happen, NOW! I have had to learn that some things take time, and that God’s timing is best. I STILL struggle with this to this day, but being able to look back and see how things turned out ok in the end has helped me to trust more.

All this out of a stress fracture? Yes! I’m sure there is more, too. Maybe even things I am not aware of yet. My point is, try to look at every “interruption” as a learning experience, a growth opportunity, and a chance to react correctly to the trials we face. Remember, you are stronger than you think!

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QOTD: What is a life interruption that turned out for your good? How so?

Under Armour Visit Part 2: Great Things are Coming

If you missed the first post about my visit to Under Armour headquarters, be sure to check it out and then come back here and read this one.

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So I left off right before we were about to get our butts kicked in an awesome but tough workout wearing the new Armour 39 monitoring system. We did a circuit workout that went on and on with moves to tone the entire body. Although it was a nice cool day, I sure was pushing hard and feeling the burn.

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We finished off our workout with an Under Armour cheer (Will you protect this house?!?)

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#IWILL!!! Electra, me, Kasey, and Tasha

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Water never tasted so good.

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Post workout happiness!

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We took a look at our ipod touches to see what our stats were with Armour 39. I was quite pleased that I had a willpower of 8.58, I was working hard so it was nice to see the “proof” of that. We chatted a bit more about the intensity, heart rate, and other details of the system now that we had seen first hand how it works. It’s so awesome guys, I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

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Something that I learned from this workout is that I have NOT been pushing the intensity like I should, except when I run. When I am running I have no problem pushing hard, but on cross training days, I tend to treat them like easy days, and I shouldn’t. This workout proved that to me, so I will be working  lot harder now.

We headed back inside for a quick shower before lunch and meeting with a few of the amazing teams that work at Under Armour.

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UA lunch

I can’t share everything I learned with you, but trust me when I say some awesome things are on the horizon for Under Armour! I was so excited to meet some of the creative minds behind he brand, it got me so pumped!

Later that afternoon we headed to our hotel.

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We were spending the night at the FOUR SEASONS!

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More on that later, I will leave you in suspense until tomorrow. Smile

QOTD: Do you feel like you could up the intensity of your workouts?

*Photo credits to the awesome Matt Ryb who followed us around during our workout!

Monthly Goals: August 2013

A week late again, I know. One of these months I will get this done on time. The new month just sneaks up on me! Good thing I don’t scare easy. Well…maybe I do, but please don’t use it against me.

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Bella scares easy. Anyone else’s dog?

Let’s take a look at last month’s goals I gotta say I’m a bit embarrassed…

1.) Heal my IT band: (D-) Still hurts. Not when I run, but still hurts after.

2.) get back to my happy weight: (D-) So I haven’t GAINED anymore weight but I have only lost about a pound.  I went to Disney last month and weeellll that makes it hard to lose. Ug.

3.) Go back to body pump: (F…) It just didn’t happen yall. I was out of town for 2 Mondays, and the other two I was busy catching up on everything I missed. I fail.

4.) Leg strengthening exercises: (C-) I actually did well the first 1.5 weeks of the month with this, then went on a trip and slacked off.

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This will NOT be me!

For this month, since last month was SO bad, I really just want a redo of last month, so I am keeping ALL my goals the same for the first time ever. We shall see how it goes.

***WINNER of my Dream Flats giveaway is: Margaret Harry! Please e mail me at heatherslookingglass@gmail.com to claim your prize!

Also, the kind folks at LUV Footwear have offered a 20% off code for THLS readers through August 31. Simply enter code Heather at checkout for the discount!

QOTD: Have you ever re-tried goals you failed to achieve?

Goal Setting as a Motivator

While I attend the #DisneySportsFestival today, please enjoy this guest posst!

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Hi! My name is Kathryn and I blog at From Dancing to Running. I’m currently training for my first half marathon. I’m a lifelong dancer slowly evolving into a runner, and have been working on this transition since March. It was then that I was inspired by my husband who completed his first marathon at Disney World back in January to sign up for the Disney World Half Marathon this coming January. And while my family thought I was crazy to sign up for my first half (as well as the 10K – have to get that new Minnie Mouse themed medal!), they think he’s even crazier to have signed up for the Dopey Challenge!

What prompted both of us to sign up for all of these races? We both wanted to set a goal for ourselves and prove that we can do whatever we put our minds to. I have two younger sisters, and of the three of us I’ve always been the dancer and the two of them have always been the runners. They both ran Cross Country in high school, where as I was a part of a dance company as well as our high school’s Dance Team, dancing up to seven days a week. My mom’s jaw dropped when she heard of my newfound goal, but her reaction as well as the reaction from others is fueling my motivation even more to do whatever it takes to prepare myself for Disney World in January.

By day for ten months out of the year, I teach high school Social Studies. I frequently tell my students that they can accomplish whatever they put their minds to, no matter how daunting or challenging the task may seem. I took the plunge and set a long term goal for myself: to train and prepare to run the 10K and half marathon during Marathon Weekend, and know that since I’ve put my mind to completing these races that I’ll do whatever it takes to not only complete these races but also lead by example to my students.

So I set this goal for myself and started training. My training has focused on a combination of running, walking, cross training on the elliptical, and weight training. When I first started out, I just went to the gym or went outside on one of our local trails and worked out. I didn’t know for how long or how far I’d be going, I just went through the motions. I quickly realized though that working out without an immediate goal or plan wasn’t going to keep me motivated, and I quickly turned to short term goal setting. Currently, I’m focused on completing 100 training miles in seven weeks. I’ve already completed another 100 miles in seven weeks, and I’d like to see myself do this again, despite being on vacation for two of these weeks. I don’t want to use being out of town as an excuse. I’ve also been focused on preparing for my first 10K, the Biggest Loser 10K.

As I’ve set each short term goal, I’ve focused on making sure that my goals are both challenging but also realistic and attainable. Will I meet 100% of the goals that I set for myself? Likely not, or else I’m probably setting too low of a bar for myself. As Bruce Lee once said, “A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

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I truly believe in Lee’s words. If I didn’t have any goals, whether short or long term, it would be difficult to find the motivation to train. Instead, I have my long term goal – to run my first half marathon – driving my training overall and helping to shape all of the interwoven short term goals that keep my training more focused. All of these goals are helping keep me motivated as I keep my eye on the prize – crossing the finish line at Disney World in six months.

QOTD: Do you set goals to motivate yourself?