Decisions, Decisions

What do you do when you made a blog about running 52 miles per month and then attain that goal? 

I’ll tell you the advice I would give to anyone: Feel satisfied, and continue to feel content with the fact that you set out a mission and now, can not only accomplish it, but regularly hit that mark.

This is the advice I should really be giving myself. Or some kind of mirror mantra talk a la little girl in the mirror:

Instead of embracing achievement and enjoying success, I usually see that there’s always more that can be done. I’m not sure if this is a strength or a weakness. 

Well this week, I got a message from a friend asking me to do a half marathon in May. This is the second time I’ve been asked to do a half marathon by a running friend. They see I can suddenly run two miles and think I can be sucked into more running. The first time I was asked I laughed and then said nothing at all. She has not asked me about it again since. That was months ago. Well, now I have a little more experience under my belt and I’m feeling good with my regular three mile thing, I have even floated the idea around of doing a 10K. So, why then, when I was asked to partake in the half, did my three-mile safety-net of a cocoon get shaken up and unraveled?! I thought about it for a few hours and messaged her back:

Let me think about it.

That was my exact response.

This weekend I spent a lot of time doing as I said I would – thinking about my running future. Thinking things such as: at this point the most I’ve run is 4 miles… brain doubles the number- so double the most I’ve done and it’s still less than a half marathon. And I realized something when I began to do math, because I hate math, I’m self sabotaging before I even attempt to try. I want to do the half marathon but my fears are real. Fears like, am I pushing myself too much too soon? What if I have a flare because I’m putting too much stress on my body, can I physically handle this? Can I mentally handle it? I think I can. In my three months of running I have done more than I knew was possible. So what’s holding me back other than my own insecurities? I would also like to thank quite a few blogs that I perused through for inspiration- many of you set your sights on anything from a 5K to a marathon to ultra running (which I will never ever do) – You guys are phenomenal humans.

So what conclusion have I arrived to on this half marathon debate?

I’m in. I’m going to begin training for a half marathon.

Starting… Now!

Run Hard when it’s Hard to Run

Run hard when it’s hard to run. 

Those are the fabulous words my mom chose to engrave on my Hanukkah nano. Which I love.

Those words made me address my own hidden fears- Am I running as hard as I could be?

When I began running I could feel my heart in my throat. At times two miles seemed nearly impossible, but there I was, day in, day out running it. Gradually I made my way from a 12 minute mile, to 11 minutes, to 10, to 9, and even 8. I continued to run two miles, but the difficulty of the run shifted. I was finding new challenges within the same distance. I would go on rainy days. Or days that seemed too hot. Or the sun was blinding. I didn’t care because I had a goal in mind- I needed to do my two miles and I needed to run 52 miles per month. It’s what I promised myself. By my first month I made the shift and conquered three miles but continued to regularly run two. By my third month running, the once challenging 2 miles became easy, but it was comfortable. I had made the transition into somewhat of a runner. Hello, I now own running sneakers. And they are so hip. But could I do more than my comfortable two miles? 

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If there’s something I’ve learned through my escapades in trying to be healthy it’s that the brain is a powerful thing. And mine is super powerful- in a negative way. Usually when I hit the two mile marker I hear my brain- you’re good- you earned pizza today! She’s such a bitch, that brain of mine. I start to think I can do more, but she talks me out of it. But your knees… don’t forget your knees- they are so delicate. And you also earned that pizza. You must be famished from exerting so much energy. BRAIN! 

So, today I shut my brain off. I literally told her to shut her trap, I looked dead ahead, and I ran. I got to two miles- keep going, you feel good. I got to three miles- I actually feel good. And then a great song came onto my Hanukkah nano, and it hit me- just keep going. And I did! Today I ran four miles- the most I have ever done. And I feel fantastic. Take that brain. You negative Nancy. 

John wasn’t feeling too hot after that ten year reunion I filled you in on, so he just snapped some pictures as I completed my run- I recognize how creepy this looked to everyone around us, but it was imperative that this day go down in my personal history. 

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FEELING LIKE A CHAMPION! A sweaty, disgusting, champion. 

And that my friends is the story of the first time I ran four miles. Thanks for reading along! Tomorrow I will discuss- songs to listen to when running four miles. Now, I will leave you with what the gym left with me today:

222Yep. It’s real. This is really a class at my gym now.

 

Making Faces

Yesterday I came to the realization that I make horrific running faces. Nose scrunched, puckered lips, snorting… It’s all wrong. But it’s pure and real. Running is raw. I began to laugh at my own expense. So now I’m running and laughing. Probably looking crazy. I began to daydream…

Does anyone look like this?

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And by this, I mean a perfect gazelle?!

And as I mentally wandered off I began to think about my physicality and my insecurities. I began to examine my personal gains in confidence which have stemmed from running. Who told us that when women work out we look flawless? And even when we sweat, our sweat falls as perfect little beads that drip in sex appeal? Is this the ideal? Because i’m being honest with myself and all of you wonderful people,I love to sweat it out, and I don’t mind not looking like I just walked off the cover of Self Magazine. I will leave you will some ads of wisdom courtesy of Nike.

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Love yourself. Be yourself. Even if you resemble Gizmo after snacking past midnight while running.

Yoga Flow

I love yoga.

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I love it to the point that I’m annoying about it.  I’ll admit it.  I will just talk your ear off about why everyone should do it at least once.

Even if they suck.

I feel qualified to say that because the thing is… I’m not very good at it.  (Crow, hell no.)

And even though I can do little more than a half-assed cobra, I keep going back.  Maybe it’s the personal challenge of it all- it’s something that you can clearly see growth in.  That moment when a posture just clicks feels like an unbelievable breakthrough that words cannot describe.  

I was not an athlete. ever. There were two defining moments in my life that made me this way (oh, I believe we are the way we are for very specific events that happened in our life.)  Both occurred when I was nine- gym class, fourth grade, I was picked last in dodge-ball.  What a crappy feeling.  Was I that bad in it? Or did my peers just not like me that much? It didn’t matter- all I know is that it hurt. The second time I was in a sports camp (isn’t it ironic– dontcha think?) My cousin and I were taking the deep water swim test where they label you a guppy, minnow, or dolphin.  I was labeled a minnow, my cousin was a dolphin.  I couldn’t swim in the deep end guys!  It was then that I decided I must be a terrible swimmer.  Swimming became an embarrassment to me.  And even though these events were so minuscule in the grand scheme of my life, they impacted me and my self perception so profoundly.   

By the time I was in eighth grade I was terrified of failure in sports.  I couldn’t stand to be bad at something in front of my peers.  I am aware that this is typical of many youths to have silly insecurities, but this is still something I struggle with and have been diligently working on.  I would want to try out for teams, but that voice in the back of my head was the loudest in the room- you suck and you can’t do a layup. You are a slow runner.  You have no coordination. By the way, I grew up in a very supportive and loving environment that was actually telling me I could do anything I set my mind to.  This was just my own set of crazy.  

So what did this all boil down to?  At the end of the day it was fear of failure.  I guess no one enjoys failure.  I was just particularly bad at it.  It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I realized that failing is acceptable and in many cases an excellent learning experience.  It has been a quest of sorts to come to terms with failure and to let it in every once in a while.  How much did I miss out on because of this fear?  To name a few things- volleyball teams, lacrosse, soccer, theater in college.  I can’t go back in time and yell at myself.  I can only learn from these mistakes and grow.  

This year has been a year of self discovery and personal growth.  I never want to be the person who isn’t dancing because I’m afraid of what people are thinking.  I want to live without these reservations because life is short.  One day I got out of bed and I was 25- and I don’t know how I got here.  

So this post was about yoga but I got very side tracked- I got here because yoga was always something I felt comfortable in.  I just felt like I belonged.  I could sit in a room. Close my eyes. OM. Say namaste and mean it.  Maybe it’s the people that go to yoga- maybe we are all there for similar reasons.  Maybe we are on a personal journey, mission, exploration of self.  I don’t know.  But when I think about yoga it makes me smile because it changed me and it has allowed me to become the person that I have always been inside.  

I don’t care if I suck at kickball.  I joined two leagues.  Volleyball?  Sign me up.  Oh, and sorry, I can’t serve the ball but I promise I’ll get better by the end of the season.  Running? 5K this Friday!  

Tomorrow I start doing hot yoga again and I’m super excited about it.  Can you tell?!

Don’t allow anyone to make you feel like you can’t do something.  Even if you can’t, who cares?