Thursday, May 12, 2016

Lists of 4

Life is cyclical. It is known. For me, the cycle goes like this: everything falls into place, and then something happens. A misstep. And then the universe starts to pull at that misstep, like a set of fingers pulling at an errant end of  a piece of yarn on a sweater. And life starts to unravel.

At least it feels that way. Depression and anxiety take over, and every new misstep is exaggerated. It feels like life will never get back to the way it was.

And then the unraveling slows. And then it stops. And then you patch things up and feel whole again. For a while, anyway.

It seems like every time the unraveling slows, when life is close to falling back into place, I return to writing. I don't have any breakthroughs to share, but I like to set intentions. And I love lists. Here's a list of things that led to life falling into place:

1. E proposed and I said yes. We're planning a wedding! We're exited! And scared!
2. I got a fantastic annual review at work, and a very decent raise.
3. E and I made the decision to buy a house!
4. I stopped living paycheck to paycheck.

And then slowly, things started to turn.

1. Planning a wedding and managing everyone's FEEEEELINGS. This was very stressful starting out. Very stressful. Very, very, cry-every-day, feel-like-a-failure, plan-an-elopement, cry-some-more stressful.
2. My work engagement gave me more responsibility without much help or direction. Obviously I won't go into detail, but the last 8 months have been the most challenging of my entire professional career.
3. House buying sounds like so much fun! In theory! In reality, it is THE WORST. We've put in offers for over 20 houses. The market is insane in Atlanta right now, and folks are getting 15-20 offers and generally selling well over asking price. We're under contract right now, and I *think* we are finally on track to get a house, but the last two were so disheartening. They really illustrated the dark underbelly of humanity sellers.
4. E and I were in a car accident a week ago today and my car was totaled.

Life is hard, but it's turning around. There are actually some really great positives coming out of these negative situations.

1. E and I are learning a lot more about each other, and I really think we're bonding over the wedding planning. And honestly, now that we have a budget and a space and a date and have talked with our parents about our expectations, it's gotten a lot better.
2. The difficulty at work hasn't gone unnoticed, and good things may be headed my way.
3. The two other houses falling through led us to the house we're buying now - a house that is well within our budget that we can customize to our needs.
4. My insurance is covering the rest of my loan for my car - so no more car payments! Until I buy a new car. But E and I are buying the car and covering the expenses together.

So, I don't know. I started this post with the intention of writing down some things I want to focus on, heading into summer, but I guess I'll save that for another day. Today I'm just happy to say that things are turning around.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November Plans

I've been teetering on the border of depression for a few weeks now, and a forced break from running has started to push me over the edge. It's been an awful few months. The challenges I'm facing at work are the most difficult things I've encountered professionally to date. Personal issues are weighing heavily on me. My stress is at an all time high - so high that I experienced my first panic attack two months ago. Things aren't great, but I'm tired of complaining about it. There's a lot of external stuff going on that I can't control, so I need to focus on the things I can.

I'm taking November to recharge. My Ultimate Fitness Challenge ends this week, so I'm about to lose that accountability. I'm proud of what I accomplished these last 3 months (down 10 lbs!), but it's time to find some motivations from within. So I'm looking at this new month as a chance to realign my work/life balance. I need to find a new way to stay healthy and fit while I recover from a stupid (and avoidable) injury. I need to remember how to let go of work when I'm at home - a huge challenge when I live with a co-worker. I need to get back to being happy.

Fitness Goals:
1. I've signed up for the #30daysofyoga challenge (from Yoga with Adriene).
2. I've also signed up for Pile on the Miles with one of my favorite bloggers (Run Eat Repeat).
3. I have a few more physical therapy sessions, and plan to be diligent about my homework.
4. I still have my personal training 2x/week.
5. I'm staying very hopeful about walking the Atlanta Half Marathon, but I'm also trying to be flexible/realistic that I might just have to walk the 5K. 

All of this isn't really going to equal the miles I was putting in training for the 10 Miler and Half Marathons, but it's what I can do right now. On top of all of this, I'm going to try to meditate daily, a practice that really helped control my stress over the summer.

In other news, I'm participating in the SoleMates fundraiser for Girls on the Run, and I'm excited about my chili cookoff next Sunday. Hoping for a good turnout. Interested in learning more? Check out my fundraising page.

I have more stuff brewing in my brain, but I'll save it for another post.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Another Sad Update

The Atlanta 10 Miler was yesterday, and I didn't run it. I started training for it back in August, but my training failed me. Let's be real. I failed me.

When I was training for the Peachtree Road Race, I took a million yoga classes. I signed up for a 21 day challenge - and completed it - and made a habit of going at least once a week, if not more. And shockingly, I did not develop any significant knee pain.

So when I started really considering the Triple Peach, and training for the 10 Miler and the Half Marathon, I knew yoga had to be part of my training routine. And yet. Life gets in the way of best intentions, right?

I ended up making time for a personal trainer twice a week, running 2-3 times per week, and doing a fun cardio session with friends once a week or so. And no yoga. None. On top of that, my long runs were inconsistent, and I don't think I built my mileage up safely.

Last Sunday, I planned to run 8 miles. Only 3 miles in my knee popped, and I knew it was over. I could barely put any pressure on it for the rest of the day. My knee had been getting more and more sore after every run, but I kept thinking I just needed to push through. So stupid.

I had previously scheduled a doctor's appointment that Monday to get checked out and hopefully get some info on how to train a little better. Instead, the doctor told me to stop running completely. I need 5-6 weeks of physical therapy, and I can start training again after that. He did say I could try pool running or finding a place that has a zero gravity treadmill, but neither of those options are affordable on TOP of the physical therapy co-pays and personal training.

So yesterday, I toed the starting line to walk the Atlanta 5K with my friend. We ended up using the run/walk method, and from a cardio perspective, I felt fantastic. I could have kept going for hours like that. My knee felt alright as we jogged, but right at the end, I told Kristy we should sprint to the finish line - terrible idea. I felt a shooting pain, obviously, and my knee was sore for the whole rest of the day. I'm sure you're all shocked.

I hate that I can't run. I especially hate that I did A LOT of cross training and still injured myself. I hate that I'm trying to lose weight, and my easiest and best option for cardio is out of the picture for the next month. I hate that I'm going to lose all the speed I worked so hard to get.

I'm really, really bummed out.

BUT. I'm going to attend my physical therapy sessions and my personal training sessions, and throw myself into getting better. Then I'm going to find a really fantastically fun race and train smarter.

I don't want to end on a sour note though, so here are some positives that came out of yesterday:

1. Slumber party with my BFF so we could get ready together in the way early hours of Sunday morning.
2. 7:00 AM dance parties at the starting line.
3. Kristy had fun running and wants to do it again!
4. I got to hang out with a ton of friends and cheer on strangers to the finish line.
5. I still got a 5K medal, and my Triple Peach Medal.*
6. I also still got a pretty rad 10 Miler zip up.**
7. Epic brunch with mimosas (err...I mean ORANGE JUICE).
8. Epic nap.
9. Inspired to find some 10Ks to train for before next year's Triple Peach.

Also, after seeing a ton of walkers finish the 10 Miler, I'm going to attempt to continue training to walk the half marathon. If I'm not fast enough (the cut-off time is 15 min/mi), I can easily switch to the 5K.

*I'll still be participating in the 3 events, so it sort of counts, right? 
**I've been looking to purchase some winter workout gear, so this was an excellent surprise edition.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

ATC Half Marathon Training Tweak

Training is underway! I'm doing a few weeks more weeks of conditioning before I start logging some big miles, but I'm definitely focused on November at this point.

I have some fun news! Eric, Kristy and I are part of a fitness challenge set up by our friend Curtis. The gist is that we had a fitness profile done by a professional trainer, who then gave us specific, personalized goals. We have until November 15 to meet these goals. If we fall short, give up, or don't put in a decent effort, we will have to donate $25 to a presidential campaign we vehemently and actively disagree with. There is also a Grand Prize (one month gym membership) for the person who shows the most overall improvement, based on the assessment of the previously mentioned trainer.

So. My personal goals are to lose 24 lbs of fat and gain 5 lbs of muscle. AND ALSO TO FINISH A HALF MARATHON.

So last week, Eric, Kristy and I were sitting around discussing how we were going to avoid losing our money to a cause we opposed. We talked about doing group workouts, hiring personal trainers, keeping tabs on each others' diets, etc. I mentioned it might be a good idea to look at hiring a personal trainer to do small group sessions, and that way we could split the cost. We all agreed it was a good idea, but might be too expensive.

Cut to the very next morning, I'm doing my daily morning Facebook browsing, and I see a post from a guy in my neighborhood offering personal training sessions. Not only that, but he does group sessions AND he will come to your locations.


So I called, the price was right, and we scheduled to meet with him that very night. We now have a personal trainer that we will meet with twice a week! I'm so excited.

What does that mean for my training? Well, I was very clear that while I want to lose weight and gain muscle, my number one goal is to finish the half marathon...without injury. I need some nutritional guidance, as well as muscle strengthening in my legs. We had our first session the following afternoon, and I was really pleased with the workout AND his advice on our diet. He's very against processed foods, but also allows for moderation and cheat days, etc.

Also he's like the most non-judgmental laid back fitness professional I've ever met.

So I've had to revamp my training schedule slightly. Here's the new version:

With that said, here's my workout recap from last week!

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 2.41 miles - run
  • For this workout I ran 2 miles straight! I think that's the first time I've ever done that. Ever. It was really exciting. I didn't go too fast, but reserving my energy made it possible to finish the workout. I was very proud of this run considering how much a struggled the week before.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Personal Training
  • This was a TOUGH workout. I don't remember the full details of what we did, but there were a LOT of squats, running up stairs, some ab work with crunches, bicycles, and leg lifts, push ups, and this weight lifting thing called Thor's Hammer, which was pretty fun to do. My legs felt like jelly afterward, and I was sort until Monday!
Friday: 2.31 miles - run
  • The personal training was only about 12 hours before this run, so my legs weren't sore yet. Instead they we just weak and wobbly. I started the run slow and steady and kept a 12:48 pace for 24 minutes straight. Not bad considering I couldn't feel anything below my waist. 
Saturday: 2.61 miles - walk
  • As part of the fitness challenge, we have an open invite to a Saturday morning Cardio Blast at the gym that provided us with our profiles. Cardio Blast is a 45 minute bootcamp style workout that nearly killed me the first time I did it. I'm being dramatic, but it was blazing hot that day, and we did so many leg workouts that I cried every time I had to sit down for a week. Eric, Kristy and I were all still sore from our workout with Coach Court, that we decided this "Blast" wasn't in the cards for us. Instead, we took a nice stroll around Grant Park to shake out our legs. The weather was gorgeous and we had a good time reflecting on Thursday's workouts and what we hope to gain from this challenge.
Total Running Miles: 4.71

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Half Marathon Training and Why I'm Running

Hi, friends! As I mentioned in my last post, I've decided to run the Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon. Because I'm a crazy person, apparently.

I've been working on a training schedule, and I think I finally have it nailed down. I've pulled from a bunch of different beginner training resources, including Hal Higdon, Girls on the Run, and the Atlanta Track Club. Here's where I'm at:

As I think I mentioned, I'd like to build up to running about 5 miles straight, but then run/walk the 10 Miler and Half Marathon. My A goals for both races is to keep under 13 min/mi average pace, but just finishing without injury or being dragged away will be a huge accomplishment.

Are you an avid runner and/or coach who has stumbled on my humble blog? Please feel free to leave feedback with your thoughts on this training plan for a beginner.

SO THEN ALSO. What else?

Oh! Why am I running?! That's a good question. I'm running for health and fitness and because I'm 31 and I want to stop letting my body waste away on the couch. But I'm also running for Girls on the Run (GotR).

"What is Girls on the Run?" you may be asking yourself. Well, GotR is a nationwide non-profit after school care program, with local chapters, that helps girls build confidence and a healthy lifestyle through a fun running curriculum. How cool is that? They target under-resourced areas, and show girls that they can accomplish big things if they work hard and believe in themselves.

Their mission is so important to me for several reasons. I came from a really poor background - like we lived in someone else's trailer because we couldn't afford our own kind of poor. When I was in elementary school, my mom worked A LOT. So much so, that I couldn't participate in sports or other activities because she couldn't take me. And also because we had no money. By the time my mom raised us up to a decent living wage, I had no interest in joining teams. I was too slow, too out of shape, too embarrassed to even try.

Now that I'm ::cough::in my THIRTIES::cough:: I've found that running gives me confidence and makes me feel strong - and it's not just physically. Mentally I feel tougher, and so proud of what I've accomplished.

I want that for these girls. They should get to grow up knowing what's possible.

Another reason I'm running is to educate my community about this program. GotR is amazing and targets neighborhoods just like mine. I want my neighbors to become involved and start a chapter here, in SE Atlanta.

GotR offers its program for FREE, but they need help. By registering as a SoleMate, I've committed to raising $500, but my personal goal is to raise $3,000 - enough to sponsor an entire team for one season. If you would like to help, please head to my fundraising page here. Literally any little bit helps, and I have a long way to go.