Why I’m Going Streaking

I’ll admit it. I’m in a rut. I’ve been able to string together six months of injury-free running (yay!), but have lost my fire. I still work out. I still run. But lately I’ve also skipped workouts for any number of reasons (too tired, too hot, too cold, don’t feel like getting sweaty, just don’t wanna).

As someone who’s been at this for a while, I know that the first step out the door is often the hardest. I like this challenge because I think the suck it up, it’s only a mile voice can drown out my inner whiner until I’m in the groove and actually feel like moving.

So I will run when I am tired, cold, lazy… and remind myself that I can.

streak

Advertisements

Music Monday: Pumping Blood

From getting pumped to lace up to squeezing out that final rep, music improves your workouts in several ways. Tempo is less important than whether you personally find the song to be motivational, so I’ll be sharing a wide variety of tunes that inspire me to move.

One positive of dealing with injuries that keep you from the activities that you love is that it teaches you to appreciate them when you’re able-bodied again. Last week I was struggling during the last mile of an aquathlon, my mental DJ was kind enough to cue up this song.

Hey heart on the road again
Moving on… forward

I remembered that a little over a month ago, I wasn’t able to run at all and how frustrating it is to be sidelined. And while I’m not as fast as I was a couple of years ago, I’ve dropped my time three weeks in a row.

The song Pumping Blood has so much energy, and the lyrics reminder you that your heart is working, you’re alive, and that’s a wonderful thing.

It’s your heart, it’s alive
It’s pumping blood
And the whole wide world is whistling

So, even as the mercury regularly tops 100 degrees out here in desert southwest, I’m grateful to be able to lace up my shoes and head out for a run.

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

Music Monday: Stay With You

From getting pumped to lace up to squeezing out that final rep, music improves your workouts in several ways. Tempo is less important than whether you personally find the song to be motivational, so I’ll be sharing a wide variety of tunes that inspire me to move.

One of the great things about running is the supportive community. I’ve met so many amazing people in running groups, at races, and even through blogging here. The feeling I get from this song reminds me of the joy and freedom I feel on a good run. The lyrics make me think of all of the good running buddies I’ve had over the years, and all of the problems we’ve hashed out on the roads.

Take my hand now
We’ll run forever
I can feel the storm inside you
I’ll stay with you

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

Music Monday: Spin the Black Circle

From getting pumped to lace up to squeezing out that final rep, music improves your workouts in several ways. Tempo is less important than whether you personally find the song to be motivational, so I’ll be sharing a wide variety of tunes that inspire me to move.

I teach a couple of indoor cycling classes per week, but it’s been a while since I’ve been on a real bike. Ross and I battled the hills, strong winds, and limited oxygen that defines cycling in Flagstaff. When I finally felt like I was finding my groove, Ross started yelling “Spin! Spin! You can go faster than that!” And you know what? I could.

As he continued to tell me to spin, this song popped into my head. It’s about listening to a record, but since a bike tire is also a black circle, I tapped into the relentless energy of the music and Eddie Vedder’s insistence that I

spin, spin…spin the black circle
spin, spin…spin the black, spin the black…
spin, spin…spin the black circle

After 1100 feet of elevation game, it was time to spin down the hill. Weeee!

bikesinflag

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

Music Monday: Ready To Go

From getting pumped to lace up to squeezing out that final rep, music improves your workouts in several ways. Tempo is less important than whether you personally find the song to be motivational, so I’ll be sharing a wide variety of tunes that inspire me to move.

Some days, you just don’t feel like moving. The couch is comfier than the athletic shoes, and it’s too late/early/hot/cold/humid/whatever anyway. While sometimes it can be physically (and mentally) beneficial to skip a workout, most of the time it’s best to just push through and do it. This is one of my go-to songs to get in the mood to move.

It’s a crack, I’m back yeah standing
On the rooftops having it
Baby I’m ready to go
I’m back and ready to go
From the rooftops shout it out, shout it out

The first step out the door is the hardest, but that last step when you finish feels amazing. Go you!

WARNING: This video gives me a little motion sickness 🙂

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

Music Monday: Bleed It Out

From getting pumped to lace up to squeezing out that final rep, music improves your workouts in several ways. Tempo is less important than whether you personally find the song to be motivational, so I’ll be sharing a wide variety of tunes that inspire me to move.

With the exception of marathons, I don’t race with headphones. My mental DJ keeps me entertained with random choices, but as I approach the finish line, I’ll often put in a request for this one.

I bleed it out
I’ve opened up these scars
I’ll make you face this
I pulled myself so far
I’ll make you face this now

There are few things that feel as awesome – and horrible – as laying it all on the line in competition. I connect with the struggle in the vocals, and the intensity helps me squeeze out every last bit of effort.

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

Music Monday: Ten Seconds Before Sunrise

I am stealing an idea from my blogger friend Jenna and trying out a Music Monday feature. She’s a fiction writer who highlights songs that inspire her creatively, and I’m going to share songs that motivate me to move. Music improves your workouts in several ways, and song tempo is less important than whether you personally find it to be motivational.

I’m still in marathon mode and favoring trancy music for my long runs. It’s easy to start too fast, burn through your glycogen stores, and smash head first into the famed Wall.

I might be overly influenced by the song title, but this has the feel of a fresh morning and all of the possibilities it brings. It makes me want run smoothly and relax my body while taking in the surroundings. There are no lyrics, so my mind wanders freely, which is one of the joys of lacing up.

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

Music Monday: Walk

I am stealing an idea from my blogger friend Jenna and trying out a Music Monday feature. She’s a fiction writer who highlights songs that inspire her creatively, and I’m going to share songs that motivate me to move. Music improves your workouts in several ways, and song tempo is less important than whether you personally find it to be motivational.

I feel like I’ve arrived late to the Foo Fighters party. I’d known of them for years, was familiar with a couple songs, but didn’t really listen much. Lately it seems like I keep hearing their music, and I am loving it!

Whether we are just starting our fitness journeys, or have been working out for years, we all hit those patches where we feel like we’re not as strong, fast, and fit as we were. Injury, life circumstances, or even boredom derail us from out paths, and it’s easy to give into discouragement. I feel like I’m in the thick of it.

My takeaway from this song is that we all face setbacks: what are we going to do about them?

I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?

When he practically shouts

I never wanna die
I never wanna die
I’m on my knees
I never wanna die
I’m dancing on my grave
I’m running through the fire

I just want to get out there and go! Speaking of which, it’s time to run 🙂

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

Music Monday: Just Be

I am stealing an idea from my blogger friend Jenna and trying out a Music Monday feature. She’s a fiction writer who highlights songs that inspire her creatively, and I’m going to share songs that motivate me to move. Music improves your workouts in several ways, and song tempo is less important than whether you personally find it to be motivational.

My first song choice is something you probably won’t see on a Top Ten Workout Songs list. I teach RPM, and we frequently use trancy, almost soothing music for our speed tracks. The flow and tempo put me in a semi-euphoric state, almost like I am above the effort.

I’m training for a marathon, and my body is constantly reminding me that I am not in the shape I used to be. I was a few miles into my long run recently, feeling irritated with myself and upset with some random life-crap, and this song completely changed my mood. The beginning is the aural equivalent of being submerged in warm water.

The lyrics also remind me to take a break from worrying about what has and what might happen. For many of us, our workouts are one of the few times we get to focus on ourselves. Sometimes results come quickly; more often they don’t. But each step, rep, and class should be celebrated as a choice we made to be good to ourselves. Let’s not forget to enjoy the process.

‘Cause now I know, It’s not so far

To where I go, the hardest part
It’s inside me, I need

To just be

Just be

I’m always interested to hear what you think and what songs motivate you personally.

A New Chapter

My life has changed. After thirteen years of marriage, I am now living alone. There is a special (triathlete!) man in my life, but he’s a four hour drive away. After a few wonderful years of setting PRs, I have had a slew of injury setbacks. Nothing major, but enough stifle any progress because I’ve dialed down both mileage and intensity. I am trying to accept my new normal while still striving to improve. I have had to take a hard look at myself and what I truly value and believe. Sometimes life cracks your heart open and forces you to confront everything you’d stuffed deeply inside. Overall, I am optimistic about the future, but it’s been a challenging time.

Athletically, this year has been one lackluster race performance after another, with one notable exception: the Phoenix Marathon in March. After narrowly missing the cutoff for the 2014 Boston Marathon, I am happy to say that I was accepted for 2015. While my 3:31:32 fell short of my sub-3:30 goal, I was thrilled with a 7+ minute PR.

10422291_10202037086769065_1906697635223894425_n

Whether in life or running, it’s all about how you handle the obstacles.

During the spring, I chose the Phoenix 10K as my fall “A” race. I had hoped to crush the 44:01 (7:05 pace) PR I had set on a much hillier course in May of last year, but amended my goal to a 7:30 pace. My friend Shokofeh, who had run the 5K earlier that day, offered to pace me. My boyfriend Ross said he’d run the first five miles with us, and then we’d battle it out. During the race, she repeatedly told me I was doing awesome. He told me I looked pretty when I was suffering. I simultaneously loved them for running with me and hated them for cruising along while I struggled. Ross took off after the fifth mile and beat me by over a minute. Ultimately, their presence kept me honest during the second half of the race, and I finished in 46:32 (7:29 pace). It’s definitely harder to push when you know a PR is out of the question, so I was happy that I achieved my goal.

I’m also at a place where I am having to retrain my brain after skipping and cutting many a workout short due to injury. Speedwork and hills aggravated my calf, so I stuck with slow and moderately paced miles. My body is ready to ramp things up again, and my mind does not like it. It becomes habit to hold back, to take that day off… I’ve had a few small victories lately, though: a 27 degree swim here, a 10-miler before work there. I am beginning to remember the high that comes from pushing through when I’d much rather take the easy road. I want the athlete back.

One non-fitness related accomplishment that I am really excited about is that I have started writing short stories again. During my soul-searching time, I thought about what would I most regret if I were to die right now. I kept coming back to that fact that I had never published a work of fiction. Fear had kept me from even trying. I set a goal this year to either submit a story for publication or to a contest. I stumbled upon the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge and thought it sounded perfect. Writers were are 48 hours to create a story of 1000 words or less that include an assigned setting and object in a specific genre. Here is what I came up with, if you’re interested. I welcome feedback, positive or negative.

Comedy/Speed Dating/Mousetrap

Mystery/Limousine/Magnet

Sci-Fi/Health Club/Welcome Mat

The contest definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. I hadn’t written any stories in ten years, much less a mystery, sci-fi, or pure comedy. Ultimately, out of over 1000 entrants, I was one of 125 writers that advanced to the third round, but was not one of the 25 who made it to the end. Still, my main goal was to put myself out there and grow as a writer. I’m usually never satisfied with what I write, which is a big reason I have avoided it for so long. And just like exercise, when you get “out of shape,” it’s hard to get going again. Inertia is a powerful force.

Other things vie for my time as well. I want to get back to blogging here at least semi-regularly. I’d like my house to stop looking like I just moved in. I am also determined to put a high priority on my love life. Both my ex-husband and I agree that we got lazy when it came to keeping things special, and I don’t want to fall into that again. So, while I am committed to staying fit, I may decide to pursue PRs with less fervor, and Boston will probably be my last marathon for a long time.

As this year winds down, I am grateful for many things. My slower body is still capable of pounding the pavement. My creative passion has been rekindled. And I get to share many a mile with the person I love.

10172711_10201181011247712_7072586329916491965_n