Pain and Purpose

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. ~Winston Churchill

I don’t even know what prompted it, but I was thinking today about the injuries I’ve been trying to recover from, and the pain they cause. And it got me to thinking about my purpose.

Yes, I run for myself. It’s become a habit. A bit of a necessity for my own personal health and sanity. Which is part of my purpose. But then I think about my half marathon. And why I signed up for that in the first place. How I had decided to add fundraising to the mix. To do what I can, in my own small way, to help prevent child abuse.

And I think of the pain. The pain that those children endure, that sometimes know no other way. The pain that I witnessed in the eyes of my own child. And I think, “my pain is nothing”. Because it isn’t.

I know I have to take things easy to an extent. I don’t want any further injuries and I want to be sure I can continue to run. But I’m reminded of the pain of those children. That there’s so much I canย tolerate. And I will. For them.

For more on my why, you can read about it here. And if you can find it in your heart to contribute to my purpose, visit my fundraising page here. Thank you.

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Setbacks

I’ve been a little MIA… what can I say. After Christmas and the New Year, getting back into the swing of “normal” daily life has been tough. You’d think with the slow down of job 2, I would feel better, have more energy. But instead, I feel like I’m dragging all the time! Anyway, onward and upward, right?

So today, I got an e-mail at work that had the following quote at the bottom.

Little things make the difference. Everyone is well prepared in the big things, but only the winners perfect the little things.ย ~Paul “Bear” Bryant

Yes, I’m spinning this back to running. You see, since I’ve added more runs to my week again, even though I’m keeping the mileage low, my foot has been bothering me again. I’m seriously at such a loss, I don’t even know how to proceed. I’ve been keeping up with strengthening and stretching. Foam rolling as much as possible. I don’t really want to take another break, but I also want to be sure I make it to and through my Half in June. I want to be back to where I was last August. Enjoying my runs… logging miles… without worry of pain or injury. I want to do this right.

I had decided after my knee fiasco I had to focus on strength training and cross training. I even joined the gym on New Year’s (haven’t been yet tho… shhhhh! maybe that’s part of my problem?). But seeing this quote just made me face a hard reality. Maybe I just haven’t been doing enough. Maybe I just need to do more.

So those little things… I’m going to work on perfecting those. I know I can get through a 9+ mile run. 13.2 isn’t that much farther, right? If I take the time to perfect those little things now, maybe, just maybe, I’ll be better off in the long run. Even if that means less time to focus on the actual run.

Wish me luck!

A New Year

A new year means new beginnings, right? I really don’t feel the need to establish 2016 as a year to start over, but more to continue what I’ve already started.

I started off on the right foot today. Figuratively and literally. I really wanted to find a race to run today, to establish myself in 2016. So I found a New Year’s 5k in the city, run at Lincoln Park Zoo. And off I went.


The path was pretty icy, so when I say there was a lot of fancy footwork involved, I’m not kidding! I really need to work on taking more pictures. Maybe that should be a goal for the new year. Anyway, because of the rough footing, it was also a little more taxing on the knee than I would like, but I finished. Running. And running strong! And I’m still standing! I only had to walk a couple times to let the knee chill, then it was fine. So I’m happy and I’ll take it!

I’d also like to add, Nike Pro rocks! When I was back in Iowa for Christmas, we went shopping and hit up the Nike Outlet store in Des Moines. I got a couple Nike Pro Hyperwarm base layer tops. They are so warm! I layered one under my Under Armor Cold Gear half-zip, and was perfectly comfortable. I wore one under a standard issue Nike running top the other day, and that kept me plenty warm as well. Now I’m on a mission for a pair of their tights!

My daughter and I joined a gym yesterday also. Have been thinking of that for a number of reasons. I kept telling myself I could just do body workouts at home, but I know I’m not doing all I should be doing. I know I’ll utilize the gym more and get more strength training in, which I really need. We joined a full service gym, complete with indoor pool, so she’s going to help me with swimming and maybe, just maybe, I’ll participate in a mini tri this year as well. We’ll see. It’s a long term goal, so if not this year, that’ll definitely be on the calendar next year at some point.

I realize we are only on day 1, but I feel great about where I am. Physically and mentally. I’m maintaining my focus, and staying positive. Life sure is good!

Be content with what you have. Rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. ~Lao Tzu

2015 Year in Review

When I look back at this past year, I’m completely filled with gratitude. If I had to choose one word to summarize 2015, I would say enlightening.

So much has happened this year. So many changes, mostly on a personal level. When I entered the year, I was less than happy with myself. I had let myself get to a point of being somewhat unhappy. And complacent. Although I had so much going for me, a good job, had just bought my own place, I just wasn’t where I wanted to be. Most of that related to my health and fitness. I wanted to get back in shape, but was having a terrible time finding the motivation and will.

During and after my divorce, I had to find the strength to make some much needed changes in my life. I had grown through that period, but a part of me realizes now that I was kind of flying blind. I was going through the motions of what I knew I needed to accomplish. I glossed everything over, and plowed through, looking for what was on the other side. But I wasn’t fully processing everything along the way, and I didn’t realize that there was so much more to be done. I thought once I came through that period, everything would be ok. Magic. That’s where I got complacent. But life is funny that way. We are constantly growing and changing with the tides.

I’ve experienced so much more growth this year. I set my mind to making changes. I changed my diet. I started running again. I feel fantastic! I lost the weight (for the last time!) and I’ve been keeping it off just by being mindful of my choices. I’ve set goals for myself, and kept them.

I got in front of a camera for the first time in I-don’t-know-how-many years. Like, a real camera. Not just selfie’s with a cell phone. ๐Ÿ™‚ And from a photographer that has spent so many years hiding behind one, it was time to practice what I preach. (And I’m gonna preach… get out there and get some pictures taken! Real ones. Do it for yourself and those that love you, just the way you are!)

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I had my first post-divorce relationship, if you’d call it that. And through that process I’ve learned even more. I’ve never been more comfortable and ok with who I am. I have a lot to offer, and either I’ll be accepted and appreciated, or I won’t. But what someone else thinks or feels about who I am or what I have to give, is not reflective of my own feelings. I can only be me, and staying true to who I am is so important. Sometimes friendship is all there is, and that’s ok. I think the biggest lesson here, however, is the importance of honesty. I have no time or tolerance for bullshit (ie people who hide behind lies and dishonesty in any way, shape, or form). At the end of the day, I aim to love the best way I can, treat others the way I want to be treated, show respect and appreciation, forgive when forgiveness is necessary, be honest and open with everyone, including myself, and hope for the best.

I also realized that I need to be challenged. I think running fills a bit of that void. It gives me something to work towards. A sense of accomplishment, too. But I also see the need to be challenged in other areas. I’ve been feeling underutilized at work. I love my job. And I love the industry and what I do. However, I also know that I am capable of so much more. I need something more challenging, more sense of purpose. So I’m going back to school to finish out my associate’s degree and work towards a bachelor’s. I need to feel like I am doing everything in my power to be my best self. And I couldn’t be more excited about it!

So yes, this year has been filled with enlightenment. Realizations that, no matter how much I love everyone else and want them to be happy, ultimately it comes down to doing what’s right for me. Accepting that maybe I don’t have it all figured out. That maybe the best is yet to come. My tag line says it all, I’m still learning to be me. The best me that I can be. One that I’m proud of, regardless of what anyone else wants me to be.

If you have never failed at anything, then you have never reached for a big enough goal. If you only choose goals that are safe, familiar and right, you’ll never stretch far enough to know who you really can become or what you are capable of doing.

To do something different, you will need to be someone different. Decide to leave your safety zone. Move beyond fear of failure to the possibility of authentically and consistently living your truth and creating a bigger life. You have something special. You have GREATNESS within you! ~Les Brown

Bring on 2016!

As I mentioned in recent posts, 2015 brought a lot of changes and awareness on a personal level. Most importantly, learning to accept myself, and accepting the fact that I had never truly grieved and moved beyond my past.

I’ve made a lot of decisions this past year. Accepting who I am today, but also realizing the need to keep pushing myself. To never settle. To always strive for the best.

As I started my workout this morning, the first song to come on Pandora was “I Lived” by One Republic. I’m not sure if I’ve heard the song before, but if I did I never paid attention to the lyrics.

Hope when you take that jump, you don’t fear the fall

Hope when the water rises, you built a wall

Hope when the crowd screams out, they’re screaming your name

Hope if everybody runs, you choose to stay
Hope that you fall in love, and it hurts so bad

The only way you can know is give it all you have

And I hope that you don’t suffer but take the pain

Hope when the moment comes, you’ll say
I, I did it all

I, I did it all

I owned every second that this world could give

I saw so many places, the things that I did

With every broken bone, I swear I lived
Hope that you spend your days, but they all add up

And when that sun goes down, hope you raise your cup

Oh, I wish that I could witness all your joy and all your pain

But until my moment comes, I’ll say

I, I did it all

I, I did it all

 

This. This is what I’m striving for. To live. Fully. To explore. To learn. To grow. And to love everything and every one along the way.

I’m not one for resolutions. But it’s that time of year, and I’ve come to the realization that there are things holding me back. So I have a goal for this week. I have so much “stuff” cluttering my life. Physical stuff. Things I’ve been holding onto because I can’t let it go. Stuff from my past. I used to enjoy scrapbooking, but I can’t bring myself to go through all the memories of the past. And holding onto all the “stuff”, the supplies, is just a reminder to me that I never finished what I started.

I promised to at least complete my daughters baby book, so I’m hoping with my week off work this week, I can finish what I started. Then the stuff goes. And all the things I’ve been holding onto to sell on eBay. It just needs to be gone. I’m looking forward to the freeing feeling so I can stop seeing the reminders. So I can focus on what’s important in my life now. Focusing on running. And school. And the goals I have set for myself. Without the weight of the past.

Hallelujah!

I have so much to be thankful for. This I know. But today’s post starts with some running happiness!

Last week I had decided to start running more, and decided on 3 times per week. I managed all three days, about 2.5 miles give or take. Each day my knee would start hurting about 1 mile in, maybe sooner. I was doing a lot of walking intermixed with the running, still managing to complete the distance I had set out to do. My pace has been between 11-12 min/mile (mid to high 11’s to be honest).

I was ok with that. I told myself I need to take it slow. I don’t want to risk further injuries, or new ones.

Then there was yesterday. I set out for my lunch-time run around work. It’s about the only time I have to run during the week with a 2 job work schedule around Christmas. Again, about 2.5 miles or so. I set out and felt great starting out. Before I knew it, I had gone a mile already, with a pace just over 10 minutes! You have no idea how excited I was! (or maybe you do, either way, I was ecstatic!)

I finished my run. Total distance: 2.88 miles. Average pace: 10:22

Hallelujah! I couldn’t believe I finished it with little pain in my knee! Yes, I felt some minor tenderness, but none of the pinching pain that would sometimes come. With very little walking. And the walking that I did was more because of my breathing than any knee pain. Just trying to build back in this cold air is a bit on my old lungs, but I’ll get there.

Honestly, I think this was the best Christmas present I could wish for. To be able to run again. To know that it would be ok.

This Holiday season has been a lot for me. I’ve been working so much, with little time to breathe. I haven’t been taking the time for myself either. I know I just have to get thru December. But it keeps me humble. I have had so many reminders of the blessings in my life. And so much to remind me not to take things for granted. Life is short, I know that.

All in all, I’m so very happy with everything. So many Christmas Blessings. And my wish for all of you, is that you are blessed beyond measure. In running. In health. And in life.

 
 

Year of Running 2015: On the Move

So I’m still pretty new to this blog thing. I follow a lot of various running magazines/websites on facebook that often link to posts from popular running bloggers. I read one from Courtney atย Eat Pray Run DC, that linked to her Year of Running post, asking other runners to link up. So I thought this would be fun. So here is my post. My year of running. Especially fun for me since it’s my first official year on the move. I haven’t run a lot of races this year, but hoping to change that in 2016. Click her button below to play along.

Eat Pray Run DC

Best race experience: This would have to be the Health Solutions 8k I ran on the 4th of July. It was my first race distance longer than a 5k, but I pushed myself to the further distance and am so glad I did! I needed it to prove I was capable, and the support along the race route was amazing! Gotta love small-ish town Iowa! ๐Ÿ™‚

Best run: My best is probably my longest. I had a 9.2 mile run in August (or maybe it was September?) when I was trying to build mileage for the Hot Chocolate 15k in November. Again, it felt amazing to just be able to prove I could do it. Of course, I then was sidelined with plantar fasciitis.

Best new piece of running gear: This would have to be my lululemon tights. I had been eyeing them for a while, and even bought myself a pair, only to end up returning them because I just couldn’t justify the cost. But my dear, sweet daughter bought them for me for my birthday.

Best running advice you’ve received this year: I honestly don’t know that I’ve received any running advice directly from anyone, just lots of reading on the interwebs. Probably the best advise I’ve read though, is to just keep going, and don’t ever give up.

Most inspirational runner: I don’t really have any one person I find inspirational. I’ve read a lot of inspiring stories that all play a part for me. Otherwise, I try to be my own inspiration.

Favorite picture from a run or race this year: I have two. The first is probably actually my very favorite. This is from my 8k, and the first race I ran for a medal. Yes, I’ll admit, I’m in it for bling. ๐Ÿ™‚ And it was just an overall amazing day and race for me, physically and mentally.

The second is from the Hot Chocolate 15k. You’ll probably notice I wasn’t running. This is where I injured my knee, and had to walk the last 2 miles. But I was determined to finish. I like this picture though, because it keeps me humble, and reminds me to take things slow and be patient with myself.

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Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Both the Hot Chocolate and the Health Solutions 8k. I loved the experience of the 8k, and would love some vindication at the Hot Chocolate, with a better outcome. And, well, chocolate! ๐Ÿ™‚

If you could sum up your year in a couple words, what would they be? Enlightening and motivational. I actually have another blog post set to post on New Year’s Eve. A post about my year in review as a whole, not just related to running. And the word I used to describe it was enlightening. I’ve learned so much about myself this year. As a runner, I’ve learned that I’m capable of so much more than I would ever give myself credit for. And to be patient with myself, the best will come in time. As I’ve progressed this past year, I’ve pulled so much motivation from myself. The more I would do, the more I wanted to do. And the more I wanted to succeed. I guess you could also use the word “addicting”. ๐Ÿ™‚

I feel like I have grown so much this year in my running. And I even started a race bucket list. Does that make me officially a runner? Can’t wait to see what 2016 brings! (at the very least, two half marathons on my calendar, but hopefully, no more injuries). What are you looking forward to?