Certainly Uncertain

Certainly Uncertain

By Jenn M

Let me start by saying I started adding a “by line” to my posts because one of my fitness posts was translated into another language and posted to a website with no mention of my name. I went through the usual channels and had it removed, but I thought I’d make it more difficult to steal. Content creators know the feeling, I’m sure. This stuff takes time and thought, so seeing your name attached to it is its own reward.

Now, the reason I came to my blog today to chat with you. Things are never certain and that’s really the only thing that is for sure. I bought an outfit last year for triathlon training this year. I told everyone that was my next step after a marathon. It still could be the next thing I learn, but not this year. I’ve chosen to limit my races this year and avoiding burnout.

I swam some laps yesterday and it was difficult to get back into the groove of it. I should try to stay on top of my swimming so I can improve. I’m not sure I would have swam if nature hadn’t gone on vacation and turned off the sun. I haven’t wanted to run outside in the cold as often, but I have a poor relationship with the treadmill. I figured since I’d be at the gym for my kids to take swim lessons, I’d do laps while they learned. I’m glad I did it.

I’m still mad that the scale doesn’t move and I’m generally hungry and/or tired most days. I’m planning an overhaul of my nutrition yet again. I think I’ll need to work on my mental fortitude again. I do so well at controlling my eating when I’m training for a half marathon, so I should probably tell myself that I’m starting now for my October race. It is all about planning my meals for me. I get off track easily and I really like snacks that have chocolate in them. So when I stop for convenience, I pick up a dessert that I don’t really need. I am aware of these things. I know there’s no magic to be worked there. It is an attitude adjustment that I need. I tend to wax and wane with how I take care of myself.

My current goal is running in a marathon relay with a team at the end of this month. Wish me luck in running 1/4 of a marathon.

Thanks for reading! Do you have something that helps you stay on track? It could be a mantra or even a few words of wisdom. I like to remind myself not to quit because I hate starting over.

*Featured Image is my Garmin app. I had a goal to run 4 miles the other day. I got terribly bored after 3 treadmill miles, so I ran the rest on an indoor track. I still got my 4 in.

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Any day now, warm

By : Jenn M

I’m not sure how many of you are having the same experience with spring this year, but it hasn’t actually ‘sprung’ from what I can tell. I glance out my window and see the bright sunshine reflecting off of the snow that fell most of Easter Fools Day or just April 1st for those who don’t partake in the holidays.

Friday, the weather was nice. The sun was shining and going outside didn’t require a heavy coat or gloves. Saturday was race day. This was to be my first 5k of the year and the goal race for the people I’ve been training with for the past 10 weeks. Saturday’s weather involved chilly wind gusts and occasional chilly rain showers with momentary peeks of sun to remind us to miss it when it went back behind the clouds. That’s the bad kind of tease, sun.

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Under a dull, gray sky.

Prior to the race, I agreed to run with one of the people in the group. We both were congested. The weather and physical conditions weren’t ideal. We got warm enough during the run to each remove a layer that we’d started with.  My head got hot and I jammed my hat down the back of my shirt, which I have done in the past for practice runs, but this time, it was photographed. It looked just as weird as I thought it did. It is not a tumor.

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I’m that hunchback to your left.

This was not my best race as far as time goes, but I actually had to push myself. The person I ran it with got 1st place in her age group, though. I got 3rd place in mine. I got a little trophy and warm fuzzies knowing that I saw many of the people I’d been running with over the past few weeks finish the race. *Spellcheck hates the word ‘fuzzies’ and has it underlined both times I’ve used it.

I got that first race out of the way and a week off before the next group starts. I  intend to try and develop a plan to work out on a more regular basis. I thought after last year’s cast and boot experience, I’d get right back to running once I was able. I did get back in to running, but the marathon left me a little less fond of it until I ran my streak over the holidays. I was doing so well with keeping up my activity. Things in life get in the way sometimes. My husband and I have experienced a lot of stress in parenting. My body seems to have a lingering cough. The desire to work out is there, but the ability has lessened. I have less time and less energy to expend. Depression struck me hard and I was further debilitated and less able to use fitness as a tool for healing.

I think I’m at a point where I can do something about feeling down, which is a step in the right direction. I am not fond of how my body looks or feels lately. I was in the holding pattern where I started to think that the effort wasn’t worth the payoff because I wasn’t seeing any results form my work. I realized that this isn’t how I’ve succeeded in the past. I’ve seen results when I’m focused on challenging myself to meet goals that don’t involve body measurements. That’s where I need to put my focus. The weather getting a little less gloomy and a little more warm could go a long way for many people. I’m kind of solar powered.

Do you feel less motivated when the weather has been gloomy for awhile? Have you run or signed up for your first race of 2018 yet? Would that help with your motivation?

I love comments, suggestions, and shares! If you’ve made a suggestion recently, I am still working on ideas for a couple of them for what I want to say. Thank you for reading!

Good stuff

The Good Stuff

by: Jenn M

My husband and I have been through some shit together. The past few years have proven to be challenging and we go about it the best we can. Rarely, we’ll argue and we go to bed completely pissed at one another. This doesn’t mean we don’t have spats of disagreement. Just that we don’t spend much time in conflict.

This year has been a nightmare compared to past years. We’ve encountered challenges with our teenager where most parents never imagine themselves. We have felt shame and guilt. There have been times where we feel divided. Our marriage has been hard work lately, but our love is so simple.

This past weekend, we traveled to St. Louis to go to a hockey game and visit with his family and some of our friends from back home (near St. Louis). We went to the fan store at the hockey game and got separated. He was in line to buy a shirt, so I just kept shopping around and looking at things. I saw the perfect headband for working out with a Blues’ team logo on it. I picked it up and fought the crowd to finally get to him. The people directly behind him smiled HUGE when they saw what was in my hand. Matt turned around and had the SAME thing in his hand. He said he saw it by the register and just knew I would want it. He was there to find himself some new gear and thought of me enough to pick up something I would have gotten for myself.

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Love is in the moments

So, love comes in the moments. The small, seemingly insignificant moments where you realize that you’re in sync with another person and you acknowledge their desires. Even the “just because” gestures are meaningful.

We encourage each other. We support each other. We will not run races together because that man is much faster than me, but I’m okay with that.

I have a new headband to run with, so now if it would just get a little warmer or less windy on this first day of Spring….I’d like that.

Thanks for reading! Please feel free to share, comment, follow, or whatever you’d like. I love feedback!

Finally warm

Finally Warm

by: Jenn M

It was finally [temporarily] warm in the central US. I picked up groceries, rushed to put them away, and then tossed on short sleeves with short pants for running. I grabbed my headphones, checked weather for lightning alerts, and headed out for an outdoor run where I didn’t need gloves and ear warmers.

It was just as amazing as I’d imagined it was going to be once I started out. A little wind and some gray skies were nothing since I had 60 degrees in the lovely outdoors. I must have been feeling rather optimistic. I wore my Brooks Ghosts that I’ve been avoiding wearing in the snow because they’re such a vibrant pink color, I didn’t want to mess them up. After a few sinks into the mud from avoiding puddles, I accepted that they were just going to need a cleaning when I finished up. I headed to the trail head nearest my house and got on the path with no planned route.

I like when I don’t plan a route because it feels more like I’m playing than exercising. I can think of things I want to go see. The trail was interesting because all of the rain and the creek running along it had some pretty views. I stayed on the trail because I saw a few other people running along. I had some great tunes going and I was working on making negative splits when I completed mile 2. I thought of turning around and heading home, but the end of the trail was less than 1/4 mile ahead, so I kept going.

The clouds opened up and the rain started to pelt my face, chest, arms, and the bare parts of my legs. I took pause at the end of the trail and composed myself. Once I restarted, my pace was faster than it had been the rest of the run. I was panting, running into the wind and rain, and loving every moment of it.

I am in the throes of depression. Where most people just see that things are a little bad, I see nothing ahead. I have very little interest in planning for the future because I’m reluctant to think that way. It’s like driving in a white out. You know the road is there and you can see a few inches out in front, but you’re not sure you’re going to make it through or if stopping would actually be more dangerous. Either way, the outcome is not pleasant because you see both ending in calamity.

Today’s run was untangled a bit of the depression, I hope. Running helps me remember the me who is optimistic and encouraging. I hate depression and I have a hard time getting myself to do anything when I’m at my worst. Little victories…. they’re actually HUGE.

This is a snap of my friend’s cat, Kidden (the closest I have to my own) and he’s got the right idea here:

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Expectation vs Preparation

Expectation vs Preparation

By: Jenn M.

I wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I carry an umbrella and even a reflective cone in my car “just in case.” I don’t expect that I’ll need it every time I have it. I just make sure that I’m prepared shall I need to be. I can’t really say I go through life thinking about when the next time I’ll need my seat belt, umbrella, or emergency road gear.

I don’t go through life expecting things to go awry. I’ve been struggling with running off and on since the marathon. Streaking helped for a while. That is, until I got sick and things started to just deteriorate noticeably in my life.

The usual wave of depression came over me as the colder weather settled in and outdoor enjoyment became more limited. I hadn’t been finding joy in many of the things I normally would. I started feeling more and more isolated and in turn, began to isolate myself. I’ve often felt that it insulated me from the blows of other people and their negative opinions of me. That was just what was happening internally.

I’m a mom. I have 3 kids and they are 17, 7, and (almost) 6. My 17-year-old has always been a challenge and I’ve often felt the weight of that challenge on my heart. We’ve had our moments where her good and moral self shines through. Often, we’ve seen the part of her that does things that are dishonest, sneaky, and not in line with the values of our family. While we were giving her more individual freedom, she was taking that and using it to connect with people who didn’t care for her well-being. We had multiple encounters with police and even had her run away from home a couple of times. This has all been going on over the course of the last month. Much of it has spilled over to the point that many people around us are aware of the situation and the details. She’s finally getting help, but this is also a long and bumpy road in itself. The rest of life doesn’t stop to help correct one difficulty. It just keeps going on and all of it just keeps coming. I still have other kids to care for with my husband. My husband and I still have to take care of each other. We both have responsibilities that haven’t lessened as our piles get bigger.

My younger two kids have been impacted by all of this. My son has let us know that he doesn’t want to leave home. He assumed that her absence was our doing as a result of her misbehavior they’d frequently witnessed over the last year. My younger daughter has complained about not liking school and used some techniques similar to the older daughter when trying to get her way. She once threatened that if made to get ready for bed without watching TV as she’d wanted, that she wouldn’t go to school the next day.

I was never expecting things to become so difficult and so challenging. I’d always thought that I was prepared for the worst case, though. If I’d lived my life constantly expecting her to blow up in my face, it still would have happened. I just would have gotten in my own way in feeling the joys of the moments between. The moments when all three of my kids were playing together or watching a movie at the same time would have been filled with the anticipation that something would go awry.

I’m prepared to continue to love all of my children unconditionally. I’m also prepared for tough love when needed. I expect bumps in the road, but I’m not going to say that I either expect things to rapidly change or to stay the same. I simply must be prepared either way while not dwelling on the possibilities.

I find it absolutely heart breaking that there are people out there willing to exploit this situation to put me down or to make themselves feel superior. This is my journey and you are not on it.

My daughter has her own journey and her own heart to deal with and I can only hope that she uses some of the will she has in her to do well for herself in life. Each of my kids will blaze his or her own trail and I’m here for a short time to do what I can.

My chalkboard quote for now is simple, but encompasses all of 1 Corinthians 13 from the bible:

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Strong means…

Strong. I think of strong as something a person works toward. Strength doesn’t come naturally, but is acquired through work and perseverance. Strong isn’t a size or a specific shape.

I read an article by a runner where she claimed that people use strong as a sleight toward people who are not of a thin build. I was surprised that someone would think that and I could not disagree with her more.

One of my running friends is fast and she works hard for her body. She also has struggled with eating disorders and a negative body image. Strong is the best way to describe her because skinny is commenting on her physique instead of her effort. She works hard for her build. She naturally carries a small frame. Strong is in no way in reference to her size or comparison of her size.

I don’t want people to take “strong” away from us women when we’re supporting one another. I hope to be strong. I strive for it. I want to be a strong runner and I don’t want others to think that they’re being called something when they hear people tell them they are strong.

Strength comes from within and if we’re going to keep telling everyone that what is on the inside matters, then that is one perfect way to describe another person. Remember that there are going to be times where you feel like people notice something about you that you’re more attuned to than anyone else. Most of the time, those people are too wrapped up in the things that they are preoccupied by to notice the things you’re insecure about.

I’m encouraging everyone to proceed with strength. Do that thing you want to do, but feel too intimidated by what others will think. Find out if you enjoy it. Then, nothing should stop you from doing it. *I’m talking about fitness and sports, not hopping in to a bear’s cage in hopes of becoming lifelong pals.

Please, if you see someone do something that inspires you, let them know you see their strength.

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We Plan, The Universe Laughs

By: Jenn M.

The Streak

I planned to do the holiday streak and spread it out a little further and go until my January 5th birthday. I did not make it past December 19th thanks to gastroenteritis that left me feeling too weak to get out of bed for a little over a day. I’m being generic since it will remain a mystery what made me sick in the first place. It could’ve been sushi or cookie dough and it could’ve been kid germs.

Winter Whine

I picked back up and tried to stay on top of doing a mile a day once I felt better. Knowing I’d broken the streak made it easier to just brush it off as something to do later. I have been consistently working out, though. The weather and winter break just isn’t allowing it to be outside as much as I’d like it to be. I feel a little caged at this point. No early winter training has ever gone quite right since I started running.

I like running in the snow because it insulates sound and it is more peaceful outside. It’s like the world is giving me the peace I crave. I am not a fan of the cold, but I have a lot of gear to prepare for it. I like a challenge that makes me feel tougher. I’m not talking about stepping out when it is dangerous to be in the elements for even a few minutSes. That’s unnecessary practice because one only gets to lose a nose once.

Plan vs Reality

I planned perfect attendance for my Winter Warriors group program. Getting sick meant I missed a gym session. Not only did I not want to miss that chance to decompress, I wanted to actually get the attendance I’ve been trying to get the past 3 years. There is an incentive for perfect attendance, but I just want to be able to say that I accomplished perfect attendance. Perfect anything and it’s a safe bet I’m going for the title. Except the perfect week reference from HIMYM. Not that.

This is my last week of Winter Warriors. I still get one incentive for my attendance, which is great. Except that I know I missed that one gym session and I’m nuts.

Upcoming

I will be mentoring again. It has been a little over a year since I last mentored any runners. Fortunately, I’m in the 5k program. The distance is nice and I don’t need to train any longer until summer. This also offers me the opportunity to run with people who are just getting into running and remind me why I started and stayed. I found a notebook in a stack I took a photo of my page 1. I’ll bet it was in 2014 before I’d run my first half marathon and when I’d gotten serious about it. Not all plans get sidelined and sometimes they work out really well.

If you ever feel like quitting, remember why you started in the first place:

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I can cross things off that list and I can add things to it, but this is why I started and this is what is at the heart of what I do. I want to keep running for the same reasons.

Why did you start your fitness journey? What brought you to your favorite workout? Make a list for yourself on paper or online and save it where you can go back and reference it from time to time. Don’t change it. Use a different page to update or edit. Then, remember the thoughts that were at the core of your personal journey.

 

Holiday Streakin’

I have not been to write on my blog in awhile. Which is totally fine since I’m told nobody blogs anymore. I do, though.

I had a pretty serious issue with running after the marathon. It wasn’t related to injury or pain. I just hated running. Each time I laced up to go, I’d feel ambivalent about it. I loved running before. I mean, it gets me outside for awhile each time and I get to burn off some of the stress in life. Except, I suddenly didn’t want to run. I wasn’t getting any faster or better at it anyway. I wasn’t going to be winning anything for speed and I wasn’t improving upon my own times.

I didn’t quit running. I talked to my friends about it. Jane talked me into joining a group of people running at least 1 mile for 40 days. The group is based from the Runners World holiday streak, but we have a local group to keep us accountable. We do silly challenges and take selfies to show our running adventures. My goal is to make it through 45 days because my birthday is the 5th of January.

I don’t hate running anymore. I’m slowly improving my time and I’m getting back into “I get to run today,” over, “I have to run today.” That still makes a huge difference in my attitude toward doing it. I haven’t run over 3 miles in awhile and I don’t have any plans to very soon. I’m not running because I’m training for something. I am doing it for me. Back to basics.

Also, when I say I’m streaking, I am still wearing proper attire for the weather. There are windchill numbers to take into account lately. I’m not willing to get frost bite on any naughty bits. I’m more comfy in clothes anyway. So, streaking is my way back to running for the joy of running.

Do you have any plans to scale up or down on training? Do you feel like you have to train or that you get to do it? How does that change your perspective?

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It had been forever since I’d seen a sub 11 minute mile. It helps to have snow pelting the face while running…

 

Little Known Safety Feature

By: Jenn M.

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Our clocks have been set back to regular time and you want to squeeze in any daytime runs you can before they’re all in the dark, whether you’re an early riser or an evening runner. The other day, my cousin went on such a run. Running in the day didn’t make her feel any safer thanks to some crude onlookers, You can read her experience here on her blog. Yes, we both have blogs about fitness and wellness. Go figure.

I am a firm believer that 100% of sexual assault is caused by assailants and 0% is caused by the victim. You could disagree, but you’d be wrong and it really isn’t an opinion as much as a factual statement. I do, however, want to share with you something that I use on my phone that could help quell some concerns and help in the case of an emergency. I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 phone and my S6 had the same feature. I am not familiar with all Android products, but this is more about safety than the technology end of it. My phone [and maybe yours] has a feature where all you do is press the power button on the side quickly 3 times and it will take audio, video, and location information and send it in an “SOS” message to designated recipients. Here’s a basic tutorial using screen shots from my own phone.

From settings, go to Privacy and Emergency:

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Once in the PRIVACY AND EMERGENCY Settings, go to “Send SOS Messages”:

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Using the on screen selection, slide the indicator into the “On” position [often the position with the dot to the right].

Click on the words “SEND MESSAGES TO” and select up to 4 people from your phone book whom you want to receive your SOS message. [Make sure these people are aware they’re designated to this important contact]

Adjust the other settings to personal preferences and keep the phone handy

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I practiced mine a few times with my husband to make sure it would work and get used to how it records. It notifies you that you’ve sent an SOS in your notifications bar and you will see the pictures it took in your gallery.

I am disappointed that this post is necessary, but I hope that it helps someone out and that you get good use of it.

*Please feel free to share my post, but also give me credit. I love writing and I don’t get paid to do it, so just getting credit for it is nice.

Quick update

By: Jenn M

It’s November 5th. Actually it’s the 6th. Dang it. So I don’t know the date. No biggie. I have some things running around in my head and I haven’t updated my blog since my interesting experience at the Chicago Marathon about a month ago.  Yes, I want a rematch with 26.2 eventually.

I have been extremely aware of and self conscious about my weight gain. I put on around 25 lbs and allowed myself to put weight loss on the back burner during marathon training. I decided upon ‘no weight gain’ during training to ensure I was properly fueling. I actually succeeded at the plateau. I didn’t gain anything training, but I’m still disappointed in my appearance. I know I’m more jiggly and wide than I want to be. I’m not happy that I bought new clothes to wear this winter because nothing fits.

I got a new swimsuit to wear to the gym because the old one is simply too revealing with my new curves [mine are rolls, not curves]. I am really hard on myself and my husband would probably be the first to say so. He tells me every time I have a clothing catastrophe and resulting breakdown in my closet.  The good part is that I’m actually thinking about and starting to plan going to the gym. I haven’t had the energy or the courage to step out and do something about my weight.  I get so caught up in wondering why I should try to hard to just be average.

I am trying to get back to where I was before my injury and hopefully make it stick this time. I want to enjoy working out and look forward to it. I know that the energy comes from exercise and I have to get started to want to continue. This isn’t new to me. I never thought I’d be back at this size or have slipped this far back in my fitness routine. What I know is that I don’t like the results I’m getting from being inactive and lazy about my health. Laziness comes in so many forms and in excuses. My depression is better when I’m eating right and working out. I feel more confident when I’m healthy. I want that back and I have to work for it instead of whining for it. Fortunately, I joined a program that will at least get me into the gym once a week and running once a week. It’s up to me to do the rest.

Do you feel like you let yourself slip up? Do you have something that motivates you when you feel like you want to give up?

Apples are my go to snack. They’re full of fiber and they’re portable. These are Fuji apples, but I love golden delicious, honeycrisp, pink lady, and many other types.

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