One month down

Scout

Somehow it’s already the last day of January.  How did I miss the other 30 days?  It seems like it was just yesterday that I was busy making New Years Eve Malted Milk Ball cupcakes!

Much of my month was hijacked (and i use that term in the most endearing of ways) by a little well-known girl by the name of Scout (pictured above).  Scout went missing on January 19th and spent 12 days on the road.  During these 12 days, I did little of anything that was normal.  Instead I woke up at weird hours of the night to spread chicken through the streets of Midtown, ate most of my meals in my car, worked “trap shifts”, ran on the railroad tracks, and slept very little.  Also, during our “Scouting”, as we fondly started to refer to our antics, we also rescued a puppy, Tallulah.  Whew!  I guess that’s why I’m surprised that it’s the end of January.

As I sat in the dark at 4 am trying to keep the puppy from waking Sleeping Beauty (aka Georgia), I wondered how I have stacked up so far with my Mental Health 2013.  Things I specifically stated I want to do in 2013:

Read Books:  In 2013, I have already read a non fitness related book, The Happiness Project.  Woo hoo!  This is definitely a step in the right direction in my quest for not only reading work related books.

Vacation:  I wish I could say I’ve already vacationed in 2013 but sadly, i have not.  We will be out of town soon for a race..not sure that counts but i’m still working on getting a decent vacation planned for the year.

Journal:  Journaling can be so intimidating because you feel like you have to really write a journal.  I found the perfect compromise (thanks, Erin)!  The Happiness Project 5 Year Journal- there’s only enough space each day for about 2 or 3 sentences.  It has been great.  I journal every night and there is zero pressure.

Yoga:  I’ve been doing yoga twice a week at home.  I must admit though that I didn’t even get one practice in last week and have yet to this week BUT i will certainly make it happen this weekend.

Do a race outside my comfort zone:  Um, that would totally be Swampstomper a few weeks ago!

Plant a small garden:  Although it’s not gardening time yet, I am taking care of my first house plant and it is still ALIVE!

Try a new recipe at least monthly:  Who knows.  I don’t even know what I ate for breakfast today, how in the hell am I supposed to remember if I made something new this month.

Hug:  This one makes me laugh, cry, and smile.  This month, more than any I’ve had as of late, has warranted lots of hugs.  We’ve had sad hugs and celebration hugs.

So, I think I’ve done pretty darn good with my first month of my Mental Health 2013.  How are your resolutions coming along??

OH, and the great news is that Scout was found by a sweet man who worked for several days to earn her trust and finally was able to read her tags AND sweet little Tallulah has a new home too.  Now, I’d be lying if I didn’t say this one has pretty much devastated me (cue: sad hugs) but I’m still thrilled we saved her from the craziness of Lamar Ave.

Highs and Lows

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(don’t have any race pics but this was taken on one of our Swampstomper training runs)

Wow, what a weekend.  Keith and I signed up for the Swampstomper 25K a couple of months ago and had really been looking forward to it.  I have worked really hard to safely reintroduce running into my life since having to sit out May – August and I was pretty nervous going into this race.  I knew I would go into it as a training run and nothing more since I have other things coming up and I felt more than prepared but I still started feeling my race anxiety kick in a few days ago.

I have been having pretty good runs and my back pain had subsided a good bit and all of a sudden, last week it started hurting pretty badly again.  I think it’s from taking some time off from working out since I’ve been fighting a cold.  By Saturday morning I could barely stand or sit without pretty severe pain.  Not good for my already present race anxiety.  As I was standing on Cooper talking to some of my runners, I saw my PT run by.  I literally ran after her to tell her about my sudden onset of pain.  She is a total lifesaver and agreed to see me that afternoon…she wasn’t even working that day.  I had strict instructions to go home and stretch until she called that afternoon.  Well, unfortunately that wasn’t an option.

We got word that Scout is missing.  Scout is one of Gracie’s puppies.  Gracie is the sweet dog that I helped take care of after she was found in the rain, on the streets, pregnant with 5 puppies.  I spent several weeks last year going to the home of the girl who found Gracie (a girl I didn’t know at the time) to sit with Gracie and the puppies while she went to class.  Needless to say, I got extremely attached.  This news was a dagger to the heart.  Keith and I immediately headed out to hunt for Scout.  We ran into Thomas and Alli doing the same and I must say, it warms my heart to be friends with these people who will spend their days doing the same.  With really heavy hearts and after about 3 hours in the car, we decided to take a break.  It was then that I got the call to go see my PT.

Yay, she was a complete saint to work me in on a Saturday.  She needled me and poked and prodded on me until I started to feel a little better.  She, again, gave me strict instructions to go home and spend the next several hours stretching.  Well, as I was leaving I got word that Scout was spotted on E. Parkway.  Of course I couldn’t go home and stretch!  I called Keith and Alli and we all headed out again.  Sadly, no luck.  Home again but we just couldn’t stay there so we decided to go back out and drive the streets until it was too dark to see.  Needless to say, we weren’t doing much in the way of getting ready for the race.

I didn’t sleep well.  Instead I thought of all the possibilities of spotting Scout on the way to the race.  What would I do?  Would I take her with me and have Alli come get her?  Would we skip the race altogether?  Unfortunately, this didn’t dilemma didn’t come to fruition since we never saw her.  On to the race!  I have terrible race anxiety, whether it’s a 5K or a marathon.  I don’t stress about it or dread it, I just get these weird jelly legs and my insides feel like they’re filled with mexican jumping beans.  It’s so weird and it’s always like this.

We got to the race about 8 am- the 50k runners started at 7:30 so we missed their take off. We had just enough time to get our goodies, pin our bibs on, and stretch a bit.  Perfect.  Not too much wasted time and not to little to be rushed.  8:30 AM, off we went.  Our “strategy” was to go slow.  We planned to head into the woods near the back of the pack and do a run / walk.  We didn’t want to race this and end up so sore that we would need to take some time off.  We were also a bit nervous about the conditions of the trail since our last run out there was a big slippery mess.  Much to our surprise, it was in perfect conditions- better than i’ve ever seen it!

I started to get a little anxious as everyone was passing us within the first 5 minutes, before we even hit the trail.  We didn’t want to fall into this trap though but, man, it’s tough not getting sucked in to other peoples run.  We hit the trail 5 or so minutes in and within a few minutes, we were taking our first walk break.  It was tough for the first few miles because we kept running back up on people but hated to pass them knowing that we would be walking again soon so we just stayed behind and ran their pace.  After a couple of miles of this, we were definitely a little anxious to pass and get into a better rhythm.  Once we did, we were able to make enough of a distance that it wouldn’t affect them when we took our next walk break.  We got to the first aid station at about the time we expected.  We knew the red loop was next.  Ugh, the red loop.  How can a 3 mile loop be so damn hard?  I don’t know but it is.  We stopped at the Red Loop aid station to refill our water bottles and then we were off again.  Headed out of the red loop was the first time we felt like we were really finding our rhythm.  I couldn’t believe I still had my mexican jumping bean jelly legs!  We were over an hour in at this point.  So far we had, on one run or another, been on every part of the race.  Then came the big surprise.

We hadn’t ever gone all the way to the turn around point and boy was I shocked at the hill that was just ahead.  It’s basically like a ladder on the side of a hill.  I just needed to get to the turnaround so I knew I was on the home stretch.  Keith, of course, was noticing the beauty of this unchartered territory but I was just focused on this huge hill!  We finally got to the turn around, went to the bathroom, talked to Feb and Ritchie, and were then on our way again.  I think it’s about 6 or 6.5 miles to the finish from here.  I really wanted to get to the finish line in 3:30 but that would mean we would need to do 10 minute miles the rest of the way and I wasn’t willing to sacrifice the run / walk or our plan to use this as a training run to make this happen so we just carried on.  Our runs were strong and our walks were quick, although I started to cramp pretty badly around mile 12 and Keiths hip was bugging him.  I had taken several salt tabs and was following my fueling schedule to a tee but my calves and butt (weird, i know) were cramping pretty badly.  We got to the last aid station, grabbed a couple of chocolate chip cookies, and off again.  I know this section fairly well and knew it would take us about 40 minutes to get to the finish but somehow we were making up some time.  I knew we wouldn’t get my goal but we were damn close…3:34.  I’m fine with that considering we stuck to our run / walk schedule, ran slowly and smart for the first 10 or so miles, and had a great time together.  Two more reasons I think Keith is great: 1) he was willing to sacrifice his run and run my run / walk plan at my pace while using this as a training run rather than a race and 2) when he knew i was struggling towards the end, his only comment to me was “well, i think your butt looks good from my vantage point.”  😉

We were definitely impressed with the race and community of people running.  I’ve always heard that trail runners are a bit nicer and supportive than road runners but having never done a trail race, who knows.  I have run enough road races to know you run across a LOT of jerks along the way.  It’s just a different vibe, a more competitive feel.  We spoke to every single person that we passed or who passed us and only had 2 people not speak back.  One guy, I think he couldn’t speak.  He didn’t even seen capable of the ‘i’m raising my eyebrow to acknowledge you but i can’t speak’ look but I still think that’s what was going on.  The other guy, well we saw him twice and he was just a jerk both times.  Oh well.  That’s definitely his loss.  All in all, it was an awesome experience.  The weather was perfect and the trails seemed as if someone had gone out there and swept them off!  I wouldn’t change a single thing from the packet pick up to the shirts to the trail markers to the volunteers….and so on!  Definitely a tough race and definitely one we’ll do again.

Unfortunately our fun and feeling good didn’t last long as it was just sandwiched in sadness this weekend.  A couple of hours after being home from the race, we got word that Scout had possibly been spotted on Union near the interstate so we headed back out last night to look for her for a while.  We haven’t had any luck and it has been so incredibly depressing.  I can’t imagine being married to someone who doesn’t get me and doesn’t just stand up and grab the keys when I make the comment, “a dog was spotted on Union.”  We’ve spent about 6 or so hours in the car this weekend looking for her and he shares in my sadness.

I owe the biggest thanks to Keith for being there for me for the highs and lows this weekend.  It’s definitely been the most emotional few days we’ve had in a while, good and bad.  On goes my quest for becoming a stronger trail runner and on goes my search for Scout.

Checking Your Goggles?

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About this time last year, I took my first swim lesson.  I hired a swim coach that I pretty much knew nothing about but I was going with a friend.  Our first lesson was nothing more than putting our face in the water, going under, and just a little bit of splashing around.  I liked him because he didn’t make it too hard…..that first day.

By the second lesson we were to swim to one end and back.  I was pretty terrified that I wouldn’t be able to do this.  Funny thing is, I could.  Somehow he knew more than me what I was capable of doing.  Then came the 3rd lesson, not only were we to swim to one end and back, we were to only take a breath and start right back over.  Well, I managed to swim down and back but before heading out again, I felt the need to check my goggles.

Even funnier thing about this was he knew I really wasn’t having a goggle issue.  Maybe I had actually convinced myself that I was but he knew I was just buying time..taking those few extra breaths.  I argued with him that I needed to fix my leaky goggle and he said to me, “just like your runners who need to suddenly re-tie their shoes?”  Ding ding ding, he was speaking my language!  Not only did I head straight back into the water, even when i did have a leaky goggle, I just powered on through.

Oh boy do we see this all the time!  Just last week we had a pretty tough run workout in which we gave a 2 minute recovery in the middle.  It’s funny how 2 minutes sounds like a long time until you’re in the middle of a tough workout and suddenly it sounds like a few seconds.  As Keith and I timed peoples recovery, we watched 2 minutes suddenly turn to 2:05, 2:10, even 2:20 for some people.  Yes, you can certainly sneak in some extra breaths when re-setting your Garmin, changing the song on your iPod, getting that last sip of water but really all you’re doing is checking your goggles.

Inclement Weather Policy

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I saw this many months ago and love it.

Inclement Weather Policy for the Tupelo Half Marathon: (was being held during Hurricane Isaac)

A. In the event of rain we will get wet
B. In the case of heavy rain we will get really wet
C. In the case of REALLY heavy rain I will wait in the building until you’re all back.

Thinking of adopting this policy 🙂

Let’s Dance….Naked

On our run this morning, we were talking about The Biggest Loser (yes, i told you i am hooked) and more specifically about the kids.  It’s such a shame that some parents don’t take more responsibility for their children’s health by teaching them healthy eating and enjoyable fitness.  How is a child supposed to know these things if not taught?

A child doesn’t need to be raised knowing the word “diet” but they should be familiar with what a healthy diet consists of.  A child shouldn’t think of fitness as work but they should understand that being active is good for them.  Children should be raised to have a positive body image so that they turn into adults with a positive body image.  Nobody has the perfect figure and, yes, plenty of people should do better but all the negativity can only make it worse.

I know parents of very different unhealthy..in my opinion..extremes- one parent I know only feeds her children only junk food.  I think this parent thinks she is a more fun parent by doing this.  Why be the bad guy and introduce broccoli?  Gasp!  I also know a parent or two who spend a lot of time talking about dieting and being skinny and they’re doing this in front of their very impressionable little girls.  Both of these extremes can cause such an unhealthy relationship with food, fitness, and body image.  It makes me sad.

Lauri was telling me about a blog post she read and I have thought about it constantly every since!  The mom is a runner and seemingly fit.  One night, during bath time, she noticed her 7 year old little girl pinching the “fat” on her sides.  She asked her daughter about it and was told that some kids at school had called her fat.  I can only imagine how sad that must have made this mom and how worried.  She spoke with her daughter about body image and loving her body but also knew that she must show her so…get this…they dance naked in front of the mirror before bed every night.  How awesome is that!  The mom, as uncomfortable as she may be staring at her naked self being silly in the mirror, is also benefiting from this as well.

This got me thinking.  Would I be comfortable stripping down and dancing in front of the mirror every night?  Heavens no but why not?  Because I don’t have the healthiest of body images.  I am vowing to change this.   I eat as healthy as I want to eat and I exercise as much as I want to exercise and I have to accept that I’m not perfect.  So, who wants to join me in the challenge of dancing naked in front of the mirror every day?  Not together!  I’m certainly not ready for public nakedness but let’s do this.  It’s not only healthy for 7 year old little girls, it’s healthy for everyone!

oh, and sorry there’s no picture to accompany this post but i couldn’t really post an appropriate one

Tough Love?

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Keith and I watched The Biggest Loser for the first time last night.  I have seen bits and pieces over the years but I’ve never had any desire to actually spend time watching it.  We decided to give it a chance this year though since they’ve decided to have kids on the show.  Having seen how the people are treated and spoken to, we were definitely curious as to how they would handle the children.

I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.  Instead of throwing the kids in the gym and screaming at them until they cried (as in how they handled the adults), they took them outside and played games with them.  Awesome!  Instead of berating them, they are treating them with respect which also teaching them that fitness can be fun.  I really enjoyed it and hate that they won’t be a bigger part of the show.

It was a whole different ballgame inside the gym though.  I think I watched most of the show with my jaw on the floor.  As a personal trainer, I cannot imagine speaking to my clients like that!  I would be lying if I said I haven’t thought all of those things at one point or another but, seriously, does that work?  I get that it works for ratings and a tv show but would it work for you?

I have had clients absolutely refuse to do something, moan and groan as if they are having their leg cut off, throw up, cry, get pissed, and simply just give up but I still can’t imagine that had I gotten in their face and screamed at them to “get the F out of my gym”, it would have gone over very well.  I will never forget the client who cried the first time I got her to the mat and had her do sit ups (i’m talking face in the hands, hysterical crying) or the client who ran to the bathroom to pretend throw up each time I made her jump rope.  With all of these, I’ve already tried to offer positive reinforcements and softly and quietly motivate but now I’m thinking maybe I’m doing it all wrong.  Jillian’s tactics (or antics!) sure look more fun.  I don’t know.  What do you think?  Should i try it?

 

A Mental Health 2013

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Did you know that only 40% of people who make a New Year’s Resolution make it until June before failing and only 8% of people who end the year successful?  I saw this statistic on The Today Show, I believe, and although it seems staggering, I get why.  People are too vague when making their resolutions.  There’s no true goal set.  It’s just a nebulous, “I’m going to be healthy” that gets people in trouble.

Because of this, I’ve never been super keen on resolutions.  Having been a personal trainer for many years, I get to hear lots of these weak statements that just don’t have much meat to them.  I do think each new year is a great reminder to us to take a moment to look back on the year we just had.  Spend some time evaluating it- what was great about it but what could you maybe do differently to make it even better?  Once you’ve done this, set some real definitive goals and make the plans for achieving them.  Right there, you’ve ahead of the majority.  So, instead of “I’m going to be healthy”, why not “I’m making an appointment with a nutritionist to reevaluate my diet” or “I’m going to run x miles per week for 2013.”  At least these will start to push you in the right direction.

Looking back, I had a great 2012…I had a Half Marathon PR after taking 2 years off from running that distance, I faced my fear of swimming with some swim lessons, I started doing triathlons (something i truly thought i would NEVER do), I received the Memphis Business Journals Top 40 Under 40 award, Star Runners continued to grow, and Keith, Georgia, and I spent another year of pure bliss together…but, even with all of that, I have realized that I let some of the things I love the most go.

I allowed my job to take over and I started having a hard time separating myself- we missed our vacation this year, I no longer found time to cook, I didn’t do a single thing in the yard (i’ve always planted herbs and flowers), and I completely stopped reading which is something I absolutely love to do .  Between my training clients and the groups, I even had a stent where I worked for 82 straight days without a day off.

This year will be different!  I’m certainly not complaining because 2012 was a great year but I know that 2013 can be even better.  I plan to focus a little more on my mental health.  My plan is really just to get back in touch with some of the more simple things that I really love.  So, I resolve to:

*  Read books:  I’m not going to place a # on how many but I do plan to start spending some quiet time reading again….books that aren’t work related!  I would love to read about 1 per month as an addition to the stuff I always read for work.  If you have any good book suggestions, send them my way!

*  Vacation:  Nobody should skip their vacation!  I tagged along on one of Keith’s work trips to Florida so I did spend a couple of days at the pool but that was without Keith and I spent the entire time on my computer working.  I already know of 1 small trip we’ll take in the Fall (Ole Miss / TX game) so I’m going to start working on something for the Spring soon.  I’m not allowing race trips to count!

*  Journal:  Although i do intend to start blogging more, I also want to start journaling again- not something for the universe but just something for me.  I have always felt that this is a really good way to keep your mental health in check.

*  Yoga:  Yep, i’m putting this on here again.  I WILL do yoga at least once per week, whether in a class or at home.  Yoga is so great for both mental and physical health that it’s just one of those things that I should make the time for.

*  Do a race that is outside of my comfort zone:  I’m planning to do my first trail race in a few weeks – 16.3 miles 🙂  The distance isn’t something that scares me but this distance on trails certainly does!  I’m not sure what will come after that but I do enjoy trying things that I once thought I couldn’t do.

*  Plant a small garden:  We don’t have a yard so I’m not totally sure how i’m going to handle this one but I have a few months to work on it!

*  Try a new recipe at least monthly:  I’m a cookbook fiend so this shouldn’t be a problem.  I just have to make the time and quit allowing work to be my excuse for not doing it. (picture above: 1st new recipe of the year- technically on 12/31 but i’m counting it!  Malted Milk Ball Cupcakes)

*  Hug:  This one makes me laugh but I really mean it.  You know how a good hug can just make you feel better.  People don’t hug enough.  I’m not a super touchy feely kind of person unless I really know you but I will learn to let my guard down a little and give and hopefully receive some really great hugs.  Why not, right?!   🙂

That’s all I can think of for now.  Nothing too life altering but just some things I’d like to add back into my daily life.  I will add to this list as I think of other things.  I’m fortunate to have a job I love and a family that is absolutely wonderful so I owe it to the world to be the best me I can be.  What about you?  Resolutions?  Goals?  You know, I’m a believer in putting them out into the universe to start the “I will” process of making them happen.  Share with the world and you’re on your way to success!