Thursday, July 6, 2017

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Looking Back

Back in February, I shared a pretty personal post about why I wasn't setting any running-related goals this year. It was a pretty difficult post to write, not only because opening up about your personal life on the internet is scary, but because I had to come to terms with the fact that running had to be put on the back burner for awhile. After I hit the "publish" button, I was shocked by the response I got by so many readers. So many of you messaged me, either on this blog or on Instagram, to share your own similar stories, and even thanked me for my honesty! The post that almost didn't get published because I was so afraid of admitting my struggles on the world wide web reminded me that I wasn't in this alone. So this "thank you" is long overdue, but THANK YOU all for reading for my story, and for being so understanding and supportive.

I also owe you all an apology. After sharing my struggles and goals for the future, I didn't provide any updates on my progress. In the past five months, I have been able to make a lot of positive changes (e.g. creating and maintaining a bedtime routine, trying new workouts, eliminating toxic people from my life).  I got fitted for running shoes and made the switch from Mizuno to Brooks, and sold my TomTom Runner GPS watch, replacing it with a Garmin Forerunner 735tx. I am still working on improving my nutrition and sticking to a workout regime, but it's been a lot easier now that I am on summer break. I also ran two half marathons in the spring; the NYC Half Marathon and Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh. Raleigh was supposed to be a full marathon, but I realized at mile 8 that I did not have the strength to complete another 18 miles (the hills and heat didn't help), so I went left with the half marathoners. FINALLY listening to my body, and it feels so good. The only races I have left this year are Seawheeze in August (which I'm SO excited for!) and the Portland Marathon in October, but I have no time goals set for either. I just want to cross the finish lines!

#WeRunSocial Meet-Up!

Surround yourself with positive people. <3

A lot of exciting things have also happened since I last posted. Back in September, I registered for an Ultra Ragnar Relay. For those of you are not familiar with Ragnar, it is a 200-ish mile relay race in which runners complete a point-to-point course over two days and one night. You can read more about it here. I was talking to my friend Elle on the phone when I registered, and she immediately agreed to joining my team (she also ran the Indoor Dopey Challenge with me this year...what a rockstar friend!). I was worried that we wouldn't be able to find four other females crazy enough to run 25-40 miles in under 48 hours with us, but just a few months later, our team was complete. Jenn, Telisa, Heather, and Lindsay were added to our roster, and I could not have asked for a better team of strong women.

Girls Gone Ultra: Jenn, Elle, Heather, Telisa, Me!, Lindsay
Freaking. Rockstars.


If you've never done a Ragnar, I highly recommend it! It's certainly challenging (I personally had to run 36 miles over the course of 6 legs), but the camaraderie you build with your teammates make all the miles and lack of sleep and poor hygiene (I didn't shower for more days than I'd like to admit) worth it. 

Moving Forward

Now that I'm on summer break, I've had more time to reestablish some old healthy habits, as well as add some new ones. My biggest goal right now is to get my nutrition back on track, and lose some of the weight I gained when my body basically shut down last year. For the past three days, I've been logging my food using the My Fitness Pal app, and it's been really useful in helping me eat a healthy combination of proteins/fats/carbohydrates. I'm eating a wider variety of foods again, and I can already notice a difference in how I feel. Fitness and running have been more of a struggle. I can't totally quit running because I'm registered for a few races (and I always show up on race day), but I've [slowly] begun to incorporate strength training a few times a week. I occasionally attend group fitness classes, such as cycling (I LOVE SoulCycle!) and Orangetheory, which are really great on the days when I don't feel like working out.

My experiences last year taught me how much stress can negatively impact your mind and body. Last year, I said "yes" to things I didn't really want to do, signed up for way too many things, and basically drove myself into the ground. This year, I've learned that it's okay to say no to things that you don't want to do, or don't have time to do. I know if I that if miss a planned workout or don't get enough sleep I'll be upset later on, so I'll politely decline a brunch or other outing if I know it will interfere. This is OKAY. People who are really your friends will understand, and may even change the plans to accommodate you.

There's a quote that states "if you can't get someone off your mind, maybe they're supposed to be there." Now this quote obviously relates to a person, but I think the same idea can be applied to other aspects of life, such as hobbies or a career one wants to pursue. For the past two years, I've been thinking a lot about career changing to become a Physical Education Teacher. Last year, I took the related teaching exam in my state and passed, making me a certified PE teacher. But to me, this wasn't enough. Health and fitness is such a huge part of my life, and I really wanted to grow and develop my skills in the field. Last month, I was accepted into and began a second master's program in Physical Education at West Virginia University. I've spent the past few weeks absorbed in scholarly journals and completing assignments for my online courses. This weekend, I will be heading out to Morgantown for two weeks, where I'll be living campus and completing coursework on-site. I never thought at the age of 29 that I'd be living in a dorm room, but I'm pretty excited for this experience!

Class of 2019!

So have I achieved any of the goals I set for myself and shared back in February? Nope. Not really. But I am well on my way to getting where I want to be. As much as I'd like to rush this process, I know there are no shortcuts. The most I can do each day is surround myself with positive, supportive people, keep an open mind, and work hard to continue making progress. Again, I will get there when the time is right.

What goals have you set and accomplished this year? What  goals are you still working towards?