I ran my 10k this morning, and it went so well! I was nervous because I really haven’t been running much at all these past few weeks (traveling, getting sick, being lazy), but I know I can handle the 6.2 miles since I’ve run that, and more, many times before in the last few months. For a while, I was training for a half marathon, but I ended up getting off track from my training and not being prepared for the event in Paris in March, though I do hope when I get back home in the summer, I can start training again. I aim to finish a half before 2013 is over.
Anyway, today’s run went really well. I ran a slow but decent pace and, and aside from pain in my knees (I’ve had IT Band syndrome aka runners knee for years), I felt strong in my heart and in my legs. My last kilometer felt like one long uphill sprint, but I pushed through and was rewarded by thousands of happy, proud women hugging and high-five-ing each other for accomplishing this exciting feat. Instead of a dumb medal (useless), we were given a really cute bracelet as a finishing gift (featured below… The top one is the bracelet we got with our race packet – has a cute Nike Swoosh on the ball. The second pink one is the finishers “medal”), along with tons of great snacks (way better than the ones given at the events I’ve done back home! I guess French people know whats up) like bananas, apples, nectarines, apricots, dried fruits of all kinds, baked fruit cakes and sweet loaves of bread, tons of water and juice… the list goes on. Awesome.
At one point in the race, there was a station that was playing (on repeat) Run The World by Beyonce, and it was getting us all super PUMPED. I looked around and realized, you know, we’re all just normal-shaped women. Some of us have hips and some have skinny legs and some have big thighs and some are tall and some are small and most of us, no… all of us jiggle. Its what makes us women! But jiggle or no jiggle, celulite or none, we are all strong, reaching for the same goal, and it felt unifying and rewarding to be surrounded by so many motivated people. It was another reminder that I am blessed and thankful to have a healthy, functioning, fit body that allows me to do anything I could possibly want to do. My body is my machine. I want to take good care of it.
Well, my friends, I ran today. The gods were telling me not to, but a little reminder (you’ll know from my previous post) in the morning was just the encouragement that I needed to drag my tired, mildly sick body out the door first thing in the morning for a slow 4-mile run.
It is so, so hard to get back into the rhythm of exercise, and I see now why it’s so hard for people to start when they’ve never had a habit of exercising to begin with. When you’re in the habit, exercise is like crack. It’s almost a drug. You crave it and you need it to function, the way some people need coffee. But starting, after not exercising in a while, is THE WORST THING EVER. It’s days like today where I hate exercise, it sucks, and I’d rather be buried alive than make the slightest effort to burn a calorie. During the entire run, I was hating life. My knees hurt (remnants of a never-quite-healed running injury) and my legs felt like lead and my feet were sore and my heart felt weak, not to mention it was cold and slightly rainy and all around bullshitty in every possible way. But… I DID IT ANYWAY. Despite my whining and complaining and enormous desires to eat cookies and cry at my miserable existence (ok not really), I just turned off my brain and tied my shoes and ran.
This is a reminder to myself that I CAN. Maybe I don’t always want to and maybe there will always be a million ways to rationalize not doing it, but my body can run, and therefore my mind can too. And the mind, after all, is the biggest, dare I say the ONLY hurdle at all.
I had a small but powerful moment yesterday as I began my run. I had just finished writing a long, long post (which I haven’t quite decided if I will post or not) about my experiences over the past 3 years with health, fitness, body image, etc, and immediately after, I went out for a run to clear my head. Within only the first 20 seconds of my run, I happened to turn my head coincidentally at the just right moment to make accidental eye contact with a young man, maybe a few years younger than me, who was sitting in a wheelchair. He was clearly disabled from the waist down and has likely been in a wheelchair his whole life, and in that brief moment we shared, I was struck with an overwhelming sense of sadness and of appreciation at the same time. Perhaps it was the look he gave me, as I trotted past him in my fancy running gear, or perhaps I am just projecting what I thought he was saying to me with his soulful stare, but he really pierced right to my heart, and right after I passed him, I found myself short of breath and fighting back tears unsuccessfully.
I spend far too much time wondering if my thighs will ever not touch, or if my butt will be as hard as a rock, or if my knees will ever heal from my running injuries, and in that moment I suddenly felt so small and so pathetic for caring about such petty details. I have legs that work! Beautiful, strong, functional legs, and maybe they don’t run that fast and maybe they feel heavy sometimes when I run and maybe I have thighs that touch, but holy shit, how awesome is that?? I have those things. I. Have. Legs. And they work, really well.
I dedicated the rest of my run to that boy, and every time I felt lazy and wanting to quit, I reminded myself that if I was in a wheelchair, I’m sure I’d give anything to just take one step. So I kept putting one foot in front of the other, and being thankful each time I could do so. I am lucky and I want to keep taking care of myself so that I can have this fortune for decades to come.
You know what happens when you set your intentions for the day, when you plan ahead, and when you find internal motivation to have a better day than yesterday? You fucking succeed! Or at least I do.
Today was SO much better than yesterday, oh my god! I went to bed earlier, woke up earlier, and went on my morning run as promised, and that was crucial in setting the tone for the rest of the day. I ate clean all day, I had energy, and I accomplished quite a number of things, with plenty of time to spare to talk to a few friends back home.
After my run, I had my usual oatmeal with protein powder which kept me full for hours and hours. I mixed it with my usual cinnamon and walnuts and I added apples today, just ‘cuz.
For lunch, I had a minor moment of distress when I opened the fridge and felt discouraged and too lazy to cook. I really wanted to spend a minimal amount of effort on my meal and I almost settled for some poor choices, for sake of convenience (i.e. leftover French food, aka a heart attack), but I paused, took a deep breath, and decided to do a little hunting to see what I could make. Sometimes I start cooking and I don’t even know what it is that I’m making until halfway through the process, and today was one of those days. I found vegetables, sauteed them, and found some eggs and decided to make a veggie eggwhite scramble with half of a small avocado that I had from my picnic this past weekend.
It was a great success, totally lean, full of good protein, raw, full of vitamins and minerals, vegetarian, had good fats (from the avocado), filling, and low calorie. When I feel lazy and I have eggs around, I’ll usually make a plain eggwhite scramble, but today’s was even better because of all the veggies. I could eat this every day! This meal is all sorts of GOOD.
In the afternoon, I made myself a protein shake with a little almond milk, water, a scoop of protein powder, and a tablespoon of almond butter, because I’m addicted, duh. I don’t have my shaker bottle like I do at home, so I found a janky ass bowl and whisked it all together. Not ideal, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
Four my 4th “meal”, I had a picnic with the little girl and I ate an apple and some dried fruit. And when dinner came around, I didn’t have much (aka any) freedom to choose what I ate, but I controlled my portions and ate slowly and mindfully. It was lamb with all sorts of sauces, and good lord it was good, but its red meat, and I try to avoid that at all costs. I’m proud of myself for avoiding the nightly cheese course, the bread, and the dessert… all things which I crave more than life itself. But my willpower carried me all the way through a successful dinner time, and now, moments before going to bed, I don’t feel sick to my stomach as I do when I overeat, I don’t feel bloated as I do when I eat the wrong things, I don’t feel remorse as I do when I lose self control… I feel perfectly content, healthy, and satisfied with myself today.
It really is amazing what starting the day off on the right foot can do for the outcome of the rest of the day. For me, waking up early and working out early was absolutely the key to my continued success all day long. I want to try to turn this into a habit, as it clearly works well for me! I feel strong, physically and mentally… I’d call that a success.
What habits work well for you? What do you do to start your day off on the right foot?
I just want to share my support and my prayers for all the people of Boston. This is a terrible tragedy and my heart goes out to all who were affected. ❤
I am dedicating my run this morning to all runners in the Boston Marathon. Life is precious, and often cut far too short, and I hope those of us that are still blessed with life and with mobility will use this tragedy as a reminder to appreciate these gifts and take care of ourselves in any way we can. I encourage everyone to take a moment to be thankful and to join me in running today, in honor of all those affected by these events in Boston. Run, walk, crawl, whatever you are capable of, but get out there and live your life, take care of your body, and enjoy every day, because life is too short and too precious not to.
All my heart is with Boston right now.
Really, just fucking do it. Stop over-thinking it, and go. When it’s over, you’ll be glad you did.
That can be about anything, but today, for me, it was about exercise (as usual). Spent all day feeling tense and agitated, like a dog that needed to be walked, and I was getting annoyed at all sorts of stupid little things. I had plenty of excuses not to work out (there are so many things to see on the internet!) and I didn’t have much time, but I stopped thinking about it and I just mindlessly/robotically put my workout clothes on and head out the door. I considered doing a workout in my living room, but I know myself and I know when I’m feeling unmotivated and hungry like I was, I would find an excuse to stop and head straight to the kitchen halfway through my workout, so I decided to go for a run instead, because I know that way I have to finish my workout if I ever want to get back home. So I did.
The run started okay, but still, my brain was too involved and I kept whining to myself about how I should just go back home and eat a bunch of shit, but I forced myself to turn off all thinking whatsoever, and just run. 45 minutes and several sprints, stair sprints, pushups, and crunches later, I was back home, run was done, and I wanted to break windows and punch people cus I felt/feel so FUCKING good.
Just DO IT.
Also, I have no relation to Nike whatsoever. Their slogan just so happens to be fucking rad and relevant. Deal with it. And I do not advocate consuming Jersey Shore in your diet.
Great run great run great run!
It’s really amazing how exercise can make you feel so much better, instantly. Endorphins!!! It’s like crack, only cheaper.
I’m following through with my intentions from earlier and I’m allowing today to be a good day. I had a great run just now, slow and steady, mixed in with a few impromptu exercises like running up and down stairs (workout below, for those of you that want to replicate) and using whatever I could find for push ups, crunches, etc. Followed by my daily bowl of oatmeal (I was feeling wild and decided to try it with bananas instead of apples today. What can I say, I’m a thrill seeker…), and now the rest of the afternoon will be spent adventuring around Paris with a friend. Like I said earlier… Life is good!
What will you do today to be stronger than yesterday? How will you remind yourself of your own power?
*** Stair workout ***
It’s easy. Find some stairs. Run up. Run down. Repeat.
Run up every step at 70%, keeping your arms strong as leverage. Run down.
Sprint up every other step (90-100% exertion), starting with your right leg. Run down.
Sprint up every other step (90-100% exertion), starting with your left leg. Run down.
Run up every step at 70%, keeping your arms strong as leverage. Run down.
Repeat that whole set 3-5 times through.
If you happen to have a play structure near by, or a park bench, or a fence or whatever you can get your hands on, try to add some push-ups, pull-ups, and crunches to your run. Your upper body will feel tight and strong as you continue running the rest of the way.
* Remember peeps, I ain’t a personal trainer or qualified professional of any sort, so consult your doctor or whoever before listening to anything I say. For all you know, I could be full of shit!! Ha.
But really though…
Today I wanted to go for a run, a steady, easy long run, but my morning got past me and I found myself with only 30 minutes left for running before I had to be back home, so I decided to make the most out of my run by making it a HIIT run, which means High Intensity Interval Training. I adapted my intervals based on a running workout I found a long time ago online somewhere (I wish I could find the link to it!) which looked essentially like this:
5-minute warm up
Repeat the following interval 8 times:
1-minute normal pace (slow to medium jog)
30-second sprint (all out, 90-100%)
After the 8 intervals have been completed and you’re exhausted:
5-minute cool down
Since my sports watch died (battery is dead and I haven’t been able to find a new one here in France), I don’t really have a good way of keeping time while running, so I adapted this general interval running routine to fit with my music. I ran at a normal pace with the timing of the verses of each song and I sprinted through the chorus, or, if the song didn’t lend itself to this pattern, I would use visual markers ahead of me that looked around 50-100 meters away (roughly) and I would sprint all the way to those. By the end, I had finished my 30 minute HIIT training and I had run a distance of around 3.25 miles, so not too shabby for a short workout!
Exercise doesn’t have to take up your whole day if you know how to exercise a little smarter. 45 minutes on the elliptical at the gym (while mindlessly reading a magazine or watching tv) and 15 minutes with pussy weights (5 pounds? Come on, I know you can do more than that) won’t do much if you’re looking for visible results, but half of that time spent doing a short HIIT routine and heavy weight training will go much, much farther. If you don’t know where to start, just search Youtube for HIIT videos and you will find plenty to get you started. There’s no excuse to not exercise!
Get off your ass and move, every day. If you have time to be reading this blog, then you have time to work out. Go.