PR Day!

This month has been a bit out of control. I have felt overbooked most days, and my to-do list never seems to be complete. One thing I have been focusing on is my running, which has become one of my most important hobbies. Running has helped me to lose weight and to stay motivated to be healthy.

This morning, I ran a 10k that I did not really want to do. Yesterday I spent 15 hours at a conference I helped plan, and I was mentally and physically exhausted when my alarm went off at 7 a.m. today. I just wanted one more hour of sleep for this Sunday.

But I got up. I was almost late to the race, but I made it on time, and started without too much preparation. One good thing about that was that I didn’t have any time to psych myself out about starting the race, listening to the conversations all around me. As I waited to start, I was planning on taking it slow, considering the month I’ve had so far. Then I heard a group of ladies in front of me talking about how they wanted to finish the 10k in under an hour. I thought to myself, “I could do that.”

I had tried to break the one-hour mark during the Thanksgiving Day Race 10k in Cincinnati, but I finished in 1:01:10 – just shy of my goal.

Today though, I was determined. I was feeling a cold coming on, but I pushed through. I kept track of my pace and checked myself against other runners, giving me motivation to keep it up.

As I hit the last half mile, I knew I had to be close to reaching my goal. I picked up my pace, and noticed that the official time had just hit 58:00 as I crossed the finish line.

I ended up finishing in 57:49 – a new PR for my 10k!

Advertisements

SOL Day 24: Changing Habits

I have been running a lot lately to train for my upcoming half marathon, but I have not really been keeping track of my eating habits.

Over the weekend, my friends and I were talking about this issue, and they inspired me to start using the My Fitness Pal app again. I used this app when I graduated from college and lost nearly 40 pounds (along with exercising). Fastforward a few years, and I’ve gained a little of that back. Now it’s time to work on losing it again.

Essentially, this app is just a calorie tracker, but it really has gotten me to think about what I am eating, and how much I am eating. I realized that I have been majorly overeating for the past few months, and probably even years. I’m trying to use this tracker as a way to create better habits for myself.

One other thing I would like to do is start meal planning, but every time I try, I struggle to find footing on where to start. I am a vegetarian, but a lot of meal plans include meat, and it can be hard to find simple, fulfilling vegetarian options. I’ve been doing a better job of cobbling together meals with what I have in my kitchen, but I’d like to try actually planning them.

Changing your habits is hard, no matter what that habit is. I just need to make sure that I am sticking with it – actually thinking about my choices instead of reaching for whatever seems good at the moment.

 

SOL Day 21: Runner’s High

I have a love/hate relationship with running.

I love the feeling I get when I am done. I hate the feeling I have when I start, before my breathing settles into a steady pace. 

I love the knowledge that I am working toward something – a race, fitness, or just the miles. I hate the knowledge that I could injury myself if I don’t follow the right steps. 

One thing that I really love though is the feeling of accomplishment that I have after my run. I finished an 8 mile run this morning, and it may have been the slowest pace I’ve possibly ever run. However, I am still feeling that inexplicable runner’s high. I was pretty sore when I finished (and for about an hour or two afterward), but now I’m reaping the benefits. I feel good about my run. 

This week, I am staying at my in-laws’ place in Florida, and their neighborhood happens to be right across the street from the University of North Florida. Perfect, I thought, as I started planning this run last week. A college campus, hopefully full of young runners, that I can just meander around and observe as I complete my long run on this Saturday. 

It worked out really well. The campus is beautiful, with lots of trees and trails to look at and explore. I mainly stuck to the roads as I plodded along, listening the NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour and This American Life podcasts.

Podcasts are great running companions because they take your mind off of your body and let you settle in for some storytelling. These two are my go-tos, and they usually don’t disappoint. 

The point is, running makes me feel good. I don’t look like a typical runner and I don’t care though because I know I can do it. I might not be as fast as my cousins or my siblings, but I’m doing it, and that’s enough for me. Running has helped me to focus more on what my body can do, rather than what it looks like. 

SOL Day 12: Refresh

Even though I had to scrape ice off of my car this morning, today turned out to be a beautiful day.

School went pretty well – I was tired, but my students were mostly on task, and that’s a feat, considering today was our last day of regular classes before Spring Break. Only my first period class was a little crazy, but that’s to be expected.

What I was really looking forward to all day was my run after school. The weather was projected to be pretty nice – mid-fifties, partly cloudy – and I had nothing else going on this afternoon except for my run. That in itself was a fantastic feeling.

Last fall, when I was training for my first half marathon, I had a four-mile loop that I would run around my school. It’s a great path that weaves its way around my town of Dublin, Ohio. It’s been months since I’ve had the chance to run this route, and I missed it.

When I started running, I felt like I was settling in with an old friend. It felt so refreshing to know where I was going, where my feet would take me, but it all felt new again since it had been so long.

The first mile was easy (a lot of downhill), but the second mile was a little tough (more uphill and long stretches of sidewalk). I was ready to break for a walk after I rounded into mile three, but I kept pushing, focused on my breathing, and kept running. I hit a second wind, straightened my shoulders, and finished strong.

I love running when it feels like this, and I’m so glad that my run today left me feeling refreshed like I had hoped it would. I’ve been so tired of running inside on the treadmill, and being able to enjoy the first signs of Spring really brought back that familiar swell in my heart when I think of running.

I have seven weeks left until my next half marathon, and now when I feel like I am in a rut, I can remember today’s run. A little slower than I’d like, but that’s okay. I enjoyed it, and it made me feel amazing.

 

SOL Day 3: Running

The past couple of weeks have been incredibly stressful with PARCC testing and snow days that have thrown off my teaching schedule. Stress at school has crept into every corner of my life, and one of the corners it had infiltrated is my motivation to run.

In October, I ran the Columbus Half Marathon, which was the first time I had ever participated in a half marathon. I trained for months beforehand, and even though it was tough, I was able to complete it. I am so proud of that accomplishment, and it motivated me to sign up for another.

In May, I will be running The Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. My brother, sister, cousin, and I will all be running this race, so I have a fantastic support group as I train. I’m nervous for this one though because the hills are legendary – and mountainous.

The race is exactly two months from today, and I am about a third of the way through my training. I am following a 14-week training plan (the same one that I did for my October race), but this time around it feels so much harder because most of my running so far has been inside.

One of my favorite parts about long runs (5+ miles) is coming up with a new and exciting route. When I run on the treadmill at the gym, I get bored. I usually listen to podcasts, but sometimes they just don’t do it for me. The monotony of the treadmill makes the run seem twice as long.

Today I had a great podcast ready (NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour was talking about Parks & Rec – one of my favorite shows), so I thought I would be golden as I started my three miles.

The first mile was fine, but after that, my limbs started to feel heavy. I felt sluggish, like my body was being weighed down with every step I took. My friends from PCHH helped nudge me along with their entertaining wit, but I was struggling.

When I hit mile two, I wanted to give up. Why was I doing this to myself? It’s too hard. I even lowered my running speed from 5.7 to 5.6 (not big drop, but it helped). I told myself I couldn’t finish. Unfortunately, I have been having these thoughts a little too often for my liking lately.

But I kept going.

I didn’t stop running, and when I finally hit three miles, I was glad I could slow to a walk. I finished listening to the podcast while walking, easing myself out of that rough run.

In the end, I finished the run. I stuck with it because that’s what I’m going to need to do when I continue to train and run the Pig in May. Some of these runs are going to be hard, like today, but some of them are going to feel incredible.

When I cross the finish line on May 3rd, I won’t care how hard the run was. I’ll be proud of myself that I’ve finished.