Tag Archives: motivation

I AM a Runner

4 Feb

I just read a quote in the latest issue of Runner’s World from airline pilot and “Miracle on the Hudson” hero Captain “Sully” Sullenberger. He said “I’m not a good runner, but I’m better than someone who doesn’t run at all.”

I always feel embarrassed in a way when I tell other people that I’m a runner. I think, I’m not a real runner. I’m painfully slow and I mix running with walking. When I do run, my form isn’t lovely and I don’t look like a graceful cheetah, but rather an awkward giraffe.

After reading Sully’s quote, I realized he’s right. Maybe I’m not good, but I am better than someone who does not run at all. I’ve completed three half marathons and one full marathon. Not including the training, that alone is 65.5 miles that my little feet have covered. When you include the training, I’ve done over 500 miles. So, yes, I AM a runner. Good or bad, anyone who puts one foot in front of the other at a pace above walking is a runner.

Until I’ve gotten back in the gym these past three weeks, I hadn’t realized how much I missed running and working out. More importantly, I didn’t realize how much I felt how good it makes me feel. When I’m pounding away the miles on the treadmill or dying a slow death in the plank position, I’m really happy and finally feeling like me again. I feel like a real runner and I feel strong like I can conquer anything.

So right now, I’m going through a really tough time. I miss my boyfriend and am horribly worried about him. Work and home life have also been extremely stressful. But what I can count on is that I am coming back to me, slowly but surely. And I can say, no a matter what, I am a runner.

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The Comeback Kid

26 Jan

Dear readers,

After an extremely long hiatus of nearly 8 months, the Skinny Pink Ninja has returned. It’s been a super rough time on my end, and I have to admit I just shut down for a while. The love of my life is James Bond. No really, he is. He has a secret government job that sends him away on long assignments with very little to no contact with me. 

I’ve always considered myself fiercely strong and able to overcome just about anything, but my guy is my Kryptonite, my Achilles heel. Living without him and only getting a 3 line email every 2 months was agony. I tried to keep going, but I was definitely in a depressed funk. My fitness level dropped tremendously during that time and I was just focusing on getting out of bed and trying to live my life. I also got mono during that time and was sick for about 2.5 months. Then there was family drama with my dad having emergency back surgery and some other health issues. 

So between all of that, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I gained almost 10 pounds and was barely keeping my toes in the water at the gym. I still ran and worked out, but it was only about 2 days a week instead of my former 4 – 5. I didn’t really care about keeping track of my food intake or anything, because that was my comfort during a hard time. I was mad at myself for giving into the sadness, but I just couldn’t help it. Worrying about someone you love, who is halfway around the world and in extreme danger is a full time job. 

He was supposed to be home permanently this month, but sadly the government took him from him again for another 2 – 3 months. Luckily he came back for a visit last week and we had a great talk that helped alleviate some of my fears and neuroses. The bad news is he’s got to do this another few months and then he has to move to Washington, DC. The good news is his contract is up in December and he is quitting. He is done and tired of being James Bond. He plans to move to Colorado after his contract is up so we can attempt a normal life. So in the meantime, once he’s back from other continents, we have to travel back and forth to see each other, but after all we’ve been through that seems so easy. 

I felt better after our talk and have decided to pick myself back up again. I can’t let the PInk Ninja get down. I’ve gone back to writing down my food and making smarter choices about what I eat. I started a new workout regiment this week with a new trainer and actually got 3 solid days in. I’m going to start distance running again tomorrow. I’m signing up for the Denver Colfax Half Marathon in May. 

I did manage to complete my third half marathon two weeks ago. When my guy left in May, I signed up for the Disney World Full Marathon. Unfortunately, thanks to mono taking me out for about 3 months, I had to downgrade my registration to a half marathon. I had a lot of trouble training due to the fatigue that held on from mono and my overall depression. Nevertheless, I finished the race. The conditions were fierce—85 degrees and 75% humidity. It was brutal and I barely finished in a tragic 3:40:43. But, in all honesty, I was most proud of finishing this race than my other halves. It took everything I had to overcome the heat, the mono, the sadness, the stress in my life and pull out that finish. 

Completing the race helped me a lot. I feel like my fighting self again. I know I’ll get the 10 pounds off and I know I can finish my next half marathon. Not only is my goal to finish, but I want to PR and finish under 2:57:03, which is my best finishing time. I’m still scared to death about my love’s safety and it’s going to be a long 2 – 3 months waiting for him. But we’ve overcome the worst and have made it through. Now it’s up to me to pick myself back up again and return to my former self. 

It’s a long road to the next finish line, but I have done much harder before, I know I can do this. 

The Marathon of Life

24 Jun

Well, I’m about a month into marathon training and have yet to do a super long run other than my first 6 miler. The state of Colorado is on fire and our air quality is so bad due to the smoke that county health officials are advising against outdoor exercise and activity. We’ve also been having record heat with high temps around 100 degrees and it already hitting 70 degrees at 5:00am. I’m doing speed and hill work on the treadmill and bulking up on strength training. Hopefully this is going to let up, and I can get outdoors soon. Luckily I have time before I really need to get hard core into training, but I don’t want to lose my half marathon base.

This past month has been extremely rough. My boyfriend, who has something do with special ops/CIA/top secret stuff was deployed on his mission, and I’ve been missing him horribly. I never know when I’ll hear from him and it’s been extremely scary on a day to day basis. I’m a control freak and obsessive planner, so this entire experience has been way beyond my comfort zone or realm of knowing what to do. Yesterday, I got an email from him and for the first time, he alluded that he was afraid and feeling hopeless. I didn’t know what to do.

I am trying to use my experience with the marathon to get through this. Granted I’m training again, but I’m really using my experience of the first race I went through to try to deal. I keep thinking that this is mile 20 when I’m hitting the wall and ready to die. I felt so hopeless and out of control at that point and didn’t think I could finish. I’m trying to use the energy and determination I channeled during that time now. I’m sending emails of encouragement and love to my boyfriend, never alluding to the fact that I’m terrified too. I’m trying to tell myself that if I can run 26 miles on a bad foot, I can help him get the strength to get through this and get through this myself. I’m trying to look at it as the next 7 months before he gets home are the last 6 miles of the race where you have to give it everything you’ve got and push through the pain to the sweet moment of victory.

I’ve said on several occasions that the marathon experience changed my life. It gave me a confidence I never knew I had and the ability to overcome a lot of obstacles in personal and professional life. Once again I am drawing on it to get through one of the most difficult things I’ve had to endure. I am trying to focus on my training for the Disney World Marathon in January, though Mother Nature isn’t completely cooperating. However, I know if I didn’t have running in my life right now, I wouldn’t be getting through this at all. When I’m scared and upset, I use it to push through. I use it to send him good vibes of love and safety so far away. And I’m using it to keep myself sane. Without running, I’d be eating up a storm and shopping until my credit card was maxed out.

When this is all over in January and he’s back home safe, and I’ve gotten another full marathon under my belt, I will once again be grateful to those 26.2 miles for saving me.

I ask for prayers and good wishes for the safety of my boyfriend, and if you can help at all with the Colorado fires, please visit www.helpcoloradonow.org. The brave firefighters, rescue teams and Red Cross are in desperate need of financial assistance.

National Running Day 2012

6 Jun

Today is National Running Day. How great is it that there’s a whole day devoted to this amazing sport? While all sports have wonderful aspects to them, I do think there’s something uniquely special about running. There’s a camaraderie that comes with running that I haven’t typically seen in other sports. All people who run gather together as friends, not competitors. You can be slow or fast, fat or thin and everyone is in the same boat together. There is so much encouragement and advice, it really is a communal sport despite the fact you run alone. 

I am very grateful to running for changing my life. I started running as a bet against my doctor that I would be able to do a marathon despite the reconstructive foot surgery I had. Initially I didn’t love it. It was a drive I had to succeed and to prove him wrong, but there wasn’t a whole lot of passion with it. I think it was because I was so scared of failing at my marathon quest, I couldn’t take the time to enjoy it. Now that I’ve finished the marathon and done two half marathons, I’m finding myself loving the sport. 

I owe a lot to running. It helped me finally bring closure and healing to my car accident. It gave me a confidence I never knew I had. It gave me so much confidence that for the first time in my life, I was able to ask for a raise and promotion at work and actually get it. It is helping me now as I deal with my boyfriend’s 8 month deployment and the pain of missing him. I know part of the reason I am getting through that pain is because of running. It is an outlet for me to get my emotions out. 

I really think running can cure a lot of life’s little problems. Things we think are so big and insurmountable really aren’t, and if we all get the experience of running and the joy of the runner’s high, somehow they seem smaller. I think the mental health benefits of running far outweigh the physical, though those are great as well. 

Today is a day to celebrate this wonderful sport. If you’ve been a runner, be sure to run today and give thanks for the activity that gets you through a tough day. If you’ve never run before but have always wanted to, today is the day to start. Go for a light jog, do a run/walk combination, just get moving and get outside on the pavement. It will be painful and difficult at first, but keep at it and soon you will see what all the fuss is about. 

Happy National Running Day! 

Disney World Marathon Training: Day 1

4 Jun

It all begins again—the weekend long runs, being sore most of the time, analyzing what I eat, checking my hydration levels. Yes, I’ve committed to doing another full marathon. Yesterday, Sunday, was my first day of training. It certainly went a lot better than when I started training before. 

I was much more relaxed this time and just went out to enjoy the run. Since I am technically starting from a half marathon base instead of ground zero, my training this time around is a bit different. For the next 3 months, I’m going to focus on getting my half marathon base very strong. So I plan to do a 4 week training schedule of 6 miles, 8 miles, 10 miles and 13 miles. Then repeat for 3 months. When I get back from my vacation in September, I’ll start building miles beyond the 13 for the marathon. 

Yesterday’s 6 mile run was a challenge nevertheless. It was very hot, humid and my allergies were insanely bad. I actually really struggled with it and my energy levels. I had received an email from my boyfriend who is deployed the night before, so that caused me to have trouble sleeping. As a result, I was really tired for yesterday’s run. 

But, I made it through without too much of a problem. The really neat thing is that the 6 miles was pretty easy, I actually enjoyed myself and I no longer had the high stress and tension I had last time I was training. I now know that no matter what I will finish another marathon, so I’m much more at ease this time around. 

I’m using this marathon training to help me through my boyfriend’s deployment. The pain of missing someone is excruciating. It’s far worse than I even imagined it would be. Running out my feelings is the only way I can get through this and it’s helping tremendously already. I’m able to work through my doubts and issues during my runs and keep positive. 

This week will be speed training on the treadmill and resuming a heavy strength training schedule to stay strong and prevent injury. Then it’s an 8 miler. It feels great to be back in the groove again! 

Colfax Half Marathon: Just Wing It

22 May

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After a long hiatus from running, I finally returned to the race circuit on Sunday. I decided to run the Colfax Half Marathon again in Denver after having done it for the first time last year. A family friend wanted to do the race, so I told her I’d do it with her since it was her first half. I had good intentions to train hard and set a PR, but alas the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

I didn’t anticipate I was going to fall deeply in love nor did I anticipate I was going to get extremely sick with a severe upper respiratory infection that nearly had me hospitalized. I fell in love with a handsome foreigner who has a dangerous job with the military/CIA and was facing an 8-month deployment this month. So, instead of training, I chose to spend all of my time with him, making the most of what we had together. I was also out of commission nearly a month with my illness. So I didn’t train.

In fact I hadn’t run 10 miles since January. When I was in Las Vegas in March, I did a 7 miler on the Strip at sea level, which was wonderful. Then around the start of April, I did a 6 miler with my handsome foreigner, but other than that, I had mostly just been doing short distance speed work on the treadmill and strength training during the week. The half marathon was in the back of my head, but at the same time, I had other priorities.

My handsome foreigner was deployed on Saturday, the day before the race. It was devastating to have to say goodbye, but we are in a good place in our relationship, and I know when he returns in 8 months, we’ll be stronger than ever. Nevertheless, it was extremely difficult to say goodbye. After he left, I immediately went up to Denver with my friend to pick up my race packet and get checked into the hotel for the night.

The race honestly could not have come at a better time. I needed a release from the stress and tension I was feeling over my man’s departure. I knew that running those 13.1 mile was going to help cleanse me and start to heal. I also figured if I could “wing” a half marathon, then I could definitely get through his 8 month deployment.

I had offered to run the race with my friend if she needed the support, but also told her she was free to run it on her own if she wanted. She chose the latter, and I was relieved. I wanted the alone time to clear my head. Unlike last year when I was a complete nervous wreck, ready to barf and crying from being so scared, this year I was very calm. I was looking forward to the run even.

I ate a good breakfast and marched over to the starting area like a seasoned pro. There were no butterflies in my stomach, no tears and no nerves. Instead of a frightening obstacle, I saw this race as my salvation during a dark time. We marched up from our corral and started the race.

I started it off by listening to “Run” by Matt Nathanson and Jennifer Nettles, which is a beautiful love song that reminds me of my relationship. It brought tears to my eyes, but calmed me down and allowed me to get into the groove of this race.

The miles kept coming, surprisingly very easily. I was shocked. Last year I had trained and trained and I thought every mile was hard. This year, after running a full marathon, this seemed so easy. I kept going, each mile peeling off a layer of sadness and giving me a glimmer of hope that I will get through the next 8 months.

Around mile 8, my foot started to hurt per usual and I was feeling the lactic acid build up. I knew I’d make it through, but I was starting to think maybe I should have trained. I figured though if I could make it to mile 10, I was going to be just fine. Once mile 10 came around, I knew I was in the home stretch. Last year, I saw mile 10 as an obstacle—I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the next 3 miles and was terrified. This year, it was welcomed. I knew once I saw it that a 5K was nothing, and I’d be done in about 40 minutes.

The last 3 miles were hard, no question. The lactic acid had built up, and my legs were becoming very stiff. But I knew I’d get through it. I remember thinking last year that mile 12 seemed to last forever. This year,  it seemed like nothing. I began to wonder if I’d get the same rush crossing the finish line this year as I did for my first.

As I came around the corner and saw the finish line, I felt my stone legs begin to loosen and I picked up the pace. I was sprinting home, finishing strong. A huge grin spread across my face and my eyes began to water. I didn’t have a downpour of tears like last year, but I felt such extreme joy again. I sailed down the last 0.1 mile and through the finish line knowing somehow everything was going to be okay. I crossed under the archway listening to Kelly Clarkson’s hit “Stronger” knowing that I was stronger at that moment.

A year ago, I was barely finishing the race and a terrified, unconfident mess. This year, I completely winged a half marathon, finishing it only 8 minutes slower than last year for 3:05:23. What a difference a year makes! I felt so confident and happy like this was something I did everyday.

Finishing the race was a very cathartic experience. I knew as I crossed the line that everything with my relationship was going to be okay. Not to say that the next 8 months aren’t going to be extremely tough and sad for a while, but I know we’ll be okay, and I know I’m strong enough to get through it.

I’ve decided I need a project to keep me busy. I’m doing what I said I’d never do again. I’ve signed up for the Walt Disney World Full Marathon in January 2013. That is the month my man is due home, and training for that race will keep me occupied until his return. I’m too strong to fold under these difficult times. I’m going to do what the Pink Ninja does best: fight through the tough times. So, in two weeks, I’ll be starting my training for the race. I may be a ninja, but I can’t wing 26.2 miles.  

The Pursuit of Happiness

7 Feb

The past four months have been a challenge. While some really fabulous things happened—I got promoted, a raise, some great freelance opportunities, it’s been hectic to put it mildly. I was putting in 70 hour work weeks and missed a great deal of my favorite time of year: the holidays. I finally got an assistant at work to help relieve the work load, but I still had a hard time with the work load and feeling the compulsive need to be perfect and get everything done. As a result, both my running and my happiness suffered.

I had several people tell me this past week that I’m different and not as happy go lucky as I used to be. I hated hearing it, but they were right. I was working too much, stressed and not doing the things I loved. I was going to sign up for the local half marathon, but my $450 worth of car bills put a stop to that.

However, I’ve decided this week, that I can still excel at my job without sacrificing excessive amounts of time or my happiness. I’m trying ot make a chart of the things that really matter to me and make me happy. One of the things near the top? Running. I ran yesterday in my gym at the office and it was wonderful. It was only 2 miles plus I did some weight lifting, but it was divine. I was so unbelievably happy when I was finished. I thought to myself, why have I been putting work ahead of this wonderful feeling?

It’s taken me a while to realize it and it was especially hard when I was training for the marathon, but running really makes me happy. I’m never going to be very good at it (i.e. fast), but I love it. It makes me healthier and happier. The flood of endorphins after a great run is like nothing else in the world. It can make the worst day feel spectacular.

So this time, I’m really back on the wagon. I need running for my sanity and happiness and nothing is going to get in the way. I can already feel my old self letting go of the stress and coming back. I missed me!