High Fives this Friday

I’m so glad it’s finally Friday! I’ve had something going on after work every night this week. Some nights were work related, some fun related. Last night I had to stay late for Family Literacy Night at school. I was on the “vocabulary” team and created a Pyramid game (like the TV show) for the kids. It was a huge hit! So many kids  and parents wanted to play that the night just flew by. It does throw me off to not get home til 7:30. It’s all for those kiddos though. 🙂

As I knew I would have to be at school from 7:30am-7:00pm yesterday, I brought my running gear with me. I technically had a break from 3:45-5:30pm, but didn’t want to run all the way home (20 minute drive) and come back. I tossed on my cold weather running gear and headed out by my school. Luckily, I dressed warm enough because out of the blue it started snowing! At first, I thought something was falling out of the trees until I realized it was snow! First flakes of the year for us here of the “melt right away” kind. Not so pretty though because I was running and couldn’t really see too far in front of me.

2013-10-24 16.21.05I’m giving myself a “High Five Friday” today for running at work. This is something I never even would’ve considered last year. I’m much more conscious of sitting a lot at work lately, so I try to stand and move more often. I was grateful to get a run in because it helps with restlessness.

2013-10-24 16.20.58My actual run was ehhh, ok. I was pretty cold for the first mile, but after that my core warmed up and I wasn’t so cold. I am loving the cold weather headband I recently purchased. I definitely need something to keep my ears warm.

Even though my run was just “ok”, I’m still really glad I went. Afterwards, I felt I wasn’t as tired as I would’ve been on a long day/night like this.

I am giving myself another high five for grabbing a salad and fruit cup from Festival Foods for dinner last night. Due to the late night at work, I didn’t feel like packing two meals (lunch & dinner) for the day. The spinach salad came with berries, pecans, and feta. The fruit included pineapple, blackberries, strawberries, and kiwi. It’s a great option for a meal! I ate half and am saving the other half for lunch today. Yah for not having to make a lunch today (one of my least favorite things to do). Check out other High Five Fridays at A Dash of Meg!

2013-10-24 16.59.37I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! I’m hoping to get another longer run in this weekend if the weather cooperates. We’re also going to look at treadmill I found on Craigslist, so I’m hoping it’s nice. I would love the option this winter to run at home.

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What are you giving yourself a “high five” for this Friday?

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Intuitive Running

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Fall is upon us, bringing with it those sought after cooler running temperatures. We’re having warmer than average temperatures for fall in WI so far, but as most Wisconsinites know, that could change by the drop of a hat.

Sunday was a picture perfect fall day. Temperatures were in the 60s with a cool breeze. As I was running and inevitably thinking, I thought about how great it felt to run. I left the house, telling my husband that I was planning to go about 3 miles. As I ran though, I just felt it. That “runners high” hit me and I could compare it best to feeling like I was flying. As I thought about how far to go, I let my body be my guide. It wasn’t about a “certain number of miles.” I was concentrated on pushing myself beyond that comfortable running point.

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This got me thinking…why do we apply intuitive eating to our lives, but not intuitive running? Why not let our bodies be our guide for how many miles we do?

I have completed two half marathons, three 10ks, and one 5k, so I understand that training plans give a guide to prepare us for race day. I don’t feel I would’ve been as readily prepared for the half marathons without having a general plan. However, I often focused too much on the number of miles I needed to get in for the day/week, rather than focusing on how my body felt.

Intuition, or rather lack there of, during my half marathon training may have prepared me for race day even more. I didn’t fully listen to my body during training. I focused on the number of miles needed and that was that. I didn’t allow myself to account for the individuality of racing. We’re all different. We all have different bodies that respond to running and food differently. Therefore, just because it says to run 11 miles on the schedule, doesn’t mean it’s best. How can we then, follow training guides without putting our individual spin on them?

It felt freeing to run whatever number of miles my body was feeling on Sunday. I didn’t feel like I let myself down because I didn’t run the recommended XX number of miles. I’m not currently training for a race. Because of this, it’s taken my running to a new level. Running has {mostly} always been enjoyable, but I have found a new love and appreciation for it after running “free.”

I still wear my GPS for most runs. I still care about my mileage and speed, however, I find it doesn’t matter as much as it did when I was in training. I want to keep up my fitness and hopefully pinpoint a spring half marathon as my next goal, however, I’m enjoying just running for fun right now.

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Do you use intuitive running or are you a stickler with the training plan?

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A Goal Without a Timeline is Simply a Dream

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend! This week is parent/teacher conferences so I am gearing up for some late nights at school ahead of me. Luckily, I was able to get some much needed rest and relaxation in this weekend!

Friday night hubby and I watched one of our favorites shows- Shark Tank! I love to see what people invent! I’m still trying to come up with some brilliant, innovative idea to get us on the show. I’ll let you know when that happens. 🙂  As we were watching the show, Robert Herjavec said this great quote.

Obviously, the runner in me was screaming, “YES!” because this completely applies to training for any kind of race. I will file this under my motivational running quotes.

Saturday was rainy and dreary here. I started my morning with BTS Group Core, which is a 30 minute class. It’s quick and dirty. Even though I’ve been attending regularly twice a week, it still makes me sore some days! I am definitely feeling it in my glutes today.

2013-10-05 09.30.32Saturday afternoon I hit the mall to do some shopping for my husband’s birthday and our anniversary (both next week, ekk!). I used to go the mall all the time as a teenager, but honestly, I couldn’t stand it. It wasn’t even the holiday season and the mall was packed. People walk way to slow for my liking. I didn’t exactly know what I was looking for too, which made it worse. I ended up heading to two stores and then high tailing it out of there. No thank you. I will stick to my smaller stores rather than the mall from now on.

One of the stores I stopped at was Target. I contemplated getting this Gaiam pressure point massager. Ever since I tried “the stick” at the Fox Cities Marathon expo, I’ve been thinking about picking on of these up. However, I already have a Trigger Point foam roller, so I’m not sure if it’s necessary. I don’t want to be collecting a bunch of exercise equipment that I think is a good idea at the time and then never use it. Although, I think I would use it, so we’ll see. My birthday is coming up….

2013-10-05 14.28.44Murphy has all but destroyed every soft, plush dog toy we’ve gotten him. I know he loves soft toys, so I decided to give it another go and picked him up a soft duck. It had less stuffing than a normal toy, but of course, it didn’t make a difference.

2013-10-05 16.38.33I’ve should have read that smiling face to mean, “I’m about to destroy this toy waa haaa haaa,” because that’s exactly what happened. All that’s left now is the “skin.” Live and learn, right.

I also picked up some fall candy, mostly to bake with. I made oatmeal cookies with the pumpkin spice M&Ms and am planning on using the pumpkin spice kisses in Janae’s Rolo cookie recipe (replacing Rolos with the kisses). The Werther’s caramel apple filled candy I’m planning on just eating. 🙂

2013-10-05 15.45.26Sunday morning I headed to Centergy class for some much needed yoga. I am in love with this class. The instructor is always challenging us to not be comfortable in poses and I really feel a difference in my strength. We do a lot of body weight strength training in the class. I’m finally able to do a standing split, flying warrior, and corpse pose (oh wait, you just lay there for that one ;)).

2013-10-06 07.58.10I had another great run to finish my Sunday off that I will recap tomorrow.

I hope everyone takes some time to invest in their physical and mental health this week. It’s so important! I give you permission to feel good about yourself!

What is your favorite inspirational quote? Anyone have “the stick” or something like it? Is it worth it?

What are you doing this week to invest in yourself?

Keep Calm and Just Run

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Finally got a good run in last night. As of lately, it’s been all work and no play for this girl. This weekend will be much needed for a little RnR. It felt SO good to run I can’t even tell you. Since March, I have been running consistently without taking more than a couple days off. We ran the Fox Cities Half Marathon on September 22nd and then the Brewers 10k on September 28. I decided to take a couple days off from running this week, which turned into a couple days off from everything. Some days, it’s hard to get home after a long day, make dinner, and then get out there (which by now means after dark). I’m a strong believer in scheduling my workouts so that it’s a non-negotiable. However, I also need to be flexible and give myself a break every now and again!

I’ve learned and accepted that, at times, I need to take a break from exercising. I would like to emphasize “break” and not “giving up.” I don’t need to feel bad about myself or begin to self-doubt. I used to beat myself up and feel like a failure every time I would head home instead of heading to the gym. I’ve learned over time that rest days are needed, no need to feel bad about that. Many times our bodies tell us this information to keep us going, we just have to listen!

Even though I took four days off, it felt like an eternity from what I’m used to running. My body felt good last night and I was able to push myself. Doing something physical gives me that much needed mental break from the rest of the world. It’s just me and the road. There’s really nothing better.

Oct3I look at running and going to the gym as an investment in my physical health as well as my mental health. I’m more alert, have more energy, and can think so much clearer after exercising. It just makes me feel good!

I hope everyone has a chance to hit the road this weekend, not for a road trip, but for running! Invest in yourself, your physical health, and your mental health. We’re worth it.

390608_3025366750665_1157654785_3309870_1578087018_nAre you running or exercising this weekend? Do you ever have self-doubt about exercising consistently?

Half Marathon Playlist

Happy Friday! Finally the weekend! And not just any old weekend…race weekend! Half marathon is finally {almost} here 🙂

In training for the half marathon this Sunday, a key motivator to my training over the past 5 months was new music. I used to measure my success in the number of songs I could run through and I hated running to a song that wasn’t motivating. Now, I measure my runs in miles/time, but still find that running to music I love makes a huge difference in the numbers I see on my garmin.

I love perusing other running blogs for new music. It’s something I frequently do to keep new music cycling through my playlist. As far as music service goes, I use google music. We had a free 30 day trial and then I decided to continue with it. It’s $8/month and completely worth it in my opinion. I can add pretty much any song I can think of to my playlist. My playlist automatically updates on any other device I use (i.e., my phone for running). I’m undecided whether I want to keep paying for it after the half marathon. I’m thinking yes because I would really miss the great music I’ve added. I used to buy each song from iTunes, but that gets expensive or boring if I bought a limited number of songs each month.

This is the playlist I will be running to during my half marathon this Sunday. Music tends to be very personal, so you may or may not have similar taste in music. I tend to like pop/current songs the most. Oh, and rap music. I’m that girl out there, running and singing to my favorite songs on race day. I really don’t care who hears me. When I’m “in the zone” my body and mind are focused on the race. I sometimes feel like I’m flying; body and mind being pushed by the music pumping through my earbuds. It’s such a exhilarating feeling. Just writing this is getting me pumped for that experience on Sunday!

HalfplaylistMy favorite songs are “Wake Me Up”, “Shawty Got Moves”, “We Own the Night”, and “Magic.” They are guaranteed to pump me up when running! It also helps that I know the words and can sing along. I figure that singing while running is helpful because I take deeper breaths and if I can hold a “conversation” (i.e., sing to myself) then I know I’m not pushing myself too hard. I have to remember to pace myself when I start!

Now, if you’re next to me on race day and hear me, I apologize because it more than likely will not sound good. If this bothers you, speed up or slow down because I can’t promise you I’ll care and stop singing to be nice. When you’re in the zone, you’re in the zone. 

Have a wonderful weekend! I am looking forward to recapping a great half marathon next week. Fingers crossed!

P.S. GYK got a little facelift 🙂

Your turn amigo! What are your favorite songs to run to? Do you like new music you’re unfamiliar with or oldie but goodies?

13.1 Miles of Dedication

FRIDAY! Feels like such an accomplishment to get to Friday after a week working with my speech kiddos again. Though I’m busier, exercise and eating right is definitely helping me not fall asleep at 8:30 like I used to! Yah, energy!

The half marathon I’m running is one week from Sunday (!), September 22nd. During one of my training runs for the half marathon, you might remember me mentioning Debbie. She’s the 61 year old who I had a hard time keeping up with! Debbie has run 12 half marathons and told me that she runs each mile for someone. I thought this will be a great way to make each mile memorable during the half marathon. I want to savor each step, each block, each mile. I am dedicating each mile to a close family member, friend, or someone I may or may not know.

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Mile 1…is for my husband. I never thought he would take up running with me. I am SO proud to call him mine and to have him next to me on race day. How did I get so lucky?

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Mile 2….is for the lady who left us all too soon, my mom. She was my rock, my hero, my heart. I miss her terribly, but hope she is there with me in some way on race day. Love you forever, Mom.

Mile 3…is for my Dad. I have seen changes in him in so many positive ways. He has slowed down his hectic lifestyle and better appreciates the people around him. He is stronger than I ever thought.

Mile 4…is for my brother. I hope he finds happiness and content in his life.

Mile 5…is for my grandma. She’s about to turn 88 and still drives to her cottage and back. She’s spunky and can talk your ear off (in a good way :)).

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Grandma, Me, my brother, my mom, and my dad from Christmas ’11. My mom was confused what her present was….yup, that was my mom, silly as can be.

Mile 6…is for my speech kiddos. They’re the reason I get out of bed every morning. I promised myself growing up that I would find a profession I love. Done.

Mile 7…is for the residents I used to work with as an SLP at a nursing home; those with dementia, Alzheimers, dysphagia, and stroke survivors.

Mile 8…is for those fighting ovarian cancer. Cancer sucks.

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September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.

Mile 9…is for those who have ever lost someone close to their hearts. I feel your pain.

The rest are for me to savor my surroundings and recognize how blessed I am to be able to run 13.1 miles. All the doubt, difficulty, pain, tears, it’s all worth it in the end. I’m about to change “I’m going to do it” to “I did it.” What’s better than that?

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Happy dance! Excuse the no make-up. We were camping!

Have a great weekend!!! 🙂

Who would you dedicate a mile to?

Here’s to…

It’s Saturday! So raise your coffee, tea, water, green monster (no? just me?), beer or wine high in the air and repeat after me!

Here’s to…running hills when you could’ve taken the flat road.

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Here’s to…doing it for ME.

Here’s to…finishing strong.

Here’s to…appreciating what our bodies and minds can accomplish.

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Here’s to…completing things we only ever dreamed about before.

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Here’s to…nourishing our bodies with healthy foods. 

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Here’s to…indulging once in a while and not feeling guilty about it.

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Here’s to…embracing ourselves and those around us for who we are.

Here’s to…doing it because I CAN not because I HAVE to.

Here’s to…ME. 

Here’s to…YOU.

Cheers! 

Your turn! Finish this sentence “Here’s to…”

Taper Time

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More about running. What else, right?

Actually, that’s the first bulletin board I put together in my speech classroom. Not the best, but give me a little credit as there’s not actually a bulletin board there, just a wall. I’m going to have the kiddos write on paper marshmallows and add them to the sticks. We can’t actually eat s’mores at school because of (obv) lack of a fire and the “no sweets” policy.

I was excited to see the PaceSetters newsletter awaiting me yesterday. The opening article highlighted how it’s now time to taper and be okay with where we are physically at this point before fall races. Tapering is fine with me right now, as my days are a little busier. While I’m still running, I’m not running as many miles as I was a month ago.

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Running newsletter. All things running. Yah!

As I was watching Extreme Weight Loss (season finale :() Tuesday night, I heard this great quote by my boy, Chris Powell.

This got me thinking. With tapering being my focus right now and the half marathon coming up (2 weeks from Sunday!), what the heck am I going to do afterwards?! I’ve done a million times better this go around with training, but I’ve never gone past the training. I’ve never incorporated running into my life without having a future goal or race in mind. I was pondering these thoughts and then heard Chris’ quote above. I know too much now about how great I feel to ever go back to my sedentary lifestyle. It’s just not an option. I can doubt myself and worry that I’ll give it up. But that wouldn’t do me any good. It’s kind of like running. During my run today, I was doubting if I could finish strong without walking and then I just made up my mind. Done. Not quitting. It’s just not an option.

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Doesn’t hurt to have this beautiful trail so close to my house either. I most likely won’t run as far when I’m done with the half marathon, but I will continue to run. For one, I’m running the Brewers 10k the following Saturday and two, more importantly, it’s just not an option. Runners don’t just give up. We persevere, yo.

Another reason and more motivation to keep running, is this little black “pebble” attached to my left shoe. My husband’s work supplied the pebbles, really cool looking pedometers, to encourage more active lifestyles. I can set how many steps per day I want to achieve. It has little green lights that glow and once they’re all lit up, I’ve reached my goal for the day (10,000 steps). The current challenge is to earn the most running steps from September through November. Bring it on Mr. GYK. You’re going down.

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So while I could worry and fret that I’ll stop running after my races this fall, I’m just going to believe in myself instead. 

Are you doing any fall races? How’s your training going? Do you continue to run through the fall/winter?

What’s Your Motivation?

After my mom passed away last year, a friend of mine sent me a card that said, “You’re stronger than you think you are.” It resonated with me that we are all stronger than we first believe. Somewhere along the way this past year I have gained not only mental strength, but also physical strength. This change has made a huge difference with my self-confidence and motivation to live a happy, healthy life.

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Over the past eight months, I’ve committed to consistent exercising. I used to find any excuse to not work out, whether I was tired, it was too late, too early, or I wasn’t feeling good. More days than not now, I can’t wait to hop out of bed, throw on my shoes, and head out the door for a run.

So what changed?

I’ve been asking myself this a lot lately. When and why did I fully commit to exercising consistently?

When: My husband and I joined a gym last January, like we typically do. January always seems like a good time to “get back to it” and start exercising again. This year was different though. Instead of going to the gym for a couple weeks and then not going at all, I continued to attend classes at my gym. Spring rolled around and I was ready to start running again. (Read about my running & IBS story here.) I’ve learned how much incorporating different kinds of exercise influences one another. My desire to run and stay injury free has lead me to commit to weekly group core and group centergy (yoga+pilates) classes.

Why: Bobbi asked this question a while ago on her blog and it got me thinking. Why do I exercise? What do I gain from it?

  • I have felt those endorphins pumping through my veins (i.e., runners high). Knowing that I created that feeling all on my own is amazing.
  • I have increased alertness and energy throughout my day. It was a common occurrence before I regularly exercised to fall asleep at 8:30. I was exhausted all the time.
  • I have committed (i.e., paid the $) to races and feel that I need and want to do my due diligence by properly training for them.
  • I’ve also noticed that for me, exercising and eating healthy go hand in hand. If I’m not exercising I’ll think to myself “What does eating _____ it matter? I’m not “healthy” right now anyways.” Since I have been regularly exercising, I want and need to eat healthy foods for sustained energy throughout my workouts.
  • I plan my runs/work outs ahead of time that way it’s just a part of my scheduled day. I’m not too much of a morning person, so I usually fit in a run/work out right after work.
  • I truly enjoy the classes and group/solo runs. I’ve met some great people (and hopefully will meet more!) at the gym and at training runs that adds to my desire to keep going. It makes a huge difference when those around you have the same passion and goals.

This time it’s different. I just know now that I’m not going to “fall off the wagon” and stop exercising. I no longer berate myself if I miss a day here and there, as I know how important it is to have rest days.

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I want to be strong, both mentally and physically. I know in order to do that, I need to eat nourishing foods, get regular exercise, and have the confidence in myself to keep going.

If you find yourself in a point in your life where you’ve “fallen off the wagon,” you get right back up. Commit. Commit to a healthy life. Commit to having confidence in yourself. You too, are stronger than you think you are. 

What’s your motivation to exercise? Have you ever “fallen off the wagon”? How and why did you get back to exercising?