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On Being Proud

Currently, I working on a side project that has me researching the benefits of pride and accomplishments. Pride is one of those interesting words that represents two very different sentiments. One being an overinflated sense of personal status or accomplishments. The other being a satisfied sense of attachment towards one’s own or another’s choices and actions. One positive and one negative.

Let’s focus on the positive…

To be honest, pride isn’t an emotion that I feel too often. I’m working on that. From an organized closet, to a well written blog, or perhaps overcoming a challenge with work, pride can be a very positive emotion. It energizes, motivates, and adds value to our life experiences. It brings us closer to the present moment. Having recently read quite a bit about this, I didn’t really appreciate it until this past Saturday.

Saturday morning was the last long run before Boston. As Mother Nature would have it, it was pouring down rain and 100% humidity. On any other Saturday, i would have convinced myself to wait and run on Sunday. However, we had dinner plans with friends and I knew that would not make for a good run the next morning. Solution: put on a hat and suck it up.

The workout was 10 miles easy and 8 miles at race pace. If I could just get through it, then I knew I could finally enjoy the taper. The route I decided on included lots of hills – beginning, middle, and end. As I started out, I decided to just go. Go with an easy pace that would still get me out of the rain as soon as possible. The first 10 miles went by at an average pace of 8:03. For a moment, I thought the next 8 at 7:40 did not seem like such a great idea anymore. But I did it. I changed shirts (I was soaking wet) and decided to not think, and just run. To embrace the puddles, the rain, the hills, the chafing (it’s what running in the rain will do to you), all of it.

There was one point when I was running up a hill and all I wanted to do was walk once I got to the top. My legs hurt, I was completely drenched, and it was not fun. But I didn’t. I kept going. And the pride I felt because of that decision, made the last four miles fly by. The willingness to endure energized me to do just a little more.  8 miles: 7:39, 7:35, 7:27, 7:36, 7:31, 7:32, 7:30, and 7:20. When I finished, I said out loud Tracie, you did it. You finished. Sure, it wasn’t the most epic of workouts but the circumstances made it really crappy. I was so proud of myself for running in that weather, exceeding my goals for the last 8 miles, and doing it all with a positive attitude.

When you do great things, no matter how big or small, be proud of yourself. Let that pride motivate and inspire you. You just might surprise yourself with all that you are able to accomplish.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

PS: A local news station is coming to our building tomorrow to interview Boston runners. Well really I think it’s to interview one runner in particular. She’s the top female runner in the area who happens to be my neighbor, and who is also my running hero. Anyway, she was kind enough to invite me to the interview as well so I guess I’ll be on the news tomorrow. Kind of exciting. I’ll be sure to post a link later.

Good People Doing Good Things

I want to take a moment this morning to share a little positivity.

While running down Hillsborough Street this morning, a group of people were crowded around a man lying on the ground in front of NC State’s bellower. My initial thought was they were checking out the fresh mulch, which was obvious by the heavy smell of wood chips. As I got closer, I realized I was very wrong.

There were no less than 10 people around this man, trying to help him. My question then became do I stop and make 11? Or do I keep going because what more can I really do to help? It doesn’t matter. You stop.

Eleven sweaty people crowded around Pablo, who wasn’t communicating. (I’m still not sure how they learned his name was Pablo other than perhaps it was on his shirt.) He was just lying on the ground, not saying anything and barely moving. Nobody had a phone and the only mode of communication was Pablo’s walkie talkie. One man picked it up and started communicating with either Pablo’s supervisor or other coworkers. Another man flagged down the next car that passed by to use his cellphone and call 911. I did not stay beyond this because there really wasn’t anything I could do. But I did run back by on my way home. What did I see? In addition to the EMS, there stood all 10 runners still waiting there by Pablo’s side. People are good.

I share this for two reasons. First, when we only share stories of negativity and bad things, that is the world we create. If we start sharing more good things and more positivity, our world then becomes much different. We create our society by what we believe. Choose to believe in the good of people.

The second reason I share this story is to give props out there to all the runners. If you think about it, runners (bikers, walkers, etc.) see a lot of action while putting in the miles. On any given day, I see people without a home, trash blowing across the street, someone struggling to get their bike on the bus, or a person with too many bags to handle. These are all opportunities to do something positive. This morning 11 people decided to not be a passerby, but instead took the opportunity to help.

There’s always a chance to do a little good in the world. Try it out. After all, we’re all in this together.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

I AM _____

Currently, I’m reading a book titled Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifestation. It’s a pretty interesting book and I’m beginning to think the power to change the world (or at least my world) resides within my mind. It seems I’m not the lone individual I once thought. It appears I’m connected to everything that exists  within the universe. A pretty cool thought.

Throughout the book there is a lot of discussion about the power of I AM statements. Not I AM statements in the sense of I am a runner, I am short, I am a sister. I AM statements in the sense of I am powerful, I am thankful, I am generous, or my favorite… I am amazing. The more I say these I AM statements, the more they get imprinted into the subconscious and the more these statements become reality. In light of certain life changes and the upcoming Boston marathon, I’ve been practicing a lot of I AM statements.

Last week I reached my highest mileage week ever in my running career – a grand total of 65 miles. My 22 miler on Saturday was an average 8:11 pace, and ever since then, my legs have been feeling quite heavy. Tuesday’s speed workout consisted of a warm up mile, 7×1000 meters at 10K pace, and cool down for a total of 8 miles. I begin:  Interval #1: Clearly I am running faster than 10K pace. This feels too hard. I must slow down. Oh s***, I am running 10K pace. Uh oh.  It was that unfortunate moment during a speed workout, the beginning, when you think I can’t do this. The 2000 meter repeats at the same pace last week felt so much easier. I am losing all fitness. I should stop. 

The problem with this line of thinking is I am imagining how difficult the 6 remaining intervals will be. I am thinking how bad I feel now and how much worse I will feel if I continue. I’m not being in the present. I’m not being mindful in that very uncomfortable moment. I realized this downward spiral way of thinking about halfway through the first interval and decided to switch it up. Of course I wouldn’t finish with that train of thought. Enter the I AM statements:

I am powerful.

I am strong.

I am athletic.

I am capable.

I am tough.

I am present.

It wasn’t easy, but I made it. And I was proud of myself. The mind is a crazy thing. It is way more powerful than we give it credit for. On April 21st, I will have a list of 27 I AM statements memorized for each mile of the Boston marathon. Why? Because I am awesome.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

PS: I’ll be wearing bib number 14591 in Boston in case you want to follow me. This time I’ll be sure to cross the finish line.

Try Novelty

Last week, I read an article titled 8 Simple Habits to Keep you Consistently Happy Every Day. The habit that stood out to me the most, and that I need to do more of, is habit #5: learn new skills – the power of novelty and our brains. In other words, switch it up, try something different, and find flow in a new task or challenge. Habit #5 gave me something to think about.

Saturday night Mario and I went to the ballet some our very awesome neighbors. We will call them Mr. and Mrs. T. During dinner Mr. T mentioned that he tried three new classes at the gym that day: body combat, ballet burn, and body pump. Interesting, I thought. In addition to being one of the smartest people I have ever met, Mr. T also knows how to do a lot of things. Think sports, musical instruments, cooking, etc.  Add to that, he always seems happy heading out for a workout at 5:00 am and I think I’m on to something. I must add more novelty to my life.

So far this is what I’ve done since yesterday:

Monday morning during my run, I danced while stopped at intersections. Perhaps not a challenge, but it was something different and I think it made people  smile (or laugh). Plus it made me happy.

Monday evening, I tried a new workout class. (Trying to follow Mr. T’s example). It was the silliest class I have ever taken and I can say with confidence, I will not be back. But I did meet some new people.

The next one is my favorite…

This morning at the gym I decided to ask the lady cleaning the bathroom how she was doing. 10 minutes later and I had learned that she was sick yesterday, worked two jobs – one at the gym and one taking care of elderly people, did not pass a physical fitness test for another potential job, admired my running, had developed ticks due to stress, had cured her ticks through exercise, and that she had kids. She also told me I motivated her to keep working out. The only thing I did was ask how she was going and that 10 minute encounter made my day.

How will you add a little novelty to your life today? I suggest starting with this: Play this song, turn it up, dance around the house, and be totally inspired to go do something awesome.

 

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

PS: If you like the feature image, check out Holstee.com. They are an incredible company.

PPS: Boston is less than one month away! Two 20 milers, one 22 miler, most mileage ever and I am so ready for race day.

Consistency

Consistency can be defined as steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc. For me, I would say it’s adherence to the same sport – running. As a runner for 12+ years, consistency is something I have really lacked. The only time I can remember where I had a consistent running schedule was when I was about 20 years old and running 5-6 days a week. That only lasted for a few months and ever since then, I have been a 3-4 day a week runner, with a lot of cross training, and a lot of injuries. However, I have always wanted to run more. I think if I could, I would run two a days, every day. I just love being outside and running that much.

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Make it Count

Recently, I came across the incredibly talented filmmaker Casey Neistat. If you’ve never heard of him, don’t worry. He loves YouTube and shares all of his videos for your viewing pleasure. Currently, there are 82 commercials, short films, inspirational stories, and crazy videos to keep you entertained for quite some time. My favorite? A commercial for the Nike Fuel band:

 

You see, there are three things I love about this commercial. First, it has absolutely nothing to do with the Nike Fuel Band itself. Instead, it’s all about what the fuel band represents, an opportunity to #makeitcount every single day. Second, to travel the world, these guys had no plans and they had no worries. They figured it out as they went along, and guess what, they survived. Third, they did, lived, and experienced more in those 10 days than the majority of people will do in a lifetime. Yes, most of us do not have Nike financing our trip around the world but we do all have 24 hours in a day. And in my opinion, that’s really the only resource we need.

For me, to make it count means to stop thinking and start doing. To stop living with the “what ifs” and to start making decisions. To be comfortable in my own skin and to let go of this idea that what other people think of me actually matters. Because it doesn’t. To make it count means to not set a limit or a bar. If I do, I define what I am capable of achieving, and the truth is, I do not know my limits. To make each day count means to live in the present, not the past or the future. The past and the future are merely ideas and to be wrapped up in these ideas is to take away the experience of the now.

There is a great quote by Mark Twain and every time I find my mind wandering with the what ifs, I ground myself with these words: “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

Today as I ran through the woods at Umstead Park, I actually had this vision of a bear attacking me (weird,I know). For a brief moment, I got very anxious. Then I remembered those words by Mark Twain and the commercial by Casey Neistat. I think I shall call today #makeitcount Monday.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

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Why My Running is Going so Well…

Today is March 5 and since January 1, I’ve only missed 5 days of running. I’ve run for a total of 443.36 miles and have been running 50+ miles a week for 6 weeks. Now this may not seem so awesome compared to other runners out there, but if you know anything about my history with injuries, you’ll understand that this is a HUGE accomplishment. In fact, if you look at my Garmin chart for the past 12 months, you’ll see a peak, a steady decline, very few miles, and then a spike in mileage. Only to be followed by the same pattern. It’s been all too predictable for so long.

But something is different now. Something has happened and my running has seen a level of success that I have never known before. Some days I worry that it’s all going to fall apart and I’ll be on the couch in tears because I can’t run. But that day hasn’t come  and I actually don’t think it will. I truly believe that I’ll make it to the start of the Boston Marathon next month, having actually completed a training cycle. This is new territory for me.

This morning I was having one of those euphoric runs where the music is perfect, your form feels perfect, and the miles just tick by. I started wondering, why? Why is this going all so well for me now? I spoke with my old running coach about it a few weeks ago and he said that sometimes for runners who are injury prone, something clicks one day and their running just takes off. Is it that I’ve had so many injuries before that my body just isn’t going to take anymore? Perhaps something did click, but I have another theory.

My theory is this: I just stopped caring.

Now don’t get me wrong, I care about running. A lot actually. But I stopped fighting myself. I stopped caring what other people may think of me if I ran too “slow”. I stopped obsessing over the miles, the splits, the workouts, the “what ifs”. All of it. I simply let it go. For so long, I’ve felt like I had to prove myself. I’m not sure to who exactly but I wanted people to know that I was a good runner. And that I was a “fast” runner (at least in my book). So what did I do? I pushed myself and my body too hard, too fast, and too often. If I was suppose to be running 6:45 miles, I would run 6:35. If I was suppose to run easy, I’d be running 8:00 min/mile or faster. My long runs on Saturday were the same pace as my runs on Monday and I typically never hit my target pace for workouts. I always went faster. Why? Because I knew I could and I wanted everyone else to know it too.

But something that I’ve really come to understand recently is that it actually doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Sure, I’ve known this but to truly understand it is another thing all together. It turns out that no matter what you think of me or my ability as a runner, I am still the same person, and I know who that person is. And I’m happy with that person. In fact, I’ve also learned that I’m not as important as I thought I was. You see, people aren’t really spending their precious thoughts thinking about what I’m doing. Why would they? They have their own lives and I’m 100% certain that the person who saw me running at my much slower than normal pace in downtown Raleigh, didn’t even look at me twice. Let alone think “Wow, she’s running slow.”

In the past, I would be very bothered if I saw a mile split slower than 8:15. To hear myself say that now actually sounds so crazy! You can’t go full throttle all of the time. You just can’t. It’s not good for your body, it’s not good for recovery and you’ll just end up injured. Trust me, I know.

Today, my first mile was 9:13 and I am more than happy with that. Finally I’ve learned the difference between easy and hard runs. I’ve found consistency, which I think is key to being a successful runner, and I’ve found a balance. The only person I have to prove anything to is myself and just by simply letting go and enjoying running for all that it is, I have reached a level I never thought possible.

I remember during the Boston 2012 marathon having the thought, soon before I dropped out, that OMG I’m running so slow and I told everyone I was going to run a sub 3:20. They are going to think I’m such a failure. This year, no matter what time I finish in for Boston, I only care about my thoughts. After all, those are the only ones that matter.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

(And on a side note, I actually got in 60.42 miles last week. I think that’s a first!)