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Posts tagged ‘Motivation’

My Return to Running

Running has been a part of who I am for so long that I’ve forgotten how hard it was when I first started out, 13+ years ago. As I have made my way back outdoors, almost 5 months post surgery, I have just assumed that the miles would come back easily. My hip no longer bothers me and for some reason, I just thought my speed and distance would still be there. I am very, very wrong.

My first run outside was the first week in September. We were in Miami and since there was no treadmill, I knew it was time to take my running to the road. It was hard. Like really hard. My pace was around 10:00 min/mile and I couldn’t get my legs to turnover any faster. Not to mention the Miami humidity wasn’t helping. I made it 4 miles and I couldn’t believe how “far” that felt. My legs felt rusty and it was almost like I was having to learn how to run all over again. To say I was feeling frustrated would be an understatement.

When we finally made it back to Raleigh, I started trying out some of my old running routes. I went out to the greenway, ran along Hillsborough Street, but no matter how fast I felt like I was running, my pace was always around 8:45 – 9:15 min/mile. That’s about one minute slower than my previous average easy pace, and yet it was still an effort to run that. I thought I had done a decent job of keeping up my cardiovascular fitness, but I underestimated what four months off from running can do to the body.

This morning I decided to head out to the Tobacco Trail. The Tobacco Trail is where I always did my Saturday long runs, and I’ve really missed being out there. It really is one of my favorite places to run. I told myself I would run anywhere from 6-7 miles, depending on how I felt. When I think about my old running self, that seems so short and like an “easy” run. Well I have quickly learned that it does no good to think in terms of my old running self. That is not who I am or where I am right now. I managed to make it 6.5 miles and then walked .5 miles, mainly because my stomach wasn’t feeling so great. My average pace was 9:09 and my legs and arms are actually quite sore from the run. Oh how things change.

Even though I’m slower than I once was and can’t run quite as far as I once did, being outside at the Tobacco Trail this morning made me really happy. It was so nice to be outdoors with the all of the other runners, and I got to see some running friends out there who I haven’t seen in quite a while. And even though I feel like I ran 15 miles instead of 6.5, I realize how much I’ve missed that feeling. I’ve missed the Saturday morning running routine, the post run turkey burger at out favorite restaurant, and the nap that always followed.

My doctor told me it would be six months to a year before I could run again. Today marks 4 months and 19 days. Sure, I’m only up to running 6.5 miles at a pace that I’m not quite accustomed to. But that’s okay. I’m not the runner I was earlier this year but that doesn’t mean that runner (or a better one) isn’t in my future. Today I think I finally internalized what a long process all of this is going to be. It makes me appreciate running much more than I ever have before.

I look forward to what the future has in store.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Update: Three Months Post Surgery (and lessons learned)

There is no greater teacher than life itself. For years, I thought I knew a thing or two about mindfulness, determination, willpower, the drive to push harder, etc. In fact, I knew so much about determination, that I walked 7 miles on a fractured hip. There is a thin line between how much is just enough and how much is too much. For some things in life, I believe I err on the side of too much. I’m not sure I ever really understood that about myself until this injury.

Throughout this entire recovery process, I always thought I could push harder and cross train more. I thought my successes were good, but not great, and whenever anyone questioned my ability to return to running, I’d use those words to fuel my fire. I never took the time to celebrate the small victories along the way, but more than anything, I wasn’t really kind to myself. My body is so weak. My yoga poses suck. I’ve gained 5 pounds. I should be doing more.

I’m hard on myself and I’m hard on my body. Even as I write this now I’m thinking that I should go for a short run, regardless of the fact that I already had an interval session this morning, which was followed by burpees, man makers (my new favorite exercise), and leg weights with my PT. Not to mention I’m juicing for the day, which has led to a pretty constant state of hunger. I try too hard. Last Friday, as I stood by the Whole Foods breakfast bar, staring at my spinach and eggs, I decided enough was enough. I picked up the biggest piece of creme brûlée french toast I could find and ate every single bite of it. Sometimes the battle isn’t worth it and you have to give in, embrace life, and stop fighting yourself so much.

Wednesday marks three months since my surgery. Today I had another follow up appointment, and besides being told I should never have that screw taken out (which I really want to happen), it was a very successful visit. My X-rays looked good, my bone is healed, and my range of motion has greatly improved. (Side note: I was going to ask my doc for a pic to go along with this blog post, but I couldn’t do it. He’s kind of like the cutest doctor around, in a McDreamy sort of way, and I didn’t want him to think I was a stalker. Maybe I’ll get over my embarrassment by the time of my next visit. If I don’t, click here.) In the three months that have passed, life has given me the opportunity to demonstrate lessons learned. And because I like lists, I’d like to share my takeaways from these last few months:

1) Celebrate small accomplishments. I’ve been focusing too much on the end goal: running again. It has distracted me from celebrating my small victories along the way. My first 20 minute run, my almost normal range of motion, my warrior 3 pose that didn’t involve me falling flat on my face, the ability to tie my shoes again, my swimming, even if I’m not that great at it. These are all stepping stones along the path and even if they don’t seem like much, they are. It’s important to celebrate the small things.

The first pic in 2 weeks post surgery and the second was taken last week. I never thought my knee would get that close to the ground ever again.

The first pic is 2 weeks post surgery and the second was taken last week. I never thought my knee would get that close to the ground ever again.

2) I don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations except my own. Having that runner part of my identity taken away has really caused me to struggle. I feel like everyone looks at me and thinks she use to be able to run this far and this fast. Now she’ll never do that again. This is a perception I have created in my own head and it is none of my business what other people think about me or my ability as a runner. Nobody else has to travel my path and therefore, whatever anyone else thinks has no impact on me. Only my expectations matter.

3) Negative self talk is toxic. I haven’t always said the nicest things to myself with regards to this injury. I’ve been hard on myself and I’ve sent my body a lot of wrong messages. These three months have taught me to practice a little self-love and to forgive myself when things don’t go as I expected. I should be my biggest fan. Period.

4) It’s okay to let go sometimes. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to eat that french toast from Whole Foods last Friday morning. It sounds odd but every time I go there, I always get a salad and eggs for breakfast. So many times I stare at the waffles or french toast and think how badly I want some. Friday I did, and it was the best feeling to savor every bite of that sugary deliciousness. And then, when I slept in until 7:00 am Saturday morning, I wondered what in the world had I been missing out on! I never knew it was so great to sleep in until after the sun came up.

5) Everything has a purpose. People always say everything has a purpose and I know this. But I’ve never really experienced something bad like this and had to search for the good in it. Every day I search for the answer and every day I come closer to seeing the good. Perhaps the most important and obvious thing this has taught me is that my body is completely out of whack and very imbalanced. My physical therapy sessions are a blessing. But I’m also finding a new level of mental toughness I didn’t even know I had. The first time I ever ran a marathon, I was certain I would cry when I crossed the finish line. I didn’t then and I never have. I believe that the next marathon I run is going to require a mental and physical effort like I have never known before. And perhaps that is the purpose of all this. To find out what I’m really capable of and how deep I can really dig.

Three months have gone by slowly, and quickly at the same time. I’m excited to see what the next three months will bring.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

I Am Lazy

One hundred seconds is a very short amount of time. In fact, there are few things that you can start and finish in just 100 seconds. It takes longer than that just to brush your teeth. And based on the fact that at age 31, I had my very first cavity filled this morning, it seems I should be brushing a little longer. But I digress…

One minute and 40 seconds was all it took for me this morning to come to the sound conclusion that I, although I thought I was and some people may disagree, am not owning my healing process. I want results but not to endure change. That makes me lazy and you are probably wondering what the heck I am talking about. I shall explain.

First and foremost, you must watch this profound message from one of my all time favorite people, Jonathan Fields. If you don’t watch it, you’ll be confused. Go ahead, watch it. It’s only one minute and 40 seconds and it’ll leave you pondering your actions as a human being and as a member of society. I’ll be right here when you get back.

Go. Watch. It.

Intense, right? And although I don’t agree with the term “nobody”, he brings to light a very true fact. People want things to change. Change is hard. Subsequently, people (generally speaking), don’t do the work to make change happen. People don’t like hard.

In the almost three months since my surgery, I’d venture to say that I’ve lost very little of my cardio fitness. Why? Because I am a lean, mean, elliptical going machine. I have simulated speed workouts, tempo runs, and long training runs on the elliptical. Tabata intervals are my favorite and I pride myself on my sweatiness factor when I leave the gym. Yes, I am that person you do NOT want to be beside at the gym. But see the problem isn’t my cardiovascular fitness. I’m pretty certain that has a solid foundation and even if I stopped exercising for a month, it would still be solid.. The problem is my strength and I really don’t like doing strength training exercises. That’s why I’m cardio queen, as they call me at the gym. Not iron queen. But here is what that short video made me realize this morning: by avoiding what I obviously need to do, I’m refusing to own the process and I’m refusing to endure change. I’m being just like everyone else in the world who wants things to change but who doesn’t want to do the work. In other words, I’m being a lazy ass.

Cardio is easy for me. I’d do it all day, every day if I could. That’s why I like marathon training so much. But I don’t need more cardio in my life. I need strength. And based on my movement patterns, I’d say I need a little muscle memory retraining as well. As Mr. Fields so eloquently puts it, people want to own the results but nobody wants to own the process. I want the result of a stronger body and a stable hip. I have yet to own up to the process to get there.

To successfully endure change is to be one step above the rest. Today I will leave my dear friend the elliptical and introduce myself to the weight room. However, no worries. I’ll be back tomorrow. I could never leave my favorite machine completely. My intention is to not to leave cardio all together. That would be a really sad day. My intention is to gradually shift my focus from all out sprints to deep squats and weighted lunges. It might not be so bad after all. Even if I don’t like, I still have to do it. The result I’m after is to run another marathon. I have to face the fact that in order to get there, I need to get stronger.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


PS: I recently discovered the bad ass Neghar Fonooni. She’s pretty freakin’ strong but her workouts are metabolic workouts. In other words, she incorporates strength training and endurance training. That is a workout I can appreciate.

PPS: I ran my first full mile on Monday. It took 13 minutes but I made it. And I hurt afterwards. I don’t think my bone has quite taken to the screws in my hip just yet. Lovely.

Be Nice to Strangers

I can’t write about running right now. It’s unfortunate but it gives me an opportunity to write about other things. Today’s post – a life post.

Age 21, year 2004
It was my favorite post long run ritual. Run XX miles, nap, go get a really large coffee drink, and then go to work. I could tell you everyone’s story at Gloria Jean’s Coffee. I asked. I knew their names, their weekend plans, and a thing or two about their family. I always smiled at them and 9 out of 10 times, I never paid for anything. Although it was never my objective to get free drinks, it just happened. Strangers who made a connection at the mall and my dear friend and coworker was always amazed. How do you do it? she would ask.

Simple, I responded. Care. 

Age 31, year 2014

Today I ventured into Starbucks to do a little work. One of my favorite songs was playing and the barista was jamming along. Singing, dancing, and having more fun than most people would while making drinks. I may or may not have done my own little dance too while waiting for my drink. I told the barista how much I enjoyed his dancing. His response? Oh, have you tried the new fizzio? I’ll make you one. And he did. It was delicious.

I love people. All sorts of people. It fascinates me to think that there are over 7 billion unique stories in the world and every time I meet a stranger is another opportunity to be a part of one of those stories. Over the years, I have found the incredible importance of a genuine smile and a kind word. When you take notice of someone else, step outside of your own world, and make the effort to connect, you break down the invisible wall that exists between you and your fellow human being. And in return, a whole new world opens up. One of loving compassion that shows you how awesome human beings really are. Just as you are trying to find your way in this world, so too is every one else. We are not the strangers we think we are.

Make a new friend today. Be a part of someone else’s story.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Injury Update: According to my doc, I can start working back into a running routine next week. I have to be honest, I’m slightly terrified. I try jogging around the house and the result? Serious aching in my bones caused by that damn screw in my hip. My recovery has gone fairly well. However, I believe when I attempt to start running again, it’s going to be way harder than I ever thought. Oh well. One step at a time, right?


There was a time, and it really wasn’t that long ago, that I lay in my hospital bed throbbing in pain, pretty hopeless, and certain I would not set foot on my favorite running paths for at least six months. It was a time that I can still remember so vividly, but yet it seems like a lifetime ago. At the time I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see recovery and I couldn’t see the silver lining. Instead my mind wandered off to the bad things. All fitness would be lost, I would never be able to do the one thing I love so dearly ever again, and my exercise would take place inside a gym, one of my least favorite places.

During one of my many afternoons on the couch, I watched a Usain Bolt documentary. (I totally recommend it by the way.) At the end, a song came on and it immediately gave me goosebumps. I went to download it right away. The song is by Sean Paul and it is called “Hold On“. The verse that spoke to me the most goes like this:

“Although the road is long, we still hold on.
We carry on on, we still stay strong.
Today is long but tomorrow will come.
Hold on. Hold on now.”

I decided from that point that, that would be my philosophy.

Yesterday I was having a pretty kick ass workout at the gym and the song came on my iPod. Right then and there, during the middle of my tabata session, I had to reflect. I started thinking about where I was 7 weeks ago and where I am today. From a walker and shots in my stomach to 95% healed and the promise of running just three weeks away. My outlook is completely different. It has been a long road and there were many long days. But my tomorrow finally got here and I know there will be another tomorrow that is even better.

The mind chatter and the things we tell ourselves every day have a huge impact on where we go in life. Along with that, when we are in a not so great place and our patience is thin, we only add to the suffering. The 13th century Persian poet Rumi wrote that “Patience is the key to joy”. And when we are patient, our results are immediate.

Be patient with yourself. And no matter how long today is, tomorrow will get here. Eventually.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Injury Update: I had a follow up appointment Monday with my doctor. According to my X-ray. I’m about 95% healed and in the 99th percentile as far as the healing process goes. At one point he just started laughing and said I was so far ahead of most people who had this surgery and if I wanted to run Boston next year, it was totally doable. (Don’t worry, I’m not putting that on my calendar just yet.) And the best news was that I could ease myself back into running in about 3 weeks. Only with a mile or two, but at least it’s something!




My Ingenious (Running) Idea

This morning I had the most ingenious idea ever, at least in my opinion. I can’t believe it doesn’t already exist and if at least two other people thing it’s a great idea, I’m going to work to make it happen.  Maybe you’ll agree with me and maybe you won’t BUT I think the world needs an injured runners support group. 🙂

As I sat down to enjoy my overly caffeinated cup of coffee this morning and catch up on some reading, I noticed something. A lot of my fellow running blogger friends are suffering injuries as well. They are writing about trying to keep busy and not think about running. Or the mental anguish they are experiencing. They are writing about their suffering and they all seem to be alone in their suffering. But doesn’t misery love company? Wouldn’t it be helpful to gather all us injured runners together and share our experiences with one another? Couldn’t we learn from each other and help each other through the pain? I think so.

Here’s the thing… Injuries are a very real part of running. Unless you are one of the select few who can run all day, every day and never suffer a shin splint, you will probably come face to face with an injury sooner or later. The problem is runners have a very unique personality. When running, that part of their identity is taken away, they can go down a very depressing, downward spiral (at least I do). It’s hard to be an injured runner and if you don’t know how to deal with it, it can be exponentially harder. But there is an upside. Injuries rarely put an end to a person’s running career. Eventually things stop swelling, muscle knots loosen, and bones heal. Sometimes it may take a few weeks and sometimes it may take a year. Recovery only requires time, perspective, and a lot of patience. I believe a little advice, support and encouragement from other injured runners would make this process a whole lot easier.

I believe an injured runners support group would be beneficial for soooo many reasons. First, nobody likes suffering alone. Just knowing another runner is there who can understand what you’re going through, makes the injury seem a lot less painful. Second, I believe the best people to give advice on how to recover from an injury, are fellow runners. Other than my orthopedist who sent me to immediate surgery a few weeks ago, I’ve never had any luck with doctors and injury recovery. They didn’t understand how “rest” wasn’t what I needed to hear and they didn’t understand how my lower leg pain had nothing to do with lower leg faulty mechanics. It was only a symptom of my poorly aligned hips. Third, when runners can’t run, they get very anxious. Will all fitness be lost? What is the best way to cross train? How is this going to interfere with my training program? Runners who have had similar experiences, could share their advice. What worked for them and what didn’t, how to cross train for a marathon, how exactly to do pool running (this is something I’ve always wondered about), and what yoga routines helped with hip flexibility. In my mind, I think it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

What do you think? Maybe I’m just thinking this way because I could use a support group right now. However, throughout my many injuries, I know I would have benefited from a little love and positivity from fellow injured runners. Social connections and positivity make the soul a little happier. Sometimes I think that’s just what the injured runner needs. 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

(Recovery Update: I put my last crutch away this morning and I’m walking on my own. I barely have a limp now and I once again, tied my own shoes this morning. Two weeks ago today I could barely stand up. Today is a very different story. I love the human body… it’s amazing!)

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,

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.


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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Because I love running THIS much…

I’ve been feeling a lot of love for running lately. It’s weird. A few days ago, I was writing something for my business that caused me to reflect on my 12 years of running and it actually brought a tear or two to my eye. (I can be a little sentimental.) I started thinking about where I started, what I’ve experienced, how far I’ve come, and how now, I am at the best “running place” I have ever been. 30 days of consecutive running, no injuries, big gains, and feeling great. Maybe I am finally achieving that consistency I have always strived for.

There are people who, when you tell them you are a runner, ask don’t your knees hurt? Isn’t running boring? Don’t you want to have a family? Isn’t that bad for your health in the long term? 

Well let me just say this…

This morning it started to snow during my run. Last week 10 deer, only 15 feet away, stared at me so I ran past them. I’ve run the streets of Las Vegas at night. I’ve run by the Rocky stairs at night. I’ve seen the sun rise. I’ve seen the sun set. I’ve coached 15 girls to run their first 5K, and I’ve puked during the Boston Marathon. I’ve been chased by a dog (not that fun) and I’ve run in torrential downpours. Once I ran a race through the woods a day after a mini monsoon. I’ve run to the Golden Gate Bridge and I’ve run to the Eiffel Tower. When I was 21, I thought it was completely safe to run the streets of Mexico City alone. Then at the age of 24, I ran the streets of Madrid alone. Two weeks after my wedding, I ran through Switzerland with a broken collarbone. This past April I saw the most beautiful sights while running through the Willamette Valley. Three weeks ago I finished a run with icicles in my hair and no feeling in thumbs. Last week I ran to the wine shop in shorts because they told me if I did, I would get a free glass of wine. I’ve had great races and I’ve had horrible races. Twice, I’ve won a race (for the females) and several times I’ve placed in the top three. (Actually, the only trophy I own is from running and I plan to always keep it.) Two of my toes, I’m fairly certain, will never have toenails again, and I chafe horribly during the summer. Some days I feel great and some days I feel like crap. Heck, some days I want to stay in bed. But if I stay in bed or choose the couch over the outdoors, how many amazing things might I miss?

So no, running isn’t boring, And yes, sometimes it hurts. But it makes me feel alive. Running makes me believe in myself as a human being, and it shows me that I am stronger than I ever thought. Yes, some days I don’t want to do it and then there are other days when I want to run forever. It’s incredible how one thing can do so much for a person.

Buddhism teaches us that all things are impermanent. Perhaps one dayI will not have running and I understand that. But until that day comes, I will take advantage of every opportunity I have to experience everything running has to offer. For me, it’s so much more than a form of exercise. It has been my one constant for the past 12 years and I am thankful for every moment of it.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,



PS: Like the Monday love I’m sending to you? 😉

“Fake it Until you Become It”

My dear friend Lesley forwarded along an awesome video to me this morning… Amy Cuddy’s Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. It’s a talk about the mind body connection and just how powerful our bodies are in creating our reality. But perhaps  my favorite take away from the video is Cuddy’s last comment, fake it until you become it.

You see, 2014 is a year of change. I’ve quit my job to follow a dream, I’m dedicating myself to running a really fast marathon (I’m keeping my goal time to myself for now), and honestly, it’s all a little scary. There are a lot of scary things in the unknown and some days are a little more terrifying than others. But that’s okay with me. I’m experiencing life one day at a time and loving every moment.

But with regards to my running (and all of this cold weather), I found Cuddy’s quote to be quite fitting. It’s been really cold here in NC. In fact, my run Saturday morning ended with ice in my hair. Yes, I am serious. Then yesterday, I was suppose to do 5 sets of split 1000s at the track. And that was after 8 miles and a D1 Boot Camp the night before. Now split 1000s actually don’t look that hard on paper: 200, 300, and 500m w/ 100 meter recovery jog and 2 minute rest between sets. That’s only 2 1/2 laps with recovery time. Easy, right? Yeah, no. Running that fast is precisely why I don’t like 5Ks and would much rather run 26.2 miles any day. It just hurts.

As I’m preparing myself mentally in the car for the 20 degree weather, I had a lot of conversations with myself. One in particular, where I pointed out just how cold it was and just how tired my legs were from the workouts yesterday. Maybe I did need a rest day? Then there was my other conversation… Nobody ever ran a X:XX marathon skipping out on speed workouts. In fact, you are a bad ass runner who runs with ice in her hair. You are tough and you belong out on that track. Out on the track I went, leaving my iPod behind, because I knew I was going to need several more pep talks along the way. One hour  later and with no feeling in my thumbs, I was done. I did belong out there.

Now I know that I am no Kelcey Carlson or Kimberlie Meeker (my two favorite local runners), but you better believe I’m going to act like I am. Then maybe, just maybe, I’ll run what I know I’m capable of running.


Happy Trails and Happy Running,


Check out the snow (and super dedicated runner) in Raleigh…