Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday: ZEAL! Get some on YOU!

As you might have noticed I've been posting each Wednesday something wisdomish (oh yes, that is totally a word. Cause I said so.)  I believe that life isn't all about running. Wait.  What?!  No, little Jess, it isn't dear. But rather life was created for a purpose. His purpose. And if we lose sight of that than all we work for is in vain.  Even during the grueling training runs it should be for a purpose. So to help keep things balanced (especially for myself as well) I created Wisdom Wednesdays. 
I hope you enjoy and find something useful here!

Romans 12:11 NIV says,
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."

You will no doubt have doubts. Times of uncertainty and exhaustion. Times where you feel like you just cannot take one more step further. But right here He says to never be lacking in zeal.  What exactly is it?

Definition: Noun 1. fervor for a person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor. (  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/zeal  )

Are you zealous for Him?  For a good cause? Do you have zeal on the run?  Are you running (and in all you do) with enthusiastic diligence? <~ I really like that phrase...
Me?  Not all the time. No way.  This is why life has been called a journey. A constant stream of learning.

2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV says,

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

So when you're weak and all out of zeal, know that He is strong. Make it a priority to specifically pray for zeal! To be zealous in all you do.  And in that let it be His strength that pulls you through. That shines through you. Joy is contageous. Get some on YOU!

*BUT also be mindful to be wise in that.

Proverbs 19:2 says,
"It is not good to have zeal without knowledge..."

*So how about you?  Do you give it all you got each day? Do you live/train with zealous purpose?*

I know my little guy does!  Check out his cute little face!

Tips and Tricks Tuesday: in it for the LONG RUN!

My favorite training run is the long run. Where you can just run and run and run at a comfortable pace and let the mind wonder.  It's a refreshing and beautiful thing. Unless...
You neglect to eat a healthy and mild dinner the night before. Then that's another painful story...do NOT eat junk food night before!  Just take my word for it. 
There a few tips to help make the long run your most enjoyable run yet!
A few things I've learned from trial and error that you may find useful as well:

  • Always stay HYDRATED (a work in progress. You had to know this is one of my number one tips!)  Hydrate well before, during and after.

  • If your runs start creeping over an hour bring food or energy gels.  Raisins seemed to work well. But my personal favorite thus far are the Clif Bar mocha energy gels.  <--check them out!  Yum!  I cannot rave about these enough!  They are easy on the stomach, digest well, gives you that quick burst of energy you need with natural, organic ingredients!  Be sure to follow them with water.
  • Bring flip flops to wear after a long run.  Wish I had learned this a few months back!

  • Bring a towel. Especially during the summer.  Makes the ride home a little more comfortable. If you had to drive to your running destination.

  • Consider investing in a visor, cap or bandanna to keep the sweat and sun out of your eyes!  Sunglasses are also an excellent bug blocker!
  • Sunscreen should be your next best friend. Not only to prevent sun damage but also wind burn....you know from running so super fast. ;-)
Trim me!!!
  • Keep your toenails clipped!  Sounds silly but if you do not you will have a booboo on your pretty little toe like mine! Except mine aren't so pretty. Ugh.

  • LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!  There will be days when your body just isn't fit to go.  Take caution and pay attention to any tight muscles or sudden sharp pains.

For more awesome tips check out Active's article with 7 running experts on effective long runs!

*Just to reiterate, I'm not a professional. These are personal tips that have worked for me. Always seek your doctor before beginning a new exercise program or training plan.  I have not been compensated in any way to review the Clif Bar products. I just love them!
Happy (&blessed) running!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Mission Accomplished

Ah ha!  It worked!  Knowing I had to (refer to last Monday's post) take a picture to show proof I filled up my running journal with runs and XT gave me a swift kick in the bootay to get my week on!  Okay so I was supposed to show proof Sunday but whatever....what's a day right?  It was much easier last week because I was on my little staycation (away from work thank you Jesus!) But now it's back to the grind....boooooooo!!!
Getting 30 miles in last week felt like a piece of cake. I'm curious to see how I feel now that I'm back at work on my feet all fun-lovin day.  (Will someone pleeeeease pay me to run and blog all day?)
Anyway, on another note.... I really like my Runner's Journal. It's technically called, The Complete Runner's Day-By-Day Log 2012 Calendar by Marty Jerome. It has all the calendar space I need and includes tips and quotes that help encourage me each week. 

The quote in the picture is one from the Running Calendar, one I love the most!

Happy (&blessed) running!

Friday, July 27, 2012

17 Miles on 'ol Treddy Whaaaat?!

I ran seventeen miles on my treadmill today. I had a blast.


Out of sheer desperation and lack of other opportunities to get outside early (before heat set it) I had to get my long run done on the treadmill. I know what you must be thinking, I'm nuts. Yes I am. But let me say it wasn't all too bad until about mile 15 at that point I just wanted to be DONE.  Not the most fun two hours and fourty-five minutes of my life I admit.
There are perks of long runs on the machine, however.  For instance, I didn't have to stop at any red lights, stop signs or careless, idiot drivers trying to run me over.  I had Pandora Radio set to uplifting music. Also kept my mind entertained with prayer, imagining running the marathon course and just let my mind wonder off...I set my speed at a slow and steady 9:40 min/mile pace and put my body on cruise control.  It was also nice to run in a/c and not battle humidity.  I felt pretty good afterward. No pains or twinges.  I felt a little fatigued later this afternoon but I figure that's normal.  I also tried something new during this run. I usually go with Cliff Bar energy gels (I love my mocha gels!) but I had run out so I resorted to raisins. I would nibble on a few every 15-20 minutes or so.  Seemed to work well with no tummy issues.  Small and bite size. Easy to chew and digest. All natural sugar. Nature's original energy 'gel'.  A small step in teaching my body to digest foods on the run.  I may use this in the future...
I also learned something new about 'ol Treddy, it shuts off at 99:99 minutes. So I had to stop.  Then restart. That was a mental challenge because if the treadmill stops then logically I should be able to stop too, right?!  Wrong. I took the emergency clip out and put it back in and kept going.  I knew that to be fully prepared for this marathon I have to give each week of training 100% effort.  I didn't give it my all before my last 10k race and it showed. In a terrible way.

*And this is me. After 17 miles.
Lovely aren't I?*

Happy (& blessed) running!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday: Fools Despise Instruction.

Proverbs 1:7 NIV
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction."

How does this little verse apply to running?  Easy. Fools despise instruction. The surest and quickest way to injury is to speed ahead in training without regard to wisdom and instruction. There's much to be learned. And you never stop learing.
*The wise (wo)man knows (s)he knows nothing.*
Anytime someone wiser or has a longer history with running offers you advice or a little wisdom gem, LISTEN!  Not the 'oh I already knew that' (I admit...I've totally been guilty of this) kind of listen but honestly open your ears and mind. You can read something out of a book or magazine over and over again and you may not fully grasp the context until the 15th read over. Never be so "full" of information you think you've got it all covered. Because I guarantee you don't. And you won't. Ever. But that's the beauty of life. It is a journey.

*TIP:  Try to hook yourself up with a local running club. It's free (as far as I know here anyway) and it's a great way to connect with other runners from all runs of life. You don't have to be elite or pro athlete to join. I've learned so much from our local club. Why not check out RRCA (Road Runners Club of America) and search for one near you. There were three close to my hometown, including one within.  We've even got a women's running club!  I love that one paticularly.

So don't be afraid to go out and learn something new. Life is full of challenges. But you don't have to go at it alone.  You know, I've never met a rude runner. They're almost always more than willing to help someone along the way.

Happy (&blessed) running!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tips and Tricks Tuesday: XT on a Budget/Fitness Binder

Why even bother with XT (cross-training) when you just love to run all day everyday??? Two very good reasons my friends.
  1. To build strength in supporting muscles and functions to prevent injury. 
  2. To prevent burn-out or boredom with running.
If I could, I would just run all day, everyday.  I do not enjoy XT  much at all. It feels like work. Hard work. Most people like to turn to biking (which is a GREAT mode of XT) or swimming.  I however:

A.) Do not own a bike. 
B.) Do not own a pool and can not afford a club membership anywhere.

So if you find yourself in a boat similar to me or just don't like biking or swimming or are just looking for variety, here are a few tips and things I find useful to help balance my running routine:
  • Pilates (you can find a variety of DVDs under or around $10 at Walmart!)
  • Yoga (your body will thank you!)
  • Jump rope
  • Park time with the kid(s)(think monkey bar pull ups and bench step-ups!)
  • Magazine workouts: see below!

This is something I've been meaning to do a long time ago...
Create a fitness/XT binder (see picture steps below)

**This is a SUPER easy peasy little thing to do!  I promise!  If I can do it in under 30 minutes (thanks to my son's attention being occupied with his buddy yesterday) anyone can do this. And it is SIMPLE; my favorite word. Basically all you do is:

1.) Grab all your favorite Fitness, Runner's World, Women's Health, Women's Running (my personal favorite..I really enjoy their Blog too!) magazines...if you're anything like me you've probably grown quite a collection!  I've always hated throwing them away or I will find a favorite article or workout only to toss it by accident.

2.) Cut out all your favorite workouts, recipes, articles 

3.) Organize them by tabs...mine are organized by Yoga, Core, Notes, Recipes, Races. The beauty of this project is that you can create it however you want. Tweak it to your interests. You can make it as simple or creative as you'd like.
  *I added a race tab with an extra folder to keep directions to races, map routes, hotels, ect. ect.

4.) RECYCLE them!  Earth911 is a useful website with more tips on reusing and recycling magazines or anything.  I was able to locate several recycling facilities in my area that I didn't even know about!
*VoĆ­la! * You now have all your fitness/XT needs in one organized place.  Remember, organization is a huge time-saver!!Annnnd, you've helped save the earth one pile of magazines at at a time. 

I hope you find this useful and enjoy!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Excuses, excuses...why hello Monday!

Last week went by way too fast!  It was a busy week full of work and the kid's swim!  Thursday the kid had swim meet #3. And it was out of town by about 1 hour and 45 minutes away. And the meets are generally very long. Say about 3-4 freaking hours long!! We didn't get home till 12:45 that evening. I'm no night owl. I like my sleep. I swear I'm an 80 year old woman in a 26 year old body. But next morning guess who had to be at work at 8 am???  I made it by 8:02. I know, I know. I'm a total slacker. I say all this mess to say that last week's MT(marathon training)W(week)#2 did not go exactly as planned. Oh, I did get three solid runs in (minus one mile on the long run...gaaaah) but forget about any other form of excersice. I did manage to get a few push-ups, crunches and yoga poses in but I guarantee nothing noteworthy.
I had a list of excuses that week:

•kid's swim practice and then swim meet out later-than-a-hooker late
•work early, work late, work more
•household needs and demands
•felt extra sleepy all week, haven't slept well
(Been waking up in the middle of the night STARVING!  Is this normal during marathon training??)
•blah, blah, blah

And here I am. Blogging. Not moving. It's only Monday.
BUT...I am on my "staycation" officially!  I would think it would definitely be easier to get my workouts in, right??  This week already has some goodies lined up for the kid.  I'm telling you, it's all about the kid! ;)
Monday (that would be today): the kid has a friend coming over for a 'playdate' (which means I shouldn't be Blogging but cleaning this house! We also had another little friend, aka cousin, over last night till later-than-a-hooker late--which was fun! I don't mind it at all. Just makes for a sleep in next am kind of am and not get up early enough to get my workout in.)
Tuesday: We have a movie date with my sister and my neice!  Ice-Age!  Think I'm more excited than the kid...
Wednesday: I get my hair cut! Yay. 

*Okay, so by now I'm sure you're all green with envy of my awesome week so far.  Ha!  This is where poor, single mothers find their joy and excitement.*

Thursday: open
Friday: open

Okay so I guess the week isn't too full...but as a mother it can be so easy to say, "I just don't have time to get my workouts in". Yes YOU do!!!

Here's some helpful tips I've thought of:

•Starting everyday off with prayer is a huge help.
•Keep a runner's or fitness journal.
•Write down a schedule!!  Everything from wake-up time, laundry, runs, playtime, tv time <--shouldn't be too much if any of this!, shower time, phone calls, Blogging, whatever. And try to stick with it.
•Get shut eye! Easier said than done. Especially for mothers! Try to set a certain time for yourself to be in bed. So if you know you'd like to be up by say 6:30 get to be no later than10:30 for 8 hours of sleep....okay so I may be in fantasy land now but it is a nice idea.
•Get organized!!!!!  Knowing where things are is a huge time saver!  I have a small area of my home where I keep all my workout gear like magazines, yoga mat, dvds, ect.
•Lay your workout, running clothes and/or shoes out the night before where you will see them first thing in the morning.
•Or just sleep in your workout clothes. Me? I prefer pjs. But whatever works for you and gets you going!
•Make workout time fun with the kid(s). Say you don't get up in time to get it in before the madness of the day starts, get your kid in the action!!  Get out the jump-ropes, try fun yoga poses together, take a bike ride.
•There WILL be days and weeks that do not go as planned. Just know that it is OK. Life will go on and so will your training plan.
•Just keep on keeping on!!!

Here's a personal challenge:
Here is a picture of my blank planning calendar for the week. By Sunday I will post a picture of it FULL.  That's the plan!

*So what about YOU?  How do your "planned" weeks or training plans go?  What excuses do you find yourself falling for? *

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Figuring the Tech/Social Media Scene: Have I become a TwittFace??

So I've been seeing a lot of FitFluencial peeps and it really encourages me to strive for a better life.  And it also encourages me to strive after becoming a FitFluential Ambassador.  But how to do this?  I have to be a "fit" influence in my community and have a blog (check) and a Twitter account.  So I signed up for Twitter and I guess my "screen" name is @jessflyingfeet...Anybody have tips for getting around the social media world?  I want to be a positive influence in my little corner of the world and then beyond that!  I want to show that just because I am a single mother, life has not stopped for me.  In fact it has only begun!  And what better way to share with the world the power of running?  The gift of running.  God has blessed me in so many ways.  And if God gives you a gift, I can think of nothing better than sharing that gift. 
I did finally figure out how to "create" a page on Facebook for my blog.  Why not LIKE my Facebook page??  :~)

This whole thing has definitely been a HUGE (and slow...) work in progress.  I have been trying to maintain a balance in life with work, kid, run, blog, repeat.  Not easy.  But the journey has been more than worth it!

Happy (&blessed) running!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday

There have been many days (&sleepless nights) where I went over and over the Firecracker 10k event in my mind and thought of everything that went wrong. 
In reading my devotional this morning I came across a verse that really opened my eyes... Proverbs chapter 4 is all about wisdom and listening to 'her'.  The one who gains wisdom will not fall!  In retrospect I do not believe I really listened to my body at all. I didn't take the time to properly prepare. I just went about it eyes wide shut. Now, more than ever it's so important to LISTEN!  Wisdom is vital for our everyday lives, yet is often ignored.  So before each and every single training run, race or whatever I do in life, my prayer should be, "God grant me wisdom that I might not fall!"
I have a hard time slowing down to listen to anything. I just go and do. But there's much to be said to slowing down at times...

*By the way, this neat little picture is from the OBX marathon!  Where I will be running in four short months!!*

Here's to wisdom my friends!  Get some on ya!!!

*I want to know, have you ever sped ahead with a run, race or life and found damaging results?  Am I the only one who has a hard time slowing down to listen for a minute??*

Monday, July 9, 2012

Let the OBX MARATHON Training Begin!

It's official!  The 16 week Marathon training plan of torture..ahhem...fun has begun! This will truly challenge and test my determination, guts, discipline and mental willpower to the limits.  I've got to learn from past mistakes.  Continue to read, study, push myself.  I will be required to exit my comfort zone...almost daily.  Listen to my body. Learn from body. For example:I have come to realize I am a tinkler and salty sweater therefore I must HYDRATE constantly…just in case you wanted that bit of TMI. 
The OBX Marathon is 18 weeks away!  I will be following the Run Less, Run Faster 16 week plan.**  My goal: TO FINISH WITH A SMILE ON MY FACE AND NOT PEE MY PANTS!  I know...admirable goals, eh? :~) I'm trying my best not to focus on time. That can come later; should I choose to run another one. 
Why am I even running this one?  Because I can. Because I'm crazy.  Because running is fun and I get to meet new people. And it supports families in need. Which is always cool.  And I get a super cool shirt and medal. Why not?

**I am allowing for two extra weeks for a taper and recovery for the half-marathon in September here in Asheville.  Check out the Asheville Citizen-Times Half-Marathon site here!  Looks like a rural and challenging route!

I started this blog post last weekend so...(total blog slacker here)
Anyway, I've completed week one of training.  Including the first long-run of them all, 13 miles. Which went surprisingly well.  I guess having water and energy gels on hand helps a ton!  You can keep up with my training log at DailyMile if ya want.  It's a great place to keep every workout and detail in one spot. Even does all the math for you (pace, talleys all the miles, etc.); and if you're like me...uh mathmatically challenged at times, it's great!  I really like the people and support too. You learn a lot from more experienced runners.  And in turn you can encourage those who are newbies.

So here's to the OBX 2012!!! <-- check it out!  Looks like a blast!

*It's not too early to practice carb loading is it??  I do realize I probably should have gone with grilled chicken..but eh, all I had on hand was the kid's chicken strips.  Protein is protein.*

P.S.~ All you marathoners, any words of wisdom in going into training and managing work (on your feet all day full time), home, and family??

Friday, July 6, 2012

My new main squeeze!

Like a big kid getting a new toy.
I was SO excited to get my FuelBelt 22oz handheld water bottle in the mail! And you know the silly thing of it is I've put off purchasing this because it was "too expensive".  Well now I have a majorly different point of view:  a trip to the ER to get 2+ liters of fluid pumped in me costs waaaaay more!! I tend to learn things the more challenged way. But there's a fine line between taking on a challenge and just being plain stupid.

I will be taking it out on a test run Saturday morning. I can not wait!  I will post reviews soon after. I'm pretty sure it will prove to be a smooth ride. The hand holder is super soft and cushy.  And the nozzle opens up easy.  (Unlike a knockoff brand I purchased.. I would have to stop and use BOTH hands to open it to get a tiny sip...arrrrg!!)
I'm also taking a mocha flavored (I am a coffee lover!) Cliff Bar Energy Gel.  They are pretty tasty and go down easy with some water. They really help get me through the long runs with lasting energy.  (Why didn't I think to use one on the 10k?? I truly underestimated the race.)  I have yet to try the GU gels that many runners love, mainly because the Cliff gels are more accessible for me. I buy them right in my local Walmart for a small price! 

So. To my main squeeze:
I vow to fill you up with water or Gatorade!
I vow to take you on EVERY long run or short run in heat and humidity!
I vow to stuff energy gels in your nifty little zipper pocket!
I vow to NEVER EVER let myself dehydrate again! No excuses!
And they lived happily ever after. 

Me and my main squeeze :~)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Little Runner Who Couldn't...Firecracker 10k

I wish I could say I totally rocked out there...well I did for the first half but then something odd happened. My body decided it wasn't going to work with me. It was a fight from hell.
When you cross the finish line you're supposed to hear woohoo!  Not oh no! Gah.
My blood pressure dropped and my heart rate spiked. About half-mile from the finish I got very woozy, almost tripped but caught my balance. So I decided to walk. Until I finally saw the finish line then I sprinted. And then I collapsed.
I tried to get my act together but I literally could not get up. My chest hurt so bad and everything was spinning.  So the volunteers decided to get the medics and get me oxygen. Then I guess I started panicking then they gave me Ativan...I've never had drugs. It was weird. I'm pretty sure I told volunteer fireman he was cute...there's some humor in this but not much. 
I hydrated for this race so well my pee was clear I tell you!  I had a huge spaghetti dinner night before. I can not for the life of me figure out why this happened. It scared me. But I did cross that finish line!  Not with my goal time due to walking ... 56:58. Arg!!
And this is how I felt:
I felt like a sissy girl.
I felt like a failure.
Just go ahead and call me loser.
I was humiliated.
I had decided I'm not a real runner.
I'm going to quit running.
My pride took a serious blow. (Not that I had much to begin with..I saw all the other serious elite athletes)
I didn't achieve my goal. I ran worse.
The cute girl ahead of me kicked my butt. (Uugh why couldn't she be the one to pass out like a sissy girl!?)
This run was a battle for me.  You can see my sign took a beating too. 
I begin to ask myself if I trained hard enough.
If I can run 12 miles without any issues, what happened today?
I know God has a reason for everything. If nothing else, I'm here to prove to you, there will be not so awesome runs and races. I'm allowing myself to stew over it. I wanted to quit running long before I did and I didn't. And I did manage to cross the finish line.  So I won the battle but not the goal. I guess hydrate more??  Maybe bring a water bottle on the run. One bystander was so cool and had her water hose to soak the passing runners. I wanted to kiss her face.
Or maybe leave the 10ks for fall/spring were its not as humid and hot.  I do know I have a super sensitive little body that anything I take, eat or drink it will let me know exactly how it feels about it!  And today I guess I ticked it off...you know what though...there will be more races.

I'm not a quitter.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Issues. It's about to get deep yo.

Why do I run?  Why do I train to run races? What the heck is this all about anyway???  Well imma gonna tell ya...

I first started running out of sheer heartache and pain.  With no other means to escape, I ran.  Ran away. Figuratively of course.
I had a young child at an early age, a terrible divorce (which has it's own sad story but I won't get into that) with a trail of not so healthy, hazordous relationships.  Including one horrendous one by which I was not only lied to but totally decived on every level...but I won't go into that either.  I just wanted to be loved. By someone. Anyone. My father wasn't in the first part of my life. So I begged for acceptance. (He has made a wonderful effort since my 20s to be apart of my life which has been answer to prayer!) Spent many nights crying myself to sleep from lonliness, heartache and pain. I felt that I was the most worthless human being on the face of the planet. I didn't go to college, felt like a dummy who was no good at anything, felt like a complete failure at motherhood, made terrible decisions (still do that on occasion...but I chalk that up to being human) both relationaly and finacially, never finished any kind of project (think MaryKay cosmetics failure.ugh.) .... One day I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and went out for a run. It was an angry run I believe. I was what my sister would call, a "hot mess".... I was angry for being a total wreck. Angry for being lied to, cheated on, taken advantage of...I was ticked. And then I got this incredible high like nothing else. God was talking to me. Reminding me of the strength I held inside.
So I signed up for the Reindeer Run 5k. And then I trained with whatever time and resources I had to work with.  I checked out running books from the library and researched all I could.
For the first time in my life I had began a project and finished it to the end. And it felt AMAZING to cross that finish line!!  I had accomplished SOMETHING.  Of course the Lord is the only one to completely fill a void in life. I believe He strengthens me by the power He sustains in my legs, lungs and heart.
Why did I choose now to bring this all up?  Because as I find myself less than 48 hours away from my first 10k, I'm feeling like a nervous wreck.  I keep questioning myself.  Doubting myself. So by questioning myself I decided I needed to go back to the basics.
Why do I run?
I started running because it freed me from pain. It gave me confidence.  Because it renews my spirit. 
I'm not a serious athlete. But I'm serious about my faith. And that's where my perspective needs to be.  Not on winning a medal (although one day that would totally be cool!) or being a hard core allstar runner. But on being the mother God's called me to be. Being the woman I need to be to change my little corner of this world.
I will race on July 4th in honor of a friend and all those who fight for our freedom. I will run because God has blessed me with two healthy strong legs. I will smile because my family will be there to cheer me on in love. This my friends...is what it truly means to run.
Freedom. Strength. Confidence.

Why do you run?