Monday, June 29, 2009

My Better is Better than Your Better

Run up-date - I did wake up early this morning, and I had a great run! Thanks for all the encouraging words!

On my run, it got me thinking: What has running taught me about myself?


My boyfriend bought this for me a few months ago. This is why he bought it for me (his words, verbatim): Because that's been your style lately. That's been your attitude!


Disclaimer: I am NOT a Longhorn, I am a Sun Devil. Graduate from Arizona State University. My bf is a Longhorn (grad school) but we both went to undergrad at ASU...I felt that was needed! :)

This photo will be explained further down.



Anyways, back to: what running has taught me about myself...

I am much stronger than I thought I was.
I always knew I was a strong person, but never ever did I actually think I could complete a half marathon. Are you kidding me? That's hard! Hardest thing I've ever done!

I'm so stinkin' stubborn.
Ok, I knew this, but running distance has really let it shine in all its glory! That's right folks, drink it in, my name is Jen, and I am stubborn!

I am feisty.
Enough said...

I love it when people doubt me.
This, I am almost certain, has to do with me being so stubborn, but I just love proving people wrong, especially when it has to do with what I am capable of. Don't think I can do it? Test me, I bet I can!

I thrive on "impossible" challenges.
Seriously, if you told me a year ago that I would be nearly 50 pounds lighter, have completed a half marathon, followed by two 5ks, training for 3 more half marathons, and enjoyed it (well most of it) I would have laughed, called you crazy, and thought to myself that's impossible. Well, I now know what it's like to complete what I once thought impossible, and I'm hooked!

I believe in myself.
I had tremendous support from lots of people. Most supportive would have to be the love of my life (even though he thought and still thinks I'm completely crazy). Bottom line though, I couldn't have done any of it had I not believed in myself.

I'm the best.
Not to say that I'm better than you, but I'm the best I've ever been. Happier than I've ever been. Healthier than I've ever been. Faster than I've ever been. Better than I've ever been. Today I'm better than I was yesterday. Tomorrow I'll be better than I am today. I'm the best me there is, plain and simple (hence the photo).

And to top it all off, with the good and bad, I love it! I'm learning more about myself than I ever thought I would. So, thanks running!




Sunday, June 28, 2009

No more excuses

I'm sick of having bad runs! For reasons I can and cannot control, I haven't had a really good, long, hard run in months!

I hate it!

Reasons why I've had bad runs:
  • I've been tired before every run
  • I haven't been hydrated enough
  • I haven't had a lot of motivation
  • My knees have been acting up again
  • I feel like I have plenty of time to train for my next half

Well, guess what? I'm tired of excuses.

It's not my style and frankly, I'm a little pissed I've been making excuses. That's not what I do.

So, here it is, out in the open for anyone to see...
NO MORE EXCUSES!

Here are my answers for my excuses:
  • Tired? Get more sleep, and start running first thing in the morning (I have more energy then)
  • Not hydrated? Drink more water and Gu2O!
  • No motivation? Find it, simple as that! Think about the 3 half marathons you have coming up!
  • Knees hurt? Not the first time, wear your knee braces and make sure you ice them when needed.
  • Plenty of time to train for your next half? Not anymore. It's in 16 weeks!

So, here's to no more excuses! Tomorrow it's a 5:30am run, no matter what, it's what I'm doing!

Wow, I feel better just getting this written out!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The first mile

For those of you who are new to running, or maybe have been running a while, but it doesn't come easy or natural for you, you probably remember this.

Your first mile. The first mile you ran without stopping, without walking. Just you and your shoes racing to that imaginary line that is "1 Mile."

For some reason I was thinking about that today on my run. Sometimes when I get a little discouraged with myself: I'm not fast enough, I can't run long enough, or whatever it may be, I think about how far I've come. Instead of comparing myself to where I want to be, I compare myself to where I was. Don't get me wrong, I still have goals, I still look forward to the future, and where I hope to be, but I try not to beat myself up over the fact that I'm not there yet. After all, it is a process.

I have come a very long way. When I decided that I was going to run the Austin Half Marathon, I had never run long distance before, ever! Not only that, but I was not in any shape to be running any sort of distance. I was always very active as a kid. I was the girl running around with the boys playing hide and seek, Marco Polo, or kick ball. I played soccer and basketball for years. But once I got into high school, well, you know, things just change. Without getting into much detail, during my training for the half marathon, I lost close to 30 pounds (that doesn't include the 20 I lost boxing before I started running). So yeah, it was a challenge to say the least. My coach (my dad - a professional triathlete and coach) was excellent! I slowly started running more and more, feeling more confident.

Then, that day, the day I said to myself "I will run 1 mile." For those who know me know that once I set my mind to something (no matter how silly or insignificant it may seem to others) I will do it, no excuses. (I'm pretty sure that's the stubborn, feistienss in me, but it can be a good thing!) I ran on the treadmill that day so I can accurately calculate my mile... As silly as it seems (especially to those who running comes very naturally) seeing that 1.0 mile on the treadmill, knowing I ran the entire time, giving it all I had, but the biggest smile on my face.

Ever since then, I've loved the first mile! The first mile of a run is awesome. Let's me know I'm on my way (and sometimes -rarely- makes me ask myself why I'm running). The first mile of a race...whoa, what a rush! I love seeing that "MILE 1" on the side of the road. Always puts a smile on my face.

Now 1 mile is nothing, 3 miles is even a bit on the easy side. Eventually I'd like to run the entire half marathon - all 13.1 miles! Someday, I know I'll do it!! I just gotta keep setting my goals and moving forward. Reflecting on the past helps me look forward to the future in a positive light!

Well, happy running!

I wanna...

Run!

I was so in the mindset last night that I would wake up and get a great run in before work. I set my running clothes out. Got my new playlist created. Drank tons of water. I was excited! I love getting excited about running!

My alarm went off this morning at 5:30am...

Remembering how I felt on Monday (I woke up that early to go running...usually I run after work), I got a pit in my stomach. Monday, I had the worst migraine I've had in years. I suffer from migraines, but since I started running, they have been much less frequent, and much less severe, until Monday! I don't blame my run on the migraine, but I can't help but feel that waking up at 5:30 had something to do with it.

So, I turned off my alarm and reset it for 6:30 (which is the usual time I wake up if I don't run in the morning). I'm regretting it now.

I just want to run.

Run.

Run.

Run.

I can't stop thinking about running.

I cannot wait to go running tonight!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Early morning run

I've decided that I'm going to wake up early tomorrow and go running, which means I need to go to bed, now!

Here's the playlist that will be awaiting me at 5:30 tomorrow morning:

Best Days of Your Life - Kellie Pickler

Fighter - Christina Aguilera

Happy Endings - The All-American Rejects

Hot Stuff (I Want You Back) - The Pussycat Dolls

If U Seek Amy - Britney Spears

List of Demands (Reparations) - Saul Williams

Mr. Brightside - The Killers

One Step At A Time - Jordin Sparks

SOS - Rihanna


Wish me luck!

Whatever It Is

So I woke up this morning feeling a bit blah, a bit off. I'm sure it has everything to do with the fact that I had the most awful migraine ever yesterday. So on my way to work I thought I'd listen to some country music.

I am a lover of all music.

Seriously, all music!

But country music for just makes me happy. I used to spend the entire summer at my nana and poppie's house when I was growing up. My nana only listened to country, so it just brings back good memories and makes me feel happy. So, that's why I really love country music. Anyways, I put on my favorite country song at the moment Best Days of Your Life by Kellie Pickler and hit the "genius" button to come up with a random playlist for my drive to work. The third song that came on, well, I loved it.

Whatever It Is by Zac Brown Band

If you'd rather listen or watch the music video


She's got eyes that cut you like a knife and
Lips that taste like sweet red wine
And pretty legs go to heaven every time
She got a gentle way that puts me at ease
When she walks in the room I can hardly breathe
Got a devastating smile knock a grown man to his knees


She's got whatever it is
It blows me away
She's everything I wanted to say to a woman
But couldn't find the words to say
She's got whatever it is
I don't know what to do
Because every time I try and tell her how I feel
It comes out "I love you"
You got whatever it is


You know I’ve never been the type that would ever want to stay
Bring 'em home at night and they're gone the next day
But that all changed when she walked into my life
People ask me what it is
I tell them I don't know
Just something about the woman makes my heart go haywire
She's gonna be my wife


She's got whatever it is
It blows me away
She's everything I wanted to say to a woman
But couldn't find the words to say
She's got whatever it is
I don't know what to do
Because every time I try and tell her how I feel
It comes out "I love you"
You got whatever it is


When she loves me
Girl that's how I feel
When she loves me I’m on top of the world
Because when she loves me I can live forever
When she loves me I am untouchable


She's got whatever it is
It blows me away
She's everything i wanted to say to a woman
But couldn't find the words to say
She's got whatever it is
I don't know what to do
Because every time I try and tell her how I feel
It comes out "I love you"
You got whatever it is


Anyways, I loved it and thought I'd share it! Actually that song is the reason I bought his album!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Finally!

Finally a good run this morning!

Not a fast one, but a very good one! I am a happy camper!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lemon Zest Cookies

Yummy!

I don't normally bake (although I love it) because I usually end up with tons of sweets sitting in my home begging to be eaten.

I have a major sweet tooth; it is my weakness!

Every Monday we have Girls Night where a bunch of girls get together and watch trashy tv -
The Bachellorette (I swear I'd never watch The Bachelorette or The Bachelor if it weren't for Girls night!)

Anyways, tomorrow is my turn to make dinner and desert for everyone. Dinner - I'm making my famous homemade pizza one white sauce and one red sauce. Since those take so much time to bake, I decided to bake the desert today: Lemon Zest Cookies! Below is the recipe and some photos!


Ingredients




  • 3/4 cup butter, softened (almost melted)
  • 1 small lemon - for juice (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Directions

  1. Mix the butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt in a bowl. Mix very well.
  2. Slowly add in dry ingredients until moist.
  3. Spoon dough into about golf ball size.
  4. Place on non-stick cookie sheet.
  5. Bake in 350 degree oven for 12 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle powdered sugar over cookies once out of oven.

Enjoy!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Not even Christina could save me

One of the reasons I decided to start and keep up with this blog (notice the 3 or 4 month gap from my first 2 posts to my third post) was to keep me honest (also to maybe encourage someone who's in the same boat as me...maybe?). So anyways, keeping me honest.

Ugh, I hate being honest with myself sometimes. It's like calling yourself out and facing the fact that you aren't where you wanna be.

Today's run, well to put it simply, it sucked!

Sucked!

My goal was to go out for 50 minutes. I was hoping for 4-4.5 miles, but the main goal was the 50 minutes! I created a good playlist (gotta have good tunes), prepared myself mentally, and went to the gym (yes, WAY too hot here to run outside, so it was a treadmill day - I actually don't mind treadmills, but that's a whole different story).

Here's my playlist (I've had people ask me for it from time to time)
  • A-Punk by: Vampire Weekend
  • Baby Got Back by: Sir Mix-A-Lot
  • California Love by: Tupac/Dr. Dre
  • Crack a Bottle by: Eminem, Dr. Dre & 50 Cent
  • Fighter by: Christina Aguilera
  • Here's To You by: Rascal Flatts
  • Just Dance by: Lady GaGa & Colby O'Donis
  • Keeps Gettin' Better by: Christina Aguilera
  • List of Demands (Reparations) by: Saul Williams
  • Poker Face by: Lady GaGa
  • Real World by: The All-American Rejects
  • Self Inflicted by: Katy Perry
  • She's A Rebel by: Green Day
  • Shut Up And Drive by: Rihanna
  • SOS by: Rihanna
  • Untouched by: The Veronicas
  • Wanksta by: 50 Cent
Seriously, after about 5 minutes I felt exhausted, like I had been running for ever. I stopped watching the clock, cranked up my tunes, and started thinking about me crossing the finish line of my next half marathon (believe it or not, that helped me tremendously while training for my first half marathon). But, it kept getting harder, my feet felt heavy, my legs felt rubbery, and my brain kept saying "Just quit, you'll feel better, it will be nice to just take a break, won't it?"

UGH, why?

So, I did what I always do when I get to this point, I flip through the playlist until I come across Fighter by Christina Aguilera.

That song portrays how I feel about running, how running has made me stronger, how running has turned me into a fighter.

'Cause it makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter
Well, today's run was SO bad, that song couldn't even get me through. It's partially becuase I did not drink enough water last night/this morning, and partially becuase I haven't had a good/serious run in almost 2 weeks.

I looked at the clock...20 minutes had passed, so I said to myself "Just go 10 more minutes, 10 more, it's ok, you can do it." I did, I went 10 more minutes. Wanted to do the full 50, but sometimes you just need to listen to your body.

I have a very difficult time drawing the line between being tough and stupid. At what point to do say, "Ok, if you keep going you're going to hurt yourself or wear yourself out so much you won't be able to do your next run?" It's a very fine line (at least for me).

I'm not a quitter.

I don't give up.

I'm stubborn.


That's just my nature.

I'm looking forward to a much better run on Monday. But in the mean time, I've vowed to cut out alcohol and caffeine (yikes!) for the next month. I think it will help me get myself back in half marathon shape and help get my act in gear!

Don't worry, I'll keep you posted, afterall, it helps keep me honest!



Friday, June 19, 2009

You’ll be 30…in 6 years!

Say wha???

Ok, I realize this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but for some reason my 24th birthday was a strange one! June 1 rolled around and I didn’t feel different (much like every other birthday since my 18th), until my wonderful, loving boyfriend pointed out: “
You’re in your mid-twenties now, you’ll be 30 in 6 years!

OMG!

What? 30? Six years?

Ok, ok, I know that 30 isn’t old, I don’t think 40 is old, heck, I don’t even think 50 is old! It’s true what they say (at least I think so) that 40 is the new 30. Well, I’d even venture to say that 50 is the new 30. Look at what some of these 50 and 60 year olds are doing. I mean for crying out loud, there was a 74 year old man that finished the half marathon before I did, so yeah…it’s not old.

I realize this makes me sound very young, but hear me out…

I freak out, freaked out! Like “OMG I’m not young anymore” kind of freaked out! I think that’s it. It’s not that I’m old, or even getting old, it’s that I’m no longer young.

  1. I found a bunch of gray hairs a few months ago
  2. I’m starting to see wrinkles around my eyes
  3. I just got my eyes checked and officially am wearing prescription glasses
  4. I have bad knees

and the list goes on…


A dear friend once said “You know you’re no longer young when it’s weird for you to go to a college party…” For guys it’s more like “You know you’re no longer young when you can’t pick up 19-year-old girls (without flashing money or cars) anymore.

I’d have to agree, and folks, I’m there!

No way could I show up to a college party now, people would be asking, “Who brought the old chick?” or “Dude, is that your older sister? Why is she here? She’s old!

Here’s the thing with the twenties, at least what I’ve noticed. Once you graduate from college and get a real job, you’re no longer young, but you’re still in your twenties with little life experience, so you’re not old. You’re kind of stuck in limbo, in the middle, just trying to make it big, without getting old!

Well, cheers to being in my mid-twenties; 30 is just around the corner!



10 things I want to do before 30:
  1. Complete a full marathon or 2
  2. Get married (to my wonderfully perfect boyfriend)
  3. Have a baby
  4. Start grad school
  5. Be happy with every day I have, even if it’s a bad day
  6. Have a plan to start my own business
  7. Go back to Rome
  8. Complete at least 2 half marathons a year
  9. Do a half marathon in a foreign country (maybe that will get me back to Rome!)
  10. And probably most important... Be okay with the fact that half the things on this list might change

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I want to be fast.

I didn't start calling myself a runner until a friend told me: "You run 4 days a week, have been for more than 6 months, you completed a half marathon, and are planning on doing more...you're a runner!"

I always felt like a runner should be fast.

I'm not fast.

But how important is speed for a distance runner?

I want to be a 10 minute miler!

Now if any of you are runners out there, you know, the fast kind, you might be thinking to yourself "10 minute mile isn't that fast." Yes, I'm aware but it's faster than a 13:32 minute mile is it not?

13:32 my pace during my half marathon in February 2009
11:07 my pace during my 5k in April 2009
11:49 my pace during my 5k in May 2009 (it was not a good day for me)

Anyways, back to the 10 minute mile. At this point, it almost feels unreachable. Sure, I've been running for less than a year, but I feel slow. Yes, clearly, I've improved my speed (just look at my numbers).

But I want to be faster. I want to go faster.

I want to be fast.

Is a 10 minute mile really that difficult to maintain?

I think it's a mental block (like many things in running).

Somehow I am afraid to go faster for fear of getting too tired too quickly and not being able to complete my time or distance goal.

I'm sure I'll get there. Probably sooner rather than later, I just need to get past that mental block!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oh boy...

Not quite sure why I did this, I looked at the course of my upcoming Half Marathon. I say upcoming, it's the next one I'm planning on. Not until October, but today I started my "buckle down and really start training" training.

Anyways, I was curious about the course route.

Why? Why? Why was I curious?

I like to know just what I'm getting into, or do I?

I'm probably just over exaggerating, but I'm a little freaked out now. I'm not sure if it's because all of a sudden I remember just what it FEELS like to run 13.1 miles or if it's actually seeing the 13.1 miles mapped out. I'll be running all over Austin! I see where my favorite Italian restaurant is located, my drive home, and even parts of town I don't ever venture into...oh boy!

My next 13.1

My racing adventures

Races

Accomplished
  • Austin Half Marathon - Austin, TX - February, 15, 2009
  • Texas Round Up - 5k - Austin, TX - April 25, 2009
  • Chuy's Hot to Trot - 5k - Austin, TX - May 8, 2009

- looking for a 10k somewhere in this time slot -

Planned (
I figure if I get it in writing somewhere, that makes it's a little more official! )
  • Run Austin Run - Half Marathon - Austin, TX - October 11, 2009
  • Race for the Cure - 5k - Austin, TX - November 1, 2009
  • Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon - Scottsdale, AZ - December 6, 2009
  • Austin Half Marathon - Austin, TX - February 14, 2010