Thursday, July 31, 2014

Examining Priorities - part i of many

So I have done a little brainstorming around getting things prioritized and how to become an all-around person. I highlighted last week the different things in my life that are taking up my time, and the things that I want to be better at. So let’s revisit that list quickly.

1.       Work
2.       Relationship
3.       Family
4.       Self
5.       Health

Obviously all of those things are super important and things that I need to work on finding better balance and motivation with in order to better be the best person that I can be. And they all need to be deconstructed and looked at individually. Otherwise it is pretty unlikely that I will really feel as though I can make changes to these things. I mean, I am intimidated even looking at this list. So maybe the first step is to reprioritize (or prioritize in the first place) this list and maybe go from there.

I have been trying to do a little personal development reading over the last few days in hopes that I can get some guidance on all of this, and it is one of those things that makes me wish that my long time mentor did not live in Toledo (or that she was online frequently so we could email or IM or something!) so I could have someone else to bounce ideas off of… But alas, I do not, so this all comes down to me. I need to get out my feelings on this, so I can figure out how to make the most of each day as it comes, and get through the lists of priorities that I have to do every day in order to have a successful life.

Whatever that means…

I feel like when you talk about priorities, there are two schools of thought. There are those who believe that family comes first. Family before all else. If you don’t have your family, what do you have? And then there are those that say if you don’t take care of yourself, then you won’t BE a good wife/mom/dog mom/housekeeper/etc. And even in just beginning to look at these items, I am struggling to find what the “right” answer is for finding time for everything and making all of this fit into my life.
I guess in a lot of ways, I am struggling even more NOW, in a job that offers some flexibility than I was when I was in public accounting, a job that had ZERO flexibility. I know that is because I have a lot of things in my life that I did not have then, a husband, 2 dogs, a baby, a hobby that borders on obsession…  but you would still think that I would have some ability to figure this out and relax and breathe a little about all of this. I have a lot of plans to really try and figure out what I need to do in order to truly find some level of balance in various aspects of my life, but naturally, I have no idea where to start.

When I mention it to Karen, she says, you can’t do it all. And I know that I can’t, but all of the things that I have on this list are priority items. Yes, some are higher priority than others (family is above work), and so these are all things that I need to do, I am just not sure how to go about figuring out some semblance of a way to manage to do all of these successfully, as none of these things are things that I can just drop. So let’s prioritize that list of 5. At least, in a way that makes sense for me at this state of my life.

1.       Family
2.       Relationship
3.       Health
4.       Job
5.       Self

Now, I am not sure if that is the most effective way of prioritizing them, and obviously some things overlap as mentioned before. However, I have to start somewhere, and having a one year old and a husband seems to be somewhere at the top of the list of things that I need to keep track of and spend time worrying about.

On top over everything, I want Addie to have it all.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Long Run, doubt creeps in

I experienced a good amount of discouragement during my long run on Saturday morning. It was 12 miles, and yes, I definitely did not plan well, but I did manage to get it all done, which I suppose is what is important overall. However, it was a little tough because while I was out running, I definitely was really regretting my decision to sign up for a full marathon. So let’s go through what happened with this run, so I can get it out in the open what I did and what mistakes I made. Hopefully, by clearing my head and getting beyond what I did, I can get back on the motivation bandwagon.

I originally was planning to run on Sunday. J had plans to play golf on Saturday, and the running group was running a race. I truly was not in the mood for a race, so I decided that Sunday was the way to go. Well, he ended up not having anyone to play golf with, so I had Saturday to get a run done. I waited until we got Addie to bed for her morning nap. So I started running around 11 am. Sigh. First mistake. On a good day, I would like to be DONE with a long run, even a 20 miler, by that time. And by started at my usual time, you know 7-8 am, I would be.

As soon as I got Addie to bed, the skies opened up. She was crying a bit still, and J attended to her, but with the sky opening, I was feeling a little off right off the bat. That changed plans for me. So I headed right down to the basement. I had thought that binge watching the earlier seasons of mad men (back when mad men was awesome) would help pass the time. So I loaded season one in the dvd player and started the treadmill. I had 12-13 miles on the schedule, and I hoped to negative split them. I tentatively planned on being on the treadmill for 2 hours. I figured that would give me maybe three episodes of mad men?

I started the treadmill at 6.4 mph (approximately 9:22 pace) with plans to increase the speed every two miles, ending with my final (13th) mile at 7.0. For me, that felt doable in my head. It would give me those splits I wanted, keep me just slightly faster than my long run pace prescribed, but would not make my last miles so fast that I couldn’t do them.

I felt good for a while, but it was just getting HOT in my basement. In addition, I made a water bottle to bring downstairs with me, but forgot it on the kitchen counter. Lame. At around 4.5 miles, I put the treadmill and the tv on pause to go upstairs and get my water. I needed it. But that was a mistake. At that point, my mind kind of started playing games. I started questioning myself and my ability to finish the run successfully. My focus was just gone, and that was definitely my fault. I am a little bit upset with myself that I allowed myself to mentally get away from the success that I was having. So I decided I needed a change of scenery.

When I hit 8 miles, I shut off the TV and the treadmill and headed upstairs. In my head I was thinking, oh yeah, I definitely can get 5.1 more miles and make it a nice, straight half. I told J I wasn’t finished yet, I had only gotten to 8 miles, and I was heading outside. I could tell he was annoyed, but Addie was asleep and he was playing a video game. He would be fine (and Addie would likely sleep!) for less than an hour that it was going to take me to complete this run.

I walked out my front door and was immediately confronted with regret. My legs were feeling funny from running on a treadmill for the last hour + (73 minutes). Plus it was now noon. The absolute worst time to plan an outdoor run. The sun had come back out and after the rain of an hour previously, and now the humidity was turned on high. But I started going. About 2 miles in I just made the decision that 12 was all I was going to get this morning, and it was going to have to be ok with me. I admittedly had to stop and catch my breath a little twice during these last 4 miles. It was just stifling outside. I was seriously upset at my inability to power through. But it was AWFUL out there. When I finished those last 4 miles and got into my house, I just collapsed. I was DONE.

And that made me question all of my ability to get through this training cycle. It made me question everything about marathoning and running.

Why is that? Why, when we have a bad day do we question everything that we want and think we can do? I mean, and let’s be honest, it was noon, sunny and humid. That has NOTHING to do with my running ability!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

RnR Chicago 5K

I am sure it has become no secret that I am obsessed with all things running. Obviously this includes my beloved Oiselle, who has allowed me to be a part of an amazing group of women for the last year, and I am just beginning to kick off my second year of racing with them.
Plus I love to run with Olympians. So far, prior to this past weekend, I had run with Ryan Hall in the Flying Pig 10K. And I had forgotten, but in 2012 when I ran in Vegas, I also ran with Meb. He paced the 1:30 half marathon group. Maybe one day I will actually be able to run in his pace group, but still, I call this racing with Olympians. This past weekend in Chicago, I was able to add another to that list.


She ran the 5K on Saturday at the RnR Chicago, which I ran (can't say raced, as it certainly was not, even for me) after the Billy Joel concert. She ran it as a shakeout (I assume) to get ready for the half on Sunday (which she won!). I met her briefly following the race before she took off running (I assume 3.1 miles is not a sufficient shake out run for an athlete of her caliber).

But then I looked at the race results. I was 14th woman overall (there were not age groups for the Saturday race) out of 737 (top 2% sounds like success in my book!) and definitely was not anywhere near a PR pace, but honestly, it had been a pretty long day on Friday. I was in the car for just over 5 hours getting to Chicago, we drank a decent amount during the day at Revolution Brewing and at dinner with some friends, we went to a concert, we hiked all over Wrigleyville trying to get away from the huge crowds to find a car (we ended up on a train), and we did not get back to the hotel until after midnight.

My legs had no interest in moving that morning. I ran about 2 miles as a warm up (plus a little walking) and I just could not get things moving the way that I wanted. It took all the way until the end of the race (we ran all along the lakefront path) for them to move the way that I like them to move and feeling like things were going quickly enough. But I still got the race run, and for that, I was happy.

And something else? Something super motivating about it?
I finished right after Shalane. Granted, she was running this as a shakeout prior to the half (which she WON!) and I am guessing she ran a few more miles after this, but still. I pretty much paced with an Olympian. And that is awesome.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Marathon Training: Week 8 of 20

Another week has come and gone, I am through 8 weeks of training for marathon number 2, the redemption marathon, with only 12 more weeks to go. That is less than three months. My first 20 miler is about a month away (I think I am going to try for 2 of them this cycle). And things are sneaking up on me quickly. I have my first run of OVER half marathon distance since Addie was born (I have run 2 halfs, and done 12-13 a few times) next weekend, and things are quickly growing in distance.
Columbus is hopefully going to be a bit of redemption for me, since this is the marathon that broke my heart two years ago. I am more mentally prepared, I think, than I was before. I honestly think that going into Columbus in 2012 I was mentally burnt out after the Flying Pig in the spring, and that had more impact on me than any injury. I went into that race being Debbie Downer, I think. But this time, I am focused on being as mentally ready as I am physically ready.

So let's look at another week of training.
Monday: Crosstraining. Walked 2.09 miles in a half hour (needed this day after all of the time in the car!)
Tuesday: 7 miles before work. easy pace - 9:01 average
Wednesday: strength workout
Thursday: 6 miles easy pace - 9:08 average
Friday: 6.7 miles, run in the old neighborhood. 8:50 average pace
Saturday: 12 miles, 9:08 pace. 8 miles on treadmill, 4 outside.
Sunday: rest day

34.81 total miles, 1 day cross training, 1 day strength

Overall, a good week!

Friday, July 25, 2014

time flies + need for clarity

I am struggling with the fact that it is the 25th of July. Seriously. How did it get to be late July already? Not only that, but I will have a 1 year old in two weeks (two weeks from tomorrow to be specific)! How did all of this happen? Not only that, but little Miss Almost One is battling bedtime, last night with Daddy.
Yep, she is supposed to be sleeping, and yes, she looks exhausted, but there she is, standing up and grinning at her Daddy. You can't necessarily see the grin behind that bink (omg, I HATE to think about taking it away from her, but it is coming...), but look at her eyes. You can tell.

My whole balanced life thing definitely seems to be struggling these days. Work is on the front burner all the time, and not much else is. Obviously, when I am home, Addie is, but that just is not enough. I need more time to play with her and enjoy her. I need time to hang out and do things with her. We need more pool time. Parks. Walks. Outside yard playing. Everything that we don't get time for now. Also the zoo sounds like it could be a blast. Especially now that she is interested in EVERYTHING.

And those are just the things I want to do with Addie. It is just that weekends are so crammed with running for me, naps for Addie (seriously. Girl takes like a 3 hour nap most weekend mornings), and golf for J, plus cleaning, errands, etc, that we do not do any of the fun things that we would enjoy doing. We need to set our priorities differently and really do more fun.

So that kind of gets me thinking. Maybe I really need to change. Not just how I feel about work or my family or the time we spend together, but maybe I really need to spend some significant time setting some goals around how I truly want my life to look. At some point in time, I really need to take the time to figure that out. It has not been easy to even think about, much less make happen because that lack of balance is ever present.

I have wanted this blog to focus on a healthy and balanced life. That balance comes in every form. So I guess since I have put that out there, I suppose it is time for me to make a list and look at the different aspects of my life I need to figure out. So, in no particular order...
1. Work
2. Family (Addie, doggies)
3. Relationship (me + J)
4. self
5. health

So, that is a solid list, and obviously there are lots of intricacies to it, and some areas that overlap with others (there is a seriously argument to be made that self & health can definitely go together since running fits in both categories).

Are you in the same boat as I am? How do you create balance in your life? What tips do you have for me as I finally REALLY focus on this endeavor?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Squeezing in a Workout

In an effort to get back to blogging in a more successful manner, I am trying to get another update written today (two days after I wrote my last update! Wow!) However, there is no telling how that might go. I am certainly hoping to put up the effort, as I have really been trying to make a push to keep this little part of my life off the ground and successful, then I have days (ok, sometimes even a full week!) where I don't get any updates out there. I hate that. But regardless, life/my job tends to be overwhelming sometimes, and I need to deal with that as it comes.

So on the workout front, things have been going pretty well. Yesterday I skipped a run. I was planning on it, I packed my gym clothes and brought them to work with me, it just did not work out this time. It was raining and work got in the way. But I tried not to let that stop me. Last night, when I got home, I did a solid strength routine that left me feeling tired.
I only did it one time, but it might be a good workout if you do it multiple times as well. Typically if I was doing a strength workout, I might do 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps and have some rest time, etc. This was just 1 big set of 35-ish reps, so I would say it might be similar, and I took no rest.

Working out at home FTW!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Marathon Training: Week 6 and 7 of 20

7 weeks down, 13 to go. We are down to double digit days left until the marathon. That is hard to believe. Oh yes, it is OFFICIAL. I am registered now for my fall marathon.
So, it is a done deal. Finally. On October 19, I will toe the line in Columbus, reaching for the moon. I am pretty excited.

And through 7 weeks of training, I am still generally motivated to keep plugging forward. I have had a few miserable workouts, especially over this past week, that I am proud of myself for getting through, and that generally makes me even happier to get through them and to continue to be motivated to keep on running and training.

It has been a rather long and extremely busy two weeks. My overall mileage has been on par with where it needs to be, however, with some vacations, I admittedly walked a decent chunk of the mileage. At least I had built this vacation into my schedule, so I actually RAN the miles that I was supposed to run. That is a victory, right?

So let's do a recap of the last two weeks of workouts.
Week of July 7 -
Monday: 5 mile run, 1 mile walk HOT outside
Tuesday: 2.5 miles walked around the mall carrying an 18 lb baby (ugh)
Wednesday: 6 mile stroller run, 1.5 mile walk
Thursday: rest
Friday: 6.5 mile run
Saturday: 12 mile run
Sunday 2.6 mile walk
Total mileage: 37.1 miles, two days of XT

Week of July 14 -
Monday: strength. legs and core, 25 minutes
Tuesday: 6 miles, speedwork
Wednesday: 5 miles, maintenance pace
Thursday: 5 miles, maintenance pace
Friday: 2.5 mile walk
Saturday: 5K race, 3 mile jog (wu, cd) 6 miles walked
Sunday: rest
Total mileage: 30.5 miles, 1 strength, 2 XT

Overall, I think I had two solid weeks.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday, Finally

Well, this was another week that sort of felt like a short one. I worked from home one day because of Addie's ear infection. Granted, I still ended up with pretty much a full day of work that day, but it was kind of nice to get time at home with the little lady and get a later morning (8:30-ish) run in.

Regardless of any of that, I am relieved to have made it to Friday yet again. These days, getting all the way to Friday can feel like a pretty major accomplishment. Do any other moms with full time jobs (even if your full time job is being a mom?) feel like this?

Every other Friday at the office is particularly awesome these days. Today was one of those Fridays. We have a "chill-n-grill" where we bbq in the parking lot and then enjoy lunch together and teams take turns to host the event. Finance went a few chill n grills ago, and today it was hosted by the marketing team. After logging a little over six miles at lunch, it was nice to come back and not think about what I was going to eat. I had a burger, some sweet potato chips, and a whole lot of fruit. I am working hard at the office to set an example of balance to my coworkers who are currently engaged in a team biggest loser competition.

I ended up covering about 6.5 miles (despite a garmin death) on my pre lunch run. I had been in a super long meeting in the morning which basically increased my very serious NEED to get a decent lunch run in. I suppose that can happen to anyone right?

Does work stress you out to the point of NEEDING to run? If you don't run, have you considered it as a way to deal with the stress?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Stroller Run

So yesterday, Addie was home from school, AGAIN. She is dealing with yet another ear infection. This is the third for my little 11 month old nugget. If we go back at her 1 year appointment and she still has fluid, there is a pretty good chance (I am calling it 95%) we are going to go the tube route. I have officially decided I am ok with that, even though it means surgery for my little nugget. My mom helped me to get to that point by telling me about my little brother's experience and how it was like night and day for him. He could hear better, no more pain, and no more ear infections.  So if that can happen for Miss A, I am game.

I guess it is, what it is, for right now. I mean, it is difficult for me to work from home, but I do not really have a choice. So I plugged away for the day. I got everything set up for the morning before Addie was awake and started plugging away at my work. This was about 6:15 am. She was up and ready to go by 6:30. Sigh. I have an early riser, don't I?

She played by herself, allowing me to get a solid two hours worth of work. And then we decided to head out for a run. I took the stroller out, with plans to get a decent run.

Admittedly, I am not super great or enthusiastic about running with the stroller. I just think it is HARD and therefore, I am not a huge fan.

But this went well. Here were the splits.
Mile 1: 9:38
Mile 2: 9:05
Mile 3: 9:04
Mile 4: 8:53
Mile 5: 8:57
Mile 6: 9:12

So there are a few things about this. It is the longest run I have ever done with the stroller by 2 miles! And at a 9:05 average pace, it was probably about 30-40 seconds faster per mile than my fastest run with the stroller (which was a 5K, by the way). So I guess in some ways, I need to consider this run a HUGE success? I am trying to remember that for sure.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Family 4th in Toledo

Yes, so I have been less than consistent on the blog front. But as you all know, the first week of the month is a busy one for me (ok, so maybe you don't know that if you are new here. So, if you are, the first week of the month is busy for me because I am an accountant, and that week is close). But things around the office are getting more and more smooth with each passing day, and I am definitely pleased with that. I know that eventually I will able to fit everything in that I need to in any given day, and things will finally begin to fall into place. At least, I am praying for that balance to return to my life at the office so I may get some idea of balance in other parts of my life as well. That is my goal right now.

We were in Toledo for the 4th of July weekend, even though I was sick. I think J would have preferred me wimping out on the travel and just stayed home with being sick, but I did want to see my family and allow Addie to have time to see my family as well. Plus, with it being her first 4th, and her being the youngest in the family right now, she got to have first whack at the pinata. Yes, my family makes a pinata for the 4th.
This year, my mom made a ninja turtle. Ok, she actually made ALL 4 ninja turtles. There is one on each side, and that is in honor of the new TMNT movie coming out this summer!

We had a great time there, and we got a little bit of candy (mostly for J and I) when the pinata broke open. Here are a few more pics.

Yep, that is my mom "The Creator" taking her turn hitting the pinata. We go oldest to youngest, and we got all the way through to the parents. (Well, the parents of my cousins and me) Clearly, by the time it got to them, it was pretty much shredded, but the candy still hadn't dropped!

Hope you all had a great 4th as well!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Marathon Training: Week 5 of 20

This week was a rough one. Truly. On Thursday I woke up feeling TERRIBLE. My throat had been sore when I went to bed, but I was feeling just fine otherwise. But then I woke up and could hardly talk. I was completely congested and my voice was a little bit foggy. I went into work that morning and my boss immediately asked if I was sick. I told him that I was sick, it seemed, but I felt fine. (LIES!)

Because of this, and the holiday weekend, my workouts were not up to snuff this weekend at all. In reality, they were pretty much crap.

But at the same time, I am trying to be positive and remember that I still have a decent amount of time before the race actually takes place, so missing a long run now is not too big of a deal. At least, that is what I am trying to tell myself as I feel stressed out about all of it. Especially since I had been doing so great at NAILING my workouts. But I am working hard to remember that it was a holiday weekend and I was definitely not feeling great at all.

So let's review the week anyway, because it gives me something to improve upon for this week.

Monday: 5.5 miles run, speedwork
Tuesday: 2.7 miles run, bootcamp workout
Wednesday: 4 mile run - maintenance pace, 0.5 mile walk
Thursday: 5.5 miles run - maintenance pace
Friday: travel day
Saturday: sick
Sunday 3.6 mile walk with Addie

21.8 total miles, one strength day, one crosstraining day.

I guess the big miss on the week is the long run. And with how I have been feeling, I guess I need to be happy that was the only miss of the week. I really forced myself out on Thursday and yesterday - even though yesterday was just a walk with Addie.

Here's to hoping this week is better!