Fitness, Goals, Health and Wellness, Marathon, Marathon Training, Personal Development, Running

I completed my 11th FULL marathon!

I completed it on Sunday, May 2nd. I was scheduled to run the Northeast Kingdom Marathon on May 1st, but it was postponed until September. When they announced the postponement, I was faced with a decision: pause training and re-start when it’s within the 18-week window, OR keep training, map my own race and get it done. I decided to keep training. Much like all of us, I didn’t know what the restrictions of COVID-19 would look like in September and I wasn’t willing to push my plans again for COVID, so.. I didn’t.
 
What I want to say about this marathon, which really can be applied to any aspect of life is: if you have something on your heart, if you have a dream, goal or an intention, figure out a way to do it and just do it. We can always allow fear, doubt, uncertainty, weather, upset or anything get in our way, but when you can push everything aside and continue to pursue your dream while you simultaneously hold those feelings – man, what an amazing experience. You can hold fear and still maintain your forward momentum. You can hold any emotion and still obtain your dream. 
 
The night before the race, per usual, I was experiencing some pre-race jitters, uncertainty and questions of: “am I really going to achieve this?” “Why am I doing this to myself again?” This is nothing new. These thoughts, feelings and questions enter my mind every evening before a race. In this moment, I have two choices, I can allow the thoughts and questions to keep me up all night and ruminate, or I can allow them space to be there and continue moving forward with my plan. 
 
I mapped my route prior to the race. The route took me from Ferrisburg, through Charlotte and into Shelburne. Rolling hills with views of Camel’s Hump, the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain. It was breathtaking scenery that left me feeling grateful, humbled, at peace and calm. 
 
My husband, unbeknownst to me, set up a cheer squad to help me out along the way. Every time I approached loved ones, I got full body chills. Seeing them all jumping up and down, waving their hands and rooting me on from the sidelines was the exact boost I needed in that moment. 
 
In addition to training for 18 weeks, I prepared for this race by making a playlist and purchasing a book on audible. I also knew that if push came to shove, and I slipped into a negative mindset, I could dedicate each mile to someone in my life that I love and admire. As I write this, I find myself thinking and feeling like the time flew by… because honestly, it did. 
 
I spent the first hour adjusting my pace and getting comfortable in a stride that I could maintain. I spent the time embracing the beats of the music, soaking up the morning sun and holding gratitude for the scenery. 
 
During the second hour, I started to feel my left hip a bit but was also met by my loved ones. That love, excitement, and full-body chills allowed me to shift my focus back onto the road and my journey. 
 
It was during the third hour that the challenge set in as the wind was now against me. It was during this hour that I had a moment of breakdown. A moment of awareness on how different my life would be/could be if I made different choices. In this moment, I was overcome with compassion, love and pride for where I am in my life, for the people that I choose to have in my life and for how far I have come. There were tears, pride, happiness and then full-body chills again. 
 
The fourth hour was by far the hardest. I had just hit 20.5 miles and I still had 5.7 miles to go. It was an hour of on-going self-coaching, self-compassion, self-love, grit, determination and power. My legs felt like led, my left hip had come back to greet me, and I felt ready to accomplish my mission. But I wasn’t giving up. I wasn’t going to stop. I wasn’t going to walk. I was going to keep running, no matter how slow my pace became, and I did just that. 
 
I didn’t stop once. I ran the entire time and although my pace went from an 8:35 to a 9:53 minute per mile, there was no option for walking.  
 
I won first place! I say this with a smile knowing that I was the only runner out there, so I also came in last. Haha. 
 
Either way, I sit here at my desk with sore legs, a big smile and another massive accomplishment under my belt. 
 
We can do anything we set our minds to. I hope this story and marathon recap helps you feel empowered and allows you to hold the belief that you can do anything you set your mind to. 
 
Get after it, you’re worth it. 

Fitness, Goals, Health and Wellness, Marathon Training, Mindset, Pandemic 2020, Running

Marathon Training Through a Pandemic

Honestly, I feel like this whole pandemic has actually been similar to marathon training. It’s been hard and rewarding with a lot of shifts and adaptations to achieve what I want to achieve. 

As I was thinking about sharing my marathon training experience, I wanted to write about it so it was relatable. Not everyone is actually training for a 26.2 mile race right now, but my assumption is that we are all up against some sort of challenge or our own race right now. So as you read this, consider your own race you’re up against. 

By the time you read this, I’ll be eleven weeks into training. Over these eleven weeks, it’s been a consistent push-pull of going for it and wanting to sit down.

There’s been self resistance and push-back. It shows up mostly in the morning during a mid-week long run or just before my long run on the weekend. The resistance shows up as bartering, self-loathing, what if’s, and slight irritation. The questions come up as: “what if I didn’t run today and did it tomorrow instead?” “Why do I keep putting myself through this?” “The marathon date is already pushed, it’s not really necessary that I run 18 miles today.” The excuses, what if’s and self-induced peer pressure come flying at me to knock me off course. However, what I will say is this: no matter how tempting it is to shift my run or not do it, once I get running, I’m fine, in fact most of the time, I’m great. I have also found that once I’m done the distance, I’m grateful I did it and feel so empowered. 

I was talking to a client recently about this idea of being half-way up a mountain. Picture you’re half-way up a mountain and feel completely depleted; mentally, emotionally and physically. At this half-way point, you’re at a crossroads. You can keep going, or you can turn around and go back. How would you feel in each scenario? That’s how I picture these training runs; if I didn’t do it, I would feel like garbage and the irritation and frustration would probably be exemplified. However, if I did it, the elation, pride and empowerment would carry me through my day and completely lift my mood. 

Whatever race you’re facing right now, whatever challenge is in front of you, take a minute and envision how it will feel when you overcome it or envision how it would feel if you quit pursuing it. Which scenario feels better to you? Whatever scenario feels better to you, do it. 

And maybe “quit” is a strong word, because honestly, sometimes the things we pursue are not actually in alignment with our essence. When you find yourself at a crossroad of todo or not to do, take a minute to tune in to your intuition and listen to your higher self. Figure out what is true for you, determine if it’s a yes or a no and go with that. Ultimately, what I have found is if I stay in alignment with my truth, then there’s no room for regret, guilt or shame. 

What sort of race are you facing right now?

Gratitude, Health and Wellness, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Mindset, Running

My Top 5 Daily Priorities

Gratitude journal and pen on pink background from aboveIncase you were wondering…
5 Things I Prioritize Every Single Day

  • Water intake – I break the day up into quarters: 9AM, 12PM, 3PM, 6PM. At each time mark, I have to have consumed 1 yeti water bottle – which is 30 fl oz. By the end of the day, I will have consumed 120 fl oz. Some days I drink more depending on my workout, but the baseline is always the same: consume at least 120 fl oz / day.
  • Starting my day on my schedule – I wake up before the girls and before my husband. I wake up, pour myself a cup of coffee and start my day by acknowledging at least 10 things I am grateful for that have occurred within the past 24 hours. For the first 30 minutes of my day, (at least), I am disconnected from technology, demands of little girls and my work schedule and solely focused on gratitude, dreams and goal setting. Not only does this start my day in a space of positivity, it also forces me to look for things to be grateful for throughout the entire day.
  • Movement – I perform some sort of movement each day: running, walking, stationary bike, HIIT workout and/or weight training. I do this in celebration of the things I can do, not because I think I should or am trying to counter something I ate.
  • Presence – this takes a lot more effort, patience and awareness. However, by consistently making it a priority, I am consistently aware of when I am not being present and then hopefully am able to shift back to reality.
  • Love and compassion – whether it be towards myself, my husband, my girls, my clients, my patients, my family or my neighbors, this is always a priority of mine.
Goals, Marathon Training, Running

9 Weeks Into Marathon Training

young fitness woman runner running on road

I am 9 weeks into an 18-week training program and it’s been different than any other training I’ve done. My dedication, desire and passion for this training period is pure. I don’t know if it’s because these hours that I spend outside or on the treadmil are solely my own or things have shifted for me. I think it’s the fact that during those 4-mile, 7-mile or even 15-mile training runs, no one is calling upon me, no one needs me and I have no one to answer to but myself. Yes, some days, mostly on the days where I have a really long run, my desire waivers, but once I start running my muscle memory takes over and I just go.

I am enjoying the training, even on the hard days. My 15-mile run recently was anything but easy – the fierce wind was against me for the last 7.5 miles and instead of allowing the challenge and the wind to completely break me down, I used it as evidence that even when I have something pushing so hard against me, I’ll keep pushing through. That’s the thing about marathon training, (anything really), the mental, emotional and physical growth is always there if you allow it. I’m stronger today because of that 15-mile run.

Marathon training has been necessary, exceptional, challenging and fun. I didn’t set a goal to complete 5 marathons this year because I thought it would be easy. I decided to run 5 marathons this year because I knew it would challenge me, push me and make me stronger than the person I am today and that growth is exactly what I want.

9 more weeks until my first marathon and on that day I’ll be ready for any challenge or ease that comes my way. Run on!

Footwear, Running

Finding the Right Shoe for YOU

Have you ever gone into a store looking for a shoe that was going to fit you well, suit your needs, AND help minimize any ailments but you left dissatisfied?

Check out my experience at the Skirack and some things to consider as you search for the right athletic shoe for YOU!

 

I have been wearing the same brand and style running shoe for approximately 9 years. When I went to the Skirack in Burlington, VT on Saturday to be assessed and fitted – the recommendation did not deviate from my usual running shoe. Disclaimer – I did NOT tell the store associate my usual running shoe because I wanted her to make recommendations based on what she was seeing and assessing in regards to my gait, stride and measurements. I met with store associate, Chloe and she did NOT disappoint.

Here are a few things that I feel are most important when being fitted for the proper shoe:

  • Foot size
  • Foot width
  • Foot arch
  • Gait – paying special attention to pronation or supination
  • Stability of ankles
  • How you strike the ground
  • How you lift off the ground

Chloe also inquired about the type of running I do – trail vs. road, speed vs. endurance. She observed that my feet are slightly flat, one being more arched compared to the other, I pronate and I have a mid-foot strike. Taking all of that into consideration in addition to the fact that I typically run for endurance and on roads/sidewalks/dirt roads, she brought out 3 different brands/styles. Brooks GTS, Mizuno, and Asics. I tried all of them on and also inserted the SuperFeet insoles that I typically wear to help with the low arches and pronation. I liked all of them, however if I’m going to be a critic, I felt that the ankle on the Asics was too narrow for me and it pinched where my achilles is. The Mizuno’s were very lightweight and offered adequate foot support, however the ankle did not come up high enough limiting the ankle support that I need. I chose the Brooks GTS 19 with the green Superfeet insoles and honestly – this is the exact shoe and exact insole I’ve been wearing for approximately 9 years.

Why change a good thing when you’ve got it?!

My point and recommendation is this: if you are ready to purchase a new pair of shoes or any athletic gear, go to a store that has a wide variety of brands and styles, that does a thorough assessment and listens to you when you tell them your ailments. Chloe was very receptive when I told her I once suffered from shin splints (before my Brooks GTS), I pronate and that I have weak ankles. When you go to a store that only offers one brand – they will recommend that exact brand even if it’s not the right shoe for you.

Research a store near you that does a thorough assessment, get out there and don’t settle for the first pair that comes your way. Shop on!

Running, Self Awareness

Finding Your Niche

Woman Legs Sport shoe walk in Park outdoor Sakura treeYou have decided that this is your year to get healthy but you’re not sure how to do it and you’re having a hard time deciding what it is you like to do for a workout. I get it, working out is challenging and you’d rather be doing something you enjoy. So how do you find your “thing”?

For me, it’s running. I stumbled across running back in 2008 when I needed an outlet and a way to stay in shape. Was it easy? No. Was it fun? No. But I found that during and after a run, I felt more confident, happy and lighter so I stuck with it and it became my thing. So, what could your workout niche be and how can you go about finding it?

Running, Yoga, Spinning, Dance, Kickboxing, Barre, Zumba, Swimming, Gymnastics etc. There are so many options out there. My recommendation for you would be to try out a gym (some do 1 free week) that have fitness classes. Attend as many fitness classes as you can to get a feel for what you enjoy. Is it the circuit workout you like? Is it dancing to hip-hop music? Is it the slow, methodical pace? Is it the ability to take your aggression out on a punching bag? Maybe you’ll find that you like a lot of variation to your workout and enjoy mixing up the routine, and then it’s about finding the location/gym that offers what you’re looking for.

Don’t give up if you try one class and hate it, that just means that you know that isn’t your thing – knowing that is a success, move on to the next one!

You will find something you like. That’s not to say the workout will be easy, but it will be easier if you find what you enjoy. So get out there, check out your community gyms and go after it – your health depends on it!

Goals, Running, Self Awareness

Overcoming Challenges

The 2019 Vermont City Marathon was unlike any other half marathon I’ve run. This half marathon was the first time I had ever run a 13.1 mile race while pregnant. I completed the 2019 Vermont City Half Marathon almost 15 weeks pregnant!

In the lead up to, and completion of this race, there were 2 periods of time when I had to overcome challenges – first, 1 month before the race and then again on race day. This is how I overcame these challenges:

It wasn’t until the end of April that I felt physically ready to get back into running after a 4 week hiatus (thank you first trimester symptoms). I struggled with self doubt about my ability to properly train for a 13.1 mile race in one month. Luckily, my body was fairly accustomed to the activity. It was about consistency and putting in the effort to not only build back some strength but to also shift my mentality. Every run, whether a 3 mile run or a 10 mile run did just that; strengthened my body, relaxed my breathing and gave me the confidence that I could do it and I would do it. I overcame this challenge through consistency and pushing through my doubts.

The second challenge hit me hard on race day, just past the 10 mile marker. My legs that had felt strong and light for the past hour and 20 minutes suddenly felt like they weighed 1000 lbs., EACH. With that heaviness, the effort to keep moving at a running pace was brutal. Then came the mental monologue: “well, if you just stop and walk you’ll probably feel better.” Excuse. “You’re already slowing down, you might as well walk.” Excuse. “Do you really think you can run 3 more miles like this?!” Then came “Vivian”, the name I have given that evil voice that sometimes creeps into my head. The one that knows how to derail my successes better than anyone. I wavered between agreeing with her and believing in myself. I know with 100% certainty that if I allowed myself to slow down and walk, the end of the race would be even more of a grind. I knew if I gave in to Vivian and her script of negativity that my armor would weaken and it would be 100x more challenging to overcome her in the future. So how did I overcome this challenge? I kept running. I changed my mental monologue from one of judgement to one of compassion, empathy and encouragement. “Yes, people are passing you but you’re still running!” “I am light.” “I am able.” “I can do this.” “Push, push, push!” Shifting my mental monologue took effort, focus and self awareness. Then I was at mile 11… and then mile 12… and then mile 13 and I was still running!

This half marathon was unlike any other half marathon I’ve run. Not only because I was pregnant but because I have never felt so strong, fast and capable (both physically and mentally) before. With the exception of my cheering squad, it was me out there, just me getting through the ease and the challenges one step at a time and today I am so much stronger because of this race.

I finished this half marathon in about an hour and 52 minutes – about an 8:33 minute per mile pace.

We will have challenges from time to time and all we can control is our attitude and our effort toward them.

How are you overcoming your challenges? Are you?

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