Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Happy Sunday, Gang!

First question – HOW IS IT ALMOST SEPTEMBER?!  What the heck!

Anywho…now that that’s out of the way…..

 

As a coach, an athlete, friend, daughter, cousin, and sister….but most specifically as an athlete and coach….I find that keeping a positive attitude about the workout or practice or run or experience makes all the difference.

We’ve all seen the cliché sayings/images that read something like this:

 

Or like this:

 

And honestly, as a coach and an athlete, they’re incredibly helpful and true.  A few people who take my spinning classes read this blog – they can attest to the positive nature in which I approach working out.  Often you’ll hear me say things to the class like….

“Yes, you can!”

“Stop telling yourself no.  Change your attitude!  You love this.”

“You’re already doing it, keep going.”

“DO. NOT. STOP.”

and my favorite….

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOURSELF!  THERE IS NEVER A GOOD TIME TO GIVE UP!

This is me and my attitude TO A “T”.

I mentioned, about a week ago, about my experience with The Steamtown Marathon last year.  I have not divulged all of the details of said Marathon.  There were a lot of things were not perfect for that day.  There were a lot of things that did not go my way that day.  In fact, one might even say it was THE WORST EXPERIENCE I’VE EVER HAD WHILE DOING A RACE….and yes, Heather and Jen….it even includes the monsoon we ran in during THE LOVE RUN half marathon in March (which we are TOTALLY doing again this year!)

I find that through awful experiences, it’s important to not just accept that you are not having a great time but to see how you can improve for the future and most importantly LEARN from said experiences.  I’ll admit it.  I was incredibly defeated after the marathon.  I stopped posting on here.  I stopped talking about running.  In many ways, I stopped believing in myself.

After a few months….okay, let’s be real…more like 5 or 6 months…I finally reclaimed my stake in enjoying running.  On many runs since then, I have been able to refocus and reevaluate what I did wrong and what I did (if at all) right.

Here’s what I learned:

1.  I was WAY over trained.  Prior to the Steamtown, I had only ran 1 other marathon.  I got it into my head that I could just – Poof! – qualify for Boston.  I know, I’m crazy.  I started following a running plan that was going to make me faster and have me running like 6 times a week.  Keep in mind, many of my friends know I already do this but I am not always running the same distances….I just enjoy running – some times is 2 miles…some times its 8.  It varies.  I don’t have any real goal.  This training plan, however, had me checking times…and doing intervals.  I didn’t realize how “in over my head” I was until it was too late and I was burned out mid training.

2.  Mind REALLY DOES CONQUER over Matter.  I have witnesses than can verify this:

I broke down at mile 14.  My hips started seizing at mile 8 but I pushed through.  Steamtown DOES NOT have a half marathon, like many other marathons….there was no “stopping” until 26.2.  I turned the corner at 13.8 and thank god I had my phone on me….I called my Dad.  No answer.  I called my Mom.  No answer.  I called my sister.  No answer.  I called my Dad, again.  No answer.  I called my sister, again…..she picked up.

The tears just overflowed.  There was no stopping them.  I was walking.  Crying.  Grabbing my hips.  Becoming hysterical.  Basically, what it felt like, was the tops of my legs (you know, where they fit into your hip socket?) were grinding into my hips….BONE ON BONE.  Of course, I don’t think this was really the case…my body was just in all sorts of a mangled position.

As I turned the next corner and continued to cry to my father on the phone – who, as a side note, told me there is no shame in not finishing, especially if I am hurt – an ambulance appeared.  I ended up sitting in said ambulance for a good 20 minutes.  I calmed down.

I contemplated not finishing.  I contemplated just being driven to the finish line. One of the EMT guys on a bike offered to ride next to me for the next mile if I wanted to continue.  These are the things that went through my head:

OMG, PAIN!

I can’t stop.  I’ll be a quitter.

I always tell people to keep going – if I stop now, I’ll be a hypocrite (and yes, I realize I shouldn’t care what people think).

Mind over matter, Katie.  You can do this.

Would it be the worst thing in the world to stop?  Plenty of people don’t finish Marathons.

YES IT WOULD BE TERRIBLE TO NOT FINISH!  HEATHER AND JEN CAME UP HERE TO WATCH YOU RUN AND EVERYONE KNOWS YOU’VE BEEN TRAINING FOR THIS.  DONTGIVEUPONYOURSELFYOUCANDOTHIS.

So basically….I decided to keep going.  I got out of the ambulance.  Started running.  The EMT guy could only follow me for a mile…and I went three more miles before walking.  Found some strength….went another 3 miles.  By the time I got to mile 21 I was like…that’s it, I’m done.  But I was at mile 21!  I couldn’t give up then.

I told myself – no matter how you do it, just finish.  At that point so many things didn’t matter.  And yes, you could say it was a pride/ego thing….but I knew that I could finish.  I found a nice woman who hung with me – walked – talked – jogged – for the last four miles.  Until I finally crossed the finish line.

3.  If I had not pushed myself – just a little bit more – I would be incredibly disappointed.  I know.  I get it.  It’s okay to not always finish things, especially if you physically can not.  Unfortunately, I am incredibly stubborn.  I couldn’t help but think:

-If I give up on myself, how will I carry out other incredibly difficult tasks in the future?

-If I stop running, what does that say for my belief in myself?

-If I don’t finish, what will this mean for any task I try to take on in the future?  That if it gets too hard – mentally or physically – I’ll just say…well it’s okay, I tried.

But then I remembered Yoda:

You either do, or you do not.  Simple.

The choice was mine.  I decided to take the harder of the two.

And I was (and still am) incredibly happy/proud of my perseverance.

There are eleventy billion articles about the power of positive thinking and sports.  You can google them for your reading pleasure.

Basically, what I’m getting at is this:

STAY POSITIVE

DON’T GIVE UP ON YOURSELF

ANYTHING WORTH DOING WILL BE A LITTLE (OR A LOT) DIFFICULT

YES, YOU CAN

STOP TELLING YOURSELF “NO”

YOU GOT THIS

JUST KEEP GOING

 

A brief note before I follow up with ALL THE REASONS

Dear friends and followers,

It has been eleventy billion hours since I last posted (yes, that is to the exact minute) on the internets.  I’ve missed you.  I think it’s time for me to come back.  As per the usual…life has been busy….jobs…life…blah blah blah.  I’ll spare you all the excuses.  Because excuses are like A-holes….everybody has one….right?  See…didn’t you miss me?

I have still been keeping up with running and fitness and all that jazzy jazz…..which is why I know that coming back will only be a continuation but also include some new and exciting stuff for me and YOU!  Yay!

Lastly, before I get to all the real ISH…..If you didn’t miss me at all….no worries..because I don’t believe I am that important that it matters anyway 🙂  (awww, listen to me acting all martyr-ish)  For reals though.  I’m just happy people are out there that are even interested….truth be told, I know my dad and stepmom read it…so I got that goin for me 🙂

AAAAAAAAAnd Scene.

Sincerely yours,

k8efitz

 

AAAAAAAAAND NOW!  Back from the depths of the other side of the world but really the suburbs of Philadelphia….me 🙂

 

CATHARSIS:  The last year has been a roller coaster to say the least.  We can all agree that it happens in each one of our lives. 

I was holding on for dear life

Overall, things in general are good.  I have my health, my family, my friends.  All good things.  Several cathartic experiences helped my journey to this point but it was with one major swoop that I managed to find The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Love that helped me regain my semblance of self and worth.  If you have never heard of these books, I highly recommend them.  Don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Love.  You will be doing yourself a favor

It is from these four ideals that we are able to release what we used to think about life and to move forward in order to be a better person.  Inevitably, we have to be the best we can be for ourselves first before we even attempt a relationship.  And I’ve tried to maintain some interesting relationships…friendship or otherwise….the biggest ideal: Don’t take anything personally – is SO EYE OPENING.  Do yourself a favor and check them out.

Because of the emotional catharsis, I’ve been able to improve in all aspects of my life.

My yoga is bendy-er….my cycling/spinning is funner (yes, I know I’m an english teacher and YES, I know that’s not a word….WHO CARES)….my running is safer, cleaner, and more fulfilling than ever before.  My mind finally gets it…and my body is following along.

 

HUBRIS:  Truth be told…a great deal of why I haven’t posted here in the last eleventy billion hours is tied to my hubris.  I am a work in progress…like everyone else.  I am unique…like everyone else (get it?) But for awhile, I was allowing my own stupid pride and fact that I have failed so often, get in the way of being real for myself and all of you.

The last series of posts I wrote on here dealt a lot with my Marathon Training for The Steamtown Marathon last October.  Truth:  I almost didn’t finish.  Had it not been for my amazing support from my dear DEAR friends Heather and Jen….and of course my father who finally picked up the phone when I called him at mile 14 hysterical…..I would have undoubtedly DNF and felt FUBAR’ed……

While I am not going to recap my experience or disappointment, I was emotionally broken down after that race.  I had no desire or love for running and because I used to find so much of my happiness in doing so, I felt lost….sad….concerned I might never recover.  It was weird…and I will get into that for another post with specifics to running…but for now…just know….I am not going to allow my stupid pride get in my way…..

 

OTHER $10 WORDS: 

AMALGAM – Me to a “T” these days.  I am all over the place but the thing I’m maintaining is my workout regiment.  Thank god for running, biking, yoga, and other extra curriculars….

INCREDULOUS – That 2014 is more than half over, that I am where I am today, that I have an INCREDIBLE support system in place, and mostly that things might not always be presented to me in the way I expect but they always have a tendency of working themselves out.

finally,

INTRANSIGENCE – Beyond everything else….I have persevered…and continue to work toward the many goals I have set for myself.  I’ve come to acknowledge and believe in the following(and if you know me, you know that it’s no surprise it’s an Emerson quote):

See you soon!

Okay, so none of that makes sense…UNLESS….you are an English teacher like myself OR you remember the analogies section from standardized tests.  But really, I think it’s an appropriate association…don’t you?  Good.  Glad we agree 🙂

Today is FRIDAY!!!!!  Which means…Five Things Friday.  Today, sticking with my theme of associations, I am doing a Five WORDS Friday…which will actually be more like 20 since there are four words in associations….

1.  Treadmill Running : Ugh :: Outside Running : YAY!

I have not been able to run outside much lately.  It’s been incredibly snowy up here in the Northeast…and it looks like we’re going to get even MORE snow next week.  woot.  Truth be told – I am okay with treadmill running but I really would like at least ONE run outside a week.  Temps say it is going to be close to 50 this weekend – HEAT WAVE!!!!  I’m on that like peanut butter’s on jelly…..(did I mention I really like peanut butter?)  Truth be told, I don’t mind running inside that much…if anything it lets me catch up on my Sportscenter…..

2.  Sweat Pants : My go-to clothing choice of late :: Yoga Pants : Not my go-to clothing choice of late

Whatever your comfy clothes preference is…lately, I have a three pair of sweat pants rotation – for when I am home, obviously not when I am teaching (although that would be amazing if I could wear them to school!).

3.  Swimming : My First Fitness Love :: Swimming : Something I always use as a fitness basis

While that analogy might not make sense…if you think about it…any one of us that has had a first love/relationship/etc…we ALWAYS remember that ONE.  Everyone always says, “You’ll never forget your first love” blah blah blah….right?  In my case, swimming was and always will be my first love and most important sport I’ve ever been involved with.

The reason I use Swimming as a fitness basis is because it is probably the ONLY sport where you are required to use EVERYTHING.  I mean, think about it….running, you primarily use your legs….biking, legs….soccer, legs…well you get the point.  I always try to explain to my swimmers how people who make fun of swimming are doing so because THEY DON’T GET IT.  They don’t understand how difficult it can be.  The true swimmers don’t see the difficulty….that’s what separates those who can and can not.  I always tell them, “if it were easy, everyone would do it”.

4.  Vegetarian : Veggies :: Pescatarian : Veggies + Fish

I am a vegetarian who dabbles in the pescatarian realm.  Truthfully, I love sushi….and all kinds of fish…so I eat it when I am out but that’s about it.  I won’t prepare it for a home cooked meal.  I know, I’m weird.  We all have our things.  I still laugh when people get worried or upset after I tell them my food choices.

Pretty much always

It’s nice that it’s more and more common these days for people to be Vegetarians as well as more restaurants accommodating those of us who choose to go without meat.  I tried to be a Vegan…for all of two weeks….I just couldn’t do it.  I workout WAY to much and would have to eat non-stop for me to go Vegan.  Plus….I like cheese…and eggs….and, well….I like them!

5.  Exercise : Fitness :: Diet : Healthiness

My fitness is determined by my exercise just as my healthiness is determined by my diet.  While they are all intertwined, I think it’s safe to say without a clear idea of what we want out of all of these, we aren’t going to get the results we hope for.  Goals are excellent ways to start our path to fitness and healthiness.  My goals this year involve more races and trying new experiences.  I am incredibly psyched for the Tough Mudder in April.  I am also excited for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler earlier that month!

And while I may pretty much be at a point where I am maintaining my fitness level, that doesn’t mean I can’t continue to work hard to feel better about myself.

Just remember, you have a choice….we all do.  If you don’t like the way things are….do something about it.  You’re worth it.

Have a great weekend!

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end….”

Without being too cliché……I feel that it is no coincidence that this song came on my pandora this morning on my way to work:

Indeed

Indeed

And yes, I am at school before 7am….usually I’m at school by 6:15 (at the latest)…..

With a few minor hiccups in the last couple of days, I am sad to report that today is my last day at the school I’ve been teaching at.  (Read:  I haven’t been fired, my job just ended…the teacher was out on maternity leave)

Today has been a roller coaster of emotions – thus far.  I am sad and nervous and happy and confused.  ALL THE EMOTIONS.  FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS!

At this moment, I am waiting for a few of my students to come back to school and play Just Dance with me.  Yup – you read that correctly.  Some of my students are coming in – on their day off – to play a video game with me.  It’ll be nice to end the day on a positive note.

Elsewhere – I am just trying to maintain some semblance of positivity.  I didn’t workout yesterday – a much needed rest day – but am back to running 6 or 7 miles this afternoon.  Spin class tomorrow and running again on Sunday.

Lots going on – lots to be hopeful for…..I am lucky.  Not a day goes by where I don’t acknowledge that.

And I’m not talking about the Britney Spears album….because….well….as catchy as some of those songs are…..I just can’t with her…..I just……can’t.

“The Zone”, as I like to call it, can happen at any point – running, spinning, yoga, reading, writing, eating cake…..you know…the usual things.  There are many zones for people.  It’s that feeling you get when:

-you are truly focused on what you are doing

The Cake-centered Focus

-you block everything out and can actually FEEL good that you are making headway in something you’re working on

-you feel good all around

-nothing can distract you

In case you didn’t know….Chuck Palahniuk wrote “Fight Club”

It’s when I’m in MY zone that I feel amazing!  This happened to me during my run last night.

Surprisingly – I have been sleeping really well in the last few nights (unusual for me this time of year) and I have felt incredibly good all day.  Not sluggish or anything.  While I feel there is probably a different contributing factor to this…which I’ll talk about another day….I was up for a good run yesterday afternoon.

After practice – I took to my treadmill and made my way through 6 miles.  I probably could’ve kept going but I am trying to limit my running so I don’t overdo it.  I have had some issues with slight plantar fasciitis in my left foot and lately my left knee has been bothering me a bit.  Most likely from overuse – therefore I’ve decided to be an adult and not push myself to a breaking point.  I learned my lesson the hard way when I torn tendons in my left foot last year…..

But I digress……6 miles.  I got into my zone around 1.3 miles in.  I know this because I checked the treadmill.

So now you’re probably wondering, how did it feel for you?

You know how people talk about runner’s highs?  And those endorphins?  And all that jazz???

See that Quote?  Totes Magotes.

I do my best thinking during these runs when I am “in my zone”.  I feel the most accomplished.  Granted, yesterday I was on a treadmill but I still got the sense that I was accomplishing something.  I don’t think it always matters where you are when you’re doing it…just that you’re doing it.

I’ve been in the zone with writing before too….where hours will pass by and I’ll write 20 – 30 pages of whatever novel I’m working on at the time.  I love when that happens.

I get “lost” when I’m in the zone……

Questions for you:

When are you in the zone?

What are you doing when you are in your zone?

Do you even know what I’m talking about?? ha 🙂

Subject for discussion:  Working Out When You’re Tired

Question:  Yes or No?

Obviously there is some debate.  In my experience, I’ve found that I always feel better after a workout – even if I am tired.  But then there is the double edged sword – you could make yourself more tired and then not be able to do it the next.  OR there is always the possibility that you go to workout, even when you’re tired, and can’t work as hard as you’d like.

Thoughts???

People who know me well know that I don’t take many days off – I do better at scheduling them in now than I used to but there is something about having done a workout that gives me a sense of accomplishment that I can’t get anywhere else.

Some days, I am just incredibly tired.

Some days, I start to feel tired as the day winds down.

Some days, I am anxious to get in my workout.

Lately, it’s been the second of the three.  Thankfully.

When it’s the first of these three, I typically will not exercise that day.  Usually this occurs at the end of the day.

When it’s the second of these three, I typically go to the gym and tell myself “if I still don’t want to do this after 2 miles, I will stop”…..I usually don’t stop.

If it’s the last of these three, I am usually running somewhere after school or doing a double workout.

Yesterday….it was a combination of #2 – which led to #3.

It was my last full day at school yesterday so I was a bit emotionally drained.  It’s tough to stay “up” for the kids when you know you’re going to miss them so much.  Needless to say, I had a spin class to teach last night and I knew I’d have an hour or so to kill beforehand.

I decided I’d run BEFORE spin class.  And I did.  It took me nearly 3.5 miles to find my stride but I did 5.5 easy (Sunday I did 6 at an 8 min pace – which is fast for me these days).  I then felt SO good that I cranked it up during Spin class and kicked my own butt.  It felt good to sweat as much as I did.

Say what you want about sweating (which I admit, I do quite a lot of….don’t judge)….but it’s good for you, it means you’re fit, it also means you’re healthy, and above all else – I know I’ve kicked ass when I sweat.

By the end of the night – I felt accomplished.  Tired, yes…..but a helluva lot better about myself and that I am going to definitely reach my goals sooner rather than later.

Questions for all of you:

Do you still workout when you are tired?

Do you sweat when you workout?  If now, how do you know you got a good workout?

What do you do if you don’t workout?

Since my weeks and days typically end up to be busier than I anticipate, I have taken to several new habits but in the old styles I’ve done them….

For example……I still make my lunch for school…but I do it the night before.  When school started, I used to make it in the morning.

While that’s a pretty mundane example, I still realize that I am moreso a creature of habit.  I prefer schedules.  I prefer organization.  I crave order.  Mostly.

Totes Magotes

Because of this, I’ve changed up my workout regimen as well as my sleeping patterns.

On a good day – I am usually asleep by 9pm.  On a great day – I am asleep by 8:30pm.  On an exceptional day – I am asleep by 8pm.  All of these times are arbitrary based on my level of organization from earlier in the day.  So basically if I am not finished all my “stuff” – I am not in bed until after it is completed.

I used to feel as though it was necessary to do EVERYTHING all at once.  I’ve gotten a lot better at squeezing things in a various times.  For example, I love to get to school INCREDIBLY early – like 6:15 early (and as I write this I do realize I am just like my mother, who gets to school around the same time I do….different schools).  During the hour before most of the kids arrive, I like to enjoy the quiet.  I catch on any copying or grading or prep that I need to do.  This is essentially ME time.  Weird?  Maybe.  But I love sitting with my coffee, in the quiet, and planning out  my day.

Because I now coach in the afternoons – my workouts have been pushed back to start around 5pm instead of the usual 3:30pm.  I’ll be updating you all on any new playlists and revelations I’ve had during crossfit.  The first revelation I’ve had in the last few weeks – I have NO core strength and my hip flexors are weak as $h%t.

I am still running – not nearly as much as I was for the marathon.  I am also teaching spinning – which I still LOVE.

This was my latest playlist for classes this week:

Screen shot 2014-01-01 at 7.49.32 PM

My new favorite song is #10 – Hell and Back by The Airborne Toxic Event.  It’s on the Dallas Buyer’s Club Soundtrack.  I leave it for you to enjoy on this second day of the new year.