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Love Yourself

Love Yourself

Valentines Day is a time to celebrate love. 

Whether it’s love for….

…a significant other

…your family and friends

…a pet

But most importantly: Love for yourself

Thinking out loud, as someone in their mid-twenties, I can tell you I didn’t always love myself.  In college, in suffered from anxiety and over committing to everything.  I compared myself to everyone and everything. I didn’t appreciate things about myself that looking back I wish I would have!  This doesn’t just include sports but life as well.   I never took the time to step back and reflect with what I loved about myself.

Valentines Day is a beautiful celebration of love.  You cannot possibly love others if you don't love yourself.  

Here are a few ways to embrace and love yourself:

Show gratitude for who you are now. As humans, we are always growing and learning more about ourselves.  We are striving to do better and to be better.  Take time to reflect on where you are now and how far you have come.  Never discount the small achievements.

Do something everyday that makes you happy. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming but do something each day that you know will make you happy.  Is that reading a few blogs?  Is that painting?  Is it running?  Make sure to make a little bit of time for just you each day.

Give yourself an honest chance. If you believe you will fail, you will.  Believe in yourself.  It’s that simple.  This is one of the biggest lessons I learned and am still learning.  To have success, you must believe you will.

Distance yourself from things that make you unhappy. One thing I’ve learned in the last few years is life is too short to do things that make you unhappy.  That could be things, people or activities but if you are constantly around things making you miserable, you cannot love and appreciate yourself.

Believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will?  Confidence is key.

Valentines Day doesn’t have to be a Hallmark holiday or celebration of giving or receiving gifts.  It’s a celebration of love whether it is loving yourself, your family and friends or significant other.

We all have someone to love, and it starts with ourselves.

Question for you: How do you love yourself? 

 

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26 Things I Learned Before Age 26

Today is my 26th birthday.  I’ve been blogging for while and have celebrated five birthdays on LOLZ blog.  Sometimes I post about my birthday and other times I don’t.

To be honest, age 25 wasn’t my favorite year but not every year can be.  At age 24, I moved, got married, bought my car and was riding the high of a newly wed.  Age 25 wasn’t bad and had both its fair share of both good and bad moments.

I thought it would be fun to reflect upon and think out loud about some of the things I learned over the past year.  Some were good, some bad.  Some are running related; some are life-related.

26 Things I Learned Before Age 26

Life is not perfect and never will be.  Social media doesn’t tell the full story.  We all have issues and problems behind the scenes. We all have tagged facebook photos we wish never existed.  Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. About a month ago, I found out I had a severe case of food poisoning as well as a fracture in my ankle.

MRI foot

An MRI image of my foot

Do things you like and skip what you don’t like.  Your life is yours to live and no one else’s.  Enjoy it as much as you can.  Choose wisely of activities and things you want to do.

Do what you like and skip what you don’t like part 2: Enjoy your job.  A job could be in an office full time, blogging or taking care of children. I like my job at the Running Store.  I like seeing my friends, helping plan group runs and seeing new running excel! Whatever you choose, enjoy it.

Rest up.  You only have one body and it follows you around. Your body is direct reflection of how you treat yourself.  Treat your mind, body and soul well. carlsbad half

Enjoy the moment.  In this day and age we find ourselves looking into the future far too much.  One of my favorite quotes: The future has yet to be written, and the past is written in permanent marker.  You have the power to write the present.  Enjoy the current moment.

Small things don’t matter.  Trivial things like the slow driver in front of you, a paper cut, small issues…you probably won’t remember any of this stuff in a week.

Be confident in your beliefs and values. If you don’t stand behind yourself, who will stand behind you?

Don’t lie. A lie turns into ten lies which turn in 100 lies that you can’t remember. It’s never worth it to lie.

Similarly, speeding only gets you a ticket which ultimately slows you down. If you live in New Jersey, then you know there is always a faster drive in the left lane anyways…

Nothing comes easy. If everything in life were easy, we would all be Olympic multimillionaire CEOs. Pick and choose your battles.

These two images are within a week: 

shamrock marathon 1

via Phillies facebook

You are not always right. It’s impossible always to be right.  Accept advice and help from others.  You will grow as a person both mentally and physically.

When you are late, you waste other people’s time. No one’s time is more valuable.  Time cannot be replaced. It is one thing that cannot be bought.  Respect other people’s time.

Smile.  Smile as much as possible, so people don’t think you’re a mean girl (When in reality you just have a resting bitch face…like me).

atlantic city april fools half me

Be flexible in everything.  If everyone was able to do every single thing they wanted, the world would be chaos. Your plans are not always the most important.

Our culture is full of extremes. Extreme beauty, extreme sports talent, extreme music talent, extreme weight loss or weight gain…Real life doesn’t work like that and moderation, and balance is key.

Everyone wants to be treated the same. Be polite and caring. No one likes a jerk.  No one deserves that.

Find your most productive hours of the day and do what you need to do. I find myself most productive in the mornings. As the day flies by, I typically become less productive. I try and do the most important things in the morning.

Do what you don’t want to do: first.  Save the best for last and do the tasks that you don’t want first.  That way they get done.

Quiet days are never a bad thing but social days are not a bad thing either.  It’s so important to balance both.  Everything is moderation.

How you dress says a lot. It’s easy to dress like a college student or an old lady. Dressing like a 26-year-old is tough!  Have a few well-fitted outfits that make you feel confident.

It’s totally okay to be by yourself. It’s okay to go out to eat at a restaurant by yourself, and it’s okay to treat yourself.  Doing things by yourself is okay.

To stay in touch with friends, it’s a two-way street. If you don’t go down the road, you can’t expect someone else too.  Make time for your friends and family.

Always thankful for friends

Always thankful for friends

Sometimes life needs an exact plan and sometimes it doesn’t.When I moved in with Tim 3 years ago, I had no plan. We worked through the current time, not the future, and it ended up working out.

My first visit to Texas

Stay Confident in Yourself. You are your biggest fan and your biggest critic! Make sure to stay confident in yourself.

Be Open to Others. Other people have different beliefs and viewpoints of the world.  Be open to ideas that do not agree with your own.

The End is Not Now: Remember, your life, your story, and your book are not complete. Always strive to be the best and add more words to your story.

Questions for you:

How did you celebrate your last birthday?

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned recently?

Why a Running Break is Necessary

To summarize my training last week, I ran once on Monday.  Then I got sick and slept for three days straight.  Not exaggerating, but I slept over 16 hours daily for three days.  By the fourth day, I still had a headache and didn’t want to run.  Finally, by day 5, I was already five days into not running, so I thought: “why not just extend my running break longer?”  I didn’t miss running at all. 
Why a running break is neccessary

So to recap, I ran once and haven’t run since Monday.  My plan this summer was to take an extended break from running and now worked out well.  I’m not sure how long I’ll take off, but I’ll run when I’m mentally ready to run again.

Instead of writing a traditional training post, I’ll talk about some reasons for resting.  The idea of rest isn’t new, unusual, or life-changing.  It’s essential for every single runner, new or old, elite or not, to take rest.

So what are some worries of taking a break from running?

Worry 1: You Worry about Losing Fitness

You aren’t running, and your body will lose fitness, and your vo2 max will decrease.  It’s a real statement.  The longer you don’t run and reduce your weekly mileage, the more likely you are to lose fitness.  However, studies show, you will gain fitness back quickly, and you will come back stronger.  A few weeks of training isn’t a big deal, and the benefits of taking the rest outweigh the consequence of losing fitness.

Worry 2: You’ll Gain Weight

I’ve gained a few pounds every time I’ve been injured.  That’s my body’s way of saying: “Hey, you are doing the recovery thing right.”  I used to think not running meant I should cross-train or strength train as much as I ran, but that isn’t the case.  Allowing your body rest might cause weight gain, but once you start running again, you will lose whatever you might have gained.

Yes, you might gain a few pounds but if you don’t rest and recover, the rest period doesn’t do you any good.  To clarify, I don’t think it’s easy and all rainbows and butterflies to take weeks off of running, but it’s necessary. 

For me, I’ve been running nonstop for about a year.  I’ve had cut back weeks and mini taper weeks but nothing considered significant rest.

My last two months of running, I’ve felt all of the following:

  • Physical Burnout: I’ve had more bad runs than good runs…
  • Mental Burnout: I’ve had more days I’ve felt like running is a chore and not a hobby.
  • Minor aches, issues, and pains: my butt hurt after Shamrock and metatarsal pain last month.

Most of the time, my running breaks come from a serious related running injury. Being injured forces me to take time off and give myself a break.  After resting, I come back stronger.  Since this break isn’t caused by an issue, it’s hard to “just take time off.”  I can rest when I want too, so I’ve pushed it off until tomorrow…and tomorrow…and tomorrow.

So what are the benefits of full running rest?

Not reduced mileage but full running rest and running o times a week.

Physical benefits:
  • Recovery: First and foremost, you’ll recover from months of possible damage to your body. The damage includes both hard races and just hard training cycles. Your body will recover from the stress that you’ve put on it.  You might not realize that you had several small aches and pains forming.
  • Injury Risk: Your injury risk goes much further down. It doesn’t matter your fitness level; a running break is the best form of injury prevention.

Mental Benefits:

  • Mental Recharge: This is the most important for me right now.  Mentally my heart isn’t into running, and it’s giving me time to recharge and do other things with my life.  When I miss running, I’ll start running.  It could be a week; it could be a month. You can’t run hard seven days a week and expect to run long term.
  • More Time: When you’re not following a training plan or training program, you have plenty of extra time to relax and get other things done.

Finally, How Can You Get the Most Out of Your Break?

  • First and foremost, actually rest.  Don’t substitute over cross-training for everything.  Sure, working out occasionally is fine but take your rest as serious as a big race and racing season.
  • Don’t fear weight gain: Like anything, your fitness is based on months and years.  You might lose fitness or gain weight, but you’ll get back to where you want to be when you return to running.

I can’t tell you how long my running rest will be.  Maybe I’ll run in another week, but perhaps it will be longer.  I did get in the pool on Sunday, which was more enjoyable than anticipated.

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

Outside of an injury, have you taken a break from running?

Have you felt burnt out from something before?

 

To Don’t List

Negativity can creep right in at any time. I am someone who likes to make “to do” lists. If I write everything down, I find myself far more likely to get things done.

To Don't List

But what about a “To Don’t” list?

I was on an easy run a few days ago when the idea of a “To don’t list” popped up. I found myself brainstorming ideas and concepts that I could remove from my life to add quality to my day.  While thinking out loud, here is what I came up with…

Don’t rush life. Keep your mind in the present.

Don’t be afraid to say no and don’t overcommit yourself.  As humans we can only be good at a certain amount of things.  When we begin to overcommit and spread ourselves thin, we lose touch of what is most important to us. 

Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s fairly obvious but everyone is different and unique. This includes life, sports, relationships and just about everything. 

Don’t compare yourself to yourself. We all go through different life changes…It is impossible to compare ourselves at different points at our life.

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. This includes your career, sports or a single focus in life. Make sure you have something to fall back on. For example if you get injured with running, make sure you have other hobbies to keep you busy.

Don’t neglect family and friends. Family and friends will be there for you…don’t forget about them.

Don’t neglect yourself.  Always remember to give yourself credit and give yourself what you need to succeed. 

Don’t stress about a single day. The saying of life is a marathon not a sprint is relevant…it’s true and one day won’t make or break you.

Don’t be afraid to try something new. New things out of your comfort zone is what helps you grow. 

Everyone’s “To Don’t” list is different but it’s important to make it relevant to your life!

Question for you: What is on your “To Don’t” list?

 

Comparison: The Thief of Joy

comparison, thief of joy

In the above photos, I’m running my fastest 5k of 2014, a not so great 5k and finally a 10k PR.  

They say that “Comparison is the thief of joy”.

Comparison to others…

Comparison to yourself in the past…

Comparison to yourself in the present…

Comparison to yourself in the potential future…

The comparison game is tough.  The comparison game is something I am struggling with in running right now.

During the last few weeks I’ve found myself thinking and comparing to previous fitness levels. When I was previously training for 5ks in 2012, I was consistently running 19:00-19:10 5ks. Almost every 5k I did was logged in that second frame.

I didn’t run each 5k within seconds of each other on on purpose but that was where my fitness was. In fact I began to get frustrated with those races too! I remember thinking I would never break the 19 minute barrier (spoiler: I did).  Running is a funny sport that you never seem to feel satisfied!

I would run 19:30+ on cross country and hilly courses. When I ran a time in that frame, I believed the race wasn’t as successful.

The truth is I’m not at the fitness level right now and that would be a be a great time for me. In fact, the 19:40 I ran on Sunday was my most successful 5k of the summer!

As life changes, it’s important to realize that fitness changes too.  For instance in college, I was probably in the best shape of my life. Not only was I recording PRs with cardio (cross country and swimming), I was also strong. I had a lot more time to workout. I was overall strong and my fitness reflected that.

Now over three years after college, my time is more limited. While I don’t have children, I don’t have unlimited time to work out. First, I’m not on any “teams”. I don’t have a plethora of time to spend dedicated to working out. I run in the morning and generally go to work.

This has led me to some serious thinking about goals for myself. I think it’s important to make goals for where you are currently. While facing the reality of not being as “fit” stinks, making goals that are unattainable only sets you up for more disaster.

Being honest with yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. I’ve stopped comparing myself with old fitness levels and past races.

In life you must grow and adapt to the place you are, not the place you were. The past helps most the future but we can’t let the past take up too much time in the present.

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