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Metal for My Medals: Accomplishments on Parade!

15 Sep

For the approximately next 8 weeks, while I am on this forced hiatus from any form of serious run training, I am doing all I can to keep myself motivated for my triumphant return. I really should not say “forced” as its not like anyone is holding a gun to my head, it is just that my head wants to run and my body…well, it just CAN’T right now. Soon enough though!

I deliberately use the word triumphant because I totally picture my first race post-baby being something like right out of a Rocky movie. You know, there will be weeks where I am secretly busting my butt putting in miles around my neighborhood, late nights of walking lunges down the sidewalk, so many rounds of plyometrics that I think my legs might pop right off my body…and then…at that first post-baby race…I will run hard and fast and impress all my friends and family. They will be left standing there, slack-jawed and amazed, saying, “How ever does she do it all?” Yep, that’s my plan. (Stay tuned to see how THAT pans out.) 🙂

Wait, where was I going with all of this… Ah, yes!

I have decided that as part of Operation: Awesome Mom Runs Hard, I need to keep myself as motivated as humanly possible. So far, I have done well with surrounding myself (both in the real world and online) with positive, encouraging running friends. I consider them to be the running versions of crack dealers…and I mean that in the nicest way possible. I need pushers!

The next step of the plan was to find cross-training alternatives as running became more difficult as the weeks went on. I ventured into a triathlon, yoga, and even an anti-gravity treadmill! Woot!

Next up? Take my race medals out of hiding, dust them off, and proudly display them. I need to SEE my accomplishments. I need to visualize myself as “the runner” everyday. I need to remember what toned legs and a strong core felt like. I need to imagine myself running hard with great form. I want to have that itch for it every time I see my medals hanging there.

Up to this point, all of my race medals have just been hanging on a coat hanger in the closet and it is time for a change! I have needed an excuse to break down and get a proper race medal display, so now is the time. Besides, I know I will be racking up more race bling as the years go on, so I might as well invest now.

I have been on the hunt for several months and seen a few different options, but I think I have found an option that I really like…

My favorite thing about Allied Medal Displays is that you can get one totally custom! I really, really, REALLY want one that says “katieRUNSthis”…how perfect would that be? I have to admit, right now it might look kind of sparse since I only have about 8 or so medals to put on it, but that would just motivate me to get out there and get racing again!

I had always thought I would want a post-style display, but the slide-on displays seem to be more and more common. And the more I think about it, the more it seems to make sense. I would not want the fabric or ribbons to get all rumpled up on a post or hook. (Yes, I do care about these things.) 🙂

The only catch is the investment. I know $60 does not “sound” like a huge deal to most people, but with a baby on the way, $60 is…60 WHOLE DOLLARS. Hmmm…maybe I can convince Santa to come early this year…*coughlistenuphusbandcough*

How do YOU display your race medals? Do you like looking at them and do you look at them often? Do they help motivate you?

Running Through Negative Self-Talk

9 Sep

Here is the truth: I am not as confident as I seem sometimes.

I try hard to be though, because I LOVE being strong and happy and I LOVE doing my best to lift others up. But every now and then, self doubt creeps in…especially with my running. While I love running, I would certainly not be described as a “natural runner”. Running is something I really have to work at and even my “best” is still considered “slow” to some. It never bothered me though because I always knew I was giving my best.

Lately though, with all the walking I have had to do, I have had negative thoughts try to creep into my head. When I look in the mirror at my body I think…

Good grief, there is no way my body will look the same ever again.
It cannot be possible that I will ever race with good times again.
If I can do it, will it take me a million years to get there?
There is no way these legs will EVER look as strong and as toned as they used to.
Can I even do this anymore? Should I even try?

And my favorite…
If all I’m doing these days is walking, can I still legitimately call myself a “runner”? AM I A FRAUD!?

It’s that last one that really gets to me. Am I…a…WALKER!? EGAD!

But you know what, I am determined to not let this temporary situation keep me from thinking I am any less of a runner. There are runners who have to sit on the sidelines all the time for days, weeks, even months at a time. They are still runners, and so am I.

A while back I got my husband a business book and it had a section about negative self-talk. While it was not specifically aimed at runners, it had a basic lesson that I think is totally applicable. It makes the analogy that letting negative, unconfident thoughts enter your brain is like allowing it to tune to a USUCK Radio station. What we need to do is the opposite. Tune into UROCK Radio and get grooving!

Finding your mental toughness and your UROCK Radio is hard. For some people, especially those just starting their running journeys or returning from a sabbatical, this may very well be a daily task. I have heralded the benefits of group/social running before as a way to find support, but you cannot rely on them 100% to keep you going.

There will be times when it is just you…staring down at your running shoes…needing a push…needing some motivation…and no one will be there. No one will be there to hold your hand. No one will be there to give you a pat on the back and say, “You can do it!” No one will be there at the end of the run to congratulate you. There will be no sweaty hugs or cheerleaders. Even worse, there may even be people telling you it is okay to quit…that it is okay to not try so hard…that it is no big deal to let yourself down and not reach your goals.

You will have to get out there and get the job done because YOU want it and YOU know you can do it. YOU have to have the gumption to reach over and turn off the USUCK Radio.

I've posted this before but it is fitting today...

So how do you do that? How do you find your UROCK Radio?

Quit with all the self-limiting statements and questions. (I’m talking to myself here, too!) Stop adding question marks to the ends of your statements. Instead of thinking, “Can I do this?”…think, “I CAN DO THIS!”

Use less-harsh wording. For example, if you have a run that wasn’t your best, don’t get pissy and say, “That run sucked.” (I am so bad about saying that.) Instead, go with “Well, that obviously wasn’t my best. What can I do differently to give it my best next time?”

Write on your mirror. I am a dry-erase marker wielding monster. I leave notes all over my bathroom and dresser mirrors. I may or may not have drawn a little box on the mirror where my face goes with the phrase, “This is what a runner looks like.” over it.

Remind yourself what makes YOU feel good about running. If you are motivated by nice gear, pick up a new running singlet. If rockin’ tunes get you going, update your playlist. If weight loss or keeping weight off is your goal, put photos or your former self everywhere to keep you going. If you have a competitive spirit, find a race online you have never done before and sign up for it. Keep the routine fresh! Letting things go stale will only get you down.

Whatever you do, don’t think it is just you. Running is a relationship. Every runner (and walker) goes through peaks and valleys and we all struggle with negative self-talk sometimes. You just have to work through it.

What are YOU dealing with in your mental running game? Are you at a peak or at a valley? What do YOU do to push down the negative thoughts and bring up the positive ones?

Learning to Bond with The Treadmill:  Benefits of Treadmill Running

7 Sep

The TREADMILL.  Just mentioning the dreaded treadmill makes most runners cringe, groan, and roll their eyes.  (The TREADMILL!? Anything but the treadmill!  Nooooooo!)  There is a reason we refer to it as the DREADMILL.  That black rotating belt makes us feel like a hamster that is stuck on a never ending wheel…going, going, going…nowhere.

When I am on a treadmill, I feel like I miss so much.  I miss the wind in my face and seeing people walking their dogs or pushing their babies in strollers.  I miss waving at my neighbors or feeling the breeze coming off the LSU lakes.  Depending on the weather, I miss the warmth of the sun on my skin or the light sting of rain drops (which we get a lot of here inSouth Louisiana).  Outdoor runs also mean I can go run with my friends, something I feel like I need so much lately.

However, I think my days of outdoor runs are over until after Baby Key arrives.  I have tried hard, but at almost 32 weeks, I feel like my outdoor running days are over.  The pressure from the baby belly is just too hard on my body (even with the help of compression shorts and the FITsplint) and on my last couple of runs, things started to hurt.  All along, I have promised my husband that when things started to hurt, I would stop.  The pounding of my feet on the pavement is just too much for me.

So, I’m…embracing the treadmillMark it down!  I said it!  Whether I am running/jogging at 0% incline or walking at a steep incline percentage, at least I will still be moving.  At the end of the day, that’s the point…keep me and Baby Key moving as long as possible.

Since I am trying to change my perspective and attitude toward the dreadmill treadmill, I thought it might be more motivating if I knew some specific ways that the treadmill can be beneficial.  That way, every time I go to step up on it, I can think of one of these reasons and (hopefully!) have a better good attitude about my daily cardio.

Easy to use.
Most treadmills are pretty self-explanatory with directions popping right up on the screen.

Predictable surface provides reassurance for those with balance issues or leg injuries.
On a treadmill, you will not have to worry about running from stray dogs, tripping over cracks in the road, or stepping up onto or down from sidewalks.

All aspects of the workout (speed/pace, incline, etc.) can be controlled; Precise and highly controlled speed work and interval training; Consistent pacing.
YOU are the one who controls the workout. You can make the workout as easy/hard as you want to.

Temperature controlled exercise.
I almost hate to bring this one up since we are currently having near PERFECT running weather here in Louisiana this week, but the treadmill does offer some reprieve when we are experiencing those days with temperatures in the 100’s.

No excuses about not exercising in bad weather.
Even a fair weather runner can get his sweat on with a treadmill.

Treadmill belts offer better shock absorption.
For those with chronic knee problems or weight issues, the softer surface of the treadmill offers more shock absorption than the asphalt on the road. This will result in less injuries in the long run.

Some treadmills can be programmed to simulate famous race courses. (Pretty neat!)


Always a bathroom close by for…ahem, stomach issues.
All I have to say is “runners trots.” I am lucky enough to never have been faced with this issue, but I hear it affects a lot of runners. We’ll just leave it at that.

Builds mental toughness.
This one may be the biggest benefit of all. Getting on the treadmill will require me to be more self-disciplined, committed, and motivated to get through my workouts. I know that using the treadmill routinely will be difficult for me and it will take a great amount of mental toughness to muscle through these exercises. If I can master the treadmill for a few weeks, I will be more than ready to return to being a dedicated road warrior post-baby.

How do YOU feel about the treadmill? Have you ever been in a situation where you were forced to use it even though you did not want to?

Excuses are for the weak.

30 Aug

Harsh? Maybe a little. True? 100%.

As far as physical goals are concerned, 2011 has been HUGE for me. I have run a marathon, run my third half marathon, placed in my age group a handful of times and 5ks and 10ks, and even completed my first sprint triathlon. It is also the year that I have peaked in my weight and, since starting running almost 7 years ago, have dropped down to my lowest mileage weeks ever. When I see what my body has become now, it scares me to think that I may never accomplish those things again.

The farther and farther along I get with this pregnancy, the easier and easier it gets to stay still and be immobile. It is just hard. Everything feels sort of achy and being active just is not as easy as it once was. I feel stiff and some days I feel like I am turning to stone. Literally, from one day to the next, what I am able to accomplish with my body can change…drastically. Thankfully though, at 30 weeks and 2 days, I can bend over and touch my toes. Small miracles! Back to my point…every pound I put on feels like an extra 10 pounds on my frame. I am now at the highest weight I have ever been in my whole life and it is scary…maybe even a little bit depressing. I look in the mirror and I sigh…imagining how easy it would be to just go home everyday, plop on the couch, and peel open a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food. (Oh, Ben & Jerry’s, how I love you.) After all, that’s what my brain wants to do. I’m not convinced that my body is ready to give up quite yet. There is still a shred of fight left in me.

THIS would be the easy route.

I am now at the point where I have to reach deep down and find the drive. It is a daily battle to push myself to do the little things…and I mean VERY little things…like take one more flight of stairs when I am feeling winded or walk across my job site instead of taking the golf cart. There are days when I just don’t feel like running. (Please don’t EVER remind me that I said that.) But I have to at least try. Eating “bad foods” gets so much easier…especially when everyone around tries to convince me that I am eating for two. “Here, have another fill-in-the-blank. You’re eating for two now!”

Pregnancy is NOT an excuse to give up on my body. It is not an excuse to sit around and turn into a lard-butt and be lazy. Just because doing so would be easy does not mean it is the right thing to do.

People overcome obstacles all the time. Whether your excuse is lack of drive, no time, weather, busy schedules, etc., figure out a way to work around it. There is always an alternative. If you want something bad enough, you will figure out how to make it work. Where there is a will, there is a way! Today, I am determined to find the will to keep on running…whether that means a half mile or a half marathon. I just have to keep trying. And quite honestly, these days, it really is becoming more of a mental game than a physical one. Today I am recommitting to cling to my mental toughness for dear life. I need it.

And when I feel like giving up, I’m going to remember these people. These are the ones who overcome battles every single day. My situation is temporary, but these people fight everyday, training like champions with smiles on their faces (most of the time). 🙂 And do you know why they do it? They do it because they want it bad enough…because giving up on their bodies is not an option. “Failure” is not in their vocabularies. These people have no room for excuses.

What excuses are YOU going to toss out the window today?

What excuse have you been holding onto that you are going to bury today?

What is keeping you from achieving YOUR goals?

Encourage Your Fellow Runners…They May Need It More Than You Think

17 Aug

The other night before going to bed I sent out this Tweet:

“You just never know how much someone else could be struggling. Kind words and encouragement go far. #Perspective”

It got reTweeted. A lot. Apparently, there were lots of other people feeling the same way I was.

Often times, I send out Tweets like this as a result of something I have seen, witnessed, encouraged of others, or done for others. This Tweet in particular hit closer to home, as it was something I personally experienced. A friend of mine gave me some encouraging words and I am quite certain she didn’t even know I needed them.

Its time to get real…I have been struggling lately with my running…a lot. I won’t say that I am in denial that my running is coming to an end, but I can feel it tapering off quickly. My runs are getting much more difficult and where before I was limiting myself to no more that two days of running in a row, now I am down to every other day. I am thankful for every single day that I get to run.

The other day before Happy’s Running Club, my friend, Theresa, said the nicest thing to me right before we got started with our run. I do not remember what she said verbatim, but she casually mentioned how good it was to see me out at running group each week and that I seem to be glowing more and more as each week passes.


I needed that. Badly. I needed the encouragement. I needed the extra little push to just keep on showing up. It is getting so much harder these days and it is so easy to find excuses as to why I shouldn’t go run…which REALLY bums me out.

I try really hard to put on the happy face and make it look easy. I assure you…its not. It is getting hard on me physically, and even harder on me mentally and emotionally. I know it sounds selfish and like such a “sacrifice” that seems so easy to make. Those on the outside are probably thinking, “How can she even consider not running a ‘sacrifice’ at all!? This is her CHILD she is talking about!” It should be so easy for me to think, “I am pregnant…its okay to not run, right?” But it isn’t easy. When you associate yourself with something you love so much, it isn’t easy to just put it aside…not even for a few months. Pre-pregnancy, I was running 30-40 mile weeks (if not more) and I loved every single minute of it. I feel so ashamed that I want to put the death grip on that level of training and not let it go.

I get frustrated when I go to my running groups these days. I want to be able to run FAST again. I want to be able to push out a full-on sprint. I want to still be able to talk full long strides and pump my arms as I run. I want to challenge my running buddies to see who can make it to that next stop sign first. I want to run hard…so hard that I can feel it in every muscle in my legs and core. I feel bad saying that I am jealous that they can all do that and I can’t. I feel so left out and I hate it. Sitting on the sidelines is not fun. While I support my running buddies and know that when the time comes (sooner than my ego would like, I am afraid) I will be the best support sign holder/pom-pom waver/cowbell ringer EVER for them at races, I would by lying to myself if I said that I wouldn’t much prefer to me running right along side of them.

My sweet running friends (those in real life and the awesome ones that I have found in the Twitterverse and blogosphere) keep reminding me that “it is only a short while” and that I will “be back in no time.” But right now, a few months on the bench feels like a few years.

Determined to make lemonade out of lemons, however, I am going to keep letting my friend’s kind words ring in my ears. I am going to make the effort to keep on trying and keep on moving…even if that means all I can do at run group is walk. I need it. I need the exercise and though I would like to think of myself as strong enough to not need it, I DO need the support of my running buddies.

And, of course, I plan on paying it forward. If I can’t push the heck out of myself right now, I can be the Master of Peer Pressure and push the ones around me. Making them better will only make me work harder post-baby to catch up with them. And I assure you, I will catch up with them.

How do you feel when someone randomly encourages you? How do you make the effort to support others…especially your fellow runners?

Gear Review and GIVEAWAY: GO Sport ID Band!

29 Jul

A few weeks ago I heard about a special promotion that GO Sport ID was having to get the word out about their new product! Always wanting to be hip to the new latest thing, I quickly signed on and requested my new ID wristband.

The timing for this product was absolutely perfect! I had been wanting a sport ID bracelet for a long time, but never really got around to ordering one. After becoming pregnant, I realize that it is so important to take my and my child’s safety more seriously. On my rides or runs, I often find myself considerable distances from my home or car and it is good to know that IF anything were to ever happen to me (and, of course, I hope it doesn’t) that someone would be able to identify me and contact the emergency numbers on my band quickly.

There are several sport ID bands on the market, but I really feel like the GO Sport ID band is the ideal product for me and fits my needs perfectly.

GO Sport ID Bands

Here is what I like about it…

THE BAND. My particular GO Sport ID band is made of silicone, similar to the awareness bracelets that are so popular. I love that it doesn’t hold sweat and that if it gets anything on it, I can wash it off with a little soap and water. Easy, clean, and sanitary!

THE ID PLATE. The titanium ID plate, measuring at 1.5” x 1” has plenty of room to put all of your emergency information. On the front, it is customized with three lines of text…one for your name and two lines for your personal motto. One of the goals of the GO Sport ID band is to help you “push the finish line” by showing a message that helps you prepare physically and mentally for success. For my band, I chose the quote, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” I wanted to remind myself that, most times, pain is a state of mind that we are all able to push through, if we choose to. The back of the plate, the side against the wrist, has four lines of customizable text. I chose to put my husband’s name, his phone number, my mother’s name, and her phone number.

Easy to read and holds a lot of text.

THE WEIGHT. The silicone of the band and the lightness of the titanium make this band super light. Altogether, it only weighs 13g (0.5oz)!

THE COLORED BANDS. Unlike other sport ID bands, this one has interchangeable colored bands (purple, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and black)! I love this feature as I like to change the colors to match outfits or show support for certain events. For example, you could color coordinate with your favorite sports team or show support for a particular charity (like using the yellow for a LiveStrong event or the pink for a Race for the Cure). I realize that the changeable bands aren’t completely necessary for the inherent safety of the band, but it is a nice added bonus. Plus, for someone who gets frustrated easily with things like changing watchbands, changing out the band on the GO Sport ID band is REALLY simple and takes only seconds.

Bands are EASY to switch out!

Changed to red to match my swimsuit for Saturday!

THE SAFETY FACTOR. I like knowing that should something happen to me, a good Samaritan or First Responder could quickly access my name and emergency contact information. As I mentioned before, knowing that me and my baby could get help quickly and efficiently if needed gives me peace of mind.

GO Sport ID officially launches their product line next month, but they want to give YOU the opportunity win one! C’mon, you know you want one!

Here are the ways you can enter. Feel free to do as many or as few as you wish! You get one entry per task. Leave me a separate comment for each one that you do! The contest officially closes at 5:00PM CST on Thursday, August 4th, with the winner being announced the following morning!

  • Follow @GOSportID on Twitter
  • “Like” the GO Sport ID facebook page
  • Leave a message on the GO Sport ID facebook page telling them why you would like to win! (Be sure and mention that you got there from!)
  • Leave me a comment below with what your personal motto is!
  • Follow @katieRUNSthis on Twitter
  • Tweet about the contest! (Be sure to mention @katieRUNSthis and @GOSportID and this link –>
  • Mention the giveaway on your blog. (Don’t forget to leave me the link to your blog so I can come by and check it out!)

And it would be cool if you decided to subscribe to katieRUNSthis, but you don’t have to. But, if you do, I’ll add you to my list of super awesome people that I like…which, I might add, is a pretty prestigious list to be on.

What are you waiting for? Get started on your entries! GO GO GO!

Negativity in the past…THIS is what running is all about.

26 Jul

First, I really want to say that everyone who reads katieRUNSthis is awesome. Your outpouring of support for your fellow runners (see comments on yesterday’s blog) is touching and it is so good to know that runners (especially female runners) really are supportive of each other and, ultimately, do not want to bring each other down.

Today I wanted to highlight a fellow blogger/runner and a new friend of mine, Christine, aka DubyaWife. I first “met” Christine via Twitter (thanks, #RunLA tag!), found out she was just starting to run, and encouraged her to come out to our weekly Happy’s Running group run. After a few weeks of peer pressure encouragement, she decided to come out, and I think it is pretty safe to say that she has not looked back since!

When I first met Christine at the group run, she basically said something like, “Look, I’m not a runner. I’ll probably walk most of the way. I might even come in last.” I gave her the raised eyebrow “so what” face and told her it was time to get going. Well, those group runs must have been like crack because before I knew it, she was posting solo runs on her Twitter and even blogging about her runs. Her paces kept going down and the speeds kept going up! She stuck with it…in the heat…and the humidity…because she wanted it bad enough.

Yes, it lit up!

This past Saturday, she completed her first ever OFFICIAL 5k at the Light Up the Night 5k Benefiting Operation Smile. I could not be more proud of her!

Guys, you should have seen her! She was running along in all her pink tu-tu glory…smiling the whole way. (She was obviously giving her best for Operation Smile!) In fact, not only did she set a PR for the distance, but she also WON the Brightest Runner Award! (Really now, could it have been given to anyone else??)

In her race recap summarizing that night, the very last line is, “I. Am. A. Runner.

Yes, Christine, you are a runner. You know why? Because you finally believed it! We knew you had it in you all along!

This photo is also "borrowed" from Christine's blog. 🙂

This, folks, is what running is really all about. It is about setting goals, working hard, making friends, getting healthy, trying new things, pushing yourself, and doing it all because you want more for yourself. At least, that’s what it means to me. It is not about being negative, putting others down, or having the attitude that your achievements are better than anyone else’s achievements.

To all of the other readers out there that think you aren’t “real” runners because someone says you are walking, jogging, shuffling, waddling, etc. too much (or not enough)…forget them. Whether you are pushing out 50+ miles per week, or 5+ miles per week, you are still running. As long as you are hustling, you ARE a runner. Just remember to always give it your best..for YOU…and no one else.

Happy running, friends! Keep it positive and share the love!