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Wednesday Motivation

19 Oct

It is MOVING DAY!! Woot! We got most of the soft stuff moved yesterday, but the big stuff and larger furniture pieces will be moved today.

Since I am about to get going on packing our cars up, I wanted to leave you will a little motivation on this Wednesday. Sometimes it is hard to get going on Hump Day and when I feel like I need a kick in the pants, these are some of my favorite reminders. I hope you enjoy them!

And an ad I like…just for funsies…

How are YOU staying motivated today?

Things I Would Have Told Myself

7 Oct

Dear College Katie,

Today is the day you step out into the world. You hard work in college is about to pay off! You will find a great job, with an even greater salary! You will work by day and play by night. In fact, you will even wonder sometimes why other people complained about this whole “being an adult” thing. You will have a couple of great years where you sow all those wild oats you should have in college. In short, you are going to feel like one of the Mad Men…at the top of your game.Be warned, though. All that glitters is not gold and after the luster wears off the hardships will set in. You will be experience the deaths of loved ones, failed relationships, job loss, and the degradation of close friendships. To be honest, you are going to have a few hard years and there will be lots of days where you close your eyes and think, “Why me?” In the decade ahead, when all this garbage is behind you, you will realize all the truly good things you have in your life that brought you through the mess. The sources of your inspiration might just surprise you.

You will find your passion and you will understand what drives you. Unfortunately for you, it will not be what you went to school for. Why does it always happen this way? If one can “fall for” a sport, running will be it. Running will not only be something you do, but it will be your biggest tool. With running, you (yes, YOU) will lose weight, be in the shape physically that you have always wanted, forge some of the best friendships of your life, and meet people that will continue to inspire you on a daily basis. Do not ever take these relationships for granted. Just as you help keep them going, they are the ones that will help keep you going. Don’t think there won’t be days that you need the extra push. The sport of running will become a part of your daily life and you are going to love it!

You will find the love of your life. You will have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince, but I promise you he is out there. And I will even do you one better…he will even put up with your runner wackiness. Say whaaaat!? He will understand why you want to be a crazy person and get up at 5:00AM on a Saturday morning and lace up your running shoes before the sun is even up. Prince Charming will usually have coffee and a good breakfast waiting for you when you get back. He will always be standing there in his pajama pants waiting to give you a big hug even though you are drenched in sweat. Always, always be thankful for this. In return, offer to clean up the kitchen after said breakfast…even though you hate doing the dishes.

You will tackle the hardest job of your lifetime, being a mother, but you are going to love it. Having a child is something you will have thought about ten thousand times, waiting for it to be your turn. Over the years, you will watch all of your friends announce their pregnancies; secretly hoping you were the one doing the announcing. In fact, at one point, you will even be told that you are not able to have children. And just when you finally get comfortable with the thought of not bearing your own children…along comes Baby Key. That is when you will realize that the thought of being responsible for another human being scares you to death. But you know what? You have got Prince Charming by your side. The two of you will learn what it is to love someone so much that you would trade your life for theirs before Baby Key is even born. Don’t ever forget this feeling. You will cling to the love of your husband and child in the even harder days ahead.

Even with all of these good things in your life, you will find there are days when you are in a hurry, get busy, and are not as thankful for them as you should be. Try to make those days as few in number as possible. Be active and move your body once a day. Guard your health and eat right. Give bear hugs to your family and friends. Kiss your child everyday…even when he wipes it off and says it embarrasses him. One day, he will appreciate it…just as you did when your mother did it to you.

Best of luck,
Future Katie

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?

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!

Mental Constipation. Its time to clear out the crap.

21 Jul

I am a not a runner.
I can’t/could never do that.
I only run if I am being chased.
I don’t have time.
I haven’t run since high school. I could never do that now.
I am too old for that.

These are just a few of the phrases/excuses I hear from people when they find out that I like to run. When I hear them, I get frustrated because, to me, these words represent nothing more than mental blockage. Friends, today is the day to start clearing out the crap and changing your attitude.

You are the only person that says what you can and can not do. The longer you sit there and tell yourself you cannot do something, the closer you are to fulfilling that destiny. Who wants to be a person that can’t do something? Not me! If nothing else, I want to know that I at least tried with 100% solid effort everything that I have ever wanted to do. So what if I fail? Hey, at least I was not the one sitting on the sidelines.

Part of what drives me to keep running and training is all people who say, “I could never do that.” I am not a natural athlete, and if I can do it, they can to. Anyone can…even you. The difference is, I never told myself that I couldn’t.

Running is a mental game every bit as much as it is a physical one. If you are a couch potato, just making the decision to buy running shoes and give it a try is a huge mental hurdle. If you are a 5k/10k runner, taking that leap to the half marathon distance requires courage and faith in your body. And anyone who has ever run a marathon (or longer) will tell you that overcoming “the wall” takes mental persistence and determination like no other. No matter what your goal is, you still have to be decisive, make a plan, and figure out what works for you to get your body to the finish line.
Mental Toughness
Have a strong will, develop a mantra, and surround yourself with others that support your goal (for days when you need an extra push.) Keep the Debbie Downers away as much as possible. Never stop telling yourself that you can do it. Trust me, your mental stamina will fail you long before your body will.

Quite frankly, this sprint triathlon that I have coming up in 9 days scares me to death. Have I mentioned that this will be my first “official” triathlon? And that I will be exactly 26 weeks pregnant on that day? Have I mentioned how many people have told me I am absolutely insane for attempting such a thing…in the summer…in Louisiana? Or that I haven’t been able to get in any regular swim practice in the last 3 weeks (but am starting back today)? Sounds like the odds are stacked against me, yes?

And they are. However, I refuse to let self-doubt infect my thoughts. I am more aware of what my body can and can not handle than anyone else, and I know that I CAN do this. And when I finish, however long that takes, I will officially be a triathlete. For all those people that have something negative or snarky to say about my baby bump in my tri kit, keep it coming…you are just adding fuel to my fire. 🙂

What mental hurdles are you struggling with today? What are you doing to help you clear out the crap? What decisions are you making TODAY to get you closer to your goals?

Falling in love with running…again.

5 Jul

Last night I got the kindest comment/e-mail from an old friend (that’s right, first boyfriend EVER from 8th grade…I am calling you out 🙂 ) asking about running. After running through high school, his romance with running ended in favor of other sports like hiking, kayaking, etc. Now he is interested in getting motivated to start pounding the pavement again and needs some tips on how to get his running mojo back!

You can read the full comment here, but here is a snippet of it…

“So, long story short, what suggestions, if any, do you have for making running interesting again? I’m having to start slowly because of my ankles, but my body remembers the high-intensity workouts and cadence of at least a 6-min mile. I just don’t know where to go or how to cope when I can’t do what I used to do. It’s like a quarter-life crisis (I’m expecting to live to 112!)!”

Over the years, I’ve taken breaks, had times where I took the sport more seriously than others, or even faced the dreaded runner’s burnout (GASP!). Here are a few ideas (in no particular order) on rekindling that love of running or just getting started, in general.

Get good shoes. I know I have said this a million times over, but seriously, it is SO important. I am not going to say that the employees at those big box sporting goods stores don’t know what they are doing, but your best bet is to find a running specialty store in your area and get properly fitted. People who work at running specialty stores are more knowledgeable about the runner’s body and finding the right shoe for your gait and foot. Their goal is to help keep you injury-free and running happily!

Find a group. Again, I know I preach about the benefits of social running a lot, but it is because I believe in it. When you are at the point where you need motivation and support, there is no one that you can rely on more to keep you accountable than your running buddies. Plus, it is FUN! Seeing your friends each week (or a few times a week) puts me in a good mood and makes me WANT to run. They are always there to push me when I need it and watching us all meet our goals (whatever they are) keeps me going.

Be realistic about speed and pace. Just because you could run a 6-minute mile in high school does not mean you can (or should) be doing that now. For those of you who participated in track/cross-country in high school (I did NOT), those glory days were (at least) a decade ago. It is not realistic for you to be able to hit those same goals now, so many years later, after not having run in so long. That doesn’t mean you can’t get there, but you’ll just need to be patient with yourself and train properly. Set new, realistic goals and stay focused on those.

Get a good program and be consistent. Whether you are a new runner or someone trying to find the passion again, a good program can be a very valuable tool. If you haven’t done ANY running or any in a long time, I highly recommend the Couch to 5k program. This program is do-able, not overwhelming, and provides really amazing results. I have had friends, relatives, and even my husband complete the program with great success. For training for longer distances or even increasing speed, check out any of the programs by Hal Higdon. I have used his programs for increasing speed on my half marathon and for training for my full marathon. Just remember, like with any training program, consistency and commitment are the key. No one said every run has to be “great”…just keep doing them! Just keep trying!

If not using a program, dial up the distance and intensity slowly. Use the 10% rule. Want to do your best to stay injury-free? Then remind yourself that you are NOT Superman. If not using a specific program, remember to increase weekly training mileage by no more than 10% per week. Keep track of your mileage and be smart about adding distance. There are a lot of online tracking tools out there (DailyMile is a very popular one), but a notebook works just as well. Remember that just because your head is all gung-ho, does not mean your body is ready.

Keep kayaking, hiking, or whatever it is you like to do. Anyone who runs will tell you, running can be addictive. While running is fun, don’t get obsessive about it…unless you want to. If you are into kayaking, cycling, swimming, hiking, etc., still make time to do those things. No need to give up one thing just to incorporate another activity. Plus, doing a variety of activities will keep your body and skill level well-rounded. Or, if you are the outdoorsy type, give trail running a try! I would not suggest trail running in your road running shoes (check out Salomon or Brooks for awesome trail running kicks), but hitting the trail can be an awesome way to break up the monotony of road running.

Read running magazines and immerse yourself in running culture.
The next time you are at the book store, pick up a copy of Runner’s World or any other running or triathlon magazine. Browse through the running books in the Sports section. On your next free Saturday, spend some time hanging out at the running store…asking questions, getting advice, meeting other runners, and checking out the gear. Better yet, go out to an event that you would like to run one day, and just watch. Being a spectator is fun and you get the chance to watch others and learn a lot. I know that when I am around other runners and cool gear, I always find some inner motivation and get jazzed up!

Sign up for a race. Last, but not least, pick a goal race, put it on your calendar, and put a big red circle around it! Knowing that you have an event that you have to be ready for will help keep you committed and focused. Take it a step further by sharing this goal with your family, friends, and new-found running buddies! Let them hold you accountable to stay focused on your goal. Keep your eyes on the prize!

So, there you go! Those are my go-to reminders when I feel myself needing that extra push on getting outside or staying focused on my training.

How do YOU recover from a running vacation? What advice would YOU give to someone trying to get their running mojo back?

Being Back of the Pack is Humbling

27 Jun

If you have ever come in last at anything, you know what I am talking about. If you have ever come in last at something that you used to be good at, then you especially know what I am talking about.

Being at the back of the pack is about the most humbling spot for any group run/ride or race participant. I know this first-hand, as I have been pulling the caboose in a lot of group runs and rides lately. It is such a weird feeling and I will be honest…it is taking time adjusting to it.

At the first of the year, I had been really working on my speed and had FINALLY started placing (first even!) in my age group. Let’s not get carried away or anything…I was never in the position to actually win overall or even get overall female, but I was definitely improving!

2nd place in age a TRAIL RUN!

I should never have taken that “runner’s high” for granted. What I wouldn’t give these days to just come in at the middle of the pack. 🙂

At the group ride on Saturday, out of about 8 riders, I came in last…even after the mountain bikes and cruisers. I am keeping the same cadence and pushing with the same intensity that I have always cycled with, but I am just going slower. More weight just does not move as fast. At my last few group runs, I have certainly rocking last place…even cutting the route miles if I feel like I need to.

Coming in last and being forced to take it down a notch has certainly humbled me. It takes a lot of guts to get out there and do something, knowing good and well when you start the activity that you are not going to be awesome at it. Please don’t think that I’m trying to toot my own horn or anything, because I’m not. This post is dedicated to ALL of the “back of the packers” out there. I am inspired by your perseverance.

I know that I am only going to be getting slower, and (for now) I am okay with that. But I want all of those hanging at the back with me to keep pushing and keep getting faster. Just remember to pat me on the back as you are passing me by. 🙂

Where in the pack do you fall? Where do you want to be?