“Set a goal so big it scares you.”
Having a big goal is…kind of scary. Having a big goal and putting it out there, publicly….kind of super-scary.
But here it is: I’m training to run Grandma’s Marathon in June. Today I ran a 10k and kicked off my official training schedule to tackle 26.2.
For anyone who knows me and was expecting something big, that’s probably a giant letdown. I’ve run marathons before, I’m usually training for one every spring.
So why the big fuss over keeping this one to myself so long?
For the first time ever, I’m training for a marathon with a very real possibility I won’t end up being able to run it.
First off, I have a bad hamstring that keeps me on edge every day.
Second off, I worry about the strength of my pelvic floor being able to handle 16, 18, and 20+ mile runs.
Third off, I have a one-year-old. My son just turned one, it’s crazy to refer to him as a one-year-old vs. my baby. Oh, parenting!
The combination of these three very large factors gives me worry that I won’t be able to complete my goal of running Grandma’s Marathon alongside my oldest friend, Maggie.
After she mentioned her goal to run a full marathon this year, I eagerly jumped onboard with her. How fun! We could run together, her first marathon, my first since becoming a mom. A great opportunity to help each other, vent to each other, and push each other. Plus I love running and I love running marathons and I love the idea of running Grandma’s Marathon after having the itch for a couple years now.
But, the reality is still a factor. Will my hamstring cooperate? Will my pelvic floor strength be good enough? And, most importantly, will the love and chaos, the fun and fatigue, everything that comes with being an equal parenting partner and mother to a one-year-old be enough of a non-factor?
I thought about that last sentence and was very careful to say anything resembling prevent, stop, or get in the way of my goal.
While my muscles could stop me from running in June, my son will not. Because if I choose to skip runs and stray from my training plan because he needs more from me, or I need more sleep or downtime, it’s just that – my choice.
I’ve continued to love and make time for working out and running, even while adjusting to the change and demands of parenthood. Here’s hoping that rings true with marathon-ing as well.
Fellow marathon runners, how did you balance parenting and getting back into marathon running? Any advice, words of wisdom, or other “wish-I-would-have-knows” for me as I take on this challenge. Please share in the comments or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.
“Stay positive and love your life.”
Have you ever had a really good workout…because of music? I have, it was a run last week. In fact, I can attribute a lot of great workouts to great tunes.
In related news, today, March 11, happens to be my favorite holiday. #311day is a day to celebrate my favorite band and its music.
In addition to many great memories, I owe some of my best workouts to 311. Today was no exception, as I knocked out a solid run and short, heavy lift.
While it’s true I don’t partake in the popular practice of running with music and headphones when I run outside, I count on good tunes to keep me going on my treadmill runs and encourage hard, heavy lifting. There’s definitely something to the power of music when working out.
What’s your favorite workout music? Give a shoutout in the comments or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.
“Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first – it means me, too.”
Every now and then, a new trend comes along that seems to drive wellness culture for a few minutes – a form of what I call ‘shiny object syndrome’. You know what I’m talking about.
Remember ‘strong is the new skinny’ and the soon-to-be-followed ‘dad bod’? Even now the concept of wellness seems to be getting hotter, replacing weight loss, fitness, and even CrossFit (did you see Weight Watchers changed its name and identity to be about wellness, not weight?).
To me, wellness shouldn’t be trendy and it should be based on you – however, the world we live in today means for many, the opposite is true. It’s all about trends and one-size-fits-all ideas. The latest one I’m noticing: Self-care.
Check social media or the internet and I’m sure you’ll find no shortage of self-care-focused info.
The concept of self-care is that you must take time for yourself, everything from the lavish – dreams of spa days and massages – to the simple – taking a half hour to read a book or relax in your tub. It seems to be aimed at women, mothers in particular, because the rule is women put all their energy into caring for others, there’s nothing left for them to give to themselves.
Yes, it’s important to take time for ourselves – but that’s what your individual wellness is all about. To create a whole “thing” of it with the self-care movement, I don’t think so.
What do I need to do for self-care? Am I doing enough for self-care? OMG, now I need to make time for self-care, too?!
All of a sudden there’s a new pressure on us to achieve one more thing: self-care. But, at its basic, self-care is simply taking time for you, doing what you want, what makes you feel good. It doesn’t need a fancy new name or trendy movement. It’s ‘me’ time.
For me, this most often shows up in the form of something sweaty. A heavy lift, a good old EFX sesh, or, my usual favorite, the long run. Sometimes it involves food, meeting a friend for lunch or enjoying breakfast before my guys wake up. And a couple times a year, it involves dedicated time with my best girlfriends.
Then there are some days where what I need to do to be at my best is sleep in and take a rest day. And I do it – I mean, rest days are important after all.
I make time for these things because I want to do them, they’re part of who I am – not because I’m desperately seeking time to care for myself or feel pressured like I have to practice self-care because it’s the newest trend.
We should always be taking care of ourselves, at least a little bit each day. Some days, there’s not much to it. And that’s okay. We have enough on our plates, there’s no need to add to it with the pressure of achieving the idea of self-care.
What do you think about the self-care trend? Has it inspired you, stressed you out more, or have you not even noticed it? I love hearing other points of view so please leave a comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.
“Vacation, not to escape life, but to make sure life doesn’t escape you”
Winter is prime time for vacationing. When thinking of vacation, most people imagine laying on the beach, relaxing by the pool, not having a care in the world. While these are delightful thoughts, vacation for me is a little different.
I pack resistance bands, seek out hotels with great gyms or near running paths, even voluntarily choose to go places with 20-degree weather and snow so I can ride my board all day long. I love to stay active when I travel, whether it’s work or vacation – and I recently realized I’m not the only one.
Last week, I spent a few days in Arizona with some of my best girlfriends. I initially planned to go for a run at least a couple of the days and was excited to find out most of the other girls wanted to do the same. As we started planning additional activities, hiking, yoga, and walking around at the zoo all made the list.
Yay, other people who wanted to combine activity with lazy time!
I even arranged for us to do a private functional fitness workout with an old friend of mine, Dale Haines of @762fitness, someone I met during my HARD CHARGE days and who I’ve stayed in touch with, thanks to mutual love of – you guessed it – working out.
From the more intense activities like his class and hiking Camelback mountain to the less-intense goat yoga, walking around the zoo, and easy morning running, I had the best vacation, spending quality time with some of my besties, getting my sweat and swell on, and, of course, plenty of good food and wine.
Best of all, our “up for anything” attitude meant we experienced things we never would have otherwise. Hike and climb up a mountain? Do box jumps, balance on a moving stabilizer, then do an arm workout with giant springs? Do yoga with goats? Check, check, and, I can’t believe I did that, but check!
Some may think vacation is all about doing nothing and relaxing. I think vacation is doing what you love…and relaxing. Since I became a mom, working out is much more of a luxury than it used to be, as is relaxing, so I enjoyed the opportunity to do both. It’s the kind of balance that keeps me well.
Do you like to stay active on vacations? Or do you prefer a whole lotta nothing on vacation? Maybe you’re someone who tries to find a happy medium between the two? Let me know by sharing a comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.
You know that feeling when you think you’re in pretty good shape – your workouts are challenging but doable and you feel like a badass after a really good sesh?
You know that feeling when you think you’re in pretty good shape, then you do a workout you’re not used to – and you feel like the most out-of-shape person and like you may die?
Ah, yes, THAT feeling. I’ve had that feeling plenty of times in my life and, just today, got to enjoy the experience again as I took part in a charity cycling event for Giving Hearts Day.
I’m not embarrassed to admit that cycling is a weak point for me – even considering my thick, strong legs and butt. I essentially stopped doing triathlons, not so much because I suck at cycling, but because I legit do not enjoy it.
What I do enjoy, however, is competition and doing things for charity. Naturally, I was eager to participate in this event. Plus, last year we came in second place (UGH, the worst) and, being eight months pregnant at the time, I couldn’t go full-on, all-out – so I was determined to fully pull my own weight on the team this year.
I cycled. I cycled my ass off. I pushed the entire time, sweated like a mofo, and was exhausted at the end of the 10-minute ride. My team won our heat.
So, I may have felt less-than badass and more like I was getting my ass kicked, but it was a great sweat sesh and a great opportunity for me to mix up my workout. Plus, we raised some money and awareness for a great charity.
How often do you take the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and let your workout work you? What type of workout is that for you? Please share a comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.
“Habit eats motivation for breakfast…but determination achieves more goals than habit.”
Most of the time, the quote I use to begin every blog is sourced elsewhere, whether something that has been said, a song lyric, or a line from a show. But this time, that’s a quote I came up with…by somewhat combining two famous quotes.
Anyway, enough about that. The real purpose of this blog, like all, is to give you the story behind the kickoff quote. I’m in the middle of reading the book, Atomic Habits by @JamesClear. The author presents his perspective that habits are the real reason we do great things – and not so great things, too.
When it comes to working out, I think most of us religious runners, gym rats, Cross Fitters, etc. believe that habit is a key force behind our 5 a.m. runs or evening lifts, whatever workout we’ve taken to as ours.
There is some truth to this; I’ve said plenty of times that healthy choices only work in the long term if they become part of your lifestyle – so, in a way, I support the idea that, “habit is what keeps you going.” (slipping in another legit quote there for ya.) And it definitely has nothing to do with motivation; hopefully we’ve all learned that motivation is bullshit – feel free to read my blog on the myth of motivaiton.
Atomic Habits has some really wise pieces of info – although it shits on goals a bit (and I LOVE goals). This is one part I don’t agree with and want to present an alternate perspective, my perspective.
The author believes that once people achieve a goal, they stop their good behavior. Only if they have the habit developed will they keep going.
He also notes developing habits isn’t about achieving goals, it’s about being the person you want to be, defining yourself as that person.
I don’t agree with either of these. I still believe it’s the other way around, that goals are the foundation to achieving what we want, good habits included.
I guess, personally, I don’t make the effort to be well – like run, lift weights, eat lots of veggies, and write in my journal – to because I want to be a runner, a gym rat, a vegetarian, or journaler (that’s not really a word but you get it). I don’t care about these labels or anyone defining me by them.
I do all these things because they make me feel good. I’m set goals all the time to do these things, which makes me feel good. I’m driven by the fact they help me manage my stress, my weight, my happiness – again, which make me feel good.
I’m driven – not in a habit.
I believe if you really want to do certain things – even be a certain person, if you care about labels and others’ perceptions – you need to be driven. And what drives us? Goals…not habits. The key is, and where the author’s point is very valid, you have to keep setting goals.
For real, Atomic Habits is a great book so far. I’m only about halfway into it and it has given me a lot to think about, more “oh, yes that makes sense,” than, “no, don’t agree with that.” I’m looking forward to continuing the read and, hopefully, expanding on some of my current thoughts and opening my mind to new thoughts.
What do you think about this? Are your positive actions due to habit, an automatic response? Or are you making choices based on goals and drive?
The comments are all for you to share so please do. Or you can always tweet me @LindsayIRL.
“It can wait.”
How much time do you spend on your phone? Maybe you scroll through social media or check emails, maybe you even use your phone to – gasp – talk, like make or take phone calls. Ha, that last one’s crazy, right?
Now think about how much time you spend on your phone because of notifications. Either responding to notifications or simply needing to look further into one that pops up.
A notification might come from Facebook or Twitter, maybe you have notifications for breaking news or up-to-the-minute sports scores, or you have email notifications constantly lighting up your home screen.
I’m going to drop something on you that’s going to seem outlandish: other than text messages, I have no notifications enabled on my phone. That means when someone tweets at me, likes my Instagram photo, or sends me an email, I don’t know about it instantly.
Remember the slight gasp when I suggested using your phone for talking? I imagine that is now amplified, perhaps bordering on horror, as most think about the idea of having no notifications on their phone. And what probably seems crazier? I think it’s the best way to be.
As a 35-year-old and especially as someone who works in public relations, the fact that I’m not attached at the hip with my phone probably seems bizarre. Taking it a step further, I bring my no-distractions approach into other areas of my life.
I often close my email at work so I can focus on, well, doing work. I have a separate iPod for music, simply so I’m not distracted by anything at the gym. I don’t run outside with headphones and I only bring my phone as a safety precaution on select runs because I like the freedom of no calls, texts, or connections with anyone other than myself and my thoughts.
I get it when people think my behavior is crazy. It’s not normal, at all. But I’d like to talk about the upside of minimizing distractions and shying away from hyper-connectedness as it relates to wellness.
Nearly everyone is addicted to their phone these days, both at work and at home. I don’t need to tell you all the statistics of how many times most people check their phones each day or how much time is spend responding to requests vs. being present and productive.
I believe that most people think seeing notifications and responding at the drop of the hat makes them feel good, like they have control over that part of life. But I wonder if this hyper-connected world actually causes more stress and anxiety, and is hurting our happiness and wellness.
On the flip side, I truly believe my simple practice of disabling notifications and proactively stepping away from technology often makes me more present, clearer-minded, more productive, happier, and, ultimately, well.
Do my efforts to eliminate distractions mean I sometimes miss calls, have delayed responses to emails, or not instantly know if someone liked my latest tweet? Yep. But the world hasn’t ended yet.
I recently watched an episode of Parks and Rec where my favorite character, Ron Swanson, attempts to go off the grid – not for wellness reasons, because he despises the government and anyone knowing too much of his personal info. Anyway, this gets him in trouble with his wife, who reminds him that he’s a husband and father, and often that means people need to get ahold of him.
99% of the time, things can wait. And if it truly is urgent, that’s why text notifications are the one thing enabled on my phone. I think Ron would appreciate that kind of compromise.
Now, I understand that this approach can’t work for everyone. For example, my coworker, Jessi, is responsible for monitoring company reviews, requests for info, and social comments, and responding in a timely manner. It quite literally is her job to be responsive and some days, I don’t know how she does it.
But for the rest of you, I challenge you to take this approach, just for one week. Shut off your notifications, give yourself permission to close your email and ignore phone calls, and enjoy the feeling of being present and productive, with minimal interruption and distraction.
If you do this, please let me know how it went – did you feel better or have more anxiety?
The comments are also your space to share your opinion on this topic so do it. Or as always, tweet me, @LindsayIRL – just know that I won’t get respond right away. But I will get back to you.
“Sometimes a rest day is the best day”
I often find myself getting little nuggets of wisdom from older movies and TV shows.
In the past few weeks, D2: The Mighty Ducks has been on a lot and, naturally, I’ve had it on in the background every chance possible. As I write this, it’s going to be on in a half hour. #winning
Side note, based on my references to movies like the Mighty Ducks and TV shows like Full House (twice – I’ve referenced Full House twice, most recently in a post about successful daily habits) I imagine it’s quite obvious most of my childhood years were spent in the 90s.
One of the tiny lessons gleaned from this movie comes, not from the lead character, Coach Gordon Bombay, but the supporting “coach” of the team, their tutor, Ms. Michelle McKay.
After a particularly grueling post-game workout sesh, the team is exhausted the next day so Ms. McKay takes it upon herself to cancel their practice later that day. Her simple explanation, “They needed a day off…they need to rest.”
Wise words, Ms. McKay.
With rest and a change in Coach Bombay’s attitude, the team becomes energized, happy, and comes together to beat team Iceland for the gold medal. Ah, the power of rest.
Now, in the real world, you might not come off a rest day with boundless energy and pull off an achievement as seemingly impossible as beating the big, bad boys from Iceland. But rest does wonders, for the mind and the body. Sometimes, a little bit of rest is exactly what we need.
A person cannot function at his or her best without rest. I mean, it’s possible to function on very little rest and sleep – new parents, I’m looking at you. With a 10-month old, I still remember those grueling early weeks and, somehow, getting through them. But I think we can all admit that we’re not our best when running on little rest.
If your current workout plan doesn’t allow a rest day, it’s probably not the best-devised plan. If your work mentality is go, go GO, rest can wait, it’s probably not the smartest path to take. Both are clear roads to the destination of burnout. For a deeper dive into this, read my post: 3 reasons to take a rest day.
I have an ongoing weekly goal to work out at least five days a week. Barring intense travel, sickness, or major issues with my son, this is always my goal and I take it seriously.
Most of my workouts are early morning ones. I don’t always get to strategically plan my rest days anymore so it can be tempting to want to go, go, go every day in case something unexpected comes up and forces me to miss a work out. I look at this a little closer in my post: The Importance of Rest Day and Relaxation. Feel free to check out that one, too.
But there are some days that I choose to sleep in and it’s the right choice. I have to remind myself, sleeping in isn’t me being lazy – it’s the best way to keep my body and mind strong.
Do you take rest days or make time for rest periods in your day when needed? Do you notice a positive effect on your body and mind after rest time?
The comments are your space to share thoughts so please leave one. Or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.
“There’s no wrong or right – just write.”
I love to write. Big shocker, I know. It’s more than just my love to write blogs and stories – I love writing myself notes. I love writing down my workouts. I love writing to-do lists (and checking off items – talk about really feelin the love!).
As a fan of the pen-to-paper life, I’ve been journaling in various ways for several years. Right now, I have two daily question-based journals and an exercise journal. Lately though, I’ve wanted to up my journaling game and my wellness game.
One of the reasons I love running and lifting is because both are forms of therapy for me – so too is writing. After finding a 2019 planner in the dollar section at Target (another shock, Target dollar section FTW!), I was ready to begin. I just needed to figure out exactly what to journal, aside from logging my daily workouts and rest days.
In addition to a typical calendar, this particular journal includes extra pages for each month, every day gets its own dedicated space and it’s organized into weeks. I started brainstorming ideas for what to journal about on a daily basis. I came up with a few wellness journal topics and decided I’d try to write down something every day each week that will help keep me on my path to wellness.
Here’s how the journal is currently set up:
Daily workout and rest day logging in the calendar portion. Then, on the weekly, blocked day pages:
-Reflect on the past week’s workouts
-Three things for which I’m grateful that week
(one kicker, I can’t let it be my son – because, c’mon, I’m grateful for him every damn day)
-A mid-week check-in of where I’m at with goals
-Three things I can’t control, but how I can respond to them (because that’s what I can control)
-The best thing I saw or heard that week
-Reflect on the past week’s eating and nutrition
Tuesdays I decided to leave flexible, allow me to include a rotating thought. I’ll use this space for things like a dream or memory recall, a cluster thought exercise, writing down what I’m doing to keep calm and collected that week, things like that.
I kicked off my new wellness journal last week and I’m looking forward to keeping it up and, hopefully, seeing some health, life, and stress management benefits from it.
More than that, my goal is, not only to write more, but to reflect more; to look back periodically on week’s past and try to learn something from my thoughts and feelings.
Do you keep a wellness journal? What are some wellness journal ideas you have? Or is there something similar that you try to write down every day, like a gratitude or meditation journal? The comments are meant for you so please leave me one, or tweet me @LindsayIRL.
“I love you, but you’re crazy.”
Fargo gets pretty cold in the winter. I’m not shocking anyone with that statement. This past week, we had some of our chillier days, with a few down to the single digits. So what did I do on the coldest day, when the temp reached a balmy five degrees? Eagerly layered up and ran outside, of course.
Let me back up and explain a bit.
For the past several days…well, almost weeks…well, really, most of the month of December, I’ve battled various colds. I hate being sick. Up until I had a small child who goes to daycare, exchanges loads of germs, and brings them home to us every day, I rarely got sick.
Not only does being sick just make a person feel crappy, workouts are pretty much nonexistent. And I love my workouts, whether they come at 5 a.m. on a weekday or a later morning run after Abel goes down for a nap on Saturday.
This week, I started feeling a tiny bit better, enough that I gave our elliptical a shot for 20 minutes to see if I felt better. I did. So the next day, I was eager to break another short sweat.
I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I went for a run so, as you can imagine, I had the itch. After an end-of-day meeting allowed me to get home a few minutes earlier that usual, with a small window of daylight left, my urge to run was even greater. There was just one issue – it was five degrees outside.
But did I let this stop me? Hell no. I layered up, putting on all my best, warmest stuff, forced Burton into his sweater, and we were out the door.
Oh, an outdoor run. How I had missed it. Was I a little worried about aggravating my sickness? Sure. Did my eyelashes partially freeze together? Of course. But did it feel great? You betcha (in the words of a true Fargo-nian). I love winter running and know how to make it really enjoyable.
Funnily enough, I never once felt cold. The right clothes – and mindset – really do the trick. For tips on layering for cold-weather runs, I’ve got you covered.
As I was running, I thought about how people always say runners are crazy. We get up super early to squeeze in miles before work. We sacrifice weekend for long runs, recovery naps, and icing. We spend a lot of money to run a lot of miles for enjoyment. Most of all, as I demonstrated, we brave some of the toughest elements without much thought – in fact, with enthusiasm.
While most people couldn’t bear to spend 30 seconds outside in five-degree winter weather, I voluntarily went outside with the intent of spending several minutes in it…for pleasure. Yes, I think it’s true: we runners really are a special kind of crazy.
Are you crazy for running? Or do you believe runners are straight-up crazy? The comments are all yours so leave one. Or tweet me @LindsayIRL.