Thursday, March 15, 2012

Strong Little Girls and Pink Running Shoes

Hey Preps! in you can see it in this picture.  Yummmm.

Such an attractive picture right?  I am a sweaty, smelly, mess.  Mile number nine of an 18 mile run.  Finally up to 18 miles this week.  Next week is 20.  Yikes.  Doesn't that sound terrifying?  I thought 18 was terrifying but the whole two before the zero thing terrifies me.  It's just a psychological barrier that I am nervous about getting passed on my way to running the marathon.

So I started off on my 18 miler, and I was hurting.  I have flat feet, so my shins sometimes hurt because of the way I pronate.  I was tight, and I was dreading the distance I had to run.  The first two miles, I huff and puffed away...fighting a battle in my head to stop, to quit.  I forced myself through it though, and after those two miles of a struggle, came 16 miles of cruisin'.

"Yep, nobody could catch me at this speed" 

I kept telling myself that, and eventually I believed it.  My stride fell back into place and the struggles of the beginning of my run were long gone by the end.  I felt strong.

In life, we are faced with so much adversity.  Maybe we lose someone, struggle financially, or are faced with life altering decisions.  There is an initial struggle when faced with these situations.  We don't see light at the end of the tunnel, and are anxious about the outcome.  However, I have never been faced with adversity that didn't make me stronger and better in the end.  

A guy at my gym calls me "Lil' Grit".  He says I am intimidating to the male species because regardless of how little I am, he knows I could lay anyone out who crosses me the wrong way.  Well duh...that's why I weight lift dude.  Anyways, I like my nickname.

Grit means lasting strength.  Always.  When it's easy, when it's tough...someone who has grit will make it through.  That means when my shins are killing me, my legs are tight, and I don't think I have taken a heavier breathe in my life...that I push through it.  It also means that when I am struggling with something in real life, that I take it day by day...and try to make the most of it.  

I was reading through a magazine yesterday, and came across an article about Micha Burden, one of the top open-water swimmers in the country.  She isn't the most talented swimmer, but she has grit.  She wanted to be the best, so with perseverance, she accomplished just that.  

While reading the article, Micha said something that really stuck with me:

"Athletic ability shuts down when there is adversity.  Grit doesn't."

So my challenge for you today is to keep working at whatever you are struggling with.  Keep striving to reach your full em' you've got grit!

Believe it or not...out of all of the shoes I own...these are my favorites.
We have spent a lot of time together.  We fit each other well.  
They are pink.  Girly, yet strong.  They make me smile,
and I know it's going to be a good run when I lace them up!

Have a blessed day y'all!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Frozen Boogers

Hey Preps!
(Outfit of the Day: Lands End Canvas Gingham Oxford Shirt, Lands End Canvas Cardigan,
Delia's Red Corduroy Pants, Sperry Top-sider Sheerwater Boots)

My nickname from a favorite college professor is Smiley.
Hmmm I wonder why.
This past weekend I was out with "red in the face" boy,
and someone I know came over to us...and told him
ALL about my huge glasses and retainers that I used to rock in the 90's.
"Red in the Face" boy laughed, and said he really wasn't surprised.
Great. He already knows I'm a freakazoid.  
A freakazoid perfectly happy being who she is. Retainers and all.
Can't you tell from this picture? Or this post title?

It is freezing here in Pittsburgh.  Early this morning, I sprinted to my car to avoid the cold and shivered the whole way to the gym.  I have a secret spot I park in at the gym that is actually a lot closer and cheaper than the meters, but no one has figured it out yet.  I feel so sneaky.  Anyways, I made another mad dash into the gym...and announced to the lady at the front desk that my boogers are officially frozen, as I took a big sniffle in.  She lost it.  I think she will always laugh at me when I make my entrances into the gym now, thanks to my half-awake but blatantly honest comment.  

I feel like I could write a novel about all the things I hate about the cold.  I hate dressing in huge layers and feeling like a rollie pollie all the time, I hate the possibility of wiping out on ice, and I just hate being cold in general.  Honestly, frozen boogers are the least of my worries in the cold.  

Usually on crummy days like this, I just want to curl up into a ball and go back to sleep.  However, today I am just plain happy.  Maybe it was my 'off the cuff' comment that I made, or maybe it's just the balance that I have been feeling to great extents in my life lately that keeps me happy...regardless I cannot stop smiling.  

In my personal opinion, I have found that happiness is something we often lack.  We are always complaining about how tired we are, the to do list we have to accomplish, and anything else.  There are so many days that I hear numerous people make "whoa is me" statements.  We are always making excuses about why we are unhappy; constantly examining other people's lives and wishing we had something they do.  

Why do we do that?

There are so many times I compare myself to others.  Oh I wish I had her pretty curly hair...Oh I wish I was taller...Oh I wish I had (you fill in the blank).  We are always wanting what others have, always feeling as if we are somehow missing the mark in our own lives...and it makes us completely miserable.

Instead why don't we focus on how much we DO have in our lives?  I am blessed with an incredible family who supports me and loves me unconditionally.  My puppy is the best snuggler in the world.  My friends keep me grounded but still know how to have a good time...I am a college student but already have a career teaching fitness classes and just got paid to become a personal trainer.  I can beat the boys in a lot of sports.  I proudly dress modestly and rock side pony tails.  There are so many blessings in my life and so many things I am proud of.  I really need to remember those more instead of focusing on what I am lacking in.

I am not saying that if you are struggling with something that you should ignore improving yourself as a person, I'm saying start appreciating what you have a little bit more! How can we truly be happy if we are always focusing on the negative things in our lives when we really should be focusing on everything we DO have.  

So be happy. Count your blessings...and laugh at your frozen boogers. 
 Life is too short to not appreciate it.

Have a blessed day y'all!

Friday, March 2, 2012

I Believe I Can Fly

Hey Preps!

Yesterday morning started with an alarm clock sounding off at 4:30AM.  Does it surprise you that waking up that early every day is my choice? Don't answer that.  Sometimes it doesn't feel like my choice.  I drag myself out of my bed kicking and screaming, all while trying to dig the yuckies out of my eyes.

"Why am I doing this?  Why am I up so early?"

Sure, there are days where I just want to go back to sleep, but I don't.  I force myself out the door, and into the pool or out into the wild for a crazy morning run.  Yesterday consisted of jumping into a freezing cold pool at 5:30AM.  I got used to doing so my freshman year of college, given I was a D1 swimmer.  I hated it then.  It was a job, but hilarious as it sounds, now that it isn't a job, I love it.  There is nothing better than a hard swim workout...  

Especially if your swim workout involves women who you look up to in so many ways.  The gym that I train at has hosted a great deal of triathletes and successful marathoners.  Many are quite successful in major events such as Ironmans and the Boston Marathon.  These women have careers, families, and are so busy, yet they are waking up at ungodly hours, getting on that bike...and hitting that pool.  Why?  

They love it.  They love the intensity.  They love working towards and achieving a goal that was gleamed impossible...and you know what? I do too.  

Admiration doesn't even describe the upmost respect I have for the women I train with.  I hope that my whole life I will be just as dedicated and committed to my fitness, while maintaing success in the real world like they are. 

I have said this before, but in order to live a balanced life, I need my workouts.  I need those swims that seem challenging at first but result in such a refreshing burst of energy and accomplishment...and more than that...I need my runs.  

Training for a marathon can be just as much a psychological struggle as it is a physical struggle.  I always tell myself the first two miles of a distance run are the hardest, and they truly are for me.  Yet once I reach that two mile mark, my pain and forced running is gone...replaced with pure joy and ambition that carries my legs up hills across fields, and anywhere my heart desires.  

One of my favorite runs starts with a huge uphill battle.  I hate it at first.  My legs burn, and my heart rate increases at an exponential pace...yet overcoming that first hill allows me to have the motivation to conquer the next 10 that follow.  Hill after hill I stride.  Farm land, mountains, and unreal fields decorate my runs, and I am constantly reminded how blessed I am.  

Yesterday after my swim, I decided to go on a distance run.  Sopping wet hair in a matted bun, hat to cover the mess, running leggings, reflective jacket, and my worn down I went.  I reached the very top of the last hill of my run and stopped for a second to take the picture shown above.  I was just overcome with the beauty...the beauty of the world synchronizing to the pounding of my tired feet.  The rhythm took me away.  I felt as if I could go on forever.  

I started descending the hill, and couldn't help but spread my arms out as if I were flying.  That's exactly what I felt like I was doing.  My feet, hardly touching the ground, chest open, arms out, and I couldn't hold back my smile.  I was truly happy, and it's moments in my life like that, which I never want to forget.

As I was finishing the last leg of my run, I decided to avoid my normal route because the last street involved happens to be where my "I turn red every time I see you" gent that I am dating lives.  I was proud of myself for creating a detour, but as I ran a road parallel to it, and started to turn back to the gym, who did I bump into other than this dreamy guy in a light blue tie and beautiful navy suit...headed to the office.  

"Oh hey, don't mind me, I am just a sopping wet, sweaty, smelly mess...Great seeing you at this time in the morning, when you look simply sexy and smell delicious, and I am completely out of breath and smell like chlorine and body odor."

Yep.  I guess you can't always stay on the runner's high...sometimes you have to fall back down into reality...or bump into a guy who you adore and it completely flusters your focus.  What am I? A middle schooler again?  That's what it feels like.  

I like when things happen that way.  I love running, and I am glad life doesn't always work out the way I planned...because more often than not, it works out better than I could have ever bumping into just the right person at just the wrong time.  Sometimes I think my life is a sitcom.  God definitely has a sense of humor. I like it.

Have a great weekend y'all!