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Run: Five Minute Friday

At the conclusion of another week, I am once again excited to join my writer friends over at the Five Minute Friday link-up. This week, our FMF prompt is Run.

Running used to be my identity. In middle school and high school I was a cross-country and track runner and I found success in long distance running. During the years when I ran competitively I developed personal qualities that have served me well in adulthood.

Running taught me how to be disciplined. If I wanted to be ready for each race, then I had to log the miles and put in the time in the days and weeks leading up to it. Cutting corners wasn’t an option when my eyes were set on the prize.

Running taught me how to be a leader. I was a team captain during my junior and senior years and took that role very seriously. As the captain, I encouraged my teammates and pushed them to be their very best. It was also a goal of mine to lead them with kindness and humility. As a teenager I am sure I didn’t always get that right, because I still struggle with that in adulthood, but my heart was in the right place.

Running taught me how to be a friend. So many friendships and memories can be attributed to long, easy runs through my hometown. You get to know a person when you have to run 5+ miles with them on a regular basis. The time is filled telling stories and talking about your day. Running also helped me to be more confident in social situations and gave me skills in small talk and making others feel heard.

As I reflect on my days as a runner I am so thankful for these experiences in my formative years. Due to medical issues, I am not really able to run like I used to, but I have applied the same discipline that I learned to other forms of exercise (cycling, strength training, yoga) and am still very active and health conscious.

This is from my first ever half marathon in 2007 (I was 17)

The Ameri Brit Mom

Fitness · Uncategorized

Race Day Snapshots

This weekend I finished the Patron Quarter Marathon in Columbus. My official time was 1:08:57. I ran the race with my friend, Leah. We ran eleven minute miles fairly consistently until mile 5 and then we left all we had on that course and finished strong.

In the last mile I passed 97 people!!!!

This was a comeback run for me. I ran competitively in high school but haven’t done much running since and barely any at all since the birth of my daughter in 2012. Here is a look at some snapshots from the event.

I’m excited to journey back into running. I’m setting goals for better overall health and wellness and running is a big part of those goals.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Fitness · Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday: Pass

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Pass. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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About a month and a half ago I got a random message from a friend I had lost connection with a few years ago. We hadn’t lost contact because of a falling out or a fight; life just got in the way for both of us. It was a Sunday night and my phone went off. In the message my friend asked me to run a quarter marathon (10k) with her on April 30.

My initial reaction: laughter.

I even read the message aloud to my husband in my most obnoxious scoffing voice.

I was not in shape and definitely had no business committing to a longer distance run at that point. Exercise was not on my radar at all. However, something inside me told me that this request was not one to pass up. Attached to the run came an opportunity to reconnect with someone I used to adore. Attached to the run came the chance to say that I was able to accomplish something I wasn’t sure I would ever do again. Attached to the run came all the emotions and anxiety that had held me back for so long. I gave my heart a moment to process the consequences of getting back into running competitively.

And even though every part of my brain wanted to send back an emoji of crying laughter I decided to type three simple letters in my response. I said “yes.”

Tomorrow is race day and I feel confident that I will make it to the finish line. All I needed was the accountability of a race and a race day companion to remind myself that this was once a passion of mine. I’m not out to break any records tomorrow, in fact I plan to take it nice and slow and soak up every moment. This is an experience I’m so thankful I didn’t pass up on.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Fitness · Uncategorized

Five Minute Friday: Easy

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Easy. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

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As an adult very few things come easy.

I can remember in high school taking months off from working out and being able to pick up where I left off. Running came easily. Working out wasn’t a struggle. Finding time to invest in my physical health was simple. School and friends were my only distractions.

Now, is quite the opposite. I’ve been trying to get in shape for a race (6.5 miles) I may end up doing with a friend. I’ve had to plan in advance and re-arrange my days in order to complete short runs. Plotting physical activity requires so much more than getting dressed for the exercise. Now that I’m a mother it requires childcare and making sure I still have time in my day to cook, clean, work, and fulfill all of my duties as a wife and mother.

Once I do find myself in a pocket of time set aside for running there is a brand new problem that comes with being an adult. Running is hard! As a petite high school student I was able to run long distances with mild levels of exhaustion and discomfort. Now, it’s an accomplishment to run two miles without contracting knee pain or shin splints. I don’t pay attention to the clock. It’s embarrassing. As long as I’m trying my best and getting good cardio through a heightened heart rate I’ll take whatever time I can.

Easy is not a word I would use to describe my road to getting in shape. But valuable is. Getting back into a regular routine of working out is valuable to my health and well-being and for that reason I will continue.

I’m back at it again. This isn’t easy. But I have resolved to not be too hard on myself and to enjoy getting back in shape.

 

Fashion · Uncategorized

Nike Workout Gear

Nike Workout Gear

 

I can’t believe I did it.I was so close to writing out the story of running from my life. I had come to terms with the fact that running was a thing of the past. No hard feelings. Then, a random message of conviction caused me to go back on my commitment to never run again. An old friend with good intentions made me do it. I can’t believe I caved in.
Over the weekend I found myself in a conversation with an old friend. During our conversation she mentioned she was running a quarter marathon in April and needed a partner to join her. In a moment of weaknesses I said I would do it, and that’s how I got myself into this pickle.
For a little background, I ran competitively in high school and post-high school I participated in a couple of half marathons and a dozen 5ks. However, since I had my daughter I have not done anything of the competitive sort. I’ve dabbled in running, but the time commitment has kept me from really taking training seriously. Over the winter I tried to do some runs, but found my knees aching and hips in pain as a result. I had more or less thrown in the towel on the idea of ever really competing again until this weekend.
But now that I have decided to give it another try I’m in need of motivation to get out there and do the work necessary to go from couch to quarter marathon in a little under two months. So how do I plan to motivate myself?
1. Running Buddy– Having a friend to run with keeps me accountable for finishing each workout. Some days the weather is less than ideal for running so finding accountability with another runner helps motivate me to run regardless of the conditions outside. Luckily, I have a few friends who also enjoy running and I plan to do a couple of runs each week with another person.
2. Set Weekly Goals– Having a long term goal is important, but sometimes I need to set smaller goals to keep me motivated on a daily basis. In the past, I would set weekly mileage goals or set a goal based on the amount of time I planned to run that week. These smaller goals help to give purpose to every single run. Each mile (or minute) becomes a step toward that weekly goal. I also love rewards. A great reward for hitting my weekly goal is giving myself a day of rest. (Example: If I can run 25 miles before Friday I will take Saturday off.)
3. Cute Workout Clothes– Who isn’t motivated by looking good? Recently, I went to a sporting goods store to pick out some soccer gear for my daughter. In the process, I found myself drawn to all of the brightly colored workout clothes for women. From sports bras to leggings there were so many adorable styles. I’m in need of a shopping spree to amp-up my workout wardrobe. (I’m a Nike girl if you haven’t guessed from the picture above.)
What is your favorite piece in your workout ensemble?
Fashion

A Little Athletic Style

Today on my Wednesday fashion series I am focusing on athletic style. Everything I am wearing in the photograph above is from Old Navy’s athletic line. I love the way that clothing lines are capitalizing on the healthy lifestyle. They are making it much more fashionable to get fit. If I’m being honest (and maybe a little vain) sometimes the motivation I need to get out and run comes in the form of a color coordinated outfit complete with bright athletic shoes. Also, I have a really hard time walking into a sports/athletic shop and passing up the opportunity to indulge in the colorful and breathable attire.

My Wednesday fashion posts are dedicated to a short, but sweet description of a style or fashion I’m enjoying. I love documenting my outfits and I hope to inspire others to find simple pieces that compliment their personal style.

Active Tank in Lavendar Go Lightly $13.00

Cropped Jersey Leggings in Black $12.50

Wide-Grip Headband in Pink $9.94

Fitness

Return to the Running Realm

What a lovely alliteration that I feared may never again be reality for this momma.

This year I have resolved to return to an old pastime, the art of running. In school I was a competitive runner. I’ve raced anywhere between 400 meters to 13.1 miles. I have many accomplishments from my younger years like:

1 mile League champion in track

4 time Regional Qualifier in Cross Country

2 time Ohio State Qualifier in Cross Country

2 time Half-marathon runner (sub 2 hour times)

and I have run or placed in probably over twenty non-school affiliated road races.

These are things I am very proud of, but they are also things I do not often speak about. They are a reminder to me about how I’ve allowed myself to fall out of shape and how I’ve been incapable of keeping a constant workout routine over the years. I have not competed in any type of racing atmosphere since I got married. Work and adulthood have gotten in the way of continuing a hobby I once enjoyed. The first year of teaching is the hardest, and I found it really hard to keep a routine of any sort in my life. I feel like after that year ended I continued to let work become my excuse. And then there was a baby.

It took me months after the delivery of my daughter to get my body back and to retain the ability to exercise in a vigorous manner. It was probably nine months or so before I even tried to do an isolated run here and there. The idea of exercise and finding time with a newborn was overwhelming so I didn’t try very hard at making it happen.

But I am done with making excuses. Yes, I am busy. Yes, I am tired often. Yes, I am out of shape, but when a workout can be completed in twenty minutes or less there is really no excuse.

When it came to setting some New Years Resolutions (2015) I had two things I wanted to accomplish: 1. Publish some of my writings and actively participate in the writing community and 2. Run a 5k. Over the past few months I have been semi-committed to that second goal. It’s been a terrible winter and running outside has been next to impossible, but I have maintained my fitness through various indoor workouts such as walking the long halls at my school, elliptical training, and cardio/core workout videos (Jillian Michaels). I’ve written on here before about my progress in those areas, but it is now time to update on my outdoor running stats!

Well, so far there isn’t too much to update you on. There have been a few days hit or miss that the weather has been decent enough for an outdoor running endeavor. Last week before my allergies acted up I ran for twenty minutes in my neighborhood. I felt out of shape and sore for the next few days. On Sunday of this week I woke up to beautiful weather and a huge desire to get outdoors and push myself. I ended up running 3.1 miles through my town/neighborhood in just under 28:00. Now this isn’t ideal, but it is progress toward my goal nonetheless.

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The weather has been very bipolar this week. Last night when I wanted to do a run it was snowing…so I did a quick, but intense elliptical circuit. Today, my plan? Another couple of miles outdoors. It’s 46 degrees Fahrenheit we will see how it goes.

Anywho…keep me accountable, blogging community. I would love to see myself complete a 5k or two this summer in times around 24 minutes. In order to get there I know I have a lot of stamina and consistency to build. 2015 is all about reaching goals for me so I hope to see myself back on the road racing away soon. I’m not aiming to become a super-runner or anything, but I would like to see myself return to a love of mine. The art of RUNNING.