tiger tail

So, that happened #100milemarch

As you can probably tell (spoiler alert) I ran 100 miles in March.

unnamed (41)

I want to preface this by acknowledging that so many of you readers run much further than this on a monthly basis, and after hitting triple digits I bow down to you. Because while I somehow, magically, made it to 100 miles in a month without my knees or shins offing themselves (or losing a single toenail!), it was a close call. As I hobbled into bed last night, I marveled at what I have just put my body through – and I marveled even more at what is POSSIBLE.

How did I accomplish this safely?

Like I said, it was a close call. This past week was especially tough and I don’t think I could have done another day. My last run of the month was 7.6 of the longest, hardest miles I’ve ever done. But I do think that I handled this challenge in a safe way. As someone who literally went from 0 to 100, I knew it was a pretty crazy goal. But I have some tips that I think helped keep my knees and shins safe.

  • Take It Slow – Build Up Mileage
    • Week 1 – 15.28 miles
    • Week 2 – 25.46 miles
    • Week 3 – 20.62 miles
    • Week 4 – 38.72 miles
    • When I first started running again, a long run for me was five miles without stopping. So for my first week, I ran five miles, three times. Simple as that. I slowly started adding in longer and longer runs, until my last week when I repeatedly ran anywhere from 7-9.5 miles like it was chump change. But it happened slowly over the course of the month. I knew I wasn’t Superwoman and the last thing I wanted to do was not achieve my goal because I got greedy.
  • YOGA
    • Obvious, maybe, but yoga became my best friend, especially during the last week. I averaged going once per week (apparently I was a slacker during week two because I skipped yoga AND had my smallest number of miles). The last week, when my mileage was higher than it’s ever been, I attended two hour-long classes and even did some of the moves at home. I view yoga as forced stretching (I’m terrible at doing it on my own) and the last week I’m positive that going to two yoga classes on back-to-back days was one of the reasons I was able to finish strong.unnamed (48)
  • FUEL
    • I stopped apologizing to myself about how much I needed to fuel. There were a few days in the middle of the month when I had a lot of guilt for how much I was eating. For the majority of the second half of the month I needed a solid four meals to keep up. And for awhile I wasn’t allowing that to happen, which just ended up with me snacking a lot, taking in more calories than I would have if I had just allowed myself another meal. All my food restriction thoughts came flooding back – “I can have 20 Triscuits, three slices of Swiss cheese and a spoonful of peanut butter because that’s a “snack”, but I can’t have a turkey sandwich, because that’s a “meal”, and I’ve already had my three meals for the day.” Stuff like that. Luckily the last week I pretty much forced myself to snap out of it because I was so hungry. Like, all the time. So I started to eat whenever I was hungry. I didn’t always make the healthiest choices, but letting go of “the rules” really helped me maintain that mileage.unnamed (45)
  • Post-run care
    • Stretching
      • Lots of calf stretches on the stairs
    • Ice
      • Always post-run for at least 10 minutes – frozen veggies still hold my heart!
    • Compression socks
      • I slept most nights wearing mineunnamed (46)
    • Foam Rolling
      • 5 minutes per leg up and down the IT band, plus an additional 5 minutes rolling my quads
    • Tiger Tail
      • Intermittent use on my calves while watching TV

And, the outcome?

I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt more accomplished. The minute I crossed the 100-mile marker I immediately sent mass texts to my parents, my friends, my development leaders at work…I felt like a kid on Christmas morning who just opened the best gift. Except this time I gave the gift to myself. I didn’t depend on anyone else for my happiness. I told myself I was going to do something, and I did it.

In other news, I feel stronger and healthier, as you can imagine. I am always in the best shape when running is a major part of my life, and I can feel my body shifting back into the crazy-athletic physique that it is capable of. The only difference this time around is that I don’t have an obsession with being “thin” via running. I love the monster calves that I get when I run. And, on the side, I’ve continued working on my upper body, so I feel stronger than ever.

10614226_1130311466994971_3673999539584029183_n

Another thing that sometimes gets brushed past is the positive effect exercise can have on anxiety. Since I started running on a regular basis I have had zero panic attacks. That’s not to say that exercise will be enough forever, but from personal experience it has helped. Lacing up my shoes and pounding the pavement at the end of the day is my happy place. It isn’t silent meditation and introspection, but I get more thinking done running than I do when I try to force it. But it isn’t the “dwelling” kind of thinking. When I’m physically moving, my mind moves forward as well. So even when a worry or anxiety-provoking thought pops into my mind, it is usually gone as quickly as it came, because you keep moving forward – physically, mentally, emotionally.

What did I learn?

I learned about the power of possibility.

160177

Do you have those voices in your head? The hesitations? The “shoulds” and “should nots”? The limits you set for yourself? Yeah, I have those too. They trap you in your past possibilities. Can you imagine how many doors would open for you if you just eliminated certain words from your vocabulary? Should, try, maybe, I Wish?

No way did I think I’d be able to run 100 miles in one month. For heaven’s sake I ran maybe 30 miles total between the months of December and March. My mind couldn’t wrap itself around the possibility. But instead of dwelling on that, I set a goal and just went for it. I stepped outside of my mind and let my feet do the talking (so to speak). I did it for myself. No one pushed me to do it, no one else held me accountable (although I did have a great support system at work checking in on my progress). It was all for me. And now I can sit here and revel in the idea that those “past possibilities” don’t exist, in any form of my life. In my personal life, in my work life, in my fitness journey. I can do anything I set my mind to. We all can.

It’s time to explore the world of possibility. It’s time to leave the slow zone. Why? Because it’s now, and that’s a perfectly acceptable time to start. In fact, it’s the best time to start. I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for all of you.

unnamed (42)

Now, for the fun part – how should I reward myself?? The top contenders are as follows (and I’m open to suggestions!):

  • Donuts: one long john and two donuts so it spells out “100”
  • Massage
  • A new Garmin charger (since mine broke….oh…fifteen months ago…and apparently I’m a runner now)
Advertisements

because i want to be a better person, damnit

I’m so sick of hearing about all the little changes in your daily routine that supposedly make a huge difference in how you feel. “Drink 2 liters of water a day and your skin will glow!” “Don’t touch your electronics for an hour after you wake up and keep your stress level down!” “Get eight hours of sleep and you won’t need that Venti latte anymore!”

In my opinion that all a lot of “one-size-fits-all” advice. Some people only need six hours of sleep and I need me some Robin Roberts to wake me up in the morning so STFU.

The last few months have been pretty crazy and a lot of things are up in the air for me. Not having a plan hasn’t seemed too challenging on the surface, but I can tell it’s taking a toll on my overall health. The stress of being out of control can be overwhelming, so this past weekend I decided to make a conscious decision to make my own little changes. Here’s what I’ve come up with.

Vineyard Hills Olive & Thyme Candle

Image

I love this candle. It has such an unexpectedly relaxing scent. I hate olives so I’m not sure I would have even tried smelling this at Target if I had seen the name first, but it was love at first sniff.  It’s repurposed from a discarded glass bottle so the green tint that comes off the flame is very relaxing. I’ve been lighting this candle the minute I get in the door and letting it work its magic on the room until just before bed. It may just be a candle but it definitely brings a sense of serenity to my life after work.

Tiger Tail

Image

This is one of the best changes I’ve made. The Tiger Tail is like a mini, portable foam roller, and I’ve made a commitment to use it at least 3 days a week. It’s much more effective (I’ve found) if someone else uses it on you so if you have any friends who owe you a favor cash it in for this mini-massage. It is working wonders for my calves and IT band.

Just Dance

I’ve been making a little more time for goofy activities like Just Dance. Spencer and I danced around the living room last night for about 15 minutes and even that upped my energy exponentially. Just Dance gives the whole room this positive energy and I love it! It doesn’t matter how goofy we look, it’s just nice to come home after work and let off some steam in a fun, carefree way. Don’t be jealous of my moves.

Image

So yeah, I’m sure these little things won’t help everyone who stumbles upon them but they have already had a nice little impact on my daily routine. I’m not doing yoga every morning for an hour or chugging apple cider vinegar but regardless, I’m working on me. Not only are these practices healthy in and of themselves, but the very idea of setting personal health goals and accomplishing them is a real confidence-booster! It’s nice to make time for more than Netflix and Betches Love This Bachelor recaps.

Question:

What little changes have you made to your life for the better? What do you want to change?