Tracking progress & a plea for help

It is mid-March. How on Earth did that happen? That seems to be the standard exclamation from me these days as time is rushing by way too fast. With things speeding by at the speed of light it got me wondering, how am I doing in regards to my March training goals?

Some days I feel I am doing okay, other days I feel I am flopping. But with any plan in life, without metrics to truly look at, how do you know how you are doing?

So let's recap my March goals. I need to get to 101.6 miles a month average for the rest of the year to nail my 2018 mileage goal. I am also striving for 70 new cross training workouts. I am at 13 new workouts and 40 miles this month. OUCH!

If you put it into perspective, in February I ran 69 miles so I do feel I am up'ing my running game from an average of 2.46 miles a day to 2.67 miles a day so far this month. I need to do more but I am also aware of the benefits of a gradual build-up so I am happy. Sorta. At least I am on the right track. In February I did 3 new workouts and I have done 3 new so far this month. Again, I am on the right track. That is good. But I want more.

My biggest hurdle is how and when. Time is flying by in so many areas of my life and it seems I have so little time. My go to plan to get my workouts in was to wake up earlier. Just get up and move. I am struggling big time with that. My alarm goes off but I don't get moving. It takes me at least 30 minutes from alarm ringing to moving to work. If I adjust the alarm to just sleep that extra 30, it still takes 30. That means right now my alarm is set for 3 am most days. Y'all, that is brutally tough! But necessary to get it all in as afternoons are pretty much full of darling daughter's activities, meal prep, and just home maintenance. I need more time. I need something!

Am I looking to do too much? Are my expectations too high?

These are valid questions but I will not give up starting my day with my daily bible reading. That is a must. But how do I do it?

I wish I had some magic answer but to be honest, I don't. I am kinda feeling perplexed and wondering if I am really biting off more than I can chew but when I do succeed in a successful morning workout I am a better me at work and at home. That matters. It helps me keep depression and anxiety at bay. That matters.

I also leave for work at 5:30 am. That matters too. So how can I fit it all in?

You may think I have plenty of time, and maybe I do. Maybe it is like my home budge if I just look at it in black and white it will start making sense. Maybe you can give me some tips.

This is my typical morning:

  • Wake up and feed the pets (a bunny, guinea pig, and bird). If the bunny had a messy night, I need to clean out his potty. 
  • Put away dishes from drying rack while making my coffee - I drink cold brew so I literally just need to put in a mug, add creamer, top with water and microwave but some days I do need to start a new batch. 
  • Change into workout clothes while coffee is heating up.
  • Sit down at the table and do my daily bible reading and right now, during Lent, I am also doing a daily reflection. This takes about 20 minutes.
  • Workout with the goal to run and say the rosary and if I am super lucky, do some cross training too.
  • Shower and get dressed for work.
  • Wake darling daughter up.
  • Pack lunches.
  • Prep coffee to go for on my way down to work.
  • Say goodbye to darling daughter and walk out the door for work.

At first glance I would say you would question the pets and putting away dishes but I do it to help dear hubby. He feeds the two outside bunnies and cleans any dishes left in the sink, which can include my morning coffee mug, etc. He needs to do this before taking darling daughter to school and if he leaves the dishes, it is all left for me when I get home from work. And nothing against him but he doesn't really know where everything goes, will leave dishes out for me to put up, or will put them in the craziest places. Ironically, my mom says my dad used to do the exact same thing. And I do want to help him.

Which brings me back to square 1, I need to get up and moving earlier to fit it all in. Maybe I just need to move my alarm out of reach forcing me to get up and out of bed. Maybe....just maybe....that will work.

Moms, how do you do it?

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Starting (or restarting) a fitness program

Sometimes the hardest part is starting.

This is a good motto for so many things in life so today I want to help you start.

Start a running program, start a new fitness routine, or even restart. In over 6 years of running at least one mile a day and adding cross training into my program, I know a lot about restarting. Restart is sometimes the most important key you can press in your fitness routine. Restart is sometimes even harder to hit than the initial start key because now you may feel weighed down and defeated. Don't let that stop you. Restart.

For those looking for a running program to add running into your life (think newbies), here is a good plan for you. Let's just commit to 4 weeks right now and 30 minutes a day four days a week. Before each workout, be sure to warm up and then cool down and stretch afterwards. Yes, I believe stretching matters but do it with a warm body, not a cool one.
  • Week 1: Run 1 minute, Walk 2 minutes. Repeat this interval for 30 minutes. 
  • Week 2: Run 2 minutes, Walk 2 minutes. Repeat this interval for 30 minutes.
  • Week 3: Run 2 minutes, Walk 1 minutes. Repeat this interval for 30 minutes.
  • Week 4: Run 3 minutes, Walk 1 minute. Repeat this interval for 30 minutes.

If this workout is not a good fit for you, I understand. It is hard to make a one-size-fits-all running program and I am happy to say, I am a certified running coach and can help you out. Just email me for a specific running program tailored for you. I can do 4 week, 8 week, or 12 week plans. Email me for pricing and details based on your needs but since I am a mom on a budget, I want fitness to be affordable for you. I have seen coaches charging hundreds for their services. I just don't want to do that and my plans start at $10.

For those seasoned runners who have fallen off their game due to injury or other things in life, restarting can be hard especially if you start comparing your performance to past performance. DON'T! It won't do you any good. Restart and change things up if you can either by running somewhere new if you run outside or altering how you run on the treadmill.

In my recent restart, I changed the focus on my treadmill runs. I moved away from the normal tunes and accepted starting at a slower pace. I would rather run 5.3 miles slower than my past performance than 1 mile faster and feeling like a failure since my legs ache. And recently I am tying this run time into my prayer time to focus on others and prayers versus my own performance. Sometimes rigid schedules can get me back on track, other times, flexibility helps. My goal right now - move at least one hour a day with my daily running and cross training and having two just a mile days a week. It does not need to be all 110% effort...just do it...and I am feeling the rust fall off my legs and my paces are improving. I think this is because I am running happy and by feel and running is a huge mental game and I am allowing myself two down days each week.

For those new to cross training or in a rut in cross training, my advice is pretty much the same. HAVE FUN! I totally love Beachbody on Demand and nope, I am no longer a Beachbody Coach. To be honest, I needed the coaching business fees and nutritional item money to go to darling daughter's horseback riding but I have kept the Beachbody on Demand All Access pass going. That is an investment in me and a better value than a gym. I have access to hundreds of programs and love so many of them. It makes it easy to do a new routine and change things up and y'all, that matters. It makes your training more effective and keeps you more mentally engaged.

Finally, what you eat matters. It truly does. Pay attention to how your body feels with the food you eat. Dairy makes my stomach hurt, too much coffee makes me stuffy and makes my eyes feel dry (it is true - I use my dry eyes as a cue to hydrate better and it works), and carbs can lead me feeling bloated. So now I pretty much wiped out my faves - not really. I do enjoy veggies especially bok choy and I adore hummus, pickles, beans (but I can't do too many of them either), and potatoes (within reason).

I keep certain items in the house as the mainstay for snacking and meals for the family and pets: bananas, oranges, frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries or triple berries, grapefruit cups, mandarin orange cups, applesauce, lettuce, celery, carrots PLUS we add in other delights from time to time. These include watermelon, pineapple, apples, pears, kiwi, peppers, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, bok choy, asparagus, artichokes, and salad kits.

I love seeing my 10 year old daughter start to make healthier choices on her own. "Mom, I am hungry and I am going to choose a healthier snack" and grabs an apple versus treats of the past like goldfish (although she still eats those from time to time). Or she may say, "Mom, I am going to have a snack but only 3 pretzels". Or, "Mom, I want a snack and I want pretzels but I already had some today at school. I am going to get a fruit cup."

It is rewarding to see this happen as it is the fruit of my efforts, so to speak. Knowing that what I do and eat impacts her is a motivation in itself. If I give up on my workouts and she sees me quitting, how will she not give up when the horseback riding gets tough? If I am constantly fueling my body with junk, how will she not do the same? And if I don't make the effort to keep nutritional food in the house, how can she pick the good stuff?

But I am not crazy about it. She also gets Lucky Charms and other fun kid stuff. Hey, I ate Lucky Charms as a kid and believe it teaches moderation and good food choice. Plus, I want to be able to eat a cookie and not feel guilty for "ruining a diet" or all that other guilt that many women may carry on their shoulders.

Honey, you are beautifully made and we all have fat on our bodies and skin....we have skin! We all have folds and eventually we will all have wrinkles. Wear your skin with pride knowing that there is only one you and you are perfectly made. Take care of your body and it will take care of you.

God bless and have a beautiful week!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the God given ability to run every day. 

Daily Bible Verse: You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. ~ Song of Solomon 4:7


February 2018 Training Report


Only 17 workout hours done in February. This is down from 26 in January and even with February being a shorter month, I was off target. But in all reality, it makes sense. February traditionally is a very tough month for me. It is the busiest month at work, darling's birthday, my dad's birthday and that always brings around sad, low motivation days as I miss him so much, and this month I lost another dear friend to cancer. So instead of beating myself up over low mileage and less hours, I am going to celebrate that I did workout for 17 hours. This includes running and cross training. You can see the overall gist in this workout calendar.

Seeing this feature on Strava makes me want to make better notes to myself about how I feel after my RSD (running streak day) notation to really see how my overall mood was for the month. I logged 69 miles bringing my 2018 miles to 154 and my streak miles to 9,984. That is definitely better than no miles.

And to be completely transparent, I am struggling with getting up at 3:00 am to do my bible reading and workouts before work. I do not want to give up either and have limited time after work with darling daughter riding three days a week and we are attending healing ministry once a week. Fortunately, that is back to back with one of her riding days so I have a few open days a week. I just need to establish a solid routine and try my best to stick to it. I wouldn't give up darling daughter riding horses or us attending healing ministry for anything! Those moments matter.

I did kinda slip on my cross training and incorporating new workouts. That had a definite impact on my overall workout hours. I am at 10 new workouts for 2018 and if I stick to this pace for the remainder of the year, I will be at 60 - 10 short of my goal. I need to up my game. Not only this but also for miles. My goal is to break 10,000 streak miles so I need to average 101.6 miles per month for the rest of the year. YIKES AGAIN!

This is not completely out of reach as it is something I have done in the past and just this past January I pulled off 85 miles. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

I will do this. I will do this. I will do this.

But since I love to analyze and see my baby steps, that 101.6 miles a month is about 3.4 miles a day - approximate as months have different number of days but you get the point. I need to run more!

And I do want to run more so that makes this a happy situation to be in. A chance to up my game. A chance to keep my eyes on the prize. A chance to not give up when the going gets tough. A chance to not make excuses. A chance to make a difference - one step, one jab, one crunch at a time.

Are you in?


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Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for what I did accomplish this month.

Daily Bible Verse: Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. ~ Hebrews 12:1


Running Streak Day 2251 & Marriage

2,251 days.

6 years, 1 month, 27 days.

That is how long I have been running at least one mile a day. Some days those miles are pitifully slow and I can say that about myself. And I am saying it without criticism.

Years ago if I ran a slow, slow mile I would have felt like a failure. I graded myself and felt myself good and worthy if I ran a mile in x pace. And then if I ran x miles a week I was a good runner. And breaking 100 miles a month made me a better runner.

Then life threw a wrench in my path and gave me a good dose of humility and reality.

I am not just a number.

Ladies, we hear that so much. I am not just a number. You are not just a number. Yes, you are more. I am more. We are more.

But there is still a number I track. My running streak. Only because that number is a true pat on the back as that number represents running just a mile, running 26.2 miles, running a 7 minute mile, running a 12 minute mile, running inside, running outside, running in heat, running in rain, running in Hawaii, Texas, California, Chicago. That number reminds me of my faith and that God truly does have my back.

In those 2,251 days I have changed. I have turned from dark, crazy paths of potentially self destructive behavior, low self esteem, a touch of self hate, to loving myself, forgiving myself, and more importantly, accepting myself. I am not perfect. I am flawed. But I am perfectly flawed when I don't let my flaws bring me down. Make me dislike or even hate myself. Make me want to hide and cry as I try to measure up to others and their expectations. Expectations I will never meet.

Ladies, why do we do this to ourselves?

The funny thing is when I came to my computer today to type this post I was going to say, hey, it is day 2,251 of my running streak and for the past few days I have run only a pitifully slow  mile as I was battling a cold. I was going to talk about how we all do get sick at times and to be merciful on our bodies when we are under the weather. To realize that through kind, loving care we can become fully recharged and able to function better. Resisting this process will under hinder recovery and negatively impact your sports performance.

Somehow those 2,251 days became a reflection of life and that makes sense as running daily is my lifestyle choice. Even on sick days I can manage an easy mile. That is really cool.

But those days are also a reflection of more than just running but mindset. A mindset that can be applied to so many areas in our lives. Even relationships.

Ugh. Relationships.

They can have nasty twists and turns. Marriage can be incredibly tough and you may find yourself wondering why your marriage isn't as happy as their marriage. Look, they are looking lovingly into each other's eyes, holding hands, being kind, smiling. They are smiling. Something must be wrong with you and your spouse. You aren't smiling.

But you see, those non smiling days are just like the ugh running days. The pitifully slow days. The torturous miles you never thought you could complete and then, you did. Those ugh days of marriage are part of the essential thread of your marriage. If I pulled out every bad day in my running streak and tossed them out because they sucked and didn't meet my expectations I wouldn't have a streak.

But just because they didn't meet my expectations, those miles weren't worthless. I needed those miles, those days, to keep my streak alive and running. Maybe we need to embrace our yucky relationship days in the same fashion.

What do you think?