Who Are You Running Against?

stopwatch-259375_1280

It has been so long since I have written a post that my blog page fell off my commonly clicked sites. Hmm…Time to write. My lack of writing has not meant lack of living, thinking, or cooking. Just distracted with new developments.

Recently we discovered that I am pregnant…again with our now third child. This has been an exciting curveball, as I also signed up for my first half marathon. My swollen feet will be lined up at the starting line in just 2 weeks, 6 days, 22 hours…etc. This is not how I imagined things would be happening, but here we are. It has been a real challenge to keep up my regimen for training. Honestly it has dwindled down to a few strength and agility exercises here and there, along with the occasional run. Never have I felt more disappointed in my efforts. What only helps is when my eyes pass over a story about a 9-month pregnant rock star who runs a marathon and delivers a few hours later. What human strength and perseverance!

Then something occurred to me. A new perspective was brought about after a recent 5k. The crowd was huge and people of all sorts of fitness levels came out for the fun run, but for me I pay to compete with myself. Or so I thought. All this time of training and years of hitting the pavement I have been comparing myself to the best I know. Their performances push me to achieve as good a performance. When I fall short of whatever unrealistic expectation I set, the belt tightens and more rigorous guidelines apply. Perfection has kind of always been something I knew I could never be. I’m too ____(You name it)___. However, I somehow deceived myself into thinking that if I were only ___(You name it)___ I would be able to meet these ridiculous goals.

Before you get worried that I am a highly demanding person, you have to know that I am only this way with myself. When it comes to others my eyes are pretty accurate and I tend to extend others far more grace. My husband says that when I look at myself it is like looking into a fun house mirror. The races I have been running up to this point have been races against myself by comparing myself to unrealistic expectations. For this race I decided to change my mentality. This race I accepted that I am pregnant and haven’t been at my best. The race I run needs to be against the self I am now and not the person I wish I could be.

Crossing the finish line of the 5k, an amazing feeling swept over me. My eyes glanced at the timer and it said a time of 23 minutes. This was not my fastest time, but somehow it was acceptable. The old me would reprimand myself all the way home and come up with a solution to fix it for next time. This time being healthy and carrying a baby was success enough.The other runners began to fade from my concern and being strong in the moment became at the forefront of my mind during the run.

One friend reminded me in a conversation recently that you never know how you will feel on race day, and that feeling is a big indicator of your time and performance. Sometimes training your mind is an important factor forgotten in race prep. To be healthfully competitive, you have to race against who you are today. Maybe in a session you had a 5:30 min/mile, but the day before the race you sprained a muscle or became ill. Is it fair to beat yourself up for not performing as well as your best training time? Think of the successful races as a reward for your training and not just what you run for.

No matter if you are running a race, striving for weight loss, or are working onĀ other health-behavior changes, we all need to cut ourselves some realistic slack. When we beat ourselves up, we are not helping, but hurting progress. We all have a bad day or fail a meal (or several). It is not about where you messed up, fell short or even if you won. The important factor is how you ran towards your goal. So, be strong in the moment and hold on the best you can. Let less than perfect be okay. Each moment is a new opportunity to improve and enjoy the journey you are on. The end result will take care of itself.

Advertisements

Who Do You Think You Are?!

mirror-388386_640

Who has time to workout or cook? Seriously. There are so many other things we need to be doing right now. I am not in good enough shape to hit the gym. Did you see her? She must workout all the time and never eat. Work has become my real ball and chain. The kids are driving me crazy and I need this right now! That guy has to be using some serious supplements. I would, but I don’t have the time. Any of these sound familiar? I have been there and done that, so no judging here.

Rewind to this morning. You looked in the mirror, as you get ready for your long day ahead. You try to find something to wear that you feel good in. Suddenly you find yourself surrounded by piles of scattered clothes you recently folded and put away. In a heat of desperation you grab the outfit you feel the least awful in and go. If this is the start of your day, how will the rest go?

Whether you realize it or not, you are important. How you see yourself affects every aspect of your life. Your relationships with others, how you treat others, work performance, eating habits, motivation to get up, and much more are influenced by self image. I am not telling you anything you don’t already know on this blog. I share ways to enjoy life, stay motivated, and tools to help you get there. The formula is the same. Everyone knows that if you are serious about loosing weight there is only one basic way. Eat right and exercise. So why don’t we do it? Our society tells us to focus on ourselves and make ourselves happy with overindulgence. These things are truly empty. We know it, but we buy into it anyhow. If they weren’t empty, we would not be in such a state.

The true way to be fulfilled in life is to take care of yourself, so that you are able to help others. You have to first love yourself. Not in a selfish, overindulging way, but in a well-cared for kind of way. Know who you are. List the positive attributes that you have, accomplishments, or unique things that make you who you are. Be confident in the way you were made and who you can become. If you can’t think of anything, realize that who you are now doesn’t have to be who you are tomorrow. The change starts today and the change starts with you! Sometimes an honest friend can help you see attributes you cannot. Ask him/her.

So many times our jobs, media, society, and sometimes even friends and family can make us feel bad for taking real care of ourselves. The pressure to be the perfect parent, the ultimate guy’s guy, the image on the magazine, and sometimes the chameleon push us away from caring for ourselves truly. It is easier to find fault in others than it is to praise their efforts genuinely. I have some bad news for you. You are not perfect. You are never going to be. People might find out you have flaws. It really is okay though. Your job is to stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Your job is not to be as glamorous as the hottest celebrity, to cook like Emeril, to have your children in all advanced classes at a specialty school, or even fade into the crowd you surround yourself with. Your job is to be the best YOU that you can be and to be there for others the best you can.

Think of yourself as a work in progress. I don’t care how fit anyone is, or how cleanly they eat. Everyone has a place in their lives they can improve. The trick is to realize that you are worth the effort. Your life is a gift and you have one chance to make the most of it. You can spend your time making excuses or start on a better road today. You can be confident in yourself, flaws and all, knowing that you are at least choosing to make a change. You can know that when you take reasonable care of yourself, by exercising, eating right, and pausing a few minutes to just breathe, you will be the best you possible. That means the people around you will get the best you possible. Once you are comfortable with yourself, you can give more because you require less empty stuff that wastes your time and resources. Think quality not quantity. I hope you learn to love yourself, because you are truly worth it. That is why I have endeavored to tell you.

Holidays Are For More Than Childhood

balloons on clothesline

We are in that time of year where the major holidays have just passed with a few close ahead. The small ones float rather evenly in between. Remember how exciting was it to go to school  around any holiday? There were special crafts, snacks, colorful decorations, and interesting stories. It felt more like recess all day. Once we get to high school and college, the festivities are more rare. It is a shame we grow up and stop celebrating. When did we become too old to have fun? It seems as if doom and gloom is everywhere. We ought to take every chance to celebrate the good and enjoy life.  It makes a bad week a little better when you have something to look forward to. Think about how you feel planning and dreaming of vacation. When holidays come up, it is a chance to take a break from the stresses of life. We can be reminded of the good things life has to offer.

Birthdays are an excellent example! This is a great excuse to splurge on a piece of exquisite cake. It is not just getting older or another year of life. Your birthday is a chance to celebrate accomplishments, reflect on good memories from the past year, and share it with people who care about you. Why wait until someone is gone to celebrate their life? All those wonderful words can be spoken now. You can focus on the blessings and enjoy birthdays again.

Most of us celebrate big holidays, but what about small ones? For example, St. Patrick’s Day is coming up. Have you planned on anything fun? You can easily celebrate by wearing your green, fixing an Irish recipe, and cutting and glittering shamrocks with your family or for yourself and some friends. Holidays big and small remind us of what is important and helps us keep perspective. They brighten your everyday life. Life is more adventurous and exciting when you are reminded to live and that there are things to look forward to. Even if some of those moments are in the future yet, you can celebrate for the day it comes. What is better than finding an excuse to surround yourself with people you care about, sharing good food and memories? That is a simple joy in life. It reminds us of how rich we truly are, even while our finances are not stable. So go and enjoy! Have your cake and eat it too! I will be offering entertaining tips, ideas, and articles to help possibly inspire you to do so.