Volunteering

Sometimes I feel a little lost when I don’t have a race on my calendar in the near future. I find that my training has waned, and my energy and focus on running and crosstraining has dwindled. One way to quickly re-energize yourself is by volunteering at a race.

I have run more races than I remember, and have lost track of how many medals I have. I am always grateful for the volunteers at every single race for cheering me on, for providing water and gatorade, and for handing me fuel of some kind as I run past. The volunteers are definitely a huge part of any given race, and without them, the races would never run as smoothly.

The first time I ever volunteered at a race, my emotions ran high because I was so heavily influenced by the effort, the triumphs, and the grit these runners were giving, regardless of their chosen distance or pace. I understood what it was like to be in a race, and pushing to my capacity. I felt my eyes welling up with tears as I handed out drinks. I was so proud of each and every person as they ran by. They got up that morning, put on their running gear, and did the best they could. My volunteering was only helping them to the finish line by offering my time and a drink to help quench their thirst.

It is incredibly rewarding to volunteer at a race. If you haven’t taken the time to do so, sign up to volunteer at the next race. There are so many opportunities where volunteers are needed, welcomed, and appreciated. If you don’t know where to look, ask your running buddies. They will know about local races, and can direct you to a person or a website to look for volunteering opportunities. Do some good for someone else today!

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Time for A Gut Check

By this point in a new year, a lot of people have already let their resolutions go to the wayside for a variety of reasons. My personal goals started to fall short for this year just in the three weeks that have come and gone in 2019. I realized as this last week came to a close, and the dates on the calendar continued to pass that I needed a gut check about my goals. Were my goals realistic? Why was I having difficulty sticking to them? Should I make my goals more easily attainable? Should I make more time to work on my goals? Should I let the goals slide and just do what works with my schedule?

All of these questions tumbling around in my brain left me feeling more uneasy than not, and it forced me to revisit what I really wanted to focus on this year. The more I looked at the goals, the more I looked at the times blocked off in my planner, the more I realized that I was just not making time for myself. And it hit me. If I do not take care of me (mentally, emotionally, and physically), my goals, dreams, and aspirations are pushed to the wayside, as well as, everything else that needs to be done.

I really took a hard look at what I was doing, and what could change to get me back on track with feeling good, feeling balanced, and being able to carve out time for me, my dogs, my bf, my friends, and my family. Physically writing down all the things I need to do to keep myself grounded, and making time for them in my calendar started to ease my anxiety about the never-ending to do list. When I feel rested, I feel like I can tackle the day. When I feel ambitious, I feel like I can tackle the world. When I feel balanced, I can make time for all the people, dogs, and things that are important to me.

This is one of those moments that life has just smacked me in the face, and told me to slow down. My goals of running more consistently this year as I ease back into a routine can only happen if I make time for it. I can make time for my friends if I ask them to run with me. I can continue to move and get my daily steps in when I walk my dogs several times a day. I can spend time with those who are important to me by inviting them to do even the littlest of things. Who knew that running errands together would be fun?

Life happens whether you are an active participant or not. The time will pass you by more quickly than you think. How are you spending your time? Is it time for your gut check about your goals for this year?

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Resolutions?

As the New Year approaches, it’s common to create resolutions and be excited about what the year brings. But what is a resolution? According to dictionary.com, it’s a firm decision to do or not do something. When I think about creating a resolution, I actually think of a large goal to chase for the year.

When it comes to running, my resolution this year is to continue the commitment to myself that began in November. My goal each week is to run 3 days, and do yoga on the days I do not run. The yoga sessions are all beginner, and are 30 minutes or less in length so as to not tax my body, but rather make me more flexible and a stronger runner. I also accommodate for after work meetings, classes, and friend get togethers in my workout schedule.

I realize my resolution sounds simple. However, sometimes we let goals for ourselves go to the wayside. If we resolve to complete our goals weekly, we will see results as the weeks turn into months, and the months turn into an entire year. Having a weekly goal allows the progress to be measurable if you keep track in a planner or online log, and allows you to be held accountable on paper too!

The more I have read about dreaming big and chasing goals, the more I realize that I have not been valuing the commitments to myself like I have to others. I am a firm believer in being a person of your words, so why wouldn’t I apply that same mindset to myself? I am worthy of a solid commitment to be healthy and have an active lifestyle. As I ease back into running, I will increase my running distance by the standard 10% a week as my body can handle, and I will increase the level of yoga I participate in so that I don’t feel stagnant in my workouts.

What are your resolutions? Are you ready to commit to an active lifestyle for yourself? Like me, you are worth it! Commit to a measurable, weekly goal that results in a healthier you!

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Weather Changes and Thoughts on Attire

5B2BCA61-2162-4066-BD92-34577CB57401As the weather shifts from summer to an abrupt winter and a few days of Mother Nature being confused, we sometimes question what kind of running attire is appropriate as this happens. The graphic above demonstrates a good idea of layers and what accessories to add for warmth as the temperature starts to drop and the wind starts to pick up. As a good rule of thumb, layers are better because they can always be pulled off if you get too warm on your run. Remember to have your base layer be a wicking one to keep you from getting chilled from being sweaty during a run. I tend to be a warm runner, and often make sure at least one of my layers has pockets to hold my hat and gloves if I decide to take them off. Another good tip to keep your face from being wind-burnt is to apply a thin layer of Vaseline to keep your skin moist and stop the wind from drying your skin out. Stay warm running friends!

 

Graphic borrowed from: https://pin.it/r5uauzi6i4nuht

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Taking It Easy

As someone who often strives for the best all the time, it’s strange to me to not have a goal race coming up or a time goal in mind. As my body recovers from injury, my mind is truly focused on listening to how my body feels every step of the way in each workout I do throughout the week. Each day is different; each sensation has to be equally weighed and calculated. Is that a true pain or is it just muscle aches since I haven’t been pushing too hard as I heal? Am I wanting to stop because I’m truly done? Am I just bored or is my body at its current limits?

As I focus on getting my body healthy once again, I am also incredibly conscious of what I am eating and how much I am sleeping or am in need of sleep or just a rest day. Needing sleep means my body and my brain are taxed and need time to recover. This is definitely different than just not wanting to workout. I have those days too, but I always feel better if I even just go for a walk. A little something is better than nothing, right?!

Food is necessary to survive. Period. Food is also necessary to fuel your body in preparation for a  workout. While something sweet may satisfy my tastebuds, it will quickly disappear as I push forward through a tough strength training session or hard trail run. I have found that the more nutritious my food is, the longer I am able to sustain a higher level of working out.

Recovery, from injury or not, is so crucial. I have written in the past about hitting the reset button. This has definitely been the opportunity to do just what feels good without any pressure about having to perform or achieve any specific goals. Am I wanting to chase after another PR or lift some heavier weights? Absolutely! However, my body is not quite ready for that, and so I listen, and do what’s necessary to rest and recover.

Listen to your body! Rest and recovery are good for the mind, body, and soul!

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Are you chasing your goals?

There have been several profound moments when life has slapped me upside the head and said “Pay attention!!”  Lately, I have felt like this has been happening a lot. I guess it’s not a commonplace thing to have a bucket list, much less an entire notebook devoted to just bucket list items. Yes, I truly do have entire notebook devoted to my bucket list and I happily check off each item I complete and label it with a completion date! It’s super exciting to be able to knock those things off my list and the organizing and planning part of me likes the orderliness of the method of keeping track. 

I recently got to ride in a small plane from Virginia Beach to Kill Devil Hills just for lunch. My boyfriend set this up as a last minute surprise birthday for me after a disaster of a birthday this year. The pilot, a friend of my boyfriend’s, allowed me to take the controls for a few moments. I was in control of that airplane. I was looking over the nose. I was gliding through the air! I love to fly, but this experience far exceeds that of a commercial airline flight any day. The experience was more personal, a lot more fun, and the views were spectacular! And ✔️, there goes another bucket list item out of my notebook! I’ve dreamt for years about flying a plane, but when seeking out actual avenues to do so, I was told I was too petite and my eyesight was not good enough. Well, any of my friends will tell you not to tell me not to do something because it will certainly provoke me to try even harder to find a way to make it happen. I’m thankful for this experience!!

Other avenues in my life continue to open up as I pursue the small goals I continue to set for myself, whether personal, professional, athletic, nutrition or otherwise. I keep reaching for each one, getting excited as they happen, and keep trucking towards the next one. 

There’s something to be said about how you spend the time in your life. Are you letting the minutes waste away on television and social media or are you working towards your next big dream? I don’t want to be remembered for a mediocre life, but rather for one worth living. My goal as of this morning is to share five compliments a day because the reward is in giving the compliments themselves. They make someone’s day, and that’s what matters! I’ve got 3 left to give, so I’ve got work to do! 

Chase your dreams. Write down your goals. Start your own bucket list notebook and fill it with big AND small goals. The satisfaction in the end will be worth it! 

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For The Love of Running

Have you ever considered why you run? Is it for fitness? Is it for the company of fellow running buddies? Is it your stress reliever? Is it to get in shape, or to stay in shape? Is it just because you love to run?

Sometimes we run out of obligation. Our training plans say that we must run a specified distance on a specified day in order to prepare ourselves for an upcoming race. Sometimes we run because it is our only outlet from a stress-filled day. We ultimately feel better afterwards for having exerted our body in a way that endorphins soar
high instead of low, and our smiles return to our faces. Sometimes we run because our friends are running, and we truly just want the miles and conversation.

Lately, I have been running just for the love of running. I love the way I feel when I am moving. I love the feel of the ground under my feet. I love how I feel tired, but less anxious when I am done running. I love not having to focus on any training plan, but instead just running because I want to. I love the camaraderie of my running
buddies even when I don’t have a specific goal in mind. I love lacing up my shoes in the wee hours of the morning, and running when the world is quiet around me.
Sometimes we just need to run because we love it. Embrace the passion of the sport. Embrace the existence in the moment. Sometimes running doesn’t need a goal; it needs some love.

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