fitness

The Joy of Running in the Back of the Pack.

Running a half marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone who does it. There are people in the front, middle, and back of the race. Do you know what goes on in the back of the pack? Sit down. Let me tell you the joy of running in the back of the pack.

I ran a half marathon on Memorial Day. It was my third half marathon.

One thing that has been the same in all my half marathons is that I am a solid back of the pack runner. I start my races in the back and I finish my races in the back. I am well acquainted with waving at the front runners as they pass me on the other side of the road. I can see their faces. I see the focus. I see the determination. I see the drive.

I have never been in the front of the race so I can’t really speak to what it’s like up there. I’m sure it is so exciting. Hearing the cheers as you achieve some incredible time must be enough to keep you floating for days. Seeing all that training pay off must be a reward like no other.

What I can do, though, is tell you what it’s like running in the back. I can tell you about what I see and what I experience. I can tell you what a joy it is to run in the back. 

I can tell you about the focus, determination, and drive.

It takes a ton of hard work on and off the road to finish a half marathon (13.1 miles) in just over an hour.

It takes a lot of focus and determination to run the same distance in 3 or more hours. While the front-runners are eating their bananas and rehydrating, My peeps and I are just starting to hit our sweet spot. We’ve only done a third of the race.

I remember talking to a fast runner after one of my previous half marathons about how much respect I had for how fast he is. I told I couldn’t imagine being that fast. He responded with, “No, I have so much respect for YOU. I can’t imagine being out there for so long and never giving up. We need more of that.”

I can tell you about the stories.

One of the benefits of being a slower runner and hanging out in the back of the pack is that you have ample time to get to know each other.

There are plenty of people who want to be alone and zone out to their music and that’s okay. And there are others who are more than happy to engage. If you are willing to engage with them you can hear some pretty awesome stories.

I have heard stories of incredible weight loss, overcoming cancer, grieving the loss of a loved one, coming out of depression and anxiety, and health scares that can jerk anyone into healthier living.

These are the stories that will get you wondering why you didn’t start earlier.

They make you think about how small your seemingly big obstacles really are now.

These are the stories that tell you that you really can do anything and now is the time to things done.

It is an absolute honor to run in the back.

It is an honor to be in the presence of real-life superheroes.

I could tell you my own story of overcoming depression and making the choice every single day that I am worth the effort to get up and go running even if just for today. But, let me tell you. Those other stories in the back of the pack will bring you to your knees.

I can tell you about the community.

It is like a family in the back.

Just like we tell our stories to each other we also take care of each other. We all know the struggle of being out there for so long.

We know the pain and the frustration. We also know the determination to not quit.

If you are in the back you will hear plenty of, “Come on. It’s only X miles to the end. You’ve already gone Y miles.” Or, “Give me one more mile. I know you’ve got one more mile in you.”

You’ll see strangers wait on the side of the road while someone they just met that day is throwing up or just needing a break.

Finishing times aren’t quite as important in the back. It’s more about just finishing the race.

Isn’t that what life is all about? It’s more about the journey than the finish?

We help each other have the best experience possible.

Running a half marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone who does it. There are people in the front, middle, and back of the race. Do you know what goes on in the back of the pack? Sit down. Let me tell you the joy of running in the back of the pack.

I will tell you about the competition

In the back of the pack, the competition is with no one but yourself.

The pressure is off.

No one is trying to be the first, second, or 50th place. It is all about finishing and overcoming something.

You are pushing past the leg cramps, labored breathing, and dehydration and accepting nothing less than a finish.

And everyone around you is in the same place as you.

This is when the personal mantras come out to play and you hope and pray that TODAY mind WILL overcome body.

And since the back of the pack is a community, we help each other because we all have that same goal. We aren’t competing with each other. We are competing with ourselves and helping each other.

There is so much HEART in the back of the race. Click To Tweet

I can tell you about the finish line.

Goodness. That finish line. It is amazing.

You have been thinking and dreaming of that finish line for 2.5+ hours.

That moment when the finish line of your imagination that propelled you forward becomes the finish line in front of you is indescribable.

The big crowds are probably not there because many have gone home already. And that’s okay because you can hear your family cheering you on. You also have the new family that has been with you every step of the way that day. You celebrate the journey together. You high five, fist bump, sweaty hug, and celebrate. It has been an awesome day of mind over body.

When the race is over you go home to rest and recuperate. In moments of incoherence, you dream of your next big challenge and you think about the awesome people you’ll meet at that next race.

And you smile.

Because we back of the packers have got to stick together. The true spirit of the race happens at the back of the race. And who would bring that if we didn’t?

 

 

Running a half marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone who does it. There are people in the front, middle, and back of the race. Do you know what goes on in the back of the pack? Sit down. Let me tell you the joy of running in the back of the pack.

 

Running a half marathon is a huge accomplishment for anyone who does it. There are people in the front, middle, and back of the race. Do you know what goes on in the back of the pack? Sit down. Let me tell you the joy of running in the back of the pack.
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Women’s Fitness and How It Must Change

Women's Fitness is not doing us any favors. There is a better way to take on the awesome world of personal fitness. Join me!

I have been thinking a lot lately about how I look at fitness and how I want to train myself. I’ve been thinking about the whole fitness world and our society as a whole. And I have allowed myself to dream.

Will you come along with me as we dream together??

Let’s dream together of a world where women are confident in themselves and their bodies.

I know it is really hard to think about because we have all been trained by our society to think of the ideal female form as really thin, almost waif-like. This ‘ideal’ woman has a body that is near impossible to achieve without constant dieting and sadistic amounts of exercise. And then since it is nearly impossible to achieve women get stuck in a downward spiral of trying to achieve this body and then constantly failing. Eventually, women just quit trying all the while still yearning for that perfect body.

What if…

What if we gave up on what society was trying to tell us?

What if we acknowledged that our bodies are amazing and strong?

What IF we ate well and exercised because we LOVED our bodies, not because we hated them??

That raises a few questions, doesn’t it?

How can we move from believing our bodies are horrible and hating them to believing our bodies are amazing and loving them?

I have a few ideas….

Women's Fitness is not doing us any favors. There is a better way to take on the awesome world of personal fitness. Join me!

“She is Clothed With STRENGTH and DIGNITY…” (Proberbs 31:25)

That is what our Creator said about our bodies. That is not what society says.

Which one do you think we should believe?

I, for one, CHOOSE to believe what my Creator has to say about His handiwork.

I am STRONG.

I am SPECIAL.

I am DIGNIFIED.

I am LOVED.

Keep repeating that to yourself as many times as it takes for you to believe it.

Forget about the scale.

I would say at some point we have all been slaves to the scale.

How often do you weigh yourself? Bi-Weekly? Weekly? Daily? Morning and Evening?

How do you feel when you weigh yourself? Awesome or Defeated? And how is your mood after you weigh yourself?

Goodness, it is crazy how much we allow that crazy piece of equipment to determine our moods and emotions.

Do we find our worth in a scale or elsewhere?

If you are following along with Number One above you know that scale has absolutely ZERO authority over your worth.

Z…E…R…O…!!!

There are also all kinds of factors that go into your weight. The scale does not differentiate between fat, muscle, and essential organs.

You could actually carry a lot of muscle, therefore registering a high number on the scale, and assume you need to lose a ton of weight. The reality could be that you don’t need to lose that much FAT after all.

Forget the scale.

It is not your friend.

Chunk it.

Focus on Goals

You’ve ditched the scale, right?

So, how can you track your progress?

GOALS.

Tangible, quantifiable goals.

And, a certain number on the scale does not count.

Pick fitness goals. Run a 5K. Run a marathon. Finish an obstacle race or mud run. Set strength/lifting goals.

Pick something awesome.

Pick something that seems impossible. Break it down into achievable steps. And dive into achieving those goals.

And as you achieve more and more goals you will realize how awesome you really are. Your confidence will go up. You will realize that your body is pretty awesome too.

You are strong.

You are fast.

You are an athlete.

You will love your body for what it can do. 

You will eat to fuel it and exercise it to keep it in tip-top shape.

Here is where I share my specific dream…

I Dream Women Will Acknowledge Their Epicness.

I am mad at society for lying to women by saying they should be thin and weak.

I am also mad that society has been lying to women about their strength and that lifting anything over a 10-pound dumbbell will make them “big and bulky” like men.

I am mad at society for saying women have to be thin to run long distances and be considered “runners.” 

Guess what?

Women are STRONG and women can go far. 

 It has nothing to do with our shape or size. 

We are holding ourselves back and not realizing how amazing our bodies are because we believe all the insane myths circulating on the internet and in mainstream ‘fitness’ magazines.

There is no reason why we can’t squat, bench press, and deadlift with the men. There is no reason why we can’t go after those insane races and show them who’s boss. 

Don’t EVER let other people tell you what you can and cannot do. Only YOU make that choice. 

Now go do something epic. Click To Tweet

Do it again….

And again….

And again….

 

 

 
 

 

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

 

 

Women's Fitness is not doing us any favors. There is a better way to take on the awesome world of personal fitness. Join me!
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I Hear You Are Starting Your Fitness Journey…Again

This blog is not specifically a fitness blog but  I do love fitness. Exercise is a very important part of my week. Exercise helps keep me level emotionally. It helps me focus and go after my goals. That endorphins hit is almost always exactly what I need to get out of whatever funk I’m in or to reboot my creativity.

I used to not be that way.

I have stopped and started fitness journeys more times than I’d like to admit.

I start running or lifting or swimming or whatever. I am so gung-ho about it for a few weeks. I talk about it all the time. I POST about it on social media as a way of patting myself on the back. There is nothing wrong with posting on social media about your fitness journey. For me, it was a way of trying to gain recognition so I would feel better about myself.  Hopefully, that is not you. 

Life would happen and I would stop exercising.

This would happen over and over and over.

Then there would come a point where I felt gross or depressed or whatever and I knew I needed to start all over again.

Every beginning is just that….a new beginning. It is good. It is to be celebrated. Click To Tweet

But, every time I would start I didn’t feel good about it because I just KNEW that I would quit eventually. And then, I would think about what everyone would think about me starting all over again.  I just KNEW that they were thinking about how I’ve started ten million times already and I quit every single time. 

Does any of this resonate with you?

I have a feeling that at least one person out there is nodding her head up and down right now.

Well, this is for you, Honey.

First off, I want to say that I am proud of you. You are doing it!!!  You are taking responsibility for your own health and that is no small thing!

YOU are putting yourself first for a little bit each day. By doing that, YOU are saying, “I AM IMPORTANT!.”  That’s because YOU ARE important.

I could gush and gush and gush about how awesome it is that you are taking this step. If you need some extra support, PLEASE shoot me a message via the CONTACT ME Form. I would be honored to support you and encourage you.

Honey, please don’t listen to anyone else.

Pffffft. Pish Posh.

People Schmeaple.

It doesn’t matter one iota what other people think of YOUR fitness journey.

It doesn’t matter one itty bitty bit what other people think of you starting again.

Why?

This is YOUR journey!

This is YOUR Body!!

It belongs to no one else.

You do what you need to do and celebrate how you want to celebrate.

Embrace the Suck

This is when it gets a little less mushy.

There will be days, especially in the beginning, when going out to exercise is going to suck.

Yep. It’s going to happen.

It’s going to hurt. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to test your dedication.

It’s okay to say that it sucks. It’s okay to be honest with yourself and OTHERS that this journey sucks…at least right now.

Embrace the Suck. Confess the Suck. Use the Suck to propel you forward. Click To Tweet

Believe me when I say it gets easier. With dedication and consistency, your body adapts to the exercise and it feels a ton easier. Whoohoo!! 

You can do this!!

Every new Beginning is GOOD!!!!!

I have stopped and started writing AND exercise probably a thousand times. Ugh. I hate admitting it but it’s the truth.

I have another goal that I’ve stopped and started numerous times throughout the years.

A big bucket list goal is to run a marathon.  Just finish a marathon.

I have started training for that marathon about as many times as I’ve started writing again. Each goal comes to a screeching halt.

So, with better coaching under my belt, I thought it made sense to combine the goals of being a professional writer/blogger and running a marathon once and for all.

I am chasing HARD after each one every day.

I am starting a fitness journey AGAIN….just like you.

This time I have the tools I need to be successful.

If you need the tools, I am here to help you!!!

Please don’t let a lack of skill stop you from going after fitness or any other dream.

I am here to support you 200%. Just click over on the CONTACT ME form and we will talk.

 
 


 

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3 Reasons To Do What Absolutely Scares You

Is there something that you want to do that absolutely scares you?

Trust me, I understand.

I uncovered this post from almost two years ago when I was just starting to learn how to swim.  What I learned then is just as good now. 

I confess I am not the best person to talk about doing new things. My family and friends tease me about how much I resist change. One might even say I am “a stick in the mud.” I like things to stay the same. The same is comfortable and cozy.

But, the same is just that…the same. Click To Tweet

I know that very well. It dwells there in my mind all the time and yet I resist with all my might.

Recently, I have been growing bored in my workouts. Running and weight lifting just haven’t been holding my interest. I can’t really explain why except maybe I just need a change. But, what? What exactly could I do to keep up the level of movement that I so desperately desire? I live in a big city now and of course, that means tons of options. I have looked and considered and come to find out that what I needed the most has been right there in front of me.

Guess what my local gym has?

An indoor lap pool.

I do know how to swim. I can stay afloat in the water and not drown. I took swimming lessons as a kid but I never progressed to learning the most recognized strokes. For that reason, I have always lacked confidence in swimming. Combine that with a 20+ year history of avoiding swimsuits due to my poor body image and you have an anxiety-laden activity.

Here’s the funny thing. Over the last few months, I have been known to stare at the pool as I was walking up to the weight room. Something in me pulled me towards that pool. I was enticed and yet repelled.

Being serious about swimming meant facing a whole lot of demons and doing something that scares the bits out of me.

Fast forward and I am happy to say that I am in that pool several times a week complete with a nice swimsuit, swim cap, and goggles. I am slowly but surely facing those demons and doing what scares me.

What about you? When was the last time you did something that scares you? Has it been awhile?

Here are three reasons to do what absolutely scares you in case you need a little push.

1. Humility 

Learning to swim properly has been a big ‘ole slice of humble pie served up warm and a la mode. I have had to go all the way back to the start. I am spending all my swimming workouts doing various drills just so I can relearn how to be comfortable in the water again, how to breathe properly, and how to glide through the water without sinking like an anvil. It is tough because there are days that I get so bored doing these drills over and over again. I look one lane over at the kid half my age or some other adult gliding seamlessly through the water and doing flip turns over and over again all the while I am in my lane focusing on floating on my back, not sinking or inhaling water.

Often I get frustrated because I so want to be that fish-like, flip-turning swimmer. I want the confidence in the water that I have in the weight room or the road. But, I know that I can’t get there by skipping crucial steps. Did I walk into the weight room and dead-lift 225 for reps my first day? Not even close. On my first day, I was holding onto my husband’s arm as we slowly made our way from one machine to the next. I was scared then too.

 And then slowly over time, and on a constant diet of humble pie, I was able to walk in there like a boss and dead-lift 225 for reps. It took being willing to admit that I really don’t know anything about this stuff. It meant being coachable and taking it one step at a time.

Being humble means admitting that you need help. Click To Tweet

Being humble means saying, “Hey! I know nothing but I want to learn. Could you help me?”

I am still working on those drills several times a week. I have a goal in mind of doing an open water swim. I don’t know how long it will take. I will do these drills for however long I have to build the foundation I need. It will happen. I just have to be humble and patient.

Update: I have done that 1-mile open water swim and it was pretty awesome. Blog post to come.

2. Bust Out of Your Comfort Zone

Quite honestly, staying in your comfort zone is rather boring. Don’t you think so too?

But, your comfort zone is comfy and cozy. It is safe and cloistered.

The sad thing is that personal development does not happen in the comfort zone. It can’t. Like I said above you have to be humble enough to admit you need to mold into something new but for that happen you have to actually go to the fire or wheel for that molding to occur. You have to admit your need for help and then step out of your comfort zone to make that happen.

I will be honest and say that swimming scares me. I am not so much scared of the water but I am scared of doing something that requires so much humility. And then throw in the crazy notion of swimming in a big body of water where I can’t touch the bottom. It scares me. But, I KNOW I will be a completely different person when I finally achieve that goal. I will have been humble and been willing to be forged that fire. It will be awesome.

3. Growth, Empowerment, and Confidence

WOW!  Think about how you will feel when you have achieved that thing that scared you for so long. Take a moment and think about it nice and long.

When I think about how I will feel when I have swum well in that pool and ultimately, in that open water I see myself feeling ten feet tall and bulletproof. I will stand tall. I will be confident and empowered. I did what I thought was impossible. Those demons did not hold me back. I stared them in the face and I got ‘er done.

You achieved something awesome! Now take that growth, empowerment, and confidence to do something even bigger. Don’t waste all the good that comes from facing a fear and coming out on the other end.  Seriously, we can change lives when we don’t squander all that goodness.

You’ve heard about my journey to learn how to swim. Now, I want to hear about what YOU are going to do that scares you now. SOUND OFF in the comments. 🙂

 

 
 


 

How learning to swim taught me 3 reasons I should do what absolutely scares me.

 

How learning to swim taught me 3 reasons I should do what absolutely scares me.
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