Thursday, August 21, 2014

2014 Vacation Series #5: Lose Yourself

I'm finally back home in NYC! I had an AMAZING vacation, and got to spend time with family members I haven't seen in a very long time. Sitting in Uncle Dickie's kitchen, I learned about my family history (literally one of my favorite things to research) and learned more about the man I've looked up to and loved my whole life. I bonded with aunts, cousins, and even kids (which are not my strong suit).  But more importantly, I got a chance to get away from the stress of hectic city living and just breathe for a week.

This is the first trip EVER where I've had a workout routine in place and actually stuck to it. I'm proud to say I'm on track with my 5k training, and feel good about where I'm headed.

That doesn't mean I didn't have rough days. Tuesday night, the night before we left to go back to New York, I was emotionally and physically drained. I felt weak, tired, frustrated, and defeated. The last thing I wanted to do was run endlessly on the treadmill at the hotel gym and exhaust myself further. I didn't think I could do it. I feared failure. I feared giving up midway through the workout and feeling even worse than I did in that moment. So I thought, why not just skip it altogether?

But I didn't. Something in my head screamed "NO!" and that scream was louder than the whispers begging me to go to bed and worry about exercise another day. After a pep talk from Eric over the phone, I decided I had to prove myself wrong -- I was going to workout, and I was going to finish strong.

I almost always listen to music when I run, and though I didn't hear this song on shuffle when I was actually running, the thought of it and its lyrics did push me through my workout:

You've probably heard this classic Eminem hit at least once in your life, but if you haven't, you NEED to look it up. I don't care if you don't like rap. Just listen to the lyrics. That and the beat will make you feel like a complete and utter badass and push you through just about anything. Thinking of that song in my head, thinking of how hard I'd been working, I KNEW I could make it through that 30 minutes. And when I got on that treadmill I kicked ass. 

Don't EVER tell yourself you can't do something. Assuming the goal is realistic, always assume that you can conquer it. Give it everything that you have and walk away knowing that you did all you could, whether you succeed or not. How else will you ever know what you're capable of? How else will you ever maximize your full potential? Follow Eminem's advice and lose yourself in the moment. It's the only way to find out how amazing you truly are. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

2014 Vacation Series #4: Garner, NC

Well, we're finally in Garner, the second half of our trip. We came to see my Uncle Dickie, his wife Aunt Julye, their three adult children Ricky, Dezmona, and Nathalie, their spouses, and Dezmona's 3 children.

The view from Uncle Dicke and Aunt Julye's house. Gorgeous, right?

Upon arriving, I was kidnapped by my cousin Dezmona's precocious 5 year old daughter, Julye-Simone, whom we all call Simone. We talked about Frozen (LOVE that movie), games she liked to play, and life with her two older brothers John Cameron and David. There were moments when she appeared wise beyond her years, and in her I saw the little sister I had always wished I could have had as a child.

Who couldn't fall for this face??? :)

"But Jackie, what about your fitness goals?" you're probably asking. Lucky for me, there's a gym here in the hotel. Good thing too, because it's quiet, and SUPER dark here in the evenings. Not the safest place to run outside. I'm not in love with the treadmill, but I use it when I need to, and it's how I started running, so it's not the end of the world. Hopefully I'll burn off some of the peach cobbler and red wine I drank over at the house, because I am a wee bit over my calorie limit. Don't worry, I'm still staying on track! Enjoying myself but in moderation. Very curious to see what the scale will say when I get back to New York. I certainly have more energy than I normally do on vacation, and I feel great so far.

Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 Vacation Series #3: Running In the Heat

activity photo

It's about 81 degrees here in Virginia Beach, but apparently in the south it feels like 95! The sun was beaming down on me as I reluctantly went on my run. I really didn't feel like being bothered -- I'm on vacation, I was relaxing with my family, I had had a little more of Aunt Chris' cake, and the last thing I wanted to do was sweat bullets running down the boardwalk. 

But I made a commitment, so out I went, tired but ready to go nonetheless. And some very interesting things happened...

First a random guy high-fived me encouragingly on the way to the beach. I guess my clothes gave away that I was a runner and that I was in the middle of a workout. Then I started running, and I decided that today I didn't want to listen to my music. I kept my earbuds in only to listen to the prompts from my app telling me when to run and when to walk. So I could hear people talking, children laughing, and the sound of the waves on the shore. One woman walking by as I ran said, "Get it, girl!" to encourage me along my way. I smiled and laughed. A skateboarder who saw I was looking worn out reached out his hand and high-fived me (yeah, two high-fives in one day!). I came back to the hotel feeling AMAZING.

The fitness community isn't perfect -- no community is. But it's full of encouraging people who are willing to push you along and help you grow. I've met so many nice and informative people on Twitter (follow me @runjackierun92) and on other running blogs. So many people, including me, fear being judged when we run in public. What if I look silly? What if I'm too slow? And we blast music to tune out everything so we won't have to hear the harsh criticism. But while that definitely does happen to some people, there is a positive side, too. There are people out there who will see you, no matter how slow you think you're going or how bad you think you're running, and be inspired. They know you got off your butt and did something that not everyone is willing to do, and they want to encourage you on the way, even if it's only for a moment. So stop judging yourself and get out there! Be brave this week, not because you have to be, but because you were born to be. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

2014 Vacation Series #2: I SWAM!!!!

It was a lovely day 2 here at Virginia Beach. After a walk on the boardwalk with my parents where we saw the sights, sat by the water, and chit chatted, I convinced my mother to pop on her new bathing suit and go to the pool with me.

I've always simultaneously loved and feared the water. I can doggy paddle and play in the pool for hours, but swimming? Forget it. I stayed at the shallow end where I knew I wouldn't drown.

But today I decided that I wanted to float. So I enlisted my mother, a very graceful swimmer, to help. She (and the two other hotel guests who were in the pool with us) was very encouraging. Everyone kept saying, "Just relax. Let go. Trust yourself. The water will carry you." If that's not the perfect metaphor for life in general, I don't know what is.

I never did get around to floating on my back, but before we left the pool for the day, I was determined to swim across the shallow (3ft.) end of it without stopping. It's a small pool, so this was a realistic goal. My mom showed me what to do and explained the basics, but the hardest thing in the world was actually pushing off and letting that water take me. Logically I knew I couldn't drown in so little water and with that many people around. But fear is not logical. Fear is stupid and irrational. Usually fear wins for me. But today I was pissed at myself. I was pissed that I couldn't do it. So I decided that maybe I could.

I pushed off and swam not just across, but around to a slightly deeper part of the pool. I could hear my mother yelling, "Keep going!" as I kicked for dear life. When I resurfaced, I didn't know where I was -- my eyes had been closed the whole time. I looked back at where I had come from, and where I was at the moment, and asked, "Did I just swim?" "Yes, you did," came my mother's proud reply.

It was scary. It wasn't graceful. It wasn't pretty. But I did it. And I know I can do it again. After 22 years, I finally have a starting point, a baseline from which I can build little victories and eventually become decent at this. I'm not gonna be the next Michael Phelps or anything, but it was nice to try something new and succeed at it. It's all part of my larger goal: I changing "I can't" to "I can" in every aspect of my life.

We also had a visit from family today. My grandmother's sister, my great-aunt Chris, and her two adult children (my cousins) Jessica and Leon, all live in Chesapake, so they drove to Virginia Beach to visit us at our hotel. Grandma was very happy to see her sister. Notice how alike they look? (Grandma's on the left, Aunt Chris is on the right.)

They're hilarious together. The sisterly banter has only gotten better throughout their lifelong friendship. Grandma will be 88 years young October 1st, and Aunt Chris is just a little bit younger.Aunt Chris makes an amazing pineapple upside down cake that can derail any diet, and I will admit I did have a slice...or two. Planning to burn it off, though.  I hope to have them both in my life for a long, long time.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2014 Vacation Series #1: Virginia Beach

Today was craaaaazy. We all had to wake up at about 3 in the morning to finish up packing for our week long trip down south. Before I knew it, we were packed up in my dad's Ford Explorer and headed to the New Jersey Turnpike. I was with both my mother, who acts as co-pilot on every trip, and my dad, who drove the car the whole 7 hours. Grandma sat in the back with me and was a great travel buddy. 

We arrived at our hotel around 3pm, so that's 12 total hours of trip preparation and travel. There wasn't exactly a lot of health food available on the ride there, so I ate crap.Surprisingly, it didn't put me over my calorie goal, so I'm technically still on track. I will work on getting more nutrient-dense food in my system now that we're settling in.

Naturally after the long trip, everyone wanted to rest -- everyone that is, except me. I was, for the first time ever, anxious to exercise and more specifically, to run. So I went down to the boardwalk (which was positively gorgeous, by the way), opened up my 5k Runner app, and got moving. Sometimes it felt wonderful, almost like floating more so than running. Other times it hurt, hurt so bad that all I wanted was to give up. But I ran every interval and made it back to the hotel feeling accomplished for having gotten off my ass and done SOMETHING to counteract the junk that I've been eating. There were lots of other runners out there, so I didn't feel alone. I even managed to smile at a few as I jogged past. 

So far, all is well. I'm glad to be away from everything and glad that I'm still focused on my goals. I'm interested to see where the road takes me from here. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

My First Manicure in Forever and 5k Training Changes

Afternoon, all! It's been a rough few days. I felt myself slowing down and feeling sluggish, and I wasn't sure why. Part of it was my little junk food binge, but I found out this morning it was a little more than that. My parents were both catching a cold, and unfortunately they passed it on to me. I woke up feeling miserable and called out from work.

While falling in and out of sleep and feeling downright disgusting, I started ruminating on my fitness routine and how I had been skipping runs. I came to a decision that I should have made two weeks ago when I started. I'm going back to my 5k app, which is not the Couch to 5k program but is very, very similar, and I'm going to base my running routines on that. It doesn't tell you what days to run, and it doesn't give you distances or speeds to work toward. It just gets you used to running for longer and longer periods of time without stopping, which is exactly what I need right now. Worries about distance and speed can come in the weeks leading up to the race I'm doing in October.

Of course, I'll keep you all updated on how everything goes. The first week, which I'll be starting while going on vacation, is pretty simple -- run a minute, walk a minute and 30 seconds, repeat. I know I can do that and stick with it. The running increments will increase more gradually than they do in the other program I was using, which I think was more about fixing your 5k time than it was about learning to actually run a 5k. I'll be slow, and there'll be a lot of walking. But at least I'll be getting out there consistently and doing this.

In fact, I think I might start today, stuffy nose and all. Mom got me out of bed and insisted I eat, and since then I've felt much better. When she and my dad get back from seeing Get On Up, I just might head out to the park for my Week 1 Day 1 run. I'll still have time to shower and meet Eric for a quick trip to the mall -- he wanted to see me again before I go away on Wednesday. <3

Speaking of Mom, yesterday was her birthday. We asked her what she wanted to do, and she wanted a manicure and pedicure to get ready for our trip. We brought my grandma, who has NEVER had this done in her 88 years of life. We all had a great time, and I got a lovely french acrylic tip, simple but cute and an old favorite of mine.

The salon I like is now under new management, and they really do some good work. If you're ever in Astoria, Queens, check out Blooming Nail and Spa on 31st Street (formerly Ritz Nail and Spa). The people are super nice and the prices are pretty good!

What boosts your day and keeps you going? What are your workout plans for the day?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Icky Splurges Are Icky

Yesterday was both a good day and a bad one. I spent it with my amazing boyfriend, Eric (you'll probably hear a lot about him in later posts), and it was special because it was my last day seeing him before going on vacation next week.

We saw Hercules (great movie!) and I avoided the temptations of concession food. I even massively downsized my McDonald's meal (no double quarter pounder with cheese and large Coke for me!), but by the end of the night, I completely and utterly lost my resolve. I had a ton of soda, which tastes kind of gross now, and an odd craving for a Rice Krispy bar. I didn't get a chance to track it all on My Fitness Pal, but I'm pretty sure I went over my 1800 allotted calories.

Do I feel guilty? I did, at first. But if this journey is going to work long term this time around, I can't freak out every time I make a mistake. There are going to be bad days. I have binge eating issues and that's something I clearly need to work on. But berating myself will only lower my self confidence and make me give in to all the stupid thoughts in my head screaming that I can't do it.

Which reminds is my first 45 minute run. You know, the one that will probably actually be 3.1 agonizing miles? Ugh. I'm not in the mood. But I'll do it because I know it always makes me feel better, and will lower my anxiety about work later. I'll run when I can, walk when I must. And I'll get through it and be stronger for it.