Declare It Day 2015

I love the message and mission behind Fellow Flowers, an inspirational women’s running movement.

And the most fitspirational moment of all is Declare It Day, where women everywhere are encouraged “to put words and dreams into action and declare a goal they are committed to working toward and achieving.”

Intrigued? Want to set a goal of your own? 

Learn more here.

Declare It Day is February 7th, 2015. I’ll be there.

2015 – Day #1

I love fresh starts, so January 1st is usually a pretty good day for me.

My favorite way to start the year off right is to exercise, and I was happy to be among the masses living out their Resolutions at the gym yesterday.

I’m considering signing up for Fabletics – a subscription workout wear company – as a carrot to keep me motivated. They have some cute outfits and their introductory $25 offer is really tempting.

I also spent a chunk of yesterday cleaning and organizing MGM’s massive Lego collection (two hours there alone), my sweaters, tee shirts, and a jumbled drawer in the master bathroom where I hoard travel sized bath and body products, cosmetic samples and random other freebies.

We even ate a healthy dinner together as a family at a reasonable hour, with hardly any tears. 

Mark this day, People. It likely won’t happen again.

Or, could 2015 be the the Best Year Ever?

P.S. One family member was still in his New Year’s Eve ensemble as of 8 PM on January 1st. Must have been some party.

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100 Day Self-Improvement Project, #2

Last fall, I completed my 100 Day Self-Improvement Project.

Since the goal was improvement, not perfection, I didn’t hit all the marks every day, but there were several habits that just became part of my lifestyle.

To recap, my 8 daily goals for Project #1 were:

  1. Weigh myself every day
  2. Drink at least 8 8-oz glasses of water
  3. Do 25 sit-ups every day
  4. Do 10 push-ups every day
  5. Record the food I eat
  6. Exercise
  7. Avoid alcohol
  8. Reach out and connect with a friend every day

For Project #1, I hit 100% for the sit-ups and push-ups. Next best was the daily weigh-in, where I only missed a small number of days when I was staying in a hotel without a scale in the room.

Water consumption was also a high scorer, about 90%.

I did well with exercising, although I purposefully had a nearly a week of rest before and after running a marathon in October.

The two worst: recording food and avoiding alcohol. Yet these were the two habits that I felt the best about and really made a difference when I was consistently ticking the boxes.

For me, staying motivated usually involves having an external goal, which is why I decided to start a second 100 Day Project.

And with peaking motivation, I decided that there was no reason to wait until January 1st to get started, so I made yesterday Day #1.

Using what I learned from Project #1, I modified my goals slightly for #2:

  1. Weigh myself every day
  2. Do at least 20 push-ups a day
  3. Complete 2 60-second planks every day (I got into planking this fall)
  4. Do at least 25 sit-ups every day
  5. Drink at least 8 8-oz glasses of water
  6. Exercise
  7. Diligently record the food I eat and stay within a budget (this rolls the food and alcohol into one)
  8. Connect with a friend

Let me know if you make your own project!

 

 

Healing Knots

One of my favorite activities from my spa trip last week was bracelet making class.

So, yes, this place is basically camp for adults. 

Oh! And I didn’t mention yet that when I walked in the door, the first two people I saw were two women I met last year during my camp week. My new friends L., B., and I already made a plan for a repeat visit same time, same place next year. It was fun to pal around with them.

The idea behind the bracelet class was to make a piece of jewelry to wear with intention. 

It’s purposefully simple and rustic.

Healing Knots was started by a woman who made the bracelet as a way to heal from her brother’s death. (Full story here).

You can make the bracelet for any reason, but some people make them to celebrate a milestone, mark the weeks of pregnancy (40 beads, one for each week), to heal from a divorce/death/break-up, or to signify a goal. In the last case, you are supposed to wear the bracelet until you reach the goal, then give it away.

Another rule is that any time you meet someone who seems to need the bracelet more than you do, you need to give it away.

I decided to make my bracelet with beads in natural colors, except for one.

The lone bead is bright yellow, which symbolizes being authentic, which is a word I would use to describe myself and a way I try to live my life.

Here’s how it turned out:

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My intention for 2015 is to live authentically. This is a reminder.

P.S. Here are two snaps of my own tiny spa garden, complete with fountain. It was heaven.

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Vancouver

I’m in Vancouver, BC, this week for a work trip.

It’s my first time here, and telling others that I was headed to Vancouver prompted wistful comments like, “Awwww, Vancouver. I LOVE Vancouver! It’s so beautiful”

Five minutes after arrival, I totally got it. I Love Vancouver.

Check out the view from my hotel room:

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About every ten minutes a seaplane takes off. Ok, that is totally cool.

Since the conference doesn’t start in earnest until tomorrow, I had most of the afternoon to myself and headed out for a run.

Stanley Park is right by my hotel and there is an awesome 8 km route along a seawall:

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The views were stunning:

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Check out the seaplane!

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The path was flat and fast. Temps were in the 40s, which was perfect for running. (A super hot shower felt pretty great once I got back to the hotel, though).

As always, I am so grateful to be able to run. Great afternoon in Vancouver.

One last view at twilight:

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On and Off the Wagon

candy

Argh.

Ok, I hit a speed bump last week with leftover Halloween candy.

Consuming fistfuls of miniature Hershey bars wasn’t quite in my plan, but that’s where I found myself.

This week I’m back on the wagon, but I was left thinking about something I heard several years ago, namely that if you’re going to indulge, make it special.

I can tell you right now that there was nothing special about the pile of Halloween candy I ate.

It wasn’t Great-Grandma’s toffee recipe, lovingly re-created once a year for the holidays. It wasn’t even Cadbury Crème Eggs, available only at Easter.

You could buy any of the leftover treats I shoveled down my gullet from a random vending machine, and some of them even seemed a little stale. Ick.

I’m so mad at myself for falling into the trap of mindlessly overindulging on nutritional garbage, but I’m going to learn my lesson and soldier on.

Resolution: with the holidays approaching, if I choose to indulge, I will enjoy something that is unique, not readily available and worth it.

This Japanese proverb is also proving helpful:

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This just made me laugh:

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Hawaii Recap: Running Diamond Head

Sorry for the radio silence!

Lots of posts this week about my trip to Hawaii, which was pretty darn great.

To recap, this trip was part work and part fun. My field’s biggest conference of the year was in Honolulu, and I tacked on two days of vacation on the front end. Spouse also tagged along for the first half.

Here’s where we stayed:

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The Moana Surfrider opened in 1901 and is the oldest hotel on Waikiki Beach.

It’s also located at the end of the hotel strip, nearest to Diamond Head. Here are two shots of Diamond Head from the hotel’s beach area:

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The five hour time difference between Central time (our zone) and Hawaii kept me waking up at the un-ripe hour of 5 AM most days, and that was all the push I needed to put on my running shoes and go for a spin.

One great thing about most Westin hotels is that they provide running maps, and the Moana Surfrider was no exception. (Don’t forget to ask the door attendant upon return for a cold bottle of water and chilled towel. Most Westins also have those ready and waiting).

The first morning, Spouse came with me and we did a 3-4 mile route along the ocean and circled a park. Being up so early meant we got to see tai chi students on the beach, plenty of yoginis with mats on the sand, and lots of surfers. I loved it.

One thing nagged me that day: I saw that the hotel running map had an alternate route that took you all the way around Diamond Head. I knew I had to do it.

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The next day, Diamond Head was mine.

I took a right out of the hotel and ran along the ocean, finally turning onto Diamond Head Road.

I’m chalking it up to forced perspective, but for the life of me, it seemed like I never got to the tip of Diamond Head. I felt like I was running forever and it was mysteriously almost all uphill.

I hadn’t even rounded the halfway point and I was ready to give up. What seemed to be the end of Diamond Head was always out of my reach, visibly taunting me.

But then something amazing: I turned a corner and the city sprawled below me, stretching out to my right.

I’d completely circled Diamond Head and hadn’t even realized it.

The illusion of never reaching the end was just that: an illusion.

There was no official “end,” rather a pentagonal or hexagonal route. The points of the diamond kept shifting from my ground perspective and what I thought was an unreachable tip was really a series of turns that I’d already mastered.

There’s a metaphor for life here somewhere.

The rest of the run was a downhill cruise back to the hotel with a huge smile on my face.

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Marathon Recap

On Sunday, 8847 other runners and I finished the 2014 Medtronic Twin Cities marathon.

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This was the fourth time I’ve done the course and my eighth marathon overall.

How did it go?

Overall, I’d say pretty good. I wasn’t thrilled with my time (4:34) and wished I’d been about 10 minutes faster.

But… I’m not beating myself up about it because I had a great day and a fun time along the way.

Leading up to the race, I was curiously numb about the experience. I didn’t tell many people about it until the final week or so. I think part of that was to give myself an out in case I decided that I wasn’t going to run after all.

Like always, I had so many doubts about my performance.

Did I train enough?

Did I taper too much? Too little?

Am I getting too old for this?

Why am I doing this in the first place?

(Spouse’s comment to that last rhetorical question: “But don’t you do this because you love to run?” Answer: Yes).

The 30 degree temps and high winds the day prior also sent my confidence reeling.

On Saturday, I had to check out the official marathon site for some information about bib number pick-up and came across some great advice for the week leading up to the marathon. 

I can’t find the link now, but there were also some coaches who posted advice and one piece in particular really hit a chord with me.

I’m paraphrasing here, but the gist of the message was this:

At the starting line, in the midst of all the chaos leading up to the gun firing, take a moment to be grateful.

Grateful that this race exists.

Grateful that you are here.

Grateful that you are able to run.

Grateful that you can share this moment with other like-minded people.

And that’s what I did.

I’ve posted in the past about feeling gratitude toward being able to run as well as the influence that my father had on my running.

On Sunday I channeled all of those emotions and it turned into a great race. Mentally, I’ve never felt better during a marathon.

I always think about my Dad when I run, even though he died more than a decade ago. Even though I am not a particularly spiritual person, I really felt a connection to him on Sunday. I could hear his voice in my head and would ask him to give me a push up the next hill, and I’ve never tackled hills better than this.

I also shamelessly got about 200 high-fives along the course from anyone who would dole one out. I love high-fives!

The last thing that really got me going was a surge of crowd support near the end.

In this particular race, there is a turn between miles 21 and 22 where you enter the appropriately-titled Summit Avenue, which takes you up a gradual 2-3 mile incline until the final turn to the finish line at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Since I’ve done the course before, I knew that turning onto Summit meant I was going to make it. 

When I rounded the corner, I felt like sobbing with gratitude but instead I grinned from ear to ear and pumped my arms overhead in victory. The crowd went nuts! There were at least a few hundred spectators at that turn and they all started to cheer.

It was the single most awesome moment I’ve ever had while running. That surge kept me cruising to the end.

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P.S. Here’s another recap of the race.