{The things no one wants to hear, but are true!}

It’s still January…the month of resolutions, goals and hope.  Maybe you set some for yourself this year?  I spent some time reflecting on my goals last night which prompted this post.  

  
Over the past months I’ve learned a few things after losing 36 pounds of baby weight and then a few extra pounds (unfortunately mostly muscle). Combine that with being a runner for almost 18 years and I have some ideas to share.  

None of these ideas are new, but they are the foundation of transforming yourself.  Sometimes we ignore the common sense suggestions looking for an easy fix, but there really just isn’t one.  Setting goals is a great start, but it is so much harder than a sentence on paper or in your mind.  

Rather than cheer you on I’m going to say what may be unpopular and what no one wants to hear, but is true.  The past 9 months and 39 pounds are evidence of these statements.  

1) You can do this…maybe. Whatever your goals are you can find success, but it will be challenging and take sacrifice. If you can’t or won’t accept this, then you’re not likely to achieve your goal(s).

  
2) Body transformations take time. If it came off really fast, then you can probably gain it back equally fast. Instead go for slower but steady improvements that you achieve by changing habits that you can make your lifestyle not a fad.

  
3) Exercise is amazing for your mind and body! Stressed? Anxious? Depressed? Exercise can help with all of these things and help your body transform into a stronger and leaner you.  You’ll like what you see in the mirror more, feel more energetic and happy, and be more confident.

  
4) Abs are made in the kitchen. I know people hate this saying, but it’s true. I’ve only averaged working out a couple of times a week since 4.5 months post-partum (5+ times before that when I wasn’t working), but I have eaten a dairy free and mostly healthy diet. I’m always conscience of what I put in my body and really believe food is fuel and you are what you eat (or feel like what you eat). 

  
As much as I’ve never wanted to admit the level of impact diet has on results, going dairy free for my son (imagine no cheese, no pizza, no ice cream, no milk chocolate, very few packaged foods-most have dairy), has proven to me that it is significant.

I have to attribute most of my weight loss in the past 4.5 months to what foods I do and don’t put in my body.  I knew I had limited time and was struggling to workout as much as I wanted to, so I really focused on food choices instead of just giving up on myself.  The impact has shocked me into really believing abs are made in the kitchen.  
5) Making mistakes is part of the goal and body transformation process, but getting back on track ASAP is a must.  You can still find success when you work to overcome your setbacks.

  6) Writing your goals down is more effective than saying your goals.  Checking in with yourself weekly is needed to keep making forward progress and hold yourself accountable.

  
7) Everyday you have an opportunity to be a healthy role model to the little people in your life. What do you want them to learn by watching you?  Healthy eating habits?  Perseverance? Hard work? Determination? Pride in achieving goals?  Overcoming setbacks?  The list goes on!

8) To experience maximum success and feel your best you need to combine a healthy diet AND exercise, and make goals for yourself in both areas.  I did not say execute both perfectly.  Even the smallest steps in a positive direction in these areas will benefit you.  In my experience, exercising makes you want to eat better and eating better encourages exercising.  When one is missing from your life both seem to suffer.
Goal or no goal it is never too late to invest in your physical and mental health and start making positive habits. It is never too late or a waste of time to take care of the only body you get. You will be so glad you did.  Make an investment in you! 

I did and do!  I’m still working on my goals, but subscribe to the above eight everyday!  No magic tricks, not just luck, no easy fix-just hard work and determination in the above eight statements.

Let’s rock those 2016 goals!

Sarah

{Confessions of a (Sort of) Mother Runner}

I’ve been absent a lot lately from this blog and well, running too.  I’ve been busy working on that whole balancing act called motherhood.  Some days life is great while other days suck because of all the time you spend doing things you have to do rather than what you want to do (snuggles, baby giggles, get in a workout!)  Mostly, it is nearly impossibly busy.

 {Being a mom is amazing.  Being a working mother runner not so amazing.}  I’d hate for anyone to think that the working mother runner life isn’t a struggle each day especially after my recent childlike joy post was so positive.  I like positive and uplifting.  I like not making excuses and complaining about what you can control, but I also like real.  Honest and real.  And that is not always pretty, positive and uplifting.

{I used to think I knew so much.}  I used to imagine what life would be like as a working mother runner.  I laugh at myself now.  Loudly.  Belly laugh. Here’s to hoping this helps some future mother runners or others in the trenches to see even for people who love to run, exercise, etc. like myself, finding the tools to make it happen as a mom are another thing entirely.

Oh, and to working mother runners (and really any mothers) before me, I’m so sorry for thinking I understood.  I didn’t.  Now I do.  Please consider my sincere apology while you read my confessions.

  {I thought being a mother runner would be a lot easier than it is.}  In reality it is so, so, so hard with an ever-changing routine, breastfeeding, working.  I only have been finding the time to run/workout approximately once a week since my half marathon in October.

{I thought people who said they didn’t have time to workout after having kids were simply choosing not to.}  I want to.  I’m not choosing not to.  I plan my day from sun up to bedtime in my planner just to make sure I don’t forget all that must be done that day.  We have a daily chore chart posted in the house.  These lists rarely afford me more than 5 minutes to just sit and think, stop and take a breath, or just do nothing.  My mind is always moving at a million miles per hour nearly all the time.  These lists though save me from Sunday meltdowns when I realize all the chores that need to be done when what I really want is all the cuddles from my boys before the very long work week begins.

  {I thought loving something so much that you do it almost daily and consider it part of your identity would be impossible not to continue.  Unthinkable even.}  Who were those people who let their dreams become their past?  Now I’m not even sure some days if I should call myself a runner with how few runs I’ve been on since going back to work.

  {I thought moms who didn’t make time for themselves were annoying.}  Now it turns out I’m annoying.  How do you make time for yourself when there are 850 million things to do, 9+ hours to work in a day, food to be made, pumping to be done, a house to clean, …you get it.  You probably know yourself.  What the hell did I do with my time before kids?  SERIOUSLY what was I doing before?

    

 
{I thought moms who lost themselves in motherhood were disappointing.}  Remember I apologized in advance.  All I could think of were the goals and dreams postponed or worse-lost forever. Talk about postponed and a picture of me comes up.  I guess I’m disappointing.  Being disappointing has never been so rewarding.  How do you not be all-consumed when mothering those babies.  Those little toes, giggles and toothy smiles just turn you into putty and make you want to do anything for their benefit.  Missing runs, fun time with the girls, getting your hair cut and colored, taking a proper shower, eating-nothing is now more important than quality time with this little tiny person.
    

{I thought I would need my me time…and that need would keep me working out.}  I do miss my me time, but not more than I miss my boy.  I have a really hard time leaving my boy for a run when I hardly see him during the week.  He pretty much has to be sleeping for me to leave. Not so easy for me when his wake up time fluctuates and I’m dead tired with a list of things to do after bedtime.

{I thought a mother runner could work full time, breastfeed, run and train for distance races all while being a present and involved mother AND find time to blog about it while looking put together because I have juggled so much for years.}  Juggling motherhood with life is like adding ten more balls into the mix.  At any given moment at least half the balls are on the floor.  I’m not one to say anything is impossible, but let’s be real people. Doing all that is IMPOSSIBLE.  Since coming to terms with reality, I’ve realized I’ve never read a blog post from or met such a person.  Either they don’t work full time or they are not breastfeeding beyond the early months or they walk around a hot mess or something.

  {I will not be running the Houston Marathon on Sunday.}  When I was pregnant  I refused to believe I couldn’t accomplish my goals while also being a present mom.  A couple of months ago minimal training started to allow doubt to creep in on this goal of mine.  I really didn’t want to hurt myself in pursuit of a goal I didn’t prepare for.  I also was having some serious mom guilt and lack of interest in leaving Pierce for the weekend.  I hardly see him Monday-Friday so the last thing I want is a weekend away from him.  My flight times were at night and I’d be going alone to save money so it would be really hard to bring Pierce along.

Struggling to train and not wanting to miss the boy, but still wanting to achieve my goal proceeded to cause a lot of internal conflict within myself.  That conflict was resolved in the past month by two things.

  1. The reality of my breastfeeding situation took the edge off realizing I might not accomplish my goal.  In early December I had about 10 extra bags of milk in the freezer.  To go to Houston I’d need 19.  I told myself if had a really good pumping month I could do this!!!  Then I got sick for two weeks and I struggled to make extra milk since I felt like crap and was too tired to get up for extra pumping sessions.  A couple of weeks later I got the stomach flu and became dehydrated and was only making an ounce or two at a time.(luckily this only lasted a day).  As I watched those bags of milk disappear from the freezer, I started to accept I would not be running this marathon.  
  2. The ironic twist to this all came last Saturday when my stepmom had a close family member pass away.  My dad and stepmom live in Texas and would have been coming to see me run and were the reason (along with visiting my sister) for choosing this race.  They are actually in Wisconsin now and wouldn’t have made it to the marathon.  I would have been alone at the race rather than visiting family.  This would have made bringing Pierce impossible, too.

{I’m not as upset as I thought I would be that I won’t be at the starting line Sunday.}  Getting race reminders stings some, but I realize that some things just are not meant to be.  Goals sometimes have to be readjusted.

My point of these confessions is not to be negative.  I also know this is my life and I owe no one an explanation for races I run and don’t run, but I think sharing struggles makes the difficulty in enduring them less.  It also helps to show I’m only human like everyone else.

{I’ve realized it’s not my season.  Seasons of life come and go, but currently running is not in season.  I don’t know when it will be.}  It still brings me joy.  I miss it almost everyday.  When I get to run it’s like paying extra for that really good produce that came from somewhere it’s in season…sweet, refreshing, addicting and intoxicating.  It leaves you wondering why you don’t have more.  Then you read my confessions and you understand.

  {Despite not making it to the starting line of my past two marathons in the past couple of months, I remain determined to get into a better routine of running and to run another marathon sooner rather than later.}  They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  I guess that means I have to do some things differently this time.

  {I value my personal goals, but NEVER at the sacrifice of my son’s needs or things that will benefit him.}  For now running is spotty, not so fresh, often unavailable and I’m learning to be ok with that while also always working to be better about it.  Do I miss the fresh stuff? 

Confession-Without a doubt.  Living in the Badger state has taught me that seasons come and go quickly.  Every season has amazing things to enjoy in each of them and unique memories to be made.

{I’m not an expert at anything.  I’m just a sort of mother runner trying to do something I love out of season.}

Sarah

 

{Maple Leaf Half Marathon}

Perhaps a million Saturdays ago now, the husband and I ran the Maple Leaf Half Marathon. I started this post shortly after and it has sat in my draft folder along with a half dozen other posts for months now.  As much as I like documenting running on this blog there are bigger priorities now.

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From a few months back!

We ran unprepared, undertrained and with over 5 months of accumulated sleep debt. You’d think this run was going to be terrible. I wasn’t feeling confident in myself or the run going in.


I’d biked 30 miles the day before my first postpartum half marathon on a school field trip on the Sparta-Elroy Bike Trail. It was my first time riding a bike in over a year. My first time running more than 7.5 miles in a year was the next day while running this half a marathon.  I’d only ran a few times in the previous couple of weeks. Life just continued to feel crazy.  Currently that has not changed.

The weather was perfect, the leaves starting to turn, and everything organized. We had a great run.  It was really fun to catch up and the husband and I chatted it up the entire time.  The miles flew by as the husband and I talked the entire 13.1 miles.  No music, just conversation and catching up on our part.  I could count on one hand the number of times we left our little man in the first almost six months of his life so this was big time!

The first few miles I was so uncertain and nervous for the end miles.  I kept telling Ryan we need to not go out too fast, maybe we should slow down some.

Mile 1-8:41

Mile 2-8:45

Mile 3-8:45

Mile 4-8:51

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Seriously, I cannot explain this face.  We all have those embarrassing race photos.  This happens to be the only one taken during the race so I’m sharing it with the world.

By this point we were running near where my mom and step dad live. Knowing Pierce was there made me want to take a quick detour and check on him, but I knew it would probably be more upsetting for me to do that so I kept running on.

Mile 5-9:06

Mile 6-8:43

Mile 7-8:42

Mile 8-8:43

Around mile 9 I started to get a little tired.  Luckily the turning around and heading back towards downtown had me optimistic.

Mile 9-8:59

Mile 10-8:54

Mile 11-8:38

As we neared downtown crowds of people lined the streets waiting for the Maple Leaf Parade to start.  Most looked at us like we were crazy and were probably drinking already.  Not a ton of cheering or music playing like I expected, but still encouraging.

Mile 12-8:33

Mile 13-7:29

Of course we picked up the pace for the last mile.  I was honestly shocked about how good I felt running this half.  I’m certain the combination of workouts during the previous months helped strengthen me overall (relative to being 5 months postpartum). 21 Day Fix workouts, Barre Classes, Yoga Sculpt and running were all helpful.  Still it was an unexpected pace to finish at.  The husband and I were pumped.  Mama still has it…or had it.  I’m not so sure these days.

Despite the horrible race photo, we actually looked pretty strong at the finish!

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I’d really hoped to run another fall half marathon, but it just wasn’t in the cards.  It sure was a great comeback race and gave me confidence for fast times later on.  I’d love to make this race an annual one.  What a fun way to kick off Oktoberfest!

Maple Leaf Half Marathon

IMG_0176Time: 1:52:56
Pace:  8:38
Overall: 261/572
Gender: 98/301
Age Group: 17/39

After our race it was time for playing with Pierce, visiting friends and then mommy and daddy time after bedtime that night.  I enjoyed my first Bloody Mary since before becoming pregnant.  I held out for the real deal at Del’s Bar.  It was worth the wait.  Adult time twice in one day?!  That is almost unheard of.

Sarah

 

{IMM Training-Week #7}

Monday-7.25 miles (counted as last weeks miles)

Week #7 Workouts-

Tuesday-4.75 mile walk with friend, 30 minute upper fix

Wednesday-3 mile run/walk (ran 2 miles, then P decided he would not remain in his car seat in the jogger.  Carried P and pushed stroller home), 30 minute lower fix

Thursday-2.5 mile run, 30 minute Pilates Fix

Friday-off

Saturday-5.5 mile run, 4.5 mile walk with daddy and P.

He just loves to look around.  If he can see, he is happy.  I see I missed some toe jams.  🙂

Sunday-7.3 mile run, 30 minute Yoga Fix (Lots of thoughts and emotions on the run today.  It gets lengthy below.) 

It was a perfect day for a run…except I really wasn’t feeling like going.  P got up 5 times during the night.  I was exhausted.  I had things to do around the house and back to school is near.  Not one to make a ton of excuses or back out on a goal, I set out for my Sunday long run (12 miles) that was scheduled on my training plan.

Along the way I felt the familiar tweak of a muscle that gets painfully sore from time to time since training for my first marathon nearly eight years ago.  Earlier this week I wasn’t sure I’d make it more than a mile into one of my runs.  Some stretching and easy running and it nearly went away.

I’m loving running and working out, but am feeling the challenges of being on someone else’s schedule and balancing all the new mommy tasks. I can’t just run when I feel like it or move a run the way I could in the past if something comes up.  I’m feeling the exhaustion of a baby who has been getting up 3-5 times a night for the past three weeks after getting used to only one feeding a night for the previous five weeks.  To make matters more difficult, when P stopped getting up only once per night, he has also stopped taking a bottle so well.  Day time bottles from dad are usually ok, night-time bottles he refuses.  Last night I got frustrated with P for being awake AGAIN and not letting his dad give him a bottle.  In my head I kept thinking I had a long run planned for the morning and he was making it so hard to get up and run.

And then I thought, who gets mad at their baby because they have a long run the next day?  I immediately felt guilty for thinking it, but the fact that I had remained.

According to the Wonder Weeks app he has been “storming” all month (love this app by the way) and will be for another 11 days.  I counted. He is definitely going through some major development as almost everyday he wakes up doing something new.  One morning he found his feet.  Another day he began sticking out his tongue.  He loves doing pull ups with his hanging toys.  He adores knocking toys off his exersaucer that before he just stared at.   He hates riding in his car seat if he can’t see the world around him.

As I got a few more miles in the familiar tired/weak feeling returned.  It seems to show up near mile five in a run in the morning.  I just can’t figure out my fueling with breastfeeding.  I headed out on a longer route so I couldn’t cheat any miles.  As I turned down a country road that would take me past one of my favorite trees, I started to ask myself why I was out there.  If I’m not loving what I’m doing, then why the push?  As my favorite tree came within sight, I stopped to stretch and think about why I was so eager to get back to marathoning.  When I was pregnant I promised myself not to put pressure on myself to return to running or run to a point that I was overwhelmed and feeling unbalanced after baby.  I have not been holding true to this. I’ve been putting lots of pressure on myself.

As I neared my favorite tree I thought about the logistical problems that recently arose with running this marathon in Indiana.  I registered before our school calendar was out.  We have inservice on Friday, so we are not allowed to take a personal day.  I would have to take an unpaid day in order to get to the Saturday race.  I’m ok with taking an unpaid day if it means a weekend of family fun.  P is, however, not riding or sitting in his infant seat well as of the last two weeks.  A two-hour ride took forever last weekend.  There is no way he can make the 7 hour drive there AND back in two days.  After putting him through a road trip to Boston, we don’t feel it is in his best interest to even attempt this drive, so I will have to run this marathon alone.

This presents another problem.  I fall asleep really easy when I drive and I’m tired.  There is no way I can drive myself 6-7 hours Friday, run a marathon Saturday and then drive the same distance back.  I know myself.  I will fall asleep.  My goal of running 50 marathons in 50 states was always about exploring a state while visiting for a marathon, which I guess wouldn’t happen either.  More importantly, I don’t want to be without my boys for that long.

My favorite tree…one of them.

I hate when people back out of commitments.  I never make goals and not follow through with them.  I’ve never signed up for a marathon and not ran it.  I was feeling so guilty at even entertaining the idea of not running this race.  I waffled back and forth for another mile beating myself up with my own thoughts.

As I made the turn towards town and home, I thought about how lately my heart, mind and body have not been so into this training.  The song changed on my iPhone to the Zac Brown Band-Loving You Easy.  I instantly smiled a big, dorky mom smile. I dance with Pierce to this song in the kitchen while I sing the words to him often and he smiles this biggest, heart melting smile each time I sing the chorus to him.  Running along I was flooded with emotion and tears glistened in my eyes.  I missed my baby.  I could feel his soft skin.  His little hand when it curls around my fingers when he nurses.  The delicious smell of his sweet baby smell.  His gummy grin.  The way his whole body smiles when I walk over to him, limbs waving with excitement.  All of this talk in my head on this run was not important.

The decision I’m waffling on is not worth the memories I might miss or the stress I’m putting on myself.  I want to run what I feel like on that particular day based on how many times I was up the night before, how Pierce’s day is going, or around other family time.  I just finished the 21 Day Fix today, and I really enjoyed doing the workouts, but combined with my training it is a lot.  I want to make time for parts of both, not do both.  A run here, a 30 minute fix there.  Balance.  I’m also loving my weekly yoga class that I missed twice since picking up training.

I always believe in honesty and hate how social media often makes life look so perfect and cookie cutter.  Life is messy.  My cookies never roll out perfect each time.  This is just another example of that.  So, I’m 95% I won’t be on the starting line of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon like I planned and thought I wanted to be.  Instead I will aim for the Houston Marathon in January as my first marathon after baby.  I have my sights on a fall half marathon or two since this distance is much more manageable for me right now.

I don’t regret setting this lofty marathon goal only to change my mind.  It’s not a failure.  For the $50 I paid back in December I got my butt moving after having a baby.  I walked a lot so I’d be able to start easy running sooner so I could then start training for this race.  I credit this goal with getting me back out on the pavement and to yoga sooner than I would have without a goal. This helped me remember to give myself some time each day and got me outside with baby early on.

My marathon goal also helped me gain some much needed perspective.  I want to do it all.  I want to be a good mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, runner, teacher, …and on and on.  But, we can’t be perfect at all of them all the time.  Focusing on what is important led me to realize that my goal to arrive at the starting line of my next marathon with balance in my life just isn’t possible right now as a new mommy.

Balance right now means not training for a marathon that will happen in just over two months.  Balance right now means not following an exact training plan and giving myself some flexibility with accountability. Balance right now means a run one day, yoga another, and coffee and serenading my sweet baby everyday.  Loving him is easy.  Making this decision wasn’t at first, but in the end I know I will enjoy this time even more without the pressure I’m putting on myself.  I will be a better mom to P.  A nicer wife.  And that’s what really matters…along with singing and dancing in your kitchen, which is exactly what we did as soon as I got home from my run.   

Cue the chorus!

Look to see a post each week as I continue running, 21 day fixing and working on balance with this whole new mom thing.

Sarah

And, in case you wondered…

     Weekly Miles Ran-17.3 miles not counting     Monday’s 7 miles

21 Day Fix Recipe(s) I Loved This Week aka Yummy, Healthy Eats!

This was so good.  I was skeptical since the flat-out is so thin, but it was delicious.  Minus the vegan cheese-Think Kraft     singles, but so, so much worse.

Flat-Out Pizza 

{Aloha, My Next State}

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No, I’m not in Hawaii, but a girl can dream and eat lots of fresh pineapple. Over the past few days I’ve been looking over everyone’s race reports and Instagram feeds about the Honolulu Marathon and their fun adventures before and after. All those photos got me reminiscing to when the husband and I went to Hawaii 5.5 years ago.

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It was an amazing trip to say the least. We vowed to make it back one day. While that day is still far away, I look forward to it whenever I see or hear about the Aloha State while also cherishing the memories made there already.

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When we traveled to Oahu and Maui in June 2009 I had not made my 50 in 50 goal yet so the fact that a marathon was happening while we were there really wasn’t something I was aware of. Now I plan for it to be my final race in my quest to race all 50 states before the end of my 50th year. So those thoughts of Hawaii and the big number 50 also got me thinking…what’s next.

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It is also that time of year when you start reflecting on the past year and planning for the upcoming year. Let me tell you it is hard to make plans for races and states when you are pregnant. How do you know how you will respond to having a baby? You can’t predict how your body will bounce back, how breastfeeding will go, or how tired you will be, so how do you plan?? For some they simply wouldn’t. Except the type A personality in me just cannot let it go. I need a race on the calendar. Something to look forward to. To hold myself accountable for. A goal to get back in shape. Staying committed to running is so much easier for me when I have a race planned out. Without a date, I get lazy and start making excuses.

What better excuse is there than giving birth to a human? Perhaps none, but I still want a plan. I was big on not pressuring myself and letting things happen and to just see how things were going a month ago. Now as the latest Runner’s World previews next year’s races and the time to register for some races even a year out is coming, I just can’t stop thinking about my next race. When will it be? How soon is too soon? How will I balance it all?

After doing some race research (my favorite kind of reading) I talked to my husband about my fears about putting my first race on the calendar and the pressure I would put on myself. I talked to my husband about not putting a race on the calendar and the lack of motivation that saddles me with and my fear of not getting back on the miles after the baby is born and therefore losing my mind. He confidently said I think you should register. “You know you cope with stress and change by running and you are more motivated when you have a goal in mind.” Boy does he know me. Or he is just terrified of an emotional me losing my mind while having a newborn. Whichever the case, his confidence in what I was already thinking in my head gave me the mental ok to register for my first post-baby marathon.

When picking my first race back I wanted it to be a race that would work towards my state goal, that was close by, inexpensive (a baby costs a lot of money), and far enough out that I could enjoy the first couple of months as a new mom in whatever capacity I need. If I feel good and want to start running at six weeks great. If I have complications, am too tired, or too whatever I have given myself time for that. The only race (and I can’t believe there is one really) that meets all these criteria is the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis, Indiana on November 7th.

This race is roughly six hours from where I live, has a New Year’s Day Special Early Bird registration fee of $60 (most marathons are $80-100) and will allow us to stay one night in a hotel or two depending on where we are at with time, baby and finances. Plus, the husband will be on paternity leave still so we won’t both need to take a personal day for the Saturday race.

It feels so good to say I know when my next marathon is while also not having created extra pressure on myself to be back running in a tight timeline. Between birthday and race day is 7 months give or take a couple of weeks depending on when the boy decides to arrive. I have no BQ goals or time goals other than to just enjoy being back and get to the start line injury free and balanced. I’ve run marathons with very little training (were talking a few weeks and a long run of 13 miles-wasn’t pretty) and with training that topped out at 70 miles (this happened one week, but I’m still oh so proud of myself). I know I can make the time for something in between and be both a mom and a marathoner.

Am I scared? Yes! Am I nervous? Yes! Am I excited? Yes! Oh, you were thinking about the marathon. I was thinking about being a mom. But seriously, I like doing things that scare me. I like some pressure on myself because I operate best that way. So on January 1st here goes nothing. What are you going to do that scares you a little? What goals do you have for yourself that might be equal parts overwhelming and rewarding?

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So that got a little long, but I threw in some pretty pictures of Hawaii to help!

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Between you an me I have another marathon race up my sleeve soon after Indiana, but I do need to talk it over with the husband. He has never read this blog so I could just put it in this post, but when I put something down in writing I rarely don’t accomplish it so it just doesn’t seem right. Stay tuned!

Sarah

{Don’t Act Your Age-30 Things During My 30th Year}

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My little sister and I way before “30” had any meaning or expectations.

This post has been sitting in my drafts since October.  Since I’ve already started in on this list, it is definitely time to share it.  I’m not getting any younger after all.  For some reason I was a little afraid to share it as these thoughts are so personal and often seem so different from others.  This post is simply my thoughts and not based on any person, event, or conversation I might have had with anyone.  You might totally disagree with my thoughts, and that is fine.  We all get to make our own choices in life, and this post shares a glimpse into how I want to live my life.  In the spirit of this post and not acting my age-here goes.

I not sure what it is about turning 30 that has me wanting to be adventurous and try new things. When I was a kid I thought turning thirty meant you were old. It has always marked in my head when one really became an adult. I imagined I’d be married with children and acting a whole lot older than I do. The reality is that I don’t feel any older than I did ten years ago. I don’t have children because I’m having too much fun with my freedom and independence…except my cat who I do consider to be my first son.
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I still love new experiences, being adventurous, and doing stupid things I should have learned not to do in the last ten years. I would rather spend money on an experience than save it for 35 years later when I might be dead. I still have the ignorant “it won’t happen to me” mindset far too often. I don’t always eat my vegetables. Sometimes I have too many drinks when I know it won’t feel good the next day. Just the other night after a couple of drinks with friends I put a giant temporary tattoo on my arm that took up my entire forearm just for fun. Sometimes I eat popcorn for dinner. How can I be turning 30?

Turning the big 3-0 doesn’t really scare me or freak me out; it is just a number after all. I’ve always believed you are only as old as you decide to be. There are no ages to do things at or not do them at. Yet at times I feel societies pressure to follow these often unwritten age rules. But why?? Why must this, this, and that happen by this age. Why should I be slowing down instead of speeding up? Who decides these things? Why are we supposed to start acting old?
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Maybe it is more of that ignorance is bliss thing combined with the fact I don’t have kids, but I refuse to get old. I want to be young. By young, I mean alive, curious, full of wonder and wanderlust, and desire to fill my life with rich and rewarding experiences. I want to be a life-long learner and goal setter. I want to fight for my right to PaRtY!
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As I get older in a numerical sense, I feel there are fewer and fewer people around me who don’t act their age. People sacrifice so many things in exchange for what they are supposed to have and for who they are supposed to be. I slowly see people give up on dreams, goals, or hopes because they say they are too old. Too this. Too that. But what we are is too afraid. Too worried about our age and how it looks to others. Too fearful of bad things that have held us back previously. Too set in our ways to do something differently.  Too stuck on a path or plan to ever diverge.  Now I ‘m not talking quit your job and move across the country (although if my husband ever said he would I would be tempted-but he NEVER would).  I’m referring to letting adventure find me and not being so afraid of it when it does.  To do the things I’ve said I want to do, but never have.  To stop waiting for those experiences to find me, and instead create those moments for myself.  To do more following of the Holstee Manifesto below.
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I credit running for the most part for giving me a younger spirit that doesn’t want to think old. It has taught me in the past few years about how much I want to see the world, how unhappy I am with the mundane and average, how working hard rewards you in so many ways you can’t even begin to imagine. Running has shown me how age is just a number not a sentence, statement, or dictation of how to think, act, or feel. Seeing people in their 70’s and 80’s still running and living active lives inspires me everyday to do the same. And I’m talking LIVING people! These young souls are not home-bound and plagued by health ailments. Can I guarantee this won’t be me-obviously no. Can I guarantee you I won’t wait to find out-an astounding YES!
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As I enter my 30th year on Earth, I want to remind myself that we only have this one life to make our own rules and follow our own dreams. In the end it doesn’t matter what society says. It’s your life! So many runners, moms, dads, and individuals out there DO inspire me because I see them going for it. Readers of this blog inspire me with their goals and dreams. They work hard to balance family, responsibility, and their dreams.
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Besides being a list person, setting smaller dreams and goals gives us a sense of accomplishment while lighting that motivational fire under our arses. This year I want a list of 30 things to go for leading up to my birthday and in my 30th year, and I need your help. What are some ideas to add to my list in my journey to and during 30 years young? What cool experience did you make, see, do, explore, etc.  I want a balance between the adventurous and the it’s-ok-to-have-a-calm-life.

Goals for 30th year
1) Race 30ish mile race (50k)
2) Skydive
3) get a tattoo
4) improve blog
5) become a trail runner
6) read 30 books (This will be hard for me as I usually read like 8 books a year…on a good year.  Any suggestions?)
7) hike in natures beauty (Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Glacier National Park)
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8) visit Portland, Oregon
9) take a(nother) road trip
10) become a yogi or at least get committed to yoga/take classes
11) become a Marathon Maniac
12) go scuba diving
13) visit another country (plan to travel to Mexico with family)
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14) visit ten (minimum) new state parks
15) cross at least two more states off my 50 in 50 list
16) try new foods (new ethnic eats)
17) Try 30 new to me beers
18) complete a century ride on trails (Perrot State Park to 400 Trail in Reedsburg)
19) get a massage-truth, I’ve never had one
20) go downhill skiing again-it’s been 7 years
21) complete a monthly photo challenge-I’ve got a ton saved, but have never done one
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22) go ice skating again-it’s been 16 years
23) ride on a train
24) visit another baseball stadium
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I still need six more ideas. I’m open to suggestions! Keep in mind these events will happen in the next 16 months, so I can’t fly to Mykonos, Greece or visit the Australian outback as much as I’d like to-unless your paying ;)! I want to make the next year about adventure, fun, and living life…not about a number!

Suggestions…Go!

{Motivation Monday-Self-Discipline}

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After lasts weeks loss with the running battle (read about it here), I am determined to get back on track this week.  Success as a runner and in life requires overcoming challenges, time management, and determination.  A lot of times this comes down to a little self-discpline.

This was the theme at school last week and ever since, it has been on my mind.  How do you teach teens (and adults for that matter) to be self-disciplined?  That things you wait for can be more rewarding?  That the little choices you make all the time can become the big choices?  I tend to think that runners have a lot of self-discipline, but where exactly does that come from?  While we learn a lot of our self-discipline by watching others who have this skill, there are always those who lack those role models in their life and go on to be resilient human beings.  While I ponder these questions and thoughts, there is one thing I’m certain-running builds self-discipline that carries over even outside your running shoes.

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Last week was a testament to my temporary lack of self-discipline, however I think we are all allowed those weeks now and again.  Having a bad week sometimes reminds me of why we do work hard for the things we want, sacrifice certain things in exchange for other things we want more, and find challenging tasks more rewarding than the easy.  This week let’s be self-disciplined.  Let’s work through the challenges of fitting miles into our calendar.  Let’s push through the excuses so we might be proud of ourselves at weeks end.  Stronger.  More determined.  Better able to face other challenges in our life.  Let’s focus on what we want most, not what we want now.  Closer to the goals we have that will be so sweet and rewarding to accomplish.  Bring on the self-discipline.

Happy Monday!