Sunday, May 27, 2012

Finding Drive & Motivation

Well week 1 has passed.  I am not sure what happened this week where I found myself too busy to take care of me.  I can blame a lot of things, and make a lot of excuses, but the fact of the matter is that I did not put me, my goals, and my health first.  The winds have been blowing here like nobody's business.  As a result, my allergies are completely enraged.  I have actually avoided doing many things outside this past week because of allergy headaches, and having a scratchy throat.  It is my goal to find a way to motivate myself to either 1)join a gym to get in cardio when the weather is bad or 2) suck it up and go out and do it anyway.  For the 3 years 10 months (holy cow can't believe it will be 4 years in July!!), that I have lived here in Oklahoma, I have gotten my runs in 90% of the time regardless of weather conditions.  But, I really burned out of always training for something.  So when I decided I was going to take a training break, I let some of that determination go as well.

I have been really trying to work on my weight and healthy eating.  I am now 27 days without sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or "fake" sugars as much as possible.  I still have been eating bread products, and salad dressings and things that I know contain sugar, but have really been reading labels and becoming much more aware at how many products out there contain sugar.  I wish I could say that this change has resulted in a huge weight loss, but unfortunately it has not.  I believe I will only be down about 5 pounds for the entire month once it ends.  However, this does not make me want to jump back into eating all of these sugary foods.  People have asked me about my energy level and if I can tell a difference and things along those lines.  I think my energy level is about the same as anyone else.  There are 2 areas where I have noticed a difference and I am contributing it to sugar: sleep patterns & mood.  Of course the better and more consistent sleep pattern may actually be what is impacting my mood.  But I feel more "stable" in my mood.  I don't feel as responsive, or maybe reactive is a better word, to negative comments or people.  I am not as emotional.  I just feel more in control of my own head.  Of course that could also be due to the fact that I am not working this summer.  Don't get me wrong, I have tons of work I am doing on research related activities, and things that are required for me to keep my job, but since I am not paid to teach or advise or conduct research during the summer, I am avoiding my work office.  Students don't really get this, because every other faculty member in my department does get paid to be there over the summer, however I do not.  So I have done well trying to set my boundary of "no pay, no work".  It's really not that unreasonable, but it is indeed challenging with email and texting and everything else today.

I have decided to take on a June "house renovation" product.  It would seem I am going to be here in Tulsa for at least another 2 years, because of how promotion and tenure works in academia, and in actuality will more likely than not be 4 years.  In response to my working at home on research and writing, I am going to overhaul my home office.  It currently has real wood paneling, and brick, and some awful windows.  I have had some good friends give me tips and advice on what to do with the paneling to make it look great, so I am going to give it a go.  I am a little worried about how much window replacement will be, but definitely want to look into it.  The windows in the office are quite ugly.  I started moving all of the office stuff out to "Boca's" room, and will start by washing all of the walls.  I think it will give me some good cross-training.

So for this next week here are my personal goals:
1) cardio activities for at least 30 minutes 3 days
2) document what I eat
3) starting June 1, no fried foods for the month of June or sugar
4) empty the home office, vacuum and get the wood paneling washed

Have a great week everyone.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Starting Anew

I decided that it is again time to start documenting my goals and outcomes for all who desire to see.  This blog was created in order track progress towards a life of better fitness.  I have definitely lost sight of that over the past couple of years.  So today I wish to start anew (if that is at all possible).  First however, for my own record and your knowledge let me attempt to recap all of the running adventures I have had, since I ran my first 5k in April of 2007.

Half Marathons:
Waddel and Reed Half, Kansas City, MO October 2007
Lawrence, KS April 2009
Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon Oklahoma City, OK, April 2009
Albequerque, NM September 2009
American Discovery Trail, Colorado Springs, CO September 2009
Edinborough Half, Edinborough, Scotland May 2010
Women's Half Marathon, Nashville, TN September 2010
Mother Road Half Marathon, Joplin, MO October 2010
Philadelphia Half, Philadelphia, PA November 2010
Kansas Half Marathon, Lawrence, KS, April 2011
Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, Oklahoma City, OK 2011
Wounded Warrior Half Dallas, TX June 2011
Hottest Half, Dallas TX July 2011
Summer Sizzler Half, Dallas TX August 2011
Disney Half Marathon, Orlando, FL January 2012
Joplin Memorial Run, Joplin, MO May 2012

Full Marathons:
Athens Marathon, Athens, Greece November 2009
Disney Marathon, Orlando, FL January 2010
Route 66 Marathon, Tulsa, OK November 2011
Disney Marathon, Orlando, FL January 2012

Little Rock Marathon, Little Rock, Arkansas March 2012

Ultra Marathon:
Pumkin Holler Hunderd 50K, Tahlequah, OK October 2011

It's pretty interesting to share, that I have had to go look at race medals to determine what runs I have done.  When attempting to list my half marathons, I was able to recall 13, but knew that I had completed more than that.

Anyway, I digress.  I never realized how internally competitive I am.  I grew with a brother who seemed to just naturally excel at everything he attempted.  He was able to not take school too seriously, make lots of friends that seemed genuine, and be athletic and successful in anything of his choosing.  I think watching this example, really caused and continues to cause me too much self-doubt.

I titled my blog, so eloquently 3 years ago in it's conception.  It's 80% mental.  Although this was referring to running specifically at the time, I believe that this is true for so many different aspects of life.  I have always been a very cognitive person. I am always thinking.  So much so, that there was a point that a physician prescribed me medication to take to basically "turn my brain off" so that I could sleep better.  I am one of those people who constantly worries and tries to plan the next step.  Now don't get me wrong, I can be laid back and go with the flow if I know that is the expectation.

Lately, I have been allowing myself to have inner reflectivity.  I have tried to take things that cause me pain and sorrow out of my life.  I have to admit that after my run yesterday in the Joplin Memorial Run, I feel that running has become one of those things too.  I really feel the pull to quit all together, but know that for my health that is not an option.  I do however, think I need a break from running group drama, and get back to walking which is something I have always loved.

I think I allowed myself to get caught up in the peer pressure, and desire to please, and to fit in, and that's how I have done all the crazy things above.  Yes, they are accomplishments, but of the entire list there are probably only 3 that I really have positive feelings and great memories of.  The rest are just check marks.  Me, trying to prove myself to others, that I am good enough to be deemed a runner.  Yesterday, I started the run in the "Walkers" section.  I actually had a friend take a picture and made a joke about it.  Why?  Why is there such a negative connotation to "Go Walkers" rather than "Go Runners"?  Why did I allow myself to think, "oh goodness, I don't want to be 'just a walker'"?

I have found myself going down the same path in bicycle riding.  I have always loved just riding my bike and being outdoors.  Now, I have this pull to go faster, do more, go longer miles.  Why?  To keep up with the Jones', whomever they might be. I have got to stop this cycle.  I originally signed up to ride Tulsa Tough this year, and I think I am going to drop from doing the whole thing.  I have got to get myself in a healthy state of mind, before I can go do such group events that might influence my mind set.

If it is truly 80% mental, then I am only about 20% in a good place today.  That is something that I can control and work towards, rather than following Einstein's rule of insanity: doing the same thing (running) and expecting different results (be more accepted).