September 28, 2009

Sticks and Stones

I received a couple emails asking why my blog was not working correctly and why it was asking for an 'invitation". Well, I took my blog down last night. While I was taking a bath last night resting my legs, I received a text message. This text message said I was a "liar", looking for "attention" and that I "needed help". This text message was from someone who I thought would be behind me 100%, have my back and that should be encouraging me. This was the one person I was so excited to tell that I had ran 300 miles. That I have worked so hard, killed my legs to accomplish. To receive this text crushed me. Unfortunately, in the future when I look back on this blog and my accomplishments, I will always remember this text message that rained on my parade.

I went to bed at 7 pm and just stared at the ceiling. Not going to lie, I was so hurt and still am. Do I wear running shoes for looks, do I splash water on my face when I come home from a run to pretend like I was running?! Do I wear a fuel belt and compression socks to look cool? I don't get it! I laid there thinking for a long time. I didn't sleep at all. My alarm went off at 6 am, and then it hit me.

I do not run for anyone other than myself. If someone doesn't want to believe me when I say I ran 300 miles, then so be it. I run for myself, I run for clarity, I run for happiness. I don't have to prove to anyone that I am a runner. I am not going to let this person take this away from me. I accomplished something I never thought I could. This blog is not for "attention from my cyber friends" like this person thinks. I write this blog to track my personal progress. I like to read back over posts and look at my ups and down and then use it for motivation. If you think this blog is a lie and false, then don't read it, simple as that. I write this blog for me, not for anyone else. I honestly don't care what other people think, I run for myself. Like I have said many times before, running is a selfish sport, get over it. I took this blog down and almost deleted it last night. But why in the world would I let one person ruin all of this for me. Ask anyone I know and they will tell you I love my blog. One person will not ruin all of my progress and hard work. I will push forward harder than ever.

I have thought long and hard about the Seattle Marathon. I have put off signing up for it for quite sometime now. My nerves get to me every time I attempt to sign up. Its like I have been waiting for a sign, or the right time. Well, what better time than now? Its time to prove to this person that I am a gosh darn runner. I am going to sign up for the Seattle Marathon this week. Maybe, just maybe, this person will finally be proud of me. I don't know why I feel like I have to prove myself to this person, but I always have and probably always will.

I will be signing up for the Seattle Marathon later today. I will continue to run and continue to work hard. In the end, I run for me and me alone.

September 27, 2009

300 MILES STRONG!

Its official. I have officially ran 300 miles in the month of September. 300 miles is the distance between my home and Washington State University over in Pullman, WA. I burned an average of 129 calories per mile totaling to 38,700 calories in one month.

See those legs in the picture? Honestly, I have hated my legs my entire life. I have the legs of a soccer player. They are thick and muscular. When people would ask, "Whats one thing you would change about your body if you could?" I would always respond with my legs. They were big and ugly. I couldn't fit into the jeans everyone else would wear because my thighs were too big. When I began running a year ago, I was so self conscious. They would jiggle every time my foot hit the ground. So I began to run in yoga pants to cover them up.

Those legs in that picture, those soccer player legs ran 300 miles this month. Those legs helped me reach my goal this month. I love my legs. They are muscular and strong and they can out run most people. For this, my legs are my best asset. How could I not love my legs? Yeah, they may never be super skinny, but hey, I'm not really into the anorexic look anyways. My legs have taken me to new place, new heights and have set the bar for future goals. I now run in shorts. I don't care if my legs jiggle when I run, because that's not why I run. I am bettering myself, jiggly legs is the least of my worries.

I know I always talk about staying positive and never letting negativity get in the way of things. But honestly, when I set this goal, I just threw out a number. The first number that came to mind was 300. I didn't realize 300 miles meant an average of 10 miles a day. The goal was overwhelming and honestly, I didn't think I could do it. Yeah the goal looked good on paper, but in reality I never thought I could average 10 miles a day. So many people told me I couldn't do it and that this was a 'dumb runner" move. I was so determined to prove them wrong. Well, 27 days later and I am thoroughly amazed with myself. For all of you who doubted me and told me I couldn't do it, WHAT NOW?!

I went to Starbucks this morning before going on my last 15 miles. I couldn't even think. Run, run, run. That's all that was going through my mind. I ran fast and I ran hard. I blocked out my shin splints and I just ran. These last 15 miles were more than just a run for me, they were the last few miles of my journey. When I hit 14 miles, it hit me. I had one mile left, 7 more minutes and my goal would be behind me. Tears of happiness came streaming out and didn't stop. Now, I can finally say, I ran a strong 300 miles this month. What an accomplishment. My body has changed. I see muscles I never knew I had, my pants are starting to get loose in the waist and tush. I feel so good. If I can run 300 miles in one month, I know I can do anything. All the tears and all the pain, its all worth it in the end. I have so much to live for and I have so much to run for.

I hope other runners take this challenge of setting a goal that seems impossible because the feeling on the other side, well, its out of this world. Take the challenge, do the miles, then bask in the glory. :)

Life is so good :)

September 26, 2009

15 Miles

15 miles. 15 miles is the distance from my apartment to the mall and back. 15 miles is really not that far. Today, I am proud to say that 15 miles is all I have left of my 300 mile goal. As I sit on my deck and blog, I can honestly say that for once, I am so proud of myself.
All month I have been trying to think of something that I can reward myself with at the end of the month when I finish my goal. Maybe a pedicure, manicure, or a massage? I just couldn't think of anything to reward myself with. For a while, I didn't think I even needed a reward for myself. Now that it is closer to the end of the month and have completed 285 miles, I know just what I want. I want something tangible, something I can hold on to for the rest of my life. I want to be able to look back and remember ever single mile. I learned something new about myself on every single mile and that's why I never want to forget this journey.

My first tangible gift to myself will be a new pair of kicks. At first, this was going to be my only reward for running 300 miles. But when I got to thinking, I need to buy new running shoes anyways so its not really a gift because I was going to do that anyways. So as I sat reading some finance down at Starbucks today, I thought of the perfect gift to myself. Once I finish running my 300 miles, I am going to take a picture of my shoes and have it framed. Not a huge picture, just a small one. This picture will be a daily reminder of just how strong and capable I am. If I can accomplish 300 miles in one month, honestly, I can do anything and nothing is out of reach. Those shoes took me on quite the journey and I want to remember ever second of the journey. This is a gift that will never 'go out of style' and I can hold on to forever.
I am so excited to run the last 15 miles of my goal. I can't even count how many times someone told me I couldn't do this and that this was such a bad idea. "You're going to hurt yourself". "This is such a bad idea, just sayin'". When I got my concussion, I believed them for just a second. Numerous people have told me I am crazy and nuts, which I am. Only a crazy person would run 300 miles in a month ;). I don't know anyone else who has ran 300 miles in one month, but I am so happy to say that I will be the first. I learned a lot about myself as a runner and also as a person. Many miles were filled of tears, few were filled with smiles, but all of them were filled with pure heart and dedication. For that, I am proud.

So, for all of you out there who told me I couldn't do it, these last 15 are for you!

September 22, 2009

Jess, Meet Your Scale...

I moved recently. I don't like packing or the actual move, but unpacking is so fun. I love decorating the place and organizing things the way I like things. I was putting the final touches on my apartment, putting pictures on the walls, setting out candles, oh and, finding a place for my dreaded scale. I found the perfect spot in my bathroom for my scale. I really have never understood why I own a scale. I feel guilty if I do not own one, but I never use it. Every time I walk in the bathroom I try not to even look at it. When I go to the doctors office and they ask to weigh me, I specifically ask them not to tell me the number. A scale is a constant reminder of my weight. I work out to feel good, not for a dumb number on my scale. I like to be aware of this number, but I don't let this number rule my life. I eat to stay healthy, to fuel my body and I work out like a maniac. To me, weight is important, but I am not going to let it control me.

When I took my scale out of the box, I tapped on the glass and just my luck the batteries were dead. My first thought was, "oh thank goodness". I hate seeing that number. It makes me feel terrible about myself. So, I put batteries on my grocery list and went back to unpacking. Well, I have had these batteries for four days now and just now got the courage to put them in my scale. I stepped on my scale with my eyes shut. When I opened my eyes I was pleasantly surprised. Down 10 pounds from the last time I weighed myself which was almost a year ago. What a relief!

I really wish I had enough courage to write my weight on this blog for accountability reasons. But unfortunately I don't. I really want to become comfortable with my scale. The scale is not my enemy. I am no where near obese or overweight, so honestly, why should I fear the scale? The scale should be my friend, should help me in training, and help me track progress. I would like to start weighing myself once a week. My goal is to keep this number in the back of my mind to track progress. This number is simply just a number to me, and I will not let it get the best of me. I work out for me, I work out to feel good not for a number.

September 19, 2009

inVigorators!

Compression socks, compression sleeves, any thing compression, I love. I don't know how they work and I don't know why they work, but they just do. I love running and I love everything about it, minus my insane shin splints. I stretch, I have good running shoes, I take more ice baths than showers and I take Ibuprofen like its going out of style and I still have shin splints. I am heavy on my feet even when I walk. My Mom has always told me I walk like an elephant, which is true. Its like I stomp rather than walk sometimes. I don't mean to do this and most of the time I am very unaware of it. I think my shin splint stunt from the way I walk and run. Pounding my feet on the floor shoots pain throughout my shins.

A friend of mine told me about compression socks and compression sleeves. So, I went out and bought a pair of CEP compression socks and Zensah Calf Sleeves. Ask any one I know and they will tell you I wear my Zensah sleeves all the time. When going out with my Mom she always asks, "Uh, you are going to take those sleeves off before we go in the store right?" Yeah, they might not be the most attractive things in the world, but they work. I wear them with my high heels to work and I wear them when I am lounging around in the evening. Running isn't a fashion show and I am not embarrassed about my compression socks. I will do what ever I have to do to get rid of my shin splints, even if it means wearing "embarrassing" compression socks to the grocery store. Compression socks and sleeves have truely saved my shins and have kept me able to run.


So, when @inVigorators on twitter asked me if they could send me some compression socks to try out, I jumped at the offer. I didn't think I would find a product I liked as much as my Zensah's or CEP's, but I think I just did. They fit great! My problem with compression socks is sometimes the calf fits correctly, but the foot doesn't vice versa. These inVigorators! fit perfectly! Lots of compression in the foot, ankle and calf but not too much. Another issue with my Zensah sleeves is that they are so tight that they make my Achilles tendon hurt while I run with them. The inVigorators! were just tight enough to feel compression all over, but not too tight where they are causing my legs to turn blue. I really like this product and will definitely continue to use this product to assist me in my training for the Seattle Marathon. I have only ran with this product once, so I still don't know how the compression in the inVigorators! will hold up over time, but so far so good! Follow @inVigorators on twitter and also find these guys on Facebook, they're great! Thanks guys for the socks, you definitely make a good product that I look forward to training with!

22 miles complete and one happy runner! (198 of 300! YEAH BABY!)

September 10, 2009

Summer of Change

This summer has been like none other. I came home from school in June for the summer. Not going to lie, I wasn't happy. I could think of every reason in the book of why I wasn't happy. I looked at the negative side of life, I felt sorry for myself and for the things I have been through. I came home from school to work. My days consisted of waking up, going to work, running, eating dinner and then going to bed. What a life, I thought. I did nothing but work and run, and felt like I had no one. Also, seemed like everyone was getting engaged, getting married and having kids. I was (and am!) single and all by myself. I felt so much pressure to find "the one" and get on with life.

But then it clicked, how can I expect someone else to date me and love me if I didn't even love myself? I have no one else to blame for the way my life is besides myself. That was it, I was done sitting around feeling sorry for myself. I took it upon myself to look on the bright side of life. Whats the point of living if you're not going to enjoy the ride? This summer, I stayed committed to running and optimism. When I sit down and think about things, I have SO much to be thankful for. I have a job, I have the opportunity to go to school, and I have an incredibly loving family. My friend once showed me this quote, it says "Everyday might not be a good day, but there is something good in everyday." So true. I am so thankful that I wake up every morning to see the sun rise. So thankful that I have a job to go to everyday. Thankful to have a home and to have friends who care for me. I am thankful to be a runner and have SO much support!

My outlook on life has changed this summer. I am going back to school a different person. Life is so short. It is so important to step back everyday and take a look at what you have to be thankful for. I see things in a different light now. If you dwell on the negative, you will miss out on so much in life. I can finally say, I LOVE myself. I no longer feel like I need a boyfriend to complete me. I am perfectly fine on my own because I am my own best friend. God has a plan for me, and I know I will find love when the time is right.

One song that really hits home to me is Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews called "I'm Alive":

So damn easy to say that life's so hard
Everybody's got their share of battle scars
As for me I'd like to thank my lucky stars that
I'm alive and well

It'd be easy to add up all the pain
And all the dreams you've sat and watch go up in flames
Dwell on the wreckage as it smolders in the rain
But not me... I'm alive

And today you know that's good enough for me
Breathing in and out's a blessing can't you see
Today's the first day of the rest of my life
And I'm alive and well
I'm alive and well

That hit the nail on the head. It is so easy to focus on the negatives in life, use them for excuses of why we can't do things. Why can't we all just be thankful to be alive and well?

I have changed not only physically this summer, but mentally and emotionally as well. Its been a summer of change. I am going to go back to school changed. For the first time in my life, I can actually say I am happy. :)

So, slow it down, smell the flowers and enjoy the ride :)

100 Down, 300 To Go!

Happy Thursday. Today is an especially happy Thursday. I have reached 100 miles of my 300 mile goal. I still have a long ways to go, but I am happy to have reached the 100 mile mark. I am right on track. Today is day 10 and I have averaged 10 miles a day. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I ROCK! To celebrate, I have decided to post some lyrics. Not going to lie, I am not a fan of the song, but I love the lyrics. Brian McKnight "Reaching For My Goals":

If you wanna sing
Then sing
If you wanna run
Run away
It's all right to speak
Just watch what you say
Don't let the words
Get in your way

To achieve
All you've got to do is just believe
Come whatever, come what may, sing

I can't let my dreams slip away
I won't let my heart break
It doesn't matter what it takes
I'm reaching for my goal
I'm going on

If you're on the team
Come to play
Be the one
That sets the pace
Follow your dreams
Dream away
And your life
Will never be the same

With every passing day
Until I'm old and gray
I'm gonna do my thing
No matter what my so called friends might say
They can't put out my fire
I've got too much desire
I'm reaching for my goal

Thank you for all of your support! It is such great motivation and great accountability! For all of you who doubt me, I can't wait to prove you wrong! 100 down...and still goin' STRONG!

September 8, 2009

83 Miles in 8 Days

8 days ago I set a goal. My goal was to run 300 miles in the month of September. I have listened to many runners tell me how stupid this idea is, but you know what, I can do it. I have run 83 miles in the last 8 days and my body feels so good. I have iced like crazy, stretched, worn my compression socks and have begun using Arnica Gel. As long as my body says yes, I am going to run. I am 83 miles in and my body keeps saying yes. I have heard from many people that this is a terrible idea and I am going to hurt myself. But I have said it once and I will say it again, I am not going to jeopardize my body and risk hurting myself. If my body starts to hurt I will stop, even if it means not meeting my goal.
Tuesday - 7
Wednesday - 16
Thursday - 4
Friday - 10
Saturday - 25
Sunday - Rest
Monday - 9
Tuesday - 12
Yes, 83 miles in one week. I plan to take the following weeks much easier with more rest time. I felt on a roll this past week though. My body feels fantastic. No pain, no shin splints and no muscle weakness. I have run at a little slower pace than usual.

On today's 12 mile run, I ran with my Nathan Fuel Belt for the first time. Let me tell you, I LOVED it! It was very comfortable and didn't bounce around too much. It was so nice to have water with me at all times and really nice to have a pocket for my Blackberry. I wish I would have got a fuel belt sooner!

September 2, 2009

Cry Baby Runner ;)

Yesterday was a rough day. Not only did I have a crumby day, I had a terrible run. My goal yesterday was to run ten miles. I had no time limit or pace set, the only thing I wanted to do was finish all ten miles. Well, I only finished seven. Although seven is better than nothing, it still wasn't my goal.

Today was just as crumby as yesterday. My goal for today was to run 13 miles. I initially was only planning on running ten today, but after the miss yesterday, I needed to makeup the 3 i didn't complete yesterday. When I left work today, I was in no mood to run, but i knew it was something I needed to do. I normally listen to country music on my way home from work, but today I decided to listen to my running music. It really helped motivate me and get me pumped up for my run. I ate a banana in the car and some peanut butter when I got home. I put on my new Nike shorts, laced up my Mizunos and hit the pavement. Run started out strong. I went a different route today, through different neighborhoods. Let me tell you, these neighborhoods were very hilly to my surprise. First 4 miles were complete hills. The hills made my shins feel really tight, so I stopped to stretch them out and loosen up. Once I started running again, my shorts began to rub on the insides of my legs. Ouch. I tried to block out the pain and keep going. I didn't run to my usual running music today, I ended up running to my sappy music. Not going to lie, I was in a bad mood today, and the past few days. So for the last 12 miles of my ran, I just cried. I ran and I cried and I cried and I ran. Free therapy session anyone? Yeah, some people may think this is weird and that I should be embarrassed, but to me, it was just what I needed. Sometimes I just need that alone time to escape. I just needed to forget about everyone else and get to the bottom of what was bothering me. I may have shed more tears than I sweat, but hey, I feel back to my normal self. My 13 mile run turned in a 16 mile run before I knew it. I came home with blood running down my legs from the scratching from my shorts and mascara down my face, but I finished my run which was all I wanted. I kept running because I knew that the moment I stopped running, I would have to face reality. I ran 16 miles and when I came home all I could think was, "DAMN I FEEL GOOD!"

Running calms me, helps me sort out the scattered thoughts in my brain. Yeah I cried while I ran today, but it doesn't make me any less of a runner. I read this quote the other day, "Pain is just weakness leaving the body." Wow, so true. All the tears I cry and every drop of sweat makes me a stronger person, both physically and emotionally. I kicked some tush on my run today and I feel pretty darn good about it. Its really amazing how a good run can really turn my day around.

I have said it once and I will say it again...I am so happy to be a runner.

September 1, 2009

300 Miles Of September

Today is September 1st. It is a Tuesday. Only Tuesday and I am already beat. My mind is in the clouds today. I have had Andy Davis' "It Just Happened That Way" on repeat for over 8 hours and I never noticed. Like I said, my mind is gone, not here, busy, doesn't want to be bothered. This week has been the toughest week in a while. The drama and the stress have been at insane levels. As much as I try not to let it get to me, it has. It has been following me around like a rain cloud. Below are some of the lyrics from "It Just Happened That Way":

"It just happened that way,
no time to invest,
just pray for the best.
and you say,
it just happened that way.
We could run away,
thinking it over,
we should run away."

Somethings just happen. We have no control over the things other people do. People make their own choices and have to deal with the consequences of their own actions. I am not going to allow myself to get wrapped up in their issues. I can't solve them, therefore I should not worry about them. I will pray for the best and know things happen for a reason. But when issues and stress come up, I will run. I will run to soothe and calm my mind. I will run to remind myself that life is short and that I should cherish every moment I have.

Two days ago, I set a goal. In September, I am going to run 300 miles. Yes, that is an average of 10 miles a day. Yes, I am crazy, crazy is my middle name. Lately I have been running for speed. I would run to improve my speed and my mile time and forget about the miles. This goal is to help encourage me to slow down and just run the miles. Yes, 300 miles is a lot, but I can, and will do it!
Since today is September 1st, I thought it was appropriate to start out with a solid 10 mile run. Weather was perfect, a cloudy 60 degrees. I decided to wear my tights because I always have really good runs when I wear them. My sister wanted to come along and watch me run around the track. The first mile and a half was solid with a 7:06 pace. I finished up my second mile and stopped to take a sip of water. My sister decided to inform me that my butt looked huge in my tights and my butt was "flabbing in the wind". Awesome. Normally, when I run, I am not self conscientious. I am running to better myself, why should I care what other people think? Today was different. I was running around the track with two soccer teams and a baseball team practicing. I walked home. I changed into my new Nike shorts and headed back out, without my sister. I have worked so hard to get to a place where I don't care about what other people think about me. This was a big set back. The whole time I was running, that's all I could think about. As if my week wasn't bad enough already, my run wasn't good either. I didn't finish all ten miles, only made it to seven.

I have let the negativity in my life consume me. I will make up the 3 miles tomorrow. I will reach my goal of 300 miles. I will ice, stretch and listen to my body. The last thing I want to do is hurt myself by pushing myself too hard. So, as long as my body allows it, I will run 300 miles this month. I have had a rough couple of days but I will not let the negativity win. Like I said before, negativity is just a road block getting in the way of my goals.