Featured Writer: Jessica @ Eat Drink Breathe Sweat

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I am SO excited to feature an amazing blogger from Eat Drink Breathe Sweat, who I have been following (stalking?) for about 8 months. When I asked her if she was interested on being featured on Girls Run Faster, she was delighted to write up this most exciting journey of her marathon training. I’m not going to like, I was incredibly inspired by her story and think it’s the most romantic thing that her an her husband are training together!

Me? Run a marathon?!

I’m so totally honored to be a guest blogger over here at Girls Run Faster – and to be talking about something that I truthfully never thought I’d ever be talking about in the context of my own personal journey: running a marathon.

The old adage “if I can do it, you can, too” has never felt more spot-on to me than it does today.

You see, I never, ever thought I’d be “that” person – y’know, a marathoner. I looked at them with such awe…and from a distance, always. Thinking how incredible it would be to run 26.2 miles – but also just how daunting it sounded too. And how unreachable it felt for me, personally.

I always thought I’d be on the outside looking in. Never the other way around.

But here I am, just weeks away from my first 26.2.
…well, here WE are, I should say.

You see, I didn’t decide to run a marathon – my husband and I decided to conquer it together. It actually all started years ago when my husband told me that on his list of ‘things to do before I turn 35,” he wanted to run a full marathon. At the time, I totally scoffed at him, thinking it was just a pipe dream, and would never come to fruition. I mean, I truly never thought I’d EVER have it in me to run 26.2 miles…I mean that is just a ridiculous distance, is it not??

And honestly? It still feels like a ridiculous distance – but the difference came last year after I saw a few of my blog friends conquer 26.2 and they inspired the heck outta me. They ran with such heart and a fearlessness that I totally envied. What really sealed the deal for me, though? When I decided that 2012 would be my year of ‘no limits’ – of knocking down boundaries and predefined expectations of what I could be, could do, could become if I just stopped limiting myself.

So together, we committed.

And we haven’t regretted that decision, whatsoever.  Quite the opposite, actually. It’s become an incredible bonding experience for us as a couple, but also a huge individual growth opportunity for each of us, too. I never saw this ‘side effect’ of training coming, I’ll tell you that. I simply envisioned lots of running, lots of purple toenails and a really tired body by the end of it.

But instead? This has become so much more than just a training schedule – it’s become an amazing journey, much more so spiritually than even physically, which is crazy to say considering what we’re putting our bodies through at the moment!

So when people ask me now: “what motivates you?” or “how do you keep upping those miles week after week?”, my answer is simple: “I just *really* want to see what’s around the next bend in the path.” I’m so curious to see where we’ll ‘be’ by the end of this thing that I am constantly excited and energized to keep on truckin’ through training.

So while I’m not a marathoner….yet, what I will urge you to do is this. Next time you’re faced with a challenge (of ANY sort) that scares you and leaves you wanting to run the other way: stop. Think about why it scares you. Think about why your first instinct is to run the other way. Is it because you’re too busy living in your own boundary-filled, limit-filled reality? If so, I say to you “have no limits today.”

Trust me when I say that it is absolutely worth it.

Ask a Runner: Increasing Mileage

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Question from my reader:

How do I build up my endurance? I can run a 5k race, but I’m trying to build up my endurance for a half-marathon this winter. I’m exhausted by the end of my run, and don’t know how to increase my mileage.

My Perspective:

I built up really slowly in order to prepare for my half-marathons because of my busy schedule. Once I felt comfortable doing three miles consistently, I upped it to 3.5 miles, and pushed my long run to 5 miles. I felt SO accomplished my first 5 mile run! Several weeks later I increased my daily run to four miles during the week, and kept increasing my long run on the weekend according to the Hal Higdon Training Plan.

Also, diet is vital. Cutting out my sugar and carbs really helped in increasing my energy. I started eating a lot of Cliff Bars, but they get expensive quickly, so I started making my own protein bars! I don’t post a lot of recipes but this one is great for having enough energy to kick out a run in the afternoon. I also like to eat a banana and peanut butter about 10 minutes before my run.

Finally, take a day off here and there (about twice a week) to work in the gym doing planks, weights, squats and lunches. This keeps you from losing all your muscle due to the increased mileage.

Awesome Run on the Boardwalk

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I know you should be as excited about this as I am… I have a picture to share with you today! This is immediately after my 4 mile run on the boardwalk last night! I have helmet hair because of my 3 mile bike ride there and back, so even know it wasn’t a long run, I still logged 10 miles in. This is my first run since my sprints and coming down with the flu (remember me talking about being sicky-pants?) and it felt soooo good to be back! I think God was smiling down on me because it was a wonderful 80F and the breeze was coming in off the ocean, which made my run seem uber short and extremely enjoyable.

The beach is ALL set up for the surf contest that’s happening right now, Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships, which is amazing. I’m pretty sure the beach was packed because of the competition, because it certainly wasn’t beach weather (notice the lack of people in the water or tanning in photo).

I’m excited about my 10 mile bike ride today, and the weather looks promising once again (hopefully NO rain!).

What workouts do you guys have planned for this week? Weekend? Seriously, BRAG away, Link up your best workout of the month, I’d LOVE to hear about it 🙂

5 Things to do Today…

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I was featured on a cute little blog called 5thingstodotoday. David publishes 5 different things to do per-day, giving you great tips for expanding your lifestyle by suggesting little things that you can do to change up your life!

Photography – Summer Bicycle 8×8 print charming shabby chic cottage decor minty green bike $25 USD

These were my suggestions:

1.       Enjoy some time outside today. Go for a hike, or just a walk around a local lake or park.

2.       Set up your fitness goals for the month/year and do what it takes to stick to them.

3.       Join a run club, get out with like-minded runners and enjoy the motivation!

4.       Find a farmers market in your area and buy farm fresh, organic food. Try throwing together for an evening meal.

5.       Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea at an independent coffee shoppe in your town, supporting the members in your community.

Definitely take a minute to hit David up at 5thingstodotoday, and even submit your own very awesome checklist of things you’ve got planned 🙂

Running Sprints

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Last week I ran Sprints. It was really tough because it was sunny and I was just coming down with the flu, but in retrospect, I think I did pretty good! Basically… it was a 400m track, which I consistently ran in just under 2 minutes. So if I ran 400 meters in 2 minutes, that would be an 8 minute mile! This is coming from the girl who can’t seem to run faster than a 10 minute mile, so to be able to run the speed of an 8 minute mile for the duration of 400 meters on a hot muggy, kinda sicky-pants day was a pretty good feeling!

After about 10 sprints around the track though (about 2.5 miles) I was wiped, and ready for a shower. Hoping for more endurance and better time next time I get out on the track!

Self-Love

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Do you ever wake up in the morning, or mess something up, and can’t stop thinking about how you screwed that up? It starts as a healthy reminder to step up your game, and quickly turns into self loathing.

That’s what happened earlier this week. It started out as a healthy reprimand, and quickly turned into the ever familiar self loathing I was quite friendly with when I struggled with my eating disorder. I would hate myself for eating anything and I would expound further but I remember how the comparison game worked:

  • I would compare myself to others who struggle(d) with an eating disorder, and punish myself if I ate more than them, and gloat if I ate less than them.
  • I was jealous of those who got hospitalized, and felt sorry for those who swelled from water retention.

Obviously this was kinda messed up. But the thing is, I thought that that’s all I deserved. I thought I wasn’t worth anything until I was less than 100lbs, and I wouldn’t allow myself to be happy. I was going to make myself miserable until I’d reached my goal. The only problem was, that when I started losing a bunch of weight, I felt miserable so I couldn’t even enjoy my new *skinny*. I was terribly sick and wasn’t able to climb up a flight of stairs without fainting. Where were my hopes and dreams of going to college? Traveling? Moving out? I was so sick I couldn’t function.

I’m so glad I’m in a healthier place now! These are a few things that keep me grounded:

  • A husband who thinks I’m beautiful
  • Daily quiet time, reflecting on things that are true and uplifting
  • An exhilarating amount of running and keeping active
  • Investing in myself (finishing my bachelors degree this fall!!)
  • Learning to love myself
  • Taking time to enjoy the smallest moments. Taking time to be joyful
  • Taking time for myself. Sometimes this means taking my journal to Starbucks and writing for an hour. Other times this means taking 2 hours to run by the beach. And occasionally it means spending an hour on pinterest, pretending to be productive 🙂

“If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.”

– Barbara De Angelis, author

What helps you guys keep a healthy perspective on life and yourself? How do you keep your emotions steady and enjoy life when it seems crazy?

Dead Last Trumps Did Not Start

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If you run without any reason, you are just chasing the wind.
Wesley Korir, 2012 Boston Marathon Winner
This weekend I biked down to the boardwalk and tried to run. After about 3 miles, I was exhausted. Do you guys ever feel that way? Thus, I found this picture extremely inspiring… because I’m proud of myself for getting out there. After beating myself up, I biked back and worked on my strength training routine I’ve been working on. Surprisingly enough, I was able to hold my planks and V-sits for longer than I’d ever done before! I may not be running my best right now, but I’m about to have some ripped abs 🙂
I’m really thankful that the weather is cooling down this week, and I’ll be able to get out and do a longer run! I’ve got to get some training in to be able to run in the Wicked 10k at the end of October! I’m planning on running it with friends, so we’re going to start our hard-core training soon (yes, I’ll still need to train for this race since I’ve been taking it easy this summer)! Here’s my post from last year: Wicked 10K, which I did in 59:24. My goal this year is to shave at least 10 minutes off that time, and get a time of 45:00 or under!