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May has put me in a bit of a funk. Between travel, busy schedules, and hot temps, my motivation to work out has tanked. I won’t lie, I’ve put on a fair bit of weight since last year this time. And I’m not happy about it. But not being happy about it does not make it disappear. Instead, I fret about it, and stress about it, and end up either guilting myself into trying something new and difficult and failing, or throwing in the towel and saying let’s try tomorrow, or body shaming myself into a tizzy.

Enough is enough.

Tomorrow starts a new month. I like fresh starts for the nice, blank slate it offers. I have set 5 goals for myself for the month of June. All are attainable, and all are small enough goals on their own that I can push myself to achieve, and all together, they are good habits to build over the next 30 days. I don’t feel like any of the goals below are too lofty to set myself up to fail, but all are difficult enough that I will be challenging myself with each one.

Without further ado, my June goals are listed below:

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5 big glasses of water each day. 5 x 20 oz. glasses = 100 oz of water every day. I do not drink enough water, period. I am going to challenge myself to drink 100 oz. per day for a whole month, and hopefully my mood and skin will be thanking me, even if my bladder will get some extra work.

4 runs per week. Running has been a struggle. It’s been hard, and the extra weight I’m carrying around is not making it any easier. I completed a half marathon at the beginning of May, and it was one of the hardest runs of my life. I have been working to get back in the swing of things and starting small, and I need to keep doing this until the joy returns. Running is always there for me, I need to give it the dedication it deserves to reward me.

3 gym sessions per week. Chris and I joined a new gym a few months ago, and we have been trying to go once a week to lift. I am challenging myself to continue doing this, along with going to 2 workout classes over lunch each week. The classes are different enough I won’t get bored, and putting it here for everyone to read will help keep me accountable to go three times a week, which will help build muscle and sweat out fat.

2 other “activities” per week. (DVD workout, or bike ride, or swim, or walk, etc) Basically, be ACTIVE! I have DVDs I can workout to, or I can go on evening bike rides or walks, there is plenty I can do to be active and get a little sweat on, so I am challenging myself to do 2 other activities along with 4 runs and 3 gym sessions, each week.

1 pop per week – or less! I weaned myself off caffeine a couple months ago, and though I don’t get a headache if I don’t have caffeine any more, I still find myself having a pop a couple times a week. I don’t want a couple times a week to turn into every day, nor do I want it to turn into an addiction like it was previously, so I’m going to allow myself one pop per week if I want it. Hopefully, with the other positive changes I am making, I will not always want one once a week, but I’m not going to cut it out completely. MODERATION!

June is going to be a good month, friends. Do you have any goals for June? Share them with me, and let’s keep each other accountable!!

Independence Half Marathon Race Recap

It’s been a hot little minute since I’ve had a race recap! In fact, the last “recap” I wrote was for my knee surgeries last summer, and the last actual race recap I wrote was for the Longview Half Marathon back in November of 2016! Chris and I had initially signed up for Rock the Parkway, I had a rough spring of training, and was feeling super stressed about doing a half mid-April. Chris and I decided to do the Rock the Parkway 5k and move our spring half back a couple weeks, so we signed up for the Independence Half Marathon.

I did not know much about this half marathon before signing up. This was the 3rd year for this race, and there were about 400 expected for the half marathon. I prefer to run larger races, as they are generally better supported, and having lots of runners around me makes me feel more comfortable and a part of something. I’ve had a few small half marathons as well over the years.

Saturday, the day before the race, Chris and I drove to Independence to pick up our packets, and had our normal pre-race dinner of spaghetti. I laid out my flat runner, and I was as ready as I would be for the half marathon early Sunday morning.

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We got to the race about 45 minutes early, and one of the huge benefits to a small race is the close parking! We parked about 50 feet from the finish line. I got to chat with a good friend I hadn’t seen in a while, and after using the bathroom one last time, we were off!

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One thing I was aware of for this race, but not prepared for, was the hills. The elevation map, below, looked rough, but doable. The course itself, once we were on it, was a different story.  The three large hills just never ended! They were super steep and the last hill was ass kickingly relentless. The course was mainly an out and back, with several small out and backs on different roads as well. There was not a lot of shade on the course, which I was prepared for, and luckily, there was some cloud cover, or the temps would have skyrocketed pretty quickly. Chris and I had sunscreen on, but I feel like I sweated it all off by the halfway mark.

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I cannot say enough good things about the support on the course. There were water stops just about every mile, with water at every one, and gatorade at lots of the stops as well. They even had gu available at mile 9, which was unexpected; I had my own gu, but it was nice to have it as an option.  As I expected with a smaller race, there were not a lot of spectators, but what was lacking in spectators was made up in course support and fun signage along the whole course.

In training this spring, Chris and I had been doing intervals of .35 miles running and .15 miles walking, repeated for as many miles as necessary. One of my goals was to stick as closely as possible to this ratio. The first several miles,  I was able to do this ratio, aside from a couple hills that we walked. About halfway, my feet and glutes were sore and tired, and my shins and calves were quick to follow.

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This was around mile 4. Already very hot out but I was still smiling! Photo courtesy: Corey Stark.

I definitely did not put in enough training to do a half, but at the end of the day, the course doesn’t care if you put in enough training, 13.1 miles is 13.1 miles, and all of it had to be completed. Throughout the rest of the race, my hamstrings tightened, then my back and hips. I was in quite a bit of pain and it took quite a bit of convincing by Chris to make me keep putting one foot in front of the other.

The last 3-4 miles included a heck of a lot of walking. The last 2 miles included almost all walking, some stretching, and a bit of crying as well. My quads started siezing up during the last few miles, and I hit the wall hard, and did not want to have anything to do with finishing the half. Chris was such a rockstar and the best support I could have had out there. He encouraged me to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and we cussed the last hill out together.

When we could see the finish line, but had to still complete about a mile loop around the end before finishing, he grabbed my hand and told me how proud of me he was and that we were going to finish no matter what. I am certain I would not have completed this half without him by my side.

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We finished, hand in hand. It was my slowest half I’ve ever done. Slowest out of 14. But I’m proud of this race. I’m proud that I went from 2 knee surgeries and 8 weeks on crutches to completing a half marathon in 40 weeks.  I hit some low lows in this race, and have nowhere but up to go in my personal running. I gained the confidence that I can keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when I think I can’t. My love for Chris grew even more, knowing that he is by my side no matter what.

Looking below at the 14 half marathons I’ve done, I can see each race in my mind. I can feel the pain, and feel the happiness, I can feel the accomplishments I’ve had, and I can’t wait to feel this again. I’ve got nowhere to go but up. Those 13.1 miles won’t run themselves, so I’d better keep running so I can do it again and again and feel the happiness, the pain, the pride, and each mile of my next half.

I’m a half marathoner, again!

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MM: July 24

It’s Monday, and I’m having surgery tomorrow! *insert big eyed anxious emoji* For those who don’t know, I’m having the screws from my ACL surgery in 2009 removed tomorrow.  The doctors believe the screws have been pushing on a tendon and the nerves behind it, causing the increasing pain I’ve been having over the last couple years, made worse by running. I’m very hopeful that it will alleviate my pain and allow me to get back to running!  Anyway, since it’s Monday, I have a few pictures to share with you from last week!

I was able to get a couple miles in with Jenn last week, and boy was it hot out. UGH it was hot! We sat with our legs in the pool after that ridiculously hot and humid run. It was nice to get a little run in with a friend before surgery. Hopefully in a couple of months, I’ll be able to get back to weekly runs with friends!

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I also got some miles in on the bike and on the ARC last week.

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On Thursday night, Chris and I went to the Royals/Tigers game. The Royals had a really good game, and the Tigers did not. We sat in Gordo Nation, and it was lots of fun to get the t-shirt and cheer ‘dem Roys on to a great win.

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We got ice cream at the game, and I just had to put the little hat on Jazzy when we got home. He hated it, but he was beyond cute.

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Saturday morning, Chris and I biked to his eye doctor, to pick up his new pair of contacts. It was super warm and humid out, but we got in our long ride and ran an errand. Win-win!

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Also on Saturday, we saw the new Spiderman movie, got flowers to make the bouquets for our wedding, and did some other wedding stuff.  I planned on saving the bouquet making for the next couple of weeks when I’m laid up with my knee, but I caught the “get stuff done bug” and now all the bouquets are done! I will need to figure out boutonnieres, but that can wait a bit!

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Jasper has really been enjoying all the new spots to lay in our new townhome. Every time I look up, he’s laying somewhere new.  I think he’s happy here, and I know I love it here.  It really feels like home.

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Have a great week! I’ll try to post next week, but if I don’t, I’ll see ya’ll in a couple weeks! I hope everyone stays cool with this crazy heat!