Tag Archives: encouragement

Changing my stride: A post dedicated to Boston

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I’m sitting here pouring sweat after running my own personal 5k as I write this. Well, I actually wrote this in my head while I was running and I just had to get it all down.

I decided before I even put my running shoes on that this was going to be a bad run because of the way I was eating this week. I wasn’t even off my block before the thought of just walking entered my head. My stomach’s too full, my underwear is riding up, and why did I wear these crappy socks?

I concentrated on my stride to get those thoughts out of my head. I’m desperately flat footed, you see, and running that way has been torture on my knees. By changing my stride, running is no longer miserable for me. I’m a WIP and my calves are certainly feeling the change, but I am able to run faster, longer, and softer.

I hate that I have to work so hard to just run. I’m just not a runner. The thoughts started rushing back in my head. My foot stride is not the only thing that needs changing….

I hit a landmark in my run and I remembered how last time I took a different turn and cut my run down by a mile. But that’s quitting, I reminded myself. I had set out on a run and dammit, I was going to run!

Photo Apr 20, 9 17 15 AM

My bro and I at the race.

I couldn’t help but think back to Boston. Even miles away my community was shaken by the tragedy. Nowhere seems safe anymore…exercise has been my refuge, my escape, for so long but now the comfort and safety I used to find in it is threatened. The Boston Marathoners didn’t get a choice—to speed up or slow down—their race was taken from them. Oh, how easy it would be for this experience to stop them from running, to stop Boston from hosting the marathon, to make them stop in their tracks at the next 21st mile marker they hit. But I know they won’t.

They were my motivation to finish what I had set out to do.

I realized then that I needed to change my stride figuratively as well. Saying that I am not a runner is keeping me from being a runner! I just ran a race on Saturday, I AM a runner. I may not be a fast one or distance runner, and sure I may feel every step, but I am a runner just the same.

palace saloon race shot

My first crazy-lookin’ race photo! I feel like it is a rite of passage. This shot was taken right before I went into gazelle-mode sprinting towards the finish line!

So, I kept on going through my hilly neighborhood, passing up several short cuts. Every step made me feel even more like a runner and I was reminded of the deep sense of connection I felt with the runners and fellow volunteers from the Badass Army who came out to the 5.2 at 5 for Boston on Sunday in my town. Read more about the event that raised over $13,000 for the Boston Red Cross and united runners and supporters of the cause from all over here and here.

This experience has taught me that life is too short for all this negativity.  If there is something that you want to accomplish, just get out there and do it before it is too late! Experiences are only as good as what we make of it and attitude is everything. Runners across the country have proved in the last week that we will not be stopped and the joy of the finish line will not be taken from us!

The other side

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If you haven’t already made a commitment to live #happilyeverstronger by making healthy food choices and exercise a priority, I hope that I have inspired you to start thinking about it. If so, congratulations and welcome to the other side! I truly believe that physical wellness is a large part of our journey to happiness.

So, if this is you…fear not. Everyone has to start at square one at some point. After all  I’ve never heard of anyone coming out of the womb completely jacked, have you? I didn’t think so.

When I first made that commitment  I was lucky to have people in my life to guide me through the next step. But, I realize that not everyone has family or friends that are well versed on the topic of eating clean or exercising  There are tons of resources out there to help you and overtime I plan on collecting the ones that have helped me and putting them all in one place!

In the meantime, I’d like to share with you something that has been on my mind for a while and especially this week. I love to share my fitness pursuits with my lovely lady friends 🙂 and take every opportunity to drag (sometimes kicking and screaming) friends with me to the gym, a class or even just my driveway. I even force encourage my mom to lift weights while recovering from a recent surgery. So, I tend to hear this comment a lot– “I’d like to start going to the gym, but I just don’t know what to do.” or “I really like the free weights, but I don’t know if I am ready to do them on my own.” Let’s face it– those guys at the gym wearing homemade sleeveless shirts with huge neck muscles are intimidating with their grunting and slamming of weights (Hey buddy, you’re not supposed to do that at the gym, ya know?)

This is all true. But, as I tell all my friends you just need to give yourself a little more credit, take a chance, get over there with the big boys and give it a try! Let out a grunt (really, try it, it’s liberating!) I love being one of the few females in the gym NOT on a cardio machine or the circuit, but I’d like to see more of my fellow sporty girls over there even more! And guys, I’m taking a stab in the dark here but I am going to guess that it is pretty impressive and dare I say HOT when a girl has the confidence to do these exercises?! {Disclaimer: I am not dissing cardio machines, the circuit, or the people that use them! Cardio is a necessary part of working out and circuit training is very effective, BUT it is also necessary to give your muscles some variety!}

I am a self-proclaimed weight training spokeswoman. I am relatively new to it myself, but I am having so much fun learning and pushing myself farther than I ever thought possible! I never feel more #BADASS than when I am bench pressing. I have a long way to go to reach my weight training goals but I am super-psyched to get there! I am also by no means an expert on exercise or fitness (though hope to be able to say differently one day) but I do want to share with you some things that I have learned along the way and where I learned them from…

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Think about the fitness goals that you have for yourself. Do you want to build endurance? Increase visible muscle? Get STRONG?

Well, this sh!t’s about to get real. (Not really, I’ve just always wanted to say that 😛 ) What I mean is that later this week I will give a break down of weight training goals and some basics on the strategies to achieve them! Keep following for more and let me know how you feel about working out at a gym in the comments section! Use #happilyeverstronger on twitter to tell me about your workout this week!