Life Lessons: Hard Work Pays Off!

I have been involved on the operations side of running events for the past 14 years and the thing that keeps me always coming back, or taking on more, is seeing the faces (young and old) cross the finish line having accomplished their goal and dream!

A couple months back I was asked by my  fellow past Red Crosser, Annie Taff, if I wanted to help lead up the course volunteers for the Girls on the Run of South Central Wisconsin 5K event.  How could I say no to help with this amazing event that helps to build self-confidence in girls 3rd-5th grade while preparing them to run a 5k at the end of 10 weeks. I wish I had something like this when I was growing up.

From my experience course monitors are always the last area to fill for every event I am involved with, but I feel one of the most critical areas. I am happy to say we had 25+volunteers for race day and had an AMAZING crew to make sure the girls were safe on the course while for many of them, completing their first 5K.

I watched at the finish area for a bit and it was so incredible to see the faces of these young girls, as they crossed the finish line and realize what hard work, perseverance and dedication feels like.

These are life lessons that all young girls and boys can hopefully hold on to as they get to junior high, high school, college and adult hood.

I feel people want to take the easy route out now a days, and as a society we are loosing the essence of a hard work ethic. In my life, the harder I work for something the greater the reward. I feel if it comes to easy we don’t appreciate the end result as much.

Two years ago, I completed my first half marathon. Running is not easy for me at all, fitting in the training was hard, race day was HOT, but I finished. I will never forget that feeling and I can honestly say I am so proud of myself for completing that dream of mine.  I hope everyone who crossed the finish line on Saturday continues to feel that feeling of “crossing the finish line” in everything they do and know….. that if you put in the hard work, it will pay off!

ps. I also got to volunteer with some amazing friends too = BONUS!

Double Digits

11I am two weeks away from my goal race of the Her Half Marathon on June 26. The last 3 weeks, I have been doing double digits for my Saturday long training runs. I am still in awe of myself for hitting these HUGE milestone!

As I look back on this journey here are some things I have learned.

  1. To help make your goal a reality, you must vocalize it. By telling people about your goal, it helps keep you accountable.
  1. I have some pretty incredible friends and family who have been amazing in giving me the encouragement I needed and words of support along the way to keep going.
  1. Doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, the point is you are doing it. Your butt is off the couch, you are being physically active to better your health and creating life long healthy habits.
  1. Learn to love the body you are given. Did I drop 50lbs from running? No, in actuality the number on the scale barely moved, but I am ok with that. I feel stronger, my body is allowing me to do something I never thought possible, and for that no matter the shape or size of it, I have learned to love who I am inside and outside.
  1.  Running is more mental than physical. If you get in your own head with negative thoughts, all those aches and pains you are experiencing will take over. Strong mind, strong body.
Foundations Training Run Team before our 12 mile run at Fireman's Park in Verona.

Foundations Training Run Team before our 12 mile run at Fireman’s Park in Verona.

I started this journey on January 9th and it is hard to believe I am two weeks away from making it a reality. I am so grateful for my fellow Foundation Training run members and Coach Flo for helping me get this far.  I have put in the work, and next week is our taper week to absorb everything we have done so far and gear up for race day. I look forward to towing the line on June 26 and run, walk or crawl…. I will make it across that finish line!

I Hit A Wall!

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January 9th is when I started my 13.1 running journey. On March 13, I did the 10K Shamrock Shuffle in Madison and then in week two of the Summer Foundations program, I joined my fellow Foundation friends and did the MadCity 50K relay on April 9. Two 10K’s in a little over 3 months of running, I felt awesome….. and then I hit a wall.

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Our MadCity 50K relay teams!

That week, I went out on Monday to run, and I was .5 miles into my run, and I just couldn’t do it. I stopped and walked the rest of my 2 mile run that day. Wednesday, April 13 was our Foundations training run program night and we had 3 miles to run. Again, I felt tired, in my head I was saying I hate this, and I ended up doing 2.5. A very tough 2.5. Saturday, April 16 – 5 mile run on the schedule. Instead, I did 4. Ok, I thought, one bad week, is ok.

Then comes the week of April 18. Monday, went out for a 2 mile run. I did it, but again, it felt so hard. I am thinking what is going on? I did a 10K, no problem less than two weeks ago.

Thursday, April 21st I left for vacation with a good friend to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM. (GREAT VACATION SPOT BY THE WAY). I did not run on vacation but I did do a lot of walking, if that counts for anything.

Albuquerque, NM

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Camel Rock, Sante Fe, NM

I am sitting in the Denver airport right now, and Monday will start a new day and a new week. I have to follow the advice of Taylor Swift and “Shake it Off”. I have to put the bad two weeks behind me, and focus on getting back to my training. I guess with anything in life, there are ups and downs. Here’s to going back up!

5 Miles!

20160227_105846I never would have thought when I started this 13.1 journey on January 9th that by February 27 I would be able to continuously run 5 miles! This is my longest run to-date.  It was sunny, in the 40’s during our run time and hitting this milestone with my training group was just an awesome feeling.

I have to give credit to the Foundations Program at Endurance House.  Yes, I am the one taking each step and putting in the work, but I have learned so much in these last eight weeks. How to run, core work, foam rolling, nutrition, hill running – having to do this on your own would be very overwhelming. I see now how people (including me) start and then stop a fitness goal. It is exhausting, but with the support of this group, it has also been exhilarating — and that feeling out ways the exhaustion. (except today – I did take a two hour nap after my 5 mile milestone)  🙂

12512454_655276584613008_396967865529504766_nWe have two weeks left of this program and our graduation event is the Madison Shamrock Shuffle on March 13.  I am signed up for the 10K and look forward to that celebration beer with my team!  This will be my half-way point to my 13.1 goal. I look forward to another round of the Foundations program to get me through (as Coach Flow would say) the “Second Act.”  This “First Act” has been pretty amazing!

The Hardest Thing About Running Is……..

images (3)I am discovering the hardest thing about running is getting my ass out the door. It is amazing the amount of excuses one can come up with to get out of exercising.

We are in week four of my training program, and I must admit, I have slacked a bit.  I still got my running miles in for the week, but I have slacked on the cross and strength training. Yesterday I wasn’t feeling the greatest so I missed my evening group training run. I do look forward to meeting up with everyone and the group makes it a lot more fun. I decided to honor my body and stay in.

Being that I missed Wednesday, I had to get my run in the next day. I had meetings in the morning and I got home later than I thought from them.  I had wanted to get out by 2:00pm.  When I got home my head was filled with “to do” items from the meeting. I changed into my running clothes, and told myself, “catch up on the e-mails and phone calls you have to do now and the rest can wait until after your run.” I put a time limit – I could work until 3:30 and then I had to run.

IMG_20160204_164156554_HDRI listened to myself and 3:30 I was out the door.  I still wasn’t feeling it, and again negotiated with myself, “ok, if I just do one mile, out and back, at least I would have two miles in for the day.”  Better than nothing.

I got to one mile, and thought, I can do this and I kept running. I ran 3.5 miles. My longest run to date. I felt so proud of myself after I got done…and then I thought, why do I drag my feet when I know I will feel so good after?

Bonus of my run – enjoying the beauty around me. I had to stop to capture these two pics!  Enjoy.

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First Training Run Week

Snapchat-4294874620298920929It is Monday, January 12 and 8 degrees outside. I have to run for 21 minutes. I put on my gear, head out the door, and get hit with that first blast of cold and I think, what the hell am I doing?  I keep going. I do my warm up walk, set my timer for 21 minutes and I run. Now I am thinking I am just crazy because when I got done I thought, “That was not that bad or cold.”  What is happening to me??

Wednesday, January 14 is our first Wednesday group run. It is so nice to see these familiar faces going through this journey together. We split up by running/walking goal and are lead by one of the Foundations Mentors in stretching and warm up before we head off for our run. I am not a fast runner, in fact, of my 10K run group, I am the slowest — and I am ok with that. Slow and steady, may not win the race, but it will get you to the finish line!  I ran for 25 minutes tonight.

Our Spring Foundations Training Group!

Our Spring Foundations Training  Group!

belly dancing 1Saturday, January 17 group training run. We met at Dance Life Studio & Fitness to first work on our core. To do this we participated in a belly dancing basics class. Yes, I said belly dancing.  Some of us put on the fancy coin belts to get in the mood as we danced. It was fascinating and I think I am definitely going to sign up for additional classes.

We did our training run and it was 2 miles or 20-32 minutes depending on your pace. I have decided, I don’t like to say the miles part of it, I just like to say “today I will run for 32 minutes”.  It could or could not be 2 miles. I do have to get a watch to track my pace/miles/time but for now I want to enjoy the act of running versus making it so technical.

digmanPost run or walk as a group we met next door at Digman Fitness. Corey Digman, owner, taught us some preventative strength and conditioning exercises and stretches along with how and why to we should use a foam roller post work out.

As I am going into week number two of the program, I am starting to feel stronger, more confident and learning to take the “hate” out of running.

My First Training Run!

 

Saturday, January 9, 8:00 am, at Endurance House was my first training run. I was 20160109_080315-1_resizedthankful the temperature was in the 30’s and there was just a light dusting of snow that made everything very pretty instead of gray and gloomy.

Before we got started, Coach Flo and the other program mentors had us play “Icebreaker Bingo” so we could get to know the 25+ members in the spring program.

Flo then talked about “The Four Agreements”, a book by Don Miquel Ruiz. I put this book on my “must read” list.

The principals include:

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The Four Agreements are a great life lesson to practice in your entire life, not just within our group.

Then it was time to run! We went outside and did some warm up exercises as a group and then depending on what you are training for 5K walk or run or 10K walk or run we did our distance for that day. I ran for 16 minutes and did not stop or walk! I was proud of myself. When we got back at our own pace we paired up and worked on planks for our core and stretching.

I am realizing from this first week of learning and trying to be a runner, that it is mind over matter. I can honestly say, my mind has never wanted to do this before now and I think I picked the right group to help me reach my goal.

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You Have to Start Somewhere!

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Starting anything new can be intimidating. Thanks to my friend Jen Anderson, Race Director for the Her Madison Half, she told me about the Endurance House Foundations Program for people of all abilities and distance goals.

20160106_175929January 6th I nervously walked in the doors of Endurance House for the informational meeting. I felt more at ease as I saw other people of all shapes and sizes walk through the door. We were greeted by Coach Flo, who immediately made you feel comfortable. She told us about the program goal: “To build the foundation of our best life by enjoying walking and running outside, without injury in an ever growing supportive and active community,” and then we went around the room to introduce ourselves.

Some of the reasons and stories on why people, like me, where exploring this fitness journey were very inspiring. Trying to get fit after battling cancer, a women who walked her first 5k, and now wanted to run it and someone like me, hates running, but likes running with this group.

Coach Flo!

Coach Flo!

For the spring Foundations Program, we are working toward running or walking a 5K or 10K by mid-March, depends on your fitness goal. I am shooting for running a 10K by mid-March.  If I can get to 6.2 by March I have almost 3 months to get to 13.1.

I felt inspired and thought, this is the right fit for me to accomplish my goal. I signed up. The program cost for the 10 week program is $125 and that includes Walk, Run/Walk and Run pace groups (Wednesday at 6pm & Saturdays at 8am), coached team workouts, 15% in-store discounts, workshop series and much more.

Here’s my start!

I am Running a 1/2 Marathon……

These are words I thought I would never utter. Over the past ten years I have worked behind the scenes of some pretty incredible running events including the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, Door County Triathlon, Fall 50 and Bellin Run.

I have seen the pure joy and excitement of people of all shapes, sizes and abilities cross that finish line and accomplish their dream. Over those ten years, deep down, I hoped to one day have that same feeling….. the problem, I hate running!

imageTen months ago I moved to Madison after living in Green Bay for 23 years. I think this was the catalyst I needed to give me the confidence to try. On Christmas eve I lost my uncle to a short battle with cancer. With the loss of a loved one and the start of a new year, you start to look at your life and it is a reminder to live life to the fullest, take chances and don’t wait to check off those “bucket list” items.

December 27, 2015 I signed up for the Her Half Marathon in Madison. Having the courage to sign up is half the battle. Now to put together a plan to help me go from behind the scenes to crossing that finish line.

Hope you enjoy reading about my journey.