Friday, June 22, 2012
So, this is not my OFFICIAL blog for today (that will be posting shortly), but I did want to differentiate this from anything else I post because I feel it is so exciting and important. (Yes...two blogs in one day...don't you feel special? I just love ya too much!)
So, here is the deal. I've got this Spark BFF, MOM2IAN. She lives in Michigan and I live in Indiana. We have been texting fools for the past month or so. We work out "together" (at the same time in our respective hometowns) and just get along in general. Not only have we become friends, but I have successfully assimilated her into the running club - a huge victory, as she professed to HATE running the first time I ever talked to her. So she says to me, "Don't you think it's time we meet?"
We found a race that is exactly halfway - the Fort4Fitness 10k Run/Walk in Fort Wayne, IN. We decided to do it, share a hotel room that Friday night and finally meet face-to-face.
But, then something happened. Another SparkFriend that had been texting MOM2IAN (SNEVIL1) decided that she'd like to get in on the fun. So, even though it is a 10-hour drive for her (!!!), we welcomed her into our hotel room. Hey...more the merrier...and cheaper too!
This morning, a brilliant little plan hatched in my brain. I said to MOM2IAN, "Don't you think it's time we ALL meet?"
So, this is your official invitation to join me, MOM2IAN and SNEVIL1 in Fort Wayne on Friday & Saturday, September 28 & 29, 2012 for the Fort4Fitness 10k Walk/Run.
Here is a link to the main page so you can check it out:
Here is a link to Registration:
If you decide that you'd like to join us, you send me a message or comment on this blog and I will keep a running list. (Hee hee...runnning list...get it?) Perhaps, if we get enough people, I can get a deal with the hotel on a block of rooms. So...no one make your reservations yet (unless you're just anti-social and don't wanna be with all of us). We can figure it out when we have a good group established.
And, lest you worry about getting left in the dust because you're not ready to run a 10k...consider this. My mile pace is usually around 14-minutes per mile. MOM2IAN can WALK twice as fast as I can run. AND...she will probably be walking some of it (or most of it) because she JUST started running too. All I'm saying is...don't let fear of looking dumb stop you if you want to meet us. We are AWESOME and we would never ever ever make you feel like less of a person. Cool?
Come on...let's do this thing!!!!
Thursday, June 21, 2012
I took two rest days in a row. I know...shocking. Haha. Absolutely NO physical activity whatsoever. My eating wasn't HORRIBLE...I still stayed within my calorie range, but there weren't nearly enough veggies and whole foods for my liking. This should be no big deal. In fact, my training schedule allows for two rest days if I want them.
The first day (Tues), I was out of town on business so I just didn't get a chance that morning. Then, yesterday, I meant to run. I got up to run. I even got DRESSED to run. But, there was literally SO much on my mind from the conference the day before and I just couldn't imagine not getting everything written down. I was afraid it would all slowly fall away over the course of the work day if I didn't hurry up and capture it for posterity with a pen and a pad of paper. So, I had my time with the Big Man and then I extended it for another 45 minutes to do a brain dump of the day before.
I'm glad I did this, but it's astounding how utterly out of shape I felt by the end of the day yesterday...after just TWO days of rest from my normal schedule of running.
If you want to know how fast motivation can fly out the window, take me as an example, guys. I knew without a doubt that if I did not FORCE myself to get my run in this morning, I would be in serious danger of possibly backsliding and maybe even eventually giving up.
In some ways, I do feel it could be likened to an alcoholic staying sober. It takes very little (just one or two small drinks)...or in my case, two or three days of non-activity and sub-par eating, for the ground to get very slippery underneath me.
Some people are great at bouncing back from things like this. And, as I get further in my journey, I suspect I will grow in the ability to rebound after a setback as well. But, now...in the very beginning...I need to be careful.
That is why I dragged my lazy butt out of bed this morning at 5:30am. I thought you might enjoy eavesdropping on my inner running commentary (see what I did there? eh? yep...I'm so clever)
6-MINUTE WALKING WARM-UP:
It's pretty out here. Nice and cool. Aaaah. This is SO worth it...waking up so it's not hot!
Look at all these sleepy houses. I'm pretty awesome for getting my butt out here and doing this so early.
My legs feel kind of light...maybe this run won't suck so much after all.
0.35 MILES IN
Time to start running...ugh...here we goooooo.
Ugh..again with the limping! Settle in already!
RELAX the shoulders. RELAAAAX the knees. Come on...this will get easier in a few minutes. Don't stop.
0.5 MILES IN
Yes! I love this song! Man, I wish I could text while I'm running and tell Michelle that this song is on...she would crack up!
I wonder if Michelle is running or walking right now? Doesn't matter...she walks faster than I'll ever run. Hate her for that.
OK, this is a great rhythm....SQUIRREL!
1 MILE IN
I can feel my lungs opening up and I am wide awake now!
Oh my gosh, I'm so glad I'm doing this! I am not so sure I'll be able to run the entire 3.1 miles today.
Just keep going to the first rest stop and see how it is then.
1.55 MILES IN
This is exactly halfway. I could technically take a walk break and there would be no shame in it. Nah...no breathing issues. Keep going. You can walk near the end, Leah.
I wish I could see that deer again...like that one day.
Hello, friendly runner friend! *double take from behind* God...are you there? I'd like to place an order for THAT exact body, ok?
What's this hotshot dude doing? No shirt, barely any shorts...uh...DAAAAMN. That was nice.
Haha...I'm not even sweating.
2 MILES IN
So close to being done. I could walk if I wanted to...but I might as well just keep going.
I'm kinda in a groove here...I could run for a lot longer probably. That's good news for my 5-mile LSR on Saturday!
2.5 MILES IN
I'm kind of sad this is almost over. But now I need to really think about getting ready for work.
I can't believe I get my ass out of bed at 5:30am and I'm still 1/2 late for work every single day. Why do I dawdle over my coffee after my run? I need to GET READY!
3.0 MILES IN
Guess I should actually walk for a little tiny bit to cool down. OH...I don't want to...oh, OK.
Wait for it...wait for it...aaaaaaahhhhhh...there it is...endorphin rush. TOTAL BLISS. I swear this is better than sex. YES IT IS!
3.1 MILES - RUN IS FINISHED/STRETCHING
I FEEL AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING!!!!!!!!! Why didn't I want to do this??????????????????? I want to do it again!
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Yesterday, I posted a wonderful, yet vaguely mysterious status on the Friend Feed:
"Single best day of my career...ever. In 12 years. Not exaggerating."
Well, I think I've kept you all on pins and needles long enough! I suppose I'll explain now.
But first...I need to take you back to last November 2011. I had recently started working in my current position with a non-profit connected with Indiana University called The Kuali Foundation. www.kuali.org
Because our business is mostly virtual (we've got people scattered all over the country and the globe), we only get to see each other face to face twice per year. Our biggest face to face is called Kuali Days and it happens in the Fall.
The day before I left for Kuali Days, I was invited to attend an all-day conference at the IU Memorial Union that was hosted by the Office of Women's Affairs. The subject was "Re-Inventing Your Career Path". Honestly, I attended because my boss was speaking in a session and...to get free food and get out of the office for a day with pay.
The keynote speaker at this event was an amazing woman named Caroline Dowd-Higgins. This woman started her career as a professional opera singer and traveled the world. But, when that wasn't working out the way she planned, she faced a difficult career transition. Caroline is now an expert on career coaching, in particular completely re-inventing your career. After a stint at the IU Career Development Center, she now helps coach students in the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. She has written a book called "This Is Not The Career I Ordered" and she hosts a radio show on CBS Radio called "Career Coach Caroline".
Here's a link. Isn't she pretty??? carolinedowdhiggins.com/
Why do I go on and on about Caroline? Simple...she has changed my life. After that conference, I went immediately into Kuali Days. I was brand new to this organization, as naive and shy as you could ever imagine, not knowing a thing about our software products, let alone about the organization in general. I didn't know anyone except the girl I shared an office with! It was really scary.
But...that week, something happened. I fell in love with my team and with my organization and with my job. It was the first time I ever thought (in 11 years of working!), "This is the one. This is my forever career."
When I got back, I was SO excited to tell Caroline all about it. I sent her a message on Facebook, not expecting any sort of reply. Shockingly (to me), she replied right away. She was thrilled for me and promised to be cheering me on and available if I ever needed her help. She was so warm...so approachable and so available to help me. We became fast friends.
And, a few weeks later when one of the ladies in our office left and I took on some of her work responsiblities, I approached Caroline about how to negotiate a raise in salary. This famous woman actually took time from her busy schedule and met me for coffee. We talked about raises, professional demeanor, tips for getting noticed in large meetings. It was a breath of fresh air for me and the first time I ever began to see myself as more than just a secretary. Since then, I have held Caroline in the highest esteem and frequently refer to her as my "career guru".
Fast forward to last month. I received an invitation from Caroline to attend the first annual Midwest Invent Your Future Conference for Women. Along with this invitation came a special request to attend a VIP Reception the evening before and meet all the conference organizers and speakers. Well, let's just say...if Caroline says, "Jump", I say, "How high, honey?" So I signed up.
I didn't know what to expect at all. To be quite frank, I thought it would be your typical "Yay...go women! Be happier at work and quit complaining about your job" kind of conference. You know what I'm talking about, ladies. A happy thoughts day, dedicated to getting as much free food as you can. Right?
Well....it was NOT that. And, you know, I should have KNOWN it wouldn't be that because Caroline was on the steering committee and had really talked this thing up. I should have trusted my guru, you know?
At this point, I begin to feel a bit choked up. Because I can't quite articulate everything that went down yesterday. Let me just start by saying...the speakers that were at this event were PHENOMENAL.
I'm including a link below with all their bios (seriously, if this interests you, totally get ALL these books!) But let me just give you a sampling of these ladies' achievements:
CHARLOTTE BEERS - was Undersecretary of State to Colin Powell. Was named "the most powerful woman in advertising" and has been on the cover of Fortune and Business Week.
SAM HORN - The Intrigue Expert. Has been on NPR, MSNBC and in the New York Times, Washington Post and Readers Digest
MARY LOVERDE - Work Life Balance Expert. Has been on Opray Winfrey 4 times, inducted into the National Speakers Hall of Fame and has several best selling books
BETSY MYERS (my new idol) - Former Director of the White House Office for Women during the Clinton Administration and COO of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. SHE WAS AMAAAAAAZING!!!!
Here's the official bio link: www.inventyourfuture.com/events/conf
You know what the best part was? I would say there were only a couple hundred ladies at this event. That means that all of us got to interact, talk, ask questions and spend an entire day just being real with these remarkable women. Literally...sitting there and chatting with some of the most influential and powerful women on earth!
There were breakout sessions and every single one was fabulous. Great food. Lots of amazing networking. Not only that, but I discovered a newfound DEEP appreciation for my company and their openness to smart, intelligent women - that's not the norm in IT. And my own boss...well, she's just been so incredible in supporting me and modeling for me how to succeed as a professional woman.
But here is the best part...and the reason for my enigmatic status yesterday.
Somehow, somewhere in the middle of the day yesterday...something shifted in my mind. You see, I've always had my life segmented. There has been my home/family life, my work life, my church life, my health, etc. These things sort of overlapped...but never really melted together.
Yesterday...everything came together. Suddenly, all the amazing lessons I've been learning at church and all the discipline and hard work I've put into getting healthy translated directly into how I can do my job at work and, as a result, help to further our company brand. In addition, everything I learned about "business" yesterday was directly applicable to how I care for my family and how I use the gifts that God has given me. It's like there is this giant puzzle and pieces were missing. And, yesterday, they all linked together and formed into a beautiful, perfectly flowing image.
It's the ME Puzzle. And it's put together. And I feel indescribably complete.
Ask yourself this:
What would your life feel like if you truly understood how you were made and what your passions are AND you realized how to funnel that into your everyday job?
How would it be to work hard during the day for something you believe in and then come home and have it just be a continuation of your day...full of things you love?
I don't live in a dream world. I'm sure days will suck. I mean, we ARE talking about work here. LOL. But...the potential for this is off the charts.
I'm actually still working through it all mentally, but a friend of mine really summed it up best after I'd told him all about this. He said, "This is your magic moment, Leah."
It is. Magic. I can't think of a better word for it.
Monday, June 18, 2012
So, I've been on a "motivation" kick lately, I guess. This wasn't something that was planned...it just sort of happened. It seems like this would be a good time to move off of this topic of motivation and onto the next logical step, in my mind, of a complete health journey. Can you guess what that step is?
Look, you can be inspired by my words and they can even motivate you to get on your treadmill or go do your workout. That is INCREDIBLE to me...that something I say when I'm just talking about my own regular everyday stuff could actually move someone (or more than one person) to DO something. Believe me...I do fully grasp how amazing and powerful that is.
Still, that's one workout. What about the rest of your life? What if my motivating blogs suddenly stopped? Would you be able to carry yourself on and do it for YOU?
I came across this cartoon several years ago...WAY before SparkPeople. I have never been able to stop thinking about it. Yeah, it's funny. But, when you really think about it...it's not funny. It's spot on.
Have you seen Jamie Oliver's show, "Food Revolution"? This man opened my eyes wider than they've ever been opened to what I was doing to my body by feeding it junk and only moving to get from my house to my desk at work, where I'd sit all day long.
I have a lot of motivators on SparkPeople. And, yes, a couple of them really were instrumental in getting me going in this particular phase of my journey. I acknowledge that I wouldn't have done it and I wouldn't have stuck to it in the beginning if I wouldn't have had them on my mind the ENTIRE first month or so.
But, at some point, I had to "leave the nest" and figure out my own stuff. A trainer is great, but he can't be here with me every single day and he can't call or text me every time I'm supposed to do a workout. And he won't always be there to post an uber-inspiring blog, which will motivate me enough to keep going.
Simply put, it clicked in my brain that I have limited time on this earth and I was wasting it being unhealthy. And, well, I don't want to let unhealthy habits slowly (or quickly) kill me and leave that legacy for my children.
I wake up ridiculously early 6 days week (yes, even Saturday). I feed my soul with some quiet time in my Bible and with my God. I feed my body with a morning run or cross-training. I feed my stomach with a healthy breakfast.
I don't LIKE to wake up at 5:30am. It's HARD for me to get out of bed. I usually DON'T WANT to exercise.
But I don't NEED a partner to force me to do it. I don't HAVE TO have perfect conditions (sunny weather, etc). I DON'T MAKE EXCUSES. I just DO what I HAVE to DO. And I do it over and over and over and over again.
And...now you know my secret. It's yours now. What are you going to do with it?
"If a man has any greatness in him, it comes to light, not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger of his daily work." -Beryl Markham
Sunday, June 17, 2012
So, wait...something weird is happening. This weekend, we had very old friends (from back before we even had kids) come visit us from Iowa. We were pretty excited to see them and spend time with them. Things were going very well the first night. But things took a strange turn yesterday. And, without going into too much detail, this visit did not end well. To be quite honest, it was sort of an emotional upheaval for me. A pretty awful time. Put it this way...when you think to yourself, "I wish they would just go home", you know some serious stuff has gone down.
They finally drove off and our entire household released their collective breath and peace returned. Of course, sadness remained. It's no exaggeration to say that I'm mourning the loss of an old and dear friendship this afternoon. I hate that this happened, but I've determined not to internalize it and take someone else's dysfunction and make it my own. I've done far too much of it in my life and I'm just done with it.
My good friend, MOM2IAN, has been my texting lifeline this weekend as all of this has gone down. At one point, I said to her, "I don't feel like I should have to apologize but I'm sure I will because that's what nice little Leah always does." She responded, "No...that nice little Leah was 25 pounds ago. New Leah doesn't take any sh&t and she doesn't give false apologies just to please other people and make them feel more comfortable!" (Or something along those lines...probably not those EXACT words...haha).
You know what else New Leah did today that surprises me? New Leah DID cave in and have an ice cream cone...for the sole purpose of comfort. But, it was a small, normal-sized cone that was within the daily calorie limits. New Leah has an insatiable desire to unwind by cleaning the kitchen and then making a delicious, well-rounded, healthy meal for her family, using fresh herbs from the garden.
Who ARE you, New Leah? The Old Leah would sulk, pout, cry, and probably lay around in bed all day. The Old Leah would take the entire weekend onto herself and blame herself for things she didn't do and hold onto that horrible, icky, angry, bitter feeling for years. The New Leah is already letting it slide off of her...because she knows she did nothing wrong. And bitterness will kill the soul and, eventually, the body. New Leah is blogging out her frustrations and then letting them drop.
You know what else? New Leah has really hot legs. She just noticed that this morning after her shower. Perhaps 20 lbs of the 25 lbs lost must have come from her calves alone. LOL.
New Leah realizes that she has SO MANY WONDERFUL and AMAZING friends...and she feels sorry for a person that pushes away one of their only friends in the world instead of asking for help.
New Leah loves herself. And she's determined to make this a great week...and she's praying her dear Spark Lovelies have a great one as well!
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