stronger than excuses

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“But I work late.”
“Life is too busy to exercise.”
“I’m too tired.”
“I have to take care of the kids.”

Raise your hand if you’ve heard any of the above excuses for not squeezing in your daily dose of exercise. I bet good money that most of us are guilty of saying them, too. I know I am! But take a minute to step back and think if your excuses are valid, and I bet most of the time they are just that – excuses. Lifestyle changes like eating better and working out are hard at first, but I will let you know that it gets easier, it really does. It’s all about changing your thinking and making a habit stick.

I don’t consider myself an expert at working out or motivating people, but with my life the way it is, I find that I don’t really have time for excuses. It’s either DO IT or NOT, and NOT isn’t an option when it comes to reaching a goal. Here are some ways to combat excuses and turn can’ts into cans.

Excuse 1: I don’t have enough time.
Well, first off, that’s complete crap. Yes, I said that, and I don’t care if you think the answer is rude. It’s true, and I really hate this excuse more than any other. Everyone has at least a small window of time to fit in physical activity. Think of the time you spend on social media, watching Netflix or TV, checking email, sitting on the couch, etc. Those are all prime opportunities to exercise, and with some of those activities, you can combine the exercise with them. Do some squats and crunches during commercial breaks. If you have a treadmill or other piece of exercise equipment, use it while watching your favorite movie or show (Making a Murderer marathon, anyone?). For every minute you spend checking Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, make up for it by doing that many burpees or push-ups. Also, no one said you need to exercise all at once. Break it up! Do a short walk or run in the morning and maybe another a night. There is always time.

Excuse 2: Working out is boring.
The only one making a workout boring is you! It’s all in your control. Don’t like running? No problem! Switch it up. Can’t stand burning calories on your own? Grab a friend or join a workout group. As long as your body is moving, that’s a good thing. Check out the thousands of workout videos online to find one you enjoy. See what kind of opportunities are offered at your gym or fitness center and try them out. Don’t have a gym or fitness center membership? No problem because some communities, like mine, have programs that offer free fitness opportunities. If you live in Lorain County, Ohio and haven’t checked out United We Sweat, you should. Also, local parks are free and offer a change of scenery and a chance to get up close and personal with nature.

Excuse 3: Working out is hard when you have kids.
This is one excuse that holds a little weight because it is harder to fit in a workout when you are a parent. It is not, however, impossible, and for the record, you are not neglecting your kids if you take some time for yourself to focus on being a healthier you! If you have a little one, try to sneak in a video when your sweet bundle is sleeping or playing. Consider buying a jogging stroller, so you can make the baby/toddler part of the workout. Taking your baby for a walk in a regular stroller or pulling a wagon is still exercise. For older kids, make it a family affair and include them in the fun! You’re not only getting your exercise in, but you are setting a great example for your kiddles. Plus, the kids provide a little more motivation and accountability to keep going. In my case, the kids have done workout videos with me at home or hopped in to do planks, push-ups, and wall sits, and they ride bikes and scooters and sometimes run with me at the local park. When you’re considering family activities, do ones that center on physical activity, such as roller skating, bike riding, kick ball, or sled riding. You’ll have so much fun that you’ll forget it’s actually a workout.

Excuse 4: I’m too tired. 
Often, I think people are too tired from not moving their bodies enough as opposed to too much during the day. Too much sitting can make you tired and unmotivated to do anything. There’s a reason why they say sitting will kill you! Instead of giving in to the tiredness, get up and get moving! I know that after a long day of meetings or conferences, I’m beat when I get home, but as soon as I get that run in, I’m full of energy. Knowing I will feel so great when I’m done helps motivate me to get out there. Try it; it works! I also found that when I go through periods when I’m not exercising, I don’t sleep as well; thus, I’m tired. Regular exercise helps perks me up during the day and helps my body rest at night, making me feel fabulous.

Excuse 5: I have no motivation.
Then give yourself some motivation! This is completely under your control. Add some new songs to your playlist that help pump you up. Set goals for the week or month and reward yourself when you meet them. My personal favorite rewards are cupcakes, Chipotle, or beer! Set aside a jar and add a dollar for each mile you run/bike/swim and see how much you earn at the end of the year. Buy a new piece of workout gear or clothing. Join a group, either in-person or online, that can support your fitness efforts. Write down your goals and hang them as a reminder of what you want to accomplish. Have a little friendly competition with family or friends. There are so many options, but what’s important is finding what really motivates you.

How are you stronger than your excuses? I’d love to hear from you!

how do you do it? – training for a marathon mom style

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“How do you train for a marathon?!” This is a very popular question when people find out I’m a runner who has completed 5 marathons already. The answers are kinda simple. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about how I train with being a full-time employee and mom to four little angels (insert sarcasm here). You can just skip this post if that’s the case, but if not, here’s how I juggle work, family, and running. Hopefully it will give a little insight and possibly help or inspire another mother runner out there (or father runner, too).

  1. I run when I have the opportunity. Does this mean I run exactly when I feel like it? Hell no! Remember the saying, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.”? That totally applies in my case. Knowing I have only a short window of time to complete my run helps drum up some motivation because even a not-so-fabulous run is better than no run at all. Plus, you never know what will happen on race day, so being able to run when you are tired, hungry, stressed, or, heaven forbid, having stomach issues, will only make you stronger.
  2. That being said, I also make time for running because it is a priority to me. I used to feel guilty about saying that, but I don’t anymore. Even moms need something they do that is entirely for themselves. Training takes precious time, so it’s important to make sure you are able to set aside this time, especially for long runs. I don’t know too many people who can run a marathon on a whim, and if you can, I am completely jealous. I usually save long runs for the weekend but have been known to throw it in during the middle of the week if it works best with our family’s schedule. Take last night, for example. We have a busy weekend ahead, so Taco Tuesday became Treadmill Tuesday, and I knocked out a 14-miler after work. It can be done.
  3. I have a treadmill at home and membership to a gym with child care. I know not all moms are fortunate enough to have just one of these resources available to them, so I consider it a blessing to have both. Before you skip past this one, hear me out. My gym membership with the child care is $20 a month. I bought the treadmill secondhand for $150. You can find deals out there that could help you achieve your running goals without breaking the bank. It’s just a matter of looking around.
  4. I take advantage of the local park and streets around my house. Less than a quarter mile away from my house is a community park with a paved .4 mile loop, baseball fields, and playground. It is perfect for us, and the kiddles and I are a fixture there when the weather is nice. They are old enough where I can run loops and keep an eye on them, plus they are out playing. Win-win! I also have a loop with the street parallel to mine. I allow the kids to play in the front year (not near the street), and I run the .7 mile loop, checking up on them with each lap. This year, I also plan to take advantage of the high school track that is a short drive from my house. This should be perfect for speed work.
  5. I enlist the help of family and friends. There are times I have to ask family and friends to help watch the kids for me, so I can get a run in. This usually only happens when it’s long run time. Regardless, I am thankful to have people in my corner who can help me, even if they think running 26.2 miles is bat-shit crazy.
  6. I have realistic goals. The purpose of me running a marathon isn’t to win or qualify for Boston. The closest I will get to Boston, at least at this point in my life, is my Boston Strong Sparkly Soul headband and living vicariously through my speedy friends. I’m running a marathon to prove to myself that I can do it and improve my time. That puts the personal in personal record. I have a fairly lofty goal for my next marathon, the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon. I want a sub-4:00 BADLY! Will I be disappointed if I don’t make it? Well, yes, but running that race will also be influenced by so many other factors outside my control (weather, precipitation, stomach issues, injury, etc.). Because of this, I have a B (4:05-4:08) and C (4:10-4:15) goal set for myself. The best way to look at it is I will have a PR of at least 10 minutes with any of those goals. I will continue to remind myself of this during training.

How do YOU train for a marathon? What are your favorite tips?

 

happy birthday, adrianna

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Nine years ago today I became a mom for the second time, and it was every bit as special as the first. Adrianna has proven to be her own little person from the time she was born. She’s not afraid to express her opinions, and I admire her independence and confidence. She’s smart and sassy, maybe a little too sassy for her own good, but I love her dearly. Happy 9th birthday, my little Adrianna Banana. I love you and am proud of you.

and we’re off: CLE marathon kick-off run

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It’s official; training season for the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon has begun! This year, the marathon kicked it off in style with their Kick-Off Run held at Fleet Feet in Pepper Pike on Saturday, January 9. This free event was hosted by the CLE marathon, Fleet Feet Sports, and Brooks, and it was AWESOME!

I was excited about this run for a few reasons. First, Dan was going to run it with me, and with our schedules, we don’t get to run together much. Second, I had a chance to reconnect with some of my CLE ambassador friends and other running friends, who have become more like a running family. Third, it was the official start of my marathon training. HOLLA! Time to buckle down to crush some goals. Fourth, I had a chance to see my friends who spend countless hours coordinating the CLE marathon, which is no easy task. And fifth, it was an opportunity to bring together the running community in support of the CLE marathon and gain excitement and momentum for the race.

I was very pleased with the turnout, considering the rainy weather we had riding to the event. Thankfully, the rain stopped for the run, and the sun even made an appearance! January in Ohio with sun and no snow and not freezing our butts off – I’ll take it! Living where we do, we don’t get an opportunity to run hills on a regular basis, so I was happy that the course was not pancake flat. Gotta run those hills to get ready for CLE! Even though the route ended up being longer than expected, we finished with a 5 miles in less than 40 minutes! For us, that is super speedy! I think it helped that Dan and I had Will as comic relief along the course. Another thing I really liked about the event was I had a chance to meet some Instagram friends in real life, which is always fun because they have been providing motivation and support along the way. Shout out to Heather and Tony!

Thank you, CLE marathon, for a great kick-off! Let’s do this!

it feels good to be back!

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2016 CLE marathon

If you haven’t heard the fabulous news by now, I was welcomed back by the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon as an Official Ambassador for their 2016 race! I’m joined by 13 of my absolutely awesome ambassador friends from last year, and we welcomed two new ambassadors, who are just as awesome in my opinion. This is my fourth year as a race ambassador/official blogger for the race, and I couldn’t be more proud. I again get to train for and run the race I love in the city I love and share my experience with you. Doesn’t get much better than that.

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Some of the 2015 crew before the race (Jamie, Debi, Andrew, me, Melissa, Jessica, Jill, and Stephani)

This year, I’m tackling a new adventure in CLE with the Challenge Series. It consists of participation in a race on Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15. Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I signed up for the 8K and Full Marathon Challenge! For the past two years, I have participated in a race on both days (the 5K and full in 2014 and 5K and half in 2015), but there wasn’t a formalized challenge for it until this year. On top of that challenge, I’m gunning for a huge PR in the marathon – sub-4 hours – which would mean shaving off nearly 25 minutes from my current best. Crazy, I know. It’s going to require some hard work, determination, and perseverance, but it’s not impossible. Over the past two years of running, I’ve improved quite a bit, and I think I have this in me. I guess we shall see in May.

With such lofty goals comes a new training plan. In the past, my main goal was to finish the marathon period or finish without walking. Training consisted of a long run on the weekends and 2-3 shorter runs during the week but no real speed work and no crosstraining. I’m sure racing fanatics and marathon purists are screaming at me for not doing those. I know that won’t cut it when I’m actually trying to hit a goal time. Speed work, hills, and crosstraining will become part of my training regiment, whether I like it or not. To help with my accountability and tracking, I received a running journal for Christmas, which I have already put to us. It allows me to track workouts during the week and plan for upcoming weeks. It was quite possibly the smartest gift I received this year. I’m also thankful to have the other ambassadors on this journey with me. I know I can count on them for advice and support, and they also help with the accountability piece. We are a team, and we are all in this together!

I look forward to sharing my experience with you over the upcoming months. Cleveland is going to be a wild ride! Best wishes on a successful training season, and I’ll see you at the starting line!

I want to know – which Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon race/races are you running this year?

goodbye, 2015! hello, 2016!

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Holy crap! That year went fast!!! 2015 is nothing but memories now, and we are moving full speed ahead into 2016 with as much busyness and craziness as we had last year. It seems like I don’t have time to catch my breath sometimes, but it’s not all bad. Honestly, I thrive on being busy. The thought of sitting at home to watch a Netflix marathon is horrible to me; I would much rather be active doing something, anything. Even cleaning the house takes a front seat to couch sitting.

If I could describe 2015 in one word, it would be stressful. This seemed to be a theme in all aspects of life, and I’ve excited for a new year. That doesn’t mean that some absolutely awesome things didn’t happen in 2015. I choose to focus on those below and leave the craptastic things in the past.

On a personal note, Dan has officially put up with our family/me for two years, and yes, he deserves a medal for that. We are not an easy bunch to live with, and that’s putting it lightly. He started as a running friend and for some crazy reason that I have yet to understand, decided he would stick around. Thank you. I love you.

Running wise, I kinda kicked ass in 2015, even though I didn’t take part in a lot of races. I set not one but 3 personal records – a 10 mile PR at the Hermes Cleveland 10 Miler in April (1:25:09), a half marathon PR at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon in May (1:54:45) and a 5K PR at the Downtown Willoughby 5K in September (23:28). Hell, I even placed in my age group at the Willoughby race, and there were a LOT of people in my age group! I had the great privilege of being a Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassador with the most amazing group of people. We started January 2015 as ambassadors and ended as friends. I was so thankful to have all of them in my corner supporting me along the way. I also tried something new – a marathon relay as part of the Akron Marathon – with a group of my CLE marathon friends and Dan, honorary CLE ambassador. Team #ShareCLE was one of the highlights of my year because it brought many us together again doing something we all love. We also had a chance to support other CLE friends who were running either the marathon or half.

As far as work goes, I accomplished my most important work project to date – leading a team to submit all of our documentation for public health accreditation. Think of it as the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for health departments. In December 2014, we submitted our application, and we were able to start uploading documents in May 2015. In exactly 7 months, my team and I worked to finalize all of our documents to help meet the hundreds of requirements. Everything was sent off on December 22! We still have a ways to go before we hear our decision on accreditation, but we are hoping the outcome is a positive one. More stress to come on this as we prepare for the site visit in spring/summer.

The kiddles have grown and have become their own little people. I think they learned a few life lessons this year (at least I hope they did) and possibly gained a little more respect for the people who love them and take care of them. It was not an easy year, more of a learning experience. And as mad as I get at them for some of the crazy things they pull and way they act, I think they know that no matter what, I love them and will take care of them.

Looking forward to 2016, I have some exciting things ahead of me. I was graciously asked to be an ambassador again for the 2016 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon! This will be my fourth year, and I am proud and thankful to represent this great race and organization. That being said, I have some running goals to crush. This year, I am participating in the new Challenge Series where I will run an 8K on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday. AND I am gunning for a sub-4 hour marathon, which would be dropping nearly 25 minutes off my current PR. Crazy, I know, but I love a good challenge. It gives me something to work for, and I always run better with a lofty goal. There is a quote that says, “Set a goal so big that you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can.” I will be thinking of this as I embark on my training plan.

I also want to be the person who leads my health department to accreditation. This is a huge deal for me, both personally and professionally. We should expect to hear the decision in fall 2016. I have faith in my health department and the team who put in the time and effort to get us this far. We just need to make it to the end of the journey.

As we start another trip around the sun, I want to say good luck and best wishes! Hope this is a great year for you!