Posts Tagged by change

Coming Out of {Internet} Hibernation

The snow is melting, the rivers are thawing, and puddles of mud are forming everywhere I look.

mud season

Spring is finally coming.

winter thaw

Or at least that’s what they tell me. The current temperature and winter storm warming in Vermont sort of suggests otherwise…

spring snow

But I’ve got to believe that change is in the air. And I am slowly making my way out of the internet hibernation I’ve been hiding in these past couple of weeks. When I posted about going to Florida, I didn’t actually mean for that to signify that I was leaving the entire internets behind for awhile. But truthfully, sometimes a break from it all feels really good. The best thing about having a blog that’s only a hobby is that there’s never any real pressure to post. So I just kept waiting until I actually had the urge to write something. Which just so happens to be today (aren’t you all lucky?)

Whenever there’s been any sort of significant break, it feels kind of weird to jump right back in with some post about whatever running rambles are in my head at the moment. So instead, here’s a brief update about what I’ve been up to. You know, all those things that only my family and I actually care about, but I take time to blog about anyway…

I spent a week getting a glimpse at life as a stay-at-home Mom. Parts of it were incredibly fun, but other parts…not so much (you know, like dealing with home renovation fiascoes in my sister’s new house for two days and being stuck at home while things are getting installed). And it gave me an even greater respect for mothers who somehow manage to work out regularly on top of getting a bunch of real tasks accomplished in one day. It’s amazing how fast a day can pass with a baby and you’ve got nothing to show for it.

Leah_6 months

One of the best parts about my time with my niece? A relaxing 10.5 mile run we took together. Well…I did the running while she took a good hard nap.

Leah_jogging buddy

I love my sister’s Bob stroller, but it’s not easy to run pushing another person…even a mini-one! (Yes, I realize this is not news to anyone.) I have never been more thankful to run along completely flat roads (the wind in FL, however, is a completely different story!). And despite how tough/awkward the run felt at times, I actually really loved the company. It was kind of fun knowing I had someone along for the ride.

Leah_froyoWe introduced Leah to the joy that is self-serve Frozen Yogurt. She loved it…clearly

I somehow managed to get tendinitis in my elbow…or, you know, that tendon that connects your tricep to your elbow. As a result of this super fun injury, I spent over a week with an arm so swollen that I couldn’t even bend it enough to brush my own teeth.

tendonitis elbow

How does a runner managed to injure her arm? Well…I don’t really want to talk about it. Okay, fine. I was stupid and stubborn. My sister somehow persuaded me to join her for a CrossFit class and I have way too much pride to give up on a workout that I know is probably just a little too much for the girl who begrudgingly lifts only twice a week. So yeah, CrossFit’s no joke. And you should probably take some legit introductory courses first. My sister just completed an 8-week CrossFit challenge and is seriously in the best shape of her life. It’s impressive. But I think I’ll stick to running for now.

One more picture because she’s just so stinkin’ cute…

IMG 2856Not only does this kid recognize herself in the iPhone camera, but she also knows how to take selfies. At 6 months old. Babies amaze me.

Speaking of which…running lately has had its ups and downs. Do you ever have a week when your legs just feel flat and your paces seem off? And no matter what you do, every run just seems way more difficult than it should be? Well, that was me this last week. Slow running, failed speed workouts, and lots of frustration. I’m trying not to get discouraged and just chalk it up to an “off” week. At least we had a few days of warmer temperatures and awesome running weather thrown in there amongst the wind and cold. Today marks the start of a new week, which means a chance to start fresh.

On a related note, I’m no longer running for Saucony. It’s not something I really want to go into at the moment, but I feel like in the interest of full disclosure, I should let you all know. Ultimately, it’s a good thing. I love Saucony products (and stand by my claim that the Mirage3s are the greatest shoes ever created), but this does give me a little more freedom in what I talk about on HOtR. In all honesty there are a lot of great running companies out there doing some really cool things. I’ve been sort of silently watching this past year as small companies like Oiselle have taken the social media/female running world by storm, creating a community of athletes that really seem to support each other. It’s cool to see that kind of thing between companies and their runners.

But I will miss wearing this uniform…

Nuvision action image storefront 1679769

 

Winter in Vermont has kicked my butt. Figuratively, literally, physically, emotionally…and other kind of “ly” you can think of. I’m from New England. I’m used to snow and cold and ice and wind. But what I’m not used to is all of those things plus dreariness and isolation. To say that this past winter has been harder than expected would be an understatement.

HOWEVER – I survived (or am surviving. It’s not really over yet). And although I’m generations away from ever being considered a true Vermonter, surviving a winter here earns me some points in my Vermont cred, right? Maybe?

Plus, despite the difficulty of winter time, I have loved every single chance we’ve had to go skiing. I feel really lucky that I’ve gotten to ski more this past winter than I have in my entire adult life combined. And I’ll freely admit that this has taken a toll on my marathon training. I’ve sacrificed runs and fresh legs for another day on the slopes. I know full well that I could’ve worked harder this winter and that I willingly chose not to. But honestly – I don’t regret it in the least. It’s just where I am in life, I guess. Sometimes you want to put everything else on the sidelines for the sake of training and the pursuit of a goal. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But other times, for whatever reason, it’s just not worth it. Skiing has really been the only thing that has gotten me through the cold dreary months up here. And the only thing I’ll miss once all the snow finally melts.

Stratton_American Express

That being said, the season is coming to a close. And race season has officially begun. Hearing about everyone’s early spring races, watching runners I know and the women I coach improve by leaps and bounds, seeing the hard work so many have put in over these past few months finally pay off — well, that’s enough to give me the racing bug again. The itch to race is stronger than it’s been all year. And I hope to find myself on a starting line in the (very) near future.

Escape and Restoration

I haven’t quite been myself lately. Maybe you can tell from my posts (or lack thereof), maybe not. But truth be told, these past few weeks have been tough ones personally. It’s nothing major or life-altering…just a few personal and health issues that have been weighing me down.

It makes me feel a little bit like a broken record, and I hate it. These issues alone wouldn’t even be so bad, but unfortunately they’ve been exacerbated by a flare up of foot pain that is eerily similar to the injury that forced me to skip Hyannis last year. The one that signified the beginning of the end of my spring marathon training….only in the opposite foot. I’ve been doing whatever I can to avoid a repeat of last year’s training disaster, which means the past two weeks of running have been a wash. Running has always been my most effective stress reliever. So when I’m not running and under a lot of stress, well…let’s just say you should consider yourself lucky that you’re not married to me.

Anyway all of this crap swirling around has made me more hesitant to get on the internet. I’m a big advocate of not blogging when you have nothing to say, and so I’ve stepped back a bit. Especially because I just don’t feel comfortable blogging about any of this stuff. Not yet, anyway. It’s kind of funny, I guess — when it comes to my running life, I’ll tell you anything. I have no problem talking about the awful runs. Runs I cry through or workouts I can’t complete. And I certainly don’t hesitate admitting when certain embarrassing things happen during races. But when it comes to life outside of all that? Well — there’s a reason I’m a running blogger and not a lifestyle one.

snow covered tree

When I wrote my post about failing better last month, I never truly expected that I would end up going back to it so much. Repeating that phrase over and over like my new mantra. Didn’t expect that my promise to change how I react to situations outside of my control would be so hard to keep. That I would need to remind myself again and again that what matters most is how I react to my circumstances. And whether I allow setbacks and challenges to destroy me…or I use them to make me stronger. I’m not proud to admit that I’ve gone through a period over the past couple of weeks when I crumpled in the face of the hurdles instead of leaping over them.

My point in all of this vague rambling (and I promise, I do have a point) is to say that things finally seem to be on the upswing. Or, at least, my attitude toward them is. One can only have a pity party for so long, you know. And then you start to annoy even yourself.

So instead of being frustrated and stressed that I essentially missed two important weeks of training for Vermont City, I’m choosing to start fresh. Wipe the slate clean. Look forward instead of back. I’m not going to let this setback derail my entire spring. I don’t love the fact that I missed quality runs and will have to adjust my training plan. It’s not ideal that I’m behind in my build up of mileage and long runs. But I can’t change any of that now. The only thing I can do is keep pressing forward with the time that I do have. Keep working harder to make each workout and run count. And start taking better care of my body — allowing myself time to recover, eating right, rolling, icing, and all that other annoying but oh-so necessary prevention stuff that can so easily fall by the wayside.

And to help with this fresh start, I’m getting away. I am very lucky to have had a (very!) last minute, spontaneous opportunity to travel to Florida. After only 15 minutes of searching and securing some ridiculously cheap flights, I booked the trip. I’m trading snowy cold Vermont for palm trees and 80 degrees. And I’m spending the week with the newest (and by far the cutest!) member of #teamwatermelon.

Leah_teamwatermelon_1Rocking her new green Saucony Jazz sneakers – an essential in every baby’s wardrobe (and yeah, I wanted her to match her most favorite* aunt!) *I am currently awaiting confirmation that I am, indeed her favorite. But I’m sure her other 4 aunts won’t mind me claiming the title…

Leah teamwatermelon 2They might be just a little big on her at the moment….

I don’t think it’s possible to stay stressed in the presence of this cutie.

Leah teamwatermelon3

Plus, I’m counting on my new teammate to keep me motivated as I attempt to dive back into hard training. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the pain in my foot stays away for good.

Leah teamwatermelon4

My sister and her husband recently bought their first house and are already knee deep in home renovation projects. She has warned me of the likelihood that I’ll be put to work this week, but I’m strangely excited about this. I can’t think of anything more therapeutic than warm air, sunshine, baby time, and a little home renovation.

Plus, despite all the benefits of winter running, I’m more than a little excited to run in shorts and a tank top again. Maybe by the time I come back, all the snow will be melted and spring will have returned to the North. Yeah, I know, wishful thinking. But at least we’ll be one week closer.

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Life{ontherun}: On Taking Risks

October is a pretty big month in the Conkey house. Not only does it mean fall temperatures, camping trips, apple pies, marathon season, and horror movies, but it also marks the one-year anniversary of our discovery of the tiny town in which we currently find ourselves residing.

It’s so strange to me when I think back on the past year and all that has happened. Sometimes life changes so slowly you don’t notice it. And other times – one small, seemingly inconsequential decision can suddenly shift the course of your life before your eyes.

So today, I want to take a break from the running chatter and the taper talk. If only to spend a few minutes thinking about something else besides NYCM, figuring out my marathon goals, and reading into every little ache and pain I feel in my legs. Instead, I want to tell you a little story about life in Vermont. Because it’s more than just a story about a move — it’s about taking risks. About setting a goal and going after it. About not being afraid of failure and refusing to live life with regrets.

I think we can all agree that this sort of mentality can apply to running too.

A Cheesy Tale

{In more than one way…}

Normally when people ask us why we chose to relocate from the city to a tiny little town in Vermont, we usually keep our response simple:

“Oh, we just love it here.” and “We were ready for a change.”

Which is true. Technically speaking. Plus it sounds a little less crazy than the real story. Because the truth about why we moved to Vermont? It was the cheese. I know it sounds like I’ve gone off my rocker when I say this but in a way — cheese changed my life. 

For Evan’s entire life, his family has been coming up to Vermont to camp during Columbus Day weekend. This vacation was the highlight of his year – a time to relax, escape from the stresses of everyday life (no cell phone service or cable will do that for you) and see family and friends. As the years passed, the people who came changed, but the spot didn’t.

When Evan first invited me along on the annual camping trip a few years ago, I knew things were official. Not just anyone was allowed to come to Vermont, after all. It was that weekend that I first experienced the cheese for the first time. But it wouldn’t be for a couple more years until we’d finally venture up to see where it was made.

In October of 2011, Evan and I made a trip north that would forever change the course of our lives. As soon as we drove into the tiny little town* we fell in love. The huge white Inn, the quaint little post office, the big white church and beautiful old houses – it was like something out of a movie.

inn

We walked around the tiny town that day, eating cheese and daydreaming about one day having a house in such a peaceful spot. We spent the entire day planning out our future. And as cliché as it sounds, it was then that visions of a family, white picket fences, and acres of property started teasing us. Right then and there we made a vow to each other that we would find a way to move to Vermont someday. Once our lives were more settled and we knew where we were going, we would leave the city behind for good.

townpond

But life is really funny. And we soon realized that we couldn’t get that little town out of our heads. So when Evan started planning a proposal for later that year, he knew there was only one place to do it.

Last December we drove up to Vermont again, and he surprised me with a dinner at the Inn in our new favorite town. Afterward, surrounded by Christmas lights (and rain), Evan took me out to the porch, got down on one knee and proposed. It was one of the happiest moments of my entire life.

Fast forward to the wedding planning process, and we knew without a doubt that we wanted to get married in Vermont. Although our entire relationship had taken place in the state of Rhode Island, Vermont — with its beautiful mountains, lakes, and rocky rivers — just seemed more us. So we set out on a venue tour around the state – viewing barns and lakeside venue locations. The Inn was our last stop. We almost didn’t go. I had been in contact with the wedding coordinator there, but she said she was all booked up for the fall (our original plan for the wedding) and only had a few dates available in November. Plus, the formal dining area with its separate rooms just didn’t seem right for the type of inclusive, low key, family reunion atmosphere we were going for.

But we figured we owed it to ourselves. We had really liked several venues along the way, but none of them had felt quite right. Had given us that unwavering sense that this was the spot we were meant to begin our lives…and, of course, fit into our budget.

Until we drove into town. As soon as we crossed over the little river, I knew I was a goner. I remember turning to Evan and telling him what a mistake it was, because no matter what happened that day, I’d never be able to say no to this place.

And it was true. The wonderful coordinator spent hours with us – going over our hopes for the day, explaining the flow of the venue, the use of the space. And letting us know that somehow, surprisingly, she had one cancelation for the summer. June 9, 2012 was going to be our day.

ECLB_tasting

Even though it meant that we’d have less than 5 months to plan, we decided to go for it. I knew it would be stressful to plan a destination wedding while working full time and living in another state, but neither of us had really wanted a long engagement and the timing fit perfectly with everything else going on in our lives. Plus, we had a great support system in the form of our families, who came together and made everything possible for us.

{Side note: after going through it and coming out the other side, I would totally recommend a short engagement! Wedding planning has a way of taking over your free time/thoughts no matter how long you are planning for. Having a short time frame to work with makes you more efficient, keeps you from getting lost down a maze of “Pinterest Fantasies,” forces you to figure out what is most important to you as a couple, and (best of all) means that you don’t have to wait a really long time to actually get to go to this huge celebration you’ve been planning!}

Anyway, we figured that would be it. We were so excited to get married in our little town. To share our favorite spot with our friends and family. And we were thankful to now have a good excuse to take periodic trips back up to Vermont all spring.

As the months went on, we faced another big issue. My lease would soon be up and my government, grant-funded job would be ending over the summer. We needed to find a place to live.

We toured apartments all over Rhode Island, looking for places that were close to the beach, or in neat areas of the city. But nothing felt right. I found myself dreaming about Vermont more and more, wishing there were some way we could just take the risk and move up there now. The more I thought about it, the less I wanted to stay in Rhode Island and the more desperate I felt to get out.

DSC 0051

And then – just like with our wedding venue, Vermont surprised us again. We returned to the town in early March for our tasting. On a whim, Evan decided to check out area rentals. We never expected to find anything (this wasn’t the city where renters are common, after all), but there, on the front page of the local realty website was a cute little house right on the main street. An entire house up for rent – for less than we would’ve paid for a tiny apartment in the city.

That’s when the scrambling started. We contacted the realtor, made an appointment, toured the house and fell head over heels in love. It was old. The floors had gaps in them, the walls needed painting, and the kitchen hadn’t been updated in over a decade. But it felt like home.

After a few bumps in the road, the lease was signed and the deposit was made. We packed up our lives, the cats and the dog, and moved everything up to the tiny town. A town surrounded by mountains and rivers. Where the nearest grocery store was a half hour away. A town where we would begin the next chapter of our lives.

DSC 0025

 

A year after this whole journey began, we are married. My younger sister lives in a room downstairs. With the addition of her little pup, we are now a small family of three who owns four animals (yikes). Evan has to commute long hours for work. I am still unemployed. We still don’t really know what our future holds.

CBLB_applepicking

But truthfully – I’ve never been happier. I love Vermont more than I’ve loved any place I’ve ever lived in my entire life. The summer here was amazing and fall has been even better. With every passing day, my love for this place grows and I feel like we are right where we are meant to be (talk to me after this winter to see if I still feel the same way).

Evan and I took a risk. We found something that we wanted, packed up our lives, and went for it. No matter what happens in the future, 20 years from now I will be able to look back on this phase of life with no regrets. So often in life we get caught up in the “what ifs.” We wait and wait until things seem perfectly aligned before we make some huge life change. Meanwhile, we’re stuck wondering about what could be…or what might be someday. I am so happy that I have a partner that was willing to take this jump with me. To put everything on the line and try out something new.

 

ECLB_applepicking

I don’t know if we’ll stay in Vermont forever (though I hope to be here for awhile!). But I do know that I wouldn’t trade this life for anything — not a high paying job, or a mapped-out, more-secure future. There are only so many times in your life when you can afford to jump into something completely new without fear of ramification.

I hope that everyone has an opportunity at some point to take a risk and go after something that they want — whether it’s a move, a new career, a race PR, or that trip you’ve always wanted to take. Life is short. Go after it.

*Although I’m sure you could probably figure out what town we live in if you really wanted to, I chose not to share the name just so that I can keep pretending that I have some privacy on the internet**.

 **But really, if you want to come visit me, you can just ask. We love visitors.

An Honest Reflection: stuck in a rut

Recently I’ve found myself in a bit of a rut.

It feels so dumb typing that, knowing that on paper everything looks wonderful. I just moved to a new state and married my best friend. I’ve started training again. On top of all that, this summer has been jam-packed and I have loved all the little adventures I’ve gotten to take as a newlywed. Honestly life is (and should be) good.

20120609 laurenandevan wedding 1834

But…with so much change comes an adjustment period. And that’s not always easy. Not the whole marriage thing. That change has been simple enough. Getting to hang out with my best friend all the time, having shared responsibility for everything, and dreaming about our futures has been wonderful. Wonderful…but not a cure-all.

It’s funny sometimes, how we think that one big event is going to erase every other source of stress in our lives….or at least suddenly change the way we feel about them. Like, there was a small part of me that actually believed I’d wake up the morning after I said, “I do” and suddenly be the world’s best homemaker. That I’d delight in cooking dinner every night and cleaning up after the 3 animals I now find myself in charge of (we may not have children, but the merging of our “pet families” has been interesting). That moving from a tiny apartment into a large historic home that seems to spontaneously sprout dust would be a cake-walk…you know, now that I’m a married woman and all.

But here I am, almost 2 months in and still waiting for that instinct to take over. No one will be surprised to hear that it hasn’t come. That I still don’t love having to vacuum and sweep every single day.

And wouldn’t you know it — the same goes for other aspects of my life as well, such my career (or lack thereof). I’ve talked about this before, but part of the thing that made it easier to move to Vermont was the fact that we both knew I would soon be laid off. I was working on grant funding — on borrowed time — and that funding ran out right around the time of the wedding (yes, we planned it that way). So while June was the best month of my entire life, I came down from that high to a feeling of being just a little lost.

Before the wedding, I was spending a lot of my time in RI. I was still working the same job while trying to plan a wedding and move my life 3 hours north. This meant that I spent an obscene amount of time in the car, living out of a suitcase and feeling generally unsettled. I was so excited for that phase of life to be over — for the time to come when I’d be living in Vermont for good.

IMG 0841

Now that it’s here, though, things aren’t as easy as I thought they would be (surprise, surprise). When you live in a (very very) small town and your husband works long hours outside the home and you have only two cats and a dog to keep you company during the day, it isn’t long before you start to feel a little isolated. And for all those glamorous thoughts you once had about not having to go to work every day to go out the window. I’ve now come to realize that even though I had one foot out the door by the end of my position in RI and even though I hated that drive more than anything, the simple act of going into the office and talking with co-workers every day kept me sane.

And then there’s the whole “unemployed” thing. A status that has left me feeling like I am doing nothing to contribute to my relationship. While Evan is out making money, I am stuck here, trying to figure out my future and find a job. So even though I am incredibly thankful to have the support of someone else during this time, the fact of the matter is that I have not been this dependent on another human being since I was a kid. A humbling (and somewhat scary) experience.

The dumbest part about all of this is that Evan isn’t complaining. He is now the one who is stuck with a long commute every single day because we chose to live in a remote place. He’s also the one who now has the burden of financial responsibility. Yet it doesn’t bother him. He knows that we chose to live here for a reason and that it was going to be difficult for awhile. Something that I knew going into this too…but have had a harder time actually accepting.

Moving here was a risk, but it was also a choice. I am reminded of the reasons why we made that choice each time I walk over to the general store to buy freshly baked bread, local eggs and produce. Each time I go for a hilly run on winding roads. Every time I walk out my back yard and get to the trails. I am reminded when I see how happy Evan is to be here, and how much the pup loves having all this extra space. And on long summer drives through the country, with my windows down and the sweet air filling up the car, I am hit by the realization that I have never ever in my entire life been so happy.

Koli_river dog

Lately these moments have been fleeting. But even so, they are important reminders. Reminders that I need to cut myself a little slack. I have put this incredible amount of pressure on myself to have life all figured out by now. I mean — isn’t it about time? I’m in my late 20s, with a master’s degree and yet I STILL don’t know what I want to do with my life. And the fact that I don’t have it all planned out drives me nuts. With each job and every passing year, it seems as though the only thing I’ve come any closer to understanding is what I do not want to do. {Someday, perhaps when I’m further removed from it and not actively seeking a job, I will write about what it’s like to work for the state…and how a job that you once wanted so badly can slowly suck away all your ambition, goals, and creativity}.

It’s easy for me to get bogged down when I think about the future. To be stuck and frustrated that my life isn’t neatly packaged. That I still don’t have all the answers.

What I have a hard time remembering…each and every day…is that what matters most is the NOW. Sitting and stressing about the future means that I waste every single day I’m given just waiting for the future to arrive. I have everything I’ve ever wanted right in front of me, and happiness is my choice to make. All that matters is that I wake up every morning, determined to make this day the best day that I can. That I set goals, but don’t allow myself to get bogged down by them.

So today, in an effort to break myself free of this rut I turned to the one activity that has gotten me through so many uncertain times before. I ran, and I ran hard.

I banged out 7 hot, humid miles, with 5 at tempo pace. Getting faster each mile for the first 4 of those, holding that pace until I thought I couldn’t any longer and then when I wasn’t sure I had much left in me, convincing myself to do just one more quick mile. Knowing that every step I took, every mile that I pushed, I would be getting a little bit stronger.

It was exactly the run that I needed. A reminder that I still have some speed in these legs and that with a little hard work, I can get myself back to being the runner that I once was. That feeling of being completely spent by a workout was something that I missed so much while I was injured. And it was the perfect reminder of the way that life works.

I can choose to wake up each day and wallow in this rut, or I can put in the hard work to create the life I want. Things won’t change overnight, but each time I push through, I will see results.

Saucony mirage

All that I need to do is keep moving forward. One small step at a time.

Beating the Winter Blues

It seems that lately I’ve been hit with a bad case of the winter blues. Whether it’s from the mountains of snow piled everywhere, or because every long run this training cycle has been been filled with frustration, or even because life at the moment seems to be standing still, the fact of the matter is that I just haven’t felt like myself. Even going away to Charlotte last week didn’t help snap me out of this funk.  Although it was a little warmer, Charlotte weather was dreary and rainy, and my short visit to a place with snowless streets made it that much harder to come back. To make matters worse, Monday morning I got the worst kind of welcome back to New England —  a bad run in with some black ice.  While walking along a sidewalk near where I work, my feet flew out from under me and I landed hard on my backside (this was in public while wearing a skirt and carrying a mug of hot coffee, I might add). Fortunately I didn’t do any serious damage, but I fell so hard that it hurt to walk the rest of the day. And everything has been extremely sore and achey since…which means no running for me.

In the past, signing up for races and training through the winter has been enough to help me escape these blues. Having a big goal like a marathon to work toward keeps me motivated when the days are cold and short. It gives me structure, and it helps me see the value of each day I get to run as I build up a base and get stronger. But since my favorite part of marathon training (the long runs) hasn’t gone smoothly at all this time around, I find that I just can’t escape the slump. To say my motivation has been lacking would be an understatement.

But — as was bound to happen — last night I finally hit the breaking point. I was tired of coming home from work and feeling like a lump. Tired of feeling sorry for myself that my runs haven’t gone as planned and life this winter has been less than exciting. Tired of wishing away each day just to make it to spring. Because honestly, there are worse things in life than dealing with a tough winter.

So while I can’t control the weather to make the snow melt and the sun shine, there are other factors that affect the way I’m feeling on a regular basis. And I can definitely do something about those.

Beat the Winter Blues Plan

in other words, my “snap out of it!” plan

Last night I took a good hard look at a few things that I know I haven’t been good about lately and are probably making me feel like crap. From those things, I set some goals to focus on for the next couple of weeks.

1.) Sleep More

Ever since I was younger, sleep and I have had a tumultuous relationship. I’ve just never been very good at it. Not only does it take me a long time to fall asleep, but I’m a very light sleeper. So I have a hard time sleeping if there’s any sort of noise, or if I’m in an unfamiliar environment (like I was last week). The problem with this is that since I can’t fall asleep, I find myself staying up later and later. Even if I’m not doing anything, for some reason I find it better to be awake and tired on the couch than awake and frustrated in my bed. Don’t try to find the logic in this scenario, there isn’t any.

Obviously not getting enough sleep is a huge factor into your mood and how you feel. And with all the running I’m doing these days, sleep is especially important.

pup alarm clock.jpgphoto via stockforfood

So this week, I’m re-committing to a decent bedtime. So far, in the one night I’ve been doing this, I’ve done great. :) Last night I skipped blogging and went to bed before 10:00. And I already feel more rested. For the rest of the week, I’m going to aim to be asleep before 11, with 10:00 – 10:30 being the goal.

2.) Eat More {Balanced}

Traveling and eating out for every meal last week is only part of the problem. Lately, I’ve traded greens for chocolate more often than I should. While everyone around me is still committed to their New Year’s resolution of eating healthy, there’s just something about this cold weather that has me reaching for the comfort food. Plus, I’ll admit that it’s pretty easy to use marathon training as an excuse to eat extra baked goods and snack on junk. In case you’re wondering — it’s not. Just because you run extra long one day a week doesn’t necessarily mean you burn off enough calories to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. And even if it doesn’t go to your waist (or hips), eating less vegetables usually means getting less of the nutrition that you need. Especially when you eat a vegetarian diet.

I usually try to make sure I get all the vitamins I need through my diet, but it can be really easy for vegetarians to come up short in certain areas if they’re not careful. Because I’ve been dragging lately, I’ve made it a goal to take daily supplements of the vitamins that can be low from running a lot and/or a vegetarian diet: Iron and Vitamins B-6 and B-12. I’m hoping both will help my energy levels.

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3) Drink More {Water}

A few weeks ago, I lost my favorite water bottle of all time. This was a very sad day for me, since I carried that thing with me wherever I went. Not only was it fun to drink from, but it held a lot of water. The water bottles I’ve been using lately just haven’t cut it, and I haven’t been doing a stellar job making sure I stay well hydrated. It doesn’t help that the air all around me is extremely dry — both from the cold outside and the constantly running heat inside. I need to make a conscious effort to drink more. The goal is to pee often and pee clear.

4.) Play More {Worry Less}

I admittedly have a hard time letting go of things I can’t control. Which means I get easily anxious about the smallest things. I need to remember that life is good and everything is going to work out whether I’m stressing over it or not. In other words, I need to relax. So what if it’s winter in New England and we have record amounts of snow?? Life is good! I have a healthy body that will let me go outside and play in it, and many wonderful people in my life to spend time with.

So in the spirit of playing more, tomorrow a group of us are going to Boston to see Hood to Coast in theaters. I’m so excited to see a movie about my favorite type of race ever: a 24-hour relay! If you’re in the area and want to join, let me know! I think you can still get tickets to the event (which you can buy here).

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