One of the things that I think is most important in my weight loss journey is my self-integrity. That means something different for everyone. But one of the biggest things I have learned along the way is that if I am not keeping the promises I make to myself in order to reach my goals, it becomes easier and easier to do just that: not keep my promises.
If I tell myself that I’ll be in the gym doing cardio 5x this week and I only get in there 4x, and then next week I do the same thing, for whatever reason – life got in the way, something came up, there were other more pressing things I had to do – it makes it easier and easier to not keep that promise to myself and to justify only getting 4 days in each week instead of 5.
I’m not saying that 4 days isn’t better than none, or even better than 3, but if it’s not those 5 days I promised myself and I keep doing it over and over, before I know it, it might be 3 days instead of 4 or 2 days instead of three.
I made a mistake. I miscounted.
Somewhere in the midst of things this last year, some of my numbers in accounting for the number of half marathons that I have run got off. After reviewing the numbers repeatedly, I know they were correct leading up to my Marathon of Half Marathons and leading into Jeff moving here last June, but somewhere after that, somehow I counted a half marathon I didn’t actually run.
There is no telling why I made the mistake. But here is what I do know: each time I complete a half marathon, I put it on the books as done. Each one of them is leading to goals I have. For example right now my goal is to be at 39 half marathons by the time I leave for the Tinker Bell half marathon next month so that event ends up being my 40th.
You might ask why I set that goal?
It makes sense really, at least to my brain. I turned 40 this year. The Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland is my favorite half marathon each year. It is really the half marathon that started this obsession with me. I know going into it this year that for financial reasons, the likelihood of me running it again next year is slim, and so this year, what will be likely be my 4th and final year of running it, needs to be special to me.
That and I am a numbers girl. I get a little obsessed on them. So doing a special half marathon for the 4th time the year that I turned 40 and it being my 40th half marathon all has a significance to me that means something to me. That’s the most important thing about a goal you set, that it is important enough to you that you are intrinsically motivated to do it.
To some people, this might sound crazy. Trust me I know. Some people have told me, “Who cares that I miscounted? Who cares that I have run 37 instead of 38 half marathons?” The significance in that number really isn’t important to anyone but me. Right? I’m running with an injury that is slowing me down on a regular basis, making these events harder and harder for me and making it so that it takes me longer and longer to recover from running that sort of distance. I really should be taking a break and letting that achilles tendonitis heal and pushing it to get another half marathon on the books to make up for my miscounting error before I leave next month is crazy, unnecessary and stupid. Right?
Maybe I am crazy.
Maybe that is all correct. Here is the most important thing in all that outside input that I didn’t really welcome or ask for: the significance in that number really isn’t important to anyone but me. And ME is the person that is the most significant when it comes to keeping the promises I make to myself, reaching my goals and feeling good about them when I get there.
So with all that said, yesterday, I set out to make up for that missing half marathon. I did it to set my numbers straight, find that mathematical accountability that my brain has learned to find comfort in, and to get my goals back in line for what I want to achieve next month.
Currently I’m a little out of shape when it comes to running. My ankles are screaming at me, and I took a few weeks off of running after my last running event in February to try to let them heal. In fact, as hard as it was for me to do, I took three weeks off of exercise in general to give my body a true break. When you take that kind of time off you start losing your fitness and endurance levels, as a result I’m a little slower than I would like to be now.
When I sat out to run that 13.1 miles yesterday I wasn’t even sure I could do it. There was a little negative voice in the back of my head that kept telling me maybe I wasn’t ready, maybe I was going to hurt too bad the next day if I tried to do it. Maybe I would only get to mile 11 or 12 and then hit a wall and fail. After all, on my last long run I jumped from 4 miles to 9 miles and I struggled to make it.
I had to combat those negative voices in my head.
But part of me also knew that those negative voices I was hearing and that self-doubt that I was experiencing was coming from the fact that other people were telling me these things, not because I felt them myself. I started to combat those negative voices with positive reinforcements of my goal. I know I can do this if I am willing to slow down and not push too hard. I know I can do this if I take my time and just enjoy it, rather than worrying about how fast I go or how long it takes me to get it done.
I needed to prove myself, and not just because somewhere deep inside me I needed to correct those numbers and get them back where I wanted them to be to meet my goals, but because I had to prove to myself over the negative voices so loudly playing in my mind that I could indeed do it.
And so I did. I walked out the door with the intention of spending some time with my Dad. Ignoring my speed or my mile per minute time and instead going back to what running was for me before all of that started being important: I set out to have fun. I set out to enjoy the music, enjoy the scenery, spend some time with my father, run off my emotions and maybe just maybe in the process find me again. Because lately I’ve felt that somewhere along the way in the last year of life in general, I lost a little bit of the focus on me and my goals while being more wrapped up in helping everyone else meet theirs.
I needed a little me time.
It’s been awhile since I took that in the form of running, just like I learned to do in the beginning of my journey, to deal with my emotions and work things out in my mind.
First I told myself I would run 10 miles, just increasing my long run by a mile from last time. Then I played with numbers in my head while I ran and convinced myself that I’d run 6.2 miles with my Dad and 6.2 miles with myself, when you turn those numbers around that’s two sets of 26, and that number has significance in my world, 1926 was the year my father was born.
I told myself I only had to make it to 12.4 and from there if I wanted to I would stop. But in my heart I knew that if I could make it to 12.4 I could make it to 13.1. I just needed to look at it as small goals in my mind to make it less tedious and intimidating while I was out there.
I ran through my neighborhood. I ran through the local cemetery and I watched for headstones from people who were born the same year my father was, and I took time to stop and pause my watch and say hello to them. I spent some time listening to my father’s music, having conversations with him about everything going on in my life right now and listening for some answers.
I went slow. I took it easy. When my Fitbit died and I took my phone out and started using that to track my distance to make sure I got it all in. And over three hours later, I had my true half marathon number 38 on the books. Guess what else I had? My self integrity. The fact that I had fixed my mistake and that my claim to 38 half marathons, though miscalculated as to time and place was accurate in numbers and accomplishments.
I felt better. I felt a lot better. The time alone running with my thoughts, helped me find clarity and direction and helped me answer some of the questions that were weighing so heavily on my mind.
And so I completed my Me-A-Thon.
Yup, I’m calling this half marathon #38 redux, my official 2017 Half ME-a-thon. Because truthfully it was something I needed to do for myself. Something I needed deep inside me for bunch of reasons nobody but me might understand.
At the end of the day, guess what, it’s okay if nobody but me understands it. Because my weight loss journey, my fitness journey, my emotional journey is about me first and foremost. While that might seem greedy and that might seem selfish, the truth is, that if when I first decided to walk this journey I decided that was the only way I was going to be successful at it. If I made sure that I was doing it for the right reasons, that I was doing it for myself.
Yesterday I needed to remind myself that it was about me. That it was about my goals and my journey and about what I needed deep inside me to feel right with the world and feel like I had kept my fitness promises to myself. I needed to get myself back on track with myself, and not to anyone else’s time, speed or standards but to my own.
Maybe that wasn’t important to anyone but me. Maybe it was unnecessary and stupid. Maybe I was slow and had an awful finishing time – but I enjoyed every moment of it. When it was over I felt empowered by something intrinsically that I hadn’t felt empowered by in a very long time. Just doing it for myself. Focusing on myself. Being with myself.
And that is exactly want I needed.
So happy miscounted 38th half marathon to me. I ran a Half Me-A-Thon yesterday and while my ankles are a little sore today and my body is a little wounded, my self integrity, self-confidence and self efficacy in my goals is back on track and my pride in myself is unwounded and that is neither silly, unnecessary or stupid.
Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and a Certified Personal Trainer.
So thanks to Pandora’s post, 12 Presents for the Fitness Focused Female ] now you know what to get the woman in your life, now it’s your turn.
Feel free to print this post and drop it in her purse, lunchbox or stick it to the refrigerator with your favorite magnet.
You always treat her to the finer things in life (right?), now it’s your turn to be spoiled. So there’s 10 items on my list – two of the ones that I’s add to mine are on Pandora’s list, so I’ll refer you to hers for the Gymboss and RawThreads bamboo shirts.
The Moov Now Band – this is an amazing piece of new technology that will bring your training game to a new level. The Moov Now band is a wearable tracker that syncs with a smart phone app, and it tracks your progress with the disk in the band. Running? It will use GPS and your arm motion to tell you how fast you’re going, how your form is, and how far behind the goal you are. Swimming? It’s waterproof, so you set the app for a swim, and after your swim is complete, it will analyze your strokes and give you feedback and adjustments to make next time. Biking? Wear it on our ankle (it comes with a larger band to wear on your ankle) and the app will tell you when to switch gears, how fast you’re going, and how far to your goal. My favorite part is that it can monitor your workout when you do body-weight exercises. It will give you workouts consisting of such exercises as jumping jacks, planks, crunches, push-ups and lunges, and it tells you how many to do in the allotted time, and monitors your progress. As an additional bonus, it monitors your sleep, so you can track how much rest you’re getting each night.
SPIbelt – this is one piece of my workout gear that I never am without. http://www.spibelt.com/ My favorite part of this is it MADE IN THE USA, which is a big selling point for me. The SPIbelt (small personal item belt) is an expandable pocket that I use to hold my items around my waist. I can easily hold my iPhone 5s in it (they do make then in larger sizes to fit the iPhone 6+ as well) but typically I place my wallet and keys in it because my phone is on my arm to access my apps and music easier. The stretchy fabric keeps the items in it snug, so I don’t hear my keys jingling around in it. SPIbelt also makes hydration attachments for these belts, so you can wear it and keep your liquids handy as well. Not only are these great for running and biking, but they are also a great, low-profile alternative to a fanny pack if you are on vacation and don’t want to have bulky pockets.
SqueakyCheeks. Ok, so you typically wouldn’t want a bottle of powder as a gift, but as soon as you use this, you’ll thank me. I’ve been a religious user of this all-natural powder for over a year. As a guy, you should already be aware of the benefits of a good body powder. This one is better than the one you’re using. First up, it’s all natural and is talc-free. It can be used on your typical body parts to keep you dry and odor free, but as a bonus – it can be used as a lubricating powder as well. I keep my feet blister-free with it on every run and hike I do. It prevents blisters and keeps my feet dry. It doesn’t cake up, doesn’t get mushy, and lasts all day. Want an incentive to buy it? Use coupon code BOSTON10 at checkout for 10% off your order.
Sometimes the most basic items are the best. My new favorite piece of outerwear for running is a Fruit Of The Loom fleece pullover I got at Walmart. I know it’s not moisture-wicking or made of some space-age performance material, but it’s comfortable as hell, keeps me warm, and has a media pocket. Hidden in the center pocket is a smaller pocket that fits a smart phone or music player. It’s a deep pocket, so I never fear my gear falling out, and it has a reinforced button-hole for the headphones to go into so you can run them to your ears under the garment, keeping them out-of-the-way while you run. For less than $10, you can’t go wrong with this as an outer layer while working out, or while sitting at home watching the game on a Sunday.
So I’m a geek that likes to run. What’s better than Star Wars fitness gear? The first I’ve seen is the new Imperial Collection by Under Armour. UA has become famous for their performance fabrics and comfort, and the Force is strong with this collection. Whether you want to pretend you’re a Stormtrooper or Darth Vader in your new compression shirt, or just want to show off your love of the Dark Side, you can’t go wrong with this. Bonus relationship advice: they have a ladies collection too, and if the women in your life doesn’t want one, that’s a sign that you’re with the wrong woman. Also, Kohl’s has released an entire line of Star Wars themed clothing that ranges from great outerwear pieces to running gear. My favorite piece is the new Force Awakens Kylo Ren jogger pants (I’m a XXL if you feel generous).
So you like to run, but you also like to work out those muscles with some cross training as well. Not every running shoe is great for training, and not every cross-training shoe is good for running, What to do? Brooks to the rescue. I wear Brooks’ Ravenna 6 shoes. I have had great luck with these in both the gym and on the track. The heel has a wide support base, which is great for side-to-side motion, but the cushion in these is springy and the energy return is wonderful. If you want the latest version of this shoe (the Ravenna 6 is an older model) the Ravenna 7 is out now.
I have a gigantic collection of caps. I’m not exaggerating either – I have hundreds of caps. But, when it comes to my favorite to run in, I love Headsweats performance hats. First up, they are extremely comfortable. I have a larger head, and these fit me very well. The fit is snug to the dome of your head, as it should be, but it’s not an uncomfortable feeling at all. Most times, I feel like I’m not wearing a hat at all because these caps are light and airy, and do an excellent job of wicking moisture away from my head. If you want a customized one (I have had several made for Defying Obesity) you can get them made at Family Fan Club.
As a person that has undergone gastric bypass surgery, it is important to me to have a way to identify my medical issues to emergency crews should anything happen to me. There are many options out there on ways to do this, from dog tags to medical bracelets, but the one I chose and recommend is the MYID bracelet by Endevr. This is a silicone bracelet, much like the ones people wear to support different charities. It comes in many different colors, is comfortable to wear, and offers a lot more information to emergency personnel than any dog tag or metal bracelet can. When you receive the bracelet, it has a QR code, an ID number, and a PIN number. You go online and set up an account with all your necessary information – medical history, instructions for emergency crews, names of emergency contacts, and your insurance and doctor info. In the event that you have an emergency, personnel can call a 1-800 number on the bracelet or scan the QR code to access your info. Simple and safe.
As an avid runner and biker, I wear compression pants a lot. I found a brand that I feel lin love with. Tesla Gear makes an incredible pant that has a 4-way stretch to the fabric, is moisture wicking, and blocks 99% of UV rays. The fit is snug, but not too tight, as compression garments should be. These are super comfortable and can work as a base layer or as a pant.
Hydration. You need water to keep your body functioning, it’s a fact of life. I love my KOR water bottles. I have two different ones I use. The first is the KOR One hydration vessel. I have this in a chrome finish. Why? It’s the same water bottle Tony Stark uses in Iron Man 2. I use this one for flavored drinks. If I add BCAAs to my water, want to drink something with electrolytes in it, or just want something with some flavor, I use this bottle. It doesn’t retain flavors, and washes out cleanly. But, if I want straight up H20 for my activity, I use the KOR Nava filter water bottle. This bottle contains a replaceable organic coconut husk filter that does an amazing job of purifying water and making it taste better whenever I’ve used it. You can get these filters on auto-order and they send you 2 every six months – the gift that keeps on giving!
Need stocking stuffer ideas? Gift cards to your local nutrition store are always a good fit. Music gift cards are excellent so that you keep your workout playlists fresh. Chap Stick is always a good idea (it’s uncomfortable while exercising, but you’ve gotta keep your lips ready for finish line kisses too!).
So there’s my list of ideas for this holiday of giving. I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday!