marathon

Running the Chicago Marathon in Pink!

My first marathon was the Chicago Marathon in 2011 and it made me realize 2 things.

1. I was even more in love with the city of Chicago than I had previously thought; and

2. I couldn’t wait to run another marathon.

Two and a half years later I have finally signed up for my second marathon, and I will be returning to the streets of Chicago (soon to be my new hometown) to run for one of my favorite non-profits, Bright Pink

For those readers who don’t know, I lost my mom to breast cancer almost 16 years ago and know far too many amazing women who have been affected by this disease.  This fall, I will run for them!  

Bright Pink is an amazing organization that offers education, support and is leading the charge for early detection and prevention for not only breast cancer, but ovarian cancer as well.  They really have an empowering message, and I couldn’t be more excited to run on their fund raising team.

I have 6 months to raise $1000, so please feel free to stop by my fundraising page: http://www.stayclassy.org/stephanieericson 

Have you been touched by breast cancer somehow? Share your story with me and I would love to add you or your loved one’s name to my list of reasons I am running.  

We are almost to spring, and I hope everyone is surviving the weather wherever you are!

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My mom, brother and me from back in the day (Dad got cropped for icon usage purposes… sorry, Dad ❤ !)

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The Rebuild

One of the greatest facets to taking a break from running is starting back up again. 

Those first few steps during your first official “training” run, or rebuilding your base run, feel so light and easy (for me at least).  Then you hit the wall of “OMG, I have lost all of my conditioning”, only to be soon followed by the victories of every longer run from there on out.  

Sometimes, I can’t help but see the parallelisms between running and life.  I love running because each run is an opportunity for victory (or defeat).  The outcome is more dependent on my attitude about it rather than the actual run itself, kind of how you can treat your day.  

Each new day offers an opportunity for victory or defeat. Whether you are conquering that pile of laundry, getting a promotion or bombing a presentation. Whatever it is, YOU decide whether you rocked your day or failed at it, and your attitude, not the checks marks on your to-do list, can determine that.

I don’t know how we just went from running to my soap box of positive thinking, but there you have it. I guess what I set out to say was that my efforts to get my base back and prep for a spring marathon are working 🙂

I hope everyone is having a very happy holiday season so far! I know this guy is:

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He’s so mad!

Marathon Training, Anyone?

Well, I am officially back at it: Marathon training!  Today is W1D4, I hate to remind myself that it is all uphill from here,  BUT, I also keep in mind that I will get stronger and better with each run.

I have to get back in the groove of getting into the “running mind-set”.  This is the place in my brain where I can go during runs to think of anything but running.  I was unable to do this last night during an easy 3 mile training run.  You would have thought I was running 20 miles, up-hill, in the snow, but in unbearable heat.  The first 3 quarters of a mile flew by, but then I just hit a wall that I could not break through.

It is runs like this that remind me that running is 35% physical and 65% mental.  Maybe even more than that.  If I can just get in the right head space, I can run for days, not matter what my training has looked like.

So step one in marathon training: do some meditation and find that head space again.  I can generally find it during a race, but I need it honed and perfected before October.

I just got a book from the library called Chi Running, which focuses on effortless running and getting into a good head space, so hopefully this will help.

Are you training for anything this summer?

Hope you are all well!

 

The Beautifully-Flawed Project

I just got back from a great training run with my running partner, and it was one of those runs that was more like therapy than cardio.

My running partner is gorgeous, like straight out of Victoria’s Secret, people gawk at her everywhere we go, tall, thin, and beautiful.  And she is SMART! An encyclopedia of knowledge, direct and well-spoken when she wants to be, and just all around a great person.  To me, looking at her, I think, “what could be wrong?”.

In her eyes, or so she tells me, I have it all together, and what could possibly be wrong with me and my life?  

Yet, there we are, striding through the dark, crisp air, admitting our biggest flaws, things we want to fix, physically, but mostly more than that.  Personality traits, genetic coding and chemical compositions that are beyond our control.  As I was talking her through mine, telling her how abnormal it must seem, she said, “not at all!  It is part of what makes you you, and that is beautiful whether it is normal or not.  You admit it, you aren’t a victim to it, and you can take it as a challenge to deal with it.”

It just made sense, and it just clicked. It is a random flaw and something that I have to deal with, but it is a beautiful flaw that I can use to challenge myself. So we have accepted the challenge together to work with our flaws and not let them hold us back.

It is the beautifully-flawed project (not outwardly named, it just came to me upon reflecting on our run). I feel as though this marathon training is going to be very good for us both.  

Accept your flaws, whatever they may be.  And if it something that challenges you, then graciously meet that challenge head on.  I promise, you will win.

Hope this finds you all well. 

Training Run Complete

A miserable 3 miles have been completed on the treadmill. I try indefatigably to distract myself from the fact that I am running and running yet going nowhere, but it never works. 4 TVs on the wall with different programs, Hulu playing something on my iPad, or music, my mind wandering, yet I still can’t escape the thought of being on a treadmill.

Interval training helps, 1 minute hard, 30-45 seconds at a comfortable pace (not to mention it is the most efficient way to burn calories and improve your cardio respiratory condition), but the miles just drraaaggg. I have conquered getting lost in my runs outside, I just need to control my mind while inside.

I have always said that running is about 80% mental, and I am reminded of that on every run.

But I did it… I got my training run done for the day.

May I also just take a moment to say how blessed I am to live a life where I can complain about running on a treadmill? Having the means, the physical ability, and everything that goes along with that.

For every time I bitch, I try to remember all the things that make that complaint possible.

Care Bear moment over…enjoy your evening, and keep the following in mind:

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And it’s hump day:

I had a pretty lousy run last night, but I will make up for it with a 4 miler tonight. I am running with my friend who is going to run the Cleveland Marathon with me, which always helps make a run better. After that, I am heading to the gym for some strength training.

Life has been good though, other than getting over being sick (yet again). I have officially started studying for the GRE, work is going well, and things in general are just good. I feel great about my decision to return to veganism, and have had a great time doing some experimenting in the kitchen, and I will post any fun recipes I find.

I can’t help but stop and think sometimes, “is life supposed to be this fun?”…. OF COURSE IT IS! I am so blessed because I go to bed every night laughing and smiling with Paul, and we just ALWAYS have fun. I know it won’t always be perfect, and we have our bumps, but dear lord I am lucky. It feels good to find happiness. I still have an uphill battle with my weight and my fitness, but I feel like I’m in a better mindset about it. I have fewer days where I hate myself, and it is more about acceptance. As long as I feel good about the steps I am taking, I feel like that is not a bad place to be.

Happy Wednesday, and I hope you are all in a good place too 🙂