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!

Image

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

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:

Image

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:

20130205-192128.jpg

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 🙂

Day one did not go so well…

I ended up attempting my 3 miles on a treadmill on Monday night… Now let me just say that I have no doubt that I can do 3 miles no problem outside, but for some reason I HATE running on treadmills.  I am sure at this point it is all in my head, but I just hate it.  One mile seems like 5, two miles seems like 20, and three miles is an ultra marathon as far as I’m concerned.  But, it being January and Mid-Michigan, I know that I have a few more treadmill runs in my future if icy conditions occur.

The moral of the story is, I did it, and training has officially kicked off. AND, today I registered for my first race of the season: The Martian Half-Marathon in Dearborn 🙂 http://martian.runningfitsites.com/

To follow will be the Indy 500 Mini-Marathon and the Cleveland Marathon.

Monday was also a very very sad day because I had to sign up for a new gym and leave State of Fitness :(.  State of Fitness is hands down the best gym in Mid-Michigan, if not the entire state. The training is second to none, led by head trainer and co-owner, Justin Grinnell.  His blog is a great one to follow if you are into lifting or training at all. http://grinnelltraining.com/.  But the most heart breaking part, was that after working there for 2 years, I got to know all of the members, and my co-workers became family.  It was home there (not to mention a kick-ass facility that is clean and has EVERY piece of equipment you could ask for). 

But, I have to save money, and I have to pay off debt, and Paul and I have to plan for our future…being a certified personal trainer and having all of the knowledge that I learned at SoF, I am capable of working out by myself, but still… I do very poorly with change… especially this one. 

On the plus side, I have someplace closer to home that I can go to with Paul, and we can save money at the same time.  But,  I will still up most of the night with my mind running about what equipment I forgot to ask for at the new gym, why didn’t they have, was there really enough room for functional training…. any fitblr should understand the anxiety.

It is on to a new chapter, and a new race season.

Happy Hump Day kids!  Be sure to hump a friend. 

hurry up!

Happy Monday! Training Starts Today!

Welcome to all of my new followers! I am very excited to have you tag along on my crazy journey that is life, staying healthy, and training for my second marathon!

Today, training officially starts.  An easy 3, but it went from being 60 degrees on Saturday to a blizzard last night, but I am excited for the crisp run tonight.

I had a pretty amazing weekend, spending time with friends and family.  It was one of those weekends when you just sort of get a glimpse of life and what it is all about. 

Friday night we went out for a drink to celebrate the birthday of a close friend.  I was welcomed into a pretty close-knit group of people when I began dating Paul, and I am constantly reminded how lucky we are.  These people quickly went from being “my boyfriend’s friends” to my friends as well.  The women are intelligent, funny, beautiful inside and out, and supportive.  The men are just as wonderful.  I know they aren’t brothers to me, but they would do anything to help or protect any of us if we needed it. I don’t know how I got so blessed to have such amazing people in my life, but I am pretty happy that it has turned out that way.

Saturday, I went to a funeral for one of the dearest, most wonderful men I have ever known.  I didn’t know him very well, and often only saw him once a year, but he was just one of those people.  He was genuine, caring, and lived and loved life to the fullest.  I actually knew him through my aunt.  I have gotten to know her good friend over the years, Karen, who was in a 13 year, committed, loving relationship with Larry (the deceased).  Karen is one of those people who instantly became one of my favorite people upon meeting her.  She is spunky, hilarious, and just beams with energy and joy.  She and Larry were phenomenal together, just a wonderful example of how to love and enjoy life. 

I am not a crier, but I sobbed my way through the service.  It was honest, heart-felt, and beautiful, and Karen was a beacon of strength, smiling through tears, delivering a beautiful eulogy, but still beaming with love and positive energy.  I am so thankful that I was able to meet Larry and have people like Karen in my life as examples of “how it is done”.

Saturday concluded with drinks with a dear friend of mine, Krista, (before I took her to her surprise party 🙂 ).  It was her 30th birthday, so we had some girl time to properly send off her 20’s and kick off her 30’s.  Krista is another amazing person.  She is one of the most genuine, loyal, honest people I know.  She has no agenda, loves you for you, and will tell it to you like it is without any sharp edges at all. It is fun seeing a friend start a new “phase” in their life, not to mention it is  watching them stumble into their living room only to realize that 20 of their nearest and dearest are there ready to scare the shit out of them :).

All in all, a pretty great weekend.  I hope everyone has friends like I do, because at the end of the day, I can’t help but think that that is really what it is all about.