running

Who Doesn’t Love a Fresh Start?

Happy January 2nd everyone! A January 2nd post is way less cliche than a January 1st, New Year’s post, right? Probably not so much, but we are going with it anyway.

I have always loved the start to a new year. Who doesn’t love a fresh start? Sure, it isn’t like all of your problems dissipated into thin air once the ball dropped, but there is something about the calendar starting over that makes people think that things can be new again.

I am one who is extremely susceptible to the romanticism that is the new year and a fresh start, but there is something about 2015 that has me especially excited. I had a great 2014, but I have big hopes and plans for this year, and am feeling refreshed and ready to get back to the things I love; particularly running and writing, and possibly even tackle a few new passions and challenges.

For starters, my poor blog needs to stop being ignored, and I need to be more diligent about following all of the amazing people I have connected with through WordPress. You all inspire me so much whether it be with your running, writing, or creativity. Just exposing myself to all of this more will help fuel my writing again.

As far as my running goes, I am already signed up for two half marathons this spring. The Illinois Half Marathon on April 25th, and the Indianapolis Mini Marathon on May 2nd. This should set me up for a fall marathon (fingers crossed) come the fall. I might even add the Chicago Triathlon in August to my list.

How about you guys? What are your goals and hopes for the new year?

I have plenty of personal and professional goals as well, but I am still hashing those out. I think there is always room to be a better person , and I am sure 2015 will award me plenty of opportunities for growth.

Happy New Year everyone. Let’s have an amazing 2015.

Cheers!

P.S. A little MSU, Big Ten Cheer for everyone out there. Probably the best football game I have ever seen in my life!

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72 Hours of Engaged Bliss and Already….

Type A Gemini twin and panic are setting in. (Side note: this will NOT be turning into a wedding blog, but you will be hearing about it on occasion.)

We are not concerning ourselves with a massive, go for broke, traditional wedding.. though those are beautiful.  We want something relaxed, laid back and all about our friends and family (not to mention we have two years to plan). I am noticing that even those have plenty of planning that goes into them and hundreds of things to think about.

Thankfully, I am surrounded by wonderful friends who have done this before and are willing to lend a hand, and I refuse to lose my sense of humor and focus on what a wedding is about in a pile of linen choices and flowers. BUT, I ask you, dear readers: To those who have been married before, what piece of advice would you go back and give your newly engaged self? 

Peace and blessings! Momma is headed out for a fabulous run tonight since training for the Chicago Marathon starts next week!

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You’re welcome

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 ❤ !)

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!

A hiatus of the mind and the body:

I will be the first to admit it: I have been pretty lazy the past month, and I am completely okay with that.  Sometimes, you just have to give yourself some time off.

Running wasn’t fun or motivating for a while, it had become just a chore.  Workouts weren’t getting me excited for my next bout at the gym.  I didn’t know what to write about.  I just kind of wanted a break.

So, I took one.

This isn’t saying I was unhappy in anyway, I think I just recognized that things had started to shift from passions to items on my to-do list.  After taking some time to reflect on the first two-thirds of the year, I realized that my body had been through quite a bit.  I deserved some time to just slip back into neutral and recharge the batteries.

After about a month off, I started the final third of the year yesterday, went out for a great, fall run; no pressure, no goals, just a run, and kicked off a refreshed mind-set.

Sometimes we need breaks from personal pressures. I, personally, have a very hard time staying in the moment, always thinking about the future and my next run or where my career is going to take me.  Where am I going to go to grad school or where will my next job be?  How will I reach my goals?  I don’t want to be so caught up in the next step that I miss the beauty of getting there.  This is why I sometimes need to give myself time to do a status update on life. 

What have you missed?

A Michigan Society of Association Executives Diamond Award that I took home for my association’s e-newsletter.  It was a big win and a huge honor for my whole team who help put it together.

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George Blaha was the MC that night.  If you are not a Michigan sports fan, you probably don’t know who that is, but to Spartans, he is the voice of Michigan State athletics.  When I bounced across the stage in shock and amazement at our win, I was so excited I didn’t even shake his hand!  When I realized I had passed him by I just turned around and cheered, “Touch Down, MSU!”

I felt like an idiot the whole way home for not shaking his hand. Any respectable Spartan does not pass up the chance to shake George Blaha’s hand!

They always say when God shuts a door…

The very next night, who would happen to be sitting at the next table at the bar, but Mr. Blaha himself.

God had opened a window!

Freaking out, I told Paul that God does not present you with George Blaha two nights in a row only for you to not make up for your social blunder from the previous night.

So I walked up to his table, introduced myself and explained that I was the girl who was too excited to shake his hand the night before, and I just wanted to take the opportunity to do so now.  He couldn’t have been nicer and more congratulatory on my award 🙂 

Other than that, I am down about seven inches of hair. I decided that I needed to refresh my look while I refreshing my mind. I now look more like my mother than ever (not a goal, and not a bad thing, just something I noticed after it was cut).  

With my body and soul restored, I am feeling pretty damn good.

I hope all of you are also doing well 🙂

Cheers!

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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!

 

Back to Normal! (or as normal as I was before)

Yesterday, I was given a clean bill of health at my post-op appointment!  Blood work was normal, my cyst was nothing more than that, and my left ovary appears to be a rock star, so future issues shouldn’t arise.  Of course I won’t know until we try to conceive, but it doesn’t look like it will be a problem.

Hallelujah! 

I started feeling more like myself last Friday, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I didn’t hit that wall of exhaustion.  Paul and I even went for a bike ride last night.  The weather was gorgeous, I had cleaned out my closet and prepped it for summer, and I was feeling great, so it was my re-introduction to working out.  Today, it will be a 3 mile run.

I am just happy to feel like life can go back to normal.  I don’t play the patient well, I don’t like sitting still for very long, and I definitely don’t like depending on people to take care of me (it is a weakness). 

Paul was amazing, though, and so were all of my friends and family.  Thank you to everyone for all of the love, support, prayers, and good deeds.  I am a very spoiled and blessed girl 🙂

I hope everyone is having a fabulous May so far!

30 Days of New: The Final Day

We find ourselves at day 30 of this “30 day challenge”, and my new event for this final day is hardly epic, but here it is: 

Today I came face-to-face with my incisions.  Day 7 after surgery is when the bandages come off, and let me tell you what, I am damn impressed!  The one on the right side is probably a quarter of an inch long and not even a pen line thick, same as the one in my belly button, and the one on the lower left side is maybe an inch long and just as thin.

How someone can go into my body and operate on a huge cyst and remove an organ through 3 tiny incisions is beyond me, but my doctor is a magician (I know that this is common medical practice, but I am biased to my awesome doctor).

Tomorrow, May begins, a clean slate to start fresh.  I will be back at work, out of the house, living life without George.  Granted, I can’t run or workout for another week, but Paul has dedicated himself to living a vegan lifestyle with me (to the best of his ability), so there should be lots of cooking adventures and healthfulness in the next month.

Here is to an interesting month; I have always hated April because it has a habit of throwing me curve balls.  This April was no exception. 

Sleep tight, kids, and I will see you in May.

30 Days of New: Day 29

Today, I signed up for a half marathon that I have never run before: the Dexter-Ann Arbor on June 2nd.  

I am very familiar with the course and the area, which is BEAUTIFUL,  but it is supposed to be a hilly course.  I, whether it be to my benefit or detriment, don’t generally check out race courses before I sign up or run a race. I don’t check elevation, water stations, restrooms, etc.  I just lace up, show up, and follow the pack.  So we will see how this one goes.

I can’t believe that tomorrow is my last day of this.  I am excited for May to start.  I like the idea of a new month, getting back to work without George weighing me down, an actual change in the seasons.  It kind of feels like a fresh start.

What are you hopes for May? 

30 Days of New: Day 21

Sunday was such an amazing day!

It started right off with a new event: I was going to cheer friends on in the Lansing Half Marathon!  I have never been on this side of things before, and I have to say that I loved it!  Not that I am going to be making a full-time deal of it.  I would still much rather be running, but Paul didn’t think that was a smart idea 2 days before surgery (damn his practical ways!).

So, Max and I headed out to the 1st mile marker bright and early to give my friends a send-off.  Max was less than impressed during the wait and could not understand what we were doing on the side of the road so early in the morning.  He is really not an early morning creature:

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He got into it once the runners approached us, and was even sweet enough to cheer for them (any husky owners will understand what I am talking about… they are a very talkative breed).  But once our friends passed, as if on queue, he turned his back to the street and laid down.  If that isn’t motivation I don’t know what is…

We then picked up Paul and raced across town to cheer between mile nine and mile ten, and then rushed off to see them at the finish line… well, Paul and Max headed to the finish line, I headed to mile 12 to run the last leg of the race with a very good friend of mine.  It was so much fun standing there and high-fiving strangers, seeing people you didn’t even know were running, cheering for the girl whose birthday it was, and just seeing the whole experience from this angle.

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And then being able to help one of your best friends make it to the finish line.  It. Was. Awesome.

She had run such a hard race and just to be there to help her finish was such an honor.  Even though I am terrible because I had no idea what to tell her other than, “just make it to the corner and then you are at the finish”, “you got this”, “keep going”.  Should you be conversational?  Tell her more about George?  Talk about what a crappy course set up this was?  I did my best, and she rocked it to the finish line.

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From the half marathon, Paul and I headed down to Novi to attend the Veg Fest Expo, a vegan/vegetarian event.  My driving motivation to go to this was to hear ultra-marathoner, Scott Jurek, speak.  He is one of my idols, if that is the proper term to use.  He is a vegan, an amazing athlete, a writer, and probably one of the nicest people on the planet.  If you have never read his book, “Eat and Run”, I highly recommend it.

I decided to bring one of my race bibs for him to sign, and even though he was technically out of time for his meet-and-greet session, he went all the way through the line signing items and taking pictures for everyone that was there.  He looked at my bib and said, “Hey! Congrats on the race!”, as he proceeded to sign and write something on the bib. “I am not going to tell you to dig deep because you clearly already know how, but I am going to put it on here anyway.”  Just completely down to earth and kind.

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Yup, I was pretty much in love with this Sunday.