As I approached my 30th birthday I’ve thought about a million different things. It’s just another birthday, but really we make it a milestone and I’m all for celebrating. I don’t have a list of things to cross off. I don’t have a list of things I think I should have done by now. I tend to think all the lists about your twenties and thirties are stupid. We are all pretty different people and there is no one way I should be living my life. There are no set things I need to have accomplished. What I do have is so many wonderful, amazing people that have been part of my life over the last thirty years.

First, I am so grateful for my amazing family. I am unbelievably lucky to have the unwavering support and love that I have from my parents. I am glad that at almost thirty years old my parents and I are friends. Thank you for everything. I wouldn’t
even know where to start so I won’t. Second, only because he came along after me, my wonderful and amazing little brother. I couldn’t be happier to have him in my life even though he is 6000 miles away. He’s there when I need him. And he has brought a fantastic woman into our lives who I can’t wait to have as my sister. To Levi and Alix, I wish you were here and can’t wait to see you in a month.

To my friends, new and old, I find myself so lucky to have the friends that I do literally from coast to coast. From Cedarburg to Oconomowoc to Madison to DC to Milwaukee and everywhere else you have all moved, it means the world to me that I have people in my life that make it so much better. No matter what piece of my life you have been a part of it has all shaped me. There have been so many important people that I won’t even begin to try and list you all, but you know who you are and thank you. You have been there for the good, the bad, the fun, and the adventures. People have said it’s hard to make friends as you get older and move around. This is true to an extent, but I’ve found if you are willing to join groups or try new things you can meet some pretty great people: running groups, Ragnar, Book Club, Barley’s Angels. I wouldn’t change any of it. Here’s a peek into the last thirty years and I swear this is edited down.

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Turning thirty doesn’t scare me. I don’t mind getting older. I’m excited for what is to come.

Something New

I was going to say I was trying something new for this training cycle, but then realized I’m not in a training cycle. I have a be more active and healthy plan. I’m doing it all different and not just building mileage to get across the finish line. To start, I’m not just running. I’m doing that crazy thing called cross training. I’m spinning and doing strength work and even more crazy, core work. I also ditched DailyMile awhile ago. I’ve tracked my running in excel sheets and through Garmin Connect. believeI spent some time searching templates and downloaded a few. In the end, I decided to order the Believe training journal. Krista had posted about it a few times and I just decided it fell into the trying new things plan. I love it. It’s something different and I need that right now. It is a place I can write down whatever I want. It’s not just pace and distance. It has advice and workouts and probably a lot more that I haven’t even found yet. There are pages for goals. I have written one down. I have ideas for more. They aren’t public beyond my previously stated goal of staying out of the orthopedic doctor’s office. I want to think carefully about what I’m doing. I want this to be more than running. I’m really enjoying mixing it up and balancing it. My trainer may be trying to kill me, but that is why I’m paying her. She pushes me and I’m so damn stubborn I barely show when I’m struggling or in pain. I can do it, dammit. I don’t like when my body gives me a limit that I don’t agree with. I have to assume it’s starting to make a difference though. I still hate pushups, but I don’t hate the core work nearly as much. I’m just excited to get back out there. I am excited to get back to racing at some point. And most of all I’m excited to be back outside.

Running back north along the Oak Leaf is probably my most favorite place to run.
Running back north along the Oak Leaf is probably my most favorite place to run.

Running as therapy?

Running as therapy? Lots of people say this. I know I have. Running has often been my stress reliever. Running has given me endless, needed runs with Sara, which we both think has saved us from therapy. I know running doesn’t actually replace the need for professional help if it’s needed. But I also know running and exercise are good for me. Running has given me some amazing things. It saved my sanity during grad school. Running has introduced to me to so many friends I wouldn’t even know where to start. When I’ve lost running in the past it’s been really hard for me to figure out what to do. I would just get mad I couldn’t run. I would be jealous of everyone else running. This most recent injury (and being older and wiser, whatever) taught me/reminded me that it’s not just running. It’s exercise. I’ve mentioned several times that I go to spin classes. My goodness, that made a difference this fall/winter while I couldn’t run. My heart rate is up, I’m sweating and I feel like I’m getting a real workout. I was also reminded that I’m happier when I’m exercising. I was reminded that it doesn’t have to be running. There are plenty of ways to get a good workout in and that is something I have to remember.

Running remains an important part of my life, but as I wrote recently, I’m training smarter and concentrating on getting stronger and staying healthy. I think these are the key pieces to me being happier. Running has gotten me through a lot of things, but it’s not the end all be all. I want to be defined as so much more than a runner. One of the many reasons I won’t ever run a full marathon again is it takes over my life. It makes me not fun to be around. Heck, I don’t want to be around myself when I train for a marathon. It just doesn’t work for me.

With some recent changes in my life all I want to do is go for a two hour run and I still can’t do that so I need to concentrate on the exercise I can do and continue to slowly build up my mileage. I know long runs along the lake aren’t that far off and I can’t wait for the better weather for those runs.

Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee skyline

The Good Hurt

I have now had two personal training sessions. It hurts to sit down and stand up, so that’s fun. But it’s the good hurt. I’m enjoying the good hurt and know a lot of it is waking up muscles I’ve ignored for way too long. Monday I had an hour session after a 45-minute spin class. She kicked my ass. I went home, ate, and passed out. Getting out of bed the next morning hurt. I had every intention of running Tuesday, but basically every movement hurt and there was a Badger game on at 6:00pm. I foam rolled instead and remembered how much that can hurt. Also, hurts so good activity. Wednesday I ran three miles before meeting my trainer for 30 minutes. I had time to kill and decided running would loosen up my legs. It did. Thank goodness.

liftingWe are working on strength work and core work. Basically everything she has me doing I have done before at some point, but don’t remember exactly how to do it or just don’t do it. It’s no secret I’ve hated strength training, and core work usually ends up with me just laying on the floor. What, that doesn’t work? She noticed during our first session that my left ankle is still weaker than the right (the left foot was the injured one), so we are working on strengthening my ankles in addition to everything else. I’m often stupidly stubborn so am determined to do everything she tells me to do. My body lets me push it but did remind me there are limits. She makes me stop when I lose form or am obviously hurting. This is why I pay someone.

Today I don’t hurt so much. Standing up and sitting down is getting easier, which makes life easier. I will be going to spin class tonight, taking a rest day tomorrow, and spinning and/or running this weekend. She has given me homework of wall sits, ankle raises, and drinking more water. I kind of can’t wait to see what she has for me next week.

Book Club

My book club is so much more than a book club. It’s a wonderful group of women that welcomed me in when I moved back to Milwaukee. It’s a group of women I love to gather with once a month. When we have to explain how we all know each other it starts to sound ridiculous. Some of us go back 15 years. Some of us met last year. I love it. It’s a group that comes together once a month to catch up on life and talk about everything. We have commonalities and differences. I may not see these ladies often, but I can’t imagine my life without them.

Over the last four years, we have read some good books. We have ready some awful books. We have all not read books, but we continue to get together. And even when we’re not discussing the current book people always have recommendations about one we should read. I truly treasure these nights. It may only be two hours once a month, but we’ve had fun celebrating birthdays, engagements, weddings, babies, new jobs, moves, and everything in between.

For those that are curious here is our list of books for this year:

  • Feb – Yes Please! Amy Poehler
  • April – Wonder, R. J. Palacio
  • June – Everything I Never Told You, Celeste Ng
  • August – Born to Run, Christopher McDougall
  • October – Prodigal Summer, Barbara Kingsolver
  • December – Sharon Tate Recollection, Debra Tate

We’ve chosen to discuss a book every other month to make it more doable for everyone. This list comes from suggestions for many of us and we tried to mix up what types of books we’re ready. I think it’s nice to have it planned out for the year, especially with a few books on the list I have been meaning to read for years.

Training Smarter

If you know me or read my blog it’s fairly obvious that I’m injury prone. I’ve probably spent more time in orthopedic doctor’s offices than all other types of doctors combined. I’ve spent who knows how much time in physical therapy. It’s infuriating when I try to be smart about things and not pile on the mileage too quickly and listen to my body. This time around I was really careful and probably could have started running early than I did, but I was afraid.

I’ve been going to anywhere from 1-4 spin classes a week for the last several months and have a base fitness which is great. I’ve translated running fitness to the bike before, but never the other way around. I’m really enjoying cycling and have every intention of continuing with it as I get back to running. I know I need to cross train. I know I need to take better care of my body. I desperately want to stay away for the orthopedic doctor and they physical therapist. Nothing against them.

Yesterday I met with a personal trainer. I have used a running coach. I have been on a tri team. But this time I decided I need more help with the non-cardio part of my fitness. I want to be more healthy overall and not just have running fitness or cycling fitness. My goal is to get stronger. I know I can get myself back to running half marathons. I don’t worry about that. I physical-fitness-woman-weight-liftingworry about strength training and core work. I hate it. I hate all of it and usually just end up laying on my yoga mat doing nothing. That’s not productive. By wonderful luck, I was matched up with a trainer that I think is great. She was happy that I was so specific in what I want and I’m happy she has a history of working with injured people. We had a very productive conversation and I have high hopes I will actually enjoy this. I start next week and can’t wait to get stronger and healthier.

Running Again: For Real

I have followed through on my last post. I’m following my own advice. I’m running again. It’s great. I did my first run with no walk breaks since August yesterday. It was a beautiful snow run through a local park. It looked like a winter wonderland and felt amazing I wanted to just keep running and running but decided to still stop at twenty minutes since it was my first run with no walk breaks. I feel like I’m finally getting somewhere.

I’m still spinning two to three times a week and really enjoying that. I’ve found the instructors I like and know it’s good to keep up the cross training. My plan at this point it to keep going to spin two to three times a week and to continue building my runs up by running three times a week. Once I’ve got a base of being able to run I would like to build up some distance, but at this point I’d just like to get some base miles in. Now that I have done twenty minutes I want to sign up for a 5k just to prove to myself I can still do it. Getting to twenty-five minutes and then thirty minutes shouldn’t be too far away at this point.

2015 Plans:

  • Ragnar Chicago – June
  • Milwaukee Running Festival – November

I am terrified of doing too much too soon so have banned myself from registering for anything else at this point. I will probably need to be one of the runners with lower mileage for Ragnar, but really after last year I’ll just be happy to run all three legs. I believe a November half marathon is safe as far as building up distance and speed. Sticking with baby steps and I’ll eventually get back to distance running.