An Introduction to Minimalism

A good friend of mine ( a blogger at http://www.livingnotwanting.com) has the amazing gift of being able to talk me into doing a lot of things that would normally be outside of my “comfort zone”.  So far on that list are: starting an art journal, duck pin bowling, and baking a cake (my attempt to complete the simple task, as her assistant, of flouring a pan had both of us laughing until we cried).  When she asked me if I was still going with her to “The Minimalists” thing in Baltimore, I said “Of course!”  I vaguely remembered making the plans several months before.  From what I remembered, I had no idea what she was talking about when she first explained this event to me and didn’t understand at all what I was signing up for, but I agreed to go because I love spending time with this friend (There is never a dull moment with her!).  🙂  So Wednesday night we ended up standing in “The Ivy Bookstore” in North Baltimore with my friend listening to Josh and Ryan, on their “Everything that Remains” book tour, speak about minimalism.

Josh and Ryan from "The Minimalists"

Josh and Ryan from “The Minimalists”

This wasn’t my first time hearing about minimalism; my friend has been talking to me about her ideas on it and how she has been “decluttering” her life, removing all of the material things that do not serve a purpose or bring her joy.  I’ve known her for years, and have noticed since she starting practicing this new philosophy in her life how much happier and how much more at peace with things she has seemed.

I loved listening to Josh and Ryan speak, and it has opened my mind even more to the idea of becoming more of a minimalist.  They told their stories; of how they both were worked high paying corporate jobs and surrounded themselves with material things that they thought defined them.  At some point they both left their corporate jobs to live more meaningful lives. They now focus their time on writing and teaching others about minimalism; their blog has 5 million viewers a year! They explained that there are no set rules on being a minimalist and that there is nothing wrong with working a 9-5 job (After all, grown ups do have to pay the bills).  The basic idea is to remove the things from your life that don’t matter to make room for the things that do.  Here are a few of my favorite Josh and Ryan advice/quotes:

  • Minimalism is not about deprivation.  Consumption isn’t the problem, compulsive consumption is the problem.
  • (On simplifying your own life) Ask your self does this thing add value to my life?  Does it serve a purpose or does it bring me joy?
  • Temporarily remove things from your life to see if they are really necessary.
  • Don’t act on impulse, take time to consider before making a purchase.
  • Don’t sacrifice your values for a paycheck.
  • (On sentimental items) Memories do not reside in things, they reside in us.
  • When you sale and donate items, someone else can get value out of those items.
  • Focus on the things that matter in your life.  For them they listed 5 things; Health, Relationships, Cultivating a passion, growth, and contribution.
  • (On being around positive and supportive people) You can’t change the people who are around you, but you can change who the people who are around you.
  • Love people and use things because the opposite never works.

If you get the chance to read their books (or blog) or to see them on tour (They have 50 cities left to visit), I highly recommend it.  They are two positive individuals with enlightening ideas to share with others.  I have been making some changes in my life, to focus less on material possessions and to have more free time to spend on the things that matter in my life.  It definitely isn’t something that happens overnight, it is a process.  I believe that removing personal attachments to things can empower me to live a more purposeful and happy life.

http://www.theminimalists.com

richness

Memorial Day Weekend and My Weekly Run Down

Happy Memorial day everyone!  I hope you all are enjoying your holiday weekend as much as I am, and that everyone remembers what we are celebrating.  Today we are honoring the men and women of the armed forces who sacrificed their lives for their country.  Danny and I drove by the Maryland Veteran’s cemetery on Saturday where people were visiting to place flowers on their loved one’s graves.  It was an incredibly reverent and humbling experience.  I can’t even imagine how many lives were changed by their sacrifice and for it I will always be grateful.

memorial-day-hours-of

 

 

So what have I been up to this weekend?  I took Danny to the doctor after work on Friday because he has had a cold for almost 2 weeks! I started to notice a little tickle in the back of my throat and a teeny cough Saturday morning.  By Sunday I was knocked flat on my butt, and slept the day/night away.  I usually never get sick, but this has been a bad year for me.  I blame the crazy Maryland weather for my weakened immune system and Danny’s frequent work trips for transforming him to a walking incubator for a broad collection of regionally dispersed super germs.  I did manage to have some fun before, during, and after contracting the “Snotty Dirty Southern Whooping Cough”.  Totally a real thing…just check out WebMD! 😉

  • I got some great workouts in! Including a track work-out,  a run through the park, a sweaty yoga session, and even a little cross training with my TRX straps!

exercise truth_thumb[1]

  •  Attended a long time friend’s beautiful outdoor wedding!  I’ve known Carrie* since tech school in 2003; then we both ended up assigned to the same squadron after training.  On Saturday she married one of the coolest chicks I’ve ever met, Laura*.  They go together like peanut butter and jelly! And it made me so happy seeing society is slowly coming around; Gay Marriage is actually now legal in the state of Maryland!  Woot Woot! 🙂
With Danny at the Wedding.

With Danny at the Wedding.

  • Became Addicted to “The Game of Thrones”.  When laid up in bed sick on Saturday I watched three back to back episodes with Danny.  I’ve heard people talking about it at work, but I usually have a difficult time holding still and watch very little T.V.  But Game of Thrones is seriously awesome!  I am kicking myself for being such a “non-conformist” and not watching this show sooner!!
Yeah, this is so me! Lol

Yeah, this is so me! Lol


The Weekly Run-Down:

  • Monday-Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday- 6 miles @ Lake Elkhorn with Danny (55:54, 9:19 AP)
  • Thursday- 3 miles treadmill (25:30, 8:30 AP)
  • Friday-Track; 2.1 mile warm-up (7:44 AP), 8×400 Repeats [1:22, 1:22, 1:24, 1:32, 1:29, 1:32, 1:27, 1:31], 2.1 mile cool-down (8:08 AP)
  • Saturday- 7.25 mile Park Run (59:55, 8:16 AP)
  • Sunday- Game of Thrones Mini-Marathon! 😉 (O.K., I guess that doesn’t count? Haha)

Weekly Miles: 22.45

Total 2014 Miles: 634.08


What did you do this weekend?  Anything exciting?! 🙂

 

 

 

Athena, embrace your inner goddess!

Weight can be a touchy subject.  Like a lot of women, I struggled with body image as a teenager and through most of my 20s.  It didn’t seem to matter how thin I got, I felt just as dissatisfied with my body whether I was a size 14 or a size 2.  I was an obsessive about counting calories, working out, and weighing myself daily.  Society tells women that small=feminine, and despite being 5’9 I still was fixated on an arbitrary (and impossible) weight that I thought I needed to be.  I was never over weight; just a tall, “corn fed”, German girl, battling with my weight as it yo-yoed up and down.  At 30, I went through a series of difficult, life altering events, and was struggling with major depression.  It felt like I hit rock bottom, and I lost my motivation to do all of the active things that I used to enjoy.  My weight quickly climbed to 170 lbs, the highest it had ever been (With the exception of when I was pregnant with my daughter).

Me, at a curvier 170 lbs.

Me, at a curvier 170 lbs.

With the encouragement of some very good friends, including my now boyfriend, I decided to start running again.  I had a rough start, with plantar faciaiitis developing in my left foot.  I followed a training plan to rebuild a 20 mile per week base, and every mile I ran those first few months was slow and painful.  I was so focused on trying to get back into shape that I stopped weighing myself and stopped counting calories.  I was focused on eating healthy foods to fuel my work-outs, and was excited to feel my body getting stronger.

One night, I met up with some of my running friends for a dinner/happy hour after work.  We were enjoying greasy bar food and beers.  The woman sitting across from me (that I just met); a beautiful, slender, blonde triathlete who was happily devouring a plate of loaded french fries loudly jokes, “I’ve decided to just be fat and lazy this winter, if I gain a ton of weight I can always race Athena class!”  I know she didn’t mean anything by it, but the comment stung, because I knew I all ready met the weight standard for an “Athena” class runner; but I certainly was neither fat nor lazy.

After thinking about it for a while (like I do with most things) I came to the following conclusions:

  1. Her comment was not directed at me, and her intent was to make a joke….however foot in mouth it may have came out.
  2. I was happy and proud of myself, and the progress I was making with my running.
  3. Another person’s words should not change how I felt about myself.
  4. Athena was a bad bitch!  Seriously, the Goddess of wisdom, courage, strength, and war….doesn’t get any badder than that!
  5. I was going to embrace my “inner goddess” and be proud to be labeled an Athena.
Athena

Athena

 

It took a conscious effort to shift to that mental state (embracing my inner goddess) at first, but at some point I began to actually believe it. (I guess it’s true when they say, “Fake it until you make it”)  Not that I was an actual goddess (Psshh….that would be silly! 😉 ), but that my body was strong, healthy, and beautiful just the way it was.  I didn’t care anymore that skinny jeans were not my friend….This Athena’s thick legs were able to carry me 26 point freaking 2 miles!

The crazy thing is, I finally learned to accept my body when I was at my heaviest.  I didn’t even notice when I did start to lose weight; it came off very slowly.  I had thrown out my scale, but found a warehouse pallet jack at work to weigh myself on after I noticed my clothes were getting baggier and people started asking me if I had lost weight.  I was surprised when I realized, 6 months since I had last weighed myself, that I lost 15 lbs.  Over the next year and a half, I lost 15 more.  Between my weight loss, and the weight being increased to 165 lbs for the “Athena” class; I am no longer technically an Athena.  However, I still try to embrace my inner goddess, since being an Athena played such a critical part in me learning to love my body.  I even had the the owl she is often depicted with in paintings tattooed onto my right rib cage, to help remind me to keep my focus on keeping my body strong and healthy while I run, regardless of what I weigh!

My Athena Tattoo

My Athena Tattoo

 

How has running helped improve your body image?  Do you have any running related tattoos that inspire you?

 

 

Weekly Training Recap and Random Thoughts

Overall I was satisfied with my running this week.  I met my mileage goal with five solid runs; including speed work, hill work, and a focused long run.  The beginning of the week was hot and humid, but after the long, bitter cold winter, this Spring weather has been delightful!! My legs are finally adjusting and getting stronger from more running outside and less running on my dreadmill….ok treadmill! I really shouldn’t complain…I ❤ my treadmill and it’s been a god send for me maintaining a consistent training schedule and my endurance when the weather is blah!  I just really ❤ being outside in nature even more! And it is showing in my run times! 🙂


 

Oh….and I had a theme song this week! I blasted Big Daddy Kane’s “I get the job done” before every run to get myself pumped!  And no, I’m not totally naive, I’m aware he isn’t talking about running….but I applied his…uh….work ethic? to my runs this week! Haha

This weeks run down, Me “Getting the job done” 😉 :

  • Monday-Rest
  • Tuesday-Track work-out; 1.57 mile warm-up, 8×400 [Splits:1:21,  1:31,  1:18,  1:33,  1:27, 1:27, 1:32, 1:20], 1.56 cool-down
  • Wednesday-Rest
  • Thursday- 5 miles/Tempo Run (41:40, 8:20 AP) 
  • Friday- 6.5 miles hills (1:05:51, 10:08 AP, 772 foot elevation gain=Sloooooow running!)
  • Saturday- 5 miles trail run with my BFF/Love 🙂 (47:55, 9:35 AP)
  • Sunday- 15 miles 70/30 (LSD/Race Pace) on B&A Trail (2:01:39, 8:06 AP)

Total Weekly Miles: 37.8 miles

Total 2014 Miles: 611.63

After my 15 miler...always such a good feeling finishing off another training week!

After my 15 miler…always such a good feeling finishing off another training week!


Lots of running this week equaled lots of random thoughts.  That is one of the things I like most about running; I get to spend time day dreaming and recharging, which is a great stress release!

This weeks top random thoughts….

  • Peanut butter, carbs, and bananas are my favorite “performance” foods.  I’ve been doing some combination of carbs with peanut butter and bananas for pre-workout meals/snacks and it seems to give me the most energy with the least tummy troubles.  During today’s long run (after a delicious PB&J sandwich and banana), the “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” song popped into my head….who remembers this??? Haha
  • Letting go of hurt can feel like a 1000 pounds being lifted off of your shoulders.  I let someone close to me know my feelings were hurt by something they did, which turned out to be totally unintentional.  I had been thinking, rethinking, and over analyzing the situation for weeks, and was finally able to let it go after our conversation.  And it was such a relief! My over all out look was better and I EVEN ran better this week! 🙂

forgiveness

  • Being girly just isn’t my thing.  I don’t wear make-up or heels, and tell fart jokes with the guys….and I am totally O.K. with that! I’ve always been a tomboy (I’m sure growing up with 3 brothers has something to do with that!) But I do wish I could be less awkward when it comes to having “emotional” conversations with my girlfriends!
Can tomboys like pink? Haha

Can tomboys like pink? Haha

  • I love the new necklace my mother gave me for mother’s day!  She entered me into a “Mom who runs with heart” Mother’s day give away, at a local store in Utah; Scott James Sport Jewelry, and I won! It’s a beautiful necklace, but what it represents to me is even more beautiful! I read my mom’s entry, such a proud Mama, and it’s awesome having the people I love support me in doing something I love!

scottjames

 

How was your training week? Want to share some of your random thoughts?

 

 

 

 

Warrior Dash Recap-It was muddy fun!

This year I ran my 3rd Warrior Dash with a group of friends, the same group of super fun people I ran with last year! Our fearless leader and creative director, Pat, came up with a great idea for our costumes! We all dressed up as convicts and were “Team Prison Break”.  (And I thought Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would be IMPOSSIBLE to beat!)  I met my friend Christina at her apartment early Saturday morning and we tried on our black and white striped dresses (We wore running shorts underneath, In case you were wondering! 😉 ) and did some “functional testing”.  We were cracking ourselves up doing squats, hurdling over chairs, and low crawling in her living room.  We realized some alterations were needed, and took on the role of impromptu “fashion designers”….a cut here, a snip there….Voila!  Perfection!

We gathered up our gear and headed over to Pat’s house to meet the rest of the team for a waffle breakfast and car pool.  Pat’s teenage daughter and some of her friends decided to join us crazy old people this year, after hearing how much fun we had at the last Warrior Dash. 🙂 It took us a LITTLE longer than expected to get on the road….we had to perfect costumes, then do cute poses for our pre-race pictures! It’s all about priorities people! 😉

There was this one….

"Team Prison Break" before getting dirty!

“Team Prison Break” before getting dirty!

And this Pre-race pyramid was TOTALLY necessary!

Pyramid2

 

After goofing off all morning we FINALLY made it to the race!  It costs $10.00 to park and then you end up walking about 1/4 mile to the registration tents.  They have waves running all day, so seeing the other runners walk back up the hill covered in mud got me hyped to run!  Registration and bag drop off are well organized and went quickly.  THANKFULLY! Since we barely made it in time for our wave! Haha  And there were also plenty of port-a-potties for last minute pit stops before your wave.  There was one major change for this years race, the Warrior Dash is no longer timed.  My competitive side was slightly disappointed but after running the race I decided it was actually a positive.  Runners were much safer and there was more of a “team work” mentality to the run this year compared to previous years.  Everyone was helping each other over obstacles and making sure people who fell down along the course were OK.

We lined up for our wave in the starting coral, and did a “1, 2, 3….PRISON BREAK!” cheer as we ran across the starting line.  It was pretty much impossible to run the first mile with the crowd of people trying to make it up some steep and VERY muddy hills.  There were a lot of people slipping and sliding, falling over, helping each other up, and laughing.  There were 12 obstacles along the course, that were challenging but nothing too insane.  My favorite obstacle was the “Mud Mounds”….there was some rain earlier in the day so the hills were super slippery and the trenches in between the mounds were filled with water.  Our costumes attracted a lot of attention; runners and volunteers along the course were calling out things like, “You better run faster if you’re going to get away from the Warden!”  Haha…So clever and cute that I overlooked the fact that they were calling us slow! (No man left behind!!! ;-)) And it’s always fun when other people are getting a kick out of your costumes!

Other runners navigating the "Mud Mounds"

Other runners navigating the “Mud Mounds”

I like any race where it’s acceptable to get this dirty! It honestly makes me feel like a big kid!  I had the biggest grin on my face, splashing through the mud and climbing over things the ENTIRE race! I even had one of the other runners nickname me “Smiley”! Haha This race is more about having fun and camaraderie than getting your fastest time.  (Now that the race isn’t timed, that isn’t even an issue!)  Our group started together, but ended up divided into two teams, “The 25 and Under Escapees” and “The 30+ Escapees”.  The 30+ group crossed the finish line together, a low crawl through THICK mud!

At the finish line!

At the finish line!

Posing for Free Honest Tea!

Posing for Free Honest Tea!

With Christina in the "Facebook Photo Booth"

With Christina in the “Facebook Photo Booth”

I was free of responsible parental responsibilities for this dash, so we enjoyed some of the finish line festivities.  The finish line party for this race is definitely a PAR-TAY!! The D.J. was playing awesome music and “Shock Top” had a very legit bar set up.  We got our free beers (Not a huge fan of the citrus blended into the beer, but hey…. it was free!) and danced covered in mud long enough to satisfy my “Woodstock” fantasy!  You can donate your muddy shoes at the end of the race, so we tie wrapped our shoes together and added them to the muddy shoe mountain before walking back up the hill for our “showers”.  BTW…The people who volunteer to clean these shoes are Saints!

muddyshoes

 

So about the “showers”….this is one thing Warrior Dash almost failed on this year!  The hoses that they had set up for runners to clean off with were broken!  Yikes! We just happened to be lucky enough to get there at the same time as a water truck, an improvise, pulled up.  We literally got hosed off with ice cold water out of a fire hose! It wasn’t the MOST pleasant thing….I was all ready shivering BEFORE my “shower”, but I have to admit…it was a LOT of fun! 🙂

Hit the showers!!

Hit the showers!!

Overall, the 2014 Warrior Dash was a great event.  There were lots of fun people and an awesome atmosphere. It is definitely more of a party than an actual race, but if you go into it with that expectation you won’t be disappointed!

Have you ran a Warrior Dash or another mud run?  I’d love to hear about it! Did you have lots of muddy fun?

https://www.warriordash.com/

 

 

Another Week of Training

Last week’s training went much better than the week before! I got 5 runs done including running the Warrior Dash with friends, all though one of those runs ended up shorter than planned due to being wiped out after a late night in the office.   This was my 3rd time running the Warrior Dash, and it was fun as always! I’ll be posting a race review later this week! 🙂

Muddy friends, after a successful "Prison Break" ;-)

Muddy friends, after a successful “Prison Break” 😉


 

The quick run down:

  • Monday-Rest
  • Tuesday-5 miles (Speed work with 1 mile repeats)
  • Wednesday-Rest
  • Thursday-6.15 miles (Outdoors)
  • Friday- 3 miles (Treadmill)
  • Saturday- 3.1 miles (Warrior Dash 5K)
  • Sunday- 10 miles (LSD at Lake Elkhorn)

Total Weekly Miles: 27.25

Total 2014 Miles: 573.83


 

Not a perfect training week, but I’m getting there! I am having to learn to be patient and realistic with myself, and work has been especially hectic this month.  I’m both excited and nervous about my upcoming NFC trail marathon.  It is not a goal race for me, so I plan on just taking it easy and enjoying the scenery.  I’ve done a couple of short trail runs and am quickly learning that trail running is a totally different beast! While I can’t run ANY where near my normal pace, I love the challenge, the focus it requires, and the feeling of adventure.  We’ll see how NFC goes…I’m expecting I may get hooked! (I do have an addictive running personality after all 😉 )

Just a quick and dirty post today, but I’ll finish off with a little Monday Motivation! (I have a feeling this is going to be a great week of training!)

processandresults