Monday, May 20, 2013

Life & It's Stress .... How do you handle it?

Hello!  It's been a little since I've found the time to sit down and gather my thoughts.  There's a lot going on in my personal life right now.  As we all know, life has it's stressful moments.   There are times in life where when it rains, it pours.  That's currently where I'm at right now.  But I have my umbrella keeping me dry, and that umbrella, believe it or not, is my Running.
Currently we are in the process of moving my Grandmother into an assisted living apartment.  This process has and continues to be very stressful  for my family and I.  Tempers are rising, people are arguing, and people are just being plain difficult.  It's a very emotional process, as it's hard to accept that someone is at that point in their life.  For me, it makes the inevitable of passing on seem way to close around the corner.   My grandmother raised me, so she is more of a "mother" to me.  I love her with all my heart, and I just want what's best for her.  I am praying that this is the right thing for her, and that she will find happiness in her new surroundings.
On top of the emotions surrounding my grandmothers future,  there's a separate feud going on with a sibling.  Well I guess you could call it a "one sided" feud, because I for one am not putting any further energy, thought or emotion into it.  That may sound harsh, but if you knew the full background, I'm sure you'd understand.
There comes a point in life when you have to realize what's worth fighting about and what's not.  You know the whole "pick and choose your battles".    The "battle" in this instance, is not one that my energy needs to be used on right now.   And of course, there's just life's general stresses, work, kids, chores, responsibilities, bills, etc, that already wear us down to a point.
Everyone has stress in their lives, and there are times when it magnifies and we find ourselves drowning.   That's when you have to reach down and find that inner strength to cope. If you don't have the strength you will drive yourself nuts!   I have found my coping with my running.  I have been running consistently now at 5-6 days a week.  Along with that physical activity, the beautiful weather, and my "therapist" running partner, Gabi,  I have been able to fair through these emotional times with more energy, clearer mind, sanity, and better then I would have ever before.
I know for a fact, that if I wasn't out there running, I'd be an more emotional, hot tempered, and an absolute crab!    Not to mention, I'd probably be smoking full time again!  Through my running, I've been able to continue on with my quitting!  It feels amazing!
By releasing my stress in my Runs, I've been able to reach even more personal bests, run longer distances, and conquer new challenges.  It's such a great motivator! I'm not recommending you make stressful situations for motivation, but more making the point that you can use your stress to better yourself.  Make the stress "worth it".   It's a method of taking what would normally be negative, and turning it into a positive outcome.

So I ask you, How do you cope with your stresses?  What methods have you found beneficial to getting through the tougher times?   What is your outlet?  
If you haven't found an outlet, I encourage you to.  I'm telling you, it helps!

**Training Stats**
5/9- Goal: Xtrain-  Accomplished: Walked 2.36mi,  41min, 337calories
5/10- Goal Run 3mi  Accomplished: Ran 3.50mi, 37min, 597cals
5/11- Goal Run 2mi  Accomplished Ran 2.02mi,21min, 344cals 
5/12- Swapped for Monday's rest day due to Mother's Day
5/13- Goal Run 3.75mi  Accomplished: Ran 3.77mi, 39min, 641 cals
5/14- Goal Run 2 mi Accomplished: Ran 2.02mi, 21min, 344cals
5/15- Goal Run 3.75mi Accomplished Ran 3.76mi, 42min, 644cals,  Also walked 1.24mi, 18min, 165cals
5/16- xtraining or rest-  Opted to rest
5/17- Goal 2mi Run, Accomplished 2.01mi, 21min, 344cals
5/18 goal 3.50mi Run Accomplished 1.76mi, 21min, 304 cals  (time constraints)
5/19- Goal Run 4mi Accomplished 4.01mi, 47min, 691 cals
5/20- Rest Day!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How Do You Measure Progress?

When you set forth and put a goal into action, how do you measure your progress?  Do you measure it by reaching the goal?  Or do you measure it by the steps you've accomplished to reach the goal?   Currently I am working on living a healthier lifestyle. One of my big goals is to lose some weight.
I haven't seen that number budge too much on the scale, but I refuse to have that define my progress.   This is what I know, and this is some of what I am measuring my progress by.

1.  I have consistently been working out 5 days a week.   I was lucky if I did it five days a month before I started really focusing on my health recently.

2. I am 8 days smoke free!   I haven't held out this long in a very long time.  And I can feel the difference!

3.  I have broken personal records in my running! Consistently holding speed, and a speed I've never achieved.   I have been running on and off for years, and have never ran this well!

4. I have motivated others to join on the healthy lifestyle wagon! Knowing I have inspired others means the world to me and really motivates me to keep it going!

5. I ran up this massive hill with out stopping, falling ,passing out, or dying!!  Now that's progress! (see pic below)
Gabi and I with the Massive Hill in the background!  We nailed that thing!

These are just some of the ways that I see and mark my progress.  The number on the scale doesn't define the person I am and the progress I am making.  As I continue on my journey and continue to live a healthier life, I know it's just a matter of time before I see the weight loss.   I can already see slight changes in my body and my mindset.  I feel better about myself, I carry myself with more confidence, and I know that I am going to continue to enjoy every minute of this!

How are you measuring your progress?  Are you dwelling on what you aren't seeing instead of what progress you've made?  Goals don't get achieved overnight.. They take time, persistence, dedication and hard work.  Don't forget to look at how far you've come instead of how far you may have to go!

Share with us your story!

***Training Stats***
5/5- Goal 3.25mi- Accomplished 3.50mi, 39min 614 calories (personal best!)
5/7- Goal 3.50mi Accomplished: 3.53mi, 42min 622 calories (this was all mainly hills!)
5/8-Goal 2mi  Accomplished: 2.03mi, 21min, 353cals
5/9- Cross Training:  Walked 2.36mi, 41min 337 calories

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Give Yourself Credit!

Why is it we are so quick to point out to ourselves the things we are doing wrong, and we don't really give credit to ourselves for the things we are doing right?   Would you sit there and constantly point out to your friend how she's/he's doing this and that wrong?  Or would you give her/him credit when you notice that they've done something right in accomplishing their goal?  And when they do make mistakes are you going to sit there and tell them what a failure they are, how they just can't do anything right, and how they should just give up on their goals because they're never going to accomplish them...... EXACTLY, I DIDN'T THINK SO!
So why is it so easy for us to bash ourselves.  Why do we harbor these negative thoughts in our heads about ourselves?  And then to top it off, we often project them onto people. Joking about how fat we are, ugly we are, or how we just can't seem to get something right.
And another thing, why is it so hard to take a compliment?  For example when someone tells you that you look good . Why can't we own that? Instead of saying "yeah right, I've gained weight".  It's time to give yourself some credit.  It's time to stop being so mean and nasty to yourself.  Its time to love, encourage, and accept, and RESPECT yourself!
Break that cycle of self sabotage & abuse and work on positively reinforcing yourself. Through that you will find the strength to dust yourself off when you fall.  Instead of bashing yourself when you make a mistake, give yourself credit for what you did do right!
This is something that is so easier said than done.  But it's possible, and it's the way to live a happier and healthier life.   We are all going to have our ups and downs.   Why not make the downs a little more easier, by being easier & nicer to yourself.
I have been actively working on this.  And right now I am feeling so good about things, about life, about myself.   As you know, if you've been following my blog, I've been working on training for a Half Marathon that I have in June.  And I am so happy with my progress thus far.  I am patting myself on the back for sticking to the plan, and getting my miles in.   I may not be eating exactly the way I should, but I'm not going to bash myself on that, I'm just going to make myself aware, and work on correcting it.   Today is the last day of week one training, and I feel amazing.    Would you believe that I have already beat a personal best in my running!?
 Not only have I done that, but I am also actively tackling a bigger health issue, and that's quitting smoking!   Yes, shocker to some of you that know me, bet you didn't know I was a smoker!  Its true, I WAS... But I am on day four of not smoking, and I feel wonderful!  And I am going to brag to the world on how great it feels to breathe properly when I run, to not be winded when I climb the stairs to my bedroom.  I feel AMAZING.   I even ran 3mi straight through yesterday!  I have NEVER done that, and that's because I was always smoking!
My friends would laugh at me.  We'd finish a 5k,10k, half marathon, and there was Jessica, lighting up at the car right after.  I'm floating on air thinking about how well I'm going to do this summer, smoke free and active!  All the records I'm going to break in my runs, the weight I'm going to drop, and most importantly, the quality and lifespan of my life that I am improving.
So who cares that my eating isn't top dog,  my health is improving, and that too will improve as I push through these trainings and continue my journey in my healthier lifestyle.

How do you talk to yourself or others about yourself?  How will you work on being more positive about how you feel?

5/2/2013- CROSS TRAINING DAY- Walked 4.78 mi in 1hr.23min. 572calories (also piggy-backed my 8yr old part of the way!)

5/3/2013- Goal: 2mi  Accomplished: 2.70mi, 30min, 405calories and made a personal best on a 9.46mpm! ALSO RAN STRAIGHT THROUGH!

5/4/2013- Goal 3mi  Accomplished 3.44mi, 40min,513cals  RAN STRAIGHT THROUGH!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Truth Vs. Excuse

There is a fine line between telling the truth or telling and excuse.  Often times we make plans to do something, and when the time comes we don't feel doing it.  So we say "It's too cold, I'm too tired, It's raining, etc.."    Is that the truth?  Or is that an attempt of a believable excuse you are giving to get out of the obligation.
Today I had the perfect opportunity to get out of my run with Gabi.  Truth is I woke up with a massive headache and my legs hurt from our run yesterday.  It would have been so easy for me to excuse myself from my run and tell Gabi that I just wasn't feeling well, which was truthful.  But what would have made it an excuse is I knew damn well I was still capable of meeting my obligation.  
We make excuses when we just feel like being lazy or when we just don't have the motivation to follow through.  Don't we realize how we are selling ourselves short by doing that?  Not to mention the people along the way we may hurt, when excuses become so frequent?   Why make the plans at all anyway if you have no intention of being fully committed? It's so easy to fall into excuse mode.  We have all done it, and may still do it in aspects of our lives.  But I ask you, how is that any way to live?  
Living your life through excuses robs you of accomplishing goals, experiencing things and maybe even friendships.  Don't sell yourself short.  Make your goals, make a plan and execute it.  Put fear aside and live your life the way you want to and without regret.
Do you find yourself getting stuck on excuses?  What will you do the change that?  

***Training Stats***
3.67 mi,  50 min,  593 calories burned! (Goal 3mi)

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Love & Support

Everyone needs Love and Support in their lives.   With these two components anything and everything is possible to achieve.   It's through Love and Support that we get through the hard times, enjoy the good times, and are motivated to experience and do more.  
Feeling Loved and Supported brings you strength, perseverance, and motivation to accomplish goals and live  a life full of meaning without regret.
Love and Support comes in many different forms and from many different people in your lives.   I know that I am loved and supported by my family.  Without them I couldn't have made it through many trials in my life. Without the love and support from my boyfriend, I wouldn't have had the courage to make a change in my career and advance into a field that I absolutely love.  With out the love and support of my family I couldn't have raised the beautiful, intelligent, and wonderful daughter that I have. 
Currently I am putting more focus on my health both physically and mentally.  I'm trying to lessen the effects of stress in my life by becoming more physically fit, eating right, and taking care of myself.  It's a process, but it's a process that I, and  many others are attempting.  Currently my main focus is my running.  I am working on training for that race, and working on getting myself back into to the habit.   It took me a long time to get out there again, and I want to do a special shout out to the girl that was by my side today, hitting the pavement hard with me!  Everyone, I'd like to introduce you to Miss Gabi!  Gabi is an inspiration.  She has been focusing on her health as well and has lost over 80lbs since she started her journey. She's been such a great support in helping me along the way.  Through her love and support I never gave up.  Through her successes, I've found motivation.  
It means the world to me that she's running along side me as I train for this race.  Both of us going out there, running, sharing the moment and the runner's high after it's over is something that I will cherish.
It's great when you have someone who's focused on the same goals as you.  Someone you can share it with, someone that will hold you accountable and call you out on your excuses.  And trust me, Gabi will not hold back if she thinks I'm being naughty and lazy!   So thanks Gabi!  Thanks for doing this with me and thanks for your love and support!
Gabi & I October 2012 (the last time I ran, well up until today!)

I am blessed with many great people in my life.  I'm sure you will read more and more about people as I continue this blog.  Who is an inspiration in your life?  Who Loves and Supports you?  

Training Update
Today was my first run day.  Overall I got in 2.49mi and burned 493 calories.  Goal for today was 2mi! you can follow me on myfitnesspal (jessmarie1023) or Edmondo (

Monday, April 29, 2013

What about you?

          I encourage you to sit back and reflect on when the last time was that you did something for yourself.  When was the last time you put yourself first and other demands and people second?
        As we get older our responsibilities and demands increase and change.  All too often we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life, that we put our needs to the wayside.
            It's time to reclaim yourself.  It's time to realize that your needs are just as important if not more, to the duties and responsibilities you have.
I lead a very busy life.  I work a full time job, have 3 kids, a man, and 2 dogs to take care of.  Being the female head of the house, I find myself often making sure everyone else and things  is taken care of before my own needs.   I know that when you make the commitment of having children, our needs and wants are put aside.  It's just second nature to nurture them and take care of them.  However we have to remember that our health , both mental and physical is extremely important.  How do you expect to take care of your family or responsibilities if you aren't taking care of yourself.  What good will you be for them, when your body gives out?
That is why we need to prioritize better.  Truly evaluate what's important.   Is taking a half hour or hour of your day to go for a walk to clear your mind or read a book really going to cause a huge issue?  Probably not.   I think that we are just so tired from running around taking care of everything else, our energy is just zapped.
That is why I decided to really take my health seriously and put it into action.   I know that when I am eating right and exercising I feel better.  I will gain more energy, be rested, and ready to tackle my other responsibilities full on.   Not only will I  be healthier physically by taking this time to myself, but the mental benefits will be amazing as well.
I often find myself extremely stressed.  With working full time third shift and trying to run a household during the day, my sleeping habits are not very good.  I am always tired and can become extremely cranky.  I become snappish and the littlest things can set me off.    Enough of that!  It's time to take control, and put my needs first.
It may sound selfish, but it's not.   If you take the time to take care of yourself, your new positive attitude will radiate and  project onto your family and friends.
If you're crabby, sick or tired all the time, do you think they want to be around you?  Do you think you are doing them any good?
       Do yourself and your family/friends/coworkers some good and start taking care of yourself!
It's easier said than done, that I know for sure.  And this is not something that will happen overnight, considering this is the lifestyle you've probably been living for awhile.  But it is possible!
       My first step in doing something for myself is getting back into my running.  When I was running daily I felt great!  I felt good, I looked good, and I enjoyed it.   It was my time, all by myself, letting my mind wonder, taking in the beauty of the outdoors.  Just breathing in the fresh air and knowing that at that time and place I had no cares, no worries, just complete solitude to regroup and refresh my body and mind.
Today marks the first day of my training for my race.  It happened to be a "rest" day, but tomorrow I pound pavement for the first time in a long time. I'm really excited!  I will get a good nights rest tonight and be ready for tomorrow.  No excuses!  Time to take control back and take care of myself!

What are you going to do for yourself?  Maybe read that book you bought that's collecting dust on the bookshelf?  Or maybe take a long hot bath with great smelling candles?!  Whatever it is remember you are the most important thing in your life.  Your family and friends need and want you at your best!  Enjoy yourself because YOU ARE IMPORTANT!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Goal or Plan?

The hardest thing I think is putting a plan into motion.  So many times we say "tomorrow" or "Monday"  How many tomorrows/Mondays have come and gone?  It's time to put that plan into motion and make the magic happen!  
I find that if you JUST DO IT like Nike tells you, you'll find it gets easier and easier to continue and keep you plan in motion.  It will take a lot of dedication and motivation to keep going before it becomes a routine and not such a chore.
And I'm not just talking about fitness, this applies to all aspects of life.  
Planning is a big part of success.  In a Weight Watcher's meeting my leader said to us "He who fails to plan, plans to fail."   She couldn't have been more right.  Without a plan, you are going into something blindly.  Without a plan you don't know where you are going and you cannot adjust to what may be thrown your way. 
I am not wishing anymore, I have a goal.  My goal is to RUN my race in June, and with my goal, I have a plan.

This marks the first week of training my for my Quarter Marathon!   The first week's plan will start officially tomorrow Monday (29th), and end on Sunday (5th).  The plan for this week is as follows:

Week 1*

  • Monday - Rest. Rest is an important part of any training program.

  • Tuesday - Run 2 miles easy. Run at an easy “conversational” pace.

  • Wednesday - Run 3 miles easy. Run at an easy pace.

  • Thursday - Rest or cross train. Rest or engage in a non-running activity.

  • Friday - Run 2 miles easy.

  • Saturday - Run 3 miles easy.

  • Sunday - Run 3.25 miles easy.

    Since I was in the middle of my 30 day shred video I am going to use that as my cross training on Thursday.  That will make me active 6 out of 7 days.   I will use my endomondo account to calculate my distance & pace, and my Polar Heart Rate monitor to calculate my calorie burn.  You can view my runs and information on either endomondo or myfitnesspal (jessmarie1023) where I will be tracking it all.   I welcome all and any support as motivation is key in keeping the fires burning!
    I also welcome anyone that wants to do the program with me! The more, the merrier!

    What wish are you going to turn into a goal?  What is your plan for this goal?