Monday, February 23, 2009

I tri'd and will tri again....

Sunday I did my very first triathlon - and I get to tick it off of the "To Do Before I'm 30 List" which is always so much fun!

The Y holds a mini indoor triathlon every year and after much deliberation, I decided to sign up. It was a 1/4 mile swim, a 5 mile bike and a 3 mile run. I knew I could do it in under an hour - which is generally about half of the time I spend working out on an average Sunday. My fear was the transitioning from swim to bike to run.

I started off in the pool too fast with free style - had I started with breaststroke (what I swam in High School) I probably could have had a better swim time. I was also between some pretty rockstar swimmers which made me want to go as fast as possible, which can both be good and bad!

I had laid out my running capris, socks, shoes and extra towels on the deck to be ready as soon as I got out and it worked pretty well. I whipped them on and flew up to the spin bikes.

The hardest part for me was the 5 mile bike. Mainly because I was on a spin bike and not going anywhere. During a workout I can do the spin bike for about an hour and get a good 20 + miles in and it doesn't bother me. However, since I was "racing" the 5 miles couldn't be over fast enough.

The first few laps around the track felt pretty weird, my legs felt a little jello-ish but not too bad and I quickly got into a groove and the running was by far the easiest of the three.

I completed the whole thing in 54:53 which I was comfortable with. My only goal was to finish in under an hour, which thankfully I did. And, while it was pretty hard, I really enjoyed it.

The best part of the whole thing though was my cheering section! My cousin Jamie and her kiddo, my sister, Greg, the kids and one of Greg's friends, and my parents were all there to cheer me along - and I recruited my aunt Jane as my timer! I had the biggest crowd there and it was so fun to have them all watching and helping me along! The moral support that I have for doing these events is outstanding! I am REALLY lucky!

My mom asked me this morning which I liked better - the tri or the marathon and my quick answer was the marathon. I would love to do another tri - outside - and could really love find myself loving it. But there's something about running for hours at a time that just makes me happy (thanks for the tee shirt mom!) - weird I know!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"I Could Live for 2 Months on a Good Compliment" - Mark Twain

Taking the time to compliment someone - or thank them for doing something - doesn't take a lot of time or effort. So why is it that it's sometimes so hard to do?

I used to be really good at thank you notes. I would sit down immediately after my birthday and Christmas and get them written and sent out. Now, it takes me a month or more to get them written and in the mail and it's really unacceptable.

I decided last night that I'm going to start thanking people more - for little things, for big things, for just being who they are. Telling someone that I appreciate them needs to be something I do more often. I think that I often get so bogged down in the day to day minutiae that I often don't take the time to tell people thank you for things that they do to get me through my day, or for just being someone in my life who I really appreciate.

I've also decided that it's important to compliment people more. More often than not, throughout my day I see people doing things that really deserve a compliment - an "I'm really proud of you for doing ___" goes a long way. Or a "that top looks really great on you" can do a lot for people and it's not a hard thing to do.

In the last couple of weeks I've received several thank yous and some really great compliments that have made my day. Things that I can use when I'm having a bad day.

I was recently asked to be a representative of Political Science and Public Administration majors for a website and brochure that UW-Green Bay is putting together for their current students. I was to submit information about my job and what I find exciting about it and why my degrees helped me.

I of course was honored to do this - as my time at UWGB was so rewarding - both in and out of the classroom. I submitted the information and received the following email that was totally unexpected and so appreciated:

Good morning, Jennifer,
Thank you so much!! Even though we never met (I just started my work here 2 years ago), I know the department is extremely proud of you and we are all so happy to see our alumni do so well. Your statement is very much appreciated. I will send you a copy of the brochure and a link to the website once we finish putting together both.

Thank You!


Katia Levintova
Assistant Professor
Public and Environmental Affairs (Political Science)

This professor, who doesn't know who I am, totally made my day - or, as Mark Twain would say, a whole 2 months for me.

It was followed up by a thank you here from one of my dearest college friends - whom I miss having in my life on a routine basis so much. I know he's around if I need him and I know he checks in with me here pretty regularly (he's one of my dozens of loyal readers you know), but I haven't talked to him in awhile and I haven't seen him in a long time, so that note of thanks - and the others that he sends from time to time mean a lot to me. He knows who he is and I hope he knows how important he is - to this day - to me. His initial hatred of me that over time turned into such a wonderful friendship is still treasured - all of it - even the not so nice parts. (As I continue to write this paragraph I'm realizing that an entire entry - a really long one could be devoted to you Jacob...)

Furthermore - this morning as I was not so sure about my outfit choice as the dress I'm wearing is pretty fitted and I'm still self conscious about what I wear - a woman told me that I looked wonderful and followed it up with "but with your figure, you could make anything look good" - yeah, HI, this is ME - I've NEVER EVER been told THAT one. And as I caught myself from falling over, and contemplated that she was going to say "psych" at the end, I realized she meant it and it was the nicest thing ever. It gave me oodles of confidence to walk out of the Y and face my day.

SO - I'm living high - for at least 2 months on these great compliments and thank yous and I'm vowing to "pay it forward" and thank and compliment people in my life who do great things, or have something about them that make me smile, as well as thinking more of and saying thank you to old friends who have had such a great impact on my life that I could not be the person I am today without them.

So, THANK YOU for reading. Thank you for stepping into my crazy little world to share a bit of it with me. I appreciate you all for the comments that you leave - and for those that you don't - just seeing that my page has been visited another time is a fun feeling. Thank you for enjoying my journey with me.

(yes, as most of you know, I always go for cheesy - it's sincere I promise - but you know, very "Hallmarky" - it's how I roll...)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Marathon Training Update

This time around I feel different. Almost like it's not a big deal...but it is and I have to remember that it is huge.

Today is the start of week 6 of marathon training and I've gotten two double digit runs in already, and I don't feel phased about it like I did last time. Last time around, when week 6 started I hadn't done double digits yet. In fact, it was week 6 that I did a 10 miler for the first time ever. Which, as you may recall was quite entertaining and it was then that I decided officially that I was in fact, a runner.

I think a lot of the difference was that I had never run more than 6 miles before so literally every step over 6 was a HUGE accomplishment for me. Every mile I increased was a HUGE victory, one that was incredibly emotional, pretty scary, quite amazing and fulfilling.

I truly believe that this time around it is just as fulfilling but I'm not amazed anymore that I can run 12 miles which is what my long run was this past Saturday. I've been there before, I've run 12 miles like 8 times - I've done it and I can do it again.

My 11 miler a couple of weekends ago was great, I was able to get outside and that was awesome, but I was sluggish - after being injured for a good chunk of November and all of December and being handcuffed to the treadmill when I could run again, I was slow and I felt it. But, even though I felt a little slow and a little off, and it may not be fun while I'm doing it, when I finish I always feel good.

I have a quote that sits on my desk that says "Life is not about perfection. It's about moving in the right direction," (Eliz Greene) And over time, I've come to realize that I am certainly moving in the right direction every time I put my running shoes on, throw on my suit and goggles and jump in the pool or pull out my yoga mat. I've also realized that I'm GOOD when I'm training for something. I'm focused and I don't really care how long it takes me, I'm going to finish and it's going to be fun.

I've come to the conclusion a long time ago that I'm not a Kenyan; so while I don't ever expect to be leading the pack of marathoners, I know I won't come in last, and honestly, I enjoy the journey. Sure, those last 6.2 miles suck hard, but to run all 26.2 miles and to get that medal put around your neck because you did something AMAZING - totally rules (yes, I invoked my 15 year old slef for that statement) - and it left me with such a great taste in my mouth I really couldn't (can't) wait to do another one!

This past Saturday was the first time that I've ever done a "long run" with someone - minus being supportive and having support on the treadmill. Ann and I went out on Saturday and did between 12 and 12.25 miles. It was sooo nice to have some company AND be outside! The bike path we ran on, that had been free of snow all week, had a nice coating of fresh white but wasn't overly slippery - until we got to the side roads - thankfully we both invoked the balance Gods and were able to stay on our feet the entire time!

It's different running WITH someone, and since I've never really trained that way it was interesting, and fun for sure. I felt like I could go longer - I didn't want to quit because I had someone who was in it with me - someone who "understands my crazy." So, thank you Ann and I look forward to more long runs with you!

In summary - my marathon training is going well. I'm getting in all of my runs and I'm doing lots more biking and swimming than last time and I'm really having fun with it. Sure, days like today 4:15 am comes really early and it's hard to get out of my nice warm bed and scrape my windshield, but I do it and when I'm done, I feel good - about finishing a workout, about my abilities and about myself.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Artist Dates

Ok, so I'm not a professional photographer and I may not even be artsy, but through the Online Creativity Circle, we have to go on artist dates with ourselves. I decided to take some pictures because I enjoy it, it's cheap, and it was a beautiful day on Sunday. I would love to play some with photo shop or something similar and have a little more creative fun, but here's a little bit of the fun I had this weekend!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

So I Write

I'm endulging in an online creativity cirlce with Kimberly Wilson, who is the Author of Hip Tranquil Chick a "guide book" if you will on using yoga on and off of the mat.

We are reading three books, one of which is Kimberly's along with The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin. I'm diving into it, starting with The Artist's Way. We are to write "morning pages" that are basically a brain dump for 3 pages in the morning. As I have already concluded through blogging, it's hard to write when you don't really have anything to say. However, it's getting easier and it is why I may, from time to time, just write to write on this blog - without a purpose, without an update, but with random musings (which you know, is not so different than what I normally do).

Through blogging and journaling I have found that I really enjoying writing and somedays, I'm not even half bad at it, and I would like to do more of it.

I need to take myself on an "artist's date" every week as well. This week I think I may hole up in a coffee shop or a book store and do some more writing and see where it takes me.

Monday, February 2, 2009

End of week 3 of training

Despite doing ALL of my activity indoors, my marathon training is off to a good start and I'm still feeling really good - which is awesome - it's amazing how much some different streching really helps!

January numbers (also noted in the right hand column)

Ran - 68.5
Swam - 5
Biked - 100

The numbers are a little lower than I would like them to be - especially in the swim and bike columns but I'm ramping everything up in Feb. My pace runs go from 5 to 6 miles and I have long runs of 11, 12, 9 and 14 this month. I'm so hoping that the weather will warm up and I'll be able to do most - if not all - of those runs outside, because as hellish as 9 miles on a treadmill was, I certainly cannot phathom running 14 on one!!

The thing I tend to neglect while I'm in training is lifting. I know I NEED to do it, I would just much rather jump into the pool after a 4 miler (as I did today) than lift. Maybe it's because I'm pretty weak, but really, I think it's boring. I'm attempting to add a 1/2 hour of lifting in on Fridays and Sundays this month and see how it goes...