Two Lives, One Lifestyle

One Reason to Run by Katie
October 14, 2010, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Katie, Motivation

Sometimes workout motivation is found in the weirdest ways.  “I should really wash my hair so I guess I’ll get a sweaty workout in before I shower…”

I KNOW I’m not the only one that has had this thought.  Anyone who’s hair takes longer than an hour to dry and doesn’t look so great without some sort of styling tool.  Not only did I have the motivation of greasy hair tonight, but there was a surprise in the shower (a really innocent one).

A world map shower curtain!  How much fun is this?  You totally want to shower in my shower.  But really, have you ever found enjoyment in your shower curtain liner?  Now I can shower and refresh my memory on world geography- two activities I do daily anyway.  Almost… sometimes showering is lame.  Today’s workout (and shower): brought to you by dirty hair and world map shower curtains. I have to give credit to my friend D for having a world map shower curtain first and being the inspiration for finding one.

By the way, taking pictures of the shower curtain from in the tub is not that easy. OH hey- there’s Morocco, I’m definitely going there next summer to visit my sister.


It’s The Thesis’ Fault! by Katie
June 17, 2010, 11:44 pm
Filed under: Katie, Lunch, Motivation, Nutrition, Salad, Wine

Well, well, well look what the cat dragged in.  I’m here! Promise!  So Kelli and I are both having a big, milestone-y month leaving our poor blog in the dust.  Both of us ran our first marathon, Kelli bought her first house and I’m defending my first master’s thesis next week (hope it’s my only one).  Aw, look at us getting all growed up.

My computer has become a thesis addict, forgoing any normal blog/twitter/facebook activity.  It took John’s much nicer, newer, faster computer down with it.

This evening at 6 PM I handed over my first draft!  Thesis 1.0 is in the house!  I’m giving myself a break for the evening but I’ll be back at it tomorrow: editing, improving, and doing some last minute statistics (which is the best part of science….no).   I promptly sighed a sigh, drove the hour back to Denver, ate Chipotle, and poured a glass of wine.

It’s not a sparkling variety per se but has a bit of fizzy to it.  I like it for a schweaty summer night.

In terms of the thesis-ing, it’s the best I’ve ever planned for and handled anything close to this magnitude.  There have been no nights later than midnight (though I have been up at 5 or 6), no tears, no breakdowns, and no panic modes.  When I started regretting the extra day in San Diego and playing shoulda woulda coulda, I stopped myself and thought some positive thoughts about how it was in the past and anxiety over it now would not help the past. This is big for me… ask any of my closest friends or mom.   Let’s see how the next week goes before I toot my horn too much.

Last Saturday, I prepared for the week, went to the farmer’s market, and got good-for-me snacky food ready.

In.Love. All Coloradans, try it now!

I’ve been sticking with lots of vegetables and light meals/lots of snacks to keep myself from getting post-lunch sleepiness.  Plus, I just like to graze all day when I’m working at “home” (John and I are house- and dog-sitting for some friends this week).

Local greens, local tomato, local goat cheese!  Plus some Italian dressing and turkey.

Hm, maybe sticking to all these nice, healthy eats has something to do with my focus and low stress levels?  Maybe!

I think these two and their relaxed attitudes have helped me out too.

Now I’m going to go relax on the couch like this and go to bed EARLY!

A Bit Mental by Katie
May 26, 2010, 1:11 pm
Filed under: Katie, Marathon, Motivation, Run

Last night at track practice, our coach invited a professional runner motivational speaker.

She talked about visualization and positive thinking as keys for any run, though especially long distance where the mental factor is key to a successful race.  Positive begets positive.  I think this is true for many if not all areas of life but especially for a physical task. I mean, it’s almost always easier to walk than run and I can stop at any time but… well, why?! If I don’t need to!


One tip I liked was to have a few time goals in mind.  First, the time that would happen if all the stars aligned, you were well rested and at race pace, there were no injuries, and you hydrated and fueled, etc.  The second goal should be training pace, which is technically slower than race pace.  If it’s windy or maybe a knee is acting up but not quite hurt, this might be more reasonable.  Last, a “just finish” goal, in case the weather is way beyond any training conditions or you’re sick or injured.


Another point she touched on is to stay in the moment.  Try not to think about after the race, or the next 20 miles ahead (yikes).  If it’s hard to focus, then count something quicker than miles- like number of spectators drinking beers!


My stepdad taught me to “look at where I want to go and not at the rocks I don’t want to hit” when mountain biking, and I think that’s a good carryover in terms of running: “think of what you want to do, not what you don’t want to do.”  Don’t think about walking (unless of course your strategy is run/walk!), don’t think about how you might puke, don’t think about how you’re bad at hills.

Boulder!! 079

Oh and how she ended this talk?  Just casually mentioning that she was one of the first women pushing to allow women to run in marathons.  I didn’t realize women were barely allowed in any marathons until the late 70s and a women’s marathon event was not added to the Olympics until 1984!! That’s not that long ago!  My personal favorite reason that women were banned?  Their uterus might fall out on those long runs!  Or it means we want to be men.  Riiiiiight.

joan_benoit_231701aJoan Benoit winning the 1st Olympic Women’s Marathon

Jane Welzel, our speaker, was a professional marathon runner for years and now has a sports psychology practice, specializing in treating athletes with eating disorders. The article is true, she still does Tuesday night track workouts in Fort Collins— I’ve been there the last few months!  She is the 4th from the left, and this is not my running group!

running_Jane Source

Her and her sister used to travel all over the country to find marathons they were allowed to run in.  Her sister helped organize a fundraiser for an all-women half-marathon in Maine called “One Lucky Man” (don’t google that phrase, I warned you).  Any man that wants to run pays $10 to enter a lottery and one is selected to run with all women!  Once I move back to the east coast I want to participate, especially if I’m in Boston.

Learning all the history about women’s running made me want to run more. Another reason to cross that finish line!  What motivates you?

The Jig’s Up by Katie
May 21, 2010, 3:51 pm
Filed under: Family, Katie, Motivation, Playlist

I have a little running music secret.  When I really need that extra push to hit a good running pace, do you know what I listen to?  Irish dancing music. Jigs, reels, all of it! Plus some non-traditional stuff.  I’ve actually avoided including it on lists of great workout songs because well, if anyone else (other than my sister) listens to this to run, I would love to know.

Some of my favorites:

  • “Fiddling Ladies” by The Chieftains (Especially 3:15 and on, I ran a quarter mile at under a 7 minute pace listening to the end of the song. Quite fittingly, it was at a St. Pat’s 5 miler.)
  • “Lord of the Dance” by Irish Ceili Band (slow beginning, fast forward)
  • “The Night That Patty Murphy Died” by Great Big Sea
  • “Irish Pub Song” by Flogging Molly
  • “Amazing Grace” by Dropkick Murphys

I must say that my mom raised us listening to this stuff and bagpipes and fiddles don’t make my ears bleed, though some people hate them.

Your legs just want to move in a happy jig when you listen to this music! Or maybe it’s just years of Irish dancing.  Okay, someone try it and let me know.

Powerful by Katie
May 13, 2010, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Katie, Marathon, Motivation, Run

That is how I would describe my run today: powerful.  I wasn’t particularly looking forward to or dreading the 50 minute run scheduled for today.  It was just there.  Since I have 21 miles coming up on Saturday (OMG) , I decided to go with whatever pace felt good.  Promising myself to not to look at Garmy until mile 1 (it makes a God awful beeepeeepeeep noise) and just set into a nice comfy pace I waited to check my pace until mile 2… sub-9:00 miles?  I don’t know what was up with my body today but I had a hard time slowing myself down.  But I didn’t feel like I was going fast. Maybe this just means I’m getting faster?  5.6 negative split miles later… woo woo, as my good friend would say (happy birthday bunny)!!

[These pictures have nothing to do with the text by the way, I’m just in a good mood and feel like pretty pictures okay?]

Since I didn’t feel like I was pushing- I was able to say a nice hi how are you? etc. to all the people I passed- I just let my body do what it wanted.

What it wanted was an awesome-for-me pace.  Like, what a great pace for the marathon would be.  A little faster pace than what I ran the 13 miler at two weeks ago.

It wasn’t just the pace though.  It was the way I felt on top of my game.  All week my runs have been “the best runs ever” but tonight I just did not want to stop at 50 minutes.  I wanted to run and run and run!  I’m really hoping this attitude carries me through a good portion of the 21 miler.  Though I’m not blindly optimistic to think that won’t be a huge struggle at points.

Marathon training has had it’s ups and downs and just last week I was describing running as becoming a chore.  Another thing on the “to-do” list.  Saturday was the hardest run I’ve ever had in my life and it was less than a mile further than I went tonight.  This week though, running is giving me the pleasure it did before training.  The whole reason I wanted to run a marathon- ’cause I LOVED running.

Okay now if you’re still reading, you probably think I’m nuts, raving about running.  I’m writing this fresh out of a freezing cold shower so I’m probably seriously high on endorphins.   Now I definitely lost readers.   Ice baths are much preferred to ice showers by the way.  Anyway, if you are new to running or another activity, I swear you will have a moment like this sometime.  Or maybe you have.

Have you ever had a workout that makes you feel powerful?  What was it?  Any particular reason why that workout did it for you?  I was really digging my music tonight but the weather was great, I’ve been sleeping well, and avoiding certain stomach-ache-inducing foods too.  Who knows, could have been anything, I won’t question it!

Motivation… by Kelli
May 4, 2010, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Kelli, Motivation

Yesterday, Gina over at The Fitnessista talked about motivation.  It got me thinking about why all of us exercise.  Everyone in the healthy living blog world talks about how they work out, where they work out, and how often they work out.  But what I want to know is WHY we work out.  What makes you get out of bed when the alarm goes off at 5AM just to go get your sweat on at that morning spin class?  What makes you get on that treadmill or elliptical or join that kickboxing class after a long day in cubicle hell instead of going home and pigging out on the coach in front of “Friends” reruns?

I have not always been the healthiest person.  Binging and purging, going days without eating, or pigging out for hours without even realizing what was going into my mouth are some horrible pastimes of mine.  When I was partaking in all these activities, my body was nothing more than the vehicle that got me from A to B.  Now that I am living a healthier life I am astounded at how strong my body is and how it constantly surpasses every expectation.  As I crossed the finish line on Sunday morning, completing 13.1 miles with the greatest of ease, I realized WHY I exercise.  I exercise for those moments when I cross a finish line, or experience a runner’s high, or even do something as simple as complete a spinning class without sitting out on a set of sprints.  I exercise for those moments when I can say “Wow!  Look what I can do!”

Of course there are all of the extra health benefits and they are good motivation too. 🙂

Why do you exercise?

18 Miles by Katie
April 19, 2010, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Katie, Motivation, Run

So far, marathon training has gone almost too well.   My pace is faster than I expected, I’ve experienced runner’s high- the first 6-9 miles seem to just fly by, my knees have barely felt a twinge of pain which is a miracle based on my past, and I’ve been endlessly optimistic.  Even when I found out I needed surgery a few weeks ago, I was ready to jump back into my training as soon I was cleared by my surgeon.

And as soon as I was cleared, I went out and ran.   My Team in Training coach (who’s great) encouraged me to try to jump back in on the long run (18 miles) this past Saturday, reassuring me that while speed is quickly lost, it takes 3-4 weeks for endurance to slip away.   As I kept up with the usual suspects for the first 9 miles out, at about a 9:20 average pace, I felt confident that all was well.  But after we turned around at 9 miles is when the real work started.

Around 12, I really needed water.  I forgot my CamelBack and there were only 2 “water stations” with Dixie cups set up by the Team in Training people.  There was a water stop around mile 13 and that’s where I lost the last 2 people I was keeping up with at a 9:40ish pace.   After that, I could not get back into the run.  I stopped and started, I started to dry heave from eating too many Sharkies at once, I told myself how stupid it was to run 2 weeks after surgery and how idiotic it was to not bring more fuel and water. Thoughts like “why did you think you can do this??” and “I’m NEVER running a marathon again” were going through my mind.  I wasn’t getting the sad kind of upset, I was getting angry with myself.

Finally, it occurred to me that this is what people mean when they say a marathon is as much mental as physical.  You can’t bash yourself mentally and expect your body to keep going.  The hours it takes to run a marathon is a long time to keep negative thoughts from creeping into your head, and with physical pain to boot.   I had to refocus and think of why I was doing this marathon- the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  For this little guy.  For people that would give anything to be stuck running 18 miles one day than with chemo for months.  It might sound cheesy but it made me stop bashing myself because I needed a walking break.  Once I stopped feeling so sorry for myself, I was able to convince myself to keep running even if it was at a pace minutes slower than usual.  And if I had to stop to take a walking break, I wasn’t a lazy loser.  I mean, seriously, who calls themselves lazy 16 miles into a run??!  It sounds really ridiculous now but I was thinking it at the time.

Though my mind was in a better place, my body would just not go at my usual pace, no matter how many motivational speeches I had going on in my head or how many time I played Eminem “Till I Collapse”.  I covered almost 13 miles in 2 hours and then took another 65 minutes to go 5 miles.  In retrospect, I did not have enough fuel or water which was probably a huge factor in the pace.  I don’t think it was until this run that I realized how huge of a mental task running can be.  Giving yourself a pep talk for 3 hours is hard.

I finished up and ate a blueberry muffin someone had brought and tried to stretch.   My voice was doing the wobbly thing it does when I’m near tears so I got out of there fast so I didn’t start crying with 10 people staring at me.  Since my legs felt more wobbly and achy than ever before, I called John to ask him to buy me a bag of ice… and I started crying.  I really don’t think it had anything to do with my physical pain, I’m pretty sure those tears were all from being mentally exhausted.  Instead of analyzing it, I just let myself have a good little cry and get those emotions out.  [On a side note, I don’t know for sure but that time of the month may have been a factor in my fatigue and emotional status… anyone concur?]

After my emotions were more stable, I went onto the next mental battle- convincing myself that lowering my body into a tub of ice was a great idea.  The first two minutes consisted of me yelling and swearing and hyperventilating but then the numbness kicked in and it was glorious.   After 15 minutes, John helped me out on my wobbly, numb legs and I waited about 45 minutes until I showered so that my legs could adjust.  I will absolutely do this again after all long runs.   The only place I was sore? The very middle of my quads.  And guess what? That was the only part of my leg not submerged in the ice water.  The rest of the day was spent napping, eating, and sitting on my butt!

Moral of the story:

  • Find a fuel that doesn’t make me gag and use it way more often
  • Carry water/Gatorade
  • Have motivating tunes
  • Take an ice bath

It takes a completely new level of motivation to get through hours of physical effort, and it’s definitely a new skill for me.  The thoughts I can motivate myself with to get through an hour gym workout or a regular run are totally different and have their time and place.   If you’ve trained for a big endurance event, how do you keep yourself focused and positive?  If you can’t stomach gels and goos and gummies, what do you use??