Jillian Loves

Hello to anyone who still has me on their blog roll 🙂

Back in December 2011, I wrote this post.

It really should have ended there.  It was the right time.  But like many things in my life at that time, I couldn’t let it go.  So I kept trying.  Kept trying to write when I felt like I had nothing to write about, kept trying to make something happen when I knew all along what I really needed was a good long break.  And a fresh start.  So I took time off (real time) from everything.  I stopped doing things that made me sad, dropped the negative people in my life and got my shit together.  It took a while.  A long while.  But I did it.  Finally.

I started really thinking about writing again last year but I still didn’t know how to transition this blog.  I had decided in early 2013 that I wasn’t going to race that year and now I work out just to work out.  This blog is primarily about running, racing, triathlon, training and things that are a part who I was then, but not now.  Finishing is Winning means so much to me.  The people I met and the experiences I wrote about that I get to relive each time I read about them…I love that. I love this blog.  But this blog really does need be left where it belongs.  In the past.  With who I was.  I carry that girl with me, but I am so changed.

But I couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to write again.  I missed writing and blogging so much.  I like the community of bloggers but truthfully, even if not one person read, I would still write. (But i want you to read!) I just love writing and I feel better when I do it.  So I decided I would write like I work out.  I would write when I wanted to write, about whatever I wanted to write about.  My blog does not have to define me and I do not need to be defined by my blog.

The time for a fresh start is now.

That fresh start can be found here…Jillian Loves ❤

Hope to see you there!

Authentic Blogging- Who Do You Blog For?

Before I even begin, the answer to this question is obvious.  I blog for me.  I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t want to do this for myself.  This blog started as a way to journal my experiences as I went from party girl to triathlon girl to runner girl.  If you have been a reader from the start, you know triathlon wasn’t something I intended to do past the first race.  And I certainly never (ever ever ever) thought I would become a runner.  So yes, I blog for myself first.

But I also blog for you.

Who are you?  Well, I know some of you have been here for a very long time.  Some of you, I knew before my blog.  Some I have met through blogging.  I have stayed in some of your homes and I have raced races with a few of you.  Some of you come only when I have a give-a-way (which is almost never) and some of you are brand new.  Some comment once in a while and some on almost every post.  I write for all of you.  For whatever reason you come here- because you relate to me, need swimming advice, think I am funny, because you want to know how my latest race went or because you know me in real life.  I write for all of you.

Being an authentic blogger is tough.  This is one of the issues I have struggled with most in my own writing.  Not that I feel as though I am not authentic, because I truly believe I am very real.  It is more like the struggle to make sure my blogging is personal, relevant and real all at the same time.  I don’t want to blog about the same things all the time or post a list post simply because I am not sure what I have to say on a certain day.  I want every post to really mean something.  There was a time when I did not come first in my blogging and it was obvious.  And I had to stop.  Having been back writing again, I feel really good.  Yet, I still have days where I struggle with “where do I want to go with this post” or “has this been done too many times already” or “will this matter when I look back on it” when I am thinking about my topics.

When I first started blogging, I had been reading Healthy Living blogs for about a year.  They weren’t nearly all the rage they are these days, but then again, neither were running blogs.  In fact, it was hard to find a good running blog.  The ones I was finding were written by people who were “real” runners and I was just trying not to fall off the treadmill for a mile straight.  One of the main reasons I started a blog was because I wanted to find other people like me.  I have always been a writer but I was so new to triathlon and running.  I figured I would keep a blog as a journal and if I were lucky, I would find other people doing the same thing.  Little by little people did start reading…caring…asking…about me.  It was surreal.  And I loved it.

Gradually, I formed friendships, participated in blog meet-ups and even ran this race with one of the very first people I ever communicated with through blogging.  I really loved blogging.  Then something changed.  With the blog world, with me…in general, I guess.  Running blogs got really big.  Healthy Living blogs had already blown up and now running blogs were too.  Suddenly, some of the blogs I had been reading for years became immersed in ads, give-a-ways and shilling products.  I felt left out and so for a while, I tried harder.  Even though some of the posts that were written during that time are some of my favorites, I am not proud of myself for trying to be someone I am not.  Often I was posting because I felt like I had to, not because I wanted to.  I was not always authentically blogging.

When I stopped blogging (I truly believed I would never blog again) it was because I needed to remove myself from feeling like I couldn’t keep up.  With how much I had going on in my life at that time, I just needed to back away.  When I decided to come back to blogging, I knew I would do it only if I could go back to how it was in the beginning.  Blogging for me first, then for my audience.  These days, most of my old readers don’t follow me.  That’s ok.  I know the ones that do and have been with me for so long are my friends and I am welcoming new readers every day.  I would rather have 10 solid readers who respect what my blog and come here for the right reasons than have to keep up with trends to keep hundreds of readers.

Here is what you will always get on my blog: Real Jillian.  A middle of the pack runner that knows her place in the world.  A regular girl who lives a pretty regular life and likes to document it in this blog.  Reviews only when it is a product I use, like and believe in and a possible give-a-way now and then.

Here is what you will never get on my blog:  product shilling, a boatload of ads, 35 rules to enter a give-a-way or in your face requests to follow me, re-tweet my posts or subscribe to my blog.

You come here for a reason.  If you didn’t like what you read, you wouldn’t.  I know from my stats that this blog gets quite a bit of traffic and people are reading.  I would rather have 5 genuine comments than 200 insincere ones.  I feel like if my blog was full of ads paying me to blog, my posts would become less authentic.  I would be blogging for traffic and not for me.  I would be forced to recommend, through ads and posts, products I don’t use or like.  I like my free not-so-big blog and I love the places blogging has taken me and the people I have met.   The blog is evolving but I am going to remain true to who I am.  Always.  That is my promise to myself and my readers.  The blog isn’t perfect, but it is mine.

What does authentic blogging mean to you?  Who do you blog for?

Learning To Stop Apologizing

I have a habit of apologizing.  I apologize a lot.  About everything.  Well, not so much anymore, but its been a long road of learning.

My propensity to apologize over everything was pointed out to me by a friend a little over a year and a half ago.  “You start a lot of sentences with ‘I’m sorry’ and often apologize for things that don’t necessarily require an apology.”   Truth.

I am an insanely honest person.  I have no trouble telling it like it is or giving my opinion when asked.  I hardly ever start a sentence with “I’m sorry but…” because A- “but” negates the “I’m sorry” and B- I am usually not sorry for my opinion.  I do however seem to be sorry for everything I personally feel that has to do with myself, personally.  For example, I say “I’m sorry” instead of “excuse me” all the time.  If I am coming out of a door while someone is trying to get in, I’ll say “Oh, I’m sorry” even though I have nothing to be sorry about and really I just needed to say excuse me.  Apologizing when I should be saying excuse me is like apologizing for being in a certain space.  What?  Exactly.  And it’s a funny thing; if someone doesn’t like my opinion, especially if they asked me specifically for this opinion, I don’t care.  But if I think a complete stranger hates me because we both want to use the door at the same time, I get all concerned.   I know the latter situation says more about them than it does me and that is exactly why I am working on these issues.    Sometimes, I have actually found myself apologizing for apologizing.

Thank God for therapy!

I had long forgotten that conversation with my friend until a conversation I was having with my therapist about positive changes I have recently made.  She noted that I have mostly stopped apologizing for every feeling I have and for every situation I am in.  She said that when I first started seeing her I would begin most sentences with “I’m sorry that…” and it almost always had to do with how I felt about a particular situation. (Note: particular situation=R2 for about six months!)  This happened all the time during my marathon training.  I was always apologizing to R2 because I didn’t order a drink or have dessert or stay up late.   By by making time for my training and specifically my long runs, I felt like I was letting him down.  It was in the weeks leading up to my race that my friend made her comment about my constant apologizing.  I wasn’t drinking leading up to the race and we were out to dinner.  I apologized to her for not ordering a drink.  She asked why I was sorry and I didn’t have an answer.  I was just so accustomed to apologizing for everything that I was at the point of apologizing out of habit.  I did not need to apologize because I didn’t want dessert.  Or because I couldn’t stay out late due to an early morning run.

Unfortunately, unlearning something is much easier than learning.  Apologizing became a habit; I was already an over-apologizer and my relationship with R2 just exacerbated it.  I have learned through talking it out that often my apologizing is a way of looking for validation.  For someone to say “it’s okay.”  I know now, I really wanted (read:needed) to hear “its okay” and sometimes the only way I got that was to apologize.  I know now, I do not need to be validated.  At least not in that way.

Apologies are now saved for times when I have to act with class and maturity and truly express regret.   If I come out of the door the same time someone is going in…well, that is just happenstance.  Definitely not something I regret or have to feel sorry about.  And when I WANTED to go to bed early, get up early or skip dessert even though R2 didn’t like it, I shouldn’t have been made to feel bad about it.  Yet, I apologized because R2 made me feel selfish for making these decisions.   I know there is a big difference between being selfish and just making different choices.

I am happy to say that I am not apologizing for nothing as much these days.  Probably because I don’t hang out with or date people that make me feel bad for living and not having to apologize for my choices has translated into not having to apologize for everything I do.  To see if my therapist and I were right, I asked my friend what she thought about my change.  We had dinner last night and I straight up asked her if she noticed a difference.  Her response:  “Definitely!”  She even noted when we headed to the bar and myself and another person were headed for the same seat…aha!…we bumped accidentally and I said, “excuse me” instead of “I’m sorry.”

Like everything else, it is a work in progress…but it is still progress!

I worked for a long time on this post and it still seems scattered to me.  Sometimes I have so much to say about something that I end up all over the place with it.  I would apologize for that, but then I would just be defeating the whole purpose of the post.  Instead, I’ll just post it and let it be 🙂

March Is Over! And Mexico!

I feel like I say this every month, but I CANNOT BELIEVE MARCH IS OVER!

March was actually a really fun month.  I had a TWO WEEK spring break, went to Mexico and had a four day weekend over Easter.  Working in a private school has definite perks!  In addition to all that fun, I had a few really good long runs that are preparing me well for my half-marathon coming up in April.  Oh, and the weather is soon going to be in the 70’s and really…how can you not love that?!?!?!

Running- Longs runs are good.  One more this weekend and then race time in two weeks.  I am really excited for this race.  My initial plan was to definitely go for a PR but I don’t know if I am ready.  Based on Sunday’s long run, I could come close.  It will really depend on those last few miles.  After Philly, when I was on target to crush my PR only to be bogged down by GI issues, I don’t want to get my hopes up for anything.  The extended weather report says 72, I have a cute outfit, it’s at the University I went to and loads of my friends will also be racing.  Those are all reasons to be excited that have nothing to do with time.  We shall see what happens when I cross the line!

Ballet/Barre-  This is still my favorite workout but I am definitely doing a lot more barre than I am ballet.  For one, it just fits in my schedule better but I also like the combination of ballet work with cardio and other strength moves.  It is the best workout I get for sure!  However, until the half is over, I am taking a break with this because it is really stressful on the legs and I do not want to over-do it.  Once the race is over, I’ll be picking this up much more…especially once school is out and I can go in the mornings.  I cannot wait for that!

Nutrition- I did so well up until Mexico.  Then it was a lot of alcohol and ridiculous amounts of food!  I look so bloated in the photos from the drinking, but seriously…worth it.  Once I got home, I got right back on track.  I feel pretty good although the real test will be race day.  I have been once again consistently training with GU so I hope that helps.  I really think that was the problem in Philly.  My training sucked and I didn’t rely on one product for nutrition.  On race day my body rejected it completely.  Now, I am back to training with GU and hoping it makes the difference.

Sleep- I am happy to report that while I was super busy over break, I did take lots of naps!  This past weekend I made zero plans on Saturday and pretty much slept all day.  I know I will never catch up, but sometimes a true lazy-do-nothing-day is exactly what I need!

Other Life Events-

Mexico was AMAZING!  The resort was just so-so but being there with so many of my friends and such a group of awesome people made for a fantastic trip.  We flew out super early and we were there and on the beach by 10am.  Of course the drinks started flowing right away and the sun was out in full effect!  It was perfection!  I spent all day Thursday and Friday, switching from the beach to the pool, hanging out in the sun and enjoying adult beverages with some of my favorite people.  Saturday was the wedding and we had perfect weather.  There was a ridiculous amount of dancing which I loved and I was so sad when the night ended.  My flight out Sunday was a little later so I got in a few hours of sun before I had to say good-bye.  Before I knew it, the trip was over.  It was definitely a great time even if it was really short!

How about some photos?

Mexico 018 Mexico 028 Mexico 033 Mexico 038

1 2 3 Mexico 061

And I’ll leave you with this gem…my best white girl dance moves in action!

4

What was the best thing that happened to you in March?

13 Life Lessons I Have Learned

(Back from Mexico- it was AMAZING!  I’ll be posting photos later this week.)

I write a lot of these posts.  Not sure if they belong on a fitness/health/running blog but this year I decided this is also a life blog.  And on my life blog, the lessons belong!   The first lesson on this list is a lesson I only learned this year, unfortunately.  Had I learned it earlier I may have saved myself a lot of grief.   Anyway, on the plane ride home I started thinking about this very notion and it got me thinking about how many lessons we learn, or re-learn, every day.  For example, I had to learn number three way too early in life and have been reminded far too many times.  I am still working on number six and I often have to remind myself of nine and eleven.  When I was in my teen’s, I thought I would have it all figured out in my 20’s; in my 20’s, I thought I would have it all figured out in my 30’s.  I am so not naive enough to think now that I’ll have it all figured out in my 40’s or 50’s…or ever.  Why?  Well, see number thirteen!

1. No reason to stay is a good reason to go.

2. If you really want something, you’ll make time for it.

3. Life can be taken in a matter of moments.

4. Reading is fundamental. 

5. Invest in your health.

6. You are allowed to say no.  You can also change your mind.

7. A gut feeling is not just a euphemism.

8. There is something really special about a handwritten note.

9. Sometimes, not getting what you want can be a blessing.

10. Rest days are important.

11. You cannot avoid tough decisions.

12. Money is better spent on experiences rather than possessions.

13. No one has it all figured out.  No one.

I would love to hear some of your life lessons!

The Number Means Nothing

scale

During stressful times, like a break-up, some people lose weight.  Not me.  I gain.

In 2007 after my ex-douchebag-boyfriend got another girl pregnant behind my back, I fell into a spiral of drinking way too much, smoking way too much and working out not at all.  Ultimately, it was this break-up that was the catalyst for getting into running and triathlon.  It had been a few years since I had been to the gym; my work-outs consisted mostly of out-drinking my friends and eating as much as I wanted.  I was always athletic and had a high metabolism so even though I ate, drank and didn’t work out, I also rarely gained weight.  Until this time.  During the course of my unhealthy relationship and the subsequent break-up, I had put on quite a few pounds.

Fast forward to last year.

I once again put on weight during the over-the-top-drawn-out-for-too-long-dramatic breakup with R2.  The difference between 2007 and 2012 is that although I had let myself go between the broken foot and broken heart, was that I luckily had not lost all my fitness.  Oddly enough, when I decided to get my butt back in gear this past December, I weighed the same amount as I did when I started my journey in 2007.   The same exact weight.

compare

                                                                                           2007                                                                      2012

Although I hate both of these photos, I posted so you can see how in both of these photos that I am heavier, but it is also noticeable that even just looking at my face, that I look fitter in 2012.  The scale read the same number but you can easily see how different I looked.  And that is just judging on my face.  (Trust me, it was hard enough to post these photos…no full body shots!)

Now, I am going to post a photo of me currently.  I have been working my tail off since December to get back in shape.  I have been on a nutrition plan and in addition to running and swimming, I have been taking barre and ballet classes.  I knew that I wanted to lose weight and get fit before Mexico, so I really buckled down.

thin

In this photo, taken only a few weeks ago, I am only six pounds less than in both of those photos above.

All my hard work and I have lost only six pounds.  But look at the difference in my face. (I really tried to pick three photos with the same head tilt.)  I am clearly more fit in this current photo.  And that is great, but the biggest difference of all?  In the two photos above,  I was not happy.  In the recent photo, I am.   That is a happy girl.  I am two sizes smaller than 2007 and a size smaller than just 3 months ago.  So while the number on the scale doesn’t reflect necessarily where I want to be weight wise, I know the number doesn’t matter.  When I look in the mirror, I see muscle.  I see toned abs.  I see a body that is being worked hard for.  I see confidence.  I see all the things a scale cannot show me.

scale

More important than all the superficial aspects, is that the scale does not measure my health.  The number tells me little to nothing about what is going on with my relationship with food or my digestive health.  The scale is also no indication of my recovery from activity, my stress level or my sleeping patterns.  If I don’t get enough sleep, it is not reflected on the scale but rather, I know by the way I feel.  These are the factors that impact my health far more directly than my body weight.   Individual weight is personalized and unique.  There is not a one sized fits all number that people should weigh.

With all that said, I will admit, I still weigh myself.  Currently, once a week and only on my own scale.  I do not weigh myself on any other scale, ever.  At the doctor, I get weighed backward.  By weighing only on my own scale, I do not have to question or obsess.  My scale is consistent to what I know my weight to be.  And sometimes, the number does frustrate me.  I am still a work in progress.  There will be confident days and not confident days.  Of course, there will be days I look at myself and say “you go girl!” and days where I think “what am I doing wrong?” but it will be based on how I feel when I look in the mirror, not based on how I feel when I step on the scale.  I will not let the number on the scale determine whether I have a good day or  bad day.  I will continue to weigh myself as a way to monitor my weight in general.  Not as a way to determine my worth.

Do you weigh yourself? 

Do you hyper-focus on the number or are you able to see past it?

Checking In- It’s Almost Spring!

I know February is the shortest month, but to me, it always feels so long!  Sometimes I think I suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  By the end of February, I am just at my wits end with the cold and the dark.  I need more sun!  I did just notice this week that is has been light out by the time I get to work (6am) and it is still light out when I get home (4pm) which has been a huge boost.  Even the smallest amount of natural Vitamin D makes me happy!

Running- I finally ran outside this past weekend 🙂  It was amazing.  Even if it was cold and windy, it was still awesome.  I am so tired of the dreadmill!  I plan to run outside this weekend as well, although the weather is going to be a bit colder.  I am pretty excited that I have less than two months until my first half of the year.  More excited that I am going to be super prepared for running than I was this past November!

Ballet/Barre– Last night was the first class I missed since starting.  My legs were a little sore from my Sunday run, mostly from the terrain change I think, and I just didn’t want to push it.  Barre class continues to kick my ass in the best possible way.  I really think this is my favorite work out.  I am so excited to be able to go extra over spring break!

Nutrition- I have done really well.  I am very happy with how my nutrition is going.  The pounds aren’t dropping but the inches are and best of all, I feel better!

Sleep- My goal over spring break is to get 8-9 hours of sleep each night.

 

Other life events-

-I am on Spring Break from March 2-17.  Wooohooo!  I swear Spring Break is for adults.  It is so needed.  Ours is quite long because we have international students.  They travel home to 17 different countries and 6 different continents!  Having a full two weeks gives them real quality time to visit with their families.  Even though I will waitress during this time, and pick up extra shifts, it is still a chance to sleep in.  And for that, I am so grateful!

-In three week, at this very time, I will be landing in Mexico 🙂  One of my very best friends is getting married and having a simple ceremony on the beaches of the Riviera Maya!  Of course, this comes on the heels of my Spring Break, so I wasn’t able to take the full five nights.  This will be a whirlwind trip of only three nights. Nonetheless,  I am excited for the tropical weather and time with some of my good friends!

I’ll end with this, which I just absolutely loved:

beautifulrunner