Jillian Loves

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

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 ūüôā

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?

Life Is Hard- My Most Honest Post Ever

I always pride myself on having an honest blog.¬† I am who I am and try not to waver from that on this blog.¬† That is why, when things really just got too hard, I stopped blogging.¬† I couldn’t be honest, at least not completely.¬† Oh, and I was broken.¬† Literally, physically, emotionally and mentally.

So, if you are still here…if you are still reading…park it, because this is going to be a long post.¬† But when it is all over, I know I will feel better and I know I’ll be ready to blog again.¬† It has taken¬†over a¬†full year, but I am finally finding my way back to me.¬† A better me.¬† Which makes everything I went through, worth it.¬† I wouldn’t want to go through it again, ever, but I can at least take comfort in knowing I have come out on the other side and I am okay.¬† Better than okay.

So you know the basics if you were a reader in the past…broken foot, broken heart, crazy roommate, etc…etc…ETC!

But what you may not know is this…I was jealous.¬† And generally speaking, I am not a jealous person.¬† But I was raging with jealousy. ¬†That is the dead ugly truth.¬† Every blog post I read was about someone running, getting engaged or married, having a baby, losing weight,¬†finishing a race and generally loving life.¬† Every damn post was so damn happy.¬† And I was so damn sad.¬† Angry, sad and seriously jealous.¬† I wanted to be running, getting engaged, losing weight and loving life.¬† (Notice, I did not say I wanted a baby!!!)¬† I couldn’t do it anymore.¬† I couldn’t open my reader to all the happiness.¬† In some odd way, it only made me more sad and more angry.¬† Like everyone in the world was happy except for me.

Here was problem #1…I didn’t even know who “me” was anymore.¬† I was 30 years old and a lost little girl.¬† I had to give up a life I planned and find myself again.¬† I had to admit that I was the only one in¬†a relationship working on said relationship.¬† I had to swallow the most bitter pill of all:¬† I loved someone who¬†didn’t love me.¬† It is so easy when you are in a relationship to only see what you want to see.¬† To pretend the bad things aren’t there or that it will get better.¬† And damn, let me tell you…when it came to R2, I was wearing the rosiest of rose-colored¬†glasses ever.¬† And I wish I could say that it all became clear to me after we broke up…but it didn’t.¬† And because of that, I spend the next 5 months or so holding onto something that wasn’t there.¬† Something that was never there.¬† The break-up, the break, the separation…everything was dramatic, difficult and painful.¬† And look, this is a not a public forum for me to bash him and I won’t do that.¬† But I will say this…it was not all sunshine and flowers and the damage my relationship with him did to me is going to take years to overcome.¬† I have been in therapy for months.¬† There was a time when I never would have admitted that publicly.¬† I didn’t think I¬†“needed” help.¬† Well, turns out, this help was the best gift I could have given myself.¬† I have learned so much.¬† Of course these are lessons I wish I had learned before going through so much pain, but at least I have these lessons in my pocket now.¬† I’ll never be as blind as I once was.¬† With that said…as much as I blame him…I also blame myself.¬† No one forced me to put¬†with it all.¬† No one forced me to keep going back when I knew I would only get hurt.¬† And trust me, forgiving him was much easier than forgiving myself.¬† Much.

Problem #2 was that my release for stress is to work out.¬† Broken foot=no working out.¬† I was stuck with my pain and had no way to deal with it.¬† And then, when I could run again, I just didn’t want to do it.¬† I was too far gone.¬† The hole¬†was dug too deep.¬† And in the midst of all of this, I was moving out of my condo with my psycho roommate and looking for a place to live.¬† Thankfully, I was able to stay with my aunt until I found a house.¬† But I had to find a house.¬† It was all I could do to get out of bed.¬† I struggled to get through each day; work was actually comforting because at least I knew my mind would be busy.

Problem #3 was that even when good things happened, I couldn’t actually be happy.¬† I mean, I was happy, but I couldn’t celebrate it because everything was so overwhelmed by my feelings of loneliness and sadness.¬† Everything was a reminder that I was alone.¬†It took everything I had in me to get ready for a night out.¬† I would be exhausted before I even arrived. ¬†Even the biggest and best thing to happen to me, buying a house, served as a reminder that I was doing it alone.¬† I just couldn’t get out of the damn black hole.

Then something happened.

I started solving my problems.

I started letting go of the shit that made me sad, so that I could be happy.

First up, R2.¬† He had to go.¬† He was inhibiting my ability to be happy and I was letting him.¬† The process of letting go was not easy; even though he didn’t want to be with me, he didn’t let me go easily either.¬† (Let’s hear for making difficult situations more difficult!)¬† From the time I first walked away and tried to cut him off, until we finally stopped communicating on a regular basis was six months.¬† He still wanted to be friends.¬† My argument¬†was that he wasn’t someone I wanted to be friends with or have in my life.¬† But I kept giving him chances to make it up to me, apologize…anything.¬† I wanted the time I had spent with him to be validated.¬† But it was just a sick cycle.¬† I would cut him off, he would fight me on it, we would fight, we would make up, and repeat.¬† And repeat.¬† EXHAUSTING!¬† Oh, and ridiculously unfair.¬† It wasn’t until a few months ago, that we were able to talk openly.¬† He finally apologized (sincerely)¬†and I was able to really let him go.¬† Since then, no communication and none intended in the future either.

It is a funny thing when someone stops taking up so much space in your head.¬† I started having space again for other things.¬† I started remembering how much I loved to swim and run.¬† ¬†I ran the Philly Half-Marathon in November.¬† I barely trained and the race was¬†brutal, but I did it.¬† And¬†at some point, I knew I would run another race.¬† And¬†another.¬†¬†I started remembering how much I really loved¬†be with my friends.¬† Taking road trips.¬† I appreciated my house and saw it from a completely different point of view…I was doing something on my own, that many people couldn’t do with two people.¬† Things in general just because more clean.¬† I am not always happy; this is a major work in progress.¬† Sometimes…ok, quite often, I still feel lonely.¬† But I am no longer feeling alone. And for the first time in a very long time, the good days are outweighing the bad days.

I have a job I love.  I have an amazing family.  My friends are awesome.  I own my own home.  I have four races planned for this year.

I am back.

Updates…

I haven often said I had many reasons for taking a blog break.¬† The truth is, with so much going on, I just couldn’t write.¬† I really didn’t have anything good to talk about and I was feeling so down.¬† It has been a rough couple of months-¬†BUT- I am finally feeling on the upswing and ready to dive back into life!¬† Here are some updates to clue you in and give you an idea of why things were so tough!

Foot- my foot is actually finally (FINALLY!) starting to feel better!¬† This has taken way longer than I would have liked and even though I still don’t think/feel 100%, I am happy to report that it does feel good after a long walk or short run.¬† I have been running with my softball girls and on my own a few miles a week.¬† It’s been hard starting over and I am frustrated much of the time.¬† People told me I would bounce right back and I expected too, but I didn’t.¬† This is honestly like starting over from day one again.¬† I don’t love running right now, but I remember how much better my life was when I did, so I am hoping to get back to that real soon.

Work- my job is still awesome.  It is the one thing I could count on when everything else was falling apart.  It really is hard to be in a bad mood when I work at a place so beautiful.  The job comes with the same stresses as many jobs, but there is also so much good to even some of those stresses out.  Additionally, I have been coaching softball and even though it makes for long days, I absolutely love it.  The girls have come so far since the first practice and we have a 5-2 record so far!  That is really exciting given that I have 5 girls who never played before and because of injuries I only have 11 girls on my team.  They have really stepped up to the plate (no pun intended) and have made me really proud!

Right now, on top of the day to day work and softball, it is insanely busy with end of the year stuff.  But at least my days fly by.  Tonight is the 8th grade dance and in the month of May we also have the overnight 8th grade trip, a field day and a community service day.  We are about 5 weeks from graduation.  I love these kids but I am definitely ready for summer!

House Hunting-¬†I moved.¬† Again.¬† My roommate was CRAZY with a capital C and I couldn’t take it anymore.¬† Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like when people leave their shit in the toilet, leave¬†food stuck on pots/plates in the kitchen sink¬†and don’t take the trash out for 4 weeks.¬† I am also not a fan of her naked boyfriend running around my living room.¬† Gross disrespectful pig.¬† Yes, I just publically blasted her.¬† And I am being nice.

Anyway, I am now house hunting and although the prospect of buying is super scary, this is also a very exciting time.¬† I have been looking for a little over a month.¬† I have found some places I love and some that I don’t so much love, haha, but it really has been fun.¬† My goal is be a homeowner by the fall so fingers crossed!

R2– in the¬†weeks that followed my marathon, as I¬† tried to come to terms with a broken foot, I was hit with a huge blow.¬† R2¬†broke up with me.¬† It was devastating to say the least.¬† And I had no outlet.¬† I felt like my training contributed to some of the problems…but I really had no idea he would just up and call it quits either.¬† Especially since my race was over and life was going to get a lot calmer.¬† R2¬†gave up a lot for my training-¬† my training didn’t affect just me.¬† He gave up late nights, opportunities for group dates and other things as well.¬† He stood by me through all the training…he was with me every step of the way.¬† If you could have seen his face when he saw me during the race.¬† He was so proud.¬† I just couldn’t see how it all could end.¬† Or why.¬† All I wanted to do was disappear from¬†the world- swim some laps, run the roads for miles…and I couldn’t.¬† I had a broken foot and a broken heart.

You may be wondering what happened.¬† I would tell you, but I am still wondering what happened.¬† One of the hardest things about the break-up, was that nothing actually happened.¬† At the end of the day, I can only be the best person I know how to be and if someone doesn’t want to be with me, there is nothing I could/can do about that.¬† Nothing.¬† And despite the fact that we tried to maintain the friendship, I¬†was still finding myself often wondering what happened and looking for closure.¬† I came to realize¬†that it is a closure I will never get.¬† I have to find it myself.¬† And I can’t be friends with him in the process.¬† R2 is a good guy, and you won’t find me trashing him here…but for right now, the best place for him to be is out of my life.

Training- you could hardly call what I am doing training.¬† Seriously. It’s rather pathetic.¬† But, I do have a half marathon in August and since I am basically starting over with my running, it is time to get back on a training plan.¬† What I want most is to get toned again.¬† I really liked the way I looked last year and between my foot, the break-up, the move and other variables, I really just let myself go.¬† It is due time to get back on track with my eating, my training and my life!

Notsomuch Swimming, Biking or Running…

As it turns out, the foot pain I was having during the last miles of the marathon…yeah, I broke my foot!¬†

I had some pain entering around mile 20 but just kept pushing it down and considered it mental.¬† My foot was a little swollen at mile 23, but I put my shoe back on and kept going.¬† Very slow, but moving.¬† And not only did I finish, but I ran the last mile and three quarters.¬† At the time, I really thought it was just sore from running.¬† I had no idea the reality!¬† Turns out, I ran at least 5 miles on a BROKEN FOOT!¬† So it was back in the boot within three days…every day.¬† Every minute (except for showering and sleeping) was spent in the damn boot.¬† I came to HATE the boot.¬† Even after my Christmas party when my friends lovingly, and drunkenly, bedazzled it for me.¬† Still. Hated. Boot.

Bedazzled!¬† And if you are wondering what the heck I am wearing…it was an Ugly Sweater party!

I had plans post-race.¬† And a lot of them.¬† I expected to take two weeks or so off from running, but intended to be fully engaged in other workouts and be racing again by the first of the year.¬† Instead, I had a broken foot.¬† No working out, period!¬† This, coupled with some personal things I went through directly following the race, left me somewhat devastated.¬† I couldn’t work out and I didn’t want to do anything.¬† Or, I should say…I didn’t want to do anything but be angry and throw pity parties for myself.¬† I threw lots of these parties (sometimes, still do) and spent a lot of time thinking about what to do next.¬† It was so hard for me to process that the marathon was over.¬† I was burnt out but at the same time I was craving to be on the road again.¬† And I couldn’t.¬† I really think part of the burnout was going from having such a rigid schedule to having almost no schedule at all.¬† What I had was¬†a friggen broken foot!

I was in the boot until the second week of January.¬† But it wasn’t like I could just up and run again.¬† It was a slow, slow, slow¬†process.¬† It was another three weeks in a brace and only sneakers for weeks after that.¬† The first day I wore regular shoes, I was so excited.¬† My first run was a 1/4 mile.¬† To date, I still haven’t had a run over three miles at one time.¬† Most runs are two miles.¬† I coach softball and run 1/4 mile with my girls every day and once a week we do the mile.¬†

As for other workouts, I lift.  That is about it.  Lifting. 

I haven’t been outside on a bike since the disaster at Belmar.¬† I have swam all of three times this¬†year.¬† Spinning? Nope. Pilates? Nope.

It is April!!!!¬† Time to snap back into the program over here!!!¬† I have a 4-mile race planned for the end of this month, but it is highly unlikely I will go through with it.¬† My main focus is on learning to fit in the workouts that I once so easily made happen.¬† In the last four months, that time has all been filled and now I need to re-focus and re-balance.¬† I am going to continue to take it slow.¬† First re-work pilates into the mix and then swimming.¬† If I don’t get on the bike at all this year, I will be okay with that.¬† Seriously.

I do not have any tri’s planned this year.¬† And I only have two half-marathons planned.¬†¬†¬†I think I’ll probably do a few relay tri’s, as the swimmer, because I really do love swimming.¬† The deal is…I really don’t like biking.¬† Never have.¬† I tried…for years, and I still don’t like it.¬†¬† I really want to stick with running this year.¬† My real focus is on staying healthy (emotionally, mentally and physically) and not getting burnt out.¬† I have spent three seasons in a row battling some type of injury.¬† I think that is another reason why breaking my foot set me back so far.¬† As if the burnout from the marathon wasn’t enough, I was injured yet again.¬† I feel like I am always in recovery.¬† I am done with that for right now; I need a year of good running health.

So what have I been doing?¬† Well, that is another post for another day…

Marathon Photos- Finally!

Ok first- thank you for the awesome comments, texts and emails.¬† It took a lot of thought coming back…but I am glad I did. Its awesome to see how much support is still out there.¬† So thank you.¬† And welcome new readers ūüôā I am working on quite a few posts that I hope with help me get through some of the stuff I have been going through.¬† Writing is good therapy…has always been my therapy.¬† I let the things that define me slip away for a little while and I am so ready to get them back.¬† One blog post at a time ūüôā

It dawned on me as I looked back, that I never posted any photos from my marathon!¬† It’s kind of funny- when I look at them, I still get the excited feelings I had when I ran the race.¬† Some days, I still cannot believe I ran 26.2 miles.¬† But I did…and here is the proof:

My favorite of them all- coming into the finish!!!¬† (That’s my dad with his hand out!)

Expo!  And it WAS the best time of my life!!

Race morning with all my signs ūüôā

Mile 14- R2 had quite the set up for me to re-fuel

Pure joy with my biggest fan!

My friends Dee and Greg who were with me the last 4 miles!

With my BFF Kate, who also ran the marathon!

Ahhhh…MUCH needed recovery!!!

Every time I think about the race, I smile.¬† It was hard work and took¬† more out of me than I ever could have anticipated, but crossing that finish line is one of the best feelings I ever had.¬† If I had to do it all over again…through the injuries, exhaustion, pain and even the last few months of rough recovery and personal strife…I would do it over and over and over again.¬† And again.¬† With that said, I have no actual plans of ever doing it again!

It’s Been A Good Run (No Pun Intended)

Dear Interwebs,

I wish I could make this short and sweet.¬† I wish I had it in me to just say “it’s been real” but I have always been a woman of many words and this is no exception.

I started this blog in February of 2009 with no real expectations except to journal what would come to be an extraordinary journey.¬† At the time, I was only a few months out of a relationship that left me eating way too much breyers and drinking way too much pinot grigio.¬† I had woken up one day in December with a renewed sense of energy, yet no idea with that to do with said energy.¬† I was always someone who went to the gym- a few days a week to bike, lift or take a class here and there.¬† I was in relatively good shape prior to the break up but within¬†six weeks I went up a solid¬†three sizes.¬† Let me repeat that for you…six weeks,¬†three sizes.¬† Working out was really only keeping me from completely blowing out of control.¬† So it was time for a change.¬†

I decided that morning that I would run a 5k.¬† And by run, I mean jog.¬† And by jog, I mean walk.¬† I started walking on the treadmill four days a week.¬† It never really occured to me to run¬†.¬† But then something weird happened after a week or so…I had the urge to run.¬† Unfortunately, my lungs did not share in the urges.¬† The thing is, I was a smoker.¬† Running and smoking don’t mix.¬† At all.¬† So one had to go.¬† Bye, bye smoking.¬† Hello running ūüôā

Since I was working my way to finishing a 5k, at some point I felt it was necessary to actually find a 5k.¬† I began searching the internet and found triathlon.¬† Hmmm….I thought to myself, “I can do that” and without another thought, I signed up.¬† I actually signed up for my first tri 7 months in advance, having not known how to ride a bike and without being able to run more than 1/4 mile without stopping.¬† It¬†took me 15-17 minutes to finish a mile, I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO RIDE A BIKE and yet…there I was signed up for a triathlon.¬†

I learned how to ride a bike and with a lot of hard work and dedication started running 9-10 minute miles.  I got back into shape and felt amazing.  And I started signing up for races.  I became a runner and a triathlete.

And that my friends is how it all began. 

I have completed:

Ten¬†5k’s

Six¬†8k’s

One 15k

One 7-miler

One 10-miler

Six Half-Marathons

Two Duathlons

Thirteen Triathlons

ONE MARATHON ūüôā

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

And this my friends is how it ends.

Today, it’s almost 4 years exactly since¬†I woke up that morning ready to change my life.¬† Running and triathlon have done exactly that- my life has been forever changed in ways I cannot accurately put into words.¬† And whether you have been reading my blog from the beginning or only recently, you have been able to follow me in this amazing journey.¬† I wrote my high highs and my low lows.¬† I met amazing people.¬† I faced insane challenges.¬† I fell and rose above.¬† I never faltered on my one mantra: Finishing is Winning.¬†

And I am not done yet- this journey continues.¬† I have at least one ten-miler and¬†three half-marathons planned and I am looking to do the Tough Mudder all in 2012.¬† There may be a few more tri’s left¬†in me- relays for sure- but I don’t know.¬† I do know I will never stop running.¬†

But, it is time to stop blogging.

This blog has taken me so many places (the best of which were Florida and Boston) and through here I have “met” and met so many, amazing and ¬†wonderful people.¬† There were times when this blog is what kept me going- your comments are what kept me honest about who I was and what I was doing.¬† Your support was always with me–¬†during training¬†and in every race.¬† You were all there.

But this blog has run its course.  (Again, no put intended)

The dead truth is this- I have decided to take back my personal life.¬† Throughout my marathon training I was facing some tough stuff.¬† Things have gotten a lot tougher in the weeks following the race.¬† And I am at a place in my life where I cannot keep this blog and NOT talk about my personal life…and I just can’t be THAT open right now.¬† Or maybe ever again.

For every post you ever read.  For every comment you ever left.  For the awards.  For the encouragement.  For the friendship.  For being a part of what made me feel human again.  For everything.  Thank you.

With love,

Onelittletrigirl ‚ô•

(I have email and facebook! Please keep in touch ūüôā )

Thoughts On The Marathon- One Week Till Go Time

Here I am, one week away from marathon day.¬† This time next week, I will be recovering with the biggest margarita ever and a lot of ice cream! Maybe at the same time, who knows ūüôā

And now for my favorite kind of post- list post!  Here are some of my thoughts with one week to go:

  • Taper sucks! I never felt this way with half-marathon or triathlon training, but I feel it now.¬† I am going out of my mind!¬† For one, everything hurts.¬† Bones and muscles I didnt even know I had are hurting.¬† I am having nightmares of the most ridiculous nature; showing up naked being the most popular, I constantly think I am sick if I so much as sneeze and all I want to do is eat and sleep!!!¬† I am totally over taper!
  • My 20 mile run was easier than my last long run yesterday.¬† I was completely beat before I even started the run and I struggled through the whole thing.¬† I was downright exhilarated when the run was over!
  • I am so excited for this week- I know it is going to crawl by but I don’t even care.¬† I am just happy to only be working two nights.¬† I have plenty of time to rest, elevate my legs and sleep, sleep and sleep!
  • I have officially become obsessed with the weather.¬† I check it one or two or ten times a day.¬† Yesterday it said 57 and raining and I was angry.¬† Today, it says cloudy and 54 and I am all about it.¬† I know God is busy with things like the Superbowl, NBA lockout and the Oscars, but if he is listening, I would like it to be in the low 40’s at the start with it getting no higher than mid-50’s by the finish.¬† And if I can be really picky, partly sunny.¬† Whatever the weather, please please please NO RAIN, please!
  • I have three outfits picked out.¬† I will probably pack a weeks worth of stuff for one night.¬† Possibly more.¬† And I bet you, I will still forget something.
  • I am staying overnight in a hotel.¬† I live less than 20 minutes from the start line. I don’t care.¬† I know I will feel so much better if I am there when I wake up.¬† Not only will I not have to leave until 15 minutes before the start but I will have my own toilet to poop in; there really is no better reason!
  • I am starting to get very emotional when I think about the race.¬† Anxious, nervous and emotional. I’ll probably cry like a baby when I cross that line.
  • When I start to feel worried about race day, I go back and read past race reports.¬† Especially, Philly half from last year.¬† It helps immensely.
  • I am looking insanely forward to my massage this week. Ridiculously. Like, I cannot describe.¬† I am looking even more forward to my post marathon massage.
  • I have worn Brooks Adrenalines since 2007.¬† I hated the new ones that came out and needed new shoes.¬† I have officially been running in Saucony’s for the last 5 weeks.¬† Still, there is a part of me that wants to run in my Brooks on race day.¬† I am sure they have 26.2 miles left in them ūüôā ¬† Let’s face it, I’ll probably pack both!
  • So many people are so excited for me, that I am getting so excited.¬† I know that no matter when I cross that line, my family and friends will make me feel like a winner.¬† And I am, because I have them in my life.
  • I have taken more Airborne and more vitamins in the last 8 weeks than ever before.¬† Next to getting injured, getting sick has been fear #2…I have 6 days to go, so lets hope my body stays with me on this one!!!
  • I have gained weight and quite a bit of it.¬† Gaining weight while marathon training…of could I would!¬†
  • This is hands down the hardest thing I have ever done.¬† I can honestly say, without a doubt, this has never been fun.¬† I have been thrown so many curve balls- having first planned for run a marathon two years ago.¬† When I am training for half-marathons and tris, I actually have fun.¬† But these last 15 weeks have tested in me in many ways.¬† I have sacrificed a lot to get here- and I have worked so hard.¬† I didn’t always get my work outs in, and I went three weeks in a boot hardly working out at all…a lot of people told me I should bag the race…but I kept at it.¬† I decided as long as I had my doctors blessing, I was only going to listen to myself.¬† I worked hard to get healed and picked back up my training.¬† I trained in rain, I trained on boring courses without music, I did long runs on the treadmill (seriously, there is nothing fun about 16 miles on a treadmill!!!) and I trained alone most of the time.¬† I did all of this while working a full time job and a part time job.¬† I did this while changing full time jobs.¬† I did this with some personal stuff happening.¬† I did this with still maintaining a social life as much as possible.¬† But it should be noted, I could not have done this without the unending support I have received from my parents, R2, my friends and my amazing support group here.¬† My parents and R2 have definitely felt the hit of my training personally- my time with them is much more limited, they deal with my nerves, self-doubt and anxiety and they have changed their schedules to work around my long runs when needed.¬† No, marathon training has not been fun for me…but it has taught me so much and I know that all the hard work will pay off when I cross that finish line.¬† And I cannot wait!!!
  • And last but not least…the most important thing I must always remember…my mantra for race day…

What has been your greatest lesson while training for an important event?  What is your favorite mantra during tough parts of the race?