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!

It’s Official, My Legs Hate Me

Sometimes, as much as the outcome sucks, it is good to know a decision was made based on correct intuition.¬† When I pulled out of Rutgers, it was not a difficult decision.¬† I just knew something wasn’t right.¬† Remember when I said a gut feeling is not just a euphemism?¬† This is a perfect example.¬† I knew what I was feeling wasn’t in my head.¬† Although, I wish it had been.

Turns out, what I was feeling at Rutgers, was not in my head.  I saw the doctor on Thursday when the pain was only getting worse in my foot/ankle.  I was terrified of a stress fracture. 

The goods news is, nothing is broken in my foot!  And seriously, that is some great news!

The bad news is I have a pretty significant case of Peroneal Tendonitis. 

Peroneal Tendonitis refers to painful inflammation of the peroneal tendons located on the outer side of the foot, a little behind the ankle bump. 

There are two peroneal muscles on the outer side of the lower leg. One long one, called the peroneal longus runs from the knee to the ankle, and one short one, called the peroneal brevis muscle runs from below the knee to the ankle. Both these muscles when they approach the ankle, convert into tendons, which are thick bands of fibers that connect muscle to bone. Both these tendons run side-by-side and curve behind the outer bump of the ankle, then run below the foot where they insert into the bones of the foot.

As the muscle contracts, these tendons pull the lower surfaces of these bones, pulling/bending the foot downward (plantarflexion) and outward (eversion).

Once we had a diagnosis, it was time to treat.¬† Out of waitressing for 10 days and lots of RICE method.¬† Additionally in an effort to keep my leg stabilized and because “I can’t be trusted to stay off my feet,” I was also put in the CAM walker for the weekend.¬† Thank God that was only for a few days.¬† If I never have to see that boot again, it will be too soon.

And I’ll be rocking this again for a weeks to keep my ankle stable:

2013-04-29_08-34-02_385I know, I know…desperate for a pedicure!

I was also supposed to do this weird thing…I think normal people call it relaxing?¬† Yeah, I am not so good at that but didn’t have a choice.¬† I spent Thursday night, Friday night and all day Saturday on my couch with my foot up and ice on and off.¬† Sunday, I mowed the lawn in my boot- that was a new experience…!¬†¬† Other than a few errands, my friends housewarming Saturday night and mowing the lawn Sunday, my weekend mostly looked like this:

 wine2Relaxing is better with wine.

As much as relaxing isn’t my thing, I’ll admit it was a nice break.¬† I run on empty most of the time, so to be able to have a reason to do nothing was a good and much needed chance of pace.¬† It is hard to stay off my feet at my day job as well but I am trying.¬† And since I am not working¬† nights this week, and I cannot afford to do anything because I am not working night this week, the above is pretty much my game plan for the rest of the week.¬† For now, running is completely out of the question and I have to wait until I am pain free to get back to ballet/barre but I am hoping next weekend to get a work out in, even if it is just slow on the elliptical and some lifting.¬† I’ll take anything!

It may seem as though my spirits are up; that is mostly due to the fact that I am so happy I don’t have a fracture.¬† But the truth is, I am really bummed out.¬† I did everything right training for Rutgers.¬† I felt so ready.¬† And for things to just fall apart and me to be back off running is a huge blow.¬† I am frustrated.¬† Actually, I am beyond frustrated.¬† I feel like I am always injured.¬† While it seems everyone I know is getting better and faster, I am regressing.¬† My running has never been the same since I broke my foot and I am worried that it never will be.¬† The other day a friend of mine said she really felt like a runner now that she was fast.¬† I said she was always a runner because if you run you are a runner.¬† She replied that before she felt like an imposter.¬† I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.¬† Is she saying that slow runners are imposters?¬† Am I one?¬† I mean, I don’t think so…but when I am struggling, this is the exact thing that gets in my head.¬† The exact thing that makes me just want to throw in the towel.¬† I don’t even know if that is what she meant or if I am just hyper sensitive because I am feeling so low.¬† I have been fighting injuries for so long…I am not getting any better.¬† How long do I keep doing this to myself?¬† I don’t know.¬† I have to see how this PT goes and in the meantime, I’ll be sticking with barre and ballet and lifting and trying to get strong.¬†¬† Both physically and mentally.

In other news, to end on a good note…this came in the mail over the weekend:

bosontshirtBest mail I have gotten in a while!

Rutgers 7.8 Race Report

7.8 what huh?  I thought it was a 13.1?

Yeah…so about that…

My training leading up to the race went pretty well.¬† My 10 miler was a beast but I chalked it up to a bad day.¬† My taper runs went off without a hitch and I saw my sports PT three days before the race and everything checked out.¬† Then, Friday after work my ankle and shin were bothering me.¬† It was a long shift so I just iced and stayed off it most of Saturday.¬† Sunday, I could feel it but wasn’t too concerned.¬† My friend Lisa and I drove up to the race together and while I debated dropping to the 8K, I thought it was all in my head so I headed to the half-marathon start line.

Miles 1-4 were okay.¬† I really did not expect the hills.¬† The race is described as flat but it was entirely full of rolling hills.¬† My calf muscles weren’t happy- I mean, I train in SOUTH JERSEY!- but I was getting by.¬† It was at about mile 5 that my race started going downhill.¬† My pace was still fine but my calves were cramping and my shins were on fire.¬† There was a certain level of “push through it” and a certain level of “don’t hurt yourself” going through my head at the same time.¬† I was walking a whole lot more than I like and no amount of stretching was helping.¬† The last thing I wanted to do was give up but I was getting increasingly frustrated.¬† I would stop, stretch and then less than a quarter mile I would have to stop again.¬† By mile 7, I had pretty much had it with the race.¬† The cramps in my calves were getting worse and every time I saw a hill, I wanted to cry.¬† At this point, I wasn’t running at all and still had over six miles to go.¬† I really did not think it was wise for me, mentally or physically, to keep going.¬†¬† So for the first time ever in a road race, I stopped.¬† At mile 7.8, I pulled myself from the race, walked over to an aid station and had them radio me a ride to the start where I was able to catch a shuttle to the finish line.

I kept waiting for the tears.¬† To feel the failure in the pit of my stomach.¬† It never came.¬† Because I didn’t fail.¬† I made a decision.¬† And truthfully, it wasn’t even a difficult one.¬† I have spent much of the last 3 years injured.¬† It isn’t worth it.¬† I have no idea why my legs failed me- obviously, I need more hill work, but it has to be more than that.¬† Today, I will meet with my sports chiropractor and see what he thinks.¬† We have already talked about the next marathon (another post for another time) and today we will talk about the path for this year.¬† I don’t have any more races planned until July, so for now, I am just going to work on getting these legs back in working order.

After the race, I met up with my friends and we had lunch at a local brewery.  The day went on as normal.

Here is a photo from the day-

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

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?