Friday, November 30, 2012

Gifts For Runners (aka My Christmas Wish List)

Check out my 2013 Runner's Holiday Gift Guide and mega giveaway here.


Let's skip the Charades.  Instead of pretending that this is a blog post about gift ideas for runners, let's just call it what it is; my personal Christmas wish list.  So if you were wondering what to buy me for Christmas this year, look no further.  If you happen to love a runner (besides me) and wondering what the heck they might want this holiday season, this is a good place to start.


1. Compression Sleeves/Socks. ($25-$60)
For me, the brighter and bolder the color the better! Compression socks increase the circulation in your legs and assist in recovery, plus they look cute at races with running shorts.



2. Arm Warmers ($20-$35)
I have this strange aversion to running with sleeves.  It always feels so restricting to me.  I love a good tank top, but with the approach of the winter months, it's getting cold out there!  Arm warmers are the perfect solution, warm your arms without restricting your arm pits. If your runner gets too warm, they can slip them off and never have to make the rookie mistake of tying a jacket around their waist again! 


 
3. Finishers Medal / Race Bib Display Rack ($30 and up or crafty)
You know the real reason us runners run those races, right? It is the finishers medals!  Instead of tucking them away in the junk drawer, how about a display rack to brag about display their running accomplishments? If you are super crafty, you could make a personalized one.  I spell my name L-E-A.

Source: etsy.com via Lisa on Pinterest


4. iTunes or Amazon MP3 Gift Card ($10 and up)
Every runner wants to amp up their running playlist. period.
Source: walmart.com via Melody on Pinterest


5. 13.1 ornament.  ($10-$15 or crafty)
Simple, inexpensive, and probably available at your local running store.  If you are crafty, you could make one.  I'm not crafty at all, I just pressed some scrap booking numbers on an ornament.  You can do much better than me.
don't give this to anyone.

6. Rundies ($65)
Funny underwear for runners.  Seriously, I want these.  Could they be any cuter?
Source: oiselle.com via Marleni on Pinterest


7. Yurbuds ($35-$50)
The ear buds that stay in your ears (even when running).  I haven't tried these myself, (duh, that is why they are on my wish list), but I've read many fitness bloggers rave that they do actually stay in your ears.  What runner doesn't want that? 



8. Tech workout gear ($varies)
Runners always need more running clothes.  Need.  Anything goes; trendy, basic or outrageous, depending on your runners personality.  Just stay away from cotton fabrics.  I'm a fan of black and white, in case you were wondering.
I love these outfits from Palm Beach Athletic Wear
 

9. Brooks Vapor Dry 2 Glove ($30)
Have you ever tried to operate your touch screen iPod/MP3 player wearing gloves? Yeah, it doesn't work.  Every Runner needs these.  I know what you are thinking, you can't take your gloves off for a second to advance the song? No, I can't. Don't judge me. 
 
 
10. Running Store Gift Certificate ($your choice)
If all else fails, run (no pun intended) into your local running store and buy your favorite runner a gift certificate.  Trust me, that runner in your life will appreciate it. 
What do you want for Christmas?
 

photo credit: erin m via photopin cc

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Meet My New Running Partner

Meet Ollie, my new running partner.  I can't wait to take him out for our first run together.


OK, I admit it. This first picture is a bit misleading.  This is him, but this was taken about a year and a half ago when he was just a tiny pup.  He is still a puppy, but much bigger now.

This is what he looks like today.  He is my first Christmas present under the tree.
Welcome to the family, Ollie! 
Do you have a four legged running partner? Tell me about him/her in the comments!

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Keep Running,

Lea

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Trot Like a Turkey and a Wake Up Call

Happy Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for so many things in my life.  I have an amazing husband, family and friends.  I am thankful for this blog, for those of you who take the time to read what I write, and then encourage and support me! I do try to be thankful for these things 365 days a year, and not just this one day.

This morning was my annual race in the Fort Worth Turkey Trot 10k.  It is an annual tradition for me to burn some preemptive calories before I shovel large amounts of food in my face.  I am rounding out the year of running one race a month in 2012.  I already ran my November race in the San Antonio Rock 'n Roll Half this month, so this race was just a bonus.  It is a fun race that I run every year with my running BFF.  I try not to put too much pressure on myself on this one, this is supposed to be fun.

We arrived just before 8am and the weather could not have been more cooperative.  It was just a tiny bit chilly in my shorts and tank, but I knew as soon I started to sweat, I would warm up.  It was a perfect crisp cool morning for a race!



The race itself was pretty good, but a bit of a wake up call.  While I finished at a very respectable pace, and even faster than the last year Turkey Trot, I realized that I had to work a lot harder for it than I did even just a few months ago.  I haven't been strength training or doing intervals like I had been in the summer and there has definitely been a loss of fitness.  A few months ago, a 8:45-9:00 minute pace was my comfortable, easy pace.  This certainly wasn't easy to maintain today.  I just know I need to get back to my regular training to get my fitness back to where it once was.

I am not complaining.  I am proud of my finish time and I think it is perfectly normal to cycle between different levels of fitness.  Every season can't be peak training season, our bodies need the break.  I am so thankful for a healthy body, the ability to run, and the ability to push myself.  I'm thankful for a healthy heart and strong legs.  I'm thankful for the motivation and desire to run and work out.  I'm thankful for that little voice that encourages me to improve.  I'm thankful for my running best friend who shares these experiences and memories with me.  I'm crying right now. 




Instead of ending on a sappy note, I'll tell you a cute story as I approached the finish line.  I just passed the six mile marker and I could see the finish line .2 miles in the distance.  Just as I was starting to pick up my pace to try to finish strong, this man running next to me offered up some advice.  "Pump those arms," he suggested.  "Swing them big, use that momentum to go faster."  For a moment I was slightly put-off by his unsolicited advice, but then quickly changed my mind-set.  He was just trying to help me.  He was actually being really nice and encouraging.  Who am I that I can't take some words of advice in the last minutes of a race, probably when I needed it the most?  "Pick up the pace!  Faster!  Faster!" he coached.  I followed his guidance and crossed the finish line very strong.  As he walked passed me at the finish, I gave him a pat on the shoulder and said, "Thank you."  Thank you random stranger running coach guy!   Next time I need someone like him to run by my side for the whole race.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  Did you run a Turkey Trot today?  Are you running with me in the Holiday Running Streak?  What are you thankful for this year?

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Keep Running,

Lea

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Back to Basics



I've gotten a little off track lately.  I've been running, just not consistently.  I haven't been to CrossFit in two weeks.  I realized that it is time for me to re-evaluate my goals and get back on track.  The best way for me to do this is to get back to the basics.

I had a lot of fun with the Insanity program, the only problem is that it didn't leave enough time for a regular running schedule.  I enjoyed CrossFit for the most part, but it just never really clicked for me.

I've gotten too far away from my core fitness love.  It is great to try new things, but when those new things aren't working out exactly as I had planned, I have to get back to doing what I know works best for me.  Otherwise I get frustrated and burnt-out and I end up doing next to nothing.

I need a good old fashioned weight training and interval running routine.  I will take some of the things I learned in CrossFit and apply them to my weight workouts at the gym, mainly I will lift heavier weights with less reps and work on my pull-ups.  My goal is to always continue to grow and evolve.
 
I'll be back to LA Fitness this week-end to sign up for a new no contract membership.  I imagine December is the best time of year to negotiate a great deal, when interest in health and fitness is probably at its lowest of the year. 

This is my plan.  When I followed a similar plan at the start of 2012, I achieved my fasted race PR's.  I got slimmer, stronger and faster.

Monday -
1 1/2 mile tempo treadmill run
Upper Body Free Weights
1 1/2 mile treadmill run

Tuesday
1 mile warm up
Hill Repeats on the street
1 mile cool down

Wednesday
1 1/2 mile tempo treadmill run
Lower Body Free Weights
1 1/2 mile treadmill run

Thursday
1 mile warm up
2-3 mile fartleks on the street (random speed work)

Friday
1 1/2 mile tempo treadmill run
Upper Body Free Weights
1 1/2 mile treadmill run

Saturday
Long run training for the Huntington Beach Surf City Marathon

Sunday
Rest Day

Repeat Monday with Lower Body Free Weights.

I also committed to the Runners World Holiday Running Streak, to run at least one mile everyday between Thanksgiving and New Years. 

Has anyone else gotten off track lately?  Just me? How do you get back on track when your fitness plans derail?

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Keep Running,

Lea

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Holiday Running Streak, Who's With Me?

Please check out my 2013 post about the Runner's World Holiday Run Streak here. You will find my top 10 tips for a successful streak!

My husband and I kicked off 2012 with the goal of a year-long running streak.  The rule was  to run at least one mile every single day of 2012.  Most days we would plan to run more than one mile, but the minimum requirement was at least one.  We did great through those first few months.  Everyday we laced up our shoes and hit the road.  Sometimes we did it together, sometimes separately.  As we moved through the year, we changed the rules and decided that the one mile could be walked, as long as we completed a mile.  Towards the second half of the year, that is exactly what we did.  Every single night, we walked our one mile.  Whether or not we already ran or worked out that day became irrelevant.  We started walking a mile together every night, no matter what.  We walked in the blazing summer heat, we walked in the rain, and we walked very late at night.  We walked when we were tired, and we walked when we didn't feel like it.   We walked on vacation.  We walked when we had out of town visitors (we made them walk with us).   We just did it.   It was a nice time we had together, just us, getting caught up on our day without the distractions of home.   It became very routine.

Then nine and a half months into our venture, on my husbands 40th birthday on October 12, it happened.  We forgot.  We had some people over after work for a little get together, we got distracted and completely forgot.  I woke up on October 13th completely devastated.  OK, maybe devastated is an exaggeration, I realize people have real problems.   I couldn't believe the streak ended after all these months.   We agreed we would pick it back up and finish out the year, but a funny thing happened.  All of a sudden it became less of a priority.  We walked a couple times after that, but since we didn't feel the pressure to keep the streak, it didn't seem like a big deal to miss our mile.  A couple days missed led to a couple weeks missed, until we weren't even thinking about it anymore.  I was still working out, I was still running, but that daily mile streak was dead.   Something that was so important to us for so many months suddenly was off our radar.

So when I read about Runner's World 2012 Holiday Running Streak I figured this was the perfect chance to jump back in with two (running) feet.  The challenge is to run at least one mile every day from Thanksgiving, Thursday November 22, through New Years Day.  The key is to develop the healthy habit of lacing up those running shoes every single day.  Most days I will try to run more than one mile, but on rest days I will be sure to put in at least one.  I am already registered to run the Fort Worth Turkey Trot 10k on Thanksgiving Day, so that first day will be easy for me to get started.

You can read the Runner's World Article here.  There is even a Twitter hashtag to track your progress and brag about log your miles for the world to see. #RWRunStreak

I think this a great way to stay motivated and keep healthy habits alive through the holiday season.  Who's with me?

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Keep Running,

Lea

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Monday, November 12, 2012

A Little Bit Sick, A Little Bit Crazy, A Little Bit Rock 'n Roll in San Antonio

One of my best friends is from San Antonio and she encouraged me to run the San Antonio Rock 'n Roll Half.  We made plans to drive down from Fort Worth together and stay at her friends house.  I would run the race and she would cheer me on along the sidelines.  About a month before the race, I confessed to her that I hadn't been training like I should have been and I probably wasn't going to run this race.  I hadn't yet registered and the pricing structure was at the top tier (i.e. most expensive).  In the way that best friends do, she somehow convinced me that I could do it anyway.  I ran exactly three training runs in preparation for this race; an eight mile, a ten mile, and a 12 mile run.  Due to my lack of proper training, I decided I was going to run this slow and comfortably and put any thoughts of a new PR out of my head.  My goal was to have fun and enjoy it.  I admit I still had fantasies of miraculously achieving a PR anyway.  I was already coming up my blog post title, "My Accidental PR!"  "How I got a new PR without even training!"  You can already see that my blog title boasts no such things.

We rented a car and drove down first thing on Saturday morning.  What kind of car doesn't have a functioning iPod plug?  This was very distressing.  99% of the fun of a road trip is the music.  We listened to music through my iPhone speakers and complained about it for no less than the first hour on the road.  In case you were wondering, listening to the radio was not an option.

I was worried about so many things.  It started with a sore throat mid-week and a hacking cough was starting to develop.  There were thunderstorms in the forecast and my monthly friend was visiting (apologies to my male readers for TMI).  This was going to be a disaster!

I approached this race a little differently that usual.   First of all, I decided to run this race naked, i.e. without GPS watch or music.  Why? My GPS watch died during my last training run and it felt completely freeing.  Since I wanted to run this race slow, I knew running by feeling, rather than pace was important.

I wanted to dedicated each mile to a different person that I love in my life, and I knew that the music, which can be motivating for pace, can also be very distracting when trying to focus on my thoughts.  I left my iPod and GPS watch at home in Fort Worth so I couldn't change my mind at the last minute.

I asked five close local friends to write me a short motivating note before the race.  I put the notes in my running belt with plans to pull one out and read it each mile towards the end of the race.

As tradition, I laid out my race clothes the night before and took a picture.

Flat Dummy
Once we got into town, 6 hours and (around) 2 major car accidents later, we had to get to the Henry B. Gonzalez convention center to pick up my race packet.  Besides the race, there were several other events happening in San Antonio that week-end, so traffic was very congested.  My friend dropped me off to drive around the block while I picked up my race bib.  There technically was not a drop off spot in front of the convention center, so I literally jumped out of a still-rolling car.  Maybe I thought she was going to come to a complete stop, but she didn't.  HA!  I managed to pick up my packet and come back down to the street before my friend could make it around the block.

Packet Pick Up Complete
After a carbo-load dinner of Olive Garden pasta the night before, we were just exhausted! I was ready for bed but we remembered we needed to go to the store so that my friend could make a motivating sign to hold up along the sidelines.  Her genius friend had a poster board that she had painted with dry erase paint.  This would be awesome!  My friend could change the sign at different points along the course.

I went to bed at 9:30 in prepared for a 5 am wake time, but instead was up until at least 1 am with a hacking cough and newly developed stuffy nose.  After I finally fell asleep, I woke up no less than once a hour before the alarm.  At 5 am, I seriously considered not going.  I was tired, sick and very worried.  I pushed forward.  We drove all the way down there, I paid all this money, I had to do it.  I just reminded myself that this race would be slow and I could walk if I needed to.

A little sick but at the starting line with my biggest supporter!

Getting Excited!
I teared up during the star-spangled banner.  I have no idea why I was so emotional.  That has never happened before.  It must be the sickness.

I stood near the 2:00 pacer at the start line.  I thought I would try to keep up with him if I could without taxing myself.  I absolutely could not exert myself.  Within the first mile I knew it wasn't going to happen.  If I was healthy, I could have done it.  I was not.  I had to run slower.

At mile three I was feeling OK, after passing the Alamo, I saw my friend for the first time.  I ran up and gave her a big hug.  I liked my sign.  It made me smile and gave me a boost.

Mile 3
We had planned ahead that she would be standing at mile 3, mile 8 and mile 12, so I knew to pay attention to the crowds and look for her.  It was nice mental break, because instead of counting miles down to the end of the race (i.e. 10 more miles to go) I was counting to the next time I would see her,  five more miles until I see Cathy again!

At mile five I started to read the motivating notes that my friends wrote me.  While I still think it was a great idea, execution was a little shaky.  At one point while trying to pull out the notes while running, I dropped one on the ground and had to turn around, bend down, and pick it up.  The risk of a trampling seemed real.  I decided that from then on,  I would walk for a few seconds and get the note out, read it, and then continue running.

A poem inspired by the White Stripes

"You are trained, you can absolutely do this - take it all in and have fun!!!"


At mile 8 I saw my friend again with a new sign! After a big hug, I read another note.

Mile 8
"You Paid $100 for this sh!t Move it sister!" 

I decided to dedicate each mile to someone that I love.  At first it was each member of my family back home, then one to my friend Jen who passed away.   Once I started reading the notes, I would dedicate the mile to the person who wrote the note.  It was amazing how quickly the mile passed when I was focusing on praying for and being thankful for these wonderful people in my life, rather than focusing on the pain of running 13 miles.   I cried emotional tears several times during the race.

"Just practicing for Huntington Beach"

Finishers Medal!



Dry Erase Poster Board Rocks!
My throat didn't bother me at all during the race and by some miracle, I didn't cough at all.  I ran a comfortable pace which felt slow to me,  and besides the few seconds each mile it took to get the notes out, I didn't walk at all.  At about eight and half minutes slower than my half marathon PR, I actually finished feeling pretty strong! This race gave me the confidence that if I slow my pace, I can run a full.  Despite being sick, physically and mentally this was one of the easiest half marathons I have ever ran.


Not a PR by any means, but not too shabby for a sick person!
I ran Dallas earlier this year so this was my second city in the Rock 'n Roll race series this year.  Have you ever run a Rock 'n Roll race?  I am considering Nashville in April 2013.

So I ran this race sick.  I'm not sure if that means I am dedicated or just crazy.  Maybe a little of both.

Keep Running,

Lea

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

An Ode to My First (Full) Marathon



I just got registered
for the Surf City Full.
I wonder if I'm crazy
or if I just have sole.

On February Fifth
To Huntington Beach.
Twenty six point two
This dream's within reach.

There will be chaffing and blisters,
Blood sweat and tears.
All leading up to those
finish line beers.

On Superbowl Sunday
When you're watching football,
I'll be crossing the finish
no matter run or crawl.

All this rhyming
Is fun and games
But I better get training
or bring on the pain!

Keep Running,

Lea

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I got this!


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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Do You Ever Run Naked?


Dogs run naked in every sense of the word.  Or maybe I just used a picture of a cute dog to try to entice you to read my blog.  It worked?  Good.

By naked I mean free of technology, of course

I often wonder if I am starting to become too dependent on technology.  Dare I say addicted?  The other day I looked at all the gadgets charging on the counter, fighting for outlet space.

I asked my husband, "When did technology take over our lives?"
He responded, "It happened a long time ago, we are just now noticing."



Looking at the iPhones, the iPad, the Kindle Fire, the iPod, the laptop, the netbook, and the GPS watches (yes, plural) all tangled up on the counter, I became instantly aware that we have certainly lost control. I don't even want to talk about my addiction to casual interest in social media.

Last week-end, in the middle of my final training run before the San Antonio Rock 'n Roll half, my GPS watch battery died.  I was surprised by the sense of relief that I felt.  I knew my 12 mile route so I didn't need the GPS to mark the distance.  The freedom came in not knowing my pace.  Ignorance is bliss.  I just ran a speed that felt comfortable (or slower than comfortable), and I didn't feel any pressure to maintain a certain pace.  It was incredibly freeing.

This got me thinking.  What if I ran my next race naked, without GPS or music?  

Since I haven't been training for this race like I should have been, I have made peace with the fact that I will not achieve a new PR.  My only goal is to run it slow enough that I can run the entire distance without walking.  I want to run by how I feel, not by the numbers.

I can't even tell you how many times I have said that I was going to take it easy at a race but once I got there, all hopped up on adrenaline and caffeine, I suddenly changed my mind.  A prime example is my experience at the Huntington Beach Surf City Half Marathon. I ran the first half entirely too fast for the distance and ended up practically limping across the finish line in mental and physical misery.  I call it Crazy Brain.  It takes over in the early part of the race when my GPS is flaunting a 7:45 pace and I am feeling fantastic.  I start to imagine that I can maintain this unrealistic pace for the whole 13.1 miles.  I recalculate my new finish time.  I am throwing a PR party for myself in my head.  I pass the pacer and skip the water stops, "Look at all those suckers, losing time sipping on water!"  I go completely insane for about 8 or 9 miles until my body finally says no.  Then it all falls apart and I pay the consequences.  I think if I race without my GPS watch, it might help keep Crazy Brain at bay so that I can focus on running comfortably, instead of maintaining a crazy pace.

The race course will have mile markers, that would keep me mentally on track as far as the distance goes, and the clock at the end would give me a pretty good estimate of finish time.  I really think I can do this without my GPS watch, but could I do this without music?

The truth is, I only listen to music on long runs.  I usually hit the pavement for shorter runs with my just my thoughts.  I thoroughly enjoy this quiet time with me. It is a rare quiet time away from all that technology.

I think music goes a long way in motivating me on long runs, which is why I always race with music.  The upbeat tempos on my music playlist sometimes give me a boost of energy.  Sometimes I sing along (in my head, I am not really a crazy person) to help pass the time.  Sometimes I feel like the song lyrics are speaking to me directly, motivating me to run.

On the other hand, sometimes music gets in the way of my thoughts.  If I am trying to concentrate, I often get distracted and can't think clearly through the loud music.  Sometimes I want to dedicate a mile I am running to someone that I love or miss, but the music will get in the way and I will lose focus.

Could I do 13.1 without music or GPS? I've never done it before.

Maybe this race, the one I really didn't train for, when I don't have any expectations of a PR, would be the perfect race to experiment.

Do you think technology can sometimes be a detriment?

Do you run naked?  Have you ever raced naked?

I'm scared to hit publish on this post, because it will mean that I am committing to leaving my security blankets technology at home and running this one naked. 


Keep Running,

Lea

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY TO ME



November is my official Running for Dummies Blogiversary! I can't believe it has been well more than 105,000 page views and a whole year since I started this blog.  I created this blog in November and then in December of last year, I wrote my first official Running for Dummies post, begging for followers.  In truth, I have had this blog since 2009, but it has went through several transformations until it became the blog you read today.  In fact, before I even had an official blog, I used to blog over on MySpace.  Remember MySpace?  I technically still have a MySpace account so I dug around over there for a blast from the past.  You should read this MySpace blog post, it is pretty funny, if I do say so myself.

Even though I have always enjoyed writing, the first time I ever started a blog, it was simply to share pictures with my friends and family.  I have been doing a "Year in Pictures" blog post at the end of each year since 2008, which at the time my blog was simply called 'Lea Genders' (that's me).  I didn't have a particular theme or blog schedule, like I do today.  I simply wrote when the feeling struck me. Sometimes it was just once a month, sometimes less.  My readers were mainly just my friends and family.  Over time, my blog topics gravitated towards concerts, music, and my musician obsession hero, Jack White.  I eventually changed the name of the blog, to "Fell in Love with a Band, " which is a play on words of the White Stripes song "Fell in Love with a Girl."  I started to gain some followers outside of my bloodline, people who like me, were big fans of Jack White.

While my blog was rock music and concert centered, I still used this outlet to write about other things occasionally.  When I would race, I would share my race recaps.  Before long, the fitness themed blogs started to eclipse the music themed ones.  I was pretty sure that the people following my Jack White blog, could care less about my latest PR, so at the end of last year I decided to separate the two blogs.  I kept the 'Fell in Love with a Band' blog, but started this new blog, 'Running for Dummies', that would be more running and fitness focused.  I moved all the non-musical related posts over to the new blog and that is when Running for Dummies was officially born.

Even after Running for Dummies was created, my posts were still on a whenever-the-feeling-struck-me type of schedule.  It wasn't until I became a Fitfluential Ambassador this Spring that I really started to focus on my blog as a priority and a responsibility.  Now, instead of only writing when I felt inspired, I was sitting down to plan posts, brainstorm ideas, and really trying to grow my blog.  Now, when I waste spend hours on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, I can tell my husband, "I'm working!" In the past six months this blog has grown leaps and bounds! I am thankful to the Fitfluential community for the opportunities, inspiration, support, and learning experiences, I couldn't have gotten this far without you. 

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for hanging in there with me.  Your comments, questions and posts here on my blog and on the Running for Dummies Facebook page inspires me more than you will ever know.  Thanks to you that have jumped on board over this last year, I hope you hang with me for many more.

If you are not following me yet, anyone with a Google account can follow this blog with Google Friend Connect (on my right side bar). Don't make me beg (again).  There is no obligation to actually read it.

If you want to check out my music blog, you can click on the link.  Jack needs to come back to Dallas so that I have something to write about on that blog.

Keep Running (and rocking),

Lea

Ways to (legally) stalk me:



"LIKE" the Running for Dummies Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
Let's track each others workouts on Dailymile 
See what I am up to on Pinterest    
Add me to your circles on Google + 
Follow me on Instagram @runningfordummies
 
photo credit:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27147/5283359842/




Friday, November 2, 2012

I am Not a Brain Scientist, I am a Blogger


in case you were wondering

I'm no brain scientist, just in case there was any question.  Is that even a real thing, a brain scientist?  Spell check had to correct my spelling of the word scientist just now.  My blog is called Running for Dummies.  You get my point.

While I often joke about being a dummy, I actually think I am a relatively smart person (even without that Brain Science degree).  Maybe it's true, or maybe it is just the years of self-esteem my parents bestowed upon me.  If someone tells you that you are smart for 38 odd years, do you start to believe it? Even if you really are a dummy? This is exactly my point.

The human brain is strange.  I actually think it tries to work against us most of the time.  My mother taught me a long time ago that I didn't have to believe every thought that crossed my mind.  This was an important lesson that has helped me tremendously in life.  Our thoughts lie.

They tell us we are not good enough.
They tell us we are not smart enough.
They tell us we would rather be comfortable than push ourselves.
They tell us to coast through life.
They tell us to take the easy way out.
They tell us it is too hard, we might as well give up.

Why are our thoughts so self-sabotaging?  I don't know.  I already explained to you that I wasn't a brain scientist, just a blogger who may only be gifted according to her mother.

Sometimes I really have to battle myself to think clearly, to remember the truth, and not believe the negative lies that float between my ears.   Some of the things I am struggling with mentally right now:

CrossFit:  
I almost quit CrossFit.  Why?  I told myself it was mainly because I really struggle with the social aspect of CrossFit.  This is true.  I am not a very social person.  The community aspect of the sport does not appeal to me, like it does to so many others.  I prefer to work out alone or with very close friends.  But is that the real reason I stopped going, or am I letting my mind win?  Am I being totally honest with myself?

I sometimes wonder if I will I ever be able to perform a snatch with proper form and such fluidity that I will be able to do it using an actual weighted bar, rather than a PVC pipe.  After a few awkward frustrating attempts,  my brain tells me no.   It tells me I am too weak and uncoordinated.  It tells me I should quit.

Will I ever be able to do anything but hang straight armed from that pull up bar? I try to pull up, but somehow I am still just hanging there, feet dangling in the wind.  My brain says, no way.  My brain says, you are embarrassing yourself, why even try?  You could never do that.  Give-up.    

Since I already know I can’t trust that pesky brain of mine, I try to ignore all that and push forward anyway.  But I almost didn't.  If it wasn't for my awesome friend Amber nudging me in the right direction, I just might have never stepped in that Cross Fit box again, letting myself off the hook with the social excuse.  I almost let my brain win.  Maybe I do need that community of people to help me after all.  I got this!

My Personal Training Certification:
As you might know, after a (too) long period of wasted time, I finally figured out that self-study was absolutely not working for me so I signed up an nine week online course.  The first week was great.  I read the material, did the assignments, watched the online video's, memorized a few things, and ultimately aced my first online quiz.  I was feeling like quite the smarty until I started to read the text for week 2.  Anatomy.  Am I studying to become a Doctor or a personal trainer?  Dr. Dummy Lea has a nice ring.

I didn't realize I had to know Latin in order to grasp the material.   I was overwhelmed and frustrated with the shear volume of material to memorize in one week.  How am I going to memorize all this when I can't even pronounce it? How can I learn something that I don't understand. When will I find the time?  I started to ask myself why I was putting all this pressure on myself?  Maybe I should just quit now, I'm probably going to fail anyway, why waste my time?  This is too hard.

Then I remembered that I don't have to listen to those lying thoughts.  I have to suck it up and think positive.  I am a relatively smart lady, just ask my mom.  Millions of people have this certification.  Am I dumber than millions of people? Well, probably, but that is besides the point.  This is nine short weeks of my life.  All that I can do is dive in head first and give it all I have.  If I come up short, I'll have to try even harder next time.  I got this!

My First Full Marathon:
I have ran 6 half marathons and running my 7th next week-end.  I ran a half-ultra once.  I have been running regularly for about 10 years and have been thinking about running a full for at least the last few years.  Why haven't I ever done one?  My brain can't wrap itself around running 26.2 miles.  When I mentioned to someone that I couldn't run a full, because the most miles I ever ran at one time was 16, he responded, "you were only four miles away from completing full marathon training, what's the problem?"  Since a majority of full marathon training programs end at 20 miles, I've always been closer than I thought.  This positive spin on my training suddenly made it all a little more attainable.  I try to remember to back when I thought a 10k was daunting, or when a half marathon seemed impossible.  It is only impossible if you don't try.  So in February of 2013 I am going to give it a try.  My first full marathon will be the Surf City in Huntington Beach, CA.  I got this!

I really believe that you are what you think.  Think positive, act positive, and you will get positive results.  Think negative, act negative and you will get negative results.  You either think you can, or you think you can’t.  Either way you are right.  I stole that little piece of brilliance from Pinterest, because after all, I couldn't come up with something like that on my own.  I am not a brain scientist, just a blogger.  



I just need to remember to take my own advice.  How about you?  Do you ever let your brain win?  How do you overcome?

Keep Running,

Lea

Ways to (legally) stalk me:



"LIKE" the Running for Dummies Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
Let's track each others workouts on Dailymile
See what I am up to on Pinterest
Add me to your circles on Google +
Follow me on Instagram @runningfordummies 


photo credit: Adam Crowe via photopin cc



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