Motivated by love

It seems so simple right? You hit the gym day after day and maybe you’ve seen some great results. You love that you’re finally getting healthy, something you have wanted for so long. This is when you need to step back and ask yourself, do you love yourself?

For countless men and women, this is actually a huge challenge. Many of us find ourselves lacing up our shoes and heading to trails or the gym for all the wrong reasons. People think “I am so fat,” “I need to look good for spring break,” and so on.

We all begin working out with a variety of reasons behind it. It could be a personal choice, a hobby, a living, and a variety of other reasons. While I cannot argue regular exercise is damaging, but I do argue that there is a lot of self-hate behind why people choose to join a gym or buy that exercise tape.

There are many extremes to this age old question so let me just share a personal anecdote to explain. I’ve been working out since I was eleven (so just over eleven years). Though the act of working out was a very healthy life decision, the mind set behind it was quite the contrary.

I think as women, we find ourselves hating what we see in the mirror. With the hate, many of us become motivated to lose weight. Often times weight loss can be a very healthy fitness journey and other times it may not. Many, many people, myself included, can get lost in this.

I started working out not to get “healthy.” I was not motivated to nourish myself. I was not motivated to love the person I was seeing in the mirror.

I was motivated to change the number in the scale. I’d see myself and think “I’m so fat and I still have SO FAR to go.”

So far to go, so far to go, so so so far to go.

I believed that once I lost the weight, once I reached that “goal number,” once I wore that size I would be pretty. I equated that weight loss with my beauty and my beauty with my worth.

After each workout, I’d look in the mirror and suck in my stomach. I’d poke what I saw as imperfections. I’d take measurements of my body. I’d weigh myself. Above all, I’d hate on myself.

Never during this journey did I feed my mind with positivity. I was exercising so much commitment. I’d make it to the gym 5-6 times a week for 2-3 hours a day. I was obtaining my goals, faster than I imagined. I was growing stronger.

None of that mattered because it was never enough because I was never enough.

My sophomore year of college I returned to the gym after my 5 years of running cross country and track came to a close.  One day while I was on the elliptical, I came to this realization that though I had unstoppable commitment in my past, it was for all the wrong reasons.

From that day forward I knew it was time to make a change. It was time to change my thinking.

It begins with goal setting. We set goals to give us something to work for. This is something that persists throughout all aspects of our lives. While setting a goal weight can be a very good thing, you cannot allow that number to become you. You are so much more than that number. The person you are should not be defined by the weight you are now or the weight you want to be.

Along with goal setting, you cannot let media misrepresentations be your motivation. This is something I struggle with. When all you see is beautifully thin women, you begin to get it in your head that to be a beautiful woman, you must also be thin.

Thin does not equate strong. It does not make you healthy. Thin is beautiful and women who are naturally thin should not be ashamed of what they were born with, but you should not be the sole motivator behind a weight loss journey. I’ve been there.

When I was motivated by being thin, I hated myself. When I shifted my focus to getting healthier, I began to learn to love myself.

Instead of thinking “how far I have to go” you should reward your efforts towards a healthier life. Think about “how far you have come.” Each day you make it to the gym, or you put in exercise, you did it. It should be a feeling of accomplishment.

While pinterest may be full of motivating graphics, some of these “motivating graphics” shame the fat, shame the thick, and shame the thin. These may motivate you to get off your booty, but don’t let them run your life.

All in all, if you’re out there working out and a journey to get fit (or whatever your reasons may be) you should be proud.

You’re actively making steps towards a healthier you. When you feed your body, you’re also feeding your mind. When you feed yourself with positivity on a consistent basis, you will slowly begin to believe it. Your mind, body, and soul equal you.

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Base before Pace

So I was sick for a while, blah, blah, blah. I was told not to run for 2 months blah, blah, blah. I was heartbroken. I usually run 6 days a week. I got depressed. I felt useless. Then I got lazy. So two months passed…and then another month and I still was not exercising consistently. I was having ups and downs and was riding an emotional rollercoaster with my self-confidence. Every day was THE day…and then it wasn’t. As I grew soft, I grew sad.

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A little throwback to my freshman (HS) year track and cross country.

For about a month now I have been far more active than the past three. I have been walking all over campus, walking to stores, walking my dog, and playing with my dog. Though all that is great, it’s a start, but it’s not enough. I am not a pleasant person when I miss my workout. Unfortunately for my boyfriend, I was going onto my 4th month of being unpleasant.

I don’t even like to be around myself when I haven’t worked out so it was TIME FOR CHANGE. Time to get moving, sweat, and be sore! I have made an effort the past two weeks to really get my butt out there. I have been on the Stairmaster, the elliptical, the bike, and my favorite, running.

About a month ago, I made a horrible mistake. I went running with my GPS watch and could not, absolutely could not; stop staring at my darn pace. Each step I grew disheartened. I was working hard, but my pace was SO SLOW. I felt like I was running fast, but the numbers said otherwise. After growing accustomed to seeing 7:30 pace as a comfortable pace, seeing that pace turn into 9:00 per mile really brought me down.

Yesterday was lovely. I ran with my dog for about 10 minutes, swung by my apartment, dropped him off and continued on. I ran to the track, did some stairs, and then continued running. I did this little loop that adds up to about 4 miles. It was perfect weather and I felt amazing. The best part was, I left the GPS watch back home and just stuck with my stopwatch.

Base before pace.

Before I can start beating myself up for my pace, I need to form a solid base. Of course pace still matters, but its relative. If I am doing a speed workout or tempo run, I just need to run fast. Sure, sounds simple. If I am running comfortably and want to integrate speed, I just need to pick it up for a specified interval of time.

Until I have developed a solid base, until I have grown stronger, watching my GPS watch like a hawk will not be any benefit to me. Beating myself up mentally is perhaps the worst thing to do. I always like to think, when running, my mind gives out before my legs.  If I am forcing all this negativity into my head, my running will suffer. I ran 7 years without a GPS watch; I can certainly run a month without one.

For now, I am working on a base. I would like to do 5 days of running and 1 day of cross training. Of course my distances will vary and veer towards to lower side, but that’s okay! I have to remind myself, it’s okay to be out of shape. It’s okay that I cannot run 8-10 mile runs on the weekend for now

I will get there, it’s only a matter of time, but filling my life and my workouts with negatively will not help.

I fully intend to run a marathon by the end of the year and I have to start somewhere. So, there it is, build a base, then focus on pace. Now is the time to be stronger, faster, and better than ever. The mental strength is just as crucial as the physical. It’s a hard lesson and will have to fight those voices as they creep in, but I can do it.

As I run up that steep hill, as I do my speed work, as I get up early, I will fight those voices!

 

The Culprit

I haven’t ran for a while now, which you may have read about in my post “Out of Commission.” I am contending with some chronic foot pain. Since I haven’t ran for a while I’ve begin biking a great deal of  miles, using an elliptical, the rowing machine, and the stair master (in moderation).

It’s safe to safe unless I am wearing pointed toed shoes or tight shoes, I am relatively pain free. Though I may be in less pain, as I walk, I notice my foot feels funny, like I am walking on a bone that’s out place.

Now I am no doctor and am not expecting medical advice for I plan to visit a specialist once I make a trip home, but I thought that since I am so terrible at describing things, I would post a picture of the culprit.

***If feet make you squeamish, look away now***

I promise, I will not be posting pictures of my feet regularly — I will spare you!!

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The top picture is the foot that I am having the problems with. You can see the callus on the left side. Also note how my toes look kind of squished together. Yeah, they’re not supposed to be that way…

It’s loads of fun, doesn’t it look so pretty? 

Unfortunately genetics is not on my side and I was born with bad, wide, and flat feet. They have utterly no arch. Something like this was destined to happen to me. Thankfully, I can work through this and I will get back to running. I must say I’ve had more serious injuries than this and the lesson I’ve learned is to stay fit throughout the fight. Fitness is the new goal. (Side note, I’ve been biking a lot lately.. on a very old hybrid TREK 7500, but I’ve gotten my average mile time down to about a 3:43. I am not sure if that is very good, but it’s got me wanting to get faster and faster..)

What is this “deformity?”

From my amateur eye (and online research) it appears to be a tailors bunion on the fifth metatarsal. Trust me it’s not fun!

Moral of the story, wear shoes that fit, that don’t squeeze your toes together, avoid sitting criss-cross applesauce (legs crossed on the floor), see a doctor RIGHT when you notice something strange, buy new shoes when your old ones have worn out, get better genetics…?

 Sorry if I grossed you out, come back soon for a product review of some super nifty, handmade, smell-good products!! 

As always, thank you for reading and happy blogging! 🙂

Smoothie of the Week – Strawberry, Banana, and Pineapple

This is the second post of my smoothie of the week series. I will be posting my weekly recipe each week on either Monday or Tuesday! My first post of the series is a refreshing mango, strawberry, pineapple, banana smoothie. That recipe is slightly different than this weeks in that the amounts of strawberries, pineapple, bananas, milk and soy protein powder differ. Also in that there is no mango in this one, but instead spinach.

This smoothie is implemented into my diet as a meal replacementit could be a snack based on caloric needs; however, this should not be a substitute for a refreshment paired with a full meal.

As a runner, I feel it is good to try and cram as much nutrition into a meal as possible (I am still working on some recipes that incorporate even more nutrients than this one). You feel better, run better, and quite frankly you look better when you’re putting the right things into your body. I AM NOT PERFECT when it comes to nutrition, but I am making a HUGE effort to improve my habits each day!

photo 1The ingredients for the smoothie minus the water and the milk. These exact brands do not need to be used. I use whatever is on sale for the week! Please also note, the soda in the background is not mine — my brothers drink it like its liquid gold.

This recipe yields two servings (approximately 325 calories per serving).

  • 1.5 Cups of Frozen Pineapple
  • 2 Small Bananas or 1 Large Banana
  • 1.5 Cups of Frozen  Unsweetened Strawberries
  • 1 Medium-Large Handful of Spinach
  • 1/2 Cup of 2% Milk (could use whole, 1%, skim, soy, almond milk, etc.)
  • 1/4 Cup of Water (could be substituted for more milk)
  • 1-2 Small Squirt of Honey (depending on sweetness preference)
  • 1 Full Scoop of Vanilla Soy Protein Powder (could use whey protein instead)

First blend up the bananas, spinach, milk, and water. Then add the frozen fruit and blend. If your blender is older (or just a cruddy blender like mine..), it may be helpful to add the fruit a little at a time and occasionally stir the mixture (while the blender is off, learned that the hard way).

photo 2This is an overview of what the smoothie will look like through each progressing step.

Lastly, add the protein powder. I am not sure if this makes much of a difference because I have never tried to add everything together at once, but I feel like that may lead to the powder chunking up and a more chalky consistency. I find by adding it last it blends evenly. Then enjoy!!

photo 3Wa-lah!! The finished product, not the prettiest of colors (thanks to the spinach), but it sure does taste good!

This smoothie is absolutely delicious, you can’t even taste the spinach! It’s not only tasty, but it’s relatively healthy and would be a great on-the-go meal, post workout meal, or just a refreshing breakfast!

What type of on-the-go meals do you enjoy? Do you have any recipes that you would like to share? What’s your  favorite post workout meal?

Sweet Summer Indulgences

Okay so now that I’ve introduced myself, discussed the struggles or summer, and wrote a letter to my past self…its about gosh dang time I wrote about what I eat. Excited?

Summer is a time to take advantage of free time. It’s a few months to soak in the little things. The transition to college went well for me, but I really missed cooking and baking for myself. I missed controlling what I ate (not to mention a kitchen full of readily available and pre-paid for ingredients.) So now that I’m home YOU better believe I taking full advantage of the stocked kitchen.

Sweet Summertime Indulgences.
Yes I am a runner, yes I try to eat right, and yes… I LOVE chocolate, ice cream, candy, custard and anything else filled with sugar.

Though I fancy (love, love, LOVE) sugar, I can’t eat a diet of candy, chocolate, and frappes (or else this may be a blog about getting healthy rather than continuing o be healthy).

So what do I do to get the “sweet” without all the calories?
I make the “best” fruit smoothies (or at least I like to believe so). Today’s smoothie of choice was a refreshing mango, pineapple, banana smoothie.20130528-191118.jpgPictured above is my sinfully delicious smoothie that I inhaled just a few short hours ago.

So how do I usually make my smoothies?
I start with frozen fruit. In this case my pineapple and mango was frozen, but my bananas were not. After eye balling a good amount of frozen fruit (about one cup of frozen fruit total), I add a banana or two depending on the size of the banana.

I pour about 1/4 of a cup of milk…again eye balling (you could add more or less milk depending on desired thickness of the smoothie, I like mine reaaaaaaaaal thick).

Depending on how sweet or tart your fruit is you may want to add sweetener. I add one small squirt of honey and it does the trick. Then you blend it up and enjoy!!!

Variations
So depending on time crunch my smoothies can go from healthy snack to meal replacement. In that scenario I add spinach (I know what you’re thinking, but you can’t even taste it and it adds so many nutrients to your beverage). In addition I add vanilla whey protein powder. This allows me to put something tasty in my body that is not only nutritious, but something that will hold me over until I can sit down and eat. I promise it’s so delicious!!

I assure you that along with the salads, veggies, lean meats, and fruit, I do make some time for my secret not so secret pleasures. REAL, bad for you, smothered in chocolate SWEEEEEETS.

SWEEEEEEEETS.
Yes all of those “e’s” were necessary. As I mentioned before, summer allows me to bake, cook, and eat whatever I want, whenever I want. Call me Betty Crocker (I know…bad) cause I’ve been baking of a storm!!!20130528-192649.jpgThis my friends, is puppy chow. It’s SO. GOOD.

So how do you make this yummy treat?
I apologize in advance. I don’t have exact measurements, but I’ll estimate.

  • Start ,hex, I used the off brand from the grocery and it was great!
  • About 1/2-3/4 a cup of peanut butter, I just scoop a lot of peanut butter into the saucepan because I didn’t want to wash another measuring cup.
  • Use about 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, I added a little more than that because I love chocolate.
  • You’ll need at least 1.5 cups of powdered sugar, I just used what looked right, which was a ton! Put this into a ziplock bag and set aside for later.

Pour the cereal in a bowl. Then put the peanut butter and chocolate in a saucepan and stir on low heat until melted. Pour the melted mixture on the cereal and stir it up until the cereal is evenly covered. Pour coated cereal into the powder sugar filled ziplock bag, zip the bag up AND SHAKE IT LIKE A MAD MAN/WOMAN!!
Then walaaah puppy chow, enjoy!

Now it hasn’t been only puppy chow, take a look at this heavenly creation.20130528-194051.jpgYummmm, oreo chocolate mousse pie.

To recreate this, buy a box of Jello Chocolate Mousse No Bake and follow the directions as told on the box (yes, sometimes I’m lazy and use a box mix, but it’s DELICIOUS). After you have set up the no bake pie, make a icing using heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and crushed Oreos. Layer the pie with Oreo cookies, cover the cookies with Oreo icing, and then spread a thin layer of vanilla icing on top. Put it in the freezer, then enjoy!!!

I love baking, I love smoothies, maybe I do love summer a little more than I let on in my Summertime Struggle post.

Do you have any secret indulgence? Do you enjoy fruit smoothies? What sweet treats do you like to bake?

Answer these questions by commenting below and and I may try out your recipe and feature it in an upcoming blog. Please come back soon!

Meet the Blogger

Greetings! Thank you for stopping by. This is my first dip in blogging. For a couple a of years I have wanted to blog about something. Yes, I know, it seems like a bandwagon these days… but as my life rapidly changes I wanted to document it all here.

Why Holding the Pace?

Whether I am referring to running, keeping up with schooling, balancing out my work schedule, its a whole bunch to handle. The Blog Title, in a sense, has a double meaning. Life is fast paced and pacing is important in running .

So who am I and what is my purpose here?

My name is Michelle and I am a college student. Seems fairly common, right? Yes, it is, but I am here to explain the goods, the bads, and the uglies. I will be writing about my journey through it all. You can come here to see stories of my running, working out, college life, working and balancing it all. I want people through all walks to know they’re not alone in their stress, that becoming happy and healthy is not a far off goal and that YOU CAN do ANYTHING you put your mind to.

Don’t let me fool you, my life is not all rainbow and butterflies. I have my ups and downs, but it all works out.

So what should you expect to hear about in future blogs?

  • Marathon training (could be changed to half marathon due to an on-going injury, but that’s a story for another day).
  • Up and coming (and hopeful) photography business.
  • Baking (what? I can have my sweets and be healthy too…its all about moderation…okay you got me, sometimes I indulge a little too much…).
  • Moving out — living in my FIRST apartment which should make for some interesting stories
  • Transferring colleges — stories I wish people would have told me about the process (UGH. SO. TEDIOUS.)
  • And much, much more

When will I post my blogs?

Since its summer break (woo, perks of being a college student), I really don’t have a set schedule. I will have to sit down and come up with a posting schedule. My hopes are for three blog posts a week, but life throws curve balls and they may be up for change.

Get to know me

  • I’m in college (Go MULES!!)
  • I am VERY short…5ft 1′
  • I have three brothers, no sisters, and am the second youngest child.
  • I ran cross country and track all four years of high school and during my freshman year of college.
  • I love photography, hoping to kick off my own business.
  • I LOVE running, fitness, and eating clean.
  • My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 5 years (high school sweetheart).

Meet the Blogger

So what do you like to do? How do you stay fit? How do you keep up with everything that life throws at you? Anything you want to know about me? Comment about it below and I will answer your questions in my next blog.