The Importance of Passion

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Monday morning I laced up my Mizuno Waveriders, zipped up my 2010 Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon windbreaker and hit the pavement for my first “carefree” run in a very long time. This was the first workout since the start of 2013 that I felt genuinely happy throughout the entire workout! Sounds silly, but I didn’t really realize how much I missed running without a plan or route in mind. Just hitting the road and taking turns where ever my feet wanted to go. I also was extremely happy to run outside rather than on a treadmill! Or should I say, dreadmill UGH!

If you have followed my journey on Youtube since 2009, you will know that running has been a huge part of my identity since starting my 50 lb weight loss. Running truly has shown me so much of the world and myself. It started as a weight loss effort and soon bloomed into something much more beautiful. Running is a constant in my life and helps me deal with a lot of emotions and situations. I run when I am angry, sad, frustrated, stressed, and happy. I feel it? I run it!

It was hard to read the words written on my month one plan from the coach I was working with. They read that I would have to stop running distance…uh, what? I realized I would have to take it down a notch, but stop? Oi. The only type of running I was doing during that time was during intervals on a treadmill that were no more than a mile. It wasn’t until the 4th month that I was allowed to run 4 miles. It was then that I was really realizing that I was sacrificing a part of ME and apart of what I LOVE to do! My passion.

I am not saying that every run I have ever run was perfect, happy and easy for me to get out there and go. Definitely not! But you know that feeling you get when you think of something or see something you love? That “AH I want to do that right now!” feeling? That never went away for me. This may sound silly to my readers that do not run, but I sometimes will see a street or a trail and think “that would be perfect on a beautiful fall day!” or “I should hill train here!” Or I would see a runner and be slightly jealous of them. I know deep down that running will be apart of me for the rest of my life.

I am glad it took this for me to realize how much running is apart of my life. I am very lucky that this is the reason I stopped, rather than a serious injury. I still love weight lifting. I am a trainer and I encourage my clients to lift heavy! But I also encourage my clients to find passion in what they do. Sure you can drag yourself day in and day out to do a form of exercise you really don’t enjoy and see results. But is it worth the boredom and frustration? Not at all. Healthy living does not only mean eating well and working out. To me, healthy living includes quality of life.

So what next?

I have been pondering what my next goal race and distance will be. Originally I thought of running a half in spring to slowly bring myself around to training again. That would mean starting training Mid to late January. However, I am debating on running a full in the spring. Still not 100% sure, but I do miss that distance a lot. Yes. I am crazy. We should know this by now.. I will let you all know when I figure out what I want to do!

One of my big goals that has been in my head for a while now is to BQ by 30 (Boston Qualify). For my age group, that would mean a 3:35:00 finish. Holy mackerel. My best finishing time has been a 3:58:59. Since running my first marathon I have taken off over 30 minutes within the 2 years. I am pretty proud of that. So yes, this will be a very hard goal but I don’t think it is impossible.

I plan on sitting down in the upcoming weeks to really sit down and construct a plan. I want to see how my body will respond to a slightly different progression plan with my milage, speed, and hill work. But first I will have to pick a distance and race ;).

So the moral of the story? If you love something, do it! Passion, in my opinion, is part of the equation to creating success. Like I said, it doesn’t mean if you are passionate about something that it will come easy to you. It will just make it more enjoyable. I am so very excited to be documenting my running AND cross training again with you all on and off Youtube/the blog!

Learning to love yourself

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Sometimes the negativity monster bites the best of us. Sometimes we dig ourselves a huge pit of self loathing which sometimes feels impossible to crawl out of. Ever since starting my journey, I learned the importance of learning to love yourself for what you are and who you are. The only thing in life that we can be our absolute BEST at is ourselves. So what happens when you aren’t cheering on your own side? Everything is an uphill fight. Everything seems way harder than it should. That spark and spice for life seems dull and dim.

We all need that reminder from time to time. Even the most positive and uplifting people have those times of doubt, worry and self consciousness. I want to share with you some of my tips on how I crawl myself out of my own pit of negative self-talk!

Tip #1: Learning not to compare yourself to others

This tip is super difficult at times. We are constantly bombarded by media outlets on what the “perfect body” is and what it should look like. But you know what? We were only given one body. This body carries you from point A to point B and beyond. This body has been through the tough time and the best times! Why not feed it love and peace? Work with what you have and love it for what it is! There is no such thing as an ugly body! Every body is a beautiful body, feed off of that and work yourself the best your body can allow for you! Every one is different. Every one comes in different shapes and sizes as we learned back in our preschool days! So how can one compare their body to another that is a foot taller and of totally different proportions? you just can’t! Do with what you have and love every moment of it.

Tip #2: Don’t play victim. Take control of your life!

My life is so tough! I will never be able to catch my dreams! I can’t do ____ because of ______. I’ve heard these time and time again and you know what? No one has ever been dealt the perfect cards. No one has ever had the easy path carved out for them. You can’t complain about something you don’t like if you haven’t put the effort in to take control of the situation. You want to lose weight? change something and make it happen! You want to run a marathon? well, find a run group or a program to slowly progress your way to that goal! Nothing is impossible with some time and effort! Now go get ’em tiger!

Tip #3: Surround yourself with supportive and positive people

I have learned over the years how contagious other peoples behaviors and attitudes can be. I have also learned not to put up with other peoples negativity. If you have someone in your life that has caused you pain or stress. Talk to them! If they refuse to take responsibility or talk it out, it may not even be worth the time so move on. Surround yourself with people who compliment your goals and your attitudes. These people will raise you up and you will raise them up as well. Positive relationships are a total game changer.

Tip #4: Smile and compliment people

This may sound silly, but saying something nice and smiling at someone can make someones day. Not only will it make their day but it will lighten up your day as well. Pass the positivity on!

Tip #5: Gratitude

Write down 5 things right now that you are grateful for. It may be that you are grateful for your spouse, your health, your children, mobility, anything! Gratitude shows us what we have in our lives and opens our eyes up to what we do love about ourselves.

Tip #6: Pep talk time/ Pamper yourself

This one may sound cheesy to some, but I often will take myself onto the sidelines for a little self pep talk. I run myself a hot bath, or make myself a big cup of tea and take out my journal. I ask: Why do I feel this way? What can I do to fix this feeling of negativity towards myself? What can I do right now that will change my mindset around? What things do I love about my inner self and my physical self? Why being positive and open will benefit me? Sometimes this is all we need. We need to step back and take a look at the broader picture! A little “me time” is always good to have. Sometimes a little pampering is in order too! Hot bath, face masque, Tea, a book and an hour alone. Gives you time to relax and take your mind off things. Heck! Maybe book yourself a massage!

Tip #7: Take a look at the past

Think about all the things that have changed for the better over the years. Maybe you have picked up running, you’ve lost weight, you have stopped smoking. If you have a journal you kept from those years or photos, look at these as a reminder. Sometimes we forget the leaps and bounds we have made because we get too stuck up in things not happening fast enough and looking to the future. Remember the importance of celebrating your past and current accomplishments. You need to be your biggest cheerleader!

Tip #8: Move it!

Are you really surprised that this is a tip? WORKOUT. The high after a workout is the best for your mindset. Have you really ever worked out and went “GOSH I WISH I DIDN’T DO THAT. I SHOULD HAVE JUST SAT ON THE COUCH ALL DAY INSTEAD!” I highly doubt it. Working out gives you confidence, clears the mind, gives you energy, and creates a mind-body connection that I feel sometimes is lost when we are in these times of self-loathing and self consciousness.

Tip #9: Motivate and Inspire yourself!

Personally I use social media to motivate and inspire myself. I follow so many amazing men and women on Instagram that work so hard for their goals. I also read blogs, watch YouTube videos and Pinterest! Find what inspires you for whatever your goals are and work with those. But remember not to compare yourself to whatever is inspiring you.

Tip #10: Breathe

Why yes, Jenn, I breathe almost ALL THE TIME. Yes Yes, I know. But taking a few deep breaths can open up your mind and give you a second to calm yourself. I will often give myself 3-5 minutes to sit down comfortably, sit up tall, and just focus on my breathing in and out. That can be all we need when we are having a moment!