Friday, July 29, 2016

Three Years of Blogging

Last week, this blog turned three years old. Three. Freaking. Years!

When I started writing in July 2013, I had no idea how much this little blog would become such a big part of my life.

It's connected me to some of my favorite brands and given me opportunities to represent them. It's allowed me to be invited to exclusive events and VIP programs.

Cigna Blogger Event 2015, Akron Marathon VIP 2014, Enell Ambassador, J&A Racing Ambassador 2015

It's given me a creative outlet that doubles as a way to keep myself accountable.

It's encouraged me to expand my skill set into marketing, management, and cultivating community online.

But what has really made this blog life-altering for me is all of the people it's brought into my life including YOU!

Readers, fellow bloggers, runners I connected with on social media- each and every person I've met through this space on the internet has brought an immeasurable amount of joy into my life.

While this blog started as a way for me to share information about my training experiences, it has evolved into more than that. When I was training for the Dopey Challenge in 2013, this was my space to track my weekly mileage and stay accountable to the training plan. When I broke my foot in 2014, it was my space to vent all of the feelings of frustration, anger, and disappointment I felt about being on crutches for seven weeks and not able to run for almost four months. When I made my comeback in the spring of 2015 and completed the Pittsburgh Marathon, it was my space to celebrate and reflect on how I got there. And in all three of those examples (and countless other times), you supported me. You commented, emailed, tweeted messages of love and encouragement that made these experiences better because I never felt alone. Thank you.

So, this third blogiversary is dedicated to you, dear reader/fellow blogger/friend of Sparkly Runner. Thank you for hanging out with me for the last few years- I appreciate it so much more than you know!

PS- If your picture's not here, let's meet up at a race very soon! :-)

Monday, July 25, 2016

Accountability Monday: July 25, 2016

Good morning and happy Monday, friends!

A few quick updates:

- Sparkly Runner turned three on Friday! WHAT?! Yes, I have missed my blog's anniversary once again. We'll celebrate later this week :-)

- Physical Therapy for my knee starts on Tuesday. I'll also get my MRI results back so keep your fingers crossed for good news.

While waiting to get the all-clear from my doctors, I have not been training for the Walt Disney World Marathon. Luckily, it's early enough in training that I should still be able to get a solid 12-14 weeks of training in before the race in January 2017.

I did find a really nice workout designed to help with IT band pain and have done that three times this week with very little pain. I also managed a 40 minute walk with Matthew Thursday night.

Food Find:
This weekend, I made one of Matthew's favorites: Emily Bites's Cream Cheese Stuffed Everything Chicken. It's basically like an everything bagel except it's cream cheese stuffed chicken. So, so good. This picture doesn't do it justice so you'll just have to make it and taste it for yourself :-)

+.8 this week.

Couldn't tell you why. As you know from my last post, I've been struggling with the scale for the last month despite what feels like my best effort. But, I'll just keep plugging along and doing what's good for me. And hopefully the scale will follow.

Non-Scale Victory:
Matthew and I cleaned the kitchen and I put my food scale front and center on the counter so there's no excuse for me to not measure and portion out my food correctly.

Because there wasn't much going on this week, here's a random picture from our honeymoon!

Woohoo! We love the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train!

Have a great week, y'all! Stay tuned for a birthday post very soon! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Be Kind to Yourself

Good morning, friends! After two hectic weeks of new student orientation at work and a blissful week's vacation spent in Cape May, NJ, my life finally feels like it's back to "normal." So- back to regular blogging for me, yay!

Y'all, I can't even try to put a positive spin on my weight loss/maintenance journey or marathon training these days- I am struggling. After gaining 4.6 from the wedding and honeymoon, then losing 2.4 the next week, then gaining 1.8, then losing 1.8, then gaining 3... you get the picture; my weight is far from being maintained.

At least it's symmetrical! :-)

Walt Disney World Marathon training literally JUST started two weeks ago and I'm already injured. I visited the orthopedic doctor yesterday for pain in my left knee- she believes it's just overuse and has ordered an MRI and physical therapy. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's IT Band Syndrome or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Either way, I'm hopeful to have a more secure diagnosis after the MRI and some sessions with the PT.

So... yeah. That's where I'm at these days. I've spent a lot of time thinking about where I was (weight-wise and running-wise) a year ago. I had just finished the Pittsburgh Marathon, was in the best shape of my life, and the lowest weight I'd ever been as an adult. All of this last (somewhat stressful) year, I have obsessed over getting back to that "magic Pittsburgh weight" of 140 pounds. Honestly, I've beat myself up for not being able to get back down to that weight/fitness level; constantly berating myself, calling myself fat, stupid, and lazy. Yup, pretty much all the things I encourage other people not to say to themselves.

I've spent so much time fighting to be "who I was" that I think I've forgotten about encouraging the woman that I'm building, i.e., the woman I currently am. Do I weigh more now than last summer? Yes. Are my clothes a little tight? Yes. Am I running/working out less? Yes.

But that's totally OK! And I'm not fat, lazy, or stupid! [imagine me yelling these last statements in an enthusiastic way because that's what's happening right now, lol] I have to say these things out loud or else I succumb to the internal, constant loop that plays negative things in my head on repeat.

In the beginning of the summer, Weight Watchers encouraged us to write down our goals; where we'd like to be at the end of August. I wrote down these three things:

  • Weigh 145 pounds or less
  • Track your food every day
  • Reflect on each week with kindness and respect
Basically, a scale goal, a behavioral goal, and a mental health goal. While I can't control the scale, I can control my behavior and my own thoughts about myself. I have tracked every day (bravo to me!) of this summer and while I'm not near my scale goal yet, I have been making an genuine effort to be kind to myself- even if I'm not "where I was" or "where I want to be."

This whole healthy living thing is hard. I mean, really, really hard. Discipline, commitment, and self-control aren't things that just "happen." And neither does being kind to yourself, at least not for me. My default has always been negative self-talk, and that's a hard habit to overcome.

"You can't hate yourself into a person you'll love." I say this out loud to myself several times a week, usually when the negative thoughts start looping in my brain again. I first heard it in a Weight Watchers meeting room and it has stuck with me for years. It always reminds me to be kind to myself, to respect my own journey, and to cut myself some slack when needed. I'm still tracking, I'm still trying, and I'm still so much healthier than I would have been had I never started this journey. And sticking to it- even when it sucks- makes me proud of myself.

Is it hard for you to be kind to yourself? If so, how might you work towards being kind to yourself? If this is easy for you, share your secrets!