Tag Archives: Running

My R&R: Routines and Rituals

In last week’s post, I talked about how stuck I’ve been recently. One way I’ve be able to start taking baby steps forward is using the routines I previously had in place. They’re familiar, comfortable and have made each day easier. But why are routines and rituals so important?

Most of us have routines in place unintentionally. If you catch same train every day or brush your teeth before bed, you have an established routine. Those are unconscious decisions we’ve made for a while. The routines that are more important are the ones we intentionally decide to implement in our lives.

My friend and creator of more happy hours, Jullien Gordon was the person who got me thinking about intentional routines and rituals over two years ago. At the beginning of each year, Jullien creates his New Year Guide, which allows people to focus on goals in each area of their lives. He helps people dive deeper in how they’ll achieve the goal, what obstacles they’ll face and how to implement more consistent routines in their lives.

RoutinesI just finished filling out my guide last night and was completely energized by it. There’s something about writing down aspirations for the future and your plan for achieving them that excites me. During this process, I was reminded of how chosen routines will help me along. For example, I’m running (hopefully not trotting) Mudderella this summer with my super talented runner friend. I’m totally intimidated and know training more regularly is a must. So I thought about what I could intentionally do to ensure I stick to a training plan. Some of my thoughts included:

  • Telling as many people as possible about the race. These people then will help to hold me accountable and will hopefully check in to see how I’m progressing
  • Starting smart and pacing myself. I’m not going to be able to run five miles immediately. It’s more about setting realistic goals, like running for 30 minutes twice a week and gradually increasing from there
  • Thinking about the big picture. So it’s not just about running since there are obstacles included in this race. Eating better and meal prepping will help; so will strength training. One routine I wanted to start that’s been a struggle is doing a bit of strength training in the morning before I get ready for work. No matter what I tell myself or how early I set my alarm, I haven’t been able to jump start this one. Any ideas you have to help are appreciated.

You can apply my tips listed above to implementing any new routine. You also shouldn’t try to create a bunch of new routines at once. You’re going to be so focused on getting each one perfected that they won’t stick. Like with most everything else, it’s a balancing act. Give yourself permission to mess up a routine once in a while. Getting frustrated isn’t going to help.

Ultimately, routines and rituals energize you and help create consistently across all aspects of your life. Believing in and harnessing their power will absolutely help you achieve your goals. Share some of your favorite routines or rituals on the comments section!

Peace Out 2014

Hey there, long time no write! I feel like I’m virtually dusting off this blog in order to write this post. I’m almost embarrassed that it’s been three months since my last entry. But, no use dwelling on the past, let’s look to the future.

It’s that time of year again when we all write down resolutions, renew the gym membership and swear we’re going to make this year the best one yet. Well, that’s wonderful but it’s something we should be doing all year-long, not just in January. So while I wasn’t blogging as much this year, I was:

– Developing my personal brand at work. As a young professional new to my role, I had the perfect opportunity during the last year to build my brand and network. I think I’ve done a fairly good job of that. Now it’s time to refine and focus on specific areas of interest.

– Volunteering. This was a big theme for me in 2014. I coached my brother’s little league team this spring. I also taught grammar school through a program at work and became a big sister through Big Brothers, Big Sisters. I find dedicating your time versus your money to be so rewarding.

– Traveling. I mean, we’ve discussed this already. California, Colorado, Chicago, Myrtle Beach, Florida, Philly (my second home) and the big ones: London and Paris. How many 20-somethings have that list of travel on their resume in just one year?! Not many is the answer. Traveling, whether it be for work or for pleasure, broadened my perspective and gave me some unforgettable memories.

– Sweating it. Exercise played a big role in 2014. I refound my love for Zumba and created a mini family there. I also stretched myself both literally and figuratively during yoga and continued to run, completing five races in 2014. While all the weight hasn’t fallen off, I do feel better both physically and mentally.

Looking back, 2014 was pretty awesome. I learned a lot, grew in ways I didn’t know possible and kind of, sort of figured out a plan for the future. A couple of areas I hope to focus on in 2015 are:

– More travel! Shocking, I know! The first vacation of 2015 is already in the works. I also plan to take more advantage of my work trips. Travel is just good for the soul.

– Being more mindful. This is going to be in all areas of my life. I’ll share more about how this is going to happen later with a book review. But, generally, I want to focus more and be reaching my maximum potential at all time (or almost all the time). What does being at my best look like? That’s the big question for 2015.

– This blog! Unfortunately, this blog has taken a backseat in my ever busy life. That’s going to change in 2015. I have plans for a redesign, several mini series including one about Lean In and some book reviews. It’s going to take time but it will happen! The next post you can expect is my second entry in Jessica Lawlor’s Get Gutsy essay contest!

I hope you take the time to review your 2014 and plan for 2015. Let’s make a deal to check-in throughout the year on our progress. Wishing you another rockstar year!

2015

Punching My Card

At the beginning of the year, I made a promise to myself: to be healthy. I know most everyone starts the new year off with diets, new workout routines and juice cleanses. While all of that was part of my resolution, it has become so much more than that.

mentalityI knew being healthy was going to mean a change in behavior and a shift in mindset. I like to eat really good food and finding time to fit in a workout is always a challenge. But 2014 was the year when it had to change. I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life and knew something had to change. I found Zumba classes close to the train station, making it easiy to get there after work. My job also offers a strength training class after work in the cafeteria. These classes combined with a close-by yoga class and a run makes for a successful exercise week.

Each of my classes gives their participants a card to punch at each class. This card punching process has become addictive. I look so forward to class each week that I have on occasion flipped out when I couldn’t attend. Take last Wednesday for example. I couldn’t get to my strength training class because I didn’t take my car to the train station. I was in full tantrum mode by 6 a.m. After a few deep breaths, I realized that whybeing so upset means my fitness routine has become a priority for me. This was a shift in behavior as working out was never a constant priority; now it is. I look forward to my classes and want to order a salad for lunch. Of course priorities might have to shift some days and I will miss a class. But in the end, my overall well-being ranks high on the priority list now.

Since I’ve built working out into my weekly schedule, my body feels better and my attitude is more positive. I don’t huff and puff up the subway steps and actually look forward to my walk to Penn Station after work. Now I just need to stick through it during the spring!

Has fitness always been important to you? If not, what changed? Feel free to share your thoughts!

 

Leaps of Faith in 2013

Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals. I’m participating in Jessica Lawlor’s #GetGutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details.

Jumping fire during my first 5K

Jumping fire during my first 5K

When I think about the last year, two words come to mind: comfort zone. 2013 was an amazing year filled with many successes, a couple of failures and several leaps of faith. I am not one to readily jump out of my comfort zone to try something new. I like things a certain way; routines are a way of life for me. But, what I learned this year was that I can keep my routine while trying new things that provide a different perspective on life.

The biggest leap outside my comfort zone for 2013 had to be running my first 5K. Not only was it a 5K but it was a mud run complete with about 20 obstacles. Go big or go home, right? If you would have asked me a year ago today if I’d run a 5K, I would have laughed in your face. I said I never liked running without actually giving it a try. Now, while I am not an avid runner, I do enjoy running to clear my head and relax. I ran two 5K races in 2013; the goal for 2014 is to run three including Mudderella.

My next leap of faith was taken in New York City when I decided to go after a permanent job at the company I had be contracting for during the last year. When I started this job in November of 2012, I was unsure of what the future would hold. After contracting for nine months, the specific job I wanted posted on our company’s internal website. I applied instantly, knowing that this job was right for me. The job itself is outside of my comfort zone; it is not what I had planned nor it is a strictly communications job. But right now, it challenges me daily and allows me to build a variety of skill sets. The professional move outside of my career comfort zone has paid off tenfold.

Getting gutsy and making decisions outside of my comfort zone does not mean my routine or life has to be drastically altered. I was so scared of the unknown but found it can be an eye-opening experience. The last 365 have been packed with new experiences, memories and goals. My plan for 2014 is to keep pushing myself to the outer limits of my comfort zone while growing and learning during the process. This blog will see a complete overhaul in the coming weeks and I plan to travel to Europe in the early spring. These goals and others will help me stay gutsy in 2014.

What have you done recently that was outside your comfort zone? How was that experience? Please feel free to share with me!

ROC Race Sprints Past Shutdown

A couple of months ago, my friend and I decided we were going to run the ROC race in Brooklyn. The ROC (Ridiculous Obstacle Course) is a 5K race held all over the nation that has different obstacles. From wrecking balls to water slides, this race has it all! We were super excited to run the race this upcoming weekend until the government decided to shut down.

The ROC race was being held at the Aviator Sports & Events Center, which is part of a national park. Since the government shutdown, all national parks have been temporarily closed, thus postponing this race. Obviously, race participants were not happy, myself included. Not only was I training for the race, but I also paid a decent amount of money to run. The ROC race understood all of this and responded in the best ways possible. Here are the couple of actions the race took to ensure all NYC race participants were happy:

roc-race1) Constant communication: The race has sent me at least six emails since the shutdown began. They provide detailed updates about the race, our registration and any other developments. Just this morning I received a reminder to not pick up our race packets since the race is postponed. Some may think it’s overkill, but I like being informed and updated.

2) Updates on all outlets: Not only have we gotten email communications, but the ROC race has done a great job of updating their website FAQs and posting on Facebook to keep everyone informed. Their Facebook updates are particularly helpful as it’s easier to read that on my iPHONE.

3) Contingency plans: The ROC race has been very intentional with their planning. They could not have possibly known the government was going to shut down and postpone their race. They have set deadlines and already secured the space for next weekend, in the hopes that the shutdown will be over by this coming Monday. They are also taking race set-up and participant notification into consideration: If the shutdown isn’t over by Monday (October 14), they will not run the race that upcoming weekend. They are not trying to rush and just get the race done. They care enough about their participants to make sure the experience and execution are flawless.

4) Listening skills: When the race was first postponed, runners had two options: Run the race on the new date or transfer registration to another ROC race in a different location or on a different date. Once that news got out, people reacted strongly and were upset that they couldn’t choose a refund instead of a registration transfer. Race leadership responded quickly and created two additional options: a complete refund or a registration transfer to a friend. This absolutely showed how the race is primarily concerned with their runners’ experience and are willing to change plans in order to accommodate more participants.

Overall, I think the ROC race handled a difficult situation really well. Of course, there are still unhappy participants and everyone still wishes the race would run this weekend. But, given the circumstances, race leadership dealt with this mini crisis in a positive and professional way.

Thank you Summer 2013

With most children starting school today, I thought it would be a great time to reflect on my summer. Obviously, I was pretty busy! The end of summer is just the right time to look back on what you accomplished and set new goals for the fall.

When I was a Resident Assistant at Temple University, at the start of the spring semester, we did an exercise called “stop, start, continue.” As a staff, we listed out activities or behaviors we wanted to stop, to start and to continue.  I thought I’d organize all I learned this summer into those categories.

Stop:

  • Spending money: While it’s perfectly fine to believe in the phrase, “work hard, play hard,” I have to limit how much I spend on extra things. I am still living at home so it’s the opportune time to save. The fabulous ladies at Levo League posted a great article about when to dip into your savings. Wish I had read this sooner!
  • Feeling guilty: More to come on this topic later in the month. But I’m learning to feel less guilty about having a good job, making money, spending time with my friends over my family and vice versa. My life, my time.
  • Freaking out about work: As important as a job is, it’s just a job, not a life. While I love my current job, it doesn’t have to be forever. As the perpetual over thinker, I have to stop obsessing over the future and just keep moving forward

Start:

  • Traveling more: I am fortunate to travel for work frequently but this is different. I want to plan weekends away with my girlfriends and cousins; to visit new places, explore and be curious.
  • Being confident: Expect a post about this soon as well. I tend to downplay my abilities both at work and in my personal life. At almost twenty-three, it’s time to own my awesomeness instead of shying away from it.

Continue:

  • Blogging: I thoroughly enjoy writing and updating this blog weekly. Over the summer, other things took up my time. However, starting now, this blog will be my area of focus. Writing and sharing my thoughts is something I am passionate about so I have to make it a priority.
  • Running: I started running back in March and completed two races. It felt great and I saw its benefits in my body and in how I felt. It’s time to restart and get back into the healthy lifestyle groove.

As you can see, I learned a lot this summer and am so glad I used those sunny Saturday afternoons to grow and better myself. What did your learn from your summer? Do you have any goals for the fall? Please share!

Motivation Mondays: My First 5K

I hated running with an unbelievable passion. I was the kid who faked illness to get out of running the mile in gym class. During softball practice, I was the last one to finish laps. Running was not on my to-do list this year until suddenly it was.

One of my best friends, Trish asked me to participate in a run to raise money for her friend’s scholarship fund. Her friend, Clay passed away last summer in a car accident. It was tragic and painful to watch my friend go through that. So, if running the 5K for Clay was one small thing I could for the both of them, I was in. I had no clue what I was up against; a Rugged Maniac course that was 3.1 miles with 20 obstacles. Go big or go home, right?!

I started training for your standard 5K in March and surprisingly wasn’t nervous before starting the obstacle course on Saturday morning. Realistically, nothing would have prepared me for what I encountered on the course. Walls, tunnels, mud crawls under barbed wire and much more. I am still amazed at what I accomplished. I am wearing several battle wounds proudly today and learned three important lessons after my first 5K.

Our before and after picture

Our before and after picture

I knew I ran this race because of Trish and because of Clay. Last summer, I remember feeling so helpless, that there was no way to comfort my friend, whose life changed forever that day. Saturday was one way to help her and to honor an amazing guy who lit up the room with his presence. I could not imagine losing one of my best friends and having my world change so instantly. Trish and all of her friends are remarkable and turned such a sad day into a celebration of Clay’s life. I admire them for that. A lesson we’ve learned so many times was reinforced Saturday: that life truly is too short.

I never would have dreamed of running a 5K a year ago, let alone complete a mud run with obstacles. I physically, mentally and emotionally blew myself out of my comfort zone. To be honest, it feels (and felt) great! Crossing that finish line was one of the proudest moments of my life and I will never forget how it felt to accomplish something I never thought I could do. Impossible is a relative term because if you want to accomplish something, you will. I tried something that scared me, succeeded and now want to continue to get better.

During the last four months, running has taught me a lot about myself. It has become a form of therapy and the best way to manage my anxiety. When I get that pang in my chest and feel anxious, I go for a run instead of freaking out or screaming or eating. It has worked every single time with a variety of emotions including anger, sadness and nervousness. It has made me healthier, helped to manage stress and forced me to eat right. Amazing to think saying yes to one race led to all of this.

Saturday was amazing and I would totally do it again. I encourage you to jump out of your comfort zone,

5K For Clay team afterwards

5K For Clay team afterwards

with arms wide open. It is terrifying but the payoff is tenfold. If you’re as lucky as I am, you’ll have friends and family pushing you every step of the way. Friends like Trish and her brother Andy who were there each time I wanted to quit during the race. Friends like my co-worker Alicia who literally forced me to run certain days and supplied constant virtual support during the last couple of months. I am so grateful for their support as well as the support of others because you can’t do it alone.

Next time an opportunity to do something new, something that scares you arises, DO IT! I promise it will be a life-changing experience.

If it scares you, it probably is exactly what you need. 

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