Pace and Mind

I’ve kind of been a Debbie Downer lately. So, if you haven’t read, I have been having a lot of issues with depression and anxiety. Sometimes, life gets a little too real. I am ready to move forward- to focus on my marathon, working, and getting my head straight. 

   
    

What do those instapics mean??

You guys, I AM RUNNING AGAIN! I am slower than a turtle, but with each run, I feel stronger. It’s a feeling that I have not felt in a long time- months even. The fuel that I’ve slowly begin to feel over the past 4 days has helped me feel like I’m doing SOMETHING and that something makes me want to LIVE. Crazy, right? (That’s a joke, because clearly I’m a little wacko when I’m low)
In addition to the wonderful world of running, I am also taking on a 30 day challenge (see picture) 

  Looks pretty fun, right??
So, the cool thing about this is that I think I like working out. Running is mental. Lately, I’ve been envisioning myself running races (which is NOT a Sam thing because I hate paying to run) and finishing strong, like I did in the few I’ve ran.  It sounds dumb, but I’ve also been thinking about my training as week. Anything to take my mind out of the dark place, to be blunt. When I workout, it’s a whole different world. I could close my eyes and not worry about a pot hole or getting smashed into by a vehicle (that doesn’t know pedestrians have the right away). I count, there’s repetitions, there’s a number, a timer, different motions I have to make sure I’m doing correctly. I AM NOT IN MY HEAD AT ALL- and it feels SO liberating. 
I haven’t felt that sense of calm- like nothing can go wrong- in a long time, maybe even years. Working out gives me a security I’m not used to, and when I begin to see results, I know I’ll love it more. 
I’m starting off slow, running in the mornings and doing the challenge and potentially a class at night (when I’m not doubling up at my jobs). I am also cutting all fried food (besides tortilla chips cuz duh) out of my diet. I’ve been sticking to my 2000 calories a day, with fried food but I think having a cleaner diet will also help. 

I know this all sounds simple, but I was in such a dark place… I can’t wait to see where this will take me physically and maybe mentally. 

So you all know- I’m okay-ish, which is better than where I was. I’m getting through this a day at a time. 

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10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Marathon

  

1. Have an 8 mile base before you start.

Arguably, you should have trained for a half marathon by this point. Marathons happen to be something that you can’t just jump into without some type of prior training or running experience. The thing about a marathon and it’s training is that it’s completely unpredictable. You could have an awesome training, and then a shitty race. Or your training could be one of the hardest things that you’ve ever done in your life, and you just stop. It takes a lot to run a marathon. 

Having that comfortable 8 miles as a base is great because you’re almost halfway done with your distance right there. Plus, that the distance of your first long run!

2. You need a fuel belt or hydration pack. 

Running any distance carrying a water bottle can suck. Problems arise, like the extra weight hurting your arms or maybe being a jerk-bag litter-er.

You can look on Amazon, at Marshalls, TJ Maxx, any running store, or even Dick’s Sporting Goods. There’s all types of varieties. The main difference is usually bottle size. For me, I have a hydration Pack that holds normal size water bottles. For some people, that’s too heavy. There’s a lot of options in size. It just comes down to how much weight you’re comfortable carrying, and how much water you believe that you need.


3. Invest in Gu or Jelly Beans
 

Believe me, on a long run you will feel fatigued and tired. Those little jellybeans or nasty gu can give you the energy to push you through to the very end. Sometimes, water and a pre-run meal don’t finish the job!

The cool part about these electrolyte carrying goodies, is that a lot of them come in sizes that you can carry in your field. It doesn’t really add any extra weight. And, so that actually do taste good. I choose the jellybeans for that option. However, salted caramelGu, is, from what I’ve been told, the Mecca of runner run foods. 


4. It costs more than an entry fee, but the pay off is worth it. 

Shoes, clothing, the sudden increase in pasta, Olive Garden, pizza, essentially all items that require food prices going up, having to take time off from work for recovery days, and, last but not least, all of the stuff that you didn’t realize you needed that you find at the expo add up.   Running is an expensive ass hobby. Much like dietary changes, it is a lifestyle change in itself. Something that you definitely have to budget for. I would say the most important thing you don’t budget for is how much you von love with running. That “you-time” is priceless.

5. You may need multiple pairs of shoes.

 As I said before, you definitely have to keep shoes and mine. It’s not good to just train in one pair. Having a variety will also help your knees get used to different feelings of shoes. They say you’re never supposed to run a race and new shoes, but by trading off shoes, that happened to not be of the same type, you’re really helping yourself become a stronger runner and saving mileage.

6. You NEED to follow a training plan.

Experienced runners, or people that I’ve had training in running may not need this. But, having a training plan requires accountability, and helps you set goals for yourself. Knowing that you’re going to have a 10 mile run at the end of the week definitely helps you reconsider a couple of choices. Maybe you won’t stay up late binging on Netflix, or you think those hot wings might be a bad choice before 20 mile run. Knowing what you have coming and seeing what types of runs that you can do for yourself helps the marathon become easier. Not too many people can just go out and run a marathon. 

I’m only a month removed from mine, but in that month I rested, was sick, and have just started getting quick again. It takes time, and I probably could run a marathon right now. It just wouldn’t be at the time I wanted it to be. Your body needs to get used to what you’re putting it through, and training plans are safe route to do it.
 
7. You need to ignore the scale.

You’re going to gain some weight marathon training. I have been lucky in the fact that in the weight I’ve gained, it’s really bad muscle mass. So I’ve actually been looking like I’ve lost weight. However some people pack on the pounds.  Don’t worry- your body needs that fuel. That energy is not fat. It is something that your body will feed off of. And you’ll find that once your marathon training is over, and you’re resting it’ll fall right off because your body is just so fatigued. The scale is not your best friend. Your goal time is. 

8. You’ll develop a race ritual.

This may sound weird, but many runners already have one. It’s something that you don’t really notice until you think about. I have to fit in active waffles with butter and syrup, I sit with my dog and share them with him, and then I go drive myself to a race, parka ballpark Village, and then jog to soldiers memorial and go to the starting line. That, so far, has been my pre-race ritual for my two marathons.

my dog being judgemental before a long run

My long run ritual, includes the same shirt and shorts, waffles, and, most likely, Forest Park.  You’ll find what helps you groove. Whether it’s music playlist, a favorite pair of socks, or just an area where you feel at home. It all becomes a part of the ritual.

9. Carb load 2 days before a long run.  

Don’t ask, just do it. It kind of goes along with the whole “don’t listen to your scale” thing.  Before it 18 or 22 mile run, you’re going to eat about 4000 cal the day before, and even the day before then don’t be afraid to eat some carbs. Your body needs it. It is your only excuse to ever just pack on the food.

10. Post Marathon resting is just as important as cross training and resting.

Me and the rest day don’t get along. I run at least 3 miles a day. Currently I’ve been on the 3 to 6 mile street for the last week and a half. This coming week I’m pre-training for my next marathon so I can begin to get the fee of what I’m in for. 

 
However,  after winter where I  was essentially side mind for a month and a half, I have learned to take pure pleasure in a rest day. I may only run a mile, but I’m still doing something. However, I run a lot so my body reacts differently. For new runners,  this day is one of the most important because it allows your muscles to grow. 

Embrace the rest day. It is your friend, just like running.

The Supplement/Wrap/Diet Free Way To Lose Over 100 Pounds: Starter Edition

   My name is Sam. I’m 22 (pushing 23) and over the past year and a half I have lost a considerable amount of weight. 

In August of 2013, I was over 275 pounds. I was interning at the little place in Orlando called Walt Disney World.  That was where I began my journey. However, I’ll give you some  background information in myself so you can see how exactly I got to that point in my life.

   
Here I am at the end of my freshman year.

  

Here I am sophomore year

 

Finally, me on my 21st birthday when I first got to Disney World.
Within my first three years of school, I both literally and metaphorically did a lot of growing. For me, Disney was a roller coaster but, in all of my years of college, I had never learned about what I really wanted to do with myself. I was comfortable. Comfort brought on settling and I dug myself into a whole where I felt settled rather than happy. I was having a rough time adapting to being so far away from home, so, during a phone conversation after a visit home my mom said that I needed to fill my excess time up by doing something for me. In here mind that was going for a walk.
My mom is a marathoner.

She a bad B

My walk was her half marathon at the time because I was so out of shape. I was drinking, smoking, and eating in an attempt to fill a void in my life. I don’t know about many of you, but free time is my downfall because I get bored. Boredom leads to me getting bummed out from over-thinking, which then is closely followed by a bad mood. It’s a viscous circle. After years of her telling me to get healthy, I finally agreed. 

I got my ass on an elliptical and started my journey.

  
It took me 1 month to move from elliptical, to treadmill, followed by running 2-3 miles outside. From October, when I started, to December I went from being unable to jog 1 mile to consistently running 6 (at a 12-13 minute pace).

So, when beginning your journey there are some things to keep in mind.

1. Don’t starve yourself because you aren’t dieting. 

Eating right for a healthier you is a lifestyle change. Not something you’re going to give up once your body is how you want it to be.

Food is your friend. 

Think of your body as a vehicle. Your car is going to weigh lighter without gas, but it doesn’t have anything in the tank to get you anywhere.

Indulge when you feel like it, and enjoy your food.

2.Progress takes time, and is a roller coaster. 

It is SO easy to get discouraged.  One of the main roles that I follow is that I don’t live by my scale. A scale just tells you how much mass you have on this earth. It does not tell you that you can run a half marathon. Those numbers are merely there to help you realize where you are. A scale is not you as a person. 

People call themselves that all the time. Here’s the thing, you aren’t fat. You have fat. If you so choose to work out, you can do something about that. Or, for some people they may choose to have more fat on her body. Who are we to judge others for their own life decisions. When it comes down to it, no two bodies are the same. Men and women are two very different entities. And when you look at each sex, you’ll find that there’s variation between everyone uses those identities. 

There’s an adjustment period, or moment of realization where you realize that you aren’t happy. But does it mean that somebody else your size is wrong and being happy. Everyone has their own individual goals to strive for. I like to think of weight is running a marathon.

You put ours, hundreds of miles, and blood sweat and tears into training. You train for one day. You have no idea what could happen. There could be an unexpected injury, a bad storm, or could be the most perfect conditions and you just don’t feel right. Just because you don’t feel good or you’re upset doesn’t mean that you can’t change it.strive to be the best version of you. It takes time, but you’ll get there.

3. Be mindful of what you eat.

Grilled chicken, salmon, good cards, pasta (when measured accurately), fruits are all awesome. If God didn’t make it, avoid it. 

I could never, ever, fathom giving up my believed diet coke, but I monitored my intake. I never once starved myself in the beginning because it’s hard for your body to shift its habits. 

You will be gassy, having to go to the bathroom because your tummy is upset, even go through being bloated but that is apart of the process. Just like you, your body will need a reset and time to adjust all of the changes you’re going through.

 
Even where I’m at now, I’m unhappy- or unsatisfied. A couple months ago I was more than this. Health problems caused me to gain weight. I’m doing everything that I possibly can to fix that. It’s a lot of effort at first, counting calories, being sore, finding motivation, and most importantly getting enough sleep. Once you get into the habit of it though, it just becomes natural. 

If you have any questions, or just want to know what else I’ve done when starting out, please feel free to post in the comments section. I’m glad to make any edits or updates. In the future, I’m planning on making a post about maintaining weight loss, how to make healthy food good, and what to do when you get sidetracked! 

For some additional information, check out my piece How Running Changed Me on Runners World!