Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My World = Runner's World

When I get really excited about something I find important I begin to take on obsession like characteristics over it. It consumes my spare time, my conversations with people; it basically turns into my world. This new obsession of mine is not an opinion or an idea I want to push on anyone, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and now I can’t wait any longer – I want to run a half-marathon.

Ever since I can remember I have always loved to run. I remember when I was six years old, I was playing in the playground and I asked a fellow classmate to teach me how to run faster. His advice? Pump my arms. When I was in third grade the teacher made me run with the boys so I would have competition. Middle school – track, high school – long runs to stay in good condition for sports, and then there came college. Dun, Dun, Dun. Oh my how four years flies and the only time I thought of running was about two weeks before bathing suit season.

My New Year’s resolution for every year since I was 14 has been to run three to five times a week. Every year I started off strong or maintained it in spurts throughout the year but would get lost in the hustle and bustle of life. But this year I’ve actually been able to maintain it by changing my mindset. What is my new mindset approach to exercise? I want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I want to be 40 plus years old and still be able to run five miles.

I do admit running does get old after you do it four times a week with the same route. The benefit of Chapel Hill is that it is so friendly to runners, and it has numerous side walks all over to create new routes. But other than new routes I try to incorporate other forms of cardio and exercise. Something as simple as using the elliptical once a week to attending a cycling class can make a difference. I participated in the YMCA’s Tour de France cycling class a couple weeks ago and it kicked my butt, but I loved it! It was 34 miles in two hours and it mocked the route the bikers in the race were actually doing at the time. Now I want to take up cycling on the side!

Though I do love changing up my workout sessions and making exercise a lifestyle, in the end you have to find what works for you. My personal success has come from making exercise a lifestyle and incorporating it throughout my day. I do this by keeping my sneakers outside of my closet as a reminder that I’m going to be running later. I read numerous articles and blogs about healthy recipes, fitness advice, and so much more. I don’t do this as a chore either, I love it! These past couple of months I’ve been reading up on fitness tips in Fitness magazine, Shape magazine, and now my new favorite RUNNER’S WORLD. I’m obsessed with Runner’s World magazine! My walking up stairs buddy, and more importantly friend at work, Carol, gave me this crucial inside scoop. Let’s just say I stayed up all last night watching video after video of all these great running tips, training tips, fitness assessment tips, even the Runner’s World challenge - You name it, I watched it.

Well this year I’m finally back into routine and I’ve been sticking to my 2010 New Year’s resolution pretty good. Granted I’ve had my relapses, but I’m ready to push myself and make myself work for something. My principal of making this a lifestyle is the key to my success. I want to be healthy and lead an active life. I don’t desire to be thin and look like the women in the fashion industry. When I think of them I just want to eat. However, what does motivate me is the idea of being fit, being completely in-tune with my body and being strong. I’m in love with the women featured in Runner’s World magazine. They aren’t just in shape, they don’t work out to look good in a bathing suit – they’re motivated, they’re strong mentally and physically – they have reached their body’s ultimate potential. They have mastered one of the hardest elements of fitness, which is to be completely in sync with your mind and body. This is who I want to be.

This is my ultimate favorite picture!

Friday, July 23, 2010

When I Loved Myself Enough

You know those moments in life when you can just feel everything is changing? Knowing that after this moment your life and who you are as a person will be different? It's one of those events where you know it may be tough right now, but you can feel yourself becoming stronger, evolving, and becoming the person you want to be. And sometimes in those moments you question yourself, you need a pick-me-up to help you find yourself in the midst of all the chaos.

Well my pick-me-up last summer was two books - Eat.Pray.Love and When I Loved Myself Enough. These books still rest on my nightstand and I occasionally flip through my dog-eared, pen-marked pages when in time of reflection before bed. Both books have helped me find my inner-strength and taught me life lessons that I continue to reflect on when I find myself in need of a little wisdom. These words helped me understand my strengths, my weaknesses, my wants, my goals, and most importantly myself.

My favorite quote from When I Loved Myself Enough is:

"When I loved myself enough
I quit settling for too little."

I have soooo many more, but this one inspired me the most and sums up the transformation I went through during this life changing stage.

The other night as I was lying in bed reading my cards from Justin, I felt inspired to write in my journal my own quotes about when I knew I loved myself enough. Here are a few that depict me...

When I loved myself enough
The important things and people in my life became clear, and I realized what matters most is myself and the people who make me a better person.

When I loved myself enough
I began to challenge myself physically and mentally because I was stronger with this love.

When I loved myself enough
I was able to love him with my full heart and I wasn't afraid.

When I loved myself enough
I quit worrying about how much I want to make and focused on doing what makes me happy.

When I loved myself enough
I consciously removed the people and things who bring me down, and I looked to those who bring me up.

When I loved myself enough
I cried when I wanted to instead of smiling.

When I loved myself enough
My heart felt strong, my mind felt able, and I felt ready for change. For the first time, I welcomed it.

People always say you can't love someone else until you truly love yourself. And for me it wasn't until this past year when I could finally feel what truly loving myself felt like. I would find myself jumping on the inside and saying to myself in my mind "I'm so happy, I'm so happy, I'm so happy." I could feel I was heading in the right direction. For the first time I was so in love with myself and my decisions that I was able to experience what true love felt like in a relationship when it approached me.

And now I'm going through another change, but this one is different. I'm beginning a new chapter in my life - the Young Professional chapter. I'm moving out of my cozy college town environment to a life in the city and beginning my first big girl job. Normally I don't adapt well to change, but this time I'm excited. I'm excited to have a strong relationship, strong friendships, and a strong family in my life here to share these moments with me. I'm excited to challenge myself in my career and begin working my way up in the world. Most of all I'm excited to begin experiencing all the dreams I've been waiting to fulfill, the American dream events that will eventually fall into place, and to finally become the person I am destined to be.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Smile a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

“Smiling is infectious,

You can catch it like the flu.

Someone smiled at me today,

And I started smiling too.”

~Author Unknown

I’ve found that the key to life, friendships, relationships, opportunities, stress, happiness, and so much more hangs on the simplicity of a smile.

A smile makes somebody else’s day a little bit easier. A smile makes you feel warm inside. I smile makes others around you happy. So why not smile?

People often say I smile more than anyone else they know and it’s not because I’m always happy, but it’s because it’s how I want to make others feel. I want people I encounter to know I care about them and to feel positive energy when they’re with me. This principle of mine is also supported by studies that found between 60 and 70 percent of all human communication is derived from nonverbal behavior. Body language is powerful, and it’s a simple gesture that says a lot about a person.

Not only is smiling contagious, but it also improves your health! It boosts your immune system because you are more relaxed, lowers your blood pressure, releases endorphins, and best of all it helps you stay positive. So smile away, it’s the best prescription you’ll ever get.

Here are a few people who give me a reason to smile

My mother - she smiles so much she now has permanent "laugh lines"

My sister - she stands up for those who need a voice and listens to her heart

Justin - He makes my heart smile :)

Strokin' Stephy! - Always positive, always a great friend

B Mon - she's the funniest, craziest, and best friend to have

YaYa - Because we're always there for each other.

It takes a lot of work from the face to let out a smile, but just think what good smiling can bring to the most important muscle of the body... the heart. ~Author Unknown