What Gets You Moving?

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I love technology. I am a fan of using social media to connect with friends and like-minded fitness folks. I love my phone and my tablet. Not too long ago running meant lacing up my  shoes and heading out the door. But now I must have my phone and my Road ID bracelet, and my heart rate monitor, my watch, my earbuds, etc. etc. But technology is also a useful tool for staying motivated and on track with your goals. And anyone who’s made a New Year’s resolution or tried to make a change knows the importance of keeping the motivation going.

Some people have an inner drive to be the best, or just feel the need to get out and run everyday. They’re internally motivated. That’s not me. I need accountability. That can mean paying money for a big, scary race that I haven’t done before, or having a buddy I check in with regularly, or even having a coach. Without a goal or someone to check in with, I will likely be found on my couch rather than the trail. I’m definitely externally motivated.

If you’re like me, here are a few ideas I’ve tried (and still use) with some success:

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Facebook. I belong to a bunch of groups: Run JunkEes, Hogwarts Running Club (Proud Hufflepuff. Go Badgers!), Tri-Fecta: Family, Life, & Tri, Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans and Run with the Sisterhood. I also started a private group with co-workers. Any time I feel my motivation lag, or I just don’t want to get dressed and get out the door, I just have to look to one of these groups for some fantastic inspiration. Each of these groups has runners and walkers of every ability so if you’re a newbie and want to join a group I’m sure you will fit right in. I also love the support and positive attitudes that (most) people have. And it feels good to provide support when someone asks for help with their own lagging motivation.

Apps: Charity Miles (free) is a great one. I use this for Hogwarts Running Club as we earn points for our House with each mile we run, walk or cycle. They have about 37 different charities, so pick something close to your heart and get moving. Your miles get converted into dollars by company sponsors, so it’s a win-win. The only downside is that the app really doesn’t work well inside on a treadmill. But hey, it’s spring so go outside!

Map My Run or My Fitness Pal (free). These 2 apps connect with each other if you’re looking for a food diary and fitness tracker. I know people use lots of other running apps such as: Strava, Run Keeper, Rock My Run, Nike +, etc. So you can definitely find one to match your needs.

Road ID (free). This is a must for anyone who goes out alone. It gives you a home screen with an emergency contact, sends a text to your contact person (people) and lets them know where you are in real time. And if you stop moving it sends an alarm out from your phone. So if you stand around chatting with someone, or spend too much time fiddling with your shoes, Road ID will blast an alarm from your phone and will text your emergency contact. Trust me, this works incredibly well. I activated that system once and got a frantic call from my husband wondering what had happened to me. Luckily I was just taking a break and forgot to pause it.

My Yoga Studio ($5.00). Yes I am one of those people who actually bought a yoga app, but I use it every week. It has a variety of classes. I especially like to use a 15 minute stretch video after a run. YouTube is another great resource for yoga and strength videos. Of course nothing beats going to an actual class, but this is great when I’m home and want to get some stretching and movement into my day.

Skimble (free but unlocks more workouts when you pay). This is a strength workout app and I use it when I’m bored or need to change things up a bit. I like to do balance exercises or a quick strength workout while Bob cooks dinner. The workouts tend to be 15-20 minutes each. No special equipment required. Most use hand weights and/or body weight. Easy breezy.

Fitness Trackers ($100.-$200. and up).  Lots of my co-worker friends got Fit Bits for Christmas and using it really brought them together for some healthy competition.  I use something else. I have a Garmin Vivoactive (with a heart rate monitor), which is a big step up from my old Polar heart rate watch and monitor. The Vivoactive tracks my steps, my sleep, my runs, walks, cycling, swimming. It also tracks golf, but I don’t golf so I have no experience with how well that works. I wear it all the time and sync it to the Garmin Connect app for details about my various activities. It also automatically posts to My Fitness Pal and Map My Run saving me from that extra step.  I can’t really say anything negative about it. This watch does everything but actually run for me. I mean, it even pushes me out the door. If you are committing to walking, running, triathlons or other activities, and you have some extra cash, then consider getting one of these fitness trackers. Connect with your friends and cheer each other on. You can still connect with your non-Fit Bit pals using Map My Run or some other running app.

Coaches. (Free – $the sky’s the limit). Coaches are a great resource and good ones can be found online. The coach I found to help me with my sprint triathlon last summer was $35.00 for 3 months. And she was awesome. The. Best. Deal. She provided personalized coaching plans with a training app and a private Facebook group. I was in the best shape of my life when I crossed that finish line, thanks in large part to Coach Kim. I’ve tried other online coaches and haven’t been as satisfied; there is some trial and error. What works for one may not work for another. I like a coach that checks in and helps me through the rough patches. Coach Kim (PowerofRun.com) totally helped me through a mini self confidence crisis with my swimming. The plan was personalized and that’s what you want when you’re paying real money.

Obviously this is not a comprehensive list, but this is a sample of what I’ve found that works for me. The important things for me are being safe when I’m out running, keeping my motivation as consistent as possible and switching things up when I’m bored.
 

What’s up next:

  • Blindfold Challenge training
  • Working on my nutrition
  • 15K training

 

 

 

 

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St. Patrick’s Day Road Race 2016

The 41st annual Holyoke Road Race 10k was held Saturday March 19th. This was my second time running it and my husband’s first. It’s a very hilly course (341 feet of elevation according to my Garmin). But the weather cooperated with abundant sunshine, a slight breeze, and temps around 40 degrees. A perfect day to be outside. I was feeling good, calm, not nervous at all. I just figured I’d go out there and do my best. Whatever that means on any particular day. That’s all any of us can do, right?

 

race bibs and t shirts

 

There were almost 6,000 runners, which is about 2,000 more than last year. It. was. bananas. Oh the humanity! There was just a sea of people running, walking, drinking, cheering. It was incredible. I wish I had more photos of race day, but I honestly didn’t take any. Most of the pictures here are thanks to my friends who are way more organized than I am.  Rather than go into every gory detail about each mile, I think I’ll just summarize with a Top 6.2 List:

1. Running with Bob. Or at least we both ran the race even though we didn’t stay together. I loved that he was out there running his race while I was running mine.

 

 

2. Our friends made us a sign! It was a total surprise and it made me so happy to see them out around mile 2.5 and then at the finish line. Fantastic!

Bob, Carol, and me

 

3. One of my friends has an apartment at the finish line. Warm, dry, clean. Food, water, potty, friends. All awesome. Hanging out with my running buddies before and after the race was the best.

 

warming up before the race

4. Running all the hills. Oh, yes. Those hills were mine. I walked them last year, but I reminded myself that I decided to do my best, and on race day that meant running. As I said in Attitudes, hills are where the growth happens, and after this race my confidence grew by leaps and bounds.

5. I averaged 11 minute miles, which I’m proud of considering how challenging the course is. I’m really happy with my results.

6. Along with the decision to do my best, I also decided not to drink at the insanely crowded after party. Such a good decision for me. And I’m so proud of myself for my self control. It would have been so easy to grab a beer and start to booze-face, but I didn’t want to. So I didn’t. And the next day the only ache I had was in my muscles. My head was clear and that was a pretty great feeling.

And last but not least:

.2 – Bonus! You can put Apple earbuds through the wash and they will work just fine. I left mine in my shirt pocket accidentally. Now they’re clean and ready for my next run. Derp.

 

Up next:

  • Planning out my spring and summer race and training schedules!
  • Waiting on my new shoes! Just ordered the Brooks Launch 3 and I can’t wait to try them out.

#racewire #holyokeroadrace2016

Attitudes

 Hello and Welcome to Running Over the Hill!

Why did I choose to call my blog Running Over the Hill? Well, this is a health and fitness blog, for starters and I love to run as my main form of exercise. Secondly I am in my 40s (45 to be exact), so my focus is on how to stay healthy even though I’m middle-aged (aka “over the hill”). And finally, hills are my nemesis, especially on a long run. But truth be told hills are where the growth happens. My goal for this blog is to have conversations about health and fitness topics, trends, issues, and tips. I’ll post weekly and I welcome and embrace feedback with a big ol’ virtual bear hug.

I’m excited to start so let’s jump right into my first post topic. It’s something I’ve had on my mind for a long time. Attitudes.

The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment.   Anonymous

No health and fitness routine or diet (or life) will be successful without the right attitude. Health and fitness is 99% mental, people! I just made up that statistic. I honestly don’t know the percentage, but I know your body won’t go where your mind won’t take it.

What do I mean exactly? Well, let’s start with a positive attitude. Easier said than done, believe me. I struggle with this one on the daily:

“I don’t want to work out today.”

“I’m never going to lose this weight.”

“Ugh, look at those wrinkles! I look so old!”

“Is my ass always this huge?”

And on and on it goes.

What would happen if your friend said those things about herself to you? How would you feel? What would you say to her?

Would you commiserate?  Would you silently agree in judgment? Or would you speak up and call it out?

My dear friend, you are a beautiful person inside and out. No one cares what size pants you wear except you.

As sisters and brothers in this youth-obsessed society it’s impossible not to buy into this idea of what we are supposed to look like. And that makes it so easy to judge each other and ourselves. That’s just the truth. Look at any magazine. Open Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Do you compare yourself to the people you see? I do and sometimes I feel like I’m coming up short.  It’s enough to make me take to my bed for the next fortnight.

But no! I won’t succumb to this body-shaming culture we currently have. I want to change the conversation and I’m so glad to see some push-back on this issue out in Media Land. Finally we women are looking at these impossible standards and saying “Oh eff that!” And that’s huge. As a woman, firstly, and a school counselor with adolescents secondly, I know how badly we need to change this conversation. Girls and boys alike are developing self esteem and body image issues partly due to growing up being marketed to with this subtext that women are supposed to be sexy and photo shopped and skinny, and men are supposed to be tough and sexy. That’s not reality! Those images aren’t real! The people in those photographs don’t even look like that IRL.

How about when you hear someone at the gym talk about how sick she is to be “stuck in the 150s” or that she “only” lost 2.5 pounds last week or that he “only ran an 8 minute mile” or “Ooh I was so bad today. I ate a cupcake!” Or what if you said something very similar just the other day yourself? Is that negative attitude helping to move forward? No, of course not. The focus is on the wrong thing.

Turn it around: My weight is healthy. I lost weight last week. I ran an 8 minute mile and that makes me a hot shit! I ate a cupcake today and it was delicious. Because I can guarantee you there is someone in your near vicinity who wishes they could be or do what you are currently crapping all over. So be careful with your words because they have the ability to harm or to heal.

Attitude is everything. It determines what I say to myself. Am I bringing myself down or lifting myself up? It determines what I choose to focus on – the victory or the defeat. The positive or the negative. And I’ve learned from experience that negative thinking gets you a negative life. Plus it’s exhausting. You have no energy for your goals if you’re using all your energy being down on yourself.

Are you “good” or “bad” depending on what you ate or how much/little you exercised today? Absolutely unequivocally not! It’s just food. It’s just exercise. It doesn’t have any other inherent qualities. It definitely doesn’t define you as being “good” or “bad” depending on what you ate or how much/little you exercised. But your thoughts do.

So for those of us with fitness goals, what are you saying to yourself? Are you a Sally Sunshine or a Debbie Downer? And what are you saying about yourself to others? Are you downplaying your achievements? Are you focusing on how much weight you still have to lose or how you can “only” run a mile (or a minute or not at all)? Turn it around. Focus on what you’ve done and what you can do, and what you’re working on. You’re building something amazing here. There’s no room for a negative attitude. Let it motivate and drive you to bigger and better things.

In case I haven’t made it clear: what you’re going to see here is positive talk and a positive outlook. Does it come naturally to me? Not always, but I’m cultivating the habit because it is crucial to success. I invite you to try it. Pay attention to what you say to yourself or about yourself. Pay attention to what other people say. If it’s negative, turn it around. There is always something positive in every situation if we look hard enough. We have to train our brains and our bodies will follow.

So it’s with this mindset, this attitude, that I begin this new venture. This is a place for like-minded people. I welcome you to come here for inspiration, accountability, and maybe a swift kick in the arse as necessary (and sometimes it is!)

I’m cheering for you!

xoxo

Karen