Let me start by saying that I’m a huge advocate for self care. Having to deal with anxiety/depression for some time now I’ve learned the hard way that at some point you need to take a break from your usual stressors.
At first I found it hard to let go of my responsibilities (family and home) and take some time for myself. I always wanted to be in charge of everything. I never wanted to relinquish responsibility to anyone else. I couldn’t accept help for fear that no one could do anything as well as I could. Let me break it to you here. It will all be there when you get back and yes someone else can take over while you’re away. I promise things will it fall apart.
When I was in therapy while struggling with postpartum depression a few years back my therapist suggested I practice self care. Somehow a therapist prescribing it gave me legitimate permission to try it out. That it must be ok. I started slowly by going out shopping alone, even if it was just to run a necessary errand. I’d get some time alone to listen to a podcast or wander aimlessly through Target while kidless.
Practice makes perfect. Now I’m a master. I take time every day to workout by either getting up early or waiting until the kids are in bed to fit it into my day. Occasionallly I go out on dates with my husband, meet a friend for dinner/movie or get a pedicure. The possibilities are endless. You must not feel guilty about needing a break so you can be the best “you” possible.
Now that it’s summer and I do not have to go to work I’m much more laid back. I’ve got plenty of time to fit in my selfcare. I’ve strategically set up my girls’ summer activities so I can use that time to for “me” time. When they have swim lessons I swim laps in the other pool at the gym. While they’re at tennis I go for a run or sit at a picnic table and write a blog post. And as a seasonal bonus (my in laws are snow birds) on Saturday mornings my in-laws take the girls for a few hours. I use that time to go to yoga and run quick errands.
I know I’ve got it good with a supportive husband and generous grand parents on both sides. I’ve also got an awesome neighbor/best friend who trades babysitting with me so we can each have time to get things done. Not sure what I would do without my amazing support system.
Do you take time for selfcare? How often? How do you spend your “me” time?
Don’t for get about my Christmas in July Races giveaway and discount code. The odds are looking amazing right now with just one official entry.
This year I will be running the Christmas in July Races at Lisle Community Park in Lisle, Illinois. I’m not sure if I’m going to run the 5K and defend my 3rd place (woman overall) award or if I will do the 10K. If you’re not into the shorter distances and you want to challenge yourself in one of the ultras you can choose from a 6hour, 12hour or 24 hour race. This is a 2 day event from July 17-18. Check out the Christmas in July website for more information about this event.
Do you want to join me? You can register for any of the races now and get 10% off by using the code ANNEPROMO10 or you can enter the giveaway for a FREE entry for the 5K/10K or $75 off of one of the timed events (6 hour, 12 hour, 24 hour). To enter the giveaway please leave a comment mentioning which race distance you’d like to do and why. You can get a bonus entry if you also “like” my Facebook page and leave a note in the comments that you did so.
Fun details about the event:
- Fun run (kids races) are FREE and all participants will receive an AWESOME medal, a t-shirt, a bib. 2 runs – Friday night and Saturday night 30 minutes before 5K/10K.
- Evening races on both Friday and Saturday nights: 5K – Friday at 8:00, 10K – Saturday at 7:30 PM.
- Ultra timed events, All start on Friday night kicking off with 24 Hour from 10 PM – 10 PM Saturday; 12 Hour 11:00 PM – 11:00 AM, and 6 hour 12 AM – 6 AM.
- Ultras – no DNF – run as much or as little as you like! All participants get an award.
- Fully stocked aid station with meals served for ultras. Water, electrolyte drink, and snacks at the 5k/10k aid stations.
I will leave the giveaway open until Monday June 22, 2015. Shortly after I will randomly pick a winner and announce it on the blog. I can’t wait to find out who will be joining me at this event.
1. Ugh, I gained about 4 extra pounds during the few months I was struggling with depression and anxiety. It was a combination of not really caring about what and how much I put into my body. I enjoyed way too many treats, which was maybe a way to try and make myself feel better. The good news is that I spent the last four weeks getting back to my consistent morning workout routine. Previously I was unable to get myself out of bed each morning until it was absolutely necessary. I still worked out, but crammed it into my already busy afternoons and evenings, which definitely added to my stress level. Not only am I back to my morning workouts, but I have also been keeping track of my calories and being mindful about eating as clean and healthy as possible. As a result I have lost 3 of the 4 pounds I gained. I hoping within the next couple of weeks I can reach and maintain my ideal weight. I wanted to start out this marathon training season without those extra four pounds. I’m so proud to be back on the right track.
Esprit de She 2014
2. This weekend I will be doing my second outdoor triathlon, The Naperville Esprit de She. I’m excited to join several of my friends as they tackle this one as their first. It’s nice to be on the other side this year knowing what to expect. My anxiety level was a 10 plus/10 last year and this year I’m more like a 5/10. Last Saturday was the first time I had been on my bike (I was mostly on the stationary bike at the gym) since last year and I was super nervous about getting in and out of the pedals. I was fearful of falling. After riding with friends for 18 miles last Saturday I realized I just needed to get out and do it. It was not as bad as my mind had made it out to be.
3. I am running the Chicago Marathon again this year for charity. I will be joining the Les Turner ALS Foundation team in hopes to raise money for a cause near to my heart. I did not get into the marathon via the lottery this year. I was thrilled to find out that Run For ALS was willing to welcome me back. My goal again this year is to sub 4. I missed my goal by under 2 minutes last year and struggled with those results. I’m honestly a little nervous to start working hard towards that goal, but I know I have it in me.
Are you running any races for charity?
A month ago, yes a month ago, I went to California with some of my best running friends to run the Big Sur Marathon. Physically, it was the most difficult run I’ve ever done. But the views and the company were worth all the blood, sweat and tears that were shed. And let’s not forget about my sunburned calves. I’m still sporting the farmer’s tan.
Unfortunately before we even got to the starting corrals I lost most of my friends in the crowd. My friend Vicky and I stopped to snap this picture and when were turned around everyone had already been sucked into the crowd of runners. After that it was just Vicky and me for the entire 26.2 miles.
I was coming off 3 weeks of sickness with the flu and then some secondary infections (double ear infection and bronchitis), so I wasn’t able to run for almost the entire 3 weeks of taper. There was a time mid sickness when I was convinced I was going to have to cancel the entire trip because I felt so awful with no end in sight. I was only able to run twice in the week before the race. One of those runs (5 miles) I had to stop and walk the last half mile home. Needless to say I was a little worried about how this race was going to go.
Vicky stuck with me and my pathetically slow pace the entire time. She never complained when I insisted on starting slow or even when I had to walk, which was a lot. We ran the first 5 miles at an almost 11:00 min/mile pace. This stretch of the marathon was down hill beginning in Big Sur National Park. I thought starting off slow would help us save energy for the rest of the race. Hindsight I’m laughing at myself about how unaware I was about what was to come. It’s hilly they said. Mother of god, it was hills, hills and more hills. Long hills that were miles long too. But the toughness could never out shine the beauty that lined the course. There was beautiful scenery after beautiful scenery. Every bend offered a more beautiful sight than the bend before.
Miles 5 through 23 were so difficult not only because of the hills but the headwind was super strong and never ending. I seriously felt like I was running into the wind, up a hill and despite my best efforts making no forward progress. I figured it took less energy to walk. I was forced to do a walk run and Vicky was happy (I think) to oblige. We walked all the uphills and ran the downhills. Of course we had to stop and take a bajillion pictures too. At mile 23 we passed Jeff Galloway and his harem (they were walk running in 15 second intervals for the entire marathon!!). After passing our good friend Jeff we met a guy named Dave from Florida who chatted us up and kept us entertained for the remaining 3 miles, which we actually ran.
This race was an amazing experience. There were many times when I was felt like I’d been out on the course for way too long and I started to feel defeated. There was also the time that I cried filled with gratitude at the halfway point when we made it to the Bixby bridge where the concert pianist played. And there was the finish when I was so glad that I had run this race for fun instead of for time.
I took so many pictures. Below are some highlights.
Do you have a bucket list race you’re itching to run?
There’s a reason why I’ve been missing around here. The truth is back in March my anxiety got out of control and depression set in hard. Many things fell through the cracks. This blog being one of those things. It took me months to realize something was off, then a couple of weeks to get up the courage to ask a therapist friend for a referral. Then once I got the referral it took me a few more weeks to finally call and make an appointment.
Without getting into too much detail describing my crazy I’ve been going to therapy weekly for a couple of months. I’m slowly getting back on track and I finally feel okay trying to add blogging back into my list of to dos. Luckiky in the midst of my mental ups and downs I was able to keep up with my workouts. It was probably one of the only grounding thing in my life.
This year my first race was the Big Sur Marathon, which I still need to recap. Spoiler alert: it was challenging yet amazing. My next event is the Naperville Esprit de She sprint triathlon on June 14. I did this race last year and it was my first triathlon. I stressed out a lot about it and it turned out to be an excellent learning experience. I’m looking forward to participating this year in a less stressed out manner. I will also be running the Chicago Marathon in October. Maybe this year I’ll run my sub 4.
I have a lot of blog worthy things in my head and my intention is to share it all here. So here goes nothing.
Have you had to make a come back to blogging?
Okay, okay I am still here. It’s been an embarrassingly long time since I have posted (almost 2 months!). If you “like” my Facebook page you know that I am around and keeping active. Today jury duty has forced me to slow down and give me some extra time. And yes, blogging is a wise use of this downtime. I’ll use this moment (yes it may only be a moment because my busy life will soon take over) to let you know what I have been up to and what is in my 2015 future.
Surprise, surprise I am in the middle of marathon training. I will be running the Bug Sur Marathon at the end of April. I am really looking forward to this marathon because it has been said over and over again that it is the toughest most scenic marathon out there. I do not have any time goal for this race. I am not doing any speed training, tempo runs etc. this time around. I am concentrating on covering the long run miles while running shorter runs midweek and making sure hills are incorporated. My only goal for Big Sur is to run the entire 26.2 miles in the most enjoyable way possible. And I’m assuming that slow and steady is the best tactic. I have a few friends who will be joining me, who I am counting on to add to the chill factor.
I signed up for an indoor triathlon again this year. I had taken some time off from swimming after the Chicago Marathon (because I was utterly exhausted) and I needed to get back at it. I got a trial membership at a gym for the month of January so that I could have access to a pool. I average about 2 swim workouts a week now. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I got back into a routine. When I think back to how hard it was for me to swim the length of a pool just a year ago it’s amazing to me how far I’ve come. It’s really something to be proud of. Now I can swim for up to an hour and hold my own. Next weekend I will dive (pun intended I think) back into the triathlon experience. Now I am over the anxiety of trying something new so I can expend my energy on improving. I am also signed up for the Esprit de She sprint triathlon again this June. Lots of friends are joining me on this one too.
I’ve been super crazy about yoga lately. I have been obsessed with adding arm balances into my practice. I attended an arm balance workshop at my yoga studio and learned a lot. Boy were my arms tired by the end of that 2 hour class. I’m going to go to another workshop at the end of February and I have a game plan. I will definitely bring a notebook and take notes so that I can be prepared for later practice. I will also skip doing a million crow poses at the beginning because that burned my arms out for the rest of the workshop.
I’m still debating what races I will commit to in 2015. Right now I have my fingers crossed for the Chicago Marathon. I just HAVE to sub 4 at Chicago. I’m sure I’ll sprinkle in some 5Ks, 10Ks and some half marathons this year but I’m not in any hurry to commit. Let’s hope that I can get back to blogging a bit more regularly, but work, family and working out take just about every spare second I have these days. And I do have to sleep.
How do you find time to blog?
I am definitely enjoying my running off season this year. I’ve ditched my watch and I’m loving the freedom it’s given me. No more speed work or runs with a specific purpose. I’m running to run. I’ve also started hitting my cross training hard, which translates into less running days. Now I mostly fit in 2 runs a week. One longer run (6-10 miles) and one on the treadmill where I enjoy watching shows on my iPad. If I run more than those two times it’s rare.
My cross training includes vinyasa yoga, Bikram yoga, boot camp (circuit training) and lots of Piyo (I joined a beachbody challenge group with a friend of mine.) I’ve also been concentrating on maintaining a clean diet along with upping my protein intake in hopes of seeing some muscle definition.
My ideal would be to get some guns and a six pack, but it takes extreme commitment with both the diet and exercise. And don’t forget it’s holiday time too. I made it through Thanksgiving this year without gaining so that’s an accomplishment. Now I need to power through Christmas and New Year. Don’t get me wrong I will enjoy lots of holiday treats, but I will not over do it and let it set me back.
How are you planning on keeping your diet and exercise in check through the holiday season? Or do you give yourself a break and indulge?