That Moment…

Ya know that moment when you finally make up your mind about something? It often follows a back and forth game between the thoughts in your head. Your inner voices battling it out between what you WANT to do and what you SHOULD do. And then, suddenly, your mind is made up. And whether you made the “right” decision or you made the “easy” decision, you are simply glad to be done contemplating the issue. 

This is Kendra, and I’m going to take a minute to share a Sparkle.Pounce. moment from a few days ago with you.

For the last two January’s, our triathlon club has organized a challenge called the Polar Bear Century Club. The goal is to run, walk, and/or crawl a total of 100 miles in the month of January. It’s a great motivator to keep people moving during the cold and dreary Michigan winter, and it raises money for charity. It’s a win, win!

Well, this January has been brutally cold, and therefore, particularly difficult to get those miles in. Luckily, I own a treadmill (and YES, treadmill miles count…really, why wouldn’t they?!?!). But, I also decided that now was a good time to start weight lifting. So, my body has been exceptionally tired and not really wanting to run (aka shuffle?) every day.

Thursday night I was feeling especially exhausted after a weight lifting class and then an evening of regular mom duties (cooking dinner, packing lunches, cleaning, laundry…) and I really just did not want to run. I had done my calculations for how much I needed to run each day in order to meet my 100 mile goal and had given myself Fridays off. So, I debated back and forth and just decided that I would run Friday instead of Thursday. (I’m a teacher and I was really hoping for a “cold” day on Friday!) Ahhh…decision made. 

So, as usual when I make important life decisions, I sent a text to the other Sparkle. Pounce. girls who are doing the Polar Bear Challenge. Here is how the text read, “I’m not running today. If I don’t end up having a snow/cold day tomorrow I’m really going to regret it. But I had weight lifting today and I just Really. Don’t. Want. To.”  Honestly, I was hoping for an affirmation from them. Maybe an “Atta Girl!” for going to weight lifting. Nope. Here is what I got in return:

“Kendra. Just go run for at least one mile.”
“I thought I was going to meet an early death at Crossfit tonight and it was by sheer miracle that I made it to the treadmill.”
“Unless you don’t feel well ;)”

WHAT?!?! That is not what I was expecting! Now what? I already had the shower started and was ready to call it a lazy night. So much for making up my mind. UGH!!! 

So, after a couple of texts back that may or may not have included things like, “I don’t like you…”, I put my running clothes on, went downstairs, and got on the treadmill. 4.5 miles later I felt like I had conquered the world. (Ok, maybe not the world, but definitely the lazy voice in my head!) 

Sometimes you need a friend to ignite the sparkle. So, thanks Stephanie!

Sparkle. Pounce. Conquer. 

Hard is What Makes it Great

Do you remember how I decided to do that November 90 Challenge and run 90 miles in November? It was a great motivator to keep me moving through a very busy and stressful month. Well, it also kind of burned me out and left me with the attitude that I deserved some time off in December. And with the holidays and all, I also thought it was just fine to eat whatever I wanted. By the end of December I felt AW-FUL. Literally. This was me.
 I got fat for Christmas
It wasn’t good. 
But at the same time, it wasn’t all that bad. It helped me to realize how I don’t want to feel. I don’t want to feel bad about what I see in the mirror. I don’t want to feel guilty about what I eat. I don’t want to be short on patience with my kids because I haven’t had any other outlet for my frustrations. 
So, as the new year started I got all of these great ideas of ways to stay motivated. Once again, I signed up for the Polar Bear Century Club Challenge. It’s a challenge to run 100 miles in the month of January. (I’m more than 1/2 way there!) 

I also decided that I wanted to give Crossfit a try. I’ve been wanting to try it out for a long time, and I finally had the nerve to give it a whirl. I liked it, and I LOVE the idea of getting stronger, but I just couldn’t really figure out how it could possibly fit into my schedule, or my budget. So…I decided to join the weight lifting club at my high school instead! Am I running the club? Nope. I’m just crashing it! I may have even been accused of “reliving my glory days,” but the kids seem to like having their old 4th grade teacher hanging out and lifting weights with them after school. (Yes, there are seniors there that I taught in 4th grade. Sigh.)

Overall, 2014 is starting out fantastic. I have worked out nearly every day this year and I feel awesome. The difference that it makes in how I feel physically and emotionally can’t be topped. People ask me how I have time for it. Honestly, I’m not sure. I’d say in the winter the one thing that allows me to have the time for it is my treadmill. (Tonight I actually got back on it for just one more mile because I really wanted to see what was going to happen next on “Breaking Bad”! – That’s my best treadmill tip. Find an awesome show and don’t allow yourself to watch it unless you’re on the treadmill. I just got done watching “Lost.” It took me one and a half winters of treadmill running!)
I’m sure that I won’t stay this motivated for all of 2014, but a girl can hope! 
 Lets Get Shredded | get motivated
Sparkle. Pounce. 

You Think You Have Time

 You think you have time

I’m really not even sure where to start with this one. I feel like the last few days have been full of events/situations that have caused me to stop…and think.

On Saturday night in church, our Pastor double dared us to complete five random acts of kindness this week. He also challenged us to spend more time stopping and appreciating things instead of being constantly on the go. AND, he gave each family a devotional book about living a life of generosity. Those things by themselves don’t seem like much, but then the week started.

Monday I got an email about a fundraiser that my son’s elementary school is holding for their former principal who needs a double lung transplant. He will not survive without the surgery, which will cost $25,000. This man was only my son’s principal his kindergarten year, but he still talks about him. I know he’s a special person, even though I do not know him personally.

Then, Monday evening I found out that a friend of a friend’s running partner was struck by a drunk driver and killed while she was out on a run with her husband at 8:00am. The man who was driving the vehicle is a doctor of internal medicine and was on his way to work. Ironically, his own wife was killed in a drunk driving accident just two years ago.

Today, I received an email that a family member on my husband’s side has to have open heart surgery this week. This man isn’t even 40 years old and he has to undergo an intensive surgery that will leave him unable to work for three months.

Then, after work I was reading the day’s news when I read the story about another school shooting in New Mexico. It occurred at a middle school, leaving one student in critical condition and another in serious condition. (Note…I NEVER read the news. I try to avoid hearing about all of the horrible things that are happening in our world.)

I stopped at the bank on the way home to deposit a couple of checks, and noticed a man sitting outside the bank in his car. He looked a little suspicious to me, but I went inside. Just after I walked in he walked in behind me. I got chills. Why you ask? Because all of the garbage that has happened this week has left me completely on edge and full of fear! And I can’t stand it! After I finished my banking and realized that I was completely crazy, it struck me that it is only Tuesday and I have “stopped” to listen and look and hear about a lot of really crappy things happening. 

Luckily, these events have left me with some great opportunities to complete my five random acts of kindness. And they have really gotten me thinking about the fact that we need to live life today. And every day. 

Awsome message Sometimes living life means that we stop and appreciate everything we have in this life. Other times though, we really need to grab life with both hands and live it full speed ahead. Work towards what you want. Don’t wait for a better time to reach your goals. There isn’t one.

Sparkle. Pounce. Live.

2014: Turn Your Dreams Into Plans

She turned her can't into cans... 
How do you figure out what races to sign up for? What are the best races to do? It’s funny that my cousin asked me to write about this, because I have spent the last week frantically trying to figure out what my game plan is for 2014 when it comes to races. 
Here are my three most important pieces of advice for choosing races for the year:
1.) Make sure to sign up with at least one good friend. There is a lot to be said for having a buddy at the starting line to help calm some fears, but just as important is having a training partner. Even if your training buddy doesn’t live close by, you can still text and chat about what your training schedule looks like, what workouts you’re not feeling motivated for, and how much you hate each other for making you do the stinkin’ race. Believe me, it’s important.
       ***So, my own personal dilemma with this strategy in 2014 is that some of my favorite go-to racing buddies are pregnant or are going to be pregnant (fingers crossed) and therefore, aren’t signing up for any big races! And my sister just had a baby, so her racing season is still a question mark. Although I did sign up to run the Lansing FULL Marathon with her on May 4! (NOTE…this race definitely follows advice tips #1 and #3, but I’m not so sure about #2.) And I just sent her a text today letting her know that if she decides to do a 1/2 Ironman I will be joining her. Yup, that’s how important having a buddy is. I absolutely will not sign up for any hugely terrifying races without one!
2.) Sign up for a race that’s in a location you are excited about. I have found that my favorite races have been in beautiful places where I enjoyed the view during the race. The Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City is a great one for this! Also, Back to the Beach 1/2 marathon, 10K, or 5K at Stoney Creek Metropark is a beautiful race in Southeast Michigan. You don’t necessarily have to travel far, but I do think it’s important to pick a race that has a great setting. This also makes it more fun if you want to try and convince the whole family to come and cheer you on!
          ***So, my own personal scheme for this in 2014 is that I am dropping hints to my husband about taking a family trip to Grand Island at the end of July. Why, you ask? Because there is a FULL TRAIL MARATHON on Grand Island on July 26! It would be the perfect family vacation AND I could do a race in a beautiful place! (NOTE…I have myself convinced that this would NOT be a hugely terrifying race and I would sign up without any buddies. Insert super scared face…)
3.) Sign up for at least one race that scares the bageezers out of you. This will keep you motivated to stick to your training. If you don’t have any races planned that require you to train hard, you might not train hard. Plus, let’s be honest, there is a definite amount of added excitement when we are scared of something! So, step out of your comfort zone and try something new! Maybe it’s just a longer distance, maybe it’s a trail race or a duathlon or a triathlon. Whatever it is, make sure you’re excited and pretty stinkin’ nervous about it. That’s what makes it a good race.
      ***In 2010 I signed up for the Bayshore Full marathon. I was TERRIFIED. I hadn’t run a marathon in 8 years because I was THAT scared to run one again. Also in 2010 I signed up for my first triathlon. Then, for 2011 I signed up for my first Ironman, and in 2012 I signed up for my second Ironman. In 2013 I signed up for a 50K trail ultramarathon. All of those races scared the pants off of me and made me work my butt off to ensure that I would be successful in reaching my goal of crossing the finish line. And it worked. And I loved every second of it.
       For 2014 I am signed up for the Lansing Full marathon. I’m definitely nervous about it, but I will be much more nervous if I decide that I want to run it fast. I am still debating on that. I haven’t decided how uncomfortable I want to be…
        But, I am also planning on signing up for an additional race in 2014 that scares me. I’m not sure what it’s going to be yet. It will most likely be a 1/2 Ironman, a 50K or, gulp, maybe even a 50 miler. I’m just not quite sure yet.
I really think that if you can stick to those three things in choosing your race/s for 2014, you’ll have a good year! Get your races on the calendar, then make your training plan and get to it!
Happy training!
Sparkle. Pounce.