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The Comparison Trap

Yesterday's Run:
Running in a winter wonderland...
3.06 miles in 40:00
Today's Workout:
Pure Barre Classic
Sometimes running makes my brain slow down and be still. Sometimes running pumps my brain full of the oxygen it was clearly missing and allows me to work through seemingly unsolvable problems. Sometimes running makes my brain speed up and think of a million things as once. And sometimes... sometimes running makes my brain turn on itself. Yesterday's running did that.
Six years ago today, I ran a full marathon. I often refer to this as my "first" marathon, though my "second" marathon is still yet to be determined. Possibly because finishing a full marathon was one of the hardest things I have ever done. 

Still happy to be running a marathon. This must have been before mile 16, when I started crying.
The actual race itself was brutal (I wrote an extensive recap of it and I am sure I complained about the heat at least 20 times). Weather conditions were awful and about two weeks before the actual race, even short training runs made me break down in tears. It wasn't until after the race that I learned that I had developed tendonitis in my hamstrings because of training. Training which could not have prepared me for running a full marathon in 90 degree weather with an injury. My goal time that I had trained for went out the window as soon as I set foot on the course.
But regardless of my finish time, for the past six years, I have considered finishing to be one of my crowning achievements. I still talk about finishing a full marathon. Hell, I still brag about finishing a full marathon. And while I don't see myself giving up those bragging rights, on yesterday's run, I found myself completely fixated on the fact that I had run a marathon... in the worst possible way.
To be clear, this might have been expected given how I prepared for yesterday's run. It was about 38 degrees outside and I haven't been running regularly in cold weather since before I moved back to Florida in 2012. Not only is that seven years ago, but it's also about 30 pounds ago. So when I started to get dressed, I pulled out my go-to running capris (the same ones that I ran the marathon in) and I couldn't breathe with them on. I reached for my old go-to running jacket and found that it didn't close by a good two inches. I put on a long sleeve running top that was so tight that I felt like a stuffed sausage about to pop. In the end, I ended up wearing shorts and compression socks and hoping I would stay warm. I also threw on an oversized runDisney staff jacket just to try to cover up the whole stuffed sausage situation.
The minute I walked outside, I felt self conscious. This was stupid for many reasons, not the least of which being that it was 38 degrees outside, so I saw maybe 6 other humans the entire run. But that feeling of yuck stuck with me. The reality of not fitting into the clothes that I ran a marathon in stuck with me. The knowledge that I was wearing a runDisney jacket for a slow three mile run when I used to wear runDisney stuff to complete challenges stuck with me. And before I knew it, my brain was comparing who I am as a runner now to who I was as a runner then. 
My inner dialogue was horrifying. I was making fun of myself for struggling to finish a 3 mile run - "How could you ever call yourself a marathoner if you can't even do this?! You're not a marathoner, you're just a fat girl who hobbled her way through 26 miles." I was saying things to myself that I would never say to another person, all because life happened and I gained some weight and I fell off the running bandwagon. But remember when I said that running sometimes makes my brain turn on itself? It kept turning. I fell into the dreaded comparison trap. I started comparing myself to everyone. I wasn't as strong a runner as I used to be, so I am a failure. I'm not as good at Weight Watchers as all those people on Instagram, so I am a failure. I'm not as thin as other Pure Barre instructors, so I am a failure. YIKES.
I think I spent the first two miles of my run in that trap. Just falling deeper and deeper into the black hole of feeling worthless. And then, as silly as it sounds, I thought of this.

Not to say that remembering this caused birds to chirp, the sun to shine, and all my thoughts to turn into rainbows. But remembering this did make me wonder how much of my own joy I have sacrificed in order to beat myself up over something. I told myself when I turned 30 that I would be done with the self loathing. And here I am, sneaking up on 32, and still letting it get to me.

So I reevaluated. And I reassessed. And I realized that I was being an idiot. I thought that when I went out for a run in shorts, people would stop and stare at me. You know what happened? My legs got cold. That's all that happened. No stopping, no staring. Just cold legs. We make tiny things into such a big deal in our heads, and we forget that they are just tiny things.

I wish I had the answer to avoiding the comparison trap. I wish I had the answer to blowing things out of proportion. But I guess all of this was just to say that we're all doing a damn fine job exactly where we are right now, and we ought to be proud.

That's all for now. Goodnight and be nice to each other out there.

The one where I started blogging again. Again.

It has been three years to the day since I updated this blog and that streak of silence ends today.

So much has happened in those three years that it seems hard to know where to start. The last post that I wrote detailed the Walt Disney World Half Marathon of 2016, which was my 12th half marathon. After that race, I ran two more half marathons, bringing my total count up to 14.

The Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon in Florida in 2016:

The TinkerBell Half Marathon in California in 2017 (MISS THIS RACE):

I've also finished a bunch of 5Ks and a few 10Ks, but I haven't run a half marathon since 2017. I'm determined to change that in 2019!

Another big thing happened in 2016 that wasn't documented here: Jamie and I packed up our lives in Florida and moved to my home state of Colorado! Mr. Meow got a new outfit for his big cross-country trip. He was displeased.

Since that move to Colorado, so much has happened in our lives. For one thing, we've both gone through career changes. When we left Florida, I left Disney, and really wasn't sure what I wanted to do. In search of community, I started taking Pure Barre classes and loved them so much that I auditioned to become an instructor, and I just celebrated one year of teaching classes!

I also went back to school to get my Master's degree in Secondary English Education. I just finished student teaching in December and am just two graduate courses away from getting my degree.

But perhaps the biggest change that has happened in our lives... we got engaged!

Jamie surprised me with a trip to Disneyland for Christmas, and on January 11th, 2018, he asked me to be his forever adventure partner and I said yes. We're in the process of planning our wedding now, which I'm sure will be a hot topic on here for the next few months.

I know I'm only scratching the surface of everything that has happened since the last time this blog was updated, but for now, I just wanted to get back to it. Hopefully I still have a few followers out there who might check this, and hopefully some new followers will join me soon!

For now - goodnight and be nice to each other out there.

Race Recap: Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2016

Saturday marked the Walt Disney World Half Marathon and for me, personally, it marked my 12th half marathon.  Considering that just a few years ago, I thought I would never get through a 5K, I'm still pretty astounded to say that I've run 12 of these bad boys.

That being said, my 12th half marathon goes in the books as my slowest half marathon to date.  I finished in about 3:20, which if super duper slow, even for me.  At first, I will admit that I was a little disappointed in my time.  But the truth is, I'm not in great shape right now, I'm significantly heavier than I was when I ran my fastest half marathon, and I spent much of the event cheering on Jamie, who was struggling with a knee injury and cramps in his quads.  Had I been a real jerk and left him behind at mile 6 when he started hurting, I probably could've gotten myself a better time.  But you know... love conquers all and all that.

Regardless of my finish time, though, I had a pretty great time.  The weather was ideal for running - it was cool and foggy out for the entire race and the mean Florida sun really didn't make an appearance.  I never really hit the dreaded wall for this one, which is a first for me.  No matter how trained I am for the event, I usually start to struggle somewhere around mile 7 or 8.  But I felt pretty strong the whole way through, probably because I took it so slow.  In fact, I was able to push through the last mile of the race and finish strong.  It was a good lesson in pacing.  While I never want to run another half that slowly (mostly because it just felt like I would be running forever), it's good for me to remember that starting off slow and finishing strong is better than trying to push it the whole time.

I also got some serious love from people along the route.  Several of my friends and coworkers were out and I got some great sweaty hugs that pumped me up.  Two of my Leaders actually came out with a great snarky sign telling me they had changed my start time for work the next day.  They even went so far as to have one of my coworkers hold up a similar sign just a little later on.  Funny... except that when I took a nap after the half, I had a dream that they really had changed my start time and I'd slept through my shift.  Oops!

All in all, I'm glad I signed up for and ran this one, even if I was a bit grumpy about it leading up to the actual weekend.  And my finish time just gives me somewhere to go this year, right?


Great run and fresh start.

Yesterday's run:
7.13 miles in 1:40:00
Today's workout:
Yoga Camp Day One

New year, new beginnings, new lease on life.

I set out to run 5 or 6 miles yesterday.  Honestly, I just wanted to be sure that I could get in some distance because hey, guess what?!  I run a half marathon next weekend and I haven't trained at all!  But I digress.  It was about 55 degrees outside (PRAISE THE LORD ON HIGH) so it was actually pleasant to run outside.  My hamstrings have been sore for days, but for some reason when I started running today, there was no pain.  I felt like I could just keep going and going, so I did just that.  Ended up running just over 7 wonderful miles.  Then I took a super hot shower, went to Pei Wei with Jamie, and then had my very first white chocolate mocha from Starbucks.  It was essentially perfect.

I went to work after that until 1:30 in the morning, but we're just going to forget about that and focus on the good stuff.  Like that white chocolate mocha.  You guys.  Have you ever had a white chocolate mocha?  I'm assuming it has 5000 calories and 5000 grams of sugar and I don't even care.  That thing was delightful.

Today was more good stuff.  I mean, my day started with going to the dentist and finding out that I need a root canal.  So obviously that sucked.  But after that, it got better.  Lunch with Jamie, shopping trip to BJ's where I considered buying huge bags of trail mix and then remembered that those are single serving bags to me, a little bit of yoga, and a nice quiet dinner at home.  With the Sherlock special, of course.

Yes please.

The yoga really was one of the best parts of the day.  I've been hearing about Yoga with Adriene for a long time now from a lot of people, and I honestly didn't think much of it.  But with a new year comes new resolutions and one of mine was to get back into the practice of yoga.  I've been struggling a lot with balance - I run too much and stretch too little, I work too much and sleep too little, I think too much and relax too little.  Not perfect.  And I know that yoga can't fix it all, but I feel like I'm a much more grounded and balanced person when I practice regularly.  So today I started the 30 day Yoga Camp and I'm really excited to see where it takes me.

So that's where I'm at.  What's in store for your 2016?


Still not running.

Hey guys!  Remember that time I set some solid goals for myself for the rest of the year?  Well, none of them are happening because I'm still coughing like a bad smoker.

I woke up this morning bound and determined to go for a run.  I've been sitting on my rear end for several days now and getting REAL grumpy.  Honestly.  Jamie deserves a medal for putting up with my poor attitude.  So I was actually super pumped to get up and go for a run to get some endorphins pumping into my chubby body.  And then I woke up with a pounding headache, throbbing sinuses, and that damn cough.  I'm so tired of it that I'm actually considering going to the doctor even though I FREAKING HATE GOING TO THE DOCTOR.

So instead of running, I'm blogging.  And complaining to my mom over text.  It's a good thing she loves me unconditionally!

Is anybody out there running?  Tell me about it so I can live vicariously through you!


It's November 4th and 85 degrees.

There are times I really like living in Florida - like when I get to go kayaking on a random Tuesday with Jamie or when my family comes and I get to visit Walt Disney World as though it's a fun destination and not my place of work.

But sweating it out to the tune of 85 degrees in November does not make for a happy Jessica.  So Florida and I are currently fighting.  Of course, this feud doesn't mean that much at the current moment because it's not like I'm running right now.  Nope.  It's November, so it's time for my body to let down all defenses and allow horrible illnesses in.  Two years ago, it was the stomach virus so bad that I called it the Black Plague.  Last year, it was pneumonia.  This year it seems to just be some hateful form of cold or flu that makes my lungs burn a little bit with every cough.  So good.  Just so good.

So why am I sitting here on my running blog when I can't run?  And I haven't blogged in almost two months?  Great question, person I'm assuming is reading this even though part of me thinks only my cat knows I'm blogging!  I think it's because I have to tell myself that once I feel better, I will get back on the bandwagon.

Truth be told, I've been struggling for months.  I kept it to myself because I was trying to be a good little Beachbody coach and make it look like I was doing great and had all the answers.  But I had so few answers.  And the more I smiled on social media and talked about how great everything was, the more I realized that I was losing my own way.  So I stepped away from the whole coaching thing and made the decision to get back on board with Weight Watchers and get myself in line.
Then work happened.  And life happened.  And this stupid sickness that has been bugging me for weeks happened.  And without meaning to, I gained back a few pounds instead of losing them.  I went the opposite direction that I wanted to and I felt like I couldn't make any forward progress at all.  So now I'm putting my foot down.  The likelihood of me exercising today is low - I can't risk getting more sick because I've got several tough days of work ahead.  And I can't lie and say that my eating has been perfect today.  It's been better because I made myself go to the grocery store, but Jamie and I absolutely got Halloween candy on sale and the little pouches of gummy Lifesavers have been taunting me.  But I am putting my intentions for the rest of the year down RIGHT NOW.  Because soon I'm going to kick this stupid illness and get back to kicking ass.

So here goes:
Goals for the rest of 2015:
  • Run three times a week
  • Swim once a week
  • Go to at least one class in the gym a week
  • Eat out less
  • Three things you are grateful for every day
And of course, the most important goal of all: buy and eat this.

What are your goals for the rest of 2015?


The triumphant return of Weight Watchers.

Yesterday's workout:

Today's workout:
Not dying

Quick recap of yesterday: I ate a lot of delicious food at breakfast because... reasons.  Then went to Trader Joe's and bought more delicious food.  I couldn't help myself, there was pumpkin everything.  Then I went to BodyJam for the first time in MONTHS and was so so so happy.

Then I woke up today and realized that I either pulled something jamming it out last night or my back has just suddenly decided to loathe my bed.  Either way, my back spent most of the day randomly seizing up.  So that was super fun.  I had planned on a 3 mile run today, but it wasn't happening with the back pain.  In an effort to see the silver lining, though, I took this unexpected rest day to focus on getting back to healthy eating.  And by healthy eating, I mean trying to follow the 80/20 rule of 80% clean eating, 20% indulgences.  Let's be real, I'll be psyched if I hit 70/30.  I really love processed carbs, kids.

Breakfast was vanilla Shakeology with Trader Joe's pumpkin butter blended in - I'm not kidding when I say that I now own everything pumpkin that store has to offer.  Lunch was a bagel thin with roast beef and cheddar, plus some carrots and grapes on the side.  Dinner was tacos with Trader Joe's reduced guilt guacamole.  Otherwise known as my new addiction.  Not pictured here is my new favorite snack, which is an apple and Yoplait whipped Greek yogurt in vanilla cupcake.  IT IS GLORIOUS.

The real goal right now is to get back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon.  I know, I know... this isn't my first rodeo.  For those of you new to my story, here it is in a nutshell: I lost 35 pounds, I became a Leader, I maintained, I gained a little bit back, I lost it again, I came to Florida, I gained 25 pounds, and have been trying to lose those 25 pounds for three years.  It's not pretty and I'm not proud.  But I will say that I have worked harder this year to get back to my goal than I have the whole time I've been in Florida.  Following 21 Day Fix got me back on track with my eating and paying a lot more attention to WHAT I was eating.  I really started looking closely at labels and caring about ingredients.  But as great as that was, it got to me, and I wanted to eat clean 100% of the time.  As it turns out, that sucks.  It sucks a lot.  It means you don't get ketchup and I really love ketchup.  So I spiraled out of control in the other direction and stopped caring at all what I ate!  That lasted about two days before I wanted to die.  Now I'm realizing that Weight Watchers always has been, and likely always will be, my happy place.  I like that it doesn't tell me what I can and cannot eat (because I'm a small child), but it still gives me guidelines.  And that's what I need right now.

In unrelated news, I had a really big interview today for something I am really excited about.  So if you've got some extra pixie dust laying around, please feel free to send it my way!