R & R: Running and Rule-Breaking

Hello March and hello my wonderful friends! I can’t believe it is already March; 2018 is whizzing by! I’ve just returned from a wonderful week-long Caribbean cruise and now I feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the year.

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The time away from technology and distractions gave me the chance to decompress and focus on taking care of myself again. That meant lounging in a beach chair, sipping on cocktails, eating delicious food and doing whatever I felt like doing. All of my “food rules” went out the window and I felt perfectly fine about it. I generally follow a “diet” that works for my individual needs: I avoid dairy, I limit the amount of wheat that I eat and I drink alcohol only once in awhile. However, on vacation, I decided that I was going to eat whatever I wanted and I wouldn’t allow myself to feel guilty about it for one second. Of course, you can’t go on living that way forever, which is why it is a vacation. Now that I am back home, it is time for me to get back to my normal. I’ll be honest – eating whatever you want is fantastic (and on a cruise ship – you really should give your permission to indulge in the amazing food!), but it does feel good to be eating balanced meals again!

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Surprisingly, my vacation was the perfect time for me to get on track with my triathlon training. It’s strange what a difference a year can make – a year ago, working out while on vacation would have been the absolute last thing you’d catch me doing! But these days, ever since completing my first Whole 30, I’ve been more focused on eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. So, every morning on the cruise, Mike and I would wake up, go for a light breakfast and then head to the running track which ran along the perimeter of Deck 5 of the ship. I had mixed feelings about running while on vacation. On our last vacation, I injured my knee just by walking down the stairs, so I was worried that full-out running would exacerbate it. Luckily, my knee never bothered me once. In fact, I have never ran further or better in my life! I don’t know if it was the fresh air, the change of scenery or the fact that it didn’t feel like a regular workout but whatever it was, it was working and it felt great.

The triathlon I have signed up for is a “Try a Tri” which means it is much shorter than a usual triathlon or sprint triathlon. In this race, I will be swimming 400 m, cycling 10 km and running 2.5 km. It might not seem like a big feat to many, but for someone who has never entered a race of any kind, it’s kind of a big deal. In my training so far I have been able to ride 10 km on a stationary bike in about 35 minutes at a comfortable pace. On the cruise I was actually able to run about 3 km in 30 minutes. I have yet to try the transition from cycling to running, so that will be my next challenge.

I feel really proud of myself having accomplished this so far, especially the running component. I was never the running type. In high school, part of the final exam for my gym class was running 5 km in 30 minutes. I wasn’t able to do it then and I remember hating being required to fit into such a stringent criteria. Not everyone is good at running. In fact, some people are advised not to run. You have to do what is right for you and, for me, running never felt good. But signing up for this triathlon has lit a fire in me. It is something I’ve always wanted to do and I know that when I finish it, I will feel so proud of myself. I will feel amazed that I was able to do something that seemed impossible at the outset.

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Whatever your goals are, accomplishing them is an amazing feeling, but it is in the progress where all your growth happens. Being able to visually mark your progress and see the changes in yourself, whether physically or emotionally, is a huge confidence booster which can propel you to keep pursuing that final goal. Running 3 km on that cruise ship, without stopping or walking once, made me feel invincible. I had to call on all the positive self-talk I could muster to get me through it and to keep going, but in the end I did it because I knew I could. They say your mind wants to give up faster than your body; I can attest that a strong mind will help you in all your pursuits.

Going forward, my next goal is to work on the swimming component. I’ve had a bit of anxiety related to swimming, especially at the thought of swimming in open water on race day as opposed to lane pools. I will likely take some lessons and work on building my confidence before I start attempting to break personal records, but that’s okay. Taking baby steps is part of the process and I am happily embracing every step of the way.

What are your goals for the month of March?

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9 Replies to “R & R: Running and Rule-Breaking”

  1. Your vacation sounds like it was so much fun. One of my favorite things about going on vacation is being able to eat anything. But I agree with you in that I do appreciate being back at home and having a normal healthy diet. One of my goals for March is to embrace more clean eating.

    Liked by 1 person

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