Dear 26: I Promise to Stop Breaking Promises

 

I thought making a list of 26 things I want to accomplish this year would be a great way to celebrate my birthday. And then I realized, wow that’s going to be a really long blog post. No one is going to read that. Well, except maybe my dad.

And if you are reading this… hi, dad.

I still have a list of 26 things I want to achieve before I turn 27, but it’s at the very end of this post. You know, in case you’re not interested in lists that long.

For now, I’ve been asking myself what’s the most important thing I want to change that I’ve done a bad job at last year. And that requires taking a hard look at the past year.

So Long 25, I’m Not Sad to See You Go

I spent most of this past year just straight up uncomfortable, overwhelmed and uncertain of myself and what I should be doing.

In fact, I woke up on the morning of my 25th birthday to finding an empty parking spot where I parked my car the night before and paying a towing company almost $200 to get back something that I already owned.

So, should I have been surprised that this last year was…weird? Lonely? Awkward? I guess with how I spent that morning, no. But I was because it wasn’t exactly how I pictured my first year out of college.

I got my first job in marketing as a junior copywriter (a total accident I’m still on the fence about), moved into my first apartment by myself and adopted my first dog. Love you, Bart.

All those things look and sound really great on paper.

But as I’ve been transitioning from college to this new world I’m in, sacrificing a run here and there is a really bad habit when I’m tired or things are hectic at work because spoiler alert: I’m always tired and things only get more hectic at work every day.

Instead of lacing my shoes up when I get home from work and just getting it over with, I tell myself I deserve a break from working so hard and proceed to do…nothing. For months.

While rewatching Michael Scott call Dwight an ignorant slut from the roof of Dunder Mifflin on The Office for the seventh time feels pretty nice after a long day, it’s not giving me anything good to feel about in the long run. And that’s how I found myself running a half marathon last April that I didn’t really train for.

And when I said “didn’t really train for” I mean “my longest training run was 7 miles.”

Dear 26: I Promise to Stop Breaking Promises

So, when I think about the one thing I want to work on this year, it’s simple. Stop breaking promises I make to myself. Even when things are out of control, I’m tired and my best friend’s Netflix account is calling my name.

I started running five years ago after I’d never done anything resembling exercise in my life. It was hard and painful, which was expected. What I didn’t expect was for it to bring out the best in me. For the first time, I was proving to myself that I could do difficult things. Things I thought I wouldn’t ever be capable of in my life.

And since that very first awkward and painful run five years ago, I’ve run seven half marathons, and I’m registered for my eighth in February.

While I’m still in that transitional season of my life, it’s more important than ever that I stop breaking my promise to myself. I need to run consistently enough to benefit from that powerful confidence and emotional strength running gives me.

So, this year I’m putting my focus and energy back into running with the goal of running two half marathons, two 5ks for time and one 10k for time. And this time I’m not being lenient with myself. I’m holding myself accountable by running four times a week minimum until my training plan for the Disney Princess Half Marathon starts in December and has me running five times a week for 16 weeks.

I’ve been sticking to this for over a month and a half now and so far, I haven’t broken my promise and it feels great. I feel like I can count on myself again and this missing side of myself has finally decided to make her long-awaited appearance.

That being said, there’s going to be plenty of future posts about building my base back up again, how training for a half marathon is magical and terrible at the same time and what pair of running shoes I end up buying for training after I’ve worn the same pair for two and a half years.

In the meantime, here’s my list of things I want to accomplish during my 26th year!

26 for 26

  1. Run a 5k race in 26 minutes
  2. Run a 10k in 58 minutes
  3. Break 2:15 at the Disney Princess Half Marathon
  4. Break up with Coca Cola
  5. Drink two bottles of kombucha a week
  6. Add more plant-based foods to my diet
  7. Read two books a month
  8. Only miss church if I’m out of town
  9. Write one blog post a month
  10. Donate to more charities that are important to me
  11. Spend one hour a week with the Bible
  12. Get out on more walks with Bart
  13. Start investing
  14. Keep working out four times a week
  15. Lift weights twice a week
  16. Take more online courses in copywriting and social media
  17. Put on the damn sunscreen
  18. Explore more of Florida outside of the Tampa Bay area and Orlando
  19. Make a big step towards the kind of career I want to have
  20. Pay off my credit cards
  21. Buy a medal rack for my racing medals
  22. Expand my cooking skills every so slightly
  23. Go to yoga once a month
  24. Buy a keyboard and start learning how to play
  25. Spend some quality time with my foam roller
  26. Spend my 27th birthday with my best friends from back home

Medal Monday: The Coldest Race of My Life

Hey guys!

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Medal Monday post, so I wanted to apologize for my inconsistent posting schedule lately. I’ve been pretty busy since graduating college last month. I moved back to Florida permanently, bought my first car (2013 VW Beetle light blue!), had a couple mental breakdowns during my never ending job search, and questioned things like my life choices and entire existence. Just normal post-grad things!

giphy
How I’m handling the realization that college prepared me for nothing.

One thing that centers me aside from running is writing. Hence why this blog is called The Running Writer. If you couldn’t tell yet, one of my hidden talents is pointing out things that are already painfully obvious!

So for my own sanity I wanted to get back in the swing of writing a new Medal Monday for you every week. These posts are reminders of why I started running and why I’ll continue running as long as my little legs allow me to. Which is hopefully for many many more years.

My last Monday Medal post was the Iron Girl Half Marathon in Clearwater, FL. Today we’re going to fast forward six months from that first finish line to the second one aka the coldest race I’ve ever ran in my entire life, but that’s just a minor detail.

All of my medals are special to me, but this one in particular marks the beginning of an era of crossing many finish lines with one of my closest friends.

IMG_0782
A rare photo of Caitlyn and I together NOT in active wear!

Enter: Caitlyn! Please get familiar with her, because she’s going to be in quite a few future Medal Mondays.

Along with crossing those finish lines together came many pre-race rituals, which looks a bit like this:

  1. Carb loading the night before.
  2. An intense dance party, but not too intense, we have to run 13.1 miles in the morning for crying out loud!
  3. Sleeping in our race outfits in Caitlyn’s twin sized bed.
  4. Waking up at way-too-early o’clock after going through 12 of Caitlyn’s alarms.
  5. Singing our lungs out on the way to the race (lately, to Hamilton).
  6. Kicking butt out there on the course!

I can’t remember exactly how, but over that summer I managed to convince her to start training for Morristown’s Halloween Half Marathon with me.

Like any second time half marathoner, I actually had confidence in my ability to run 13.1 miles and not die or give up and become a laughing stock to all my family and friends. When I was training for my first half marathon I was almost positive I would complete my training and cross the finish line, but I wasn’t sure that I would ever do it again.

giphy2
My face anytime someone asked me what my time goal was.

That being said, I of course didn’t set a time goal. I was still impressed that after growing up with almost a grudge towards anything athletic related, that I was going to train and complete a SECOND half marathon.

Training was a breeze, although I missed quite a few long runs. I was so confident in my ability to cross the finish line that I didn’t stick to my training. I seriously want to cringe thinking about how THAT was my attitude.

Don’t be cocky like 23-year-old Kerry. Just don’t.

Remember how I said earlier that this was the coldest race of my life? Let’s talk about that, yeah?

Race day was in the middle of October, which in New Jersey is full on fall time. The week leading up to our race was unusually warm for the time of year it was. Caitlyn and I had our fingers crossed that the weather would hold out for us.

Spoiler alert: It didn’t. Overnight, it turned to winter and the high for race day was 38 degrees. While we were running the temperature MIGHT have reached 35 degrees.

giphy3
I am Hans and Elsa is God. My prayers were not answered for nice weather.

I know people run in much more frigid temperatures and for sure don’t complain about it nearly as much as I do but for those of you that don’t know me that well, I don’t do well in the cold which is one of the many reasons why I love Florida. From October to around April when I lived in New Jersey I avoided the outdoors and I moaned and groaned anytime I did have to go outside. I wasn’t the most pleasant company to say the least.

Caitlyn and I wore long sleeve shirts, giant sweatshirts, gloves AND those ear warmer headband things that I’ve never know the name for. We stood around for nearly 45 minutes before the race started and we wore everything long past the finish line.

second half marathon

 

The second we stopped running I had the longest coughing fit from the cold air in my lungs. I don’t think I’ve ever been so cold in my life, but I don’t remember not smiling at any point.

Looking back and sharing all the little details makes me look at how far I’ve come as a runner. I’m really grateful that it’s something I’ve stuck with and improved at because it really has changed my life.

I guess that’s what the medals are for right? Marking milestones in our never ending running stories.

Thanks for hanging around for another Medal Monday guys! I’ll see you on Twitter and Instagram (I just posted pictures from my day trip to Disney!).

signature

5 Reasons Why Runners Forget Their Sunscreen

Your water bottle is filled to the brim with ice cold water.

Running shoes are laced up and ready to go.

The playlist that always pushes you through that last mile is updated and waiting to be played

Your watch is charged and strapped onto your wrist, ready to track the run you’re about to embark on.

Stepping outside you put one foot in front of the other, and completely crush your run.

Except you don’t because you’re forgetting something.

Let’s rewind and find the missing piece of this equation.

SUNSCREEN!!!

giphy1

The “you” in this scenario is 100% me. I decided to write this post because I typically fall short when it comes to protecting my skin during my runs. Now that I’ve moved back to Florida I really need to be more diligent about this, and I know I’m not the only one!

Jeez, even typing that makes me cringe a little!

Since it’s officially summer and more runners will be hopping off the treadmill to enjoy the warm weather, I thought there was no better opportunity than right now to start this conversation!

Skin cancer prevention is incredibly important and maybe just like me, you have to be more conscious about it as well. The Skin Cancer Foundation has a ton of crazy stats that will make you want to take action. The one stating that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer over their lifetime is what startled me into realizing that I need to take every precaution to protect my skin while I’m out on my runs.

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a few excuses up your sleeves to avoid putting sunscreen on before a run. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it), I’m here to call your (and my own) bluff!

  1. “I’m only outside running for half an hour, that’s not long enough to need sunscreen”

giphy4

Sorry friend but just like me, you’re wrong. Three half hour runs a week add up! That’s an hour and a half in the sun, not including any other time you spend outdoors throughout the week. And if you run more than three times a week like me, you’re adding up even more time spent in the sun. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and if all it takes to lower our chances of getting it is consistently putting a layer or two of sunscreen on before running out the door what excuse do we really have?

2. “I don’t burn easily, or at all, so I don’t need to worry”

Survey says…you’re still wrong! Even if you don’t burn, your skin still gets damaged by the sun’s UV rays. You won’t see the damage immediately, but who wants their skin to age prematurely and look like an old leathery couch in 10 years?  The temporary sun-kissed glow isn’t worth it!

giphy2

3. “Putting sunscreen on before a run makes the run even hotter and I sweat even more”

giphy3

Same. But I’ve figured out through experience that if that’s what’s happening, you’re probably doing something wrong. You can’t just slap some sunscreen on yourself and start running. You should put it on 30 minutes before your run so your skin has time to absorb it and the sunscreen has time to activate. Doing this will protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays from the second you step outside. I’ve also discovered choosing a sports sunscreen that sprays on will eliminate that thick and sticky sunscreen/sweat mixture. Problem solved!

4. “I want to protect my skin more but I always forget to put sunscreen on before my run”

This one in particular is my weakness. I often get ready and start running without even using my brain. To combat forgetting my sunscreen I leave it somewhere I know I’ll see it. Leaving it next to my toothbrush or next to my watch usually does the trick. Leave it in your purse, in front of the door or even in one of your running shoes! Get creative and do whatever it takes to be sure you’re protecting your skin.

5. “Wearing sunscreen makes my skin breakout”

This is my favorite excuse that I’ve been using since the beginning of time. I would avoid putting sunscreen on my face when possible because my skin would break out. But the truth is that there are too many sunscreens out there now made specifically for acne-prone skin for this excuse to hold truth anymore.

giphy5

So… now that I’ve debunked all of the reasons why you and I have been passing on the sunscreen, will you join me in being more diligent about protecting our skin on our runs?

See you on Twitter and Instagram!

signature