Running; Weight Loss; Goals; Marathon

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2014 Was The Warm Up…2015 Is Game Time

Published December 31, 2014 by Jasmine

It has been awhile since I lasted posted on this blog, and it has probably been the most challenging year of my life (and the worst summer). I’ve always been an open book, and shared my journey…it’s time to play catch up. Full disclosure: I have completely fallen off the fitness track, and it’s finally time to get back to focusing on me.

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In the spring of 2013 I was approached and asked to come work for a professional fiduciary. It was a hard decision to make because I was going to be taking a huge pay cut, but at the time I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted my career to take so I decided to take a leap of faith and accept the position. At the time, little did I know what I had in store for me over the next year.  I was set to start in July of 2013. About a week before starting I was told that it was discovered that there was alleged fraud by the owner, and asked if I still wanted to start not knowing the status of my job or the company. I had already committed, and decided if nothing else, it would be a learning experience (especially from the non-legal side of things). For those who don’t know what a professional fiduciary is we provided services to those who needed a guardian, a conservator, a Social Security Representative Payee, and/or a VA Legal Custodian.  Due to the allegations and inability to get bonded, the company had to close. I was asked in December to step up and run the company through the wind-down. I hadn’t even been with the company for six months, and when asked I had no interest in running the company. I reluctantly said yes because if I didn’t they would have had to bring in a third party who knew nothing about the business or our clients, and I figured I would have to do as much work or more just getting them up to speed. This undertaking has nearly consumed my life since last December. It has been challenging, trying, rewarding, maddening, crazy, and every day it is something new. I have learned so much, and have met so many great people. I just really hope that I have made all the individuals who I have worked with through this transition proud. It’s been nothing short of a challenge…with no training. This chapter finally ended on October 24, and it was bittersweet. I wouldn’t have made it through without my good friend Tracee. I love you lady!!

Around the same time I was asked to run the company, I met a man that I just had a natural connection with. We were like instant best friends, and things were just natural and easy between us. He liked and accepted me for me. After two months of hanging out nearly every other day, we made it official. This was a big deal for me. I had finally opened myself up to trusting and being in a relationship. I hadn’t been in a relationship for years, and I don’t take dating casually. As you can probably tell I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I am an emotional person. At this point in my life I just didn’t want to get emotionally invested in anyone that I couldn’t potentially see “forever” with.  In the past I had met so many men who had lied and cheated. I had finally found someone that I never doubted, and never in a million years did I think he would lie or cheat. We always had so much fun together, and hung out all the time but in the back of my head I always felt something was missing.  As much as I loved our time together I always kind of questioned whether I could see myself marrying him if it came to that; and that doubt bothered me because he was like my very best friend.  Well fast forward five months to June 3. He told me he had gotten hurt and work and was probably going to go to the ER. Well I couldn’t get in touch with him so I went to his house to make sure he was okay, and he was in bed with someone else. I was dumbfounded, like a deer in headlights. I just couldn’t even believe what I was seeing. As much as it hurt I knew that I was meant to see that because it was the answer to my doubts. I do believe that God brought the two of us into each other’s lives for a reason. I don’t hate him. I have forgiven him. It’s just really hard because I finally trusted again. I know God has someone out there who is my perfect match, and this experience was just a test.

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As many of you know I also lost my dad in August. Him and I were never close as he was an alcoholic my entire life, but he was still my dad. I don’t know if the fact that we weren’t close makes his passing harder or easier. He wasn’t close to my siblings either. We never knew what it was like to have a father/child relationship because the alcohol was always most important. If you didn’t know he was an alcoholic, you probably would have never known because he was very high functioning. My dad could drink 24-36 cans of beer in a day, no problem. Even after being told nearly five years ago that he had the beginning of cirrhosis of the liver, he just kept drinking. Things really started going downhill in January of 2013. At that time he ended up in the hospital with respiratory failure, kidney failure and liver failure. After three months between the hospital and transitional care center, he finally made it back home. At that time he was told he probably only had three to five years. He kept drinking. My dad has always been very jealous of the relationship I have with my mom because he wanted my mom all to himself. Because of that jealousy and insecurity he was often very mean to me…all with his words. It was very toxic.  Although my mom and I took the brunt of his toxicity we weren’t the only ones…he was this way with my siblings, and he alienated his brothers and his mother. Just weeks after the end of my relationship, my dad never stood on his own again. He went to the hospital at the beginning of July, and didn’t come home until the day before his 60th birthday in August when he went on hospice. His organs were just shutting down, and there was nothing that could be done. We didn’t know when he went to the hospital in July it was the beginning of the end. He passed away two weeks after going on hospice, and it happened much faster than any of us expected.  I don’t think he realized he was dying, which could be a blessing or a curse. He was terrified of dying so maybe it was a good thing if he didn’t know, but on the flip side I think there were so many things left unsaid. My mom has really been taking care of him this last year and a half, and he never thanked her.  The whole thing is just really sad for all of us. For my sisters and I, he was the one man in our life who was supposed to love us unconditionally and we never experienced that. He was the one who was supposed to show us girls what to look for in a man, and he was supposed to show my brothers what kind of man they should aspire to be. None of us ever saw what a healthy relationship looked like, but he did teach me everything I would never want to find in a man.  He was never happy here, and we know he is now in a better place and hopefully he is happy. One day we will find peace in all of this, and I hope that his brothers and my grandma can do the same.

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In October I went to Vegas for the first time for my brother’s wedding, and it was so much fun. I absolutely loved the atmosphere, and all the cool hotels, shops, and casinos. I didn’t want to leave when it was time to go. Definitely looking forward to going back, and checking out all of the hotels and casinos at my own pace. Also thinking about possibly doing the Rock & Roll Half-Marathon out there in November!

Vegas WeddingBlonde KardashiansThroughout the summer and fall I was tentatively training for the Monster Dash Half-Marathon at the end of October. I wasn’t consistent at all with training or working out, often missing weeks at at time, but decided to register anyways. I even convinced my mom to do it with me, and she hadn’t been training! This was her first half-marathon. She is faster than me, but stuck with me throughout the entire race. It was my slowest race yet, but I finished. Half a mile into the race I thought I was done as I was having severe shin pain. I was able to slowly and gently push through, and the pain eventually subsided. Finishing this race probably meant more to me than any other race (except my first) because I did it with my mom, and it was really a metaphor for every obstacle I had faced this year, and just like each of those obstacles I made it through to the other side. I feel bad that my mom didn’t run her first half-marathon at her pace, but so grateful that she stuck with me. Love you mom!!

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November was a rough month for me. After the company I was running closed, it was time for me to figure out what was next. The logical step would have been to practice law, and that is what I thought I would do. The more I thought about it though I realized that practicing law full-time just wasn’t for me…it wasn’t fulfilling enough. I was really struggling with what my passion was, and my purpose in life. I want to be passionate about my work, and wake excited about what I get to do everyday. So I spent a lot of time reading, and thinking about what I was passionate about. I thought back to why I went to law school, and it was because I wanted to be in court SPEAKING! I thought back to why I started selling lia sophia, and part of it was the jewelry, but again it was because I got to be out SPEAKING! I remembered that I have been an avid reader since I was very young. Even at the young age of 12 I was already reading motivational, business, and self-help books. I wanted to be the one out speaking and motivating others to have a better life. So after much thinking and introspection I realized what I already knew…that my passions were reading, learning, educating others, and speaking. These are things I love to do even if I never made money doing them. I think that because I went to law school intending to practice it just always felt like that was what I was supposed to do, and if I didn’t , I would be a failure. The problem was that I was so focused on what others expected and thought I should be doing that I never really took the time to see if it made me happy, if it was what I passionate about. So I am happy to say that I am in the process of redefining my career, my definition of success, my website, and my brand. It is terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. Stay tuned for more details, and a new website!

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This has been an emotional, life changing year. I am ready for a new year, and fresh start. I am ready to find Jasmine again. I am ready to get rid of all the emotional baggage that I have been holding onto. I am ready to love me, and one day be loved. It’s time to get back in track because I have GREATNESS within me, and grand plans for 2015!

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Week One of #OperationVegas (and Monster Dash)

Published September 8, 2014 by Jasmine

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I started #OperationVegas last Tuesday in preparation for my trip to Vegas for my brother’s wedding. The training is also for the Monster Dash Half-Marathon at the end of October which for the time being is secondary to Vegas!!

My fitness goals for #OperationVegas were to do a minimum of five miles on my running days which my plan calls for three days a week; ten miles on the bike on the other four days of the week, and three days of weightlifting on my non-running days. My health goals for #OperationVegas are to track my calories, make sure to take my vitamins and supplements, drink more water,  and keep the sugar in my diet (natural or otherwise) to 40 grams or less per day.

After just a week even though I don’t look like a million dollars yet, I feel like a million dollars and am so proud of myself. In the last week I have done the following: 22 miles of running/walking (climbed 1385 feet) ; 30 miles of biking (climbed 10,973 feet); and three one hour weight lifting sessions (squats, deadlifts, and calf raises in each session). I have tracked my calories, drank more water, taken my vitamins/supplements everyday, and I have limited my sugar to 200 grams over the past seven days which means I ate 80 grams less than my goal!!

In the last seven days I have lost 2.8 pounds!! Based on my calories intake, calorie burn, and sugar reduction I thought I would have lost another .50 pound. However, I think I know what happened, and to some this will sound counter-intuitive. I don’t think I ate enough calories for all of the working out I did which is crazy. I went from feeling like I was constantly eating to now feeling like I have to force myself to eat and not eating enough calories. Part of the reason for this is that most of my calories used to come from sugary junk food. Now that I cut out sugar it’s hard to get in all those calories because my palette is still adjusting to the newer non-junk food!  I won’t focus solely on the weight loss because I know that so many of the physical changes will not be reflected on the scale, and you can never measure or weigh how STRONG one feels!

I am excited for Vegas, but I honestly can’t wait for the Monster Dash to see how all of this training pays off. I’m finally feeling healthy, strong, and on the right track. I’m still having some lingering right shin pain which I was dealing with for the last two years, but I really believe the cross-training and weight-training might eliminate the issue.

Every day I remind myself “Jasmine, you can quit anytime” and my response is “Not today!”  Stay tuned to see where I am at next week!!

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My Video Gait Analysis Report Card

Published August 21, 2013 by Jasmine

For those who don’t know, I have been dealing with terrible shin pain for quite some time. The pain was so intense that I was convinced I had compartment syndrome, a stress fracture, or both. The chiropractor had even told me that it was likely I was on the verge of developing one or both of those issues. I tried months of resting to no avail.  I finally was able to get to the doctor to have my shins looked at. The doctor had both of them x-rayed and the results were unremarkable. There were no soft tissue injuries, and no stress fractures. While I was happy I wasn’t dealing with something serious, I left more frustrated than ever because I didn’t have any answers.  However, I did leave with a referral to a physical therapist that had a “Run Smart” program.

Today was my first appointment and it was eye-opening.  We started out by testing my stability and strength.  She had me stand on one leg and do some one-leg squats. She said my balance was pretty good. She checked the strength of my hamstrings and quads which was also good. She then had me lay on my side on the table, had me raise my leg up and slightly back, and then let go and told me to hold it there. I was able to hold for a minimal amount of time on the left side, but it was very quickly dropping. As soon as she let go on the right side, my leg fell. She was testing the strength of my glutes, which was basically non-existent and noticeably worse on my right side (which incidentally is the side I have been having the most issues with.)  She then tested my hip flexors as seen in this video. Normally the leg that is down should be able to fully extend, and fall flat on the edge of the table. Mine didn’t even come close!! She also tested the flexibility/range of motion of both my big toes. Our big toe is our leverage when running, it is what we use to push-off. She said they normally look for the toe to be able to bend back about 60 degrees, and mine were only 35-40. Before even testing this she said she was able to tell that mine wouldn’t be that great by the wear pattern in my insoles. There was a distinct indentation where my big toe was. She said because I didn’t the full flexibility in my toe to push-off I had to find another way. So I kind of grind my toe, and turn my foot a bit to push-off.  This was all fascinating information to me, that was all starting to come together.

After testing my stability and strength, it was time to watch me run. I started off walking barefoot on the treadmill, and she took a video of this from directly behind me, from the knees down. Then I put on my Kinvara’s, since those were the shoes causing me the pain, and I started running. She videotaped me from the back and the side. All in all, I was running for about five to six minutes.  Watching these videos was so informative, and it was so much better to actually see how I was running, rather than just being told how I was running. I have so many issues I can’t believe I was running at all.

The first thing we looked at was my barefoot walking. We were looking at how my foot was placed when it came up off the ground.  So when you are looking at a runner from directly behind them, when the foot comes off the ground it should basically be straight up and down, When that foot lands you shouldn’t really be able to see anything but maybe their pinky toe (so the foot should land almost completely straight.) My left foot was really good. My right was another story. I have a heel whip, a really bad heel whip.  A heel whip is also known as “toeing out” when running. Basically, my right foot is rotating while it is still on the ground causing it to go from straight or slightly rotated in, to pointing out. This is causing a lot of extra stress on my joints. My right foot was nearly sideways instead of being straight! When my right foot landed it didn’t land straight either…I could see all of my toes. Very, very interesting and explains a lot. This is most likely occurring because of my weak glutes.

Those weak glutes were also causing both of my hips to drop with every step I took. This is not the most appealing picture, but it accurately depicts a hip drop.  While running your hips/pelvis should remain level as shown in (A). A weak core and weak glutes will cause your hips to drop with every step as shown in (B). So basically the hip/glute on the side you are landing on isn’t strong enough to hold up the other side, so it drops.

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The last thing we looked at was how much I was bouncing as I was running (was I wasting too much energy going up and down rather than forward); and my shoulder placement/arm movement. I had a minimal amount of bouncing which she said was normal on a treadmill. Whew, at least I am doing one thing right!! My shoulders were too high, and my arms were moving way too far forward and backward. She said this occurs because of a weak core.  Shoulders and arms should be low with the arms not going too far forward or back.

Last but not least, even with my minimalist shoes, I was heel striking!! So now in addition to the problems I already discussed I was exacerbating the problem  (10x) with every step.  Additionally, the heel of my back foot was leaving the ground before my lead leg had fully extended. My front foot hadn’t even touched the ground, and the heel of my back foot was lifting.  This is happening because my calves are too tight.

This was an invaluable tool. I highly recommend everyone have a video analysis completed. If you are dealing with an injury, you will be able to see what it is that is likely causing the problem. If you aren’t injured, this is a fantastic way to make sure your form is great so you can stay injury free. My issues didn’t develop overnight, and I wish this was something I would have had done before I ever started running.

My injuries: hip flexor strain and shin splints. My prescription: rest, ice, stretch, and clams. My shins are very inflamed and angry! The biggest thing I need to focus on right now is getting my glutes to fire, which the clams are going to help with. I also need to work on strengthening my core, and loosening up the calves. I’m going to take at least three weeks off from cardio to give my shins some rest, and to work on strengthening my glutes and core.

I have decided I will no longer wear minimalist shoes. I have far too many bio-mechanical issues going on right now that I need to worry about before worrying about figuring out how to change my gait (which I thought the minimalist shoes would help with.) I haven’t given up on them completely, but it will be a long while before I ever try running in them again!

 

For the time being I will be:

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Are You Up For The Challenge? 16 Minutes but It’s Still a Mile, right?!?!

Published February 2, 2013 by Jasmine

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After all of the injuries and set-backs I have had over the last two years I feel like I am finally better and able to start running again. Clearly, what I have been doing isn’t working so I have decided to try a new approach…heart-rate training. I had a few runs this past summer in which I utilized heart-rate training, and they went really well (not sure why I stopped). I have some ambitious goals for this year, the biggest of which is running my first marathon in October, so I needed to find a plan that works for me.

I had heard about Dr. Maffetone and the Maffetone Method previously, but hadn’t looked into his books. I decided to buy and read his book “The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing.” I think of all the running related books I have read, this one really hit home for me for a number of reasons: I have terrible, terrible eating habits that I have developed over 33 years; I have no endurance when it comes to running; I have never been able to run faster than 12:00-13:30 minutes per mile; I can’t seem to lose weight; I have been dealing with what I believe to be edema; I feel like I have chronic inflammation going on in my body; and I have dealt with my fair share of injuries over the past two years.  All of these things are feeding off of each other, putting my body through a very vicious cycle.

Most of my workouts/runs my average heart rate has been between 155-175. Higher is not always better. In nearly all of my workouts my heart rate was anaerobic. Anaerobic can be good for short periods of time or in competition, but for the long run it has been doing me more harm than good. When your heart rate is anaerobic you are burning sugar for fuel rather than fat. Since I am a sugarholic this explains why I can’t seem to lose weight. The cycle goes something like this: I eat candy and snacks; I go work out in an anaerobic state and use that sugar for fuel; after working out and burning all that sugar my body is craving sugar again; and the cycle starts over. I am never burning fat for fuel because my heart rate is just too high. (On a side note, I crave sugar whether I work out or not. What I have described here just exacerbates the issue.)

Another thing I realized in reading this book was that I have no aerobic capacity. Yes, I can run, I can run hills, but I have no aerobic base. The lack of this base is what is contributing to having no running endurance, and not being able to get any faster. Who knew that you have to go slow (I mean real slow) to go fast. Today, I did my first Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) test (heart-rate training). I was pretty sure I was not going to be able to run and keep my heart-rate below my maximum aerobic threshold. I was right. It was the most humbling experience. Physically it was not difficult, by mentally/ego-wise it was difficult. It was so hard to not compare myself to others, or to not just ramp up the speed because I knew I could do it. My maximum aerobic heart rate is 142. The fastest I could do one mile, keeping my heart rate under and as close to 142 as possible, was 16:21. I couldn’t even run because my heart-rate would just shoot up. This was sad and humiliating, but it was a reality check and a starting line. The good news is that if I stick with this training, I will be running faster and further all while maintaining an aerobic heart rate. I will be repeating this MAF test about every 3-4 weeks to track my improvement.  For those of you who are skeptical I would like to share an excerpt from the book:

MY PERSPECTIVE— BY MARIANNE DICKERSON In 2009, Running Times magazine wrote, “Marianne Dickerson is a good candidate for the title of the Marathon Medalist That History Forgot.” The only American woman ever to win a World Championship marathon medal, she took the silver in 1983 in 2: 31: 09. It was only her third marathon. Now retired from road racing, Dickerson prefers competing in Ironman triathlons as a sub-twelve-hour enthusiast. In 1974, as a fourteen-year-old freshman, I began running as a member of my high school track and cross-country teams. I quickly excelled as a middle-distance runner competing in the half-mile and mile events. The improvement I made during my four years of high school competition was dramatic, primarily driven by high-intensity interval training during the the competitive season. I continued my track and cross-country career as a college scholarship athlete training year-round. During the course of my college career, I migrated toward longer distances, competing in races up to ten kilometers. As a result, both my weekly mileage and intensity continued to increase. My training paid off as I achieved collegiate all-American honors in both track and cross-country. Following graduation in 1983, I decided to train for the marathon with ambitions of making the U.S. Olympic team in 1984. My training intensity and mileage continued to increase, with my typical training week consisting of over 100 miles with two days per week dedicated to intense interval training on the track. My improvement over a six-month period from January 1983 to August 1983 was nothing short of miraculous. I competed in the 1983 Avon Woman’s Marathon Championship in May of 1983, placed third, and qualified for the USA Track & Field team to compete in the first ever World Championships of Track & Field. Ten weeks later, I competed in the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, and placed second (quite an accomplishment for a twenty-two-year-old newcomer to the sport of marathoning!). I was literally “on top of the world” after signing a contract with one of the leading running shoe companies, thinking this was just the beginning of a promising career as a world-class distance athlete. After all, the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics were right around the corner. Little did I know that my Cinderella story was about to end. A mere six weeks after the World Championships, I sustained an injury to my lower back. I was out for a long run and noticed sharp pain in my sacroiliac joint. I saw numerous orthopedic doctors over the course of the next twelve months to no avail. After months of getting cortisone injections into my sacroiliac joints, taking anti-inflammatory pills, and getting chiropractic adjustments, I was still unable to run without pain. I did however continue to maintain a high-fitness level through cycling and swimming. I met Dr. Phil Maffetone in August of 1984 at an event we both appeared at, and the experience was life-changing. Dr. Maffetone told me my problem was due to adrenal stress caused by too much “anaerobic” training. At first I was skeptical, but Dr. Maffetone had me go to the nearest track and run a mile with a heart-rate monitor set to my aerobic threshold. I was shocked to see that I could not run a mile under eleven minutes aerobically: this was unbelievable given the fact that twelve months prior I had run over twenty-six miles consecutively at an average pace per mile of 5: 48! Naturally, I was a bit suspect of Dr. Maffetone’s diagnosis, but at that point I was willing to try anything. Over the next eight weeks, I followed a structured dietary and training plan that he had laid out. The dietary plan basically consisted of incorporating good fats into my diet, eating lots of good protein such as eggs, and avoiding sugar and hydrogenated fats. My training plan consisted of “building an aerobic base” with all workouts (forty-five- to ninety-minute runs) conducted wearing a heart monitor with a focus on keeping my pace to a level where my heart rate would not exceed my aerobic threshold range. Each week, I noticed my pace became quicker as I was able to run faster within my aerobic limits. After eight weeks of base building, he had me enter a 10K race. I was shocked at how easy the race felt. And my finish time was a personal record of 33: 02. Miraculous, I thought, given that a mere eight weeks ago, I could barely run a mile under eleven minutes aerobically and now I was running 6.2 miles at an average pace of 5: 18 per mile! I had a few more successful years of running but then decided to return to college and focus on my career. I retired from serious running in 1988, though I’ve continued to be a participant in endurance. Despite working a demanding full-time job as a business consultant that involves extensive travel and long hours, I’ve completed three Ironman triathlons in the last five years. I still follow Dr. Maffetone’s training philosophies religiously in preparation for these events, conducting all my workouts under my aerobic threshold level and have finished all of these Ironmans under twelve hours— and feeling great!

Maffetone, Dr. Philip (2010-09-22). The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing

I would like to challenge each of you to perform your own one mile MAF test. In order to do this you will need to calculate your maximum aerobic heart rate. The formula is very simple: 180 – your age = your maximum aerobic heart rate. There are a few additions/subtractions that may be needed:

  • If you are recovering from a major illness or hospitalization, or are regularly taking a medication subtract another 10.
  • If you are coming back from an injury, get two or more bouts of cold or flu per year, have been inconsistent or are just coming back to training subtract another 5.
  • If you have been training consistently (4 times a week) for up to two years without injury or problems mentioned above, keep the number the same (180 – age).
  • If you have been training for more than two years without any problems listed above, and have made progress in competition without injury add 5.

For example, I am 33 and I am coming back from an injury so my maximum aerobic heart rate is 142. (180-33-5=142) My training range is 132-142 (10 beats lower than my max). In order to complete the test, begin with a 15 minute warm-up. Then complete one mile as fast as you can, while not exceeding your maximum aerobic heart rate. While you may normally be able to run exceptionally fast, you may find that you can’t do one mile that fast while staying below your maximum aerobic heart rate. This is due to the fact that you haven’t built a solid aerobic base. It is eye-opening!

So for the next three to four months I am going to be focusing exclusively on heart-rate training and building a solid base through running and biking. I will not be doing strength training, as strength training is anaerobic due to the stress it imposes upon the body. This is also going to be hard for me as I want to get stronger and develop muscle tone, but again I know in the long run this will be to my benefit. Once I start seeing improvements in my aerobic base I will slowly add in strength training. I will continue to do my MAF test every 3-4 weeks, and if I plateau or I am not making progress that is an indication that the strength training is too much stress. I will then back off on the strength training for awhile. This year will be a bit of an experiment, and I will share my results along the way.

If any of this piqued your interest I highly recommend reading the book. I downloaded to my Kindle from Amazon for a little over $10.00.

 

 

It’s Time To Open My Package

Published November 18, 2012 by Jasmine

Yes, I am gifted, and it is time to open my package…2013 is going to by MY year. I thought this year was going to be MY year, but it turned out to be my year to learn patience, persistence, and resiliency.  I have spent this year learning what I need to stop doing and what I need to start doing to be successful in my career, personal life, and in running! And here all this time I thought I had things figured out!

I’m not saying this to be arrogant, but I have always felt destined to do great things with my life. So it’s time to open that gift, and to start making some changes so that I never miss a chance to be fabulous!

1) I have decided to reluctantly back off my goal of working out 300 out of 365 days. I have completed this before so I know it is possible. When I originally made this goal I wasn’t injured. I have basically been sidelined from cardio since the end of August. For those of you who I am not friends with on social media, I finally did go to the chiropractor to find out why my shins were in so much pain every time I tried running. It turned out my soleus and anterior tibialis were wound up about as tight as they could get in BOTH legs. The muscles were so tight they were starting to pull the fascia away from the bone, and I was on the verge of developing compartment syndrome (this explains why I was so loud and my feet were slamming into the ground when running). I was told to do no cardio, including swimming, as I needed to stay away from anything that worked my calves or included repetitive motion. I could continue with strength training (except calf raises), and yoga as long as there was no pain. So in order to get the workouts in, I have primarily been strength training. The problem with this is I have also been dealing with a right shoulder injury since the end of August.

I feel like by continuing to push myself to get the workouts in I am neglecting the rehab I should be doing to get better, and at the same time probably exacerbating the problems by working out. One of the biggest reasons I have been pressing on is that I am in my sisters wedding in January, and really wanted to lose some weight before then. Finally this morning I realized that I need to have a more long-term approach. This wedding is going to happen, and I will be in it whether I lose weight or not. A more pressing issue is my long-term health and well being. I want to be able to run and race in 2013. I want to get full range of motion back in my shoulder so I can start swimming, and preparing for my first triathlon.

So although I feel like a bit of a failure for walking away from this goal (because there are things like core work I could do everyday) I feel like it is the right thing to do for now. It doesn’t mean I am going to quit working out altogether, I’m just not going to force something for the sake of a number!  More than anything I want to get healthy, injury-free, and come back with a vengeance in 2013!! If any PT’s are reading this I am welcome to any stretching/rehab suggestions!

2) Career-wise it is finally my time! I was offered an associate position at firm last Friday. I am ecstatic, and actually started crying when they made me the offer. My two passions have always been criminal law and estate planning. I always thought I would have to choose one or the other, but I don’t! I will be developing a criminal defense practice for the firm, and I get to do estate planning and probate work. Truly the best of both worlds! I will be living the dream come December 3! When you love what you do, you will never “work” another day in your life.

I graduated from law school, and was sworn in as an attorney in 2006. If someone would have told me back then that it would take me six years to find a permanent job I would have laughed, cried, and quite possibly given up on being a practicing attorney. Luckily, no one told me that. I believe that everything happens for a reason, in its own place and time. I truly believe that this position was meant for me. I have been collecting rejection letters like people collect stamps, and every now and then I would start to doubt and wonder what I was supposed to be doing with my life. In October I had worked on a short project, and got to talking about my interests with another attorney I was working with. She told me that I needed to contact this particular firm because she knew they were looking to build a criminal defense practice, and were also looking for someone to eventually take over an estate planning practice. I honestly thought she was joking because those were the two areas I focused on in law school. I emailed one of the partners to ask if they were still looking. She called me! They were still looking, and she wanted to set up a time for me to come in. I met with them on a Monday, was called that Wednesday to set up a second meeting, and met with them a second time that Friday and was offered the position at the end of the meeting! It was surreal, and still kind of is since I haven’t started yet. God knew what he was doing with this one. It took six years because six years ago this firm wasn’t ready to branch out into criminal defense, and they already had an estate planning attorney.

I am very excited to be taking this next step in my journey! I have my work cut out for me, but because I truly believe that this is where I am meant to be, I know everything will work out. If you or anyone you know is in need of a will, power of attorney, healthcare directive, or need help with a DWI/traffic offense/or any criminal matter please keep me in mind.

3) Now that I no longer have the stress of building my own practice/looking for a job I am going to jump back into selling and accessorizing amazing women with my lia sophia jewelry! I miss getting invited into the homes of some really awesome women, sharing my story, sharing the jewelry, meeting new women, and just having an all around good time! If you want to have a fun girls night in filled with games, drinks, snacks, jewelry, and ME let me know. I would be honored to share my love of jewelry with you!

I have a few other things on my agenda for next year…

  • Running my first 10k
  • Setting a half-marathon PR
  • Running my first marathon
  • Completing my first triathlon

Until then I am going to rest, rehab, and work hard on myself and my career! There will definitely be no looking back!

Back to the Road Less Traveled

Published September 23, 2012 by Jasmine

It’s been a long four weeks since these darn shins of mine started bothering me.  Back at the end of August I had decided I was going to stop running for a month, and I had some friends tell me not to stop because it would be that much harder to get started. While that is true, I have never really developed a good running base as I seem to have one injury after another and not enough running time to develop a strong base.  I was eventually forced to take a break two weeks ago. I ran and walked through shin pain for two weeks, before I finally realized it wasn’t going to go away on its own. So I haven’t run or walked the last two weeks, in fact, this last week I have not done any cardio or strength training. I was hoping the shins would be better. I went for a test “shuffle” today, and while they are getting better, they aren’t back to 100%.

I have decided to take my focus off running, and for the rest of this year my focus will be back on losing weight. It’s time to go back to the road less traveled…the road that I know works, the road that I know I won’t have to deal with injuries on, the only road I knew before I ever contemplated running. It’s time to refocus on strength training, biking, stair climbing, walking, and swimming since I would like to do a triathlon (and someday an Ironman). I remember when I first started at the gym and how I was afraid to walk on the treadmill without holding on because I thought I would fall, and how I couldn’t even make it five minutes on the stair climber holding on. Now I am running and can go 60 minutes on the stair climber without holding on. I’ve come a long way, but I still have so far to go.

This doesn’t mean that I am not going to run the rest of the year, but it will not be my focus. If I am walking and feel like throwing in a few running intervals, I will. There will be no expectations, no schedules, no run/walk intervals, and no “running” days. It’s going to be all about me, my focus on losing weight, my focus on improving my aerobic capacity in ways other than running, and doing whatever I feel like doing.

Luckily, I am not signed for any races this fall. I do have a 5k walk/run for Alexandra House this weekend with my mom and my sister. They are both faster runners than I am, so we weren’t going to be running together anyways…I will most likely just walk. I was really hoping to get to do the Monster Dash again this year. It was a fun event, but I also wanted redemption…I had to limp the last 1.6 miles last year because of a very tight IT band. However, it is unrealistic to think I can go from eight one-minute run intervals today, to a half-marathon in  five weeks. I may just volunteer this year.

Happiness = Running

The Ripple Effect of Running

Published September 4, 2012 by Jasmine

One of the best things about running is the ripple effect it has on others and your life. ~ Me

I can still vividly remember the day I told my family I was going to start training to run a marathon…December 31, 2010. I had just finished my first round of working out 300 of out 365 days, and I needed a new goal. Running a marathon had always been a bucket list item of mine, so in my mind that was the next logical goal (nevermind the fact that I couldn’t even run around the block)! I have no idea why I wanted to run a marathon…I didn’t know a single runner, didn’t know anyone who had run a marathon, and had never watched a marathon. When I told my family they kind of chuckled, especially my brothers. It might have been a legit response considering I was overweight, out of shape, and one of the laziest people around. What they didn’t realize was that I was serious. What I didn’t realize was how naive I was in thinking I was going to up and run a marathon. Running proved to be a little more challenging than just finding a marathon training plan, and sticking with it. I have yet to run a marathon, but I have run two 5k’s, a 5 mile race (which was supposed to be a half-marathon), a 10 mile race, and two half-marathons. If all goes well I am hoping to run my first marathon next fall.

I have been pretty fortunate that most things I have attempted in my life have come pretty easy, except running! Some people are just natural born runners, and I am not one of them. I can tell you that some part of nearly every single run has been a struggle. I can’t count the number of times I have said that I am never running again. Note: this is most often muttered while I am out running. Occasionally the thought is still with me when I get home, but more often than not there is an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.

Not to sound selfish, but when I started it was all about me. I think part of the goal of running a marathon was to prove to myself that I could do something that seemed insurmountable. Right now a marathon does seem insurmountable, but I know it’s not. I am still in awe that I have finished two half-marathons. I wasn’t fast, but I finished. I think many of the training runs were harder than the actual race. My training runs were by myself, and I had so many moments when I just wanted to quit early and go home. Nobody would know…there wasn’t a medal or anyone waiting for me at the finish. This is where the ripple effect comes in.

Running was something that I never thought I could do, yet it has proved to me that I can do so much more than I ever thought. It has proven to me that I can do anything that I set my mind to, and am willing to work hard to achieve.

Like I said earlier when I first started running it was about me, but I did start my blog for two reasons: 1) to chronicle my journey for own purposes; and 2) in the hopes that maybe I could motivate somebody else. I didn’t have anyone particular in mind, but I knew that sometimes it just takes hearing someone else’s story. I am a pretty open person, so I didn’t have any problems putting it all out there. Again the ripple effect came into play. A couple months after I started my journey, a friend of mine said I motivated him to get back out running. He is now more fit than ever, and accomplishing amazing things in his life. He has also finished, among many other races, two full marathons. He has now become my inspiration. My 55 year old mom has started running, she is faster than me and has more endurance than I do. My sister started running, and she is way faster than me as well! I ran into a friend at Target the other day who I haven’t seen in years, but we are Facebook friends. She gave me an unexpected hug and told me she was motivated/inspired by me. That totally made my day!  The great thing about this ripple effect is it will now occur in the circles of each of these individuals, and it will just continue to trickle down. Even if you think nobody notices, people are watching and you are motivating others with your actions.

I am sure somebody reading this is thinking they could never run. I promise you that if I can, you can. You are never too old, too slow, too overweight, or too busy to start running. It’s all about baby steps. Just like a baby crawls before they walk, you may have to walk before you can run. There is nothing wrong with that. I have been struggling this last month with running. I had decided that I was going to take a month off, and luckily I had some wise friends convince me otherwise. So I decided to go back to a very minimal run/walk program just so I wouldn’t have to completely start over a month from now. It’s taken me a long time, but I think I am finally realizing that there is no shame in taking walk breaks if it is what is going to keep me running. Running is also a very private, but public thing. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a treadmill at home, you will be in the public eye whether it is at the gym or in your neighborhood. Do not let this deter from starting. When I first started seriously working out 4.5 years ago, I was afraid to walk on the treadmill without holding on. I thought everyone would be staring at me, but they weren’t. Most people at the gym are focused on their own workout, they don’t care what you are doing.  I felt the same thing when I first ran outside…I didn’t want my neighbors to see me. Now I go out there proud and with pride. Unlike most people I am out there doing something for me, and I am becoming a better person. I actually like running where there is a lot of people because I hope they see me and think if she can do it, I can do it. When I myself am out driving and see people out running/walking I am always impressed…it doesn’t matter how big or small, slow or fast they are. What impresses and motivates me is that they are out making a difference in their own life, when it would have been just as easy, if not more easy, to just sit at home on the couch. Never underestimate the power of the ripple effect.