Welcome to Friday’s Featured Female!
This weekly series features inspirational stories from admirable women. IMHO, it’s always good to be reminded of how strength, determination, hard work, heart and ingenuity can impact the quality of one’s life and I’m proud that these women will allow me to share their stories here.
Today we end the “Month of Melissas” with one of my running and fitness inspirations – Melissa@MelissaRunningIt. I found Melissa’s blog through a Twitter #runchat feed. To find out that Melissa was a runner, a parent, lived in California and was closer to 40 than 30 (Melissa recently entered the 40 Club) made me smile. Melissa’s writing was different than anyone else I’d ever encountered – the honesty, determination and humanity showcased while sharing her thoughts about running, weight lifting and body image clicked with me. Melissa also has a uniquely positive outlook on how faith and fitness impact the health and happiness one unearths in life.
I find Melissa exceptionally motivational and inspirational not only because she looks fantastic, has run more races than I can count or because she can probably crush me like a bug (the girl has serious guns) but because she lives with heart. I admire that she sometimes takes a step back from fitness and blogging because real life requires her presence. Not everyone has the strength to tear themselves away from the pull of their need for fitness or the rabbit hole of social media but Melissa does and is always honest about when she does and usually why. I was lucky enough to meet this fabulous lady at FitBloggin’ in June (despite the fact that we were both at the Self Magazine Oakley Women’s VIP Progression Session in San Diego last April) and she’s as gorgeous in person (and personality) as she is online. Melissa is a woman who takes charge of her own destiny and makes you want to do the same.
Sooooo, have you met Melissa?
Wow, how special am I that I get to round out an awesome month of Melissas? I’m thrilled to be here and a very happy birthday month, Melissa.
All She Wants Is…
See what I did there? Cue the Duran Duran for Melissa and keep reading. If we haven’t met yet, you’ll soon find that in my house, there’s me, the mr. and a couple of teenagers that think they are running it. While I’m not alone, per se, running is very much all me. I started running a little over two years ago and in my first year, I ran just over 300 miles. In 2012, I more than doubled that with 720 miles. Last year, I’m set a goal to hit the 1,000 mile mark (though I came up just shy of it). The increase in miles made me a faster runner, and since I’m not a wicked fast runner, the longer distances meant more time on my own. Unlike the actual lyrics to All She Wants Is, all I wanted was to get into a shape that was a little less round. But everything comes at a price. So, I thought I’d share some of the lessons that no one really pointed out to me when I first got started.
Motivation starts (and finishes) with you. Whether you live alone or are managing a household, you have to be the first to make a move. If mr running it kindly “suggested” I get back on track with something that resembled the svelt, healthy girl he once knew, I would have firmly planted my butt on the couch and had a few more candy bars. Seriously. Don’t tell me what I need to do, because then I won’t want to do it. Real mature, I know. I had to be the one to say enough is enough. I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of having my ribs dig into the fat of my side when I drive. The scale read the same as it did when I was nine months pregnant with my son (did I mention he was 16 by then?). That was what it took for me. When you think through your fitness goals, what is the motivation behind choosing those goals? Is it an upcoming event, an offhand comment someone makes, or a health scare? What makes you finally say: today is the day I’m going to get after it? If you don’t know, ask yourself what you want your life to look like in ten or twenty years from now.
Why do you run, or lift weights, or do Zumba, or do whatever you do?
When I started running, I didn’t do it because I loved it, I did it because it was the greatest calorie burn I could manage in the least amount of time. Once I got past the ugly huffing and puffing stage of running a miserable mile, I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. Somewhere between sucking on my inhaler like a crack pipe and a variety of overuse injuries, I was hooked on running and the race bling. Run all the races!!! became my mantra. Last year I decided to participate in a #13in2013 challenge and ran thirteen half marathons. so. much. fun. By my last race of the year, though, I was pretty burnt out. I missed sleeping in until the sun came up on Saturday mornings and making breakfast for my family. I missed lifting weights that were heavy for fear of being too sore to get in a good run the following day. As much as I loved running, I had to step back and evaluate. I realized running had become work and I’d come to love the running community family far more than the run. Why did I start running? Oh, right, to drop fat. Yep, did that. I dropped 20 pounds and overall was much healthier than I’d been in years. Do you love what you do? I see people running and at the gym and there are always the few that look oh so miserable every single time I see them. No doubt there are those workouts that kick your butt, but if you’re headed to your workout with the feeling of dread all the time, it’s time for a change.
Change is good.
When I attempted to plan my 2014 race calendar, I just wasn’t feeling it. There were a couple of races I’d registered for, but I noticed I’d made commitments to people rather than being committed to the run. I wanted to keep making forward progress, so I decided to get back into the gym. It was intimidating, for sure. Having a plan and being intentional with my training was still something I needed (go figure, kind of like training for a marathon). I connected with a couple of ladies on Facebook and I’m pretty excited for this new season. Since Melissa was so awesome to invite me as a guest blogger, y’all are getting the first progress photo of the year. Not quite an equal trade on awesome, I know. Ha. But I digress… Change is good, even when it doesn’t seem noticeable. The scale didn’t change much between these two photos – seriously, it was just a two pound difference – but when I had the mr take photos, I my point of view changed and I could see the difference. Change is good, even when it’s a small change. Something as simple as putting pen to paper to track meals and workouts made me more aware of what I was eating and how hard I was (or wasn’t) actually working out. I got out of my comfort zone and am seeing the value of changing up my game plan. When’s the last time you changed up your workouts? If it’s been some time, what’s something you want to try but have stayed away from? (For me, that would be Zumba. It looks so fun, but I know my mama didn’t give me anything that shakes like that!)
If you’re still reading, then you get a gold star for letting me ramble. While these seem simple enough, I wish I’d heard them earlier on when I first started to get my health back under my control:
Only I can find the motivation to get started. No amount of pep talks, body image talks, or well played infomercial is gonna find your inner mojo for you.
Love what you do! If you don’t find joy in it, it’s time to move on, or at the very least, take a break. It’s hard to move forward with anything in life if all you see is work.
Change it up. Over time, our bodies adapt to any given activity done on a regular basis. If you’ve been doing the same thing for some time now and aren’t seeing results, it’s time for a change. Get connected with Melissa to evaluate your nutrition – that’s 80% of the equation! Find a trainer, get a workout buddy, someone that will help you with a specific plan to get you moving toward the results you want.
Moving forward, I know I’ll be assessing, evaluating, and adjusting and I look forward to hearing how you do the same!
Melissa Running It (http://melissarunningit.com)
Twitter @melissyk (http://twitter.com/melissyk)
Instagram @melissyk (http://instagram.com/melissyk)
Facebook Melissa Running It (http://facebook.com/melissarunningit)
Spill it – name one of those things you’ve been avoiding but really do want to try.