I've been learning a lot about myself and about life this year. Training for the half marathon (my New Year's Resolution, in case you hadn't heard) has been a big part of this journey.
Training for a half = many miles of running. Which actually equals many hours of running. That's right: hours. Honestly, I never thought I would say the words running and hours in the same sentence. What has become of me?
I thought I would take the beginning of this new month to share with you a few of the lessons that I've learned this year.
Lesson #1: Buy new Shoes
I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm kind of frugal. Okay, not "kind of" - I actually mean "really, really" frugal. As in - these socks have holes in them so I'll wear them in a way that you can't see the holes. Socks cost less than $2.
A couple of years ago I splurged and bought some quality running shoes. I did the whole run-on-a-treadmill so the experts could tell me what kind of shoes to buy. I don't know whether or not it's a gimmick, but I have loved my neon pink Brooks for the last two years.
The rumor is that running shoes should be replaced annually, but not for this girl. This girl decided that she could stretch the life of those expensive shoes. Until last weekend. Three miles into my eight-mile run, I realized that I needed new shoes. After another five miles, I came home to an aching foot.
I bought new shoes the next day. After a few days of rest, my run today in new shoes went much better.
Here's the thing about new shoes, though - they do as much for my soul as they do for me feet. My new shoes are awesome. They are bright purple and bold. I pair them with the running skirt that my friend gave to me, and all of a sudden I look the part of a runner.
It may be silly; it may be superficial, but having the costume makes me a more confident athlete.
Lesson #2: Run with Friends
Remember those hours of running that I mentioned? They go by much, much more quickly when chatting with a friend. Here are some other reasons I love running with friends:
Quality time. Running with a partner means I have an automatically scheduled friend date every week. We share joys, pain, and life together - and it's beautiful.
Pacing. Thirteen-point-one miles should be run at a moderate pace - meaning that I need to be able to hold a conversation. Actually holding a conversation with somebody else is good accountability for running at the right speed.
Encouragement. You got this, girl! Somehow, that phrase makes me run faster. Push harder. The human spirit is amazing, and encouragement from someone else is like adrenaline to the heart.
Lesson #3: Eat Good Food
Are you surprised? It's not the first time (nor the last) that I'll talk about the link the between quality food, exercise, and good health.
It's easy to use exercise as a reason to eat more junk (ahem, Doritos). I won't say that I've never enjoyed favorite foods after a day of hard exercise (see: pizza), but to me, part of exercise is fueling my body with quality food. That means good carbs from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Protein from lentils, eggs, nuts, and cheese. Fat from avocados, peanut butter, and full-fat dairy (hurray for Noosa yogurt!).
I'm learning the balance of calories in versus calories out when expending significantly more energy on a daily basis. It's such a beautiful practice to learn to listen to what my body needs.
Today, I'm thankful for new shoes, perfect weather, and great friends. It's one month until my first half marathon. Bring it on, April.
With love, from Peas and Hoppiness.