I’m not one to let the opinions of others change me. If I was I probably wouldn’t be rocking a hairstyle that’s been compared to the Misfits or have six tattoos. I wouldn’t have kept my pregnancy and baby at 19 and begun working in the ‘man’s field’ of industrial radiography at 21. I wouldn’t have bought my first home that same year or graduated college while working 80 hours per week on a power plant outage. I’ve never had things ‘easy’ and I never expected anything to be handed to me. I work for what I have and I work even harder for what I want to have in the future.
The past week has been CRAZY! But in a really, REALLY good way. I have so many things going on that I am excited about and that motivate me to keep moving forward.
Obviously the biggest change has been having a job that is FUN. I spent 4 evenings hanging out at different DICK’S Sporting Goods locations meeting runners and talking gear, training, nutrition, etc. Life really doesn’t get much better than that! You can find me January 17 & 18th at the McCandless DSG from 10-2 or so.
This week’s events included our replica bridge, catering from Bistro on the Go, the DICK’S Pittsburgh Marathon’s Registered Dietitian on site, 20% off your entire purchase at DSG, and a raffle for a free hotel the night before the marathon. I haven’t been clued in on what we’ll be offering at the next events but I’m sure you don’t want to miss it!
Another year has gone by and I am another year older. I celebrated my 29th birthday shortly after Christmas. Along with the holidays and another notch in my belt came the typical indulgences. Food, desserts, alcohol, and a lack of time for the gym.
This year I chose to stop kicking myself for every excess and lazy day. Instead I focused on enjoying my time with family and friends. There were dinners and parties and baking marathons. I spent days driving from one home to another for feast after buffet after brunch/lunch/dinner. And I took part in every last one of them.
I’ve made some really good changes over the last couple weeks. I’ll just admit it now. I picked up A LOT of bad habits again while I was ‘off’. I started smoking again. I was having a few beers way too often. I obviously wasn’t exercising. And I was eating everything that a dietician would kill me for.
First things first, I guess I need to introduce someone. Friends meet Paul, the new guy in my life. He’s a runner and he lifts. Yeah, he’s awesome!
I bought us a family membership to the YMCA so we could all enjoy a year of health and wellness. My mom had yet to use her membership so she asked me to go with her today. I was more than happy to have a reason to head to the gym and not be accompanied only by my iPod.
Hey you! Yes, you. I’m judging you.
The ‘fat’ chick on the treadmill. The big guy on the elliptical. The skinny kid lifting an empty bar. The old guy running with the funny gait. The clumsy girl on the secondhand bike.
So I eventually decided that a degree in business administration was a good base for whatever I ended up doing. I got my Associates around the same time I started running and realized that I wasn’t going to be happy sitting at a desk and crunching numbers. So I changed my major to Sport Management: Health and Wellness. I seriously would run for a living if I was talented enough. I eat, sleep, and breathe running. I have a running calendar, running ornaments on my tree, a running tattoo on my ankle, etc.
I’ve kept plugging along at this degree thinking that working with athletes would make me happy. I’m not sure WHAT exactly I’ll be doing with it but it will be closer to my dreams. Then I got laid off at work. It’s not permanent or anything. It’s just seasonal downturn that is the nature of my day job. The last couple weeks I’ve been doing nothing but focusing on my training, my classes and, of course, my family. Apparently the euphoria surrounding me during this period has been palpable. One of my friends commented, “Did you change jobs? You seem so much happier lately.” And that got me thinking….
What exactly is it that I’m looking for? I know I can’t just run and be mommy when I finish college as much as I would love to. There’s bills to pay and races to register for and little people demanding clothes, food, and entertainment. So what will make me happy and put food on the table? What are my exact needs and wants in a career? I started by taking the time to really examine what I DON’T like about what I do now as I suffered through a treadmill run today.
The realization hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s GOALS! I love running because I have goals and benchmarks and I can measure my success in a quantifiable form. Perhaps those business classes are paying off? I don’t know if I ever would have thought about quantifiable goals without them. However, in my current job I don’t have them. Every day I go somewhere different and work with new people and see new things. These are elements I DO like because I get to move and learn. (Add to ‘need’ list.) BUT I can’t measure my success in any form except financially.
If I were an accounting professional at a company I could aim to improve cost savings by X percent or increase profit by a certain margin. If I were a health professional I could work to improve patient outcomes. In my job I can’t control anything or work towards anything. I am given an assignment (perform X number of tests tonight) and then left to do it. My shift is over when the work is done so it’s not a race against the clock and I can’t outperform expectations. I simply do as instructed and move onto the next job. And THAT is exactly what drives me nuts! I want to measure my improvement and my growth. I want to set new goals as I exceed my current ones. I want to know what’s expected of me in a quantifiable way and then work to rise above them.
So where does that leave me? Well, in fact, nowhere. I still have twelve more classes until I graduate and I still have to work at my current job until that point. And rumor has it that the university I’m attending is facing a teacher strike so it may take longer than the 3 semesters I had planned. But now I have a new goal! Find a job that meets these needs: Work in varying places and/or with varying people, have room for growth and learning, and be able to set and meet quantifiable goals with my supervisors. Now I can look at job openings in the health and wellness field with a better eye for what I may want to pursue. And that in and of itself is a huge step for me! Maybe I’ll actually be able to answer the age old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Here is how it works:
1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section like “you are tagged if you are reading this”. You (the blogger) legitimately have to tag 11 (or so) people.
My random facts:
1. I have four tattoos. I want more.
2. I love adventure and despise routine. All I ask of life is a challenge.
3. I love to read almost more than I love to run. Deciding between a book or a run can be the hardest decision I make all day.
4. I wish I had stuck out my first round of college getting a degree in Biology. I always wanted to work in genetics.
5. My husband and I aren’t good at event planning so we got married at the J.P. instead and then had a photographer friend take really awesome pictures in the park to make it look like we had a big wedding.
6. For some reason my dad was determined that I should have the middle name Altair. It is Arabic for ‘bird’ and ever since 9-11 I’ve been harassed by airport security every time I fly.
7. I work in Nondestructive Testing. If you actually know what that is without Googling I’ll give you a cookie.
8. I’m naturally brunette, almost black, but my older daughter is blonde haired and blue eyed. Makes me really wish I had gone into genetics so I could figure that one out!
9. I have watched every episode of Richard Scarry’s Busy Town at least three times. Thank you parenthood!
10. I only own 2 pairs of jeans. I spend all of my money on running gear.
11. I own the coolest weiner dog ever. She has one brown eye and one blue eye. Her name was supposed to be Lego but my husband changed it to Lily and my daughter gave her the middle name Eliza.
Porcelina’s Questions to Me:
1. If you could run any race, anywhere, and money wasn’t an option, where would you go?
First stop, Australia! I want to see a platypus and a koala and a kiwi up close! And eat vegemite too!
2. If you had one million pounds to give away, who or what would you chose to donate too?
Well, we have dollars here. I would spread it amongst the charities I love, like the IAFF Burn Fund!
3. If you had the chance to relive one instance in your life, what moment would you chose? Would you change anything about it or just re-live it?
The last time I saw my dad before he got hurt maybe? I’d like to ask him more about himself and take a few more pictures of us together!
4. Cats or dogs?
Both! And fish too!
5. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Marriage and love are a choice you make every day.
6. What was the last book you read?
The Help. I loved it!
7. What is your favourite go-to dinner when you need cheering up?
My husband is the cook in our house. In the winter I love chili and in the summer I love grilling out!
8. What is your life\running mantra?
‘As far as I can, As fast as I can’. It fits me to a tee! I’m always up to something and trying to see just how much I can accomplish in as little time as possible!
9. Sweet or Salted Popcorn?
10. Have you had a ‘defining moment’ yet? If so, care to share?
Losing my father at the age of 11. It changed the whole course of my life and I’m sure I don’t even realize half of it.
11. What would be your perfect Sunday afternoon?
Long run followed by an ice bath, hot shower, and massage. Then maybe going to dinner and a movie with my hubby. A kid-free day is definitely the best present I can get sometimes!
Eleven questions for whomever I tag:
1. Did you grow up in the city, the suburbs, or on a farm, etc? What was it like?
2. How many siblings do you have?
3. How many children would you have if your resources were unlimited?
4. What would your career choice be if you could have your pick tomorrow?
5. Describe your dream home.
6. What is your favorite nail polish color?
7. If you could have a chef or a maid which would you choose?
8. What is your favorite candy?
9. What is your favorite shoe brand?
10. Do you have a smart phone or a regular phone?
11. Coffee or tea?
But 135 wasn’t my max! I went on to deadlift 145lbs 3 times, even after doing 8 sets of 3 before it. The coaches think my 1 rep max would be around 180-185 pounds right now. I can’t wait to see if they’re right and if I can break into the 200’s before fall! Sweet!
So what was your accomplishment today?
Of course, being an exercise addict I thought of this instead:
So then I thought why not combine the two?! Instead of just laying around we can get fit with a new fad! So of course, my ever-gullible husband and I went off with the kids to test it out! The results are absolutely spectacular!
Of course, since Shane and I did it our oldest had to try it to. And I think she did a wonderful job! Check out these planking skills!
I really hoped I could PR in this race but that wasn’t to be. The weather and the cumulative fatigue from my marathon training combined to beat me down. However, it was a wonderful experience in a lot of other ways! So on to the race!
We arrived really early thanks to my husband’s worry that it would take twice as long as Mapquest predicted. I had picked up our race packets the day before so there wasn’t much to do. We got our numbers pinned on, picked up our chips (I had to show my husband how to attach his!), and dropped off our toys for the Amici Mentoring Program. Then we waited…
Today, I knew Ed would be ramping things up a little but I was less nervous. We did some plyo drills, some strength training, and some circuit training. I was a little sore afterwards but not as much as I expected. I put off doing my scheduled 4 mile run for a few hours for fear I would feel it then. However, I finally sucked it up and jumped on the treadmill. (I still haven’t braved the snow/rain yet!)
Once again I was pleasantly surprised. I figured I would just go all out and see if I blew up or not. I started out at a 10 minute mile pace (yes, I’m slow, I know…) and stayed there for mile 1. Mile 2 I pushed to a 9:30 minute mile pace. That actually didn’t feel too bad! I had an outside chance at breaking my official 5K PR of 29:59 (I pulled a 27:xx in training but never in a race). I kept pushing the speed through mile 3 until I got to 7MPH. I managed to hold myself together to the 5K mark and shaved 6 seconds off that race PR! I was elated (and wheezing, choking, red-faced….)! I wasn’t sure how well I would finish off that last mile to get my scheduled 4 but I didn’t want to chicken out now.
I kept pushing, dropping back only to a 10 minute mile pace instead of 11 or 12. I got myself to the 3.8 mile mark and notched the speed up to 6.5 MPH and then edged up to 7MPH for the final tenth of a mile. I finished that 4 mile run in 39:45, an average pace of 9:41! A truly amazing accomplishment for a penguin like me! I’m going to rest up and really hope that I can break my pre-baby PR less than 4 months postpartum. And, if the weather is only 20-ish degrees like they’re forecasting, then there’s an outside chance I could snag myself another age group award!
I have to say I’m pretty fond of my newfound pain tolerance and ‘speed’! I’m starting to think I do have an outside chance of having a good first marathon and setting a new PR at the Rachel Carson Challenge this summer and still being able to walk in the days following. So here’s to pushing ourselves beyond our wildest dreams and finding that perserverence and determination are the keys to opportunities doors!