Friday, June 22, 2012


"The only real failure in life is one not learned from."
Anthony J. D'Angelo

This morning, I set out to do 15 miles. I could barely run 10 before I had to stop. I was spent, I was done, and for a little while, I was pissed at myself for not being able to do what I had done two weeks prior.

Then I gave it some thought as I was walking back home. No, I don't consider this run a failure, it was honestly what I needed because I learned from it. Lessons that will help me be a better runner in the future. I need to hydrate more during the summer, I need to eat more to have energy for the run, I should not jump into a long run after being sick all week, and I need to not have a water-bottle belt that cuts up my lower back. Four...okay, three solid lessons learned from this run. Definitely not a failure.

So many people are discouraged and quit when they don't succeed in something. How do you know what true success feels like if you don't fall on your way to get there?  You get back up, you learn, and then you continue on - more knowledgeable than before. Fall, learn, repeat. It's like shampoo directions for achieving your goals.

This goes beyond diet and exercise based goals, too. Financially, professionally, and hell, even romantically. Something doesn't work to get you to your goal - whether it be paying off debt, climbing the corporate ladder, or finding that special someone - learn from the experience and drive on. I can tell you right now, that if I hadn't dated who I have in the past, I'd have no idea what I'm looking for in a partner, how to be a good partner in return, or have this killer ab routine that I use (lessons come in all different forms, hah)!

With the lessons that I learned this morning, I will drive on and will be one - okay, three - steps closer to completely owning this marathon.

Every seemingly negative experience in life has a lesson in it. 

Are you willing to learn?

Thursday, June 14, 2012


 “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
Walt Disney

I’m all for being Mr. Motivation and pushing people to achieve their goals. That’s exactly why I’m telling you to quit.

Quit your excuses.

Quit spending the entire evening on your couch.

Quit putting off getting that lift session or run in.

Quit being too lazy to prepare your food for the week, and on that note, quit going out to eat and ordering things that you know are bad for you.

Just quit.

At graduation, I finally hit the breaking point. I was guilty of all of the above. My bad decisions led to bad habits. My bad habits led me down a path that ended with me being fat, unconfident, and most importantly – unhappy. And then I quit. I stopped being the prisoner of my own bad choices. I had the strength, and more importantly - the fire, to stop being who I was in order to improve myself and make me into the person I am today.

There’s this big misconception that quitting – at least in the training world – is a bad thing. What if the thing you’re quitting is the thing that’s holding you back? Bad habits, rationalizations, limiting yourself. This is when it becomes a good thing, when you take steps closer to your goals. Stop saying “I need to get to the gym,” “I should have chicken and veggies for lunch,” “I’ll start tomorrow.” These are all passive statements. Start saying these: "am going," "will," "now." Active. Decisive. Powerful.

Not happy with where you are physically? Stop your bitching. You're the only one who can make this change for yourself, not the trainer, not the nutritionist, not Dr. Oz. You.

Just quit and do it.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Fourteen miles is a lot of time to think about things: how much this Pandora station is absolutely killing it today, what bills I need to pay, if the zombie apocalypse is here (mental note: avoid all bath salts, sorry Bed, Bath and Beyond), what my friends in Richmond and Pennsylvania are up to and if they're somehow managing without me (I kid, I kid), and you get some realizations as well. Then it hit me:

I may be a lot of things, perfect is not one of them (not that I thought that I was before, mind you).

Good news: no one is.

I may be a little too nerdy, a little too socially awkward. I might enjoy a pizza to myself on a more than regular occasion and be completely lost in any political discussion that doesn't involve "Game of Thrones." My xbox might see me a little too much, and my couch even more.  (I might use parenthesis more than I should) and I might not have a 6-pack and a 30" waist. I might be too trusting...okay, gullible...a little too optimistic, and even a little too smiley (trust me, at VMI, you can be too smiley). My dream for my future might be a little too white-picket-fency, complete with a husband, 3 kids and a dog - black lab, rescue of course. On that note: I might be a little too cheesy.

But you know what? I'm happy.

I've been working to a better body - to cut fat or gain muscle, to be able to run further and faster, to lift heavier and be a better athlete - for the past 8 years. I might have slipped and fallen, but I dusted myself off and kept on going, and on my run today - it hit me - I'm happy with myself. Eight years - 80lbs lost, and every time I looked in the mirror, I always saw imperfection and strove to "fix" it. As I hit mile 13 fifteen minutes ahead of when I finished at 13 two weeks ago, it really hit me: it's not the strive to obtaining perfection and getting it that will make me happy, it's the drive to be a better person, whether athletically, intellectually, or even nerdily (I also may make up too many words) - to help others in my community, no matter how small or large the task might seem -  that has and will make me happy.

There's a certain weight (*nudge nudge* get it? it's a fitness blog! See cheesy comment above, repeat cheesy comment above) that's lifted off your shoulders when you make this realization. A certain freedom that comes with it, to know that you're no longer doing this because of social pressure or to fit in, but to truly do it for yourself that's, well, freeing. My question to you is: are you doing what you're doing because it's what's expected of you - from your friends, from your family, from your community or religion - because of some media driven standard that is set - or are you doing it truly because it's what makes you happy? Take a little bit of time on your commute to work, while you're biking or pavement pounding, just when you can let your mind wander (ok, meetings at work - probably not the best place) and ask yourself that and really think about it.

Now if y'all will excuse me, my couch and my xbox are calling. Told ya I was nerdy.