Saturday, August 13, 2011

Whatever It Takes, Make It Happen!

"Sometimes I start my day by running 5 1/2 miles, not because I want to, but for the simple fact that nothing that comes my way can be as hard as what I started the day doing."

This quote comes from Mandy, a college friend who aspires to complete a half marathon and seems to be doing awesome with her training so far! She posted this quote on Facebook a few days ago, and I liked it so much that I decided to add it here. Now, Mandy is the mother of five children under the age of five, so I can't fully compare myself to her when it comes to time management, but between work and family obligations, I think we all know what it's like to ask ourselves that big question: How do I find time to exercise? Well, the answer is that if we keep waiting for the perfect time frame to open up, we're never going to get anything done, because life does happen, and we have to make time for the goals that are important to us. I tend to get very irritated when personal responsibilities interfere with my ideal workout routine, but we've all been there, and that's when we just use whatever time we can find to squeeze it in, even if it's only 20 minutes, or 30 minutes, etc...

What's my point? Oh, right. The point. :) Well, I really like Mandy's idea of running first thing in the morning. Getting out of bed early enough is definitely the hardest part, but I can understand the value of achieving something difficult before moving on to the rest of your day. The excitement of completing a great workout rolls over into everything else you do after that, which makes it worth considering. In general, though, if you're feeling less motivated to exercise, it sometimes helps to switch it to the exact opposite time that you usually head to the gym. Instead of going in the late morning or early afternoon, maybe you could try an evening workout and see if you feel any difference. It's always good to experiment with different times and figure out what works best for you.

Today was a very important and exciting milestone for me, because I managed to get up this morning and run 15.2 miles!!! I've never run that far before at one time, and with walk breaks and everything, it took three hours and nineteen minutes to finish. I really realized, more than ever, that once you hit a certain number of miles, the physical part of it kind of stops, and it becomes almost completely mental. In your heart, you know that your legs can take you six more miles, but when you're exhausted and sweaty, is that what you necessarily want to do? Right then and there, you just have to do whatever it takes to finish, whether it's by taking a five-minute walking break, putting a new song on your iPod, or simply looking ahead and concentrating on something in front of you...the cars driving by, the strip mall to your right, or the trees surrounding your path. You have the choice of stopping--after all, nobody is physically forcing you to do any of this--but you know what your goal is, you know what you set out to accomplish on this day, and after all the work that has already gone into it, you are determined to finish what you started...and somehow you will, if you just tell yourself you're going to do it.

This is what you do when something matters enough to you, because when it's all over, and you're thinking back on it later in the day, nothing feels better than knowing you stuck with it and got the job done. It's incredible what the mind and the body can do when they work together...and believe me, they have to be in sync with each other when you're reaching for something big. If you want something badly enough, you'll find a way to get it, because when you let that mentality take over, that's when you find the will to take on the physical aspects of it. I hope everyone gives themselves the opportunity to experience this, with whatever they are working toward in their lives, because there's nothing like it! Mandy has said "I love knowing that after I run, there isn't a thing that can break me", and right now, I can honestly say that I know exactly what she means!

Question of the Day: Have you ever had a workout, a job-related task, or any other type of goal/responsibility where you suddenly realized that if you didn't just do it, it wasn't going to happen? Do you remember something particularly powerful that went through your mind, or anything specific that you did to make it to the other side? If so, then please share it! :)

Hope everyone enjoys their Saturday and the rest of the weekend. My parents and sister are tailgating right now (hopefully the rain won't start up again) and going to the first pre-season Bears game of the year, while Baba and I will be enjoying it from the TV at home! Bear down, Chicago Bears!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"You is kind. You is smart. You is important."

At the moment, after reading the title of this post, I'm pretty sure the only people who don't think I'm completely off my rocker are those who have read The Help and/or seen the movie, which just came out today. My mom and I went to a 9:30 showing this morning (probably the earliest either of us have ever shown up to a movie theater). We were completely mesmerized for the entire 2 hours and 17 minutes, and this is one of the most powerful quotes that came from the film. One of the main characters, Aibileen, said this every day to the little girl she was basically raising, and if you think about it, it actually works for any age, era, or personal situation. Though it might sound a little silly, I think it's important for people to remind themselves that they are important and valued, no matter their size or physical appearance, because when you feel more confident in yourself, that's when you can start making healthy changes in your life. In the movie, Aibileen realized that despite the hardships she was dealing with, one thing she could excel at is building another child's self-worth. This rang especially true for me, because as people, we are all capable of lifting each other up on difficult days and during moments of doubt. It inspires me so much when someone takes the time out to offer a compliment or word or encouragement, and it leaves me hoping that I can do the same for others.

Aside from that, I can't think of much else to report. The Chicago Half Marathon takes place just one month from tomorrow (can you say yikes?!?!?) and the Chicago Marathon is only one month after that. I can definitely see how some people struggle to stay focused and motivate themselves to train during these most critical weeks. Nerves start to take over, and a few injuries here and there--even if they're minor--can be unfortunate setbacks. Right now, I'm just trying to stay excited and remember why I got myself into this crazy marathon world in the first place--because we all have to start somewhere, and if we have a goal we want to reach, taking the first step is a heck of a lot better than simply talking without acting. I appreciate the strength and motivation I find from my family, as well as the people I see every single day at the gym. You'd be absolutely amazed at the support system you can find out there, even if you don't think you're necessarily looking for one at first.

Well, I think I'll finish my chicken salad dinner and head to bed. Happy Hump Day to everyone :) Do yourself a favor this weekend and go see The Help. Whether you're a girl or a guy, young or old, it's just something you need to see, period. It's a positive reminder that even though we might not be perfect, we have come a long way as Americans in the past 50-some years, and we will only continue to get better if we just start with ourselves. The same applies to weight loss, or anything else you might be looking to accomplish in your own life! If you do go see the movie, let me know what you thought of it. That will count as the question for the day :)


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Celebrating Another Birthday in the Krajewski House!

                            I don't think you ever outgrow being a Daddy's girl...






Just thought I'd post a few special pictures in honor of a very special man's birthday today! What's cool about my dad is that when he was in his 20's, he lost about 100 pounds through old-fashioned diet and exercise, which is exactly what I've tried to do over the past three years. Weight loss is never easy, and this is a very personal connection that I have with my dad. In thinking about how much dedication and self-discipline that must have taken him, I feel fortunate that I got those qualities from him...or at least I would like to believe so! :) Like a true father, he is always supportive of his three daughters and is, as far as I'm concerned, the best dad in the world :) I don't think he always understands why I take a 70-minute walk home from work a few days a week when I could easily ride home with my mom, but that's okay, because I don't really have an explanation for it anyway!

Today's question is a simple one: Who inspires you the most when things get tough?

Happy Birthday, Dad!! Love you!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nothin' Like an Inspirational Flick to Get You Through Those Long Runs!

It seems like most people, within a few hours of meeting me, realize that I am a movie buff of sorts, and although it was slightly embarrassing at first, there comes a point where you just have to be happy with who you are! Yes, I adore movies, especially comedies and dramas. Going to the theater is one of my favorite pasttimes, and when I asked Santa for an iPad last Christmas, I was primarily excited about loading it up with movies and TV shows to help out with long bouts of exercise at the gym.

Today, Soul Surfer--which has quickly become one of my all-time favorites--was released on DVD. It's based on the true story of a girl who lost her arm in a shark attack at age 13, then found the courage to get back in the water and become a pro surfer--not because she wanted to be renowned, but because it was a passion she couldn't imagine living without. Buying it for my iPad helped me finish a nearly 6-mile run this afternoon, which still isn't my best, but I am currently working through a slump in my running, which I'm sincerely hoping will pass as the Chicago Marathon gets closer. Anyway, the reason I'm mentioning this particular film is because we all have days where we need a little extra "boost", and watching a good inspirational movie--especially one about real people--can go a long way in reminding you what you're trying to do in your own life.

For my Question of the Day, I thought I would ask people to post those movies that urge them to leap into action and forget about certain obstacles that may have been bothering them the day before. What makes you feel just plain happy and inspired after watching it? Aside from Soul Surfer, I really love Facing the Giants (try watching the death crawl scene without being motivated to get off your couch and do something worthwhile) and Remember the Titans. There are so many others I could name, but I'll let other people write their own opinions if they want to!

Have a good night, and be inspired...whatever it takes! Movies are just one small way to begin the process. Whatever helps you get up and moving is great, but ultimately, it's you who makes the decision to keep going from there. Don't let anyone or anything stop you! As Bethany Hamilton says in Soul Surfer, "I don't need easy. I just need possible." Couldn't have said it better myself!