Wanting and Wishing

My little sister has naturally curly hair. Beautiful curly hair. She has always had this curly hair…quite unruly at times, as evidenced by her third grade school photo in which my fifth grade self attempted to french braid it for the picture day.

She always wished for straight hair.

When I was little I had the straight hair, and wouldn’t you know it, I wished for it to be curly. My hair was long and boring, and all the cool kids had perms. Sure my mom fixed it beautifully everyday, curled bangs with a headache-inducing side ponytail, but I wanted more. This just goes to show that we all wish for the things we don’t have.

But, I’ve learned that it’s important to be careful what you wish for…now in my adult life I have this wavy/curly/straight/frizzy combo hair. Hair that doesn’t go out in public unless a blowdryer and straightener or curling iron has been put to it.

What I wouldn’t give to have my childhood hair back.

A few months ago, near the end of my spring marathon training, I told a friend of mine that I wished it was after my marathon and I could run shorter distances, less mileage, and strength train more. Long runs are hard and time consuming, and marathon training in general takes a toll on a person. I wished for the night I could drink a glass or two of wine and not worry about it hurting my long run the next morning.

And now that I can’t go on that long run…that’s all I want to do!

I vaguely scratched out a training plan for Chicago that started last week. By vaguely scratched out I just mean that I planned my long run schedule for each weekend. This past Saturday has an “8” written in the box.

I didn’t run eight miles. I didn’t run one mile. Girl, be careful what you wish for.

This morning I went out for a short “test” run, and fingers crossed, I think my knee is on the up-and-up. I made it a mile and a half, stopped for thirty minutes of a bootcamp workout in the parking lot with four other lovely ladies, then another mile and a half back home. All pain free.

The moral of the story friends? Be grateful for what you have going on right now. Today. I’m excited for my long training runs to come, but today I enjoyed running short, squatting low, and lunging forward.

And, I guess I’ll be grateful for this pile of frizz I have knotted on top of my head, too.

ang

I Heart Strength Training

I heart strength training. I really, really do. I never thought I’d say that in my whole life.

When I think back to my freshman year of high school, I give some of the unfortunate credit to my negative body image to strength training. Obviously this makes no sense at all, but let me explain.

I had to participate in weightlifting workouts in order to participate on the volleyball team at my school. I love volleyball, so I did what I had to do. I lifted weights…and I hated it. First of all I found it intimidating. Being in a room full of sweaty boys and grunting and yelling is not really my style.

Secondly, weightlifting made me get “bigger”. I had always been very petite and the smallest girl my age, so when that wasn’t the case anymore…it scared me. (I didn’t take into consideration that I was having a growth spurt, and that it isn’t that common to go into ninth grade being a twig standing at 4’9″.) So in my skewed mind, weightlifting equaled getting bigger, and getting bigger equaled getting fatter, and getting fatter was just unacceptable.

Now fast forward to today.

I cannot wait to get in my strength training workout today. I have been craving strength training, especially since I missed it earlier this week. Since I started half marathon training in January, I incorporated strength into my routine consistently for twice a week! I started out with hesitation, but I soon fell in love. After my half marathon, I made sure that I included strength training into my full marathon training plan as well!

What made me change my mind? Why do I love strength training now? Well, I’d love to tell you!

Strength training has made me bigger.

Wait? Wasn’t that what I was afraid of in the first place? Yes, however, weightlifting has made me get bigger in all the right places! I have never had biceps before…until now! (Even though I still max out on twenty pound curls!) Now I can’t wait for the unlikely opportunity to come up where I need to flex for someone!

curlsI have always been self conscious about my legs…my thighs to be more exact. I’ve always just felt like they were unproportional to the rest of my body. But this summer when I was at the pool with my sister and she told me that my legs looked strong, I was actually flattered rather than embarrassed. A huge accomplishment if you ask me!

Strength training has helped me with running injury.

I’ve been having some pain in my knee (which is a pain in my gooloo) for awhile now, and I’m not sure why. However, whenever I strength train, my pain almost instantly goes away. I can’t explain the physiology of it, except for the muscles around my knee must be getting stronger to support the pressure running puts on my knee. Whatever the reasoning, I’ll take it!

Strength training has made me taller.

Since my sophomore year in high school, I had always been somewhat embarrassed to list my height on all the volleyball rosters. I love love love volleyball, but when you see all 5’3″ of me, it’s not very scary. I’m sure the other high school teams would check out our roster and say, “Oh, we better watch out for that number 4…she’s five foot three! Keep the ball away from her!

The truth is, I haven’t measured my height in a long time, so I can’t say for a fact that I’m actually taller. However, I feel taller. I’d be confident listing my height at 5’4″ if I was ever on a roster again. I credit this to strength training because I stand up straighter now. I walk around with my shoulders held further back and my chin lifted slightly higher. Which brings me to my next point.

Strength training has given me confidence.

I can’t explain this one. I just know it is true.

Strength training makes me happy.

I think that everyone knows that exercise improves a person’s mood. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, and it makes you feel all good inside!

With all of these benefits, why wouldn’t you want to strength train?! (I think it should go without saying, but this is based on my own personal experience. If you haven’t weight trained before, make sure to do it safely and correctly with the consent of a doctor.)

Do you heart strength training? What do your weightlifting workouts look like? What makes you feel all happy inside?

ang