DRC Half Marathon Review + Turning Fitness Into Your Lifestyle

It’s another Motivation Monday!  motivation mondayI hope you had a great weekend!  In addition to the busy Saturday that I told you about yesterday, I also ran another half marathon yesterday!  As I’ve mentioned, I select my “A” races carefully and give them my all, but yesterday’s Dallas Running Club Half was not an “A” race since I just had one last weekend.  However, that didn’t mean that I didn’t try hard, and have a blast! DRC Half 11.3.13 010

Despite not wanting to get out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, and REALLY not wanting to get out of the warm car to get started with the race, I made my way through a 1 mile warm up jog and got in line at the start.  The race turned out a bigger crowd than I had expected, but it was very well-organized, and there were plenty of port-o-potties at the start, plenty of water stops, and great volunteer support throughout the course. DRC Half 11.3.13 012

I started with the 1:40 pace group, but quickly realized that my legs weren’t recovered enough from last weekend to try for another PR, despite my lower mileage this week.  I had a little bit of calf/ Achilles’ tendon tightness in my right leg after last weekend’s race, and even though it hadn’t been hurting the past few days, I wanted to be very careful to prevent a “real” injury.  I loved the first 9-10 miles of the race, which looped around White Rock Lake (which I’ve run and biked so many times before … the benefits of a familiar course!) and went through the rolling hills of some surrounding neighborhoods.  DRC Half 11.3.13 013

In the last several miles, I did experience some minor pain, which altered my stride – it started with my right calf, but went to my left hamstring/ knee/ glute, and back to my right hip flexor.  I know from experience that if I am tight anywhere (like my right calf) I’ll often compensate by altering my stride and running a little differently, which probably caused the tightness on my left side.  So, I listened to my body, and kept pushing as hard as it wanted to let me go, but not beyond that.  I slowed down and concentrated on my stride when I needed to, and before I knew it, the race was over!  I finished in 1:44 or so.

After the race, I got to see my friends Barnabas (who WON the race!), Enoch (who just started his own blog to document his path to the Olympic Trials – check it out!), and his wife Angela (who is incredibly supportive and so sweet!).  I was also spotted by readers Jessica and Rachel – sorry we didn’t get to say hi, ladies!  Despite me telling him to sleep in since it wasn’t going to be a PR race for me, Kevin made the trip out to White Rock and was a wonderful supporter, as always.  All in all, a great day and a great race – half marathon #23 is in the books!DRC instagram

So what does this all have to do with Motivation Monday?  As I was driving back from the race, I got thinking about how different my mentality towards fitness is now, from what it was several years ago.  Before I met Kevin in 2003 (and, really, for year or so after that), running was considered punishment, and aside from fitness tests in gym class or an occasional lap around the football field for conditioning on my dance team, running for exercise really never occurred to me.  I never would have gone to the gym – I danced a ton, and kept in shape just fine that way.

Fast forward to my first half marathon in 2008, and I had caught the running bug, but my mentality was still different.  I think I rode the high of that half marathon finish for a full year (and that’s great – a half marathon is a huge accomplishment!).  I was perfectly happy taking a few weeks or even months off after the race because I had “checked the box” of the race.

Well, somewhere between that first race and now, fitness has become a lifestyle for me.  I no longer run or exercise just because of a race (although I sure do love racing!), or just to keep in shape, or just to burn calories, or just to get faster.  I exercise because it’s part of my life; it’s just what I do.  I think this is such an important milestone … to treat your body with enough respect that healthy eating and exercise is just what you do.  (And YES, I definitely “slip up” or “live a little” or “give in to my cravings” or whatever you want to call it.  Trust me!  But the majority of time, I like to eat nourishing foods and exercise in a way that works for me).lifestyle change - blog 11.3.13(picture source)

Yes, I truly do WANT to wake up at 4:45 am, get outside in the cold and run 13.1 miles on a Sunday.  I love seeing so many people of all different types gearing up for the start, love how I feel while running, and especially love how I feel afterwards.  I love seeing myself grow and continuing to challenge myself through exercise. runners high - blog 11.4.13(picture source)

But if it’s not a lifestyle for you, yet, that’s OK!  Don’t give up yet – please!  It takes perseverance, patience, and practice … and mostly, time and consistency.  It doesn’t just click on the first try.  And you may have to experiment a lot before you find what works for you – whether it’s running or lifting weights or Zumba or tennis, or anything else, it can (and will!) become a lifestyle for you.  Hang in there, and keep working – we’re all on our own journey towards becoming better versions of ourselves. became a lifestyle change - blog 11.4.13(picture source)

So tell me in the comments … what is something that has become a lifestyle for you, that you never would have imagined several years ago?  Is there anything that still seems unnatural to you, that you’d like to become more of a lifestyle?

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22 Comments

  1. Davida @ The Healthy Maven on November 4, 2013 at 7:17 am

    I feel like exercise has very much become a lifestyle for me but for whatever reason I have a hard time trusting my body to remember that. I can overschedule and overplan my workouts as if my body won’t tell me when it needs to exercise or be active (in whatever form). I’m getting better at it though and eventually I think it will feel more natural and less forced. Cooking on the other hand is definitely part of my lifestyle because my happy place is the kitchen!
    Davida @ The Healthy Maven recently posted…Ditching the PlanMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on November 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm

      You are definitely getting better at the not-over-planning thing, as evidenced by your thoughtful post on the topic! It is very hard to trust your body and listen to its signals, but I’m glad you’re getting there. I’m looking forward to becoming less planned/ more natural in my day-to-day life, too!

  2. Amy @ The Little Honey Bee on November 4, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Congrats Megan!! You are such an inspirational runner and person. I am so happy and proud that you listened to your body and your time is amazing nonetheless. Beautiful way to end your post and I think we can all learn something from it. It is funny how we evolve to loving waking up to going for a run at 4:45am 🙂 happy Monday lovely!

    • Megan Lyons on November 5, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks so much, Amy! Yes, runners are a crazy breed, aren’t we?!? But if it makes you happy AND it’s good for your body … who can argue?

  3. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on November 4, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Congrats Megan!! Awesome job! That time is amazing! It is a great feeling when running, working out, and eating healthy just become part of who you are! You don’t have to think about it – it just is a part of your life. Great job again!!
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun recently posted…Eating Healthy on The RoadMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on November 5, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks so much, Sara! Looking forward to you crushing my times when you come back from your injury! 😉

  4. Michael Anderson on November 4, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Congrats on the half this weekend – I did one as well .. though I think it was a bit chillier at mine 🙂

    I totally agree with the lifestyle comment – I started running a year out of college as part of weight loss since I was obese … and that was almost 25 years ago. Since then I have generally kept the weight off, but have always had a mixed relationship with exercise and food. I think I am lucky that my eating habits have always tended towards fruits and vegetables (and ice cream!).

    But for just over a year and a half since I needed to get myself going again after my thyroid crashed on me (meds caused rapid weight loss, slow gain as I stabilized) … and this time it was different. I wanted to change up my nutrition, and to make running part of my entire life, not just something I did in the dark early morning with no one to see me.

    I mean, I ran more times with other people in May 2012 (my first 5K ever, then 2nd, then an 8k) than I had the combined 23 years before that! (I ran twice with others … OK, both times with my brother!)

    What is it that changes you from one mindset to another? I have no idea – but I know that even 20+ years ago, running 5x a week and eating decently I didn’t have the same mindset that I do now. I would skip meals to allow myself ‘treats’, and play all sorts of other funky head games … not to mention that the ideas of ‘healthy eating’ back then were all messed up – rice cakes and fat free dressings?

    Two big things for me have been: “Food is Fuel” and “You aren’t a dog, don’t reward yourself with food.” The first one has totally changed my view of how I eat … and the second one has integrated my enjoyment of baked goods and ice cream into daily life. I have lost my taste for processed foods, particularly packages sweets (had one mini-Snickers the night after Halloween … good for another year!), and I love baking – and get to control what goes into what I make.

    Enough rambling! 🙂
    Michael Anderson recently posted…Winter Decides to Remind Us It is ComingMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on November 5, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      You’re right, it was chillier at yours! Although I do prefer the cold weather races :). Thank you for sharing your story – I am SO inspired by people who have accomplished major weight loss and kept it off. While I began my health journey as a way to lose the extra 15 or so pounds I had put on, I’ve never had to lose significant weight, and I can’t imagine how much of a struggle it is. I’m so glad that the mentality shift “clicked” for you (even if you’re not exactly sure what did it) … doesn’t it make you wonder just what you were thinking before you adopted the healthy living lifestyle? It does for me!

      Fruits, vegetables, and ice cream sound like a pretty idea diet for me too :). Although I do have more of a taste for candy than you seem to have … I do a fair job of avoiding it compared to the general population, but I still eat more than I would like. Thanks for sharing your mottos – “food is fuel” is a big one for me, too, and I use it a lot. The second is something I’ve never heard, and I’m kind of torn – I think that we should all give ourselves the opportunity to indulge in something we really want on occasion, but I also totally see the point of NOT rewarding yourself with food every time you accomplish anything positive. If it works for you, keep it up!

      • Michael Anderson on November 6, 2013 at 6:58 am

        Thanks! After having kids my wife struggled with her weight for a while, and during one chat she remarked about how bad she felt struggling with 20 pounds when I had lost so much more … and my point to her is that weight loss is HARD. It isn’t a race or a contest, it isn’t measuring yourself against others – it is just you.

        As for ‘treats’ and ‘rewards’, my point with that one is that we need to change the mindset on grabbing one little Kit-Kat from the bowl of leftover Halloween candy someone brought into work or whatever. Instead of thinking ‘I’m being bad’ by having it, or ‘it is OK, I’ve been good’, both of which speak to integrating food into our larger sense of self-worth to an extent that can really lead us down a dark path … instead of that, decide if we want the indulgence, and if we do, just enjoy it without guilt – but with presence of mind.

        When I say presence of mind, I think about how many people will bring a bag of chips or whatever with them in front of the TV, and the next thing they know the container is empty – yet they didn’t gain any enjoyment from the food, it was just mindless consumption. Because while food is fuel, our bodies are set up with food as a pleasure center to ensure we will eat … so why NOT make sure we enjoy eating? Know what I’m saying?
        Michael Anderson recently posted…My Running Story – In The Beginning …My Profile

        • Megan Lyons on November 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm

          Oh man, I couldn’t agree more with this!!!! I do believe in treating yourself if you’re really enjoying it, and most of the time I really do. However, I do often fall into the trap of mindless eating, and I think I’ve been doing this recently with dessert. I eat healthily the majority of the time, and I love dessert, so I have some kind of dessert every single night – whether it’s something healthy like fruit and cottage cheese or a protein mugcake, or something more indulgent like dark chocolate and/ or ice cream. But lately, I’ve been just eating it because “that’s what I do” instead of actually taking the time and presence of mind to enjoy it. Thanks for the kick in the pants – either eat it and enjoy it, or just don’t eat it! Thanks for the insightful comments! And tell your wife congrats – it IS hard, both physically and mentally, and takes a ton of dedication!

          • Michael Anderson on November 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm

            Being ‘present’ is so important … and something I think we have to learn over and over again! It applies to food, but also to relationships, exercise, parenting, cooking, and so on!

            Lisa and I love to grab a drink and settle on the couch in our family room, at this point in the year with a fire going as often as not. It is very easy to bring in our phones, maybe me with the iPad and then just turn on the TV. So we make an effort – we can bring the phones, but they get set aside, ,and we don’t turn on the TV until we’re done talking – unless we have something specific we plan to watch. It helps with communications for us and the kids.

            And I like having a ‘desk snack’ in the afternoon … and got into the habit of letting it be peanut butter M&Ms a couple of years ago … ugh! I have pistachios now, and since you have to take them out of the shell it requires effort and a per-piece focus on the task. Plus they are SO much better for you! 🙂

            And my poor wife … she gained back some weight, and just as she was getting into the groove again she hurt her ankle pretty badly on a walk. She is in a brace and it will be at least until the new year before she can use our new elliptical …
            Michael Anderson recently posted…Recover Like the Runner You Actually Are!My Profile

            • Megan Lyons on November 10, 2013 at 6:37 pm

              Ooh I love pistachios! Have your wife try one of my 2 circuit workouts that are designed for people with hurt legs. Fingers crossed for her quick recovery!

  5. Dave Bartlett on November 4, 2013 at 9:50 am

    I always had ambitions to workout regularly, but my 21-year-old self would never believe that I would even be able to run a 5K straight through. Even when I started running fairly regularly around the age of 26 or 27, I would not have guessed I would become a morning person and wake up before 6 AM to run. Change takes time, but I am excited to see how I will surprise myself with new healthy habits in the next five years.

    • Megan Lyons on November 5, 2013 at 9:34 pm

      You’re already doing so well with the healthy habits, Dave! Keep surprising yourself 🙂

  6. Amy @ Long Drive Journey on November 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Love this, and congrats on doing so well during the race! I think exercise is becoming a lifestyle for me too, as is eating healthier! I honestly can’t believe that I’ve actually come to enjoy either one, so that is a blessing in itself haha.
    Amy @ Long Drive Journey recently posted…What I Know NowMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on November 5, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      It’s amazing how we really do come to enjoy even the stuff we used to hate – because it makes us feel SO much better, right?!

  7. Arman @ thebigmansworld on November 4, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    I know I sound redundant here but I truly love this post and also because you PRACTICE what you preach- you can tell fitness is truly part of your lifestyle because amidst your incredibly insane schedule, you make time for it. You focus on nourishing yourself well and hey, slipping up is only human.

    For me, I’m very much like you. Exercise used to be fun, then it became a punishment, but now, I love lifting at the gym and making small progression-
    I love fuelling myself well and working on listening to my body more.
    Arman @ thebigmansworld recently posted…MIMM- November goals and endeavours!My Profile

    • Megan Lyons on November 5, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      Thank you, Arman. Maybe you sound redundant because I keep preaching the same message … oops :). Like you, I can’t imagine my life without fitness as a big part of it. I don’t even feel “alive” when I’m eating unhealthily and not working out for many days in a row! Congrats on continuing to listen to your body!

  8. Cori @ she's going the distance on November 4, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    omg, running for sure is a lifestyle. And eating vegetables. I used to struggle with this, now i feel off if i don’t get in plenty during the day.

    Also–amazing 1:44 for your 2nd half in 2 weeks. You are inspiring for sure!

    • Megan Lyons on November 5, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      Thank you, Cori, and right back at you! I totally hear you on the feeling “off” when you don’t get your veggies!

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