Monday, March 7, 2011

Learning In Progress

Taking my early years of this and combining it with....

Some good ol' life experience like this....

And then three times of this.

Then getting back into things with a new passion and perspective.

Gaining yet another perspective from this.  Injury and Rehab.

Then finding new wisdom and information in these. Learning things I've never even known about! 

And this!  Deciding on a plan/program,

Finding my Target Pace Level to start with and deciding on a goal to work towards.

Then learning as much as I can.

And eating good food, getting rest, and asking lots of questions.  

And here I am.  A learner.  I continue to reflect, work hard, and take steps towards improvement!  I'm so very thankful for all I've learned from so many of you.  Today I woke up with a lot of questions on my mind about my training and the paces I've been running my speed workouts in.  I started really coming down on myself for probably running my mile repeats too fast (more like 5k pace instead of 10k pace) and I was worrying about what this would mean for possible burn out and peaking too soon. Kind of freaking out in an "Amanda freak out kind of way"...the kind that really warrants a slap on the head and a "Chill out!" from those that know and love me.  

 But then I was able to take a step back, talk about it with some of my favorite blog friends who are oh so wise and basically take a "chill pill".  I was able to digest my worrying with a grain of salt, trust my training plan book and program which comes highly recommended and is based on lots of research and chalk it all up to part of the learning experience.  Isn't this one of the greatest things about life?!  That we continue to learn?!  

Everything we runners, athletes, mothers, sisters, daughters, is all part of the big scheme of things and we learn from it all.  I'm always thankful for opportunities to reflect and learn more.  I'm thankful for things I read  and hear that make me take a hard look at what I'm doing and refocus on my end goal.  

So, the conclusion is in:  I'm going to keep trusting my plan, my years of experience and have faith that the end result will be awesome!  It is hard to trust the process sometimes.  For me this means that I need to remind myself that I am still in the beginning phases of this longer training program that I trust and I will need to run slower paces sometimes even if I am "feelin' it" and want to push it harder.  My tune-up races will give me a chance to push it and then reevaluate where my Target Pace Level is. 

Okay, really this was just a long ramble of personal reflections.  More of a blog for ME than one written for an audience but I figure these types of posts serve a purpose too.  Even if it is just for my own personal reflections to go back to later.  I should just cut this out and put it in my running journal.  I think I will!  

1.  Do you ever have a hard time trusting the process?  With running plans, parenting, etc?

2.  What's a goal you have in your life right now that is very important to you?  
My marathon training is really important to me right now.  I wan to so badly to push myself to some more intense really see what I can do as a runner.  It is also very very important to me to make the most of this time I have to be home with my children.  I know I won't have this time forever and they will GROW so fast.  Big goal to be in the moment and cherish them fully!

3.  Are you a self-motivated learner?  Do you do well with teaching yourself things and learning through reading, research, etc. or do you do better with having a class, teacher, coach, or some sort of formal education to help you learn? 
 I think that my five years of homeschool where I taught myself everything (Algebra, History, Science, etc. Even planning my own lessons using the teacher manuals) really helped me learn more independently.  I think it is really awesome that there is a book out there for pretty much everything and anything.  With the right amount of focus, time and motivation, I think we can learn just about anything!  Of course, it helps to have lots of people to bounce ideas off of and talk about things with...this is part of learning for me.  One reason I love this blog so much!



  1. Um, I totally doubt my plans all the time! However, I am pretty new to this whole running thing, but it seems that as long as I stick to my guns, things work out!

  2. Learning to take that "chill pill" is one of the hardest lessons many of us learn... or can hope to learn. It always surprises me when someone like you who is speedy, experienced, smart and nice... and pretty... expresses difficulty is areas you appear to have it so totally together! I don't mean that in a mean way at all... you are so honest and humble. It is beautiful. It is one of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much :)

    I do have a hard time trusting the process with regard to many things ...but I hang on to the fact that I know it MUST be trusted.

    Right now my most important goal is to figure out my health issues and get them resolved so that I can participate more fully in life. I know that sounds awfully broad, but I know I have more in me than I can put out right now.

    I do well learning both ways. It all depends on how my time is structured. Right now, with all the kids, I have a hard time focusing on anything for long enough to learn much! Trying to grab bits and pieces as I go along and synthesize them into some sort of something :P

  3. That pregnant picture is so beautiful! It almost looks fake. Like how can such a tiny person have a baby that big inside of her? I love it!

    Always students - that's what we are! In yoga, I am often reminded of this. I wish I wasn't in such a rut right now. :(

  4. Awesome post and pictures. I doubt myself constantly and I'm really trying to work on that. I want to get a sub 1:55 half marathon on May 1st in Eugene but I keep doubting my ability to hold that pace for that long. I just gotta keep training hard and think positive. Whenever I get negative about my running, it shows in the numbers. Big time.

  5. You may be the most beautiful pregnant woman I have ever seen!!!

    Yes, learning about marathon training is such a process, but you will do great bc you love to learn. Plus, you do have your college running experience. All those books in your pics...I love them!

    I love to learn. I much rather do my own research and learn this way, rather than take a class. I always challenge things and can be tough to argue with bc I like logic a lot (just ask my husband).

    I had a hard time trusting my plan for my last marathon. It was the first time I tried something new. But, I learnt that it isn't really about the plan, it is more about working hard and being consistent. And luck!

    I am content with my life right now. I have goals, but they are not consuming me, and I would probably be fine if I did not accomplish them. (well, not sure about that, but I would like it to be this way!).

  6. Thank you all!

    Thank you so much Ana Maria! Your e-mails today were just what I needed! You are one wise woman!

  7. I look at running the same as life. It is for the long haul. Yep, bad runs, aches and pains pop up - yet that is life - isn't it? One plan leads into another, and another, one run leads to another and another. Just like one day, one hour and minute evolve into another. Line upon line, little by little we grow, learn and progress.

    I learn things in many different ways. My best way is to listen carefully and watch great examples. I also have many I listen and watch. Not just one.

  8. I love your posts! So honest and relate-able. I am also a self-motivated learner...

  9. Holy Moly! Just look at that pregnant picture! How did it all fit in there??? You are positively gorgeous!

  10. This is so so great! I can definitely be a doubter - especially the week of the race! But it is so important to trust our bodies. They know what to do, and we know how to work with them. It's a team effort! Awesome post :)

  11. I love reading your blog. I was just today thinking about something similar. My thoughts were about how the old saying says "It takes a villiage to raise a child". Really it takes a village to do anything, for example raising children or raising a runner (lol)! I have been running for a year now and I would not be where I am w/out the help of some very awesome running friends. I am an over acheiver and never A. feel like I am doing enough and B. find it hard to trust in the power of my training. With training for my half I have been taking a lot of deep breaths and its taken a lot of "Your going to be fines" from my friends! At the end of the day Im trying to trust..... Your going to be great. For one you have a determined heart! That for one will get you far!

  12. I love your pregnancy picture. So great. I am a worrier and a doubter about everything. Parenting, training, plans and it makes me even more worried. It has been super hard to lay off during my injury, but I know in the end that I will be better for it. (hence spin class at 6 am tomorrow.)
    It sounds like you have been training smart so I have a lot of faith that you are going to do awesome in whatever race etc..that you have on your list.

  13. Hi there!
    as I was reading your post I thought 'oooh! I wonder if she knows Meg or Ana Maria'...and was SO happy to see Ana Maria is in your camp! She is a goooood resource out there as far as really pushing yourself and balancing it all. As is Meg, a kinder teacher and marathon lover. Yes, there are mucho many other fabu bloggy peeps, but for some reason, these 2 ladies seemed to be a perrrfect friend for this post.

    Any ways. A fun read for sure. and I kept noddin' my head like yah...;-)

    and you're plan pace times are smokin' fast! dang! you're gonna rock your marathon. period.;-)

  14. Don't we all doubt our training plans at some point? Too easy? Too hard? We all want a glimpse into what that finish line will look like. We dream it. Want it. Plan it. Picture it. Race day is the only thing that actually tells the real story. I've got to trust that what I've done thus far is going to help me get to the finish line, as I picture. I've found that listening to my body is my greatest tool in tweaking my plan to make it 'right'. I've tried to push before when my body told me 'no' and my plan told me 'yes' and I got injured. Your 'experience', plan, and gut is going to get you exactly where you want to be, Amanda! The fact that you consider yourself a 'learner' and always wanting to improve is such an advantage to those who think they know it all and can only do it one way. Racing has lots in store for you!! Go get it!

  15. This made me laugh. I can totally see you flipping out about it. I'm glad you had friends who talked you down "from the ledge". :)

    Although I'm sooooo much slower than you are, I definitely have those times where I want to run faster than my easy runs "because I can". Otherwise, though, I'm pretty good about trusting the plan. I think it's because I started with Couch to 5K, and every step looked so huge to me (run for 8 minutes straight????), but everything before it had prepared me for success. And then I went through the same thing with my half marathon plan.

    Trusting the process in PARENTING I find much, much more difficult. So many more variables, and so much longer of a process. You don't see the outcome for such a long time, and the advice is all over the place.

    2. Completing my marathon is a really big deal to me right now, too. That's what the majority of my athletic energy is focused on.

    3. I'm a very self-motivated learned. I love learning new things through reading and through experience, but I really value the experience of having a teacher/coach, too. Reading about form is one thing; having someone knowledgeable see your form and tell you what needs to change is another.

    P.S. I can't believe you left your journals out of your learning in progress post. They're such a big thing about you!

  16. It's late and I need sleep but I wanted to say I love that preggo photo!!! and this is a great post, I will comment on it tomorrow when I get a chance. for now, off to bed.

  17. I love this story in pictures Amanda! 1) holy bling--you are so accomplished and experienced already. 2) you are freakin adorable preggers--adorable! 3) Your preparation and research inspires me--it's obvious you are a self-motivated learner--especially when you are as passionate as you are about your marathon training.

    yes, trust yourself. Can I hire you as my coach?!!

  18. Look at little Amanda growing up right before our eyes.

    My only goal in life is to run 3:20 before you.

  19. As marathoners, athletes, runners....we invest so much time and money and energy and sacrifice so much - family time sometimes, girlfriends, even red velvet cupcakes, so we want that finish line time to show what we worked so hard for. It's hard NOT to get tense about our training because we want to do our best on race day to show for all our hard work. It's human nature.

    But there are no guarantees come race day. Illness, weather conditions, going out too fast at the start and using up all your glycogen and have nothing left for the end (aka: hitting the wall) - all we can do is prepare to the best of our abilities and then do our thing. I know for me, I always get wound-up when I think things are not as the should be and I can get snappy. But I also know that once I settle down, relax some, things just pan out so much better. The first time I BQ'd, I just laid in bed that night and just chilled. Just knew in my head all was going to go well...and I didn't freak out about every detail, like marathons past. And it all worked out like a story book ending.

    It's all going to be good, Amanda. Breathe. Chill. Trust your training!! I'd never steer you wrong from recommending the book for you. It's tough, just like you! :)

  20. Ok...that pic of you prego? Are you kidding? You're like I tiny lil' stick with a basketball under your shirt. Please say I can look like that when I'm pregnant???
    I love what you said about trusting in the plan, in our training, in all the work and time we put in. I too second guess myself and question all the time I put in...but that is when it's most important for us to remember HOW INCREDIBLE our bodies are. We need to remember WHY we train, so we don't have these freak out moments. AND when the freak out moments do come, it's probably because we are always wanting to be bigger and better and we are afraid that that won't happen. You are awesome, and SUCH an inspiration to all of us! :)

  21. Great blog, Amanda! Thank you for sharing a bit more of your world with us. I think it is normal to want to push harder when you're feeling it, but it is definitely good to remind yourself to slow down and follow the plan. I definitely have a hard time trusting it sometimes, especially on my "easy" runs because I know I can run so much faster. Just like any relationship, you have to learn to trust. The biggest goals in my life right now are taking steps forward to begin the process of starting our family, working hard in my career, continuing to build my relationship and continuing to become a happier version of me. I do okay teaching myself things but I am definitely a listener and I learn from others.

  22. I think your blog is just wonderful! I am now faithful to my journal thanks to you!

  23. GIRL.....I SWEAR WE ARE TWINS. Just this morning I was freaking out that my plan was having me peak too soon to Boston and I had a mini panic attack. I had to trust my training and the experience of my coach and realize that I AM LEARNING and that running isn't just one race but a process of learning how hard I can push myself and how much I can accomplish. I am obsessed with every post you write. You always leave me thinking about life:) K, YOU ARE THE CUTEST PREGNANT WOMAN I HAVE EVER SEEN!!! I hope to look half as good as you when I get pregnant. I think you should teach us about all the nutrition you are learning about. LOVE YOU!!!

  24. LOVE the prego picture! All baby! You look great! I was pregnant in the olden days, always wore my hubby's sweats and big t-shirts! None of the cute little maternity clothes they have out now!

    Honestly, for once I don't feel like I have a major goal in life. I don't know if that's bad or good. I have some running goals.....I don't know if they would even be considered major in the big scheme of things. Some days I'm not even certain I would lose sleep if I didn't accomplish them. Aren't I must be one of those days! Other days....

    I do a ton of self research but I feel like I'm a little slow perhaps and don't always "get" things the way it's written in a book. I struggled trying to understand these running books. I will NOT get a running coach-not interested in spending money on that at this time but at times someone just telling me exactly what to do (exact paces etc. instead of me trying to decide what they should be) would take a little stress off. Then again, I might disagree, adding stress.......

    I'm glad you are feeling better about trusting in your training! I anticipate big things for you Amanda! You TOTALLY deserve them!!

  25. My wife is starting to run again, so one of my main goals this year is to really support that. Kind of fun to not think about my training and just do it without purpose as well.

  26. Love this post so true. Every stage of life brings a new perspective!

    I spent a lot of time focusing on how cool it would be to say I did "X" instead of focusing on how it was to DO "X." I'm trying to talk less about what my goals are to others and focus more on doing things for me. Sounds cliche but it's true.

  27. YES I am only 5'2"!!! What is THAT supposed to mean??? :) That's weird that I don't show up on your feeds... are you actually a follower of mine? I'll have to check. I just assumed that you were!!

  28. Well my dear, I just checked and it does not appear to me that you are a follower of mine!!!! That is why they do not show up!!! Please correct this, asap. :)

  29. I think the reason the smoothie is brown is because I used carrot juice not almond milk!

  30. Haha I wondered if that was you. I clicked on that though and your blog didn't come up. The universe is playing tricks on us!!! And btw, you are SOOOOOOO much taller than me :p

  31. I am taking a blogging hiatus but just wanted to say that I have learn so much from reading your blog. I love the Brain Training book too and the training plans are great, so thanks for sharing your wisdom and experience. I look forward to reading your blog after my blogging break!!!

  32. Amanda- this is a fantastic personal/runing related post.

    Do you remember all the flip-flopping I did about following PFitz or doing my own thing? I was so scared to try my own thing. Mostly I thought I was not going to reach my goal. Never thought I'd injure myself.
    Anyway...I know you are being smart about things. Having concern or doubt about training only shows that you respect the distance and want to do really well....which you will!

    Learning about running is FUN. I love it. Blogging and reading boks are just two of many ways to learn from other's experience. There are also running forums and could be an all day thing, really. :)

    And...I am going to take Jill's comment, put my name where yours is and tape it to my wall.

    Have a great day!

  33. First: you are the cutest pregnant person ever! I wish I looked that good while pregnant!
    Second: I love how honest and open you are in all your posts. It always makes me think.
    It's great you can freak out and then sit back and realize that you already have it under control.
    I love learning on my own. And I love that there's a book out there for anything!

  34. My biggest goal this year? GETTING PREGNANT! I'm so tempted to go hardcore with my training and I want to amp up my miles and RACE but I want to have a baby more than all of that so I am still running but I'm doing it for enjoyment rather than enjoyment + competition. I've also added yoga into the mix to get my 'zen' on. I hope to have a beautiful pregnant picture of myself soon!

    I am definitely a self-motivated learner and I LOVE taking notes and reading about things I'm interested in and talking to people about what I'm learning. NERD ALERT!!

  35. I'm learning to have faith in processes. :) I've got several goals on my mind right now. The first is to finish my final class and get school done with. Then I'm really excited that training for D2D starts on Sunday and that this year I'll be racing with my dad. Each and every day I make it a goal to be the best kind of mother I know how to be. :)

    Your pregnancy picture is breathtaking. You're absolutely tiny and yet huge all at the same time. :)

  36. I feel ya! I'm starting to train for my first half marathon! I am super excited (and nervous!) :) Love your blog!

  37. The only one of those books I've read is One True Thing, and I think I liked it. Have you read Little Bee? I haven't, but it looks great. I've had a terrible time lately finding books to really dig into. A couple I really enjoyed in the past year or so were This Book Will Save Your Life and This is Where I Leave You Now. I'm not sure how good the last one would be as a book club book, though. Let me know what you guys end up reading so I can add it to my "to read" list if it's any good. And READ Born to Run! It was soooo good. And I didn't even have any interest in the subject other than the fact that I had just started to run. It's my brother's book, and I'm not giving it back unless he makes me. :)

  38. Just checking to see if you are still participating in the Virtual 5k - ends Saturday.

  39. you totally inspire me. I hope to be ther mom/wife/athlete/runner that you reflect. It is a learning process. One that I will embrace each day, it keeps us driven! Great post Amanda.

  40. Am I having a hard time with the process????? Amanda I'm at a complete stand still, mentally and physically. I really have no idea what is wrong with me.

    BTW what an adorable prego you are!!!!!!

  41. I nominated you for an award on my blog!

  42. When I first started running and was looking at training plans - and even for my first half - I thought "no way." There was no way these could work. But I also knew that the people that put these together know a heck of a lot more than I do about running. So I have done my best to follow their plans - and when I do and look back, I see that yeah, they do work!

    I hit my goal of running a half marathon. But we did take it easy and get all of the fun pictures. So my new goal is to just continue to train and not get hurt, and then run a half marathon the real way. Just hard work, running, not goofing off - yet still having fun with it!

    I think I'm too shy about asking questions. I don't want to look foolish with the silly aspects that I don't understand. So I definitely do the research on my own - and really look to fellow bloggers when I have questions and need advice.

  43. Oooo, such a great post, as always.

    I'm feeling confident with my plan this go around, my last training period went well, except for the foot issue, so I'm just trying to cruise and stick to the same pace and plan. It really helps that a friend and I are doing about the same pace so our training is more fun because we can do it together. This has helped me take things a little more lightly because it makes things more fun...I have to have FUN or I get too serious. Being too serious makes me forget WHY I have the goal to begin with and since I'm not an elite runner, I really AM running for fun and this IS my hobby, not my job!

  44. awesome post!
    I really have a hard time trusting my training! I want to do well and meet my goals and I never trust that I do enough to meet them!

    Like you, marathon training is really important to me now. I really want to push myself. I want to try to get to a 3 hour marathon. I don't know if it will ever happen, but I hope I can! I also want to try to complete a half ironman!

    I am a self motivated learner. I love to research and find out more about a topic. I will bug people until they teach me! haha