Then and now: Running to feel good #ifgirlsrantheworld

I made a life change close to 2 years ago. For nearly 4 years I’d been living in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. My days were filled with skiing, hiking, and exploring some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. During my last full year there was when I discovered skinning and got into trail running. Even having grown up in the mountains, this was the time when I developed a love for them that I now realize I’ll never be without.

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Up until that last summer in Colorado, I hadn’t been running regularly in a few years due to knee pain. After a winter of skinning and skiing nearly 90 days, I was nervous about summer. I love hiking, but running and skinning gives you a huge bang for your buck in terms of time spent exercising. I got to the point with my skinning route on Mt Baldy that I was able to get up and down in an hour. I needed to find something that I could do relatively quickly on those crazy busy days but that would still allow me to be outside under the gorgeous Colorado blue sky and sunshine.

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A great physical therapist and a s*** ton of work with him got me running more than I had in years. The journey back to it started with beach running while in Costa Rica, where I also surfed and did yoga every day after my morning run.

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Upon my return, I ended up unintentionally getting really into trail running. I went out with my roommate Misty for one of her early training runs for a trail half marathon that was happening later in the summer. I ended up loving it (though it totally kicked my ass) and doing a lot of the training runs with her. Including her longest run: a 10 mile run/hike up over the saddle of Peak 10.

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During this year, between skinning and then trail running, I’d say I was pretty much the fittest I’ve ever been. I was doing these super intense workouts pretty much 5 days a week and cross training with yoga, swimming, spinning, and circuit training. And then going to run around a restaurant at night for 8 hours. I also got very slim. Not in the just-had-the-flu kind of way. In the burning-calories-like-whoa-with-sweat kind of way. Skinning is such an activity that I pretty much ate anything in front of me and still lost weight. Summer brought a lot more fruit and veggies, and all the trail running (3-7 miles 5-ish times a week) kept me slimmed down.

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Doing three activities a day and eating mostly fruits and veggies while getting 8 hours of sleep every night and having pretty close to zero stress in Costa Rica for a month left me feeling happy and healthy!

I have thighs and a booty, breasts, muscled shoulders… I’ve never had that body type of fit-thin. I’ve always been a muscular fit. After years of struggling with body image and making peace with my curves, I had a realization after a bout of the flu in college. I was thin, but couldn’t run and play field hockey. I realized I’d rather be muscled and fit than thin. That last year in Colorado I was both, and it was sustainable with the activities I had fallen in love with and was doing! I started running in shorts again, and even bought jean shorts to wear casually; I’d always hated my thigh touch, and the way it made shorts ride up in the middle. I started practicing hot yoga in a sports bra, which I had never done before due to insecurities about my belly. I felt fit and confident.

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NOW we get to the life change.Well, the other one… I moved to Colorado as a break before law school. My one year there turned into four. I had a wonderful life there but it wasn’t something permanent. As much as I loved my lifestyle and the restaurant I worked in, I didn’t want to wait tables for forever. I had two very difficult break ups back-to-back that I was trying to deal with. I could see going back to a small town later in my life, but I needed to get out of the ski town bubble for a while. So I decided to move to Portland, where I proceeded to make some huge career moves!

I have continued to teach yoga and work retail, but now the bulk of my time for work is spent with Fit Approach, the marketing company I work for. I work in the fitness and healthy living industry, and love what I do, but I do spend way more time in front of my computer than in any of my previous jobs. My work schedule is very flexible, which allows me to run and workout at various times in my day. But by living in a city, trails and mountains are more difficult to get to. Portland is definitely one of the easier cities to balance a city-mountain lifestyle, but skiing is not 5 minutes from my back door. Between teaching, lulu, Sweat Pink, Flex & Flow, all amazing work that I love, extended workouts outside aren’t happening with the regularity they were in Colorado.

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I maintained a nearly equally busy schedule in Colorado to what I have here in Portland. Teaching yoga, working at Patagonia, and hosting and waiting tables at a popular restaurant in town kept me on my feet for work. All of my activities and adventures kept me equally active outside of work as well. I by no means am in a cubicle for 10 hours a day, but I’m sitting more than I have since college. It’s a natural occurrence that my body changes along with this. I’m absolutely fit (hello, I work out for a living), but some of those curves I’d previously made my peace with (and embraced!) have made their way back since my move to Portland.

I’m ok with the reasons why.

  • My career has taken the priority. I’m working a ton, and I love what I do and my coworkers are literally my tribe!
  • I still ski, hike, and trail run, but just not every day.
  • am active and feel good!
  • I have a crazy-busy schedule and have to eat on the run a lot. Not always the most balanced way to fuel…
  • The Portland food scene – ohmigod amazing!

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Even though I know these changes in my activities (and subsequent changes in my body) result from life decisions I made, it’s sometimes still difficult to accept those changes. I am overall ridiculously happy with my move and my career choices, but I do miss that outdoors-centric lifestyle in Colorado at times.

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It helps to be surrounded by a tribe of equally active and motivated people. Nicci and I work so closely together between the studio and work projects that we’ll often go from sweating to eating to working and all over again together. My PIC Caitlin and I used to hike like crazy every weekend last summer, but we both have been way more involved with work this year. We love our latest weekend routine: yoga at Flex & Flow, hike, and coffee shop work session in the afternoon. And of course there’s the unicorn ladyboss herself, Jamie. Talk about an inspiration of business and fitness badassery! The woman somehow balances being a world class athlete while running her own businessES.

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Jamie and I had a conversation about this last spring when I was missing all the skiing I’d done the two years previously and struggling with some of the changes with my body. She heard me and understood the struggle, but also reminded me why I’d left Colorado and that lifestyle. I’d needed career changes and fulfillment, and that’s what I am getting! No, I’m not able to ski/hike/trailrun every day, but I am still able to get out there regularly while working a job I love, that challenges me, and allows me to work alongside people I love and respect.

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These inspiring people in my life, women that kick ass professionally and even while sweaty, fuel me to find my groove. They support me when I need to spend the morning in the woods, they inspire me to run commute all day all over the city, they plan yoga dates with me to get to my mat. Their creativity, dedication, and sense of GetShitDone is awe-inspiring. They are proof that fulfilling career and amazing activity goals are totally possible to balance and achieve.

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Let’s bring it back home to running… I’m so excited about fall running for many reasons!

IF GIRLS RAN THE WORLD

This October, I’m teaming up with If Girls Ran the World and Fit Approach to help fundraise for a charity that empowers and educates women all over the world through running! I’ll be tracking miles all month for this worthy cause. Everything I raise will specifically be going towards Save the Children. You can still sign up for this awesome journey!

I’m excited that I’ve gotten in the habit of run commuting over the last two months or so. It’s a great way to get my miles in and sweat on during transit. I hope to continue this while making getting into the woods this fall a priority. I love fall foliage, so what better way to enjoy it while also getting in my miles for If Girls Ran the World than trail running??

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EGGLAND’S BEST and #FallIntoEB

We’re also talking healthy fall habits with Eggland’s Best this week. My goals: I’m hoping to balance getting back on the trails more with maintaining my self care campaign. I want to keep increasing my mileage and am feeling good running right now, but I don’t want to keep pushing until I hurt myself again. I gotta remember to take those off days!

AFTERSHOKZ and #AwareWithPink

Our favorite bluetooth, sweat resistant headphones now come in our favorite color: PINK! For Breast Cancer Awareness month, AfterShokz has released these awesome headphones in pink to help raise awareness of breast cancer and female health. Until October 31st, 2016, AfterShokz is donating 25% of proceeds of every unit sold on aftershokz.com to Bright Pink, a nonprofit organization specializing in breast and ovarian cancer awareness and education. As a gift to you for helping spread breast cancer awareness by purchasing the limited edition Trekz Titanium Pink, you have the chance to receive a FREE case! Simply add a small case to the cart of your online order and use the code PinkGift at checkout.

FLEX AND FLOW RUNNERS

I love that run club with Flex & Flow is now a regular part of my Saturday morning! It’s early and definitely difficult to get up and out on a weekend morning. But getting together with this group of badass, sweaty people pushes me with my routes, distance, and pace while also having a blast! We have so much fun exploring new trails and dating it up on our road run mornings with coffee afterwards. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what we get into this fall.

FUN!

Why else am I running this fall? For fun. And because it makes me feel good. I want to try not to think about how I look; I want focus on how I feel. I want to run because I love it, and because it’s helping support a great cause.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by If Girls Ran the World, Eggland’s Best, and AfterShokz. All opinions are my own. I truly appreciate all of the brands that support the Sweat Pink community. 

2 comments Add yours
  1. Great post, Liz….and to think you have anything less than a thin, fit body now is b-a-n-a-n-a-s! Remember, you’re the girl we’d all love to hate because you have the perfect body and you’re gorgeous, to boot. But we can’t hate you because you’re also so freakin’ awesome. You’re a win, win!

  2. Liz! At BlogFest this year I was admiring how amazingly FIT you look! You look strong and gorgeous – don’t lose sight of that! Super envious of your run commute…sounds like a great way to get around the city 😉

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