When does running turn unhealthy? AND a BDAY PARTY for my peeps.

Our Sunday started with a new tradition that I am really hoping sticks… a short Sunday walk together.  They wake up early as it is and it is getting pretty warm (well… until about 8 pm and a snowstorm hit yesterday) so a walk before church was needed.

My rest day but they got in some speedy strides.  I LOVE watching kids run because of their form.

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They were pretty excited to see where a beaver knocked over a tree.

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And each time Beretta would come running back up from playing in the river, Brooke would sprint away to avoid getting soaked by Beretta’s shaking:)

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We cleaned up really quick and made it over to church.  Andrew and I fasted yesterday (you can read why we do this once a month in this post) but the kids loaded up on waffles before church.

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A power nap was taken (I LOVE NAPS!!!!!) and then we loaded up the car with dinner to take over to my parent’s house to celebrate Andrew and my mom’s bday.

A bowl of heaven:

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We made Ritz chicken, these mashed potatoes that we did in the crockpot and are amazing, rhodes rolls, salad and fruit salad.  I had this plate x 2 and a few more rolls.  For the Ritz chicken I just take chicken and dip it in some butter and then roll it around in Ritz cracker crumbs and then bake it.

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My oldest nephew is always glad when Brooke and Knox jump all over him:)

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We did presents for everyone.  The kids were so excited for the squirt guns that they got for Andrew to do with him.

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Of course cake was involved.  Cheesecake + carrot cake.  PS I am very selective about when I like cheesecake, sometimes I love it and sometimes I don’t care for it.  It depends on the day.  Carrot cake, I always love though.  My sister made a homemade one for my mom.

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As things were wrapping up, this little guy brought our shoes to us.  He knew exactly who each pair of shoes belonged to.

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See ya lata.

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We walked outside to a complete snow storm.  It was snowing sideways.  It was so crazy out. Happy March:)  Andrew’s dad said it was the worst snow storm he has ever driven in as he was driving north home after the party.

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And this happened—>  both kids fell asleep on the drive home, transferred really easily= we skipped all of the bedtime stalling.

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Yesterday as I was on our little walk I was thinking about how rest days did not used to be a thing for me.  This was long before I had Brooke but every day included a strenuous workout and rest days didn’t happen.  Even if I was hurting, rest days just weren’t a thing.  I’ve always loved running but during this time, I didn’t take rest days because I was so obsessed with worrying I would gain weight if I did and I was just so addicted to everything that came along with a hard workout.  It was my identity and I couldn’t bare a day without it.   I mean, I still have an addiction to running, I love it so very much.  BUT I love my body too now and want to give it a day each week to rest.  I also want to give it a break if something isn’t feeling right (which I might be doing today because of a little hot spot that just showed up in my quad at the end of my run on Saturday).

I think we can all agree that running is the greatest and so good for us mentally and physically but when does it become too much?  When does it take a turn to the unhealthy side?  This is just my personal opinion based on what I experienced and what a few others have told me about their experience.  These are a few signs that I think occur when running becomes unhealthy (mentally or physically for us):

*Running/working out comes before our relationships with people.

*Running/working out is more important than the safety of our body… something hurts or feels like an injury?  It doesn’t matter… we don’t give our body the rest and recovery that it needs.  This can’t be healthy in my opinion.

*If running is our only way to cope.  While running helps me to deal with my stress/anxiety, I still have 15 other ways to cope with what is going on.  Running used to be my only way to cope with hard stuff and I didn’t know how to handle stress without it.

*When we can’t follow through with other responsibilities and commitments in our life because we are so focused on numbers/running/etc.  I sure don’t have a perfect balance in life but at one point, it felt like running just took over my world.   I remember asking myself one day, ‘Am I in control of my running or does my running control me?’

*When it is what you are thinking about constantly.  I remember when I would run early in the morning and then I had a bit of a commute to get to school to teach and sometimes I would get to school and realize that all I had thought about on the drive was running.  I think it is perfectly healthy to think about running when we aren’t running and to love to learn and read about it, but for me it was unhealthy when it was all I would think about at times.  I think I used that to cope because thinking about running was a lot better than thinking about the hard things.

*When running is one’s main identity.  I remember when I had my first major running injury (femoral stress fractures) and I couldn’t run.  It felt like I took a major self esteem hit with this because so much of my self worth felt like it was tied to running.  I think time away from running (due to injuries over the years) was HUGE for me because I seriously took the time to figure out other things that made me feel good about myself and that my self worth comes from God and it does not change based on my running times or abilities.

So when did things change for me?  It took me awhile and I’ve mentioned some things before to you but I did seek professional help and that helped me out a ton.  Serious overuse injuries taught me that I clearly wasn’t giving myself a break and I freaked out when my doctor explained why these injuries were happening.  Working with coaches that said rest days were mandatory for me always helped me to stick with it.  Having Brooke helped me entirely because I wanted to work out in a way that meant I was not mentally/emotionally drained from running too much so I could be there for her.  I crave my rest days at this point.  I love a good morning with the family knowing that rest is just important as the training.  If you do feel like you are struggling in this area, now is the time to talk to somebody about it.  Now is the time to reach out for some help because you are not alone and we are all here to help each other out in whatever ways we can.

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When do you think running becomes unhealthy?  

How do you balance running with life?

Are you a nap person?  Do you wake up feeling better or worse after a nap?

Cheesecake… what are your true thoughts/feelings/opinions on this important matter?

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60 comments

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Ahhhhh, the running/balance with life thing is HARD! I’ve been struggling with this a lot this winter. It’s tough to balance a full time job/family/running 30+ miles a week/trying to get in the strength/rolling/yoga/etc. to keep my legs healthy for running. Something always seems to suffer, and I hate it to much when that “something” is my two daughters. I’ve been struggling with some lower back pain since the end of December, and finally last week, I just decided to take some time off, whether that be 2-3 weeks or whatever. I think my body/life/mind all needed it. That isn’t a hard decision to make though!

I think it’s a good reminder, too, that I am not defined by my running/my identity as “a runner.” Breaks are good to remind us to tap into our “other selves”, too.

Cheesecake = a big NO for me, unless it’s key lime or cookie dough cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory :)

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JEN!!! YES… trying to juggle all of those things together is rough. Sadly strength/rolling/yoga at times takes the backseat for me because of life but I’m trying to get doing it again. I am so so sorry about your back pain (THE WORST) but I hope this time off is just what your body and mind need. Please keep me updated with how your re feeling! Enjoy your ‘other selves’ right now:)

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I agree with you that running becomes unhealthy for the reasons you listed, especially when it becomes priority over people and spending time with them. For a while, I focused way too much on running, and I surrounded myself with other people who seemed to care about not much more than running. I had to step back and realized that it was really all we talked about. I still love running, but I don’t make it as much of a priority as I used to, and I actually rarely talk about it unless people ask me, and even then I still don’t dwell on it for too long. In fact, one time recently at church, a woman said to me, “Oh, you’re the runner,” and the first thing that popped out of my mouth was “Yes, but I’m so much more than that.”

Naps: YES! Cheesecake: no, thank you. But I love carrot cake!! :)

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I agree completely that running cannot be our sole way to cope with life’s major issues. It’s a great way to relieve everyday stress, but in my opinion it’s not the right way to deal with anything major. Seeking professional help has been the only way I’ve been able to get through the clinical stuff. Running is a pretty great for those day to day things though :) Ending my day with a run after a full day of work is the best way I know how to relax my mind!

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I think running is unhealthy when it becomes a true obsession–no time with friends or family, keeping weight at an unhealthy low, etc.

Cheesecake is my favorite. I am always in the mood!

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Naps are a no-go for me! It takes me forever to fall asleep in the middle of the day, and then I wake up feeling more tired than I did before I went to sleep.

You have such a kind, loving family. It’s so nice to see how much you all enjoy spending time with each other. I love your blog!

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Thank you so much Georgia for your sweet comment, it means a lot to me! I hope you are having a beautiful day (without any naps ha;)

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I definitely see it becoming an issues when it controls your life and you feel you have to sacrifice normal things for it. If anything consumes your life, I’d say there’s something that needs to be addressed.

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I still occasionally struggle with rest days. Really trying to see them as an overall and necessary part of a larger training block.

I’m a big proponent of naps! Daily naps make everything better. Ryan Hall would call his naps business meetings, so if the pro’s do it…..

I might be tempted by chocolate cheesecake but generally not high on my dessert list.

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I definitely went through a period when exercise was unhealthy and got in the way of my life. It was horrible. Now, it is a priority, but not over other things like family/friends/work. Running is wonderful and makes me feel amazing, but it is a part of my life, not the whole thing.

Also naps=horrible for me. I always wake up more grumpy or tired after a nap. I’m jealous of the people who can though! It sounds so great!

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I LOVE how you phrased your relationship now with running… a part of my life, not the whole thing. Nailed it! I hope you are having a wonderful day Jenny!

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I’ve definitely struggled with running before. I remember when I used to run 10k everyday. I think my streak lasted for just under two months (and that was just running–I had a 1+ year workout streak). I remember one night where I ran 10k in a blizzard with winter boots on…not fun. Though, for the past few months I’ve had 0 motivation to run and often defer to just doing an easy 5k instead actually training. It’s funny how these things can go from 500% to 0% in two years. Balance is definitely a difficult thing to achieve.

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I think sometimes seeking professional help is so important. Sometimes it is just the best method to help yourself, you know?

I’m proud of everything you’ve accomplished and worked towards Janae. You are such a positive role model for so many women!

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I think you said this too, but in itself is not unhealthy it is the WHY behind the reason it becomes the need, addiction, etc. that is the unhealthy part.
My mom absolutely needs exercise in order to rid herself of anxiety. I could write a book titled “Being the chid of an Exercise Addicted Parent”

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You really could Erica. The WHY is everything.

Hey, I hope you are having a beautiful day!!!

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I can’t nap at all. I wake up feeling so disoriented and feverish sometimes.

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Cheesecake is always a good thing! There’s a restaurant that has all different kinds here in town, and the raspberry was always my favorite. I haven’t been there in years, I should go back soon!

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I’m not a huge fan of cheesecake. I don’t hate it. But usually one or two bites will be enough for me.

I think running becomes unhealthy when you go against yourself in order to accomplish your goals. Two weeks ago I was pushing myself hard without even realizing it. I ended up with really bad shin splints and now I can’t run for two weeks (this is my second week). I also used to use running as my only way to cope. So, whenever I was not able to run I used to feel so incredibly upset.

I’m not sure exactly how I’m balancing running with my crazy life, to be honest haha. I guess that’s something I need to keep working on.

I’m a nap person. usually 10-20 minutes will literally recharge me.

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Gosh, I LOVE naps, but I usually wake up cranky. I think if I only nap for about 20 minutes, I’m okay. But my bed just feels SO much more comfortable during a nap and it’s SO hard for me to get up.

I find myself struggling with rest days, too. My boyfriend is training for a series of races in Leadville, CO (marathon, 50 mile mountain bike, 50 mile trail run, 100 mile trail run) right now and he is strict about rest days, so he makes sure I follow his example. I feel guilty sometimes, though!

I looooove cheesecake. Especially if it has an Oreo crust. Yes. Please.

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Cheesecake is always a good thing! Carrot cake, too. I have broken ritz crackers in my pantry that I saved because I knew there was something I could make with them and you just showed me what to do! Awesome! I am a terrible nap person. I always wake up groggy and grumpy from a nap, no matter how much I need it. I have no idea why this happens.

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When’s their bdays?? Mine was yesterday (March 5). :) I have several friends who also celebrated their birthdays over the weekend – sounds like lots of celebrations going on around the country!

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HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY YESTERDAY KATIE!! Sounds like the perfect weekend:) I hope this year is the greatest for you. Andrew’s bday is on 3/14 and my mom’s is on 3/19!

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Nice photo-bomb in the cake & candles picture! :)

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I think that as long as you are not hurting anyone that running is not a bad coping mechanism at all. I think sometimes these “take this quiz and see if this pertains to you” type things can be, for some people misleading. You could answer yes to all the questions and not have any issue that will be detrimental. Running imo is better than drinking, gambling, lying in bed, eating donuts… I think that each person is responsible for what they want and professional help isn’t really necessary in most cases even if you answer “yes” to all the questions. I was talking to a friend the other day who was talking about “well, yoga is not recommended more than x number of times per week.” who came up with that? It seems there are all these opinions of “you should/shouldn’t take rest days, you should/shouldn’t stretch, you should/shouldn’t eat x,y,z …” What works best for YOU? When do YOU feel the best? Does running every day get you out of bed and able to cope? Even if running every day isn’t “recommended” does it get you through your day? Then great.

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I don’t eat cheesecake often but if I do, I prefer Snickers Cheesecake from Cheesecake factory. Looking back, I totally had a season when running was unhealthy for me. I since have found a balance and for me it means not running as many races and running because I enjoy it.

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I love naps, however I ALWAYS wake up hungry…even if we just ate.

A while ago I definitely defined myself as a runner, and not much else. I was obsessed and it definitely effected other parts of my life. Having an unhealthy relationship with running was a direct symptom of having other unhealthy relationships in my life. Happy to report that life is much better now and I’m not only happier, but healthier. Thanks for sharing Janae! You are truly a great role model for women.

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Your dinner looks amazing. That chicken and mashed potatoes are both something I am certainly going to try and make in the near future.

I think running (or working out in general) becomes unhealthy when it dictates the course of your entire day. I went through a period of my life where I would skip out on things that I actually really needed to do (like work and school) in order to get exercise in. I would say no to plans because it would cut into my workout time and I would make sure that if I was doing something mindless like watching TV or reading, it was always done on the treadmill – even if I had already exercised for an hour + that day. I’ve gotten over this a lot, but I definitely still go through waves where I relapse and freak out about not moving enough one day, when I know I’m perfectly fine and choosing family dinner over a run is typically way more important for me.

I am not a huge nap person, but I took a nap yesterday too! We had a huge lunch after church and basically inhaled it because we were so hungry and I think it just got to me by the time we got home. I passed out on the couch and woke up 30 minutes later feeling like a totally new person.

I hope you have an amazing day/week! <3

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I think any exercise can become addictive. When you can’t stop, don’t take rest days, hit the gym multiple times, HAVE TO run or workout for a certain amount of time. When you sign up for one race after another without ever taking a break. Of course, it’s the driving question is why and how do you stop it?

I was able to balance training with family life. I’ve changed races for family life events and I’ll change my long run day when it conflicts. On the other hand, my husband knows there are some nights he’s eating dinner late because I had a training run after work. (and he can always eat without me, but he never does).

I like my mom’s cheesecake a lot. Generally I like it but don’t eat a lot of it and a few bites are enough since it’s so rich.

I have a hard time falling asleep during the day unless I’m exhausted or sick. More that 20 – 30 minutes leaves me feeling headachy and out of sorts.

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Great post. I have made that ritz chicken and love it! Ritz crackers make everything buttery and delicious! My mom is most definitely addicted to running and unfortunately has not learned to deal with the emotional battle of taking rest days like it seems you have. Well done for you learning to take care of yourself.

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This was a FANTASTIC post! Thank you! There is so much more than running!

p.s. Cheesecake is a no for me. And nothing better than a Sunday nap!

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Any day could be a cheesecake day but it has to be well-made cheesecake. Otherwise, I’ll pass.
Naps have to be short to be effective, I think. If I nap for more than an hour, it saps instead of increases my energy. I had a long nap when I got home yesterday – about an hour and a half and it took me hours to feel right again :-(
http://runwright.net

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I’m so glad you addressed this! I would add that running becomes unhealthy when we use it to justify eating. I can’t believe I used to say to myself “you can eat bread today if you go for a run.” I can’t believe how limiting that line of thinking was!!! Great post!

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I totally agree with you on that Meg.. so so true! Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a fabulous day!

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I love naps. I used to be really good about taking a quick 30 minute nap, but lately, I have stretched naps closer to an hour or an hour and a half, which is just way too long. :-o I know that means I need to focus on getting more sleep at night so I’m well rested. :) Not a cheesecake fan! The texture is not appealing to me.

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Once again, described me to a T. This is the way I was 6 years ago. Not anymore. :-)

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I swear we were both in the same place when we ran Top of Utah the same year? Remember that?

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I totally do. My husband had his Nikon camera and was shooting pictures. He took pictures (from afar) of us talking after. Haha. I was way too thin for my 5’11 frame in those pics too. Glad food restriction isn’t apart of my life anymore too.

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ME TOO!!! Let’s redo that marathon together!!!

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Uhm that is pretty exciting to see how the beaver knockd over the tree! How cool! Yum that fruit looks so delicous, I love kiwi. So important to talk about when running becomes unhealthy! I was definitely unhealthy with exercise for a little bit and would skip basically anything else in order to reach that “number” on the elliptical/treadmill/whatever. I hate napping, I always feel so much worse after! Also I really dislike cheesecake.

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I always try and run/workout at a time that won’t impact my family (or will impact it the least) which is why I get up crazy early. I think running can become obsessive when it just isn’t fun anymore and becomes something that you have to do instead of want to do.

Sundays are the best days for naps! This is our afternoon Sunday tradition :)

I love almost all desserts, except for cheesecake! It is definitely not my fav.

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I really appreciate your brother’s photo bomb. Well done. It’s just a super casual hey. It’s great.

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He’s been working on this for 2 decades at this point and we are really proud with how good he is at photo bombs now. PS we just bought tickets… did you!?!?

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I bought them on Saturday! I am so excited!!

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I couldn’t agree more! For a long time, running and exercise in general (goodness, even food!) became way too important to me. It took a while, but thankfully that time is behind me and I’m so glad it doesn’t control me anymore. I love having the freedom to run, but if something important comes up (i.e. family) and I’m not able to run, it doesn’t ruin my day. Walking (or should I say, running) in freedom is an amazing thing.

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You bring up many good points. It is so important to have a dialogue about this sort of thing, in my opinion. I definitely still struggle with not becoming too obsessed with running/exercise/diet. I have come a long way, but it is still a daily challenge for me.

I have two small children (a 6 month old and a 5 year old who isn’t in school yet) so I usually try to make my runs short and fast! I know that there will be many years ahead of me that I will have the chance to run longer distances and spend more time running, but for now, I just want to get my fill of running endorphins and get back to my kids. Sometimes things like housework and doing my hair and makeup get neglected in favour of squeezing in a workout, but I am ok with that!

Not a nap person at all!! I like cheesecake, but its definitely not my fav. Although I made this one for Easter last year and it was incredible!
https://food52.com/recipes/15652-meyer-lemon-cheesecake-with-biscoff-crust

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I am so NOT a nap person. I wake up super groggy and can’t shake it for the rest of the day. I also usually can’t fall asleep if I try to nap, especially if I know I have a limited amount of time for it. Too much pressure to fall asleep! I wish I could nap though, it would certainly make it easier to get enough sleep with a baby :)

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I agree with your thoughts about when running becomes unhealthy. I went through a period in my life when all I could think about was how many calories I burned during a workout and if i ate a certain food how many minutes/hours would I need to exercise in order to make sure the scale wasn’t doing up. Meanwhile my nails were cracking and peeling, my skin was grey, and my hair falling out. Exercise and running can be good way to cope with stress and anxiety for me as well, but I have to be careful to not let my identity be wrapped up in numbers on the watch, the scale, etc. My value is wrapped up in who God says I am. A lesson I continue to learn…

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YES YES YES Deborah. I connect with you on so many different things that you just said! Thank you and I hope you have a beautiful day!

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I hope you have a great day too!

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When I was in PT after a knee surgery, my therapist stressed over and over again that it was important to give my body 1-2 solid rest days each week. That was when I was just doing PT exercises so it wasn’t even that strenuous. I’ve taken that lesson with me as I’ve become more athletic. I would say running- or anything- becomes unhealthy when it starts to negatively affect your life.

Happy birthday to everyone!

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Before I recovered from Anorexia, I was obsessed with running. It morphed from a fun, competitive activity into a way to lose weight and punish myself for eating. Now that I’m 100% recovered (yay!!), running is once again fun and competitive. I recently had to take a few weeks off from exercise completely and there was a time 5 years ago, when I wouldn’t have been able to do this. Now, I enjoy my time on the couch and look forward to the next day I can run. I totally relate to your comment on being “defined” as a runner. It actually bothers me nowadays when people I know only choose to talk to me about running and racing. I’m so much more than a marathoner! Thanks for writing this, Janae, and I hope you continue on your path of health.
Cheesecake, by the way, is my #1 most inedible food ever. I had a bad experience with it as a child (unknowingly tried sugar-free, tofu “cheesecake”) and now, 30+ years later, I still can’t even think about eating it without feeling ill. That and peaches… nasty.

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Congratulations Stacey on a full recovery.. you are amazing. I am so happy to hear how your running has changed from where it used to be! I hope that cheesecake doesn’t come near you for the rest of your life. But send me your peaches.

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Running was an obsession and passion for quite a while. I went through infertility and had my twins almost 3 years ago. I’ve come back to working out pretty regularly and don’t run as much but I take classes and have started teaching spin. I still struggle with my desire to work out versus the amount of time and energy I have. I love it because it’s really the only thing I have that’s truly MINE, and I can challenge myself as much or as little as I want to. I am a full time working mom, so there is a challenge to squeezing it in and scheduling it, like early morning classes, or leaving work a little early to squeeze the run in before daycare pickup. I’m really proud of myself for being able to do that. I struggle with a bit of body issues, especially since my twin tummy isn’t going away ever, but it seems like no matter what I do I’m always the same weight and size.

I am not a giant fan of cheesecake, but my husband is. He loves sour cream cheesecake, which I think is an Amish or PA Dutch thing.

I’m also not a huge fan of naps because they rarely make me feel great afterwards, but I love sleeping on my sofa!

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TWINS… oh you have been a VERY busy woman the last three years.. plus a full time working mom, you are amazing:) I want to take your spin class! I totally agree with you about the ME time and how it is so nice to get in as much as possible. Keep me updated with how you are doing and I hope you are having a fabulous day!

I think Andrew needs to try this sour cream cheesecake!!!

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The other day you turned around before your planned distance to attend a basketball game-that is a prime example of balance. I hope that you didn’t worry or feel bad about it because I was so happy to see such a great example of running not hindering life.

Our life is busy-I’m a single parent of 4 (but my oldest 2 are in college so it’s just the “littles and I at home) and I work full time. My kids are busy busy busy but it actually helps me! I often run right after school/work while they’re at their own practice! Sometimes I run home from work (15km) or to/from their games. I figure it out pretty good. It’s hard to let it go when things don’t pan out but I’m getting better and wiser.

Cheesecake-I don’t care for it but sometimes it’s okay. Here in Germany the cheesecake is different and so much better! We use quark and yogurt so it’s not super sweet. It’s not my first choice though. Ever.

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Thanks Kelly for your sweet comment. Oh I bet you are SO so busy! I love hearing about how you fit it all in with your little ones at home still. I love it:) Please keep in touch… we are going to have to try German cheesecake:)

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I love this post.

I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for the last 10 years and was in realllyyy bad shape between the ages of 18-24. I would run every single day … 8-9 miles … Never taking a break … And prioritized it above anything and anyone else. I’ve come a long way since then and now swim once or twice a week (instead or run) and can actually take vacations without freaking out about how I’m going to fit in a long run. It’s kinda nice!

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Cheesecake: LOVE! Even though I’m lactose intolerant, sometimes it is just worth it. I love a heavy, creamy cheese cake.

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I am totally struggling with this right now – I BQ’ed and have a number for April but am majorly struggling with injury (and have been for 2 years or so, struggled with an eating disorder for 5 years before that)… everyone around me is saying ‘be kind to yourself’ yet I still find myself trying to push through and to get to the starting line. Its such a difficult decision to make – knowing when your body is begging for a break (mine totally is) but the competition and passion for the sport is so strong. When something that is supposed to be ‘healthy’ for you turns unhealthy is when it consumes you, makes your body not function as normal (weight lost, female athlete triad, stress fractures, etc)! I know I’ll feel relief if I let myself accept that its okay to not run, and that there will be (maybe!) more marathons in the future – but I totally feel like a failure, and am dying to run Boston.

…long rant, but the struggle is real right now, and Boston has always been my dream race and this would be the second time I’d have to miss it :( Tibial stress fracture has led to major hip issues now and I feel like this is totally the end of the road vs. rehabbing the next 5 or so weeks and getting to the start line somewhat healthy. Anyone been through a similar decision making point?

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I love your blog! You are so relatable to me. H

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