Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter is upon us

Not to state the utterly obvious but today is Friday. I made a nail appointment for after work because I am in need of a fill but more than that I am in need of them being trimmed, they are far too long and it starts to annoy me when they get to this point. I ultimately decided that I would rest today. I did not try and initiate a workout with Amanda because to be honest my body overall is kind of sore and I think I am in need of the rest before getting up to run a half tomorrow.

I assessed my previous workouts and have to say that I think a rest day might be in order. My body might be telling me to take a night off. Let’s see, April 6 I ran my half in San Francisco. I took of Monday. Exercised Tuesday, kind of. But then I went hardcore Wed, Thursday, and Friday. Last Saturday was my Adventure Race of 7 miles, then Sunday was a 10k, Monday was hardcore workout. Tuesday I went to the gym but kind of half assed it. Wednesday was brutal, last night I was exhausted and feeling it. So therefore what this means is that since April 6 I have worked out 11 of 12 days. Well those Tuesday works out were pretty flimsy so I’d really say like 10 of 12 days. Yup, it’s probably time for a rest. My body is telling me to give it up in the form of brutal soreness.

Do you also want to know how I can tell when I’m ready for a break? I become a horrible “pupil” during class. Last night was Turbo kick which I normally love and go along with. Last night I had a shit attitude. Ever so occasionally during turbo kick she stops with the kickboxing and makes us do 5-10 minutes of high intensity training. Like burpies, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, jumping squats, etc. It’s not my favorite simply because I love kickboxing and want to do that, but I usually just smile thru it. NOT last night. Last night I was one of those awful bitchy gym girls who could not be bothered to put out the effort. This is when I know I need a mental break because clearly when I am pissed about having to perform these tasks it’s time for a break. And honestly I was pissed off. Not good at all. So yeah, time for a break today. It’s not like I am slacking after all. Tomorrow morning I’m waking up early yet again to run a half marathon followed by a 5k later in the day. I’d say I’m good, even if I rest on Easter Sunday I’d still say I’m good. I’ll get in my exercise quota tomorrow.

Not to mention that my arms and chest are crazy sore today. Perhaps this makes me slightly grumpy as well, or else maybe I’m just grumpy… ha ha… I tried to call to make a hair appointment and the earliest time they had available was May 13 and this made me very grumpy. Seriously I am supposed to wait almost a month when my roots are so ridiculous that I have to have them done like today if possible. Yeah, I didn’t make the appointment. I am going to have to try to find someone else I think. But alas, this making me grumpy is further proof that rest of some sort is in order.

Oh, I’ll be fine, I’m just being whiney. I’m trying to decide what to do about my personal training appointments, contract. You see we are approaching my year commitment of training. I can’t believe it will soon be a whole year. My 12th month of payments will be June 1 I think, so therefore I’ve got like 2 months left of training. I keep going back and forth on paying for more sessions. I’ll have these moments where I am certain that I have learned a ton and can do this on my own. Then I have a crappy week and am thankful I had that ½ hour that totally kicked my butt and made me do things I didn’t want to do. But not paying the crazy monthly fee would be nice too. I haven’t really made any decisions yet. Still thinking about it. I’m considering doing a twice a month thing instead of 4 times a month. Half the payment, and a lesser commitment, maybe only 3 months for now to see how it goes. Of course my mind will probably change a bunch between now and then anyway. I’ve also considered taking like a 3 month break and then coming back to it the end of summer, but again, who really knows yet.

Um, they released the medal design for my Hop Hop Easter half yesterday and I have to say it’s pretty adorable which only increases the excitement of tomorrow’s half. The forecast says that tomorrow will rain a little but not until later in the day. This means for the most part, fingers crossed, my half will be dry in the morning, but there’s a strong change my afternoon 5k will be wet. I’d much prefer the 5k being wet than my half so I’ll take it.

Today happens to be the little man in my life’s birthday. My nephew Ethan is 6 years old today. It hardly seems possible he is 6 but I suppose it’s accurate. He is such an awesome caring, loving, sensitive, smart little man. He is such a boy too. Totally loves his Legos and Star Wars. Right now life is all about Star Wars. It’s so funny because inherently boys and girls are just so different. They just gravitate towards different things. He is an awesome kid and I do wish I got to spend more time with him, maybe someday. We all know we never know what life is going to give us down the line.

Boy I hope this day goes by quickly. I just want to get thru, get my nails done, partake in my usual pre-race rituals of spaghetti dinner with bread and then early to bed so I can get up nice and early to run 13 miles. Sounds great, right :) Okay, to us sicko’s out there.

At least Sunday is a holiday, although I have no plans at all, everything is pretty much closed meaning it’s a nice light easy rest day of relaxation for me. Not that I am one of those people who can sit around too much. I get bored far too easily. I like having things to do. With all that said, I hope everyone has a magical Easter weekend, whatever your plans are. Enjoy it and I’ll be back Monday to share my race recap.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The time is NOW

Good morning world. The gorgeous sun has given way to clouds and rain, which is less than ideal but not a total deal breaker at this time. Not that I get to decide if it were in fact a deal breaker. I mean what could I do anyway? I am closely watching the forecast though for Saturday because it’s my mondo epic race day. The morning is my half and then at 4 PM I am doing a 5k. So yeah, weather is a concern. No matter what, I shall survive.

Speaking of Saturday’s run. I am getting pretty excited for this one. While each one poses its own level of nerves or excitement some are cooler than others I suppose. I am looking forward to an Easter Bunny themed run. The race bib and the commemorative champagne flute we receive post run are pretty cool. Of course there is an Easter egg medal too, but they haven’t released the design of this year’s medal yet, so for now all I have to visually look at are the bib and glass. Did I mention that glass comes filled with delicious post run mimosas? Isn’t it also funny that their sample bib has the name Emily on it? This is not my bib but clearly I can imagine mine given this one says Emily. Are there a lot of Emily runners or is Emily just an ultra-common name?


Clearly this is exciting stuff. Well, for a crazy chic like me that is. I have discovered the world of race bling and don’t see how I managed 34 years of life without all this cool swag. One of the main reasons I will be doing the 5k in the afternoon is because of the medal you get. This company whole heartedly believes in epic medals and that they are, even for a 5k. I figure walking with my family is possible post half run. In San Francisco I walked far more than 3 miles post run so I am sure I can handle it.

Last night I had personal training with Amanda at the gym. She KILLED me. We did chest presses, which ultimately end up frying every part of your upper body. We mixed up the chest work with some biceps, all ridiculous and killer. With her help clearly, because I am not nearly that strong she had me doing a chest press with 135 pounds it was insane. That is a stupid lot of weight. I am not entirely certain I could have even lifted it without her help. Of course that was not the extent of the workout. As if 5 sets of 5 of that wasn’t enough, she had me do a crazy amount of bench presses with lighter weights which were just tearing at my muscles. I think this is a good thing… I think…

After my training I went to Iron Power, the hour long strength training class. At some point I think all of my muscles gave up and towards the end of class as I was supposed to be working triceps extending this 25 pound bar for “skull crushers”, essentially lowering the bar down towards my forehead and back up my entire body just hurt and I seriously had a moment where I almost cried out of total exhaustion. This is rare when I get that tired.

I didn't think I hurt as much as I did but getting into the car, trying to simply hold my arms up to drive, and turn the steering wheel resulted in pain. Oh, nothing crazy can’t do it, but I felt it and that was alarming. And then this great song came on the radio and I cranked the volume up and I had a moment in the car where I almost wanted to cry. Not tears of pain although I am sure that would have released some tension in there, but ironically tears of happiness. I have been feeling incredibly overwhelmed lately by my own happiness and place in life. Like really embracing these perfect little moments that catch me off guard.

There I was, after having completed an hour and a half of brutal exercise, feeling sore and happy and accomplished and euphoric all at the same time and then a perfect song came on the radio, Human by Christina Perry, and I cranked it, and it was like…. “I’m only human. I bleed when I fall down. I’m only human, and I crash and I break down…” And it was just all too much emotion for me and I felt that Zen moment of who the hell am I? Who is this girl and I am so in love with everything right now. So I guess it is possible for me to get that high from going to the gym.

I am sure part of it was because I was done and exhausted and my body was just coming down. There is also a sick pleasure in pain that I am all too accustomed to. I feel so alive when I am sore. Pretty crazy. It’s because I know I have worked hard enough to produce change in my body. But also part of it was because I was going home to my gorgeous house that I love, to my dog that is simply perfect and of course to my husband who I am growing to love and appreciate more than I ever thought possible. Because in this perfection is my complete Zen and I am just so happy that apparently at a moment’s notice I could cry over it. Go figure. I am such a cry baby.

Today I am sore, not as sure as I could be, and I’m guessing probably not as sore as I am going to get. Sore tends to grow on me before it gets better. My peak sore doesn’t occur until 24-48 hours after the event of said torture so I wait for things to hurt more than they already do. But I feel it enough that lifting my arms above my head results in some amount of discomfort. And sickly I smile about this.

I’d apologize for my posts being so happy and sappy these days but I can’t help what I feel. Also, it’s not like everything in my life is perfect. I just choose to focus on the happiness and really enjoy the beauty that life is giving me, not dwelling on the negativity. No one or nothing is perfect. I struggle and I fall down and I have moments but it does not outweigh the good stuff.

Do you know what else I thought about this morning while driving into work; I have maintained my weight loss for over a year now or close to a year or thereabouts. It really depends on when you start counting, but in April of last year I was pretty much around this weight I am now and I have maintained for a whole year. Sure my anniversary of being healthy is October, but maintaining this lifestyle, I am beyond sure I’ve ever actually maintained any weight range for an entire year of my life, unless you count obese. I spent many period of time where I was obese and miserable for years. But healthy and happy for a whole freaking year? Nope. This is truly a first. This probably subconsciously contributes to my happiness as well.

This life, this body, these little moments are all gifts. They are things that I have earned but are certainly not guaranteed. Life is short and precious and I am focusing on embracing the epic journey that I choose to travel down. I only have one chance at today. One time that I get to live April 17, 2014 so I might as well make this one worthwhile, and so on. I know, that’s so cheesy but sometimes it’s okay for a girl to get a little sappy on you.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

When I'm old and gray

One year can change so many things. When you think about something in terms of being a year out, it does seem like a long time. Ah, maybe next year, etc., etc. One year is a good deal of time, enough time to evoke serious change in your life, enough time to cause significant damage as well. A year can be all too significant. However, when you live your day to day life, years can also fly by. I can look back to last year at this time and I swear sometimes it feels like just yesterday. Funny how at the same exact time a year can seem like forever and yet still feel like a moment ago.

Today is the one year anniversary of the Boston marathon bombing. Of course if you are on Facebook or any sort of social media it’s probably hard to miss this fact. One year ago today, a big organized race got bombed and people died and so many were injured and the landscape of organized competitive running would never be the same. Of course a year ago I had not ran a single race so its significance while sad and tragic was somewhat lost on me. One year ago I had no idea that what twists and turns my own life would take and what path I would eventually travel down. When those bombs went off in Boston I was clueless that it would mean so much to me a year later.

I remember thinking that it was horrific when it happened. I remember I was running and felt personally insulted that someone would bomb a run. I felt scared to. I felt like why on earth would someone want to bomb an athletic event. The running hit way to close to home even though I wasn’t running races at the time. One year ago I did not believe that I would ever run a race. I had no clue that I would be so enthralled and empowered by the world of competitive running.

One year. One year later and I have found the place my heart loves, the place where I fit in and feel like I belong. If a bombing occurred today at an organized race I would freak out. Sure, it’s not likely my little local organized runs stand much chance of a bombing, but I do run some larger events. Rock N Roll Las Vegas is no joke. It’s a real organized run with a half and a full marathon. I will never be a Boston Marathon runner. I will never run the Chicago or New York Marathon’s. But it doesn’t matter; the sense of security is slightly shaken nonetheless. I do not think about that when I run. In all honestly it’s more likely that if an accident were going to occur in my life it will happen as I am just living my normal life. The odds of being involved in a catastrophic once in a lifetime tragedy are rare. Thank goodness. I would never let that affect my life. In fact, truly, I’d rather go out doing the things that I love anyway.

I can only imagine the chaos and horror felt on this day a year ago in Boston. I can’t imagine how terrifying and awful the time surrounding those events were for those people. My heart is breaking for them today. That is a life changing event for so many people.

One year ago today I had no idea this was going to become my life. Isn’t it funny how we can constantly surprise ourselves? We are constantly capable of so much change and growth. I want to tell you about this little seemingly quiet moment that upon reflection has me smiling. As we were sitting on the grass post San Francisco run, enjoying the gorgeous day, the beautiful surroundings, basked in the high of an epic run Chris said something to me. We were people watching as one tends to do and we noticed this adorable older couple who had finished their run. Probably in their 60’s or so. Chris looks at them curiously as if he is pondering things in his head and looks over at me and says, “I want to do this when we are old. I want to still be doing this when we are their age.” Nodding his head in the direction of the older couple. I smiled and agreed with him. It was a simple moment, we quickly moved onto another thought not dwelling too much on that one, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while now post-race.

I am blessed and happy that we both found something in our lives that not only brings us so much personal satisfaction but also something that bonds us in such a cool way. Something that we both can experience together. I do want to be that older couple who still is in love, who spends their lives exploring their passions and living life. I clearly have no idea what the future holds. Just as a year ago today I had no idea that I’d be sitting on the lawn in San Francisco having ran a half marathon around the hills of San Fran, I have no idea where I will be a year from now, yet alone when I am 60. I know that running and these trips have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I would honestly feel sad if on some level they were not forever a part of my life. This is my zone. This is what makes me feel like life is worth living. Having these adventures and experiences. While I am as uncertain as the next person about what the future holds, I think it’s a wonderful thought to shoot for a lifetime of epically cool journeys.

If life teaches you anything, it’s that you never actually know what you are going to get. Life is constantly throwing me for loops, but for now, I am enjoying the experiences I have had with a giant smile on my face. This is my happiness. This is exactly where I am supposed to be at this point in my life. I care so much less about the little imperfections of my life, my body, and my surroundings because I am too blessed and happy with all the good that is around me. I believe in my heart this is what contentment feels like. I always knew that in order for me to maintain weight loss or to be happy I would have to find some greater purpose. Something else that drives me aside from exercising to maintain weight loss. I have always failed at that endeavor. I spent far too much of my life being afraid of everything quite honestly. And it was solely that fear that prevented me from running races or taking trips to run, etc. I feel like this is my place and my happy. This is my reason. I am proud of the woman I have become this past year. The person who loves herself, despite or with all of her flaws. I am not perfect. I do not expect perfection. I just want to be able to do cool things, and love my life.

Happiness is infectious. No way around it. I truly hope I am one of those old and gray happy couples that travels to run cool races. I can think of no better way to spend my golden years than being active and healthy and HAPPY and in love. This is what works for me. I’m not saying it will work for everyone, but for me, this is it. So cheers to a lifetime of wonderful memories and epic adventures to come. And to the beauty and power of a year. A year can really change everything if you let it. Thank you to the last year for helping to shape the woman I am today. In all of her optimism and happiness.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Race Bling

Awesome weekend. It was really a fun weekend and the weather was amazing and I was pretty much all smiles from Friday night until last night. Not that I’m not smiling today it’s just that its Monday and I’m at work which isn’t as much fun as my weekend but I’m not upset or anything. They cannot all be weekends after all.

Friday night I had an awesome workout with Amanda at the gym. Saturday morning we got up, went to the Convention Center for packet pick up for the race we ran on Sunday and then we headed over to the Great Urban Race. Boy this was sure different from anything else we’ve ever done. It was crazy. They hand you this packet with 12 puzzles on it. You must solve the puzzles to get the clues or names of business’s to head out to on your “scavenger hunt”. You then had to google the addresses and then make a route of the best way to go to hit all locations with as little back peddling as possible. It honestly took like an hour to solve all the problems and get our route mapped out. Once we were on foot heading out it got really fun. There were almost 100 teams of 2-4 people competing. What was cool is that we were all going to the same 12 locations so we were constantly seeing the other teams on the street and it totally gave it an Amazing Race kind of feeling. It was honestly a blast.

Once we’d get to a location we’d have to perform a little task to get the proof we needed of completing the task. Tasks were as simple as smelling coffee’s and having to decide which country they were from to blowing a ping pong ball from one red cup to another full of water without using your hands. Basically jumping the ping pong ball from cup to cup. There is definitely a technique to this. Each stop was different and fun. But mostly just running around the city was a great time. We wore a Garmin to track our distance. We’d run stretches and then we’d walk when the sidewalks were crowded. It was a gorgeous day in Portland and it’s a beautiful city so lots of people were out and about. Our entire journey clocked in just a little over 7 miles. Not too bad for an afternoon. All in all, we finished the entire game in 3 hours 16 minutes, just about middle of the pack. I think we were team 46 out of like almost 100. I will take it, considering we had no idea what we were really doing.

It was honestly, obviously, all for the experience of it. I highly recommend such a fun activity to anyone as simply a means of exploring your city in a different way. Pushes you out of your comfort zone for sure. I honestly couldn’t stop smiling or laughing because it was just a good old fashioned good time, plus the other teams were all very nice.

Yesterday morning we had to wake up about 5 AM, to be in the car by 5:30 to get to Portland by 6:30 so we could run a 10k at 7:15. Good times. I am stating to get used to these early mornings, although I never really want to get up, but I always wake up before we start running. Given how many half marathons we run, I often take for granted that a 10k is actually a decent distance as well. I mentally just go, oh, it’s just a 10k, so 6.2 miles. No big deal. 6.2 miles is a decent run. Considering that it never fails it will always take me about 2 miles to warm up. This is why a 5k, 3.1 miles is less than ideal for me. I kid you not; the first 2 miles of any run are pure hell for me. I don’t find my groove until at least mile 2. Seriously after like 3 minutes of running, I always think oh God, this is awful, what the hell am I doing? Why is his so hard? Why is this run so brutal already? And of course, in true doubting yourself fashion, is this the exact moment where running just became impossible for me? That’s it; I’ve lost all ability to run. I mean, when you feel like dying after 3 minutes your mind plays a lot of tricks on you.

By mile 2 I was feeling good and in my groove and then I try and talk down my brain that is telling me I can no longer run, and remind it that I always have issues with the first little bit, that I have to warm up to the run. There are some races/runs that ultimately are more fun or you feel better about. In the end I felt perfectly fine with my time and the actual run itself, but overall this was not that memorable of a race. They did have a half marathon but I don’t think I’d ever run this particular race in the half. It’s one of those races that I might run again in the future if everything worked out and I felt like it, but I also wouldn’t go out of my way for this race. Not that exciting overall. But honestly every run is fun and a good time for me in some way.

We were done before 9 AM, walked around the post-race expo a bit and then decided to swing by Ikea afterwards for a few items. We made our way home and I finally got around to putting together my epic medal display in the hallway. It took me quite some time to figure out the exact way I wanted to display me medals. I researched it for a while before ordering a display and then I have to embellish that with a frame and make it look nice of course. This required trim and paint and a whole process. Since we had time we worked on that yesterday afternoon. I was so happy with the outcome of course I still have lots and lots of medals to earn to actually make it look full but that’s okay, I’m working on that. There is room to grow!

Yesterday was so ridiculously gorgeous outside that we literally left all the doors and windows open, I let the breeze just flow thru the house. I had the radio going and we cooked some ribs on the Bar-B-Que for dinner. Yup ribs. They were amazing by the way. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon and reminded me of how amazing life can be at times. I felt so at peace and content. It was just magical. This is part of living that amazing life that I feel blessed to have. It was just overall what I’d consider one perfect weekend.

This week looks good weather wise and this weekend is Easter. Not that I have any major Easter plans but I’m just happy and excited about life in general. Actually that’s a lie; I’m very excited about this Saturday. It’s going to be a crazy busy day. Saturday morning we are running a half that I have been looking forward to since I first got this crazy idea of running this much. It’s the Hop Hop Half. It is obviously an Easter themed run. You get post-race mimosas in a champagne flute you get to keep along with Easter t-shirt and a giant Easter egg medal as they call it. Post run they have a bunch of Easter themed activities. This makes my heart happy. This is early in the morning and then at 4 PM, we are doing a 5k. Yes, I know, this seems slightly crazy and ambitious and normally I would not sign up for another event on the same day as a half but this is one of my favorite running organizations and they have crazy awesome medals. Plus my sister and brother in law Erin and Matt and my mom are coming and walking this 5k, so I figure we will just walk the 3 miles with them. I can walk 3 miles post a half run. Hello, in San Francisco I walked more than 3 miles after we ran our half so I am sure I got this. I don’t actually plan on running the 5k. I think having my family there walking will also prevent me from wanting to run and injure myself.

Anyhow, another fun thing to look forward to. This is why I am loving my life so much right now. I constantly have fun and exciting at least to me, things to look forward to on the weekends. Aside from actually running and getting awesome medals and the high that comes with that, we meet so many cool people at these events. We are far more social than we’ve ever been and I am quite enjoying the social aspect of them as well.

Tonight its back to the gym for a half hour class and then it’s a full hour of iron power, total strength training class. Excellent fun. Also, the sun is still gloriously shinning down and you’ve just got to smile about that.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sun Smiles

Ah Friday, what a beautiful day…. The sun is shining, I have a fun weekend ahead of me and I am in a good mood. I am sore. My upper body feels like it got ran over by a train, which I’m guessing is the direct result of intense Wednesday night personal training and weight lifting. For some strange reason it feels kind of good too at the same time. Tonight I am meeting Amanda at the gym at 5 for an intense back workout. It’s nearly impossible to completely 100% isolate a certain muscle without working some of the others. Yes, it will be back focused but no way to lift things without using your arms, period. I will push on thru. Secretly part of me just loves this. Part of me hates it though to.

Its girl date night at the gym. We did the same thing last Friday night and I have to admit that I really loved it. It’s one of those things that you kind of dread doing but feel amazing afterwards. I always remember how much I love working out next to Amanda when I do it. Beforehand I get scared to death probably because I know I will be forced to work hard which I guess is the whole point anyway.

Doesn’t matter, put in the hard work tonight so I can go play tomorrow in the city. And of course Sunday morning a nice 10k run around Portland to. I am truly sick and twisted that I am so excited about a weekend that involves waking up early to go be physically active and run. Sad that this is considered my “rest/break” from the gym or working out.

I am just in such a good happy mood today, it’s hard to beat a Friday isn’t it? When the sun shines like this the smile is just near impossible to get off my face. One wonders then how we manage thru the long winters which seem not nearly as long as what so many of my friends around the country experience. I should count my blessings that Oregon isn’t that terrible weather wise. Lots of rain though. But not today. Today is gorgeous beyond compare. Perfect spring weather. You know its spring when I break out the TOMS. So thankful its TOMS season again. Yes, I love me some gorgeous comfortable wedge shoes.

I am just overall one happy girl which is so nice. Sometimes I feel guilty that I am this happy, that it hardly seems fair because I know not everyone gets to be happy. Hell, I am not usually this happy either so I guess I should just embrace it and enjoy it while it lasts.

Speaking of unpleasantries, my sister is going to hire her divorce lawyer next week. Well, she already met with him and is going to pay the retainer next Monday to start the official ball rolling. Boy has there been some messed up stuff the past month or so, but what one would probably expect when two grown adults try and separate their lives after 20 years together and 13 years of marriage and 2 children and retirements and pensions and money and now trying to support 2 households. A lot of mixed emotions from everyone involved. I get so mad at him sometimes, but then part of me still loves him like a brother, because let’s face it, he’s been like a brother for 20 years. I was 14 when I met the guy, and he’s been there thru all of life’s ups and downs for 20 years, it’s hard to fully hate him. I hate a lot of what he has done, but I don’t hate him.

At the end of the day, I want him to be happy, and as I told my sister yesterday, I truly hope he finds peace and happiness, just not at the expense of my sister and the kids. They are my number 1 priority and then after them, and when their needs are met, then I hope he can find his sense of whatever it is he has been searching for. Midlife crisis, expect like 1/3 life crisis. Whatever. Anyway, like I said, mixed emotions on my part. The kids will always love him because he is their father and I completely respect that. Would never do or say anything to hurt those babies. But in all honesty, my sister sounds the best I’ve heard her in years. So what does that tell you about the state of the marriage she has been living in the past couple years? I’m not saying it’s not rough, but honestly she truly sounds happier today than she has in forever. I think this is going to be a really good thing all around for everyone. Eventually.

Just a couple more hours of work to go and then off to the gym and then I get to get up and start another exciting awesome weekend. So looking forward to my adventure race tomorrow. I’m a little nervous too, because ultimately I am not the best navigator, but it’s all for fun so I shouldn’t stress to much about it. It will be what it will be.

I sure hope everyone enjoy’s there weekends and gets a chance to smile about something!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Great Urban Race

I would like to take this moment to say that I am loving my life right now and it feels really good. I love how happy and active I am and all the great things that I am getting to do. In a nutshell, life is good and I feel blessed. My husband’s work schedule is usually pretty wonky and at times unpredictable. It is a massive frustration all around and despite thinking since we had last weekend together there was no way he’d have this weekend off, alas, we did in fact learn that he would be off this weekend. Since the forecast was calling for beautiful weather all around I began to search out something fun to do this Saturday. Sunday morning we are in fact running a 10k in Portland. I was however thinking that with the nice weather and free weekend we should be able to find something fun to do.

Alas, I found my Saturday activity yesterday afternoon. The Great Urban Race. What is a great urban race? Well, basically it’s like a mini Amazing race contest held right there in major cities across the US. This Saturday just so happens to be Portland’s. Um, sign me up. The “race” begins at Noon and you have 5 hours to complete the 12 challenges given to you. It starts with a clue sheet where you must solve clues/puzzles to get to your location to perform a task and/or challenge. Based on photos and narrative it looks like a combination of Amazing Race style challenges and Minute to Win it stupid activities. This is all done on foot as you explore the city around you.

While I have lived in the greater Portland area pretty much my whole life it’s not like I spend a ton of time there or exploring the city. Thankfully, unlike the Amazing Race, you get to use smart phones so I’m really not going in blind on any of the questions and or navigating so that is a huge bonus. Basically if I ever contemplated being a contestant on the Amazing Race this should tell me if I am really cut out for it or not. I am guessing not in the end, but this should be fun nonetheless.

I reviewed the materials, www.greaturbanrace.com, phoned my husband, and signed us up. How freaking fun! And then my mind started to wander to the reality that I get giddy and excited about this stuff and it’s amazing to me that this seems like a fun time when I am certain 2 years ago this very thing would be utterly dreadful to me. Funny how much we allow weight and self-image and self-esteem or lack thereof prevent us from doing things that clearly we would otherwise want to do.

This race is not really about fitness or health. It’s not like you have to run you’re fastest or solely some sort of running event. I am not doing this race in some attempt to “exercise” or because I think I need to. I signed up because it just sounded like a hell of a lot of fun. I love that on a whim I can decide to do something like this because I don’t have to worry about being able to do it. I am not so freaked out about how others view me that I care one bit what I look like, all concerns that have plagued me much of my life.

That is the exciting part, that I am living this awesome amazing life and I never know what else is around the corner. This is how people should live their lives. I’m not saying people need to do activities all the time or something like that. Find your happiness and live it. Whatever excites you, pursue it. Don’t let fear prevent you from doing the things in life that bring you happiness. Clearly I am some sort of active person at my core and ever losing sight of her is just sad.

I am the best possible version of me when I am healthy, not because I am thinner, but because I love myself enough to embrace all of life. These are the lessons I am learning. Quite honestly there is no other way to look at weight loss. If it is simply about a number on the scale and how you look you are always going to fail. I hate to say that, but it just isn’t enough. It’s not enough to maintain it. Once you are “there”, to that magical land of whatever weight you wanted or magical combination of end goal, you have to find other reasons to live.

I am living my life right now in a way that makes me truly happy and smile every single day. I wake up every morning with something awesome to look forward to. I have these goals and challenges I have set for myself and I feel like I have to stop and pinch myself from time to time because how did I get to this life? Sure I have bad days, but overall, this is the life I would have picked if given a million options. This life of exploring, running, having amazing experiences. Making memories that no one can ever take away from me. I did not have that in my twenties. I was too much of a wreck on the inside. I did not have great college stories. I did not have friends. Honestly I do not have many great adventure stories of my life and now I am finally making up for it.

So far so good for 2014. 2013 was the year of change for sure. 2013 was awesome because I finally started to love myself and head down a great path of personal growth, but 2014 is now the first year where I am just enjoying myself so completely and giving myself over to this life. Finding that balance. At times in 2013 I was trying to find that balance and what made me happy.

I’m learning to put my happiness at the forefront of my importance list. It’s okay to not go to the gym on the weekends if I am actually out living life, being healthy. What’s more important and memorable anyway? Spending a Saturday morning doing a turbo kick class or participating in an adventure race around the city? I spend plenty of time at the gym anyway, building my strength, working on muscle growth. It’s balance. And a couple weeks ago I made that mental decision that I would go to the gym during the week and build muscle and work hard and focus on that, but my weekends belonged to me and running and living my life. If I had free time on the weekends and felt inclined I could go workout but I’d rather be living a happy healthy life. I felt freed by that decision and thus am living my life accordingly.

I am a constant work in progress and am always learning new things about myself. I am constantly readjusting my goals and focus and that is perfectly acceptable. My happiness depends so much less on what I see in the mirror these days and more on how I feel about my life and the experiences that are happening to me. I think that is the best kind of life all around. I am not a number on a scale and my self-worth is not dependent on how I look. The image in the mirror is important to my self-esteem but it is not the most important part of me. So long as I stay active and healthy I truly believe the image in the mirror will always be okay. It’s about finding that balance.

Balance to me is this. Last night I was at the gym where I had a killer 30 minute personal training session where I lifted ridiculously heavy stuff for a shoulder workout. Then I did an hour long strength training class. Tonight I gym it up and then tomorrow night I am meeting Amanda to work out with her again for an awesome what will likely be 2 hour back work out. Lots of good strength training and then Saturday I do my Urban Race and then Sunday morning I run a 10k. That is awesome balance. That is happiness.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

What Goes Up Must Come Down

I had been formulating this amazingly epic post and story of my San Francisco run all weekend long. Actually I was formulating moment by moment as I was running. True story, as I ran each step thoughts would pop into my mind of how I’d write out the most amazing expos on the run, turn by turn and it would be my running masterpiece. My piece d resistance in terms of running narrative. This plan would have been perfection if I had not arrived to the office today to be greeted to what can only equate to a work nightmare and it sucked all of the wind out of my sails. Nonetheless, here is what I could compose.


San Francisco.

The day prior to race day we walked around a lot, because without a car, we walk. The expo center where packet pick up was held was about a half mile from our hotel so we walked there, and then around and around some more. Did I mention I was in heeled boots? Perhaps not the best choice. The problem was we got in to the hotel too early to check in officially so we just left our luggage there and I didn’t really think about it and before we knew it we were off and walking with the clothes we wore on the plane. I realized after the fact that the boots were a poor decision, but I managed thru. As we walked around by the bay it was stupidly windy. Like a wind factor I had never anticipated and we found ourselves wondering if running by the bay and across the bridge would produce this wind as well. A factor I never considered. Alas, in the end, it did not end up being that windy, thank goodness. But it was concern. We had an early pasta dinner, totally carbo loaded and then headed to bed to wake up at 4:15 AM.

Yup, the day of the race we awoke and since I did actually sleep well, I was pretty ready to go. Of course I was nervous. I was really nervous. I knew there would be hills. Walking around San Francisco for a day prior made me realize the extent of the hill situation in the area. Of course not every street is a giant climb but it made me nervous for what I would be facing. I was also afraid it would be cold and windy. I was preparing for a bone chilling cold as I walked out of the hotel in the dark at about 5:00 AM. I was pleasantly surprised to find that while a little chilly it was not that bad. The weather Gods were shining upon us. We had to walk about a quarter of a mile or so to the finish line where they were providing a shuttle to the race start. There were literally thousands of runners lining up for buses to be shuttled. It was pretty cool to see this giant coordinated effort in action. I can only imagine the magnitude of such an endeavor and the costs associated with it.

The start line was actually at Golden Gate Park Ocean beach. In the time we were waiting pre start the sun was just starting to come up and it was beautiful. I kept having to suppress my nerves. Mixed with some tightness in my left leg as a result of too much walking in boots the previous day. Why do I do this to myself? But alas, I readied my music, my runkeeper app, my Garmin watch and waited for our group of runners to be released. Rock and Roll’s release runners in groups based on like projected finishing times. As we inched closer to the start I had to let it all go and remind myself that these are the experiences I am living for, and to just have fun.

As soon as they finally said go and there was the early morning sunlight I looked over to my left and saw the gorgeous ocean, I smiled. This was it. The moment right here where I am living this amazing once impossible dream. Of course the starts of runs with thousands and thousands of runners are hard because you are kind of forced to run in this heard at whatever speed is occurring. Breaking free of the pact is near impossible. But the moment I started running I actually felt amazing. The first whole two tenths of a mile were blissful and I felt great. I was freaking running in San Francisco. We ran about a quarter of a mile and made a sharp right hand turn and wham, like a ton of bricks you see ahead and there in you see a GIANT hill. And I couldn’t help but smile and awkwardly laugh at the same time. A whole quarter mile until we were greeted with what we all knew would be the extent of the San Francisco run. Oh well I thought as I decided to just run my best race possible. So I ran up the hill and just decided to live in the moment.

Tons of things run thru your head in the course of 2 and a half hours while running. Your emotions and thoughts are all over the place. That is the epic battle of a run. It is with your mind every bit as much as your body. I conquered the first hill and then it was okay until about the first mile. From there on out the next couple miles will be a constant stream of up and down rolling hills, with definitely more up than down. One of the most scenic parts of the run occurred in the first 3 miles. We were diverted thru what was amazing gorgeous neighborhoods of architecturally stunning row houses. I could not help but smile ear to ear. I had one of those profound moments that running constantly gives me where I stop, look around and cannot believe for the life of me that this is what I am actually doing this. That here I am, in San Francisco, running thru this gorgeous neighborhood. Who the hell am I? Who is this girl? And it was right smack dab in the middle of this blissful moment, seriously just as I passed mile 2 that a nice man standing on the side of the road in front of one of those gorgeous houses held out his hand and gave me a high five and said directly to me, “Great job. You are amazing.” And as I passed him I literally think tears were streaming down my face. I wiped them up because in that single moment every single thing that I love about this was real and happening. This was my moment. This was me living my life. This is what I have spent my whole life searching for, this feeling. This delightful freedom that running gives me.

If ever there was a moment in running that will stick with me, it is that exact moment. That man, having no clue what that meant, on that gorgeous street in San Francisco. In that moment I literally said to myself, this is it; this is the moment where it is all worth it. I don’t care what comes next, this moment is priceless. Perfection.

I let my music and my thoughts carry me thru or rather up the hills that were endured and while they were manageable thus far shortly after crossing the 5k mark we were greeted to a sign that read, “Now it’s time to earn your view.” I shook my head and smiled because clearly I knew that could only mean one thing as I looked up ahead and saw another ridiculously giant hill. Yup, up we were traveling. I should also mention that this race in particular seemed to be really hard to navigate with the cluster of people. I constantly felt like I was in a game of frogger, with people being the cars. In and out, weave out and around. Can I go now? Will I make it? Fun times.

The hill was miserable, but then we reached the top and there was that view they were referring to, the Golden Gate Bridge off to the left. And I’m not even going to pretend that I wasn’t an emotional baby. The first time I literally laid my eyes on the Golden Gate Bridge I felt giant tear balls well up in my eyes. This was the whole reason I was here anyway, or rather, for this experience that was just about to happen. I wasn’t even at the freaking bridge yet and I was struggling to stay composed. It was gorgeous. The weather was amazingly perfect. The stars and the moons were aligning to produce this magical happiness.

We rounded about mile 4 and I was on the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge. I kept telling myself to try and enjoy this experience, and to look around and take it all in. To look up as much as possible and just enjoy. Of course this was much easier said than done because as expected all of those people compressed onto a seemingly small running path made for utter congestion. It is approximately a 2 mile distance from one side of the bridge to the other and then of course back. Miles 4-8 were spent running the bridge. These are typically my “best”, most in the groove running miles and I felt amazing and good and I wanted to run, but alas the horrible game of frogger played out in the worst kind of way on the bridge. You literally could barely move anywhere, forced to simply go with the flow of traffic. There was not much that could be done about that. All I could ultimately do is simply enjoy the experience, in all of its glory.

When I got to the end of the bridge and turned around to run back I hugged the left hand side of the bridge. At some point I could look down and see in the tiny gap between the road and the side the water below me. It was really cool. It was an unbelievable experience to know that I ran that whole bridge. Later on in the trip when I stepped back and looked at the entire bridge as whole I had to shake my head because I ran that entire thing, there and back. Seriously epic. As of this day in time, I’ve never driven across the golden gate bridge, but instead I ran across it, literally in a driving lane. Can’t get much cooler for your first time in San Francisco than that? Also did you know the bridge is kind of built on a curve and thus there are small gradual inclines on the bridge as well. I mean, I thought they only built straight bridges, but I was wrong. It wasn’t bad mind you; totally more manageable than plenty of other points along the course, but just interesting to me that parts of it seemed like a climb.

Anyway, after finally exiting the bridge and living one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, we had a 3 mile relatively flat run. Probably the flattest easiest part of the whole run. But it was getting warm at this point and all the extra hill work was dehydrating me more than I expected and right before mile 10 I felt very nauseous. My stomach was growling at me, I was hungry and I was thirsty and therefore my body wanted to throw up. And then I saw the aide station and I ran directly towards it. It was Gue gel and Gatorade and I chugged it down and thought it was a godsend that I was praying for some nourishment at that exact moment and there it was.

I read something recently that said experts agree that mile 10 is the halfway point in effort of a half marathon. That the last 3.1 miles require the same amount of effort as you put in the first 10 and I pretty much agree with this sentiment. The last 3.1 are all mental. I was thru about mile 11 just plugging along, knowing full well that the last 2.1 miles were some of the biggest hills on the entire course. I turned the corner and there was a giant freaking hill. I walked. The thing is, walking fast and trying to jog up a hill like that are pretty much the same effort. Rather save the little precious energy I have left. When I’d reach the top of a hill I’d be grateful and then was pretty much always greeted to a new hill. In order to get back into the city and the finish line there were few routes that would not produce giant hills. And so the last 1.75 miles were walked/feigned attempts to jog up the hills of Polk Street in San Francisco. I knew I was close to the end and I knew that I just had to push thru a little more. My Garmin was reading 12.7 miles and FINALLY the ground leveled out and I started actually running. Like a real run and I was happy because clearly I was close to the finish now.

I looked up ahead and in the distance on a straight-away path I saw the finish line and once again on this journey I had to fight back the tears. The holy shit, I did it, I am almost done tears. I just completed one of the most epic runs of my life, thru REALLY rough terrain and there is the finish line. I sprinted. I am sure this looked like a pitiful jog to bystanders, but in my mind I was sprinting like my life depending on it towards my goal. Spectators on the sides, cheering me on, cheering the people around me on, it didn’t matter, I was almost done. And I crossed the line. I had done it. 2 hours 30 minutes and a few seconds. I was done. Not super crazy fast, but not too awful considering the difficulty of those never ending hills. None of that mattered in that moment because I was done! They placed that medal around my neck and I could have burst into tears. It might have been exhaustion as well, but it didn’t matter. I FINISHED!

In a daze, in a high, in a heat induced blur I made the epic walk thru the finisher’s row, where vendors hand you post-race recovery products. Chocolate milk, water, Gatorade, cheese-its, bananas, pistachios, power bars, on and on and on. My hands end up so full with product that I can’t actually stop and drink anything. It’s pretty cool though, because you feel kind of like a rock star for a few minutes in time. Crazy enough, the person who “won” this race ran it in an hour and 9 minutes. I’m like are you freaking kidding me, hills and all, 1:09… INSANE. Of course they were in the front and didn’t have to fight thru the bridge people congestion or play frogger for 8 plus miles. But it’s cool. Running has never been about the time for me, it’s always about the experience and the mental clarity that comes for me. Living my best possible life.

The high afterwards is beyond compare. The lifetime of knowing that I have done that is beyond priceless. Getting to spend the rest of my life knowing that I ran across the Golden Gate Bridge, nothing can ever take that away from me, I did that! That is incredibly priceless. That is something that years from now I will never regret. This is why I run. There has never been anything else in my life that makes me feel as alive as those moments while doing something that I know is hard but pushing thru and finishing. There is nothing that has ever made me feel as alive and happy. In those painful moments, in those happy moments, the happiness I feel is beyond compare.

And I run, and I will continue to run, because I a am making up for all the lost time, all the years I spent actually believing that I was not capable of doing so. All the years where I wanted to run races but stood in my own way. All of the joy and happiness I was responsible for depriving myself. I will run because it makes me feel alive. San Francisco was dang tough, but in the end, I was just a little bit tougher…. :)




Friday, April 4, 2014

Pride

Today I am a happy girl. Today I am wearing a shirt from Rock N roll Las Vegas and every time I see myself in the mirror I smile because I am getting on a plane tomorrow. Let me tell you happiness truly is getting an email that says you can now check in for your flight. Big smile comes across my face. Yes it is only 3 days but they are fun eventful days and I am beyond excited. Basically I am learning that I am a travel slut. I love the whole process of traveling somewhere. I will always love coming home and being home but boy is it great to get away for a few days.

Chris works the late shift at work tonight meaning he will not be home until about 9 PM. Last night during class at the gym Amanda was like skip work tomorrow and work out with me. I laughed, cause that is not a possibility and then she was like, what time do you get off, 5 right? I’m like yup… She said, I guess I can wait until then to do my back workout. I told her I was in. So tonight we have a girl date at the gym to work our backs. This is actually perfect for me because I spent last weekend in Grants Pass visiting my sister and niece and nephew so I did not work out last Friday-Sunday. I only mention this because it means that I am not quite burned out yet. Normally Friday is rest day because I’ve been going for 6 days straight. As of right now I am only 4 days in and still feel like I have energy left. It also eases some of my guilt from not getting to work out with Amanda on the weekends. If we do a great workout tonight then I can get on a plane tomorrow morning guilt-free.

Not that I actually would have felt guilty or let that interfere with the awesomeness that is traveling. But nonetheless, I am down for a great back workout tonight. Then tomorrow is rest day as I walk around San Francisco. I don’t have any major plans for San Francisco but have no doubt that I will find things to do. Our flight leaves at 7:30 AM. If you want cheap flights you have to travel early, and it’s quite okay because it’s good to get our bodies used to waking up early as our actual run on Sunday is freaking EARLY. We start running at 6:30 AM. Nonetheless, we should get into San Francisco about 9 or so in the morning. We have to get to our hotel and then find the expo center to attend packet pick up. Other than that we are free tomorrow. However, we want to go to bed early because of that whole waking up crazy early for us. We have to catch a shuttle from the finish line to the start line between 4:30 AM and 5:30 AM. Don’t want to wait until the last minute on that one and of course that whole waking up and getting ready thing. Bed early.

If we run between 6:30 ish, well honestly since they release in waves we probably won’t start running until 6:45 or 7:00 who knows. But with all the hills and such I am calculating at least 2 and a half hours of run time… maybe more who really knows. This means we will be finished though at 9:30, 10:00 at the latest. Then we have the rest of the day to do whatever we want. Of course we are tired after we run, but not so tired that I won’t want to enjoy some San Francisco locations.

Monday morning we wake up and have tickets to Alcatraz. We already have those tickets, so that is going to be fun. I’m excited to go see Alcatraz. Then afterwards I think we will hang out at Fisherman’s Warf and check that out a bit. Our flight leaves San Francisco at 7:30 PM or so on Monday night, back into Portland at 9:30 ish.

Hopefully the public transportation system in San Francisco is as easy as most people claim it is, as I did not rent a car and plan on using mass transit for most everything. I am sure it will be fine. It does not matter what we do in San Francisco I will have fun, as I always have a great time in these running environments with fellow crazy running people, exploring new locations with Chris. Yup, I can honestly say that a series of factors have made the most amazing difference in my life. Chris got medication, actually is taking drugs that I think have helped tremendously, we went to tough counseling session after tough counseling session to really explore some of the ridiculous crazy behaviors and holy shit, he started running and having the runners high and that helped everything. I did not believe that things could or would ever get better but suddenly six months later I am so ridiculously happy.

Running is my God send. It has made Chris and I close in a way that nothing over the last ten years has ever done. It gives us these amazing unique shared experiences. It helps that he actually loves it as much as I do. It gives us these great trips to look forward to and these awesome shared memories.

So now let’s discuss the reality that this run does make me a little nervous. Those freaking hills are a bit intimidating. But of course nothing is going to stop me from doing it, but I just have to figure out how to squelch those little nerve bubbles in my stomach. When I near that Golden Gate Bridge I am seriously going to cry. There is just something iconic about it and the experience of running it. It is such a symbol to the reality of what I have struggled with for so long. And now, here we are a year and a half past my heaviest weight and I am still going strong, still active and healthy and HAPPY. That is freaking tear inducing.

I read something I wrote about a year ago on this blog yesterday where it talked about my fear of running organized races. Basically how I knew that maybe I should try one or that it should be the next logical step for me but at my core I was scared. And here we are, a year later, headed to San Francisco to run 13.1 miles across an ultra-hilly city. I am most proud of the reality that I am pushing aside my fears to tackle these epic feats.

I am so proud of the life I am building for myself. Which reminds me of that quote by Fitzgerald…



I have started over so many freaking times in my life, but today I am proud of the life I am living. I will keep working and striving to make this true or else dig deep down to find that strength to try again.

So tomorrow bright and early, before the sun even rises, I will be up and headed to the airport for another very exciting chapter of my journey. I am so thrilled and can’t wait to share the story of my run with all of you. This is what life is all about after all. I hope everyone has an amazing weekend! And come Sunday morning at around 7-10 AM Pacific Time, think of me running across the hills of San Francisco; loving and hating every excruciating minute of it. I will post a picture on Facebook when I’m done with my new bling of course. Happiness.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Epic Love Story

It is Thursday. I am very happy that it is Thursday, because Thursday is one day closer to Saturday which is in fact the day I get to go on another plane ride and do something amazing and epic and fun. I am in fact ridiculously excited about taking a mini vacation and of course as the days, hours, and even minutes tick away I find my level of excitement getting greater. It’s the little things in life that end up having the most impact. I am certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that this will be one of the most challenging half marathon courses I will ever attempt in my whole life. It’s San Francisco. I knew that going in. I knew the hills would be killer and brutal to say the least. I know that. I also have no illusion that the finishing time is going to be pretty. Honestly at like mile 11 on the entire course is set up hill. Yup, seriously mile 11 to 13.1 are a giant uphill climb. I am certain that I will be doing a horrible walk/run at that point, BUT, I will finish and I will get my medal. And I will have run across the Golden Gate Bridge. EPIC!

I find myself immersed in the world of run these days and I am beyond happy. Gone are the days where I run an hour daily and burn out. What has replaced it is this crazy happiness and genuine excitement to partake in running events on weekends. It is truly awesome to have something so fulfilling and rewarding to look forward to week after week. This is probably why I am literally the happiest I have been in ages. I am enjoying my life and finding great purpose for myself. I can’t speak entirely to the future because who knows how I will feel after partaking in a whole year of this but I am so glad I am traveling down this path right now.

I made a mental clarifying decision the other day. I have been feeling slightly lost as to the strength training and the gym and what my overall intentions are. It has honestly been this constant pull and point of confusion in my brain the last couple months. Like everything I just had to work it out in my head. What I ultimately had this moment of this is it… the other day I just decided that I CAN do it both. I CAN have it all so to speak. This is my balance. I decided that Monday thru Friday, I can focus on being healthy and strength training and give it my all when I am there. That I do need to eat better. Seriously my food choices have slipped from okay to not great to downright terrible. And that I can focus my time and energy on building my muscles and getting stronger during the week but that ultimately my weekends belong to running. Whatever counter effect that has on my strength training, so be it. I require running in my life and I won’t apologize to anyone for that.

The first quarter of 2014 has been focused on trying to define what my everyday life/schedule will be. Finding that balance that I can live with. I think I have mentally found a good head space for all this. I cannot be everything to everyone and I have to accept that. The only person I have to be true to is myself. I cannot take on the whole world’s problems or be the perfect anything for anyone. I am just me. The next quarter of 2014 is VERY heavy in run town and I am literally excited. If you could see the level of excitement I find myself when I think about, talk about, look up and research race events and swag you’d understand why this is so important to me. Why it’s such a good thing for me. I should not be that excited about race bling but then again, I do think that millions of people are so I don’t actually think I am that abnormal on that front.

In fact if I ever was adept at reading the writing on the walls, one might have predicted that I’d end up in exactly the spot I am in right now. Hasn’t my entire life been a series of obstacles and paths leading to this? Run. Burn out. Run. Burn out. No self-confidence. If I had had self-confidence at any other point in my life I might have actually partook in running events. The missing piece of the puzzle has always been the self-confidence, not the running. Once I was able to find my belief in myself, it’s not shocking that the other pieces have come into place. Sometimes I thank God for struggles and age and maturity. I could not be who I am today without all of the events that have occurred previously. Age can be such a beautiful thing. I would NEVER choose to go back to my twenties. For anything.

So today I sit, happy and healthy and in love… with myself, with my life, with people around me. The key to happiness I am completely convinced is self-love. Love yourself, no matter what, just as you are, for what you have done, what you can do, what you will do. As love as you love and accept yourself you can find your happiness. I have lived 30 plus years without self-love and while I found myself happy at points, it was never this. It was never this level of acceptance and happiness. Peace. I feel at peace with my virtues and flaws. I thank running for that.

Someday I intend to write out my love letter to running for everything it has given me. That feeling of release, that feeling of freedom of struggle and strength and overcoming obstacles. My love letter for everything that running has given me in my life. It is real. I don’t always love running. When I am on mile 9, 10 or 11 sometimes I hate every second of it, but at mile 13.1 the love is so ridiculously real and profound and life changing. Yes, running is hands down the most life changing thing that I have ever done. Granted I am not a mother and I can imagine that is probably the most important/life changing thing a woman will ever do. But running is a pretty cool substitute for me anyway.

So alas, another day and a half and I am on a plane headed to San Francisco. These things literally make me giddy. I couldn’t dream up a cooler life than I am living right now. Well, life can always be cooler I suppose, but in my picture perfect world of how I’d want to live my life this is it. And that is just damned cool.

Ah running, someday you will get that epic love letter from me. It’s coming.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Grateful

Happiness is an interesting thing. Why are humans so freaking complex? Sometimes I look at my adorable little dog and think that has got to be the life… and then I think of all of the things that are not in her control and think again. I mean, my dog has a great life for a dog. She is the spoiled pretty pretty princess in my world, but nonetheless, she is still a dog and therefore is not in control so I suppose that is not the ultimate life. I digress, as humans we require so much in our brains to constantly be and stay happy. It’s quite interesting. Less you think I’m going to say something different, I want to clear this up now, today I feel very happy and grateful and excited about life. I just find it interesting that a month ago, things were pretty much all the same in my life and I seemed to lack that happiness. I am beyond happy with things at this moment.

My happiness resides in my ability to constantly be looking forward to something, have something on the horizon. At this point I think my calendar is as full as it’s ever been and part of that gives me great happiness. I also woke up and realized that having these amazing shared experiences with Chris, someone who in his own right has found a love of running, is quite simply epic. It’s one thing to go to races and get happiness out of them, but it’s quite another to have someone to share it with. This is probably the story of anything in life. Life is better when you have someone to share it with. I suppose in terms of running having a girlfriend or anyone else really to share the experience with is equally as cool. At this point it’s cool that it is my husband because that makes the prospect of spending hundreds of dollars on travel to run possible. Cause he also sees the value in this. I guarantee as anyone would, if they did not “get it”, the constant spending of money on race fees and travel would seem ridiculous. I have become desensitized to the cost of races, they are what they are and I don’t really think about the reality that I spend $45 for a 5k on average and $85 on a half on average. What I get from it is far greater. These experiences are the magical moments I feel like I’ve been waiting a lifetime to have. This is me, 100% in my element and living my life. It gives me purpose in a way.

I keep thinking about at the end of the year, all of the amazing memories I am going to have and all the cool things I did. I mean, I don’t anticipate that every year will be filled with so many “runs” but right now I’m just going for it and I think its damned cool. I set my mind to something and I just do it. I think the whole point of life is to be happy, to love and share and help along the way if you can. My weight, my appearance means so little in comparison to living my life fully with happiness and passion. I am starting to accept myself just as I am because I am so happy. It’s been almost a year and a half since I weighed 220 pounds and I am so thankful that whatever inside of me finally changed enough this time to understand that its about more than a number.

Do you know how little I weigh myself? I love that. I love that my biggest gauge of my weight is truly my clothes, and how I look in the mirror. Everything fits, then who cares what the scale says. I think that is the way most athletes live their lives. Every now and then I catch a peek of myself in the mirror in an awkward position and see fat rolls and think maybe I should do something about that, try a little harder and then the thought goes away when I accept that I am happy and active and that is the best I could ever expect in life. No need to play psychological torturous games with myself to obtain some skewed image of perfection that I will quite frankly never be. This is the woman I am, and she is pretty okay. She may not be the fastest or the strongest but she’s an athlete and she has come so far and I accept and love her.

So with that said I don’t have too much else to say for the day, but at least I came and wrote something and that is always a good thing as it makes me grateful and reflect in a way that I don’t do anywhere else.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I am a runner

Ah yes, so we are so quickly back to Monday morning already. The weekends fly by infinitely faster than any day during the week. This is always the harsh reality. Guess it’s that old adage time flies when you are having fun. Frida night ended up being pretty good, I got my nails done which was really nice. It’s been far too long honestly. Then I stopped by the grocery store for some items and then just ended up watching some TV for a little bit. Good times.

Saturday morning I woke up and went to the gym despite it not entirely being something that I was completely feeling. But I went. I did an hour of turbo kick and then an hour of boot camp which was really just heavy strength training. I was tired by the time it was done and was ready to go home. I showered, and then spent the afternoon running around doing shopping errands with my husband. I was pretty exhausted by the end of the day. It was a good day overall. We had a nice spaghetti dinner to carbo load for yesterday morning.

Now onto the half marathon. There is something infinitely crazy about people who choose to wake up 2 hours earlier than normal on a Sunday morning to drive for an hour to pay a decent amount of money to run. Our alarm went off at 5:30 AM. This is probably not that early for most people but normally we don’t get until 7:30. We were up, getting dressed and freezing. Thankfully the race didn’t actually start until 9 AM, so I knew I had ample time to officially wake up. I was dressed, had eaten some oatmeal and stumbling into the car about 6:15 AM. We had an hour plus drive to get to the race.

The race was a point to point race. This means that we started at one location and ended at a different location 13.1 miles away. This is opposed to an out and back which is more common where the start and finish are the same location and you run out a path for half the distance and at some point either loop around or turn around and run back the other half distance finishing exactly where you started. The only logistical problem with a point to point race is that your vehicle can only either be at the start or the finish. Most races accommodate for this and shuttle you. In this instance we parked at the end location and awaited a school bus to take us to the starting point. I have not been on a school bus since high school. It was instantly a flood of memories and I felt like I was in a bizarre-o land because I racked my brain for comprehension of my last bus ride it occurred to me that it was traveling on weekends for high school speech tournaments. I was such a nerd. Obviously it was an academic endeavor because God knows I was not athletic growing up. But honestly I wouldn’t trade my amazing speech memories for anything. Good times.

My bizarre-o land comes from the fact that I was sandwiched on this bus full of very athletic adults who paid money on a Sunday to run. It is a humbling moment to realize that while you’ve never fully considered yourself a runner, at what point do you have to reassess that thinking? I mean, this was a smaller local race, in the end I believe about 330 runners total. And here I was, one of them, taking a bus ride on a cold morning to a starting point. Does this not really make me a runner? Can’t I really say, that no matter how fast I am running, I clearly must be a real official runner?

Nonetheless, there I was, freezing cold but the sun was peeking out like it was going to be making its appearance shortly, jumping up and down to stay warm, getting ready to run 13.1 miles. Some days I have to lie to myself when I am starting to run. I lie to myself in the sense that I don’t tell myself I am going to be running for 2 hours 15 minutes. I just tell myself I am going to go for a little run and try and enjoy the moments I am in. I lie to myself and just say that it doesn’t matter what happens out there, just get to the finish line. This is a lie because it does matter to me how I get to the finish line. I don’t feel good about myself or the run unless I give it my best effort. My best effort doesn’t require perfection but it does require that I give all that I have on that particular day.

There is something very interesting and mental about standing around and waiting for a race to begin, those 30 minute prior where you are inside your head, for me most of the time trying to convince myself that I really do want to do this, that any amount of tired I feel will wash away the moment I start running. That just showing up is my *win*.

Mostly yesterday I contemplated that the last half I ran was the disastrous Lincoln City Monsoon. Am going to call it a monsoon whether it officially was or not. Despite all of my best efforts to accept the horrible conditions of that race and feel proud that I just finished, which I am, truly, I cannot shake the feeling of fear I had going into yesterday because I was uncertain of my abilities. During Lincoln City I gave up. Yes, the conditions were awful, but I quit running and just walked, fast sure, but it was still a walk. That kind of stuff plays with your mind. This is part of the reason that both Chris and I thought it was a good idea to get another run in before San Francisco so clear our heads of that horrible half. I was having a yucky taste left in my mouth because of Lincoln City so I wanted to have a better, I can do it, feeling leading up to San Francisco. Of course, as I stood at the start line in anticipation of this race, horrible fear overcame me. What if I can’t? What if Lincoln City was the first step in the eventual decline of my abilities? What if all the lack of training is catching up with me? What if I am just getting worse at this? Yup, these are all very real fears that I have.

So this race I decided to wear gloves. I knew eventually I would have to take them off as the sun came out, but for the start my fingers were little ice cubes and I needed them. What I did not entirely anticipate was that when the starting gun went off and I began to run, the gloves made it impossible for me to start my run tracker app on my phone which started my music. What resulted was a horrific start to my race. I had to take the glove off and hold it in my hand which having to pull my phone out of its arm band to start it up and get it going. Then I dropped my glove. I stopped running to bend down and pick it up and could see the onslaught of runners coming for me. It was scary. I fumbled. I quickly shoved the phone back into my armband but then it was all jacked on my arm. I ran a little bit more, flustered. It took me about a mile and a half to calm down, and readjust all of my gear. My phone was finally in its place, I had to yank my pants up repeatedly to get them in the correct comfortable location and then I could finally calm down into my groove.

I am not a fast runner. I have said this on many occasions. Of the 300 plus runners who are clearly active runners who get up and run a random small half, I am definitely in the back 40 of them. That is okay. I am running for myself. Hell, I am running period and that is better than all the other people who didn’t even show up to run a race. Once I settled into my pace I felt good. I was not exerting myself, I was just running. I felt good. I felt like I was just going for a run.

I should mention that the first 2-4 miles of a half are my least favorite. Of any of them including the last 3.1. It’s because it takes me a while to get into my groove and to get over the initial I don’t want to run. Once I find my momentum and my body adjusts I can just run from there on out. It’s the first little bit that is always the challenge for me. It never fails, when I hit 3.1 miles, the first 5k, I always tell myself, great 5k down, 10 freaking miles to go. It is a particularly horrific milestone and one that I must document, as per ritual. The passing of the 3.1 mark. 10 miles to go. My favorite miles are always 4-9 or thereabouts, when I am in my groove and things feel good and I am just running for the enjoyment of running. This is the place where my mental head clearing takes place. Where I find my peace and rhythm. Where I can let go and just enjoy it for what it is. This was a nice course and particularly pretty running next to a river at points.

The race itself had decent support and despite the low number of participants, I was pretty much running with the same group of about 4-5 people most of the way, therefore I never felt “alone” on the road, which was nice. In Lincoln City and a few of the other races I did feel all alone which kind of sucks. I guess while I consider running a completely solo sport, I don’t want to be completely alone either. For me, I get a ton of motivation by seeing people on the sides of the roads. I just perform better when I think someone else is watching, even if they aren’t. This is probably why I like the Rock and Roll races. There is never a dull moment with them. I am certainly never alone in those either. I think the abundance of runners pretty much sees to that.

Once I hit mile 10, my second milestone kicks in. Now I ONLY have 3.1 miles to go. Now it’s just a little 5k left. Of course it’s a 5K after I’ve ran 10 miles and there’s pretty much nothing simple about that. To claim that running 13.1 is easy for anyone is a completely injustice. It is hard. It is exhausting. This is what I have concluded, running 13.1 miles does not physically hurt my body. It does not leave me huffing and puffing and out of breath, it does not wind me or cause me pain, but it does EXHAUST me. My energy level is depleted and I am tired. That is the end result. I just get exhausted. I am fine afterwards, but around mile 10 my brain wants to quit more than my body. I am tired and I just want to walk because my brain says it’s tired, my body honestly can still physically manage. It’s an interesting mix of mental and physical.

I have always professed that what I love about running and especially longer distances is that it more mental than anything else. It is convincing yourself to keep going when your brain is telling you to stop. It is a constant battle between the brain and the heart. I like the challenge and I like walking way victorious. The last 3.1 miles are hard. I think not as awful as the first 3.1, because you have such a far way to go at the beginning but the last 3.1 you know is the last and you are almost done. But at that point you are more exhausted so it’s more difficult. But once I hit the 10 mile mark, I know I am going to finish, and that the end is near. It’s all about pushing thru that last little bit.

This is the end result of this race. I ran every step. So Lincoln City, the previous run, was truly a situation of circumstance not an overall inability to run for that long. I ran every step. I did not run fast. There were hills. More hills than I had anticipated, but also a good challenge given San Francisco is coming up and that puppy is LOADED with hills. I did not have a great time for me, but it was not awful either. 2 hours 18 minutes or thereabouts. Not by best, not my worst. In line with what I can do. I will take it. What’s more important is that I ran every step and allowed myself to enjoy parts of the run. To just get lost in my mental haze of running.

This is what I know. I love running for what it gives me. Sure it is fabulous exercise but that is not why I run. I run because it provides a mental peace that I need in my life. It seems natural to me that since I have given up running daily as torture and instead partake in a rich and varied gym life, that my mind would seek out these organized runs to keep me running and keep that sense of happiness alive. I can experience true running happiness because I no longer use it as a torture mechanism for myself. It is all about a blissful happy experience. It is the thing that makes me feel the best about myself and the most accomplished.

I cannot express to you what happens in my mind the minute I see the finish line in sight. That moment when I run across the line and am presented with my medal. Pure joy. Pure pride. I did it. And that feeling never goes away. I don’t care how many I have run, that feeling is the same every time, because it is never easy and I earn every single one of them. I guess I am a runner, right? I guess I do deserve to be on that athletic bus.

At some point during the run I found myself smiling because I thought, wow, I am in a class of real sick puppies who pay money to run in the cold on an early Sunday morning. This is my idea of a good time. Holy shit, who does this crap? I do. I really seem to repeatedly do this crap.

And so begins what is going to be an epic, crazy summer of running. I have these races like every 2 weeks because that’s just the kind of girl I am. I am really feeling very happy and blessed right now. You can get all crazy and stressed about your weight, or how you look or what you eat etc, etc., but in the end, why the hell did you want to be healthy to begin with? Why did you want to lose weight or eat better? To live a more full and active life, right? Well guess what, I am doing that…. I am living my best life right now and that is exactly the reason that I ever wanted to lose weight. To have these amazing experiences. To feel content and complete. To grow and share and experience life. I am doing that. I am doing that in this imperfect body, with this extra skin and all, with fat still on my body, with less than perfect this and that. Who the hell cares…. I am imperfect and in living with the imperfections find beauty in what I am capable of.

Two weeks to San Francisco, where I will undoubtedly have an epic experience. I am VERY excited for that one. This is my life. And I am proving that there is always hope and the ability to readjust whatever course you are on. The smile on my face says it all. I am beyond proud of the life I am living. This is my peace and clarity. I am a runner. That is who I have always been.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Reset Button

I feel much better today than I did yesterday. I am sure it’s a combination of factors, but when I wrote my post yesterday it was immediately after my text messages with Amanda and I realize I was a little harsh. I was worked up and felt stressed and I do think talking it out or writing it out helped and then I remembered why I like to write on here to begin with. I completely think Amanda is honestly just trying to do better me and push me and be my friend. She is my friend first and foremost. I do think I need to have a chat with her about how much running means to me and the reality that no matter what I’m not giving it up. That I am willing to work with her but we have to include my crazy running schedule into the mix.

I think I left out a piece of the equation yesterday that I should clarify. There is a challenge at our gym starting April 1, that I am actually on the poster for. Here is the image of the poster.



You get a prize of $1,000 plus free training and membership, it’s an AWESOME prize honestly and in another world, a different time and place I’d love to win it. A year ago me I have no doubt would have won that bad boy. But hello, I am present no “before” picture. I am not saying I am the after, although the poster would indicate otherwise. But the thing is, while there is certainly always room for improvement, I definitely do not presently look like anybody’s before shot. I may not be perfect but I am definitely not out of shape. The point is Amanda wants me to win this contest. She real reason is because as my trainer, she would get $500 and bragging rights if one of her clients wins. So she is pushing hard because she wants to win but she does love me and wants me to succeed and I adore her for that. But It’s just not possible for me to win this challenge. I mean I am already on the poster as the before/after, is that even possible for me to compete?

I cannot think of anything I can do to my body in the next 90 days that would result in the biggest transformation. I think that is where my pressure was coming from yesterday. Amanda had mentioned it to me before but I kind of thought she was joking, apparently not. She honestly thinks I can win and while that is a lovely vote of confidence and belief she has in me, I just don’t see it. If I were to take a before picture today, I honestly don’t look like a before. It was just too much pressure at once and I kind of snapped. But I am better today; yes I need to talk to her. I have to do what’s best for me and having some idea that I am not working hard enough or making enough “gains” to win a stupid contest is not something I need to do to myself at this point.

Do you know what contest I have already won? Getting my freaking life back. I far too often forget that. I need to step back and really remember that this woman I am is amazing and strong and living her life and that is the most important contest of all to me. This girl is getting on airplanes and traveling to places to run half marathons. That is ridiculously cool and something that I always thought was meant for other people. I never in my wildest dreams, despite all my running, imagined that could or would ever be me. And suddenly, I woke up one day and it was me. That is what I am most proud of.

Speaking of that, San Francisco in a little more than 2 weeks. Wait, 2 weeks from tomorrow exactly I will be on a plane heading to the Bay. I have never been there and am pretty excited as always to explore a new location and run. Do you realize that the first time I get near the Golden Gate Bridge will be to run across it, like street closed, running down the road on the Golden Gate Bridge? Who the fuck does that? Oh wait, me! I am sure I will “see” the bridge before I run across it because it’s pretty obvious in the area, but the first time I get up close with it, won’t be driving across it, it will be running. That is amazing and most likely one of those ultimate ridiculously cool moments of my life. One of those experiences that money just can’t buy. Well, actually it can buy it, but you know what I mean. Money might have bought me the plane ticket, the entry fee into the race and thus the opportunity to do this but money can’t buy the desire, will or ability to run 13.1 miles. Money can’t buy the experience or the happiness I shall feel in my heart. Money can’t buy that moment when I look up and I am in the middle of the freaking golden gate bridge. That is earned. And earn it I shall with all the hills that I will have to run to complete this half marathon. It shall be intense but I’m guessing well worth all the effort.

Cause at the end of it all, I get this medal:



Yup, I am a medal whore. Love my bling. It’s really the symbol of the experience I just conquered. It’s the visual little clue of the epic journey I have been on for most all of my life. It is such a sense of pride and joy for me to look at those medals and remember the grit and determination it took me to earn each one of them. My visual reminder of my life altering transformation that has occurred inside my head. Not my body, it’s not about a physical transformation at all, it’s truly a mental one. It’s truly the transformation that occurred in myself, in my mind and about loving myself so much that I am going to give myself permission to not only live my life but believe I can do anything I want to do. And those little medals are the ultimate symbol that I am strong, capable and love myself.

Speaking of those little medals, today they revealed the San Diego Medal as well; this is the medal I am going to earn June 1 when I run in San Diego. Excited about his one too.



Each one of these is a trip, an experience to a new place I have not been. Excited to go to beautiful San Diego. And honestly it’s like 2 months away. That’s so cool too.

I am living the life I am supposed to be living, I am sure of that. I need to stop and count my blessings and feel happy and proud more often. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day dribble and shit and this blog has always done a great job of allowing me the opportunity to reflect and be grateful for my blessings. That might have been missing the past 2 months. I need to write to realize that I have come a long way and its okay to have those bad moments but overall I am still ridiculously blessed. I have forgotten that and taken for granted those little moments.

Like last night, in class, before class started at the gym, some regulars, some people who are always in class were talking, I was not listening in on their conversation at all but then one of them was like, well in order to do that, you have to live at the gym right? And he looked at me and I was like, “What?” I truly was not listening to them. And he said, “she said (nodding her head in the direction of the woman he was a conversation with), that she just wants to look like you and have your muscles. And I told her that she has to live at the gym then.” I smiled and laughed and said, well, yeah, you have to work hard. I far too often taken for granted that no matter how complacent you may become there is always someone out there who wants what you have. I mean, I want what I don’t have all the time, so I understand the concept completely. But it’s still humbling and nice to think that anyone would ever look at me and think that I am the “goal”. I feel so far off from the “goal” so to speak. But alas, if I can inspire anyone that is all I’ve ever really wanted.

It’s easy to be hard on yourself and start to see flaws in your 150 pound body, but it’s nice to step back every now and then and be reminded that other people might not see you as a flawed 150 pound fatty but instead simply see you as a strong in shape woman. I think that in the end I am not a stick thin skinny Minnie but that for a lot of women I am realistic and that is what is inspiring. I am not a 110 pound 24 year old with a body that has never been damaged by life. I was born with womanly curves. I have struggled and my body is a result of that struggle. I have hips. I have shape. I have muscle too. I am 34 years old. I am more realistic or a better image of what some of these women could obtain as an end result of hard work. No matter what they do, a 40 something year old woman who is overweight is never going to look like that 110 pound 24 year old. I will never look like her, despite many years thinking I should. I am not perfect but I am the best case scenario for your everyday real woman and I guess I have to embrace that as my place in the gym. I am the symbol for all those people who this does not come naturally for, the ones who have to fight, claw, scratch and bust their asses for their health. Nothing was ever handed to me genetically and there are more women who that is the truth for than not. I will be their symbol if that is what they need and embrace it with a smile and an encouraging word. You will never find me being anything but nice and positive to everyone at the gym. I will be your biggest supporter and cheerleader if you let me.

I got a little side tracked the last two months or so without even realizing it but I’m starting to pull it back in and put the pieces of the puzzle back together again. I do think that is life. I am happy. I should say that. I am happy. It’s Friday and that is also good. The sun is shining, it is rest day, so no gym for me and instead after work I am getting my nails done and that is happiness too.

I am in a good place. I am running another 13.1 this Sunday morning. This is my pre San Francisco run. I honestly felt like I needed a good long run before we headed to tackle the hills and somehow that ended up being another official half. But if I’m going to do a long run it might as well be official after all. BTW, I checked the forecast and it’s supposed to be beautiful all weekend. Thank goodness. A nice run thru Eugene is in store me Sunday then. Good times. Have a fabulous weekend everyone.