Monday, April 21, 2014

Hop Hop Easter

I was enthralled with the Boston Marathon live updates this morning. Sure, I wasn’t there or even watching it on TV, but just reading the frequent posts of time updates proved exciting to me. Holy crap, I constantly shook my head at the marveling times and splits. Of course these are the best in the world so it’s not exactly fair. This is as good as it gets all around but still, for the human body to be able to perform at that level at all is an exercise in well-oiled machinery. The amount of training and prepping and countless hours of fine tuning it takes to perform at such high levels is mind boggling. And of course that isn’t even taking into account all the of the people who simply qualify to run, your everyday Joe’s who are not paid, sponsored or whose sole purpose it is to get their bodies in ideal performing conditions. To simply qualify for the Boston Marathon you have to run marathon’s in what I consider a staggering pace. You have to run 26.2 miles around 3 hours give or take depending on your age and some other factors. 3 to 3 ½ hour marathons. Bravo, everyone. Simply bravo. These people are true inspirations. Now that I am beginning to understand the rigors of competitive running I can fully appreciate the magnitude of simply qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Beyond impressive.

This weekend as we made our way to our half marathon and lingered about the starting/finishing area we were given Boston Strong stickers to adorn as we ran. It was a nice touch. Often times as I was running thru my half I’d look down at my sticker and as it started to bubble up and want to fly away with the wind I felt the need to constantly press it back down to grasp onto any amount of stickiness it might possess despite the torments of my own body sweat and eventual rain and wind that would come down upon it. I am not even sure why I felt so inclined, but alas, I kept pounding my fist over the sticker to ensure its survival. Perhaps it was an activity to keep me entertained upon the run, or perhaps it was some deeper meaning that I felt proud to be running and wanted to acknowledge the significance of the Boston marathon and all it stands for.

The more half’s I run, the more I begin to think about proper care and conditioning for them. By that I mean, I am considering the fuel I am using, the prep that I take or do not take as the case may be. Most half’s the first couple miles are simply terrible for me on the energy front. This particular one I felt great, but I drank some good energy drink before running and that really helped. Of course over the duration of 2 plus hours I start to burn out, but I burn out no matter what which leaves me wondering if I actually carried some energy drink substance in a bottle with me on the course would I be able to push thru more efficiently at the end? Just a thought. Also, as I was running I noticed a lot of women had that tape on their legs and wondered if perhaps the one area that always seems to end up a little tight would benefit from a little tape. And of course as the final 2 miles were run in rain and wind yet again I started to feel that sock rub against the shoes, i.e., blisters. I do not; have never gotten blisters from just running. It is the addition of rain that brings them on. The thought finally occurred to me that if there is the slightest chance of rain in the forecast perhaps I should apply some blister prevention shit to my feet beforehand.

And of course, I do good physically post runs, but I always get slight digestive issues. That is my only post run body malfunction. I don’t want to eat, and then I get gassy. Sorry, too much information, but my body just takes a little while to readjust. It occurred to me that I should probably bring some like Tums or something for post run. And then it occurred to me that maybe I’d benefit from pre run Tums as well. Just thinking about it. Funny how I have ran 9 half marathons since last September now and this is the first time that I am actually thinking about any of this stuff.

The half marathon on Saturday was gorgeous. It was without a doubt my favorite local race I have run thus far. The course was amazing, the race itself was well organized, the swag was very cool and the race atmosphere was just beyond compare. I LOVED this race. I loved the theme. I just loved it.

Because of the aforementioned energy mix before the race and probably in part to the slightly later start time of 8:15 I was actually feeling more awake and ready to go for this one. We started running and I felt quite good. I did however fail to actually start my run keeper and noticed about a mile in that I was not getting the race updates in my ear and looked down and realized it was paused. So I didn’t start my run keeper until 9 minutes into my run, but oh well. My Garmin on my wrist was tracking accurately to give me all the information I really cared about anyway. We started out running a mile in one direction and then turning around back around and heading back to the start line where we ventured out on a gorgeous bike path around a lake by the airport. From one direction we got to see a gorgeous lake with boats and the other direction airplanes taking off and landing. It was a fun run. This was an out and back course so we got to see runners coming by us as they turned around and then as I was running the other direction the people still heading towards the half way mark. It was nice to constantly have people around but not right on you as a Rock N Roll race does tend to produce.

This was an Easter race and lots of people dressed up with cute bunny ears and tutus and various other themed stuff. I did not. But in hindsight I really wanted bunny ears because they were dang cute. The weather was quite rain threatening most of the run. A few times early on I felt sprinkles and was fearful but it held off. It was however very windy. Running into wind sucks. Just an extra challenge. I was maintaining a good pace for a solid 7 or 8 miles. Once I cross that half way mark I always instantly feel so much better. There is just something about those first 6.55 miles knowing you aren’t even half done yet that is terribly daunting. Once you cross the half-way point it’s all downhill from there, metaphorically speaking, not literally of course. I feel a sense of relief at the half point because I know no matter what happens beyond this point I can finish and even if forced to I could walk. It’s a mental thing.

I ran. But at some point I started to get slower as typically happens and one would expect. The energy mix had worn off and I was feeling the effects of an hour and a half of running. I wanted to walk but then I was like, really, why? You’ll instantly regret it so just keep running, even if it’s slow. So I did. And then the sky got grayer and grayer. And it got colder and I knew that I was going to be in for some rain. A little before mile 11, it started. And I literally said, and here is the rain. And while it wasn’t awful all things considered, and given the forecast the reality of only having to endure a little over 2 miles of rain was actually not that bad. But for some reason cold rain coming down on you when you are already tired just instantly sucks all the wind out of your sails. I have got to figure out how to get better in the rain so it doesn’t instantly destroy me all the time. I do live in Oregon after all and imagine that many a race in my life will have to be completed in some amounts of rain.

By no means was this epically as horrible as that Lincoln City run I endured in the monsoon rainstorm, so on some level I felt fine with it all. But it was really sucky. Yup, just sucky is what I’m saying. I told myself at least I’m only 2 miles out and not 5 or 6. And my mind shifted to those hundreds of runners/walkers I saw on the course that were still going the opposite direction as me, not having cleared the turnaround point yet. And I felt bad for them, because this rain surely was going to suck. My pace utterly slowed at this point. I was previously on a good track to finish around my time of 2:15 and then somehow I was just miserable and this leads to moving slower.

I was cold and tired and energy depleted and the wind was crazy blowing and I came across the finishing stretch and just sprinted it out, I crossed at like 2:20 something. I got my gorgeous medal and then Chris was instantly there handing me a rain coat. I completely appreciated this in that moment. He finished earlier than me and went to the car for the jackets when the rain started coming down. It was so nice to have a rain jacket with a hood in that moment. The rain started to pick up so we made our way to the “tents” that had our post-race mimosas and catered food. At this point it was really raining and I felt so bad for the runners still on the course.

In the end, as per typical my “stat’s” put me pretty much right in the middle of the pack in all age/group categories. I was right in the middle of the about 700 runners who participated, about the middle of all women and about middle of my particular age group. I am solidly in the middle and I am completely comfortable with that. Quite frankly I don’t train to be anything better than I am. I work hard during the week on other things, pushing my body constantly but not training to improve my time. I am completely comfortable and have accepted my place in the 2:15-2:30 running pace. I’m not breaking records with my time but it’s not awful either. You can’t walk a half in that time, you have to run in order to get to the finish at that pace and that’s okay with me. My big mental victory was that I walked like 99.9 percent of that half and that is what I was after.

It was really coming down hard after I finished so we didn’t stick around too long. We got in the car to try and warm up. The funny thing is, about an hour or two after there was actually sun in the sky, which was good for us because we had a 5k race to get to at 4PM. Yup, we went and got some sub sandwiches for lunch and then headed to the outlet mall where we hit up the Asics outlet store and then we headed out and met up with my mom and sister and brother in law for a nice 5k thru a park. I was once again quite concerned about the weather especially because the forecast was indicating afternoon showers all along. It threatened us with some yucky rain at points but when the race started at 4 PM it was actually pretty clear out. Only once during the 5k did I feel drops of rain. It was a nice walk with my family and while clearly I am not running for an epic time, there is something inherently fun and special about these races for me because I get to do them with my mom and sister. It’s a nice time to talk and be healthy and have them partake in a little bit of what I’m experiencing by doing these races.

Post 5k, we collected our awesome medals, had a hot dog and fruit snack and headed home. We showered up, which was much needed and then ended up at my mom’s house where my other sister and cousin joined us to hang out for a bit. Eventually we all headed out to Applebee’s for dinner where I partook in 2 margaritas, because gosh dang-it, I earned it. I was pretty exhausted honestly and was quite looking forward to bed. I am fairly certain the moment my head touched the pillow I was out.

Yesterday ended up being a nice recovery and rest day. Chris went fishing with one of my uncles. I ended up hanging out with mom and another one of my sisters. We watched Frozen, which I had not seen yet but OMG, completely loved. Frozen was amazing! One of my favorite Disney movies ever. Ridiculously cute. It was a nice relaxing day that I totally needed for recovery all around.

Tonight I am back to the gym to lift some heavy weights. It’s been a while since I lifted heavy, last Wed/Thur and I am ready to hit it up again. This is the beauty of the plan that I am on. I’d probably punch you in the fact if you told me to run today, but I don’t have to. I get to rest my legs a little and work on strength training. Now it’s back to the gym life for me.

Great weekend, totally fun, glad it’s over to. Now on to the next challenge for me. Life is good. I hope everyone had an awesome weekend and a great Easter.

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,, 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


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.