Thursday, August 25, 2016

I am not "Lucky"...

Quite a few months ago I was approached on the sidewalk while in Nashville. The well-intentioned man told me, "Congratulations!" I was dumbfounded and looked at him with that expression of confusion and surprise....he noticed and quickly explained, "For your body. Congratulations. I just wanted to tell you that." I again just looked at him, confused. And said, "Ok. Thank you?"

I turned to my friends and was still confused. They assured me it was a compliment. I was upset. I didn't win my body at the county fair....I worked hard for it. They explained it was a good compliment, congratulations for working hard and being fit. I accepted their explanation but it still didn't sit well with me. But I soon forgot all about it.

Recently I was talking with a person about fitness, diet and nutrition, and just all around life. She told me, "You're so lucky." I immediately felt my face get hot and heart pound a little harder. Clearly I have some issues with body image here....I need to work on that. But anyway, I could feel myself getting angry and defensive. I am not lucky. I am working against some difficult genes here.  I have to work so hard to just be within normal/healthy BMI. I work out HARD 4-6 times a week. I watch every piece of food that goes into my mouth. I am working against my bodies natural, comfortable tendency to carry so much excess weight in my hips, buttocks, and thighs. I can SMELL cookies and gain weight. Its true, I ready a study that proves it. Go ahead, GOOGLE "Can smelling cookies make me gain weight" and just scroll down the pages of articles......That is me and my life.

I am not lucky.

I am disciplined. I am dedicated. I am cognizant. I am self-aware. I am determined. I am fit.

Luck has nothing to do with it.....its not luck that I get off work and rush home, say hello to my kid, throw on my workout clothes and go straight to the gym. It is not luck that I pay a significant amount of money for my crossfit membership. It is not luck that I can afford it....I budget it it, I make sacrifices. It is not luck that I have time or energy....I make it happen.

I am not lucky....I'm not unlucky either though, don't get me wrong....but my muscles and strength are not due to luck. They are due to me making a decision that I want health. I want fitness. I want to be the best version of myself for as long as I can.

So if you ever find yourself thinking someone is lucky...remind yourself that it may not be luck. Its most likely hard work and dedication.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

San Francisco 13.1 Recap....

What day is it?? It's only Monday? That means I completed the San Francisco First Half Marathon yesterday. I'm only a little sore, mostly my calves due to the hills here. You can't find hills like this in Oklahoma.

I would most certainly rate this race/course in my top 5 most beautiful and scenic races. As I was plodding along I was mentally ranking them:

1. Big Sur....hands down, no doubt about it. Absolutely breath taking. 
2. San Francisco Marathon and half
3. Seattle Marathon
4. Tacoma City
5. Portland Marathon
6. Las Vegas Rock n Roll HALF---not the full...the second half of the marathon was the most boring, industrial scenery I have ever experienced in my life. Miles 1-13.1 are along the strip and now at night. Beautiful and fun. 
7. Virginia Beach Rock n Roll -but I cannot under any circumstance recommend this race. Ever. Not without feeling so guilty and extreme anxiety for you, your life, and your wellbeing. I think I almost died in this race. It's held Labor Day weekend and it's so hot and humid. I lost count of all the people I saw being taken away by ambulance, in the medical tents, getting IV fluid, one having a heat stroke, and one person died on the course. This, in my opinion, is a very irresponsible time to have a race of this distance. So yeah, pretty but not worth it.

I'll still stay I have never experienced a race that comes anywhere near the local support, crowd, and all around experience as the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Ever. 

I didn't mean to make this a review of races, maybe I'll thoroughly review and rank my races one of these days.

I really enjoyed this race but I did notice that the local support was lacking. One of the water stops was so understaffed that the cups were empty and they couldn't fill them fast enough for the runners to get any. There were small sections with cheering family members, locals here and there watching from their windows or door steps. Toward the end of the first half there was a nice sized cheering crowd. The ones who were out were so friendly and enthusiastic. One man, a worker I believe, on the Golden Gate Bridge, was cheering and high-fiving anyone and everyone who came along. He was so cool! But overall the sense of community surrounding this race was lacking. But that's OK and really doesn't detract from the overall experience. It's just different. The scenery and views were amazing, even with the San Francisco fog. 

With a 5:30 race start for the first half I was worried that it would still be too dark and I wouldn't get to enjoy the views. But the sun came up and I could see everything around me just fine. 

Pre race selfie....

Starting line view of the bay bridge!

Ghirardelli!! Mmm.... I was thinking how nice it would have been to get a nice piece of chocolate! 

Alcatraz in the distance! 

And of course the Golden Gate Bridge! 1.7 miles across on direction! This was a fun part of the race! Windy and chilly but also just awesome! 

At about mile 8.7, halfway across the bridge on the way back, I finally felt lose, warmed up, my calves loosened up, and I got my second wind, or maybe my first wind. Up to this point I felt slow and tight. So I picked up the pace a bit and just cruised right on along.... 

I heard some lady tell her friend, after a huge awful hill, that it was all downhill from here. I turned a corner and saw right in front of me a huge hill. I felt sorry for her friend. I felt sorry for me. It was steep but short(ish) so I did the only thing I could do. I put one door in front of the other and overtook that stupid hill. 

I knew my Garmin was off by a little bit, as usual, due to running the tangents, or not. And weaving and dodging. So when I hit mile 13 and didn't see the finish anywhere in sight I just had to remind myself it was close. I was close

When I did see the finish I was so glad to be done at mile 13.1 and not going on for 26.2. I came on in to the finish line and as always felt a huge sense of pride and a smile across my face. Another one in the books and I survived. 

Of course the signature pose....

And there you have it, San Francisco First Half Marathon.

I met a couple of nice ladies on the course from Tulsa, OK (because I forgot my headphones and that gave me an opportunity to be present in the race and not antisocial) who may have convinced me to do Tulsa Route 66 in November. I've toyed with the idea of this race for a while now so we shall see....That might just be what's next. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Active Recovery....

What does that even mean?? Since starting CrossFit active recovery has become a more and more clear necessity.  

Back in my high-mileage running days active recovery was not something I really did. I laid on the couch, iced my shins and compressed my calves, if I was lucky. Otherwise I went about my day chasing LB around and being a mom (active recovery at its finest). I didn't really put much thought into it. Rest and recovery days then I'd get up and do it all over again. 

But now Crossfit is a whole new beast. It keeps my body and muscles guessing as to what's coming next. I may crush my shoulders and upper body today and then smash my legs, quads and butt tomorrow. So active recovery has become a fun way to shake out the muscles, move around and get that lactic acid out, so that I can do it all again. Active recovery is usually less intense than normal training and done on "rest days". 

So what does an "active recovery" day look like for me? My new favorite is stand up paddle boarding! 

It is a great way to be active but not feel like I'm doing much! And ...I've been trying to get Ace out and on the stand up paddle board with me. It wasn't going so well and all he wanted to do was swim. I decided to get him a life jacket so he could swim, I could paddle, and we both could enjoy ourselves. He finally got the hang of it and had a nice time paddling around for a few hours this weekend! 

I also enjoy just walking. A nice 4 mph walk is an excellent way to actively recover. Swimming is a favorite of mine as well. Even better if you can drag your friends along! 

Other fun things are yoga and my new challenge is practicing my headstand a and hula hooping. 

Got a terrible cramp in my hammy after this one....

These are just a few of my favorite ways to stay active. I think at the end of the day, for me, active recovery is a lifestyle. It's being active, outside, doing stuff, enjoying each and every day to it's fullest!

This weekend I'll be actively recovering on a surf board and a skate board in Santa Cruz and San Francisco! 

Go ahead! Get out there! Actively recover and actively live life! You won't be sorry! 

Friday, July 22, 2016

San Fran 13.1 Prep Time!

So it's time to start prepping and packing for next weekend's half marathon. This morning as I was facetiming my Little Buddy, he's been in San Fran since early May, I noticed he was wearing a thick hoodie. It's hard to imagine why since we've been sweltering here in 100+ heat for days on end. 

I decided to check the weather and this is what I discovered: 

Umm......perfect running weather! 

Compared to here:

The only thing running here is the sweat....down my face and back and legs and body! 

I definitely love the heat but running in it is another story. Although our Crossfit gym is hot as can be and I handle that. But we we aren't usually in the direct sunlight like it is with running. 

So I'll be getting my race day outfit picked out. I'm thinking the difference in temperature is going to be pretty drastic for me so my initial thoughts of shorts or running skirt and tank top may not work.

One year when I was living in North Carolina I went from there to run the Seattle RnR half in June. The temperature difference was pretty much the same as this will be and I ended up getting a 13.1 PR of about 5 minutes!! I'm not expecting a 1:50 half marathon next weekend but it could happen! That would be awesome! We will see.....

Thursday, July 21, 2016

My next 13.1....

I'm only 10 days away from my next half marathon!! I. Can't. Wait!!!  Anyone else doing the San Francisco Marathon or Half? I'm pretty excited. I haven't really been running at all but I've been training, Crossfit only. I'm also down about 13 pounds from May's half marathon and increased my muscle quite a bit. So I'm excited to see how this one goes. I'll try to blog about my weight-loss/muscle gain journey next.

The San Francisco hills have me a bit nervous but then again I'm not actually out to win....or even PR. I just want to run the course and enjoy the views and the race. My approach to racing has changed significantly over the past 5 years. 

Lately my fitness goals have evolved to being more well-rounded. I am confident that I could in fact race Amanda Style and do a last minute impromptu half marathon if I wanted. That feels good. But I can also do many other things that involve strength and agility. I'm stronger than I have ever been and I can see that this affects my running in the most positive of ways. 

My summer has been pretty awesome. I had some pretty significant changes take place that have forced me to embrace where I am in life and that feels good. I feel more in control of where I am headed and clearer than I have been in a long time. Sometimes sitting and waiting is necessary. But then again sometimes it becomes a habit that really holds us back. I may not be where I thought I would be at 37 years old but it's never too late to reinvent yourself, embrace the here and now, take life by the horns, and just tackle it. 

I'm not going to be a passenger watching life out the window. I'm going and doing....taking chances, stepping out of my comfort zone, and instead of saying "I can't!" My answer is now, "Sure!! Why not!? Let's do it!" And so far that's working quite well! 

Once I decided to close the door I felt a shift...

I just got back from Florida where I nourished my soul with sun, sand, and surf. I got up early to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean, and in less than a week I'll be watching it set over the Pacific. 

It felt so good to sit and just appreciate all the amazing things in my life despite all the things I wouldn't call amazing. I can't allow myself to focus on what is lacking and it was right then, as the sun began to peek up over the watery horizon that I decided that I have enough. This life is beautiful and I will take the bad with the good.....

I will appreciate the beauty that lies even within the broken....

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Recreating for a living...

....I wish.

I was recently asked, "Do you just recreate for a living?" I was a little confused because I read it wrong and was thinking re-create, like create myself over and over again...but then I realized it was recreate like recreation...which could also be now I'm confused AGAIN.

Anyway, I was asked if I recreate for a living. I started thinking about how social media can really mess stuff up. We post our highlights and all the fun stuff we do. I mean no one wants to see me hard at work....right?

Working hard.....?
So we post the fun stuff. Like all this:

Doing a Ropes Course......AWFUL.

SUPing with my best bud.....

Sweaty sesh with my Swole Sisters!

Backpack shopping for my backpacking trip.....

Lifting heavy stuff and getting strong!
So we post our highlights...and people see them and wonder if we actually do anything else. Well I assure you I do.  And I try to be real and not post just the good stuff....but sometimes it is my way of trying to stay positive, to remind myself that even though I just faced a lemon storm there are good things in my life. I am OK and I am moving forward.

So yes, I recreate.  A lot. I don't watch TV.  I don't play video games. I rarely sit still. My house is a mess. I have dishes in the sink. My laundry is piled to the roof. But I enjoy every minute I have that I am not adulting. And it's great!

So go ahead, post your highlights! I wanna see!

Monday, June 27, 2016

So I guess I'll just blog about it....

....when life throws you lemons they say you should just make lemonade. Well I think I'm at the point in life where if life is throwing me lemons I'm ready to look at what I'm doing. Why am I always getting lemons thrown at me? Wrong place? Wrong time? Bad decisions? Bad luck?

I can't really say I've had lemons thrown at me, per se, recently. More like I saw them coming; saw lemons flying around, acknowledged they were in fact lemons coming my way....watched them fall just short of my face....and decided instead of walking into them... I am not walking into that lemon storm again. Sometimes you have to walk away. Or let the ones throwing the lemons walk away, or stay there, in the lemon throwing mood, and just throw their lemons. But I am not going to let them throw them at me. Avoid the lemons. That is what I am trying to do.

I don't think I will ever understand some behaviors; people who intentionally hurt others or who blatantly disregard others feelings, knowing it is going to hurt. It's not hard to look past your own nose for just one second and ask yourself, "How will this affect them?" But I have been alive long enough to realize that some people cannot look beyond their own nose and will justify every action and never take responsibility for the lemon storm they single-handedly created. The only thing I can do is realize that it's not about me, my worth, my value. It's about that person's inability to be honest, to think about what they are doing from a perspective other than their own skewed, self-centered, irrational perspective. But the fact is in life every action has a reaction. Every decision we make will affect someone else. And sometimes those decisions are hard. And people do and will get hurt. Fact. But we can minimize the pain, minimize the damage caused, by simply thinking about it and being honest. It's hard. Without a doubt being honest and hurting someone is hard. But I promise you, the truth only hurts for a short while, but the pain caused otherwise can hurt for a lifetime.

So I'm just here, changing my life direction so I can avoid the lemons that have filled the path in the direction I was headed. And this new path will be great too....because I have a choice and I chose kindness, love, and forgiveness...

So excuse my while I go rearrange my life and explore this new path....

***and no darkness as vast and deep as a selfish heart.

Monday, May 16, 2016

I'm FAILING! Epically!

I have so much to tell you all!! But I am failing as a blogger! Do I tell you all of the stuff at once? Or just get it together and write every day since there seems to be a ton going on these days? I still haven't done my OKC Race Recap! Which is a perfect segway into what I have gone and done!!

What have I done!?!!  

Well my last name is still the same so it's not a Brittany Spears style Vegas forget that exciting story line!

I have gone and signed myself up for another half marathon. The San Francisco Marathon and 1st Half to be exact. This is such a cool race concept and I cannot believe i have never noticed this, seen this, or thought of this before. When you register you can chose if you want to run the first 13.1 miles or the last 13.1 miles! So I looked the course over and obviously chose the first 13.1 miles that takes you along the warf and the roadbed of the Golden Gate Bridge. With the sun rise we'll have a view of the beautiful city scape! It sounds absolutely magical....if a race can be magical. 

Not to ruin my OKC half recap for you all but I was able to run that race with ver minimal training outside of my crossfit 3-4 times a week. So I sat down this morning and created my training plan for this. Three runs a week using the Run Less Run Faster approach. It is somewhat daunting but the workouts shouldn't take more than an hour and will more than prepare me for the race distance. The only other thing that has be a bit concerned is the elevation. Once upon a time I lived in Cali and the hills were brutal, Seattle brutal. So there's that.....maybe I can find a hill here in the plains of Oklahoma. A country girl can hope!


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