Thursday, July 2, 2015

What's Going On!?

A lot has been going on actually.

I sometimes wish I would blog more and sometimes I can't believe I  used to blog so much. So much of my life was shared with all of you...and now only tiny snippets come through. Today is one of those days where I think I'd like to blog more. We will see how long that lasts.

This past weekend I participated in my second Splash n Dash. This time I was prepared and knew exactly what to expect. My swim team buddy JM and I rolled up with 30 min to race time. The water was amazing! We got in and warmed up and unlike the last race it didn't take my breath away immediately. Last time I started out in the cold water and lost my breath and just never could quite catch my breath or get into a good rhythm, I couldn't get my heart rate down and all around swam like a flailing octopus. Not efficient. Not good. Not cute....Painful.

Anyhow. The water was great! I saw some old friends and a few familiar faces. It was great to realize that I am starting to feel a part of the local racing scene.

The race began a little early, which was fine by me. I immediately fell into a comfortable swim and just tried not to swallow the lake water that reeked of gasoline...and dirt. And fish. The 500m was easy even though I have been skipping out of my swim practice since mid May. I knew the distance would be fine and I would have no trouble. I improved my swim time this race by .01 of a second. Like a BOSS y'all! Just kidding...but really, an improvement is an improvement.

I was first female in my age group out of the water. But don't get too excited. I got spanked in the  run. Even with a near minute jump on the female she caught me and then I didn't see her again. Her 7:59 min/mile pace outdid my measly 9:14 min/mile pace. She beat me by roughly 1 min 30 seconds. Ouch. I need to run more....sigh....

Race Day is not official until you have the Signature Pose!

I improved my time by two minutes over the last race and I am happy with that. I had a blast and it felt good to be back out there. Now what's next???

Hopefully I'll be able to find another race and actually get on my ....BIKE..... it's been a long time but I think I'm ready.

In the mean time I'm trying CrossFit. There is a box not even half a mile from my house. It's perfect and I just had to try it out. So far it's been amazing! I've been consistently doing it now since May 25 and it hurts so good! I love that I feel stronger!


And well gardening has also been going on. Of course. This was something I was very anxious and excited to get going this spring. It is a work in progress but I think its doing great for a first year garden. 

Also this year I have added some flowers to the garden! Last year I had only a tiny pach of wild flowers and loved it so i figured I would incorporate more flowers, bigger, bolder, more beautiful! I love the addition and can't wait to continue adding to my perennials!

 Of course Ace had to get his nose in the pictures....

There you have a piece of what's been going on! It's been an eventful year here in OK. It is hard to believe I have now been here one year. I miss NC terribly and my all my NC peeps...just like I still miss WA terribly and all my WA peeps. Why can't we all just agree on a single place to live and live there? Coast to coast is just not working out for me!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Things I Used to Know About Racing...

...I completely forgot almost everything I learned about racing.

This past weekend I raced 5 Mile Style, for those of you who haven't followed along since the beginning 5 Mile Style is a last minute decision to race. Thursday I got a text from a fellow Master's Swimmer asking me if I was in for the Splash-N-Dash this weekend, a 510 meter swim followed by a 2 mile run.

Sure! A Splash-N-Dash sounds fun! Sounds like a fun run, an easy event meant for fun...splash and dash, sounds like a good beginner race. Right? WRONG. But I will get to that.

I agreed to come out with her and do this short little ditty. I really thought it would be a simple little event with a  bunch of beginners. So I opted to wear my swimsuit and bring some tempo shorts along to throw on after the swim. Boom! Swim, shorts, shoes, run. Done.

We got there and immediately upon entering the parking lot I regretted my decision to take this race lightly. With 140.6 and 70.3 and 26.2 stickers splattered across every.single.vehicle. in the parking lot I quickly realized that here in Oklahoma a Splash-N-Dash is serious NC it would be a fun run, a good starting point, a place to get your feet wet and try out the sport....not get spanked, left for dead belly up, crawling out of the water when the others are finishing the run. But I digress.

My fiend had never done an event like this so she was blissfully ignorant. I envied that of her. I wanted to be naive about how this was going to go down. But I knew. She was excited and after I accepted the fact that I was underprepared for this race and would not be winning I to was excited. Excited to get it over with. We set up our transition and it took all of 57 seconds to do so. No bike makes for a wonderfully simple transition and set up.

I'm representing the Duskin and Stephens Foundation HERE

Transition area set up...
 They announced that with the water a whopping 64 degrees this race would be wet suit legal. Great. They pointed out the wetsuit stripping stations, I wouldn't be needing that. I would be needing a heated tent to thaw out after coming out of the water. We dipped our toes in the water and it was cold. Really cold. It was a mass start so all the racers were in the water together. It wasn't a huge race, maybe a 120 athletes, but we were all there in a wad together. I decided to just go for it and submerge myself, get it over with. Once I got completely in my breath was taken away and I swam a ways to warm up. The water was so murky and red (gotta love the Oklahoma red dirt) I couldn't see even an inch in front of my own face. And then a dead crawdad body floated by....great. Gross.

After the longest "5 minutes to start" the race began. I was off. I felt slow. I felt cold. I felt like I couldn't breath. I actually felt like I didn't know how to swim anymore. I couldn't get into a rhythm. My usual breath every 5-7 strokes turned into breath every 2 strokes and from there I just could not get in a good rhythm. Once I finally finished the swim I headed to my transition. My feet were wet, sandy, and grass-covered. I tried to dry them off and shimmied into my shorts then my socks and shoes. I was off. But I quickly realized my long toe on my left foot must have been folded under and stuck on my sock because it was wet or something. Either way it was restricted and folded and it hurt. Great.

I decided to just go on. I don't really need that long crooked toe anyway. Right? It finally worked it's way out or else I just forgot about it while on the long 3/4 mile climb to the top of the hill. Half the run was trail, dirt, mud, grass, rocks, weeds, ruts. It was great! I love this kind of running. But it was also tough. After about a mile I was lose and warmed up. I felt pretty good. I passed a couple of people, got passed by another. It was an out and back and I was reminded just how awesome runners are. How great the people of this sport are. Everyone was so positive, so encouraging. Even though they all were decked out in their 2XU tri suits and I looked like a total and complete noob they were accepting, encouraging, and I can't believe I ever doubted they would be. I felt bad for being intimidated by the field when we first got there. Who cares if I was under prepared? Who cares if I wore the worst possible shorts for a tri? And they stuck to my legs and annoyed me the entire run? I was there! I was back in the game! I was coming out of retirement! I was soaking up my mojo that has been long lost! I was beaming! I was ever so thankful to my friend for twisting my arm (via two texts) to register and do this.

This was the first of a three race series and I will be doing the next one in June. I am determined to come back and shave a few minutes off my time.  I mean my transition time alone was 1:22...that is ridiculous. I once knew how to transition in lickity split! I once knew how to put my shoes and socks on quickly, I knew how to place myself in the swim start, I knew how to fuel and run, I knew how to race....but I somehow forgot everything I worked so hard to figure out. But it all came back to me while on the next time I will be prepared. And it will be awesome!

YAY! We did it!

And of course....The Signature know you've missed it!

Monday, April 20, 2015

My first 26.2....

...I can hardly believe that 5 years ago this coming weekend was my first marathon.

This past weekend, April 19, was the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing. I also can't believe it has been 20 years.

When I decided to run my first marathon I knew I wanted the OKC Memorial Marathon to be my first. It had meaning. It was home for me. My friends and family could be there. It would be awesome. And it was. It was also one of the most emotional races I have ever done, second only to the Wear Blue Run to Remember mile of the Seattle Marathon.....that was a gut punch.

So this coming weekend is the OKC marathon. I can't deny, I am pretty bummed that I am not in any condition to run it, nor the 13.1. I wish I was still at  point where I could just decide to run and the next day show up. But that isn't where I'm at, for now.

Anyway, 5 years ago I was in the midst of Tapper Madness. I was scared. Terrified of the 26.2. I thought it was possible that I could just die. Not make it. DNF. Feel some crazy, awful pain....But all my fear and anxiety was for naught.  I never hit the wall. I soaked up every inch of that 26.2 and ran with endurance the race that was before me. I didn't know what wold happen that day but I did know that so many people had suffered far worse that I was going to.

I miss the days of marathon running. I never thought I would say that. But it's true. Training for a marathon is hard. It took so much energy and time. But the biggest difference between then and today is that then, 5 years ago, I needed the marathon. I needed to set a goal that seemed impossible. I needed a reason to push myself. To prove to myself I was OK. I needed to overcome a challenge so big that when the time came I would be able to overcome an even bigger challenge....and here I am today. I'm so glad that I don't need the marathon today but I want it....But do I want it enough to actually start training? I don't know.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Springing in to action....


I hate winter. Really. Why did I move somewhere that makes my face hurt? Snow is fun and all but not really. Cold is just plain stupid. Who likes to wear coats and layers and gloves? I know. Some people really do love it. And I enjoy wearing some winter clothes, sometimes. Boots are cute. My corduroy pants ate comfy. My big hoodie sweatshirts are cozy....But I prefer shorts and swimsuits. Sunshine and hotness on my skin! And finally....the days are getting longer and the sun is getting warmer.

It is spring!

It is garden season again! And now that I am in Oklahoma it is tornado season. Today we have our first severe weather alert and hail and tornados pretty much inevitable. I am not liking this at all. I have been living outside of Oklahoma for far too long and feel somewhat uneasy about the spring tornado season. But such is life and here I am....

I have been working on my Writing Challenge for so long that I feel like I have so much other stuff to catch you all up on. I have been loving my Master's Swim Team and continue to swim at least 3 times a week since Christmas. Last week I was out for spring break and upon returning to the pool I felt like a ton of bricks, out of shape, and slow. But overall I feel so great! I have improved my conditioning and overall fitness levels. I have begun to notice some shape changes in my physique, which is awesome. I am beginning to incorporate weights and running throughout the week as well. I had wanted to do the OKC Memorial Half Marathon but realistically I don't think I will be ready for that in barely over one month. However, I guess I could really try and certainly be able to finish. It just wouldn't be pretty. I have the lung capacity but the joint conditioning and impact is what I am concerned about.

I continue to struggle with running regularly. I hit up my treadmill three times a week but I really long for some awesome outdoor runs and I miss my running buddies like mad crazy.....I need to find some local running buddies. It's not like I don't know where to find them. I have been lurking on some local running club Facebook pages but have failed to take the leap and join them for a run. So here I am, knowing what needs to be done, knowing how to do it....just straight up not doing it. Change is hard. 

Yes. Change is hard. Which is what I love about Spring and Summer. It is easier for me to change my lazy, sluggish, inactive, inside, hibernating ways when the weather is nice. Maybe this weekend I will actually get out there and meet up with the local running group!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Topic 22: What is the Last Gift I Received?

Well I guess I could wait another week to answer this question since it is almost my birthday, but I feel like doing it now. So what was the last gift I received? I'm not sure if flowers count but I think they do. My LB got me 2 dozen roses, with the help of his dad, for Valentine's Day. The intention was one dozen but somehow in processing the order they got ordered twice....lucky me! I got 24 beautiful roses. I also got a hand made Lego Heart Creation.

I like receiving presents but honestly I really enjoy giving gifts too. I have to admit I've never been a great gift-giver but recently I have been trying to really put some thought into the gifts I pick out or make. Some of my favorite gifts are small, handmade, and not store-bought. I have four seashells sitting on bookshelf at work that were a gift from a friend who took a day trip to the beach, I have a four leaf clover eliminated onto a small piece of paper that is one of my very favorite gifts of all time.  I have a necklace that was handmade of lapis, hearts carved by hand and somehow put onto a chain. Gifts don't have to big big, expensive, or flaunty. In fact, the smaller the better especially if there has been significant thought put into it. 

So what is your favorite gift you have received? What is the last gift you gave? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Topic 21: What is my Biggest Regret This (past) Week?

Ugh. Regret. Regret is like a dirty word for me. I have had regret in my past. Some pretty serious regret. But what I have learned from that regret is that I can't do anything about the past. All I can do is recognize it, acknowledge it, evaluate it, learn from it....and use it in the future to make better, more informed choices. I try so hard to do things that will ensure I will not have regret, and if the time comes again where I look regret in the eyes all I can do is forgive myself. We all know hindsight is 20/20.

So what is my biggest regret this week? Other than eating a red velvet cupcake (ok, ok, or two) for dinner? I can honestly say I have no significant regrets from the past seven days. Maybe there are some small regrets like not getting enough sleep, not eating healthier, not getting my run in on Wednesday and letting laundry pile up. But overall there is no deep, soul crushing regret. And for that I owe thanks to the many trials I have faced and overcome over the past few years.

To ensure I have as little regret at possible this coming week I have created my weekly Road Map, an activity that helps me set a goal (or more) for the week and identify just how I am going to accomplish those goals. I can check in throughout the week and make sure I am on track. Most of my goals this week have to do with eating health, working out, saving money, and being more productive. So far my weekly Road Maps have helped significantly. I am working on a bigger Year Long Road Map but this one takes considerably more time and effort.

Coming up on 5 Miles Calendar I have a local 5K (or maybe I'll do the 10k, depends on if I run with my LB and my niece). This will be my first race of 2015...and really maybe even of 2014. That is sad. But I am hoping 2015 will be somewhat of a comeback year.  I hope to do the OKC Memorial 13.1 end of April but I better step up my training! I am ready for spring and better weather...this winter stuff is for the birds!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Topic 20: The first thing I do in the morning....

....besides hit the snooze button 5 times?

My morning routine tends to change quite often. But for now, the first thing I do in the morning is look at my phone...As if anything super important has happened in the night. But sometimes I have a message waiting for me, "Good morning baby".... And a smile flashes across my face...Then I remember I have to get out of bed.

I also use a sleep app (Sleep Cycle) that I love, it keeps geeky stats of my sleep quality. So I check in with that right as I wake up.

I think it's kinda funny; it asks how I am feeling each morning when I wake up. No matter what I always choose the white blah face or the angry red face and only ONCE did I use the pretty little smiling green face, and I actually have no idea why. I hate waking up. I hate getting out of bed....But then when I look further at the stats it says that in the past 45 days I have spent 2 weeks of my life in bed it freaks me out! Who wants to spend that much time in bed?! Asleep?! Not even out enjoying life!! But I have always been a person who requires a lot of sleep. And actually here lately I have not been getting the sleep I normally require. 

I also love the Sleep Quality stat. My best sleep lately has been 96% sleep quality. My worst at 47%.  It measures your sleep cycles (awake, sleep and REM sleep) based on movement (or lack thereof) while sleeping. Once upon a time every single night I had at least 92% sleep quality or better. Here lately, notsomuch....When I looked back over those days I realized I was doing a 9 PM Hot Yoga Class, running more, and eating better. Hmmmm....rocket science? I think not. 

Another cool thing I love about this app is measuring my heart rate when I wake up. I have seen it drop significantly over the past two months since I have started the swim team and running more. Usually, these days it is the high 50's or low 60's....those days when it is mid to high 60's....well I'll just say it may be on those mornings when I wake up to a text, or a dog paw to the face...or a kid leg across my body. Who knows? I guess only I do..... 

After I check my phone and sleeping stats I get out of bed and usually go about getting ready for my day. Then LB is off to school and I am off to work....then we do it all over again tomorrow. 

 I love stats, this is almost as exciting as my Garmin and all my geeky running stats! How about you? Do you monitor your sleep in any way? 

******Some of you have asked about the app, it is called Sleep Cycle and looks like this:

Sleep Cycle

Monday, February 16, 2015

Topic 19: 7 Things Your Boss Wants to Know About the Marathon.....

Well, given you have even told your boss that you are training for a marathon, s/he will want to know some very important information. Here are the top 7 things your boss is going to want to know.

7.  Is all this training going to get in the way of you finishing XYZ project/deadline?
6.  Why on earth would you or anyone run that far?!
5.  I didn't know you were a runner. Are you a runner?
4.  Did you run to work this morning?
3.  I drove that far this weekend, why don't you just drive?
2. Are you really going to finish?
1. Will you be at work on Monday following your marathon?

I kid, I kid.....kind of. Really I have no idea what YOUR boss will want to know about the marathon but here are 7 things I'd like my boss (if I had one, I am my own boss. BAM.) to know about me and running a marathon.

7. I am motivated.
6. Once I make up my mind I am dedicated.
5. I will overcome anything in my way.
4. I will not let you, myself, or anyone down.
3. I am not a quitter.
2. This marathon is synonymous to my life in this office. Ups. Downs. Good. Bad. Ugly. Hard. Euphoric at times. And downright scary, awful, and painful at other times.

And finally #1:

Don't you worry 'bout me and my "crazy ideas"....I'll run my marathon and do your job, and I'll never skip a beat.  And trust me, you WANT me to run this marathon because running is what keeps this smile on my face and the pep in my step....and the office standing.....can you say "Someone stole my stapler....."

Now excuse me while I go for a run......


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