Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Running and running....

You know sometimes when you say you'll do something and at that particular time you totally mean it,  you are totally legitimately excited and happy about it? Like saying YES to running at 8:00 AM on a Saturday? Yeah, I agreed to meet a few of the girls from CrossFit for a run Saturday morning. We weren't having our usual 9 AM crossfit class because of the long weekend so I wanted to do something...but did I really want to do it at 8 AM? At the time I agreed? Yes. At the time my alarm went off? Nope.

My alarm went off and up I got up. Eventually.  This was one of those "You never regret going to workout but you always regret skipping" situations.  I got up and around and headed to the lake to meet them for a run. The plan was an easy 3-4 miles. I knew I could do an easy-ish 3 miles...I could even do a 4 mile, but not an easy 4 miles. But I would try and I would just run. I didn't wear my Garmin. Weird. Actually I haven't worn it in quite some time. I just decided to run with the girls and to worry about distance or pace, it really wouldn't matter anyway. I was just running after all, not training for anything in particular. Just out for a run to get the blood pumping, the heart rate up, and some exercise.

It is a weird feeling running without my Garmin and not worrying about pace and distance. But it feels good. For so long my runs were so technical and all about pace, tempo, speed, fartlicks, and distance. While all that is fun ti sometimes takes the pure joy out of just going out and sweating and feeling my lungs working. It felt so good to get my feet under me again and just run.....

Registration for OKC Memorial Marathon is now open. The sooner I register the sooner I wrap my brain around training for another marathon!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Topic 23...

Remember back when I started the 30 Day Blogging Challenge and had 30 topics to blog about? HERE

Man that was way back in October.  I am slacking big time.  But I figured I'd pick back up and try to finish the 30 by October 1. One year to finish 30 topics, kind of pathetic.

Topic 23: If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Um...first I need to know a few things. Is this a hypothetical world where I would not be malnourished? It would sustain my life and I wouldn't end weighing 57,000 pounds (you know, if I chose cake)? Am I stranded on an island? In which case I'd be dying anyway, why not go out with an endless supply of my favorite food? Can I make this item a super food? Packed with vitamins, chia seeds, Omega-3's, healthy fats, just enough carbs, right amount of protein? A food that hits my Macros magically? Now THAT would be awesome!

I guess I will give a few scenarios here...

Stranded on a desert island, no help in sight....cookies.

In the mountains, secluded and sitting by a stream....jerky.

After the zombie apocalypse and I am one of only a few

Lost in the desert, wandering forever trying to find my way home....oranges. (I hate oranges actually but I will never forget just how amazing it was when I was at mile 23 of my first marathon and I grabbed an orange was SO saver...tasted like heaven might taste if you could lick it....)

Living in the wild wilderness with snow falling all around me....chicken noodle soup and I don't mean the Campbell's kind, I mean thick homemade noodles, shredded chicken, peas, carrots...mmmm.....

And just me normally, today....if you asked me to pick one food to eat for the rest of eternity.... Chipotle chicken burrito with black beans, cheese, and guacamole (yes, I know that's extra)....

Mmmm, yum......

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Decisions decisions...

...I'm terrible at making decisions. That's why I usually just wait until the very last minute and then make a completely impulsive decision. And that is how "racing Amanda Style" came impulsive night-before decision to race based on wether or not the race had Morning Of Registration.

So I was perusing Facebook this morning and a race popped up on my feed, the Do-Wacka-Do . It's a 5 mile trail run next Saturday, or at least the one I would do is 5 miles. There is also a 25k, 50k and 50 Miler to chose from.... My crossfit box will be closed Saturday and it's a long holiday why not? I mean other than it's been a while since I've ran 5 miles. But I know I can. But it is a trail run, and trail runs are notoriously difficult. It sounds fun though.

When I have trouble deciding sometimes I make Pro/Con Lists. This very well may be my first EVER Pro/Con of To Race? Or Not To Race? So here it goes....

Fun trail race in OK
I haven't done a fun trail race in OK
It's only 5 miles
Looks pretty
I wouldn't be missing out on crossfit
I actually want to do it, feeling a itch to race!
It's only $30
I could meet other local runners who might end up being new Running Buddies!

It's 2.5 hours away and race start is 7 AM
I'd have to go the night before?
Its in the middle of nowhere....I'd have to camp the night before? Um, say whaaaa???
The "only $30" goes up with orchestration of lodging and travel
My Garmin is tweaked out and I'm not sure my stats would be exact (No stats? No race happened.)
I have no Race Crew or Running Buddies to drag along....

I see there are more Pros than Cons but after writing it out I'm thinking maybe I can find a closer and more convenient trail race or maybe I could just do some training on the trail I found over the weekend.  Maybe I can just take this is a sign that I am ready to start racing again and actually find one, register, and train.

Yesterday we had a fun crossfit workout that consisted of the quintessential tire flips and sled pulls and pushes and tire runs! Flipping tires is surprisingly difficult, much harder than I remember it being as a kid when my siblings and I used to take turns getting inside and being rolled around. I used to do this for fun? As a kid? And now I am old and doing this for a workout. I am definitely sore today in muscles that I haven't felt in quite some time. Speaking of muscles....check out the gun show below!

Today is a much needed rest day. I''m considering making it an active rest day and head to the pool. Or might just sit in my recliner, eat ice cream and play Candy Crush. Decisions decisions.....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Summer Recap....

NO!!!! Don't go summer!!! I'm not ready....I love you! Please!!!! Ugh, comes the darkness of of fall and winter and the cold and the struggles of delicious pumpkin pie, pecan pie...fudge....

But this is a summer recap, not a future winter dread fest....

I participated in two duathlons, or Splash 'n Dash races. I really enjoyed the swim/run minus the bike! I am such a biking weenie.  My first one I sorely underestimated the playing field and was not prepared mentally for the level of competition that was there. I expected a fun run but these people meant business.

So T was more prepared for my second one and wore my actual tri clothes as opposed to my swim suit and Nike Tempo shorts, which are terrible to run in when wet.

LB spent the summer with his dad in Nicaragua surfing and pretty much living the life. I was able to go out and spend a week for his birthday.  The first day I went on a hike and was not prepared and wore my flip flops. I ended up climbing a mountain barefoot. But I survived and it was beautiful!

 I tried my hand at surfing and let me tell you... it is HARD! I was hoping all my work in the box doing crossfit and burpees would help me get up on the board but it was still very hard.

LB on the other hand became quite the little surfer was fun to watch him catch waves!

And one of the hazards of surfing and the beach is toe injuries. I stubbed my toe on a tree stump and chopped off the tip of my pinky toe. Good thing I had three med students around to fix me up with duct tape...when in doubt duct tape it.

I spent a lot of time in the hammock and loved sipping my morning coffee, listening to the waves and just soaking up the beauty and serenity around me. I think I found a place to live my simple life, in a hut, on a beach....

We went out on a fun boat ride and fishing trip.  LB caught two Spanish Mackerel that we cooked up for dinner. 

 And luckily there was a weight bench so I could work out!

It was a fun summer and I had lots of time to do Me Things. But it is so great to have LB home! 

 I found my crew at Landrush CrossFit and have been doing crossfit now since June 1st. It has been so great and I am finally seeing muscles!

So there you have it. My summer in a quick recap! It was fun and I'm not ready for it to end...but here comes fall and then winter and then spring and the SUMMER again!!! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Life Changing Things...

Recently I was looking back over my older blog posts. I kind of refer to that time as My Glory Days.  I wonder if it ever will be the same? If it can be the same. How can I get back to where I was? Short of packing up and moving back to the beautiful PNW I don't think it can ever be just the same. But I realized I have been chasing that Runner's High, I have been searching for it, longing for it...thinking about it. And it eludes me.  But I have also found that the Runner's High can be accomplished via other forms of exercise too.

I have been doing different kinds of workouts the past year. After my knee injury at Big Sur running became more difficult and I realized I needed to give my body a chance to heal, not only physically but emotionally too. Divorce can take a toll on a person in many different ways. My weight was below what it had been in years but I was having a hard time eating healthy. I wasn't sleeping well. I was anxious and depressed and often didn't know which way was up. Transition is hard and my life has been in transition since 2002 when I joined the Air Force and moved away from Oklahoma. But isn't that the same for all of us? We are all constantly changing? Growing? Evolving? Healing? So I decided to take the pressure off myself and just do whatever. 

After my shoulder surgery just over a year ago I struggled to find a way to get fit. As soon as I could I joined the Master's Swim Team and that has been amazing. My cardiovascular endurance is beyond what it has ever been. I swam only for months. Finally around December I decided to do a little bit of weights but it proved to be too much. So I kept swimming and only ran a little bitty bit.

Then finally in May I decided it was time. My shoulder felt strong. I felt good emotionally. I was starting to settle in after my transition from North Carolina to Oklahoma.  But some things were missing; friends, community, accountability. So I went WAY outside of my comfort zone and signed up for a free week of CrossFit at CrossFit Landrush. I signed up on line and decided I would go to the Saturday morning class. When I got there I was greeted and introduced to everyone. The coaches and other members were so nice and I felt right at home . 

I've been an athlete all my life. I am no stranger to hard work, dedication, training, pain, and pushing the limits. Crossfit is no different. When I played basketball there were days I wanted to quit, I wanted to lay down and just put my feet into a bucket of ice water. I played on sprained ankles and cracked knee caps, bloody noses, and a chipped elbow. I had no limits. I played. I endured. I had no choice. When I ran cross country there were miles I wanted to die, times I wanted to fall into the ditch and curl up in a ball and just wait for the next car to roll by and pick me up. Oh and then there was that one time in the Portland Marathon when I really thought about jumping off that big beautiful bridge around mile 20 or so. Whose idea was it to put thousands of runners on a bridge that far into a marathon? I can't be the only one who had that thought? But yet here I am, putting myself out there to once again test my limits, push myself. 

Once I finished my first marathon there was nothing in this world that could stop me from achieving whatever goal I set for myself. I believed that the very moment I crossed the finish line and I still believe that today. Finishing my first marathon gave me a secret super hero cape and powers that are hidden from sight. So this past Saturday when we were 25 minutes into a grueling four person WOD  (work out of the day) it was my turn to do the tire run, I was the last one on our team to do it. Our team was in second place and I wanted to beat the other team. So I strapped on that tire and began to run while my teammates ran alongside me carrying the weighted bars. I ran. I drug the tire. I saw the guy in front of me, my fellow cross fitter, fellow "Rushlete"as we refer to ourselves. And I wanted to pass him. And I did. It was hard and I wanted to cry but I also knew I just had to finish. I just had to get it done. So I finished my tire run and brought our team in first. It was awesome....

It reminded me of High School when I was the last leg, the anchor leg, of relays in track. I would run my fastest to try to catch up, or to make sure we wouldn't get caught.  I kind of joke and say I just don't know any better, but really I know that physical fitness and performance is so mental, the psychological aspect of sports is so important and a huge component of success. My first swim with the Master's Team after my shoulder surgery I jumped right in and swam 2300 meters. If you aren't familiar with swim workouts that is far...I mean FAR, 1.42 miles to be exact. And I did it. So I think I just didn't know better. Same goes with CrossFit. I know it's hard, but I don't know it's supposed to be really hard.  So I do it. I kind of wine about it, but I do it...

Tire Pull....surprisingly difficult! And the Signature Pose!

Fellow Rushletes!
So I have been doing CrossFit now for about 2.5 months and I feel stronger. I feel great! And I feel like I belong to a community of people like me....much like my running crew. I still miss my running buddies, more than I care to allow myself to think about. But for now I am here, pushing myself and accomplishing more and more each day. I hope to run the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in April 2016 and I look forward to seeing just how swimming and crossfit compliment my run. Who knows? Maybe there is a BQ just around the corner!?  

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.



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