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!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

CrossFit is ENOUGH!

In case you were wondering....Does CrossFit prepare you for a half marathon? I discovered this weekend that yes, in fact it does. At least it does prepare ME for a half marathon. Now I certainly do not suggest or recommend just going out to run a random 13.1 with no training, that is usually a sure fire way to hurt yourself, but I now know that doing CrossFit consistently 3-4 times a week for just under a year has prepared me and my body to be able to run the distance.  For this race I walked a little bit. I did a 7 mile hike in February, that is the farthest I went. Otherwise maybe once or twice a week, in addition to CrossFit, I would walk/jog for one hour, and lets be honest, it was usually way more walking, because....well, walking. I was tired or just didn't feel like running. So I walked. For one hour. And I swam a little tiny bit.

This past weekend was my favorite race, The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. I'll do a race recap soon but for today I wanted to talk about how CrossFit  prepared me to go the distance. Actually I'm not exactly sure how it prepaired me.....but I do know that CrossFit s intense. There are long intense workouts and there are short ones. It works on the fast muscle twitches and it works on slow muscle twitch, the ones that determine endurance. Muscular endurance is important when running long distances and creating efficient slow muscle tithe will ensure that you are able to get the right amount of blood flowing to your muscles, bringing oxygen as fuel. And to go a bit further with it there are actually two kinds of fast muscle twitch (Type IIa and IIb), one for a quick burst and doesn't sustain very long (unless your LoLo Jones or Usain Bolt or Michale Phelps....) and then fast muscle twitch type IIb....this one is mostly strength less endurance. Type IIa yields more endurance but produces slightly less strength.

So why am I even talking about all this? Well first it's way cool and second the more you know and understand your body, how muscles work, and why you get tired, then the better you can become at training your body to do what you want it to do. Obviously Olympic athlete have like the best genes in the world. But they also have amazing coaches who know and understand how to develop their weaknesses and improve their strengths.

Anyway, so how does all this translate to CrossFit preparing me to run 13.1? Well mainly I think I have improved my fast and slow muscle twitch.  My body is more efficient at using oxygen, my cardio was fine, I sustained my heart rate consistently at my peak (170) for one hour 58 minutes (that was not my final time though). I am much stronger than I have ever been; subsequently heavier too...ugh...and I was very VERY concerned about this being a factor in the race, and maybe it was, but I did not feel heavy, I felt strong, strong in ways and places I have never felt strong before.

So my take away is this, CrossFit is enough! But I think if I actually trained for another 13.1, put in some miles on the road, combined with CrossFit, I will get a new 13.1 PR. I am 100% certain of that. So is another 13.1 in the cards for me? Absolutely. When? I'm not sure. But I'm thinking Tulsa's Route 66 in November would be a good time, hilly, but when have I shied away from a hill or two?

I am very happy with my 2:22.52 finish time given the fact that I literally did not train for this in the sense of a runner training for a race I trained through CrossFit. It certainly was not a PR but it also was not a PW (personal worst). I did worse in Seattle half (by 21 seconds with a finish of 2:23.13) and  Virginia Beach (still holds my PW at 2:24.54) and I trained for those. So this race was a success and I am excited! 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Then and Now....

....there is a big difference, I mean a BIG difference. When is then you ask? And what is different?

Well I looked at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon web site just to check in and see if there was any news and right there in front of my face it was practically yelling at me, "26 days 15 hours 47 minutes Until Race Day"

Umm.....yikes? Wow, so I have dropped the ball on my training. I've only done a long run of 5 miles and had lots of walking in there with that. So there is a HUGE difference in my training and conditioning between then, my glory days of running (2008-2011) and now. I used to be in 13.1 condition at all times. Those days are long gone....and here I am, fretting over a 13.1.

I did the math and walking a brisk 4 miles per hour I would finish in 3:25. If I sprinkle in some running then I could come in just under 3 hours. If I jog and sprinkle in some walking I think a 2:20 is reasonable. I could do a run/walk and break it up 5 min run, 1 min walk. I could run one mile walk .25 mile, I could run until I'm tired then walk until I'm many options for a plan.

So I will be considering my Race Day Plan as I amp up my training. Now that the CrossFit open is over (which I have to tell you all about 16.5 and the end of the open) I can focus the next 26 days on my half marathon training. We will see just how much training I can get, how prepared I can become, in 26 days. It will be a challenge and I do not recommend training for a half in such a way. But for the record I have been active; I am by no means a couch to 13.1 situation. i know I can cover the distance but I am not sure I can do it in less than 2:20.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

CrossFit Open 16.4....

In 2008 when I started running for fun my life changed. When I started running half marathons my life changed. Then when I hit the register button and was officially registered for the OKC Memorial Marathon in 2010 my life changed frequently can one's life change? And I mean really really change? I'm not talking about a change in jobs, or adding a kid, or husband or losing a husband, or getting a puppy, or a new car. I'm talking about intrinsically changing one's inner being, changing who you are and your relationship with yourself. How is it possible to have so much to learn and change about yourself? 

The amount of personal growth that happened to/for me in the months from January 2010 to May 2010 is mind boggling. That was one of the hardest, darkest points in my life. I had a lot to learn, about myself, about life, about the world, about love, and hope, and hurt....I felt every hurt possible from physical to mental to emotional. And so I ran. I ran as fast as I could for as far as I could. That hurt. It hurt so bad that it made the other pains pale in comparison. And then I learned I was strong; mentally, emotionally, psychically. It was after my first sub 2 hour half marathon that something clicked inside me, "I can do this. I can do anything. I can do hard things. And I can do all these by myself and with the support of those who care fro me." I know i have written on this so many times before but those first months of running in 2010 saved my life. I have no idea where I'd be today had I not found my people, my road, my running shoes, my motivation, and the courage to say "I'll try." 

So along that road to self-discovery and self-love I learned so much about myself. I did things I never thought possible, like running 1,000,000 inches! 15.78283 miles (but actually the course was a little longer than 1,000,000 inches....).  And running my first 26.2 miles with a smile on my face the ENTIRE distance.... And still to this day I think back over those months and I remind myself that I have done so much, overcome so much, accomplished so much, hung on and stood up when I wanted to crawl. 

And then I started CrossFit....

CrossFit does have a bad wrap with some people....and I get it. To each his own....marathons aren't for everyone, or so they say, and CrossFit isn't for everyone either (although I thoroughly disagree with both....if you want it, go get it, do it.....just do it, just try....but that is your journey and you will take it when you are ready....). I have been doing things in CrossFit that I never thought possible. There are some things I feel I may not ever be able to do, then I remind myself that I have done hard things and all I can do is keep working at it. One day I will get it. 

When I decided to participate in the CrossFit Open through my gym I had no idea what to expect. then the first workout (16.1) was released. I quickly realized just what I was in for. Then 16.2 then 16.3....and then 16.4. As I watched the live announcement of the 16.4 workout I was in awe. I was scared and excited at the same time. Would I be able to do it? I had no idea. I had no clue what to expect. Kind of like my first half marathon. Could I do it? I didn't know....all I knew is I had been training and I would never know unless I tried. So I tried.....and I did it. 

This is the 16.4 workout: 

I didn't have a clue if I could lift 155 lb 55 times! And that was only the beginning. I made goals for this workout like I do for my marathons: 
A. Get through the deadlifts, wall balls and onto the tower. 
B. Make it through the deadlifts and wall balls 
C. Make it through the deadlifts

And you know what??! I made it through the deadlifts! I was quite surprised that I was physically able to do that amount of work. I was so excited and proud! I honestly couldn't believe it. Why do I continue to doubt myself?

Not only did I make it through the deadlifts but I made it through the wall balls and on to the rower! I know that if I were to redo this workout I'd make it just a little further. And that is what CrossFit is about. Doing your best, improving yourself, challenging yourself, and being the best version of yourself you can be! 

I'm quite proud of my score and I'm not ashamed to say so...

So what are you afraid to try? Don't let fear hold you back. You can do anything in this world that you want to do. You may not be the best but at the end of the day that is not what matters. It's what you learn about yourself, the strength you build physically, mentally, and emotionally, and the sense of accomplishment you feel after looking at something realizing that you are no longer weak or afraid.  You are strong. 


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