Saturday, December 26, 2015

Look what is happening...

This...this is happening right now and do you know what this means??

It means I am creating my marathon training plan for the OKC Memorial Marathon on April 24th, 17 weeks from Monday. It has been a long time since I have written a plan and this one will be even more complicated than any before it. I am dedicated, completely motivated to maintaining my CrossFit routine of 3-4 times per week. How do I integrate this kind of intense training with running such high mileage? And not only that but the time commitment alone is daunting because last time I checked  I still work 40 hours a week and am a single mom...yeah, so there's that. I am excited to see how CrossFit affects my running and just how it affects my training, endurance, and my aerobic capabilities. This will be a learning experience for sure and I am excited about being more well-rounded in my training. 

I am the first one to encourage women (men too but in my experience I most often have to encourage women) to take time for themselves, to do something, anything, and take time, an hour a day or every other day, or once a week at least, to do something for themselves. For me the time just so happens to be utilized in an hour of CrossFit. And I am a better mom, therapist, person for it. 

Anyway, tonight I am working on my marathon training plan and figuring out how to create a plan that will allow me to continue my CrossFit, get in the necessary mileage to cover the 26.2 miles, and keep my sanity and my job....oh yeah and to take care of my kiddo. This is unchartered territory for me. In the past I would schedule in rest days and cross training but this is different, maybe closer to my 70.3 training plan when I had to factor in three sports and found myself running, swimming, and biking, two sports every training day. Whew....I'm tired just thinking about it. But also now that I think about it I am certain I can figure it out.....

I am open to any and all advice on how to maintain CrossFit and incorporate distance running.

Monday, November 9, 2015

I know me.....

How many can say that they actually truly know themselves? Hopefully most of us but the truth is sometimes it is scary to really look deep down inside and see what makes me, me. But I can say that I do know me and sometimes I don't like me. Ohhhh, that sounds really bad, doesn't it??? Well it's true. There are things that I don't like when I look at myself (not talking about the outside here) and the good news is that once I identify those things...guess what!! I can change them! 

Change is so hard though. How do you makes changes? How do you stick to it when it gets hard? How do you make these changes last? Well I wish I had an easy answer but I don't. So many times I have changed things and it has lasted for a little while but I go right back to my comfort zone.

So what am I trying to change now? Well I am trying to change the way I do meal time and eating in general. I would like to not eat out so much, not eat so many foods of convenience. GASP! Oh the horror! I know! It sounds terrible now that I have put it out here....How am I going to do this? How in the world am I going to improve?

Well I have been wanting to get Juli Bauer's Paleo Cookbook since it came out. I made a few trips to Barnes and Noble but it was sold out, until this past weekend! So I picked up her first one and her newest one.  I set up my reading spot in the living room so that I would settle in and dig in. I have never actually read a cookbook and decided that if Paleo was something I was going to try then I need to actually know about it, actually know what it is to cook and eat Paleo.

Now hear me out. I usually hate bandwagon fads....I boycott movies and book series because everyone else is loving them.  I don't like to wear certain trends because everyone else is.... I refuse to watch the Walking Dead because everyone and their dog is watching and I've actually heard it's terrible but people have what we call FOMO. Fear of missing they watch, because everyone else is. And some might say I am a bandwagon Seahawks fan but that is absolutely not true. Could not be farther from the truth....Anyway...Paleo. I also avoided CrossFit because it was all the rage. I don't want to do something because everyone else it. But when I found myself doing the CrossFit workouts at home by myself and liking them I realized that I wasn't actually wanting to do it because it's so super cool. I wanted to do it because it makes sense. It's functional. It's fitness. It's what I need. And I am so glad I started doing it.

So when I started reading up on Paleo I realized that this was a variation of a style of eating I have tried before; whole foods, all made by me, nothing processed or unnatural. And the biggest thing: NO SUGAR.  A few things have stuck with me from this, I no longer eat pasta (except for very rarely, I mean once a month maybe??), no more milk (still eat some cheese), and bread only very occasionally as well....I did this a couple of years ago and it worked well, but a few things were different. For instance I ate beans and lentils, a Paleo no-no.  So as I began to read more I realized the start up and beginning would  be the hardest, of course, just like with anything else. But if I can just get going it might just stick. So I found the cookbooks and sat in my chair and read the entire first cookbook. I filled my Amazon cart with the utensils I would need...and dreamed of hitting the Order Now button (oh hello beautiful light blue Kitchen Aid mixer...). But I decided that I would slowly reward myself with these tools as I go, if i stick to it.

Yesterday I went out and bought the ingredients for four meals and three sides. I actually spent LESS than I normally do on my weekly Sunday shopping trip, and I went to the local specialty store, the one with all the cool gluten free, fare trade, non GMO, Organic stuff....Last night after I put LB to bed I cooked up dinner for tonight. It was amazing! I learned how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate!  So I had lunch for today and when I get home tonight I'll just have to warm up my salmon with pineapple, pomegranate seeds salsa, and eat it up before I head to CrossFit then swim.

Evenings are so jam-packed. Between my gym time and LB's homework and school/extra curricular activities there is little time for healthy eating/cooking. So preparation is key to making evening meal time easy and convenient. After all a quick trip out to eat is much easier than starving, cooking, or fighting the nighttime gremlins. But not anymore! The plan is to prepare in advance, have my lunch and dinners ready and try my hardest to make this change stick.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Off Balance: What Happened?

Not only what happened....what is still happening? What happened to the days when I would could run for miles? And I loved it. I looked forward to it. I did it on purpose, with purpose. It has been so long since I created and implemented a training plan. I feel like that was a lifetime ago. I know that some of the things I struggle with these days are due to a lack of running. I'm not talking about problems physically, I'm talking about stress, mental wellness, and just all around having a clear mind. I used to run miles upon miles with my closest friends, talking about anything and everything. We would start with a topic, a problem, and end with a solution and a clear mind.  At the end of the run all was right with the world.

So what is so different now? I can't rehash all the differences that I have been whining and complaining about since 2010 in this post. In summary: The routes aren't beautiful, it's not as convenient, I have no running partners. But even so I actually got really burned out. I since have gotten into swimming and CrossFit. Just last Friday as I was at the chiropractor working on some kinks in my shoulder I was telling him about my lengthy, impressive, running resume. Yes. I will say it is impressive, 4 marathons in a year, 18+ half marathons, hands full of triathlons including a half iron....what happened to that girl? Anyway, it dawned on me that when I get into something I go all in. Like ALL in. When I was swimming I was going at least 4 nights a week, swimming 1.5+ miles each night. When I did tris I did one every weekend and ended with the 70.3. When I started running I did at least one race a month and most of those were at least half marathons, or it didn't really count. I have no middle ground. I go all in and end up making myself tired, burned out.  If only I could go as crazy and all in about not eating that delicious sugar....

Where is the balance?

I have struggled to find balance in a lot areas of my life, not just fitness....mmmm, sugar.......My next challenge is to find a balance and include running, swimming, and CrossFit in my weekly routine. I really want to get back in to good running shape. And when I say good I mean half marathon condition, where I can decide and go run a half marathon with little or no notice. Those were the days when I was the happiest. I knew that if I were being chased by a bear in the woods I could run and run and run....for at least 20 miles, before he ate me. Not anymore though. He would chase me three miles then upon first bite be like "Blech.....too much fat! Where's the red meat?" And leave me there to die with a huge hunk taken out of my backside....I want a bear to think I'm tasty.  But I digress. The point is I want to find balance. I want to get in the pool, on the road, and throw around heavy things in the box. Can't I do it all? Is that too much to ask?

So I have some planning and scheduling to figure out. I also like to eat, sleep, shower, work, parent my kid, walk the dog, grocery shop, have some kind of social life, and sit on my couch for a few minutes each day.  So finding balance is a challenge. How do you fit it all in?

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.


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......

Friday, January 30, 2015

Topic 18: 10 Signs You Should Invest in Health

Self care is hard. If it was easy we wouldn't have a society plagued by chronic stress and the almighty "Busy Schedule". Having a busy schedule is not something to brag about, it is something we all should really evaluate and adjust.....Sometimes we associate being busy with being IMPORTANT. Well let me tell you, I don't agree. Many important people could be less busy and still be just as important. I could be less busy and still be important. But I digress.....

Investing in your health is investing in YOU, in your LIFE, your FUTURE, and not much is more important than that.... I'm no doctor but I am a mental health professional and here are 10 signs that I pick up on in my office that tell me that you (I, we) should invest in your health.

1. The scale is creeping up up UP.
2. You are grumpy and snappy, at everyone, for anything....
3. You are unhappy most of the time.
4. Your body is achy and sore even though you've been skipping your workouts.
5. You find yourself day dreaming of the beach (mountains, rivers, get the idea) more than focusing on your work, family, other responsibilities.
6. Your house is messy and things are piling up.
7. Your kids are grumpy and don't want to be around you.
8. You can't sleep or your sleep habits have either drastically or minimally changed.
9. You have headaches often.
10. You find yourself wanting to punch people in the face (this is my favorite and one I experience often, it tells me I need to start taking care of myself).

So there you have it, 10 in-your-face signs that you might need to invest in your health, in yourself, in your future.....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Topic 17: Why We Love Love (And You Should, Too!)....

Oh. My. Goodness.

Am I done with the 30 Day Writing Challenge that has been happening since October yet? Ugh.....And to top it off I have to talk about loving love? Let me see what I can do....

Why we love love (and you should too!)....

Well love is awesome. When it is good it's GOOD. It feels so great. But when it's not's so not good. Few things in this life have the potential to murder you like love. It doesn't murder you nicely or quickly either. It seems to take joy in your slow, smothering, painful death....But when it is good, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, flowers are blooming, four leaf clovers is awesome.

Love gives meaning to life. It gives us a reason to wake up each morning, to look forward to each day. I'm not talking about just love for a significant other either. I'm talking about love for yourself, love of life, love of all things good and beautiful. Love of hope, love of fun, love of kindness, love of making others happy....Love makes the world a better place.

If you recall a previous post written to someone I needed to forgive, (HERE) I talk a little bit about love. Love is the difference between good and evil. When you are filled with love there is no room for anger, aggression, hate, vindictive behavior. When you come from love you want what is best for others, you want those that you love to live happily. You want them to feel love, to love and be loved...even if it is not in the way that benefits you.  I truly believe the old saying that goes, "If you love something let it go free. If it doesn't come back, you never had it.  If it comes back, love it forever." How good does it feel when they come back to you?! There is no better feeling than that of being confident in again, I chose love and it feels good.

In my job when I see couples having trouble I give them this, The 5 A's of Love:


And if those don't speak to your heart maybe this will: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 

And this my friends, is why we love love and why you should too.....

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Myths About Running a Marathon Part III....

Ok, the last 5 myths about taking on the marathon are here! I know you have been on the edge of your seat, just waiting for these final thoughts....if you missed it click here for Part I and here for Part II.

I know by now you have probably already picked your marathon and registered! So these last five myths may make no difference to you at all. I still feel it is important to finish what I start...(get it? Finish a marathon?? Hardy har har!!!).

Myth #16: It's pointless.

Maybe so. But for me it was not. Deciding to train for and run my first marathon was a huge life changing decision for me. I have written a number of blog entries about this. One in particular I wrote about how running a marathon made me feel like I had a unfair advantage in life, a secret weapon, a super power that people would not ever know just looking at me. From the moment I hit REGISTER to the moment I crossed the finish line I was growing and changing as a person. I went from grumpy, unhappy wife and mom, depressed and without direction to an empowered woman. A woman who knew that no matter the challenge, what ever roadblock I come up against, I would prevail. I would take it on and over come it. I would be OK. I would take on life.....just like I did 26.2 miles. So NO. For me running a marathon was not and is not pointless. It is a turning point. A beginning. It will become a keystone to the days and months ahead. You will find yourself in conversations saying things like "Before my first marathon....yadda yadda yadda.....After my marathon I...blah blah blah...." It will change your life.

Myth #17: People will be jealous of me if I do it. 

Well, I can't say for sure or speak for everyone but  yes, someone will be jealous. And it will be awesome.

Myth #18: My dog will love to train with me!!

Um, I'm certainly not a vet nor an animal professional...but I'd have to say FALSE. Of course your dog can run some of your shorter runs with you but that much mileage for your four legged BFF actually isn't good, in my opinion. I'd definitely talk to your vet about it first. Just like you have to work up to it, so does your dog. Just use common sense and don't overdo it. Hip problems are devastating to your dog and it's quality of life.

Myth #19:  I'll do one marathon and that's it. 

Maybe. Just maybe you will be the one and done type. Maybe not. I have known a few to complete one and mark it off their bucket list. But the majority end up being hooked and wanting to do at least one more. So who knows? Not you until you do one!

And finally...

Myth #20: Runners High, it's not real.

Oh yes it is real....that Runner's High is as potent of a high as any drug (not that I know first hand, I can only assume and I have been told by those who do know....and the chemical feel-good hormone released is the same hormone released in others when they get high from other not-so-healthy ways).  The Runner's High is in fact what keeps us going, keeps us've heard it before, "She's out chasing that Runner's High!" Of course! And why wouldn't we be? It feels so good, so amazing! It truly is hard to put into words other than it is something that doesn't always happen but when it does it is amazing and you find yourself chasing it...and wanting to experience it again and again.

So there you have it. 20 myths about the marathon either validated or debunked. So what are you waiting for? It's the perfect time to pick a race, register, and get out there and catch that Runner's High!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Marathon Myths Part II.....

There are so many reasons to not run a marathon. Most them are not true. Not legit. Not anything other than excuses. Of course time is a factor. Logistics alone can be a nightmare. But the truth is if you want to, you will. If you don't want to, have ZERO desire to put your body through 26.2 grueling miles then you don't have to. No biggie. I don't care. No skin off my back. But lets call it like it is....most people don't run a marathon because they either plain and simply don't want to...or they think they can't.

Call a spade a spade. You're afraid. Afraid of the distance? Of failure? Of pain? Afraid of what damage will be done to you body? Of how hard it will be? Afraid of commitment (hey, I don't judge....I've got my own commitment problems, and committing to a marathon is NOT one of them).

If you missed my Myths of Marathon Part 1 you can find it HERE. Now,  let me tell you a few more myths of the marathon.....

Myth #9If I try and quit then I'm a failure.

False. Making the commitment alone takes guts. Stepping out of your comfort zone and daring to say maybe I can is a win! Many people try and do not cross the finish line. That is not a failure. I have completed three marathons (not a lot, many people have done WAY more than me!) and DNF'd one....and I am here to tell you that DNF (Did Not Finish) hurt in more ways that I can explain. It was one of the THE toughest courses in the U.S., Big Sur California. It is coined THE destination race of the United States. And yes, it was gorgeous. The view was breath taking. The course was killer. And it killed me. I had to quit at mile 20 after beginning a run/walk at mile 11 and finally coming to a complete walk at mile 18. I knew I would not be able to finish and found myself in the shag wagon. It hurt my pride but my knee hurt worse. Quitting was the best option and one that I knew would ensure I could recover and return to the road after I fully healed. So quitting is not a failure. Not starting because you are afraid? Well you be the judge.....

Myth #10I'll have to put an annoying 26.2 sticker on my car.

Nah! You don't have to. But I bet you'll want to!

Myth #11: I'll have to buy lots of expensive gear.

Again, might end up wanting to get all the new techie gear, the latest New Balance, and the all-important compression tights. You can train and run in a simple cotton t-shirt (HIGHLY RECOMMEND NOT DOING THAT) but you may pay for it with chaffing and skin rubbed off....but you can get by with simple moisture wicking fabrics that don't cost an arm and a leg. You will find that quality gear just feels better and makes you run

Myth #12: I'm going to have to run like 127 miles a week. 

Nope. Not at all. It is best if you have a good running base of at least 15-20 miles per week and depending on the coach some say you should have been consistently running for at least a year. I agree that that would be optimal HOWEVER....with the proper plan and smart training you can train for and finish a marathon as a complete Novice, a noob if you will. And you can do that with minimal weekly mileage. Throughout my training for my first marathon my highest mileage week was 40 miles. Everything else was between 10 and 30 miles. The key is to train smart and be realistic about your training and your goal. Training to finish is WAY different than training to qualify for Boston.

Myth #13: I might poop my pants.....

Well....I cannot lie....poop happens. And it's gross. And it's embarrassing. Personally I have never pooped my pants while running but I certainly have had some close calls and thank my lucky stars there was a Honey Bucket close by (and for all y'all from the south, a Honey Bucket is a Porta Potty). Part of the training is figuring out your nutrition, what you can eat and cannot eat. What happens during a run after you eat XYZ? And adjusting accordingly. Running also gets your intestine all worked up and things just happen....and sometimes you poop. Hopefully not in your pants and not on the road. I've seen so many people pooping in bushes along the road or's just part of it and not for the faint of heart. If you absolutely cannot imagine yourself doing that then just know going in that there is a strong possibility that if you can't find a bathroom or a honey bucket, you might just have an accident if you absolutely refuse to use a bush.

Myth #15: I travel for work (or insert any reason for missing chunks of time in your training plan) and will miss workouts...there is no way I can swing it. 

Nope. Not completely true. My go-to marathon and running guru Hal-Higdon writes that you can stop running for up to 5 days without losing significant conditioning! So that business trip to Vegas that will have you at the slot machines  in a conference 12 hours a day will be fine. Simply ease back into your training plan once you get back. Don't be afraid to take walk breaks or slow your pace. You'll regain that fitness within a week or so.  But really.....we all know that most hotels have finiteness centers....or you could at least go for long walks. The activity will be good for you after sitting all day anyway!

Ok folks....If you have any marathon myths you'd like debunked let me know! I have five more to go.


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