Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I feel that I have been a bit of a brat about my performance at the tri this past weekend.  Let me explain.  I said I was humiliated, which I was, but I think more than anything I was just disappointed.  I expected so much from myself that when it didn't happen I couldn't wrap my head around it.

Since my previous blog and just speaking to people, the feedback has been overwhelming.  So many people have congratulated me on finishing despite my struggle and just having the guts to go out and do it.  They have also told me that I am being too hard on myself.  This is not what I was looking for...and I hope that no one thinks that.  I just come here to express my feelings and if you want to read, great, if not, then don't.  You won't hurt my feelings.

I was reading my Fitness magazine when I came across an ad with Alicia Sacramone, Olympic gymnast.  The ad says, "4 years ago, I fell in front of millions.  I could have stayed down on that mat - forever.  I say, it's time to get back up.  I will outlast fear."  It was a Secret deodorant ad...but who cares?!  It got the point across.  She cost the USA women the gold in 2008 with that fall on the balance beam.  Yet, she is getting back out there.  She's not burying her head in the sand.  She's standing tall and taking it on.  I applaud her for that.  And I think we could all take a little bit of that courage she has.  Chin up, buttercup! 

Hebrews 11:1 To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A word of advice

I'm not one to go around giving advice, especially in this world of athletes that I have somehow infiltrated.  BUT, the least I can do is give some to those triathlete wannabes out there.  Bah, where to begin?  I am happy that I finished...but that is about all that I am happy with about this, my first, triathlon.
Where it all began...

Piece of advice #1: RESPECT THE SWIM
As I have learned many triathletes don't really concentrate on the swim part of the race.  They kind of feel like that is just a warm-up for the bike and run.  I, on the other hand, have been taking Master Swim for over 2 months and know just how hard it is to swim.  This is the reason I almost backed out on the tri about a week ago.  In some ways, I wish I had.  As I said I had been taking swim I should know how to swim, right? Well, maybe if I could have put that knowledge to use in the 800 meters I had to swim in a lake it would have been useful.  When they set us off and all I could see was green water and no buoy, my brain stopped functioning...kind of the way it does every time I have a teaching interview.  All I was thinking was - backstroke so you can breathe.  I panicked, plain and simple.  I know dang well that I could have swam that in 25-26 minutes, at the most, had I been actually swimming, rather than back kicking or whatever I was doing out there.  It was frustrating and morale-crushing.  By the time I reached shore, I was done (in tears).  Over it.  I told my friends who were there patiently waiting for me that I wasn't going to finish.  They had ran the half-marathon the day before.  I, in hindsight, probably should have just done that instead.  They talked me into finishing.  They told me that I would be mad if I didn't finish.  I would have been.  I'm not a quitter and I'm not sure if I actually would have quit or not.  Which brings me to #2.

Piece of advice #2: TRAIN AND PREPARE
Don't depend on your sheer "athleticism" to get you through this kind of race.  Running, I could do allllll day, therefore, I expected to be able to complete a triathlon in a decent amount of time with very little training and preparation.  I had never swam in open water and had only had my bike for 2 1/2 weeks (with only 3 road rides under my belt) before Saturday.  What tha crap was I thinking??  I am a planner.  Period.  I knew the morning of the race that I was in for it.  I had no training to trust.  You live and learn.  Here's my advice on this point.  Don't sign up for a triathlon that takes place in 2 weeks.  Make a plan way ahead of a few months at least.  If it's an open water swim, swim in open water before the day of.  I signed up because it was put in front of me and "everyone else was doing it".  Ha!  These people I went with are Ironmen and Ironwomen.  I'm an idiot. 

Piece of advice #3: ENJOY THE RACE
I was so embarrassed by my swim and bike that I couldn't even enjoy the run and the finish.  I was just happy it was over with.  I was in over my head, literally, and I knew it.  I want to climb under a rock and forget it ever happened but all I can hope for is to improve from here.  Up is really the only way to go.

I plan on doing another one in about 2 months.  I'm going to follow a plan and do as it says.  I am also going to open water swim and take part in a skills clinic for my bike.  I knew better than to do this but I did it anyway.  I finished out of sheer stubbornness.  I wasn't exhausted or incredibly sore.  No, I was hurt.  Mad at myself.  Frustrated and humbled.  But, most of all, humiliated.     

So, as we all must do, I will pick myself up from this and move forward.  I didn't fall over on my bike and I successfully got unclipped at transition.  That made me happy. 

Fall seven times, stand up eight.
- Japanese Proverb

Monday, June 11, 2012


I suppose it's time to write a blog post considering I have so much going on.  I just finished my 6th half marathon, bought my first bike, aaannnnnddd signed up for a triathlon! Ahhhh!  I can't believe I actually am going to do it.  Am I scared to death? Yes.  Am I having heart palipitations? Yes. Am I going to do it anyway?  Heck yes! (said in my best Napoleon Dynamite voice) 
The way I look at it I can't expect my students to do things that are unfamiliar and scary to them unless I do that myself.  I started taking Master swim over 2 months ago just so I could do a tri.  Yes, swimming is hard, but the saying goes, "It never gets easier, you just get better" and I have found that I have gotten better.  Not mastered, but better.  I have found that to be true with many things in life so one must persevere. 

The half marathon was great.  It was a pretty run through the mountains.  It was a net downhill but there was quite a bit of uphill, as well.  I got a new PR, which is always good.  Now if I can just get under 1:50.  There's always another goal, another mountain to climb.  That's what keeps life exciting and keeps us going, isn't it?  If you're not an athlete, maybe it's a new job, more kids, or a bigger house.

The bike was...interesting to say the least.  The first time I rode it I fell over about 4 times in a parking lot because I didn't know how to get my shoe unclipped from the pedal.  It was stressful and frustrating.  Again, I remember kids at school, especially those who struggle.  It's not a good feeling knowing that you are doing something wrong but can't figure out how to do it right.

I was scared to get back on the bike after that but I knew that it hadn't been that bad falling and was nothing I couldn't handle.  So, I got back on it a few hours later.  My sweet, patient friend, Jenna, talked me through getting my shoes clipped in and clipped out.  Guess what?  I didn't fall once and it was FUN!  I know that there will be more tumbles on down the road but for now I am comfortable riding the thing...and that's just what I'll have to do for 16.3 miles in Lenoir City!

Courage and perseverance have a magic talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into the air. ~ John Quincy Adams

Here's my new bike :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Can I still call this blog just keep running?

"If we did everything we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves." - Thomas Edison

As I prepare to run my sixth half-marathon next Saturday I have been thinking about how differently I have been training for this one and how much faster my training runs have been.  I have been running 8:30s without even trying.  This time last year I could barely run and keep a 9:00 (which was the pace I was going for in Disney).  Now I am sure the speed has come from experience and from running with faster runners.  Sometimes the pressure to keep up makes me anxious but other times it motivates me.  I enjoy learning to push myself, even though it hurts.  I like knowing what my body can do.

I will be running the Downhill @ Dawn in Ridgecrest, NC.  Per the name, it is a downhill race.  These are my favorite.  The Scream last year was good to me and I'm hoping this one will like me just as much.  I ran a 1:53 at The Scream last July.  I would really like to beat that time.  A 1:50 would be great for the books.  I know it doesn't completely count because of the net downhill but it will feel good anyway. 

In addition to running I have also been doing Masters Swim class.  It is at 6:00 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  It is extremely rare that I make it to all three classes in one week.  That is really early to get up!  But when I do make it, I am happy that I got up.  I feel like I am learning so much.  I can't believe that I can swim the lanes back and forth now like I know what I'm doing.  ha!  I'm still struggling with my stamina (lasting longer without breaks) but I know that it will come with time and practice.  The breathing absolutely has to be the hardest thing.  The motion of actually swimming I can do.  I just get so out of breath because I am having trouble with timing my breathing. 

I also finally took the leap and bought a bike!  It's not here yet.  I had to order it but I cannot wait to get on that thing and discover my newest form of stress relief.  There is no doubt in my mind that it will be hard but, like all things, with hard work and determination it can be conquered...or at least survived...     

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why do I do this?

Do you ever get the feeling, what am I doing all this for?  Well, I do sometimes.  Sometimes it seems it would just be easier to quit and never go back to it again.  Why can't I just be a couch potato and lounge around like those people?  Why do I instead choose to rise at the crack of dawn to work out?  What's it's all for?  Will I get an award?  Will I get money?  Probably not. And definitely not. 

Sometimes I feel like an imposter.  Every where I go.  Do I belong in these places with these people doing these things?  Where do I fit in?  Do I deserve really to be where I am?  The answer is yes, I do...because I put the work in.  No one else did that for me.  No one else could run that marathon for me.  No one else started taking swimming class for me.  No one else is going to accomplish MY goals except for ME.

Right now, it would be easier to just quit swimming.  Hang up the towel, literally, and just run.  That's what I've been doing and it's working for me.  But it didn't always and I have to remember that sometimes.  When I am struggling to get down that lane in the pool, I am disappointed in myself and embarrassed.  Why am I just not good at this?  I know that there is a coach there watching my every stroke, kick, and breath.  That can make a girl paranoid so I think about it.  Is it worth it?  Do I want to do a triathlon that bad?  I'm still going to have to buy a bike and that is an undertaking in itself.

These are some things that I have been pondering lately.  Yes, I do want to do a triathlon but I'm scared.  I'm scared that I can't.  I'm scared that I will never get good enough...and then I remember training for my first 5k.  How it seems so long ago!  It was only about 2 1/2 years ago though.  I remember deciding that I was going to try and run an entire practice 5k without walking...and I did!  But not without struggle.  I remember calling a friend and telling her about it.  I said, "I just kept telling myself - One foot in front of the other."  How is it that a mere 2 years later I ran a freaking marathon?!  And my average pace was faster than that of my first 5k!  Geez, Louise!  So I will press on because I can and will do this.  My determination is strong.  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?      

If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. - Thomas Edison

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Let it go

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your way submit to him and he will make your paths straight. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

I have been struggling with understanding this week in more than one facet of my life.  My professional and personal life have not only frustrated but also confused me.  I always have to refer back to Proverbs 3:5-6 when I try to understand something I'm going through.  I feel like for everything there is a rhyme and I should know what it is, right?  Wrong.  God knows what He's doing and it's all in His perfect timing and I need to trust Him, as I was reminded by a dear friend yesterday.  It's so hard to try to fix things myself only to have them blow back up in my face, especially when I feel like I'm doing the right thing.  (What God wants me to do.)  But how do I (or you) know for sure what God wants us to do?  I'm asking... because I don't have the answer.

Tears are a funny thing.  They can come at many different points in our lives.  There are tears of happiness, tears of sorrow, tears of frustration, tears of confusion, tears of relief, tears of love.  For me, tears come when I am overwhelmed by a single emotion.  In a word, I am a crier.  They won't always be sad tears but if you see me experiencing any pure, raw emotion you will see my tears.  (Don't be scared.  ha!)  Tears of Unspeakable Joy (as I experienced this week) are the best kind.  I felt God so close to me,  in my soul, that I just cried, thanking Him for loving me as He does and only He can do.  I felt that He was speaking to me.  And I still believe He was but I think I just misinterpreted it or that I haven't been patient enough.  I have this problem with patience.  I consider myself a very patient person but when I see something put in front of me.  I feel like I should go for it.  Take a leap of faith.  Not wait around for it to come to me.  That's usually when things go awry for me.  Annnddd then, come the other tears.

There was a valuable lesson at Redeemer today.  Every relationship goes through these steps.  What was.  What is.  What can. What will be.  In the Gospel, Creation-was, The Fall-is, Redemption-can be, and Restoration-will be.  There is always a was, is, can, and will be.  You see I, too often, see the "was" and "is" and want what "can be".  As I have said before I am a planner; therefore I make a plan.  Sometimes it works out, sometimes not.  So when it doesn't go "as planned", I get down on my knees and I pray...then I get up and go for a run.

I still don't know what is going to happen with any of these things I am struggling with but I am learning to let go.  As with running, so is life.  You have to let go to do your best.  My best runs are the ones that I don't think about.  The ones where I don't have to tell myself to relax my jaw, open my chest, keep my shoulders back, and land on the midfoot.  'Cause when I don't think about it, it usually comes together just right and I run an excellent pace with an effortless form.  So this is my new plan with life, don't think about it and it will all come together effortlessly.  (Or so I hope)

Side note:  I have been to two swim classes so far.  It is not nearly as embarrassing as I imagined.  Coach Chris is great, understanding, and extremely patient with a newbie like me.  It is scary.  I have had to trust and let go here too.  It is not natural for humans to be in water, nor does it feel so.  But, in order to breathe, I trust.  I trust that I can blow out while under water, turn my head to breathe in above the water.  My natural reaction is to lift up mid-stroke but that's too much work.  Let. Go.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Jumping in with both feet!

As I said at the beginning of the year, two of my "running" resolutions were to get a quicker 5k and compete in a triathlon.  Well, I'm getting on my way there...

I have looked up and will be following Hal Higdon's Advanced 5k plan.  I am looking to cut a minute off of my 5k PR (hopefully).  If Hal doesn't bring it, I don't know who will.  The 5k I'm shooting for is the AmazinGrace on May 6th.  So, 5 weeks out.  Obviously I couldn't start at the beginning of the plan but I have a good base so I'm just going to jump right in where I am.  The plan calls for increasing long runs on the weekend starting with a 70 minute run.  Now, if I ran at my slowest, 10:00 pace, that would only give me 7 miles.  So I may just make some of my long runs longer.  Or I may not.  I am going to try and go by feel.  I'm excited about having a plan again.  I get so lost when I don't have a set amount of miles or minutes or pace I should be doing.  Just like my students at school, I need structure.  As I have said before, I'm a planner.  Let's make a plan.

As for my second resolution, the triathlon, don't worry, I haven't forgotten about it.  Actually, it has been on my mind a lot recently, especially yesterday as I watched the videos of the Half-Ironman in Texas.  I would like to make my way up to this distance...but I'm going to have to get in the water and on a bike to make that happen.  This is why I contacted the master swim coach tonight via email.  Eeek!  This is a huge step and makes me extremely nervous.  What if I can't swim well enough?  What if I just flop around like some beached whale?  Will everyone laugh at me?  I took swimming lessons as a kid but that was a long time ago.  I'm extremely anxious about this.  It is a great fear/challenge for me to overcome.  I will keep you posted.

The bike...shall come soon, my friends.  I have been searching online trying to figure out what kind and size to buy.  Considering I am freakishly short, I'm afraid it will be difficult.  There are so many different variations that I don't know what to pick or where to look first.  Soooo, if you are my friend and enjoy all things bicycles, please, help me out.  I have no idea what I am doing.  I am also extremely anxious about riding too.  I'm afraid no one will want to ride with me because I will be too slow but I am hoping these cheerleader quads are good for something and will help me out on the bike :)

I will leave you with this quote that I found very motivational...

"Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about."
-PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Making peace with uncomfortable

I have run 2 5Ks back to back the last two weekends.  Both the Foot Rx 5k and Crumley House 5k were wonderfully organized and full of schwag!

Foot Rx always has yummy treats like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chocolate peanut butter balls.  Nom nom!  Then, if that isn't enough, they have THE best door prizes around.  (Not that I won any...but still.)  They give away tons of Foot Rx gift certificates and merchandise.  They are the great supporters of the running community here in Johnson City. 

Then, Crumley House served a post-race pancake breakfast for everyone who participated complete with bacon and pastries.  Our race packets included a performance shirt made by the clients of The Crumley House, hand lotion, chapstick, and a bag full of coupons.  It was a great cause to support which brought in a great crowd for an inaugural event.  The Crumley House is a brain injury rehabilitation clinic and aptly called its race "Joggin for the Noggin".

They were both on pretty tough courses so I struggled through them.  As one does when racing.  Have I mentioned how much I dislike 5Ks?  Not that I dislike them, per se, more that I don't like being uncomfortable.  To be "competitive"... or at least competitive with yourself for a personal record one must push her limits.  On the quest for a personal best I find my lungs burning, breath short, stomach upset, and legs begging me to stop pushing so hard.  This is not a good feeling.  But, yet, I still do it to myself because no matter how much it still feels good.  Many of you runners I am sure will agree with me on this one.  We may hate every loving minute of it but we will still do it again and again and again.

As I said in an earlier post, one of my goals for 2012 is to get faster.  Therefore, I have incorporated more speedwork into my week.  Right now I am doing a lot of 400 and 800 intervals because I have just been doing 5Ks.  I want to add back in the mile repeats because they teach me to reach a level of sacrifice and stay there.  That's my downfall in the 5K.  I can get it there but I have trouble keeping it.  I give up some times but I really just don't have it others.  I have to learn to live with that feeling for 24 minutes because that is my goal 5K for now.  I need to get in the 24s and I will.  I was only 27 seconds away at Joggin for the Noggin which was a new PR for me.  Only by a few seconds, but every second counts, especially on this course.  I'll take it.  So, if you pass me when I am running a race, yell at me.  I need it.

On another note, my mom has signed up for a 5K program and I couldn't be prouder.  My dad ran a 5K with me last year for my birthday and he was awesome!  I'm so excited because I see a family 5K in the future!  ;)  I love sharing my love of running!!

Dad and I before Blue Plum 5K

Happy Running All!               

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cleaning accomplished

Time to recap the detox.  It is over, for you inquiring minds.  I did it for 10 days.  Three days of the elimination diet and one week of the cleanse.  It is meant to be a three-week cleanse but the good doctor says it's fine if you only do one week for your first time. 

These are some things I learned from the cleanse:
  • I CAN survive without fast food. (This was a problem for me before.)
  • Smoothies are a yummy breakfast that can be packed with antioxidants, protein, and fiber!  (The hand blender my parents bought me for Christmas was just perfect for these.  Thanks Mom and Dad!!)
  • I can actually cook and learned to love my kitchen through my experiments.
  • Taking time to prepare my food makes me more mindful of what I am putting into my body.
  • To be in the present with all things, not just food.
These are all valuable lessons that I will carry with me as I go about my normal life post-cleanse.  People think I am healthy because I run.  When it came to food, that was so not the case.  I am excited now to be able to eat healthier and therefore live life feeling better, which was the main reason I did the detox.  I knew that I had put nothing but crap into my body for some time now.  It was time to remove that from all of my systems...because, you see, they all work together.  A great example of teamwork.  I learned so much about the human body from this book.  I love learning new things!  I am a dork.  A dork full of (normally) useless information.

It was difficult.  No lying here.  After a few days it got easier though.  I found it not so difficult to find things to eat.  I even went out to eat while still on it!  Yes, it's allowed.  I ate at Barberitos so I could see and specify exactly what was going into my salad.

I did not feel deprived or hungry most of the time.  I felt just right.  (Which is how we should feel, right?)

Now for the things I would do differently.
  • Discover what to eat so that I can run as fast and as hard as I'm accustomed to. (I just didn't have the energy I needed and wanted when running.) 
  • Find more dinner (soup) recipes and always cook them rather than trying to eat raw pureed vegetables. (Not good.)
  • Lower the prices of "good-for-you" foods. (I spent a fortune on groceries in those 10 days.)
  • Ease myself back into eating other foods so that I could identify my "triggers". 
  • Do this at a time when I can and want to take a break from running for a while. (Maybe after my next marathon.)
If you are in the right mind-frame (non-training) mode, I would highly recommend the Clean detox.  It allows you to have solid food, which a lot of detoxes don't.  I feel much better now that I have cleaned out my system and am going to keep up this clean thing as much as I can.  Bread is making a reappearance in my life but I don't believe that I have a gluten-allergy so I think we're cool on that one.  I need my carbs so that I can just... keep... running.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up!

As some of you close to me already know I have started a detox.  I am on day 2 of the "cleanse".  There was a 3 day elimination diet that started 5 days ago.  The only big difference between the two is that on the cleanse breakfast and dinner are supposed to be "liquid", such as a smoothie, juice, or soup, and you get a solid meal for lunch.  Yesterday, Day One, was fine, other than waking up with the shakes.  I think it is the big exclusion of sugar and wheat that my body is fighting.  I kinda felt like a drug addict when that happened. (Disclaimer: I have NO idea what it feels like to be a drug addict.)   

I started this detox to feel better.  I am following Clean by Dr. Alejandro Junger.  According to research and this book, what you eat can not only affect your digestive system.  It can affect your moods, skin, allergies, headaches, puffiness, sleep, joints, muscles, infertility, and overall "well-being".  I, and I'm sure many others, struggle with quite a few of these issues.  I decided that I don't want to have to struggle with them, if I don't have to.  (And if it can make me a more efficient runner in the process, don't mind if I do!) 

So, at the start of the elimination diet, you cut out any foods that can be allergens.  There are A LOT of them.  Wheat, dairy, red meat, pork, sugar, and peanuts to name a few.  Ugh!  Other than red meat, all of these are staples in my diet.  So I am eating a lot of chicken, fruits, and vegetables.  You can have cold water fish but I don't like seafood, so chicken it is.  I can also have duck or lamb which I may try one day.  I like them both.  I 've just never prepared them myself.  The first few days killed me.  I had no earthly idea what I was going to eat.  What do you mean I can't have peanut butter in my smoothie?  Or bananas, for that matter?  How I love my peanut butter and bananas!  I do support the theory that either could make me sick though.  I can't eat these before running or they want to come back up. 

Needless to say, those first few days were hard.  I was bored and "hungry" and did not want to look at another piece of chicken because I keep preparing it the same way.  I'm not sure if those first few days I was getting enough calories because I didn't keep track but today I have calculated everything I ate yesterday and it was over 1300 calories.  That is with the 2 liquid meals.  I should only eat 1200 if I want to lose weight, but I don't.  That's not why I'm doing this.       
As I said, I was bored.  Then, I discovered the Clean Program site where people post all of the amazing recipes they made while on the detox!  Yipee!  Yesterday was exciting.  I made fresh apple juice.  I happen to have a wonderful friend who let me borrow her juicer for my 10 day experiment.  (Thanks Angie!)  There are some other fun juices I want to try but I am going to have to go to the grocery store, again.  This is a girl who never ate at home before.  I am finding that I can make yummy stuff myself.  As a bonus, it's good for me!  
Then I found a recipe for Hummus Crusted Chicken.  Hmm, interesting.  I like hummus and I like chicken so I gave it a go.  So glad I did!  Yum-o!  Here is the recipe...

Hummus Crusted Chicken
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbs. tahini
1 ts. Sea salt
1 ts. Cumin
1 ts. Paprka
1 tbs. olive oil

Blend all ingredients for hummus.  Preheat oven to 450.
2 chicken breasts
2 lemons, 1 sliced into rounds and 1 juiced
½ c hummus
4 fresh rosemary sprigs and 2 tbs. dried
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
Place chicken in roasting pan, cover meat with hummus.  Drizzle with lemon, then place lemon and rosemary over chicken.  Drizzle with balsamic.  Bake about 30 minutes.  Finish with sea salt and pepper.

Next, I made the roasted veggies that I had made for Thanksgiving that were so good.  I was so excited to find that they were Cleanse approved.  I cut the recipe in 1/4 because it was just for me.  I have still gotten about 4 servings out of it.  I also didn't do the mushroom gravy but it sounds great, even though I don't eat mushrooms. 
For dinner, I had the butternut squash bisque.  It wasn't my favorite thing in the world.  First of all, there was no cream to my bisque.  I pretty much had a bowl of pureed vegetables in water.  But, I will find more, better recipes for later! 
I am feeling really great today.  I am going to attempt a short run.  I will keep you updated on the detox and the running.  If you have any questions feel free to ask, I would love to encourage all of you to try something like this at some point.  I was going to say when it's convenient but it's never really convenient to do this.  If it were easy, everyone would do it, right?

Oh, I almost forgot!  My craving for bread has been the worst of all of this so I made biscuits today!  Gluten-free poppyseed biscuits.  They were wonderful. 


Monday, February 20, 2012

Plans for Hope and a Future ~ Jeremiah 29:11

WARNING: This will be a long one and it's not really about running...

I have been dying to write this blog but for some reason my computer wouldn't load the blogger page for a few days.  I almost threw the bleeping computer out the window a few times.  Then, I had to remind myself that this is just a mere annoyance, not something to get so upset about.  It feels good to get a cool head about things.  Which is something my trip to Guatemala seemed to improve.

I'm not sure I can put into words how I felt down there but I will try.  I knew from the beginning that this would be a trip of very little sleep considering the drive to and from the Atlanta airport but to me it seemed worth it to get to have this experience and come to help out these kiddos and this wonderful orphanage.  I still cannot get over the amount of love and selflessness that is poured out at Fundaniños every day. 

We arrived in Guatemala on Thursday afternoon.  I didn't really know what to expect and was frankly quite nervous about being there.  Not nervous for my safety but nervous that I couldn't live up to the expectations of what and/or whom I was supposed to be.  I'm a planner.  I like plans.  They just make sense.  When I don't have a plan I am lost and feel useless.  There was no plan for Guatemala, which is the way Anna wanted it (who found out she wouldn't get to come on the day we left because of the kids having chicken pox..she is pregnant, so not a good idea).  We are opposites in this way.  She is more of a free spirit, which is why I love her, whereas I like my plans.  I ended up going with two other great souls who did wonderfully at finding places for themselves. 

I was feeling a little run down that first day but just figured the flight and previous night's only 4 hours of sleep were taking their toll on me.  We just met some of the kids and walked around checking everything out, taking a tour, if you will.  The kids were interested in us and interesting themselves.  Here I was immersed in this culture other than my own where everyone speaks another language and lives a completely different life.  Two years of Spanish in high school surely did not prepare me for this.  I think I learned more in these 3 days than I did in all of those 2 years.  The language barrier was not horrible to get around but I did feel a little bit like an alien being checked out to see if I was fit to play with or not.  I suppose I passed the test because sooner than later some kids started poking me in the side and running away.  This was a little game they liked to play the whole time they were there.  In my mind, I believe it was their way of adapting to find something in common.  (This is my teacher mind in overdrive, of course.)  Some of the older ones knew a lot of English and could hold a fair conversation with us.  This was a life-saver to me.  I hated not being able to communicate with my words.  I am so used to calming and talking to students that this is what I wanted to do there.  I just had to find other ways.

The school
The second day, Friday, I woke up extremely stopped up with a massive headache.  I thought it was just my allergies and all of the traveling.  I can't tell you how bad I wanted an Airborne at this moment.  Of course, it was one of the only medications we didn't bring and I was reminded again of the life of convenience we live in America.  We spent the morning with the babies and then Carol (our "guide" during the stay who spoke perfect English and helped us out when we were acting like gringos :)  asked me to help out in the school.  I jumped at the chance.  Of course, I would!  Just one problem,  No hablo o escribo Español.  Turns out the work was already laid out and I just had to copy plans for the teachers in the students' books.  It was different to write in Spanish and I did mess up and make the cursive z wrong when copying.  It was funny because I was thinking about how in America we are doing away with cursive writing and here they are learning it in primary school.  After finishing the plans, I went back up the hill to the baby house.  They were napping and all the other kids were still in school.  I decided to lay down and nap as well.  When I laid down I was burning up and could barely put covers on me.  Later, I woke up freezing.  Amy, who had also taken a nap, told me that it was burning up in that room and I had to be sick.  That's when I knew it wasn't just the flight and traveling and that I was really sick.  Great.  Why did this have to happen now when I am trying to help?  I feel like more of a burden than help at this point.  Once again, I am feeling guilty.  Here I am in Guatemala to help out, yet I don't know if what I have is going to make them sick.  I had a feeling since I was running the fever it would. 

A lot of the kids were already sick.  A bunch of the boys were quarantined in their house with chicken pox and a couple of the toddlers had scabies.  And almost all of the ones under 5 had snotty noses constantly with no one to wipe it away.  This made me sad.  Really sad.  Yes, they had caretakers but one woman can't stay on 7 noses constantly.  I wanted them to have mommas for this.  This is what moms do.  They wipe snotty noses.  They comfort when their babies are sad.  They hold them for hours on end.  So this is what I tried to do.  I wanted to get to know all of the kids but it seemed the little ones needed affection the most.  So I held and played with them.  I fed them when it was time to comer(eat).  I wiped their hands and faces afterwards.  One little boy in particular held my attention.  He seemed the odd one out which makes him remind me of myself.  Everything I said to him in English he repeated in English.  It could have been just my imagination but I think he understood me.  He said sti-cker! and choo choo! 

Such a zeal for life these kids have but they know no life outside of those walls.  They go to school and live at the orphanage.  They leave to go to church and karate but other than that their world exists solely at Fundaniños.  I know that the life they have there is so much better than what they were saved from and for that I am thankful.  I heard horrible stories that break my heart over and over again when I think about them.  They have a loving staff, loving friends, and most of all a love for God that is undeniable.   

Friday night, the director and her family took us out to the taco stand.  In this picture, you can see where the meat for the tacos comes from.  We had a great time but I couldn't help but feeling sad for the kids, although this was karate night so they were there having a good ol' time. 

The kids go to sleep very early because they all get up very early to get a turn at the shower before school.  So by the time we arrived back at the cabin the kids were asleep or in their rooms. 

Friday and Saturday night I woke up in the middle of the night so nauseous.  The stairs down to the bathroom were quite small so I tried to stay down there as long as I could before going back up to bed.  The dizziness made me think that I would probably fall if I had to get down in a hurry.  I never did get sick but Saturday night I actually feel asleep in the bathroom waiting. 

Saturday, we were making a trip to Wal-Mart.  Yes, apparently, they are everywhere.  Only they usually don't have armed guards and parking security guards in the States.  I bought some amoxocillin.  I knew I was sick and Jamie (the pharm student) told me this would be the best thing to take.  It was pretty nice to be able to just buy that for $11 and not have to spend a fortune to see a doctor.  The purpose of going to Wal-Mart was to buy baby food.  Amy, the saint she is, wanted to buy baby food for the 7 month old who didn't really have anything to eat that would be good for her stomach.  Jamie started asking about school supplies and what do they need.  We ended up getting a bunch of glue and erasers for the school.  We wanted to do something special with the girls so we bought some bright nail polish to paint their nails that night.  

Saturday was our last night there and we would be leaving in the morning when the van left for church.  We had such little time there.  This is something I felt terrible about since arriving.  I felt like it was unfair to the kids for us to leave so soon.  They seemed sad as soon as they heard how short our trip would be. We decided to have a movie night with the girls and paint their nails.  We decided on watching Soul Surfer.  Such an inspirational movie to leave the girls with, I thought.  While Jamie and I were boo-hooing on the couch, the girls were laughing at us.  They thought it was hilarious that we were crying.  Obviously, they are a lot tougher than us and have been through a lot more.  They know that a movie is nothing to cry about.       

It was really hard to leave the kids and I really look forward to going back.  Hopefully for a longer time.  I told the kids I would be back so it would be really crappy of me to disappoint them.  :) 

As we were leaving Fundaniños, I had to get a picture of the sign that hung from the outside of the walls...what better verse for these children of God!
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

On the flight back home, I couldn't wait to get back to my big comfy bed in my huge 2 bedroom townhouse that is way to big for one person to ever need. I want and need to make some changes in my life. There is no reason to live such a life of excess when so many are hurting around the world.  One thing I want to do is to start running for charity.  I did it for my first half and haven't done it since then.  I am thinking about another full in October.  I want to dedicate it to a cause.  I haven't decided which one so maybe God will put something in my path and make it clear to me.   

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Best Races Ever

For Team Tough Chik, we are blogging this week about our best/worst race experiences.  Here are mine:

I have learned that it is important to always start out with the positive so I will tell you about my best race ever....but there are two! The first one is the Marine Corps Marathon.  It was my first marathon ever.  I wrote a blog about it already so as to not repeat myself here is the link.  I loved it!  It was way more than I expected it to be.  Honestly by the time the marathon came around I just wanted to get it over with.  I had no desire to run this marathon but I was going to run it.  I am no quitter.

When I ran my other favorite race I wasn't really into my blogging about running...or running for that matter.  I have to admit, I had slacked off.  It's not the first time I've done it and it probably won't be the last.  I would like for it to be the last but I am going to have to get better at it to not get injured or frustrated with myself.  I had already signed up with my awesome friends to run this half-marathon so I was going to do it.  I didn't train correctly and I didn't run a lot.  The only long runs I did were a 12 miler 4 weeks before and an 11 miler the week before. But do not do as I do.  This is not my advice, as you will hear later in my worst race experiences.  The Scream! half-marathon took place in the Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina, only about an hour and a half from where we live.  We drove over the morning of.  I woke up at 4:30 for this.  I was not a happy camper.  I do not like to get up before the sun.

We arrived at the "Marathon (really)" gas station where pick-up was supposed to be a little early so we waited in the car.  Some expo, huh?  Up until this race I had thought of myself as a "big" race kinda girl.  I enjoyed all the hub bub.  It was foggy and dreary.  At least it wouldn't be hot, right?  I debated on taking my iPod and in the end I did.  I didn't want to get bored.
Notice the Marathon in the background :)
Love the shirts, just wish they'd been smaller!

The race was beautiful.  We ran, literally, down a mountain, twisting and turning around all the curves.  I could see the forest floor from the side of the mountain as I was running.  Something about the environment was so exhilarating.  The beauty of nature, the thrill of running so fast, the fact that there were no screaming spectators.  It was serene.  I had come to make my goal of running under 2 hours.  I beat that by over 7 minutes at 1:52:51.  I planned to run right under 9 minute miles to make sure I made that goal because I had missed it by 3 minutes in Disney a few months before.  I remember the many times I checked my watch thinking that something was messed up because of the drizzle or the trees.  There were times when I saw 7:30s on my pace.  I felt so good.  This could not be.  I think I just had a great day.  I thrive on downhills in all my runs so this was the race for me.  I know it could have just been a fluke but this is the race that gave me back my running mojo so that I could and would run a marathon 3 months later.
Right before the finish of The Scream!
As for my worst experiences, I won't name any names because some it was my fault.  There are 2 half-marathons in particular that I felt horrible at by around mile 5 because I had not properly trained and my body was screaming at me to stop,  I had done my long runs for one but it was in the middle of marathon training so I had run 15 miles to week before.  I've learned my lessons on proper fueling and training by now. Every one of us has a different body that reacts differently than the next person.  Training is one big experiment for me. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012


So, this 11 random things has been going around the blogosphere.  I was tagged by 3 lovely ladies from Team Tough Chik so I have 3 sets of answers to questions.  Here are the rules:

1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in the post you were tagged in.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog, FB page, or wherever you can grab their attention and inform them of their obligation to the blogosphere.

11 Random things about me:

1.  I sing and sometimes dance anywhere!  I have no qualms about breaking out into song when the feeling strikes me.  I kinda wish life were one big musical then I wouldn't look so silly.

2. I love my God.  I strive every day to be closer to Him.

3. I have this incredibly uncanny memory of useless information and pop culture.

4.  I run.  Not very fast. But I run with every fiber of my being, heart and soul.

5.  I'm only 5'0".  So when you say to me "You're so short!", no, I've never heard that before.

6.  I'm an educational assistant by day and server by night.  I have a degree in elementary education so I am just waiting on my big break to get me an actual real-life teaching job.

7. I was a cheerleader from 7th grade to my 3rd year of college.  It was my life but completely stressful being responsible and accountable for the whole team!  Now I have turned to running which is completely up to me.  If I don't improve I have no one to blame but myself.  In the same sense, if I do improve I know it was because I put in the effort.

8.  I'm scared of birds.  Like extremely.  I am terrified when people start feeding seagulls at the beach.  I always go the other direction.

9.  I don't really like cake.  When I was younger my parents always got me a cookie cake instead.  I really really really like cheesecake!

10. I write my blog to inspire others but also for myself.  I like to see how far I have come.  I look back at the good days when I'm having a bad one.  I would love for my blog to grow in followers.  It's great to see that other people look forward to what you have to say.

11.  I have read all of the Harry Potter and Twilight books but my favorite book ever is The Giver.

My 11 questions from Shannon at Tough Chik.

1. What is your favorite TV show?  Ooo tough one, I would say Modern Family I love to laugh and this one almost always has me laughing out loud.  If I want drama I love Sons of Anarchy, House, and Criminal Minds.

2. If you had to eat the same meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?  I'm not sure that there's anything that I could eat over and over again without getting sick of it...

3. Do you cry at sad movies?  In a word, yes!  I am the most emotional person that I know, especially when it comes to movies and books.

4. Do you have any pre-race rituals?  If so, what are they?  Pee, then pee, then pee again.  Don't want that happening during the race :)

5. Mac or PC?  PC but would love to have a Mac

6. If you could pick the color of the new Tough Chik running singlet. what color would you pick?  I love the colors you have picked out already but if we are going for variety here I love kelly green.  Green and blue are my favorite colors.  They remind me of the sky and grass on a sunny day. :)

7. How did you find out about Tough Chik?  A friend of mine, fellow tough chik, liked the page on facebook.  I checked it out and really loved the clothing!  I really want a Sweaty Betty running singlet (hint hint) until I can afford a road bike! ;)

8. What is you favorite song?  Depends on the day of the week and my mood.  I have very eclectic musical tastes.  I like everything from Pop to Country to Rap to Singer/Songwriter to Christian. 

9. Any Superbowl plans?  Nope

10. How do you take your coffee, if you don’t drink coffee, what is your morning beverage of choice?  I don't always drink coffee, but when I do I like mine really sweet with lots of cream or a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks if I can afford it.  If I don't have coffee it's usually water or almond milk.

11. What is the worst job you have ever had?  I was a tax accountant. It was boring.  I was stuck inside a cubicle for 10.5 hours a day and never saw the light of day unless I went out for lunch.  I only had 30 minutes for lunch so that didn't usually happen. 

NOW my 11 questions from Carmen at She Runs Everywhere.

1.  If you could change your name to something different, even just for fun, what would it be?  Well, if you had asked me when I was a little girl it would have been Ashley Elizabeth.  That just sounded like the most beautiful name in the world to me.  If you would have asked me in college it would have been Kate.  Now, I'm not so sure.  I think Niki has finally grown on me now that I'm 28.  

2.  What is the 1 household chore you could go without ever doing again?  WASHING DISHES!! There is nothing I despise more in the world of cleaning house.

3.  Tell me about your first car. (This can be the first car you drove or owned) Haha! My first car was a 1992 Plymouth Laser.  They are no longer in production if that tells you anything.  It was red and a manual.  My dad made me learn how to drive a manual before he would let me get my license.  Little did he know that most people drive automatics anymore.  Still, it's a good skill to have I suppose.

4.  Where did you grown up?  I grew up in a tiny community called Harmony, near Johnson City, TN.  My parents still live there in the same house .  They have lived there for the entire duration of their 31 year marriage.

5.  Do/did you have a nickname?  Tell me about it.  Niki is my nickname.  I am actually Jessica Nicole.  I have been called Niki since the day I was born.  There was a kid I went to school with who always thought it was funny to call me Nike because I only have one K in my name (He said it looked like Nike).  It really bothered me then but now I know that Nike is the Greek goddess of strength, speed, and victory who is symbolized by a fit young woman with wings so I can only hope to live up to that name. :)

6.  How long have you been blogging?  What made you start? I started blogging in January 2011.  I had just begun my training for the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  I had had a great run and just wanted to share it with the world.

7.  If money were no object where would you go on vacation?  I have always wanted to go to Europe.  This might be me cheating but I would take a European tour - making sure to stop in Greece and Italy.

8.  College....did you go?   what did you study? anywhere you wanted to go, but didn't?  I went to East Tennessee State University.  I have a Bachelor's in Accountancy and a Masters in Teaching Elementary Education.  Big difference, huh?  I really really really wanted to go to UT because I wanted to cheer there. They had an awesome squad and I wanted to be part of it.  In the end I'm glad I didn't becuase I wouldn't be where I am today. 
9.  tell me something shocking that most people don't about you.  I can get horrible road rage.  It's not pretty at all.  Read previous post...

10. hate?  love to hate?  Hate it when I start.  Love it during and when I'm done.

11.  You have 24 hours to literally run....walk....get as far as you can with only your two feet.  How far would you get?  I have never attempted to walk or run for this long but I will go based on my marathon time and increase it by quite a bit.  I will say 130 miles....?

Here are my answers for the lovely Gina from Slow is the New Fast

Newton Gravity
1. How many pairs of running shoes do you have and are they all the same brand? I just recently won a free pair of Newtons at a Christmas Lights fun run.  I chose the Gravity.  I am learning to love them.  They have really increased my speed.  For long runs, I wear Brooks Ravennas.  The caterpillar crawl at the toe has me hooked.  I also own a pair of adizero racing flats that I, um well, race in.

2. Are you an early bird or a night owl? I really wish I could be an early bird but I am most definitely a night owl.  Sometimes, I'm up until 2 and I don't even know what I have been doing because I started trying to go to bed at 11.

3. What race/races do you have on your bucket list?  For sure, Big Sur Marathon is huge one fore me.  I just want to run it to its beauty.  I would really like to run NYC Marathon.  I just think it would be a cool experience running through all the boroughs and Central Park.  Last but not least, I would LOVE to qualify for Boston one day.  I am a far way from that point but it would definitely make me feel like a boss.

4. Running with an Ipod. Yes or no? Why?  I do.  I love making up my playlists of what I will be listening to as I run.  I always put something kooky in there because it makes me smile.  I crack up inside my head wondering what people would think if they could hear the Vanilla Ice or Spice Girls playing as I'm running past them.  I have also learned to love the run without an iPod, too!  I never thought I'd run without music but it's kind of nice sometimes to completely zone out.  I usually don't run half-marathons and didn't run my marathon with music because I wanted to be in the moment.
5. What’s your favorite thing to cook? I don't really cook.

6. Were you an athlete in high school or did you become one as an adult?  I was a cheerleader in high school and for a competitive squad.  I was a flyer so stunting was my favorite part.  I could also do backhandsprings and back tucks.  That's about as far as my tumbling went.  I cheered in college too.  I, then, took about 5 years off from being an athlete before making myself into a runner.  

7. Why did you start your blog?(Ex: accountability, encourage others, etc)  I started my blog one night because I wanted to post my feeling on facebook after a long run...but I decided that it would be one long status update so I decided to start a blog.  I can't even remember now what made me think to do it.  I didn't know anyone who blogged and I didn't really read blogs but I guess I had heard of them and it seemed like a good idea at the time.  I continue to blog because I want to encourage others but also encourage myself.  It makes all of this training and hard work seem real when I can read it in black and white.  I write with a lot of emotion usually.  I am a bare-my-soul kinda girl.  I want everyone else out there to experience what I am feeling. Therefore I try to motivate those who would otherwise feel too slow or not good enough to just get out there and feel good about themselves and live the lives they have.  :)

8. Do you wear running skirts? If yes, which are your faves?  I only own one running skirt and it doesn't fit me right.  It's too big in the waist but fits in the hips so I never wear it.  I am not opposed to them just don't have any right now.  I think they are cute!  Maybe I will get one this summer.  Any suggestions are appreciated!

9. Have you ever had a running injury? 4 letters. ITBS.  It was horrible!  I got IT Band Syndrome while training for my first half-marathon.  I was new to running and didn't really know how to treat my body.   I ended up not being able to run for 2 full weeks prior to the half.  My parents told me to just not worry about running it but I didn't put in all that time training for nothing.  I was afraid that if I didn't run this one then I would never do one.  I ran it and I finished but could hardly walk afterwards.  Then I took about 2 months off from running.  I haven't had any trouble out of it since then.  But that's probably because I take extra special care of my IT bands now.  I never want to suffer through that again.

10. What’s your favorite distance to run?  5 miles.  It is just enough for me to get loosened up and feel great running at a fast speed but not so long that I have to take a fuel belt with waters and gu.  I do love my long runs as well but I prefer them when I can have a water stop halfway or water fountains along the way.  The belt just bothers me.  I don't feel as free.

11. Where’s your most relaxing place to be? (It can be a place in your home or somewhere you travel to.)  Most definitely the beach, if I'm relaxing, at sunset when there aren't too many people out there.  I used to live in Charleston and loved to drive out to Folly Beach to just breathe.  But when I can't be at the beach, it would be on a run by myself.  Nothing like a little solitude to clear your head.

My 11 questions for you lucky ladies!

1.  Where do you live?  Have you always lived there?
2.  Do you run/bike/swim for time(PRs) or for enjoyment?
3.  How long have you been doing your sport of choice?  What made you start?
4.  If you have kids, how do you find time to do this?  (I'm just asking for future reference for myself)
5.  Is there anything you are deathly afraid of?  What is it?
6.  What's your day job?  Are they supportive of your athletic endeavors?
7.  What animal would best represent your personality?
8.  What's your favorite song to run to?
9.  What did you participate in in high school/college?
10.What is your favorite book? Why?
11. What is your favorite movie? Why?

I'm tagging ladies from my Tough Chick team (I don't have 11).  If you don't want to do this please don't feel obligated.  If you do and weren't tagged please feel free to answer and let me know!  I would love to learn more about you! :) 

2. Christina
3. Jessica
4.  Lisa
5. Hope
6. Jenna
7. Jamie (I'm tagging you so that you will have something to start your blog with ;) 

Friday, January 27, 2012

You may be knocked down but not out forever - tobyMac "Get Back Up"

I had quite the run last night.  It was group run night so I had to jet over to Foot Rx by 5:30.  I wasted time getting ready so I was running late.  Then, I blamed being late on every single car/truck/van I got behind on my way there.  I was livid when I arrived.  I may be a quiet girl but I can get mad road rage.

I pulled up as everyone was outside getting ready to run.  I ran up to meet them, still aggravated about the traffic.  I had planned on trying to run a pretty decent pace considering last week but not knowing if I could because my knee had been giving me the trouble it had this week. When I took off my knee felt fine.  I thought I am going to run this out!  Then...less than a quarter of a mile into it, I fell.  I don't mean I tripped and kept on going.  I FELL, as in near face plant, in the road no less.  It was painful, embarrassing, stunning, and humbling.  Someone helped me up as soon as I fell so I wasn't there long but I have some pretty gnarly road rash in my shoulder and knee to show for it.  Plenty of friends stopped to ask if I was ok and check on me.  Heck, some even came back from in front of me.  This kindness is why I love my running group and brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.  If you need some running friends come to FootRx on Thursdays at 5:30, you will find some :)  I will admit it was so tempting to go back to the store and not run the 5 mile loop.  I had just begun and knew I was going to hurt.  BUT, I wanted to run.  I had come to run and knew that if I didn't I would feel worse than if I did.  I caught my breath from the fall and ran on.  I didn't run slow either.  I kept up my pace.  I didn't want anyone to pity me but it also felt great to be able to run knowing that I could have really hurt myself.  Running is where I clear my head.

In the moment that I fell and was laying on the road, God humbled me.  I didn't need to be griping about the traffic, especially when I could have left earlier.  I know what is important in life but sometimes I lose my focus.  As funny as it sounds, I'm glad I fell.  I needed that.

I finished the 5 mile run at an 8:52 pace which is pretty good for me considering my knee and the fall that happened.  I am planning on running a 10k tomorrow.  Hopefully, I will get a new PR! We shall see!

Happy Running!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Runners and their Knees

It's Thursday!  I really want to go to group run tonight but my left knee has been acting funky.  I haven't ran since Sunday's 9 miler.

I took Monday off from running, as usual, and did a Pilates Core video instead.

Tuesday, I hopped on the treadmill before work and it was like I was the Tin Man.  My knee would just not cooperate.  I was hobbling was not pretty.  I slowed my pace hoping that would make it easier.  It did not.  The only thing that made it easier was when I slowed to a walk.  I had started out at a 6.0 and ended up at a 4.0 after only 1/2 a mile.  Ugh.

Yesterday, Wednesday, I thought I would give it a rest, that maybe that's just what my body needed.  But I was still tempted to test out the knee...soooo I ran to my mailbox and back.  It felt like someone was stabbing my kneecap!  What tha crap?!

I am in no way a medical professional able to diagnose myself but that never stops any of us does it?  From reading what I have on I think I have a case of "runner's knee"...go figure.

Have any of you experienced this before??  What helped and what prevented it?  Thanks for the input!

Happy Running!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Make my heart beat faster!

I just got back from a 9 miler with a great friend.  I felt myself wanting to slack today and not run so I texted her early and asked if she wanted to do LSD (Long Slow Distance, my friends).  She said "Yeah buddy!" so off we went.  We ended up going faster than I had anticipated with an average of 9:38 pace.  I usually do my long runs at about a 10 so maybe I'm improving or maybe I just need her to make me push it a bit.  We ran a hard course (part of the Bluegrass Half Marathon).  I am happy with our overall time although I know for a Boston-Bound girl that's at the low end of the training plan.  She could have ran a lot faster!

I am pleased with my training this week. Even though I didn't get in all the workouts I wanted to, I made the ones I did get in count.  I got to go to Foot Rx group run again this week! Wahoo!  We are on a streak!  Thanks to my boss for giving me these Thursdays off.  I need them for my sanity sometimes.  Jamie ran with me this week.  We planned on going 9:00 pace for the 5 mile loop but ended up with an 8:36 pace. Wha?!  I don't run this fast.  Something must be wrong with my watch...and hers.  I am loving the results I am getting with my training and I strongly believe training partners help so much too.  I plan on continuing this streak of getting faster.  It feels good and gives me more confidence in all facets of my life.

I was asked to give one word to describe my training this week for Team Tough Chik.  I chose "revealing" because every time I run I find out more about myself, what I am capable of, and how to handle life in general.  Run Happy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Getting with it

Tonight I ran 5 miles in the pouring ran with temps in the 40s...And it felt great! I really really really dreaded going but I had Thursday night off, which is FootRx group run night. I had planned on going since my schedule came out. It's not often that I get the chance to go so when I do I am super stoked. Then the rain started. I decided that I was not going to go and instead I was just going to do a workout video or something (inside). Then about 5:10 rolled around. I got motivated and got dressed. I'm going!

I got so into the run that I went straight where I was supposed to turn right. Ha! It was dark and my first time back in a while, in my defense. What's funny is that I was just relishing in how good the run was feeling and how happy I was that I was there. Then suddenly I hear my name being called. Thankfully, Debi and Hannah saw me before I had gone too far off course.

I am now trying to get back into my training. I have taken too long of a break and now it's time for some improvement. So far this week of running has went great. I did an easy run on Tuesday, 10 x 400s yesterday (fast for me going from 7.4 to 8.3 on the treadmill increasing each interval), and ran a nice half marathon pace today at group.

I was inspired by Desiree Davila after reading the article about her in Runner's World. If you are unfamiliar with her, she was the 2nd female and 1st American female to finish Boston last year in 2:22:38, setting a record for the fastest time an American female has ever ran Boston. And get this - she is only 5'2"!! I love this! I have always used the excuse that I am too short to run fast. Well, Desi is proving me wrong. She has been an underdog for her entire career. She competed in cross-country through high school and college but was never in that top spot...always right behind someone else, someone better. She has spend 6-7 years since college to be where she is right now and I'd say she's right where she needs to be. So this weekend for the Olympic trials, I will be rooting for the underdog...well, her and Kara Goucher. Gotta give that classy lady some love too!

I almost forgot! I am now part of Team Tough Chik! I'm so excited to see what this has in store for me! Visit to see the cool products and to get an idea of what they are.