That race

If I’ve learned anything from that race it’s that, like comparing children, it shouldn’t be done.

I have three boys from the same gene pool and the only similarities they share is that they are male.

The similarity between my first half and my second half is that they were both 13.1 miles. Although, towards the end of the second half marathon I would argue that.

Back in November 2014, I ran my first half marathon in Wilmington, NC.  It was cold, but the sun was bright and I was high on the promise of my accomplishment. My pace during training had me anticipating a 3:30 finish. I finished in 3:02. My husband missed me crossing the finish line because I insisted on my time before the race.

I felt like a goddess.

March, 12th 2016 on the grounds of the Biltmore house, I crossed the finish line at 3:17.

That feeling of impending accomplishment disappeared somewhere between miles 1 and 2. Around mile 2 1/2 I sent my friend ahead. Well, I told her that if she turned around one more time to check on me, I was going to throw my water bottle at her.  It was clear that this was going to be her race and I was resigned to “run” this one alone.

Looking back, I think I drank too much water. My slosh-y, gurgle-y  belly was my constant companion and I ran in fear of the sag truck. I even saw it pass on the opposite side.

I ran in constant fear of failure. I was still reeling from my recent demotion and I just wasn’t going to be able to handle not finishing that race.

The volunteers manning the water stations were amazing. At mile 10, one guy held out a gloved hand piled high with Vaseline, encouraging those “in need” to “step up and don’t be shy”.  It was a much needed moment of levity. I was hurting. Mentally, physically and emotionally. The wall was looming and I didn’t know how I was going to get past it.

The majority of the last mile and a half was a dirt path with large rocks in direct sunlight. I’m not sure who thought that was a good idea, but I hope they’ve been fired. Just kidding. I might have hoped then. I was in pain, ok?

I kept pushing and hobbling and I even had enough left in me to encourage the woman next to me to keep running just a few feet from the finish line. You can’t stop to walk at the end!

After that race I swore I was finished. I had no desire to put myself through that again. I didn’t run again for a month. And then I didn’t run again for another month. And another. And I almost quit the gym. I wasn’t going anyway.

I slowly lost all the endurance I’d trained so hard for.

 

 

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Looking up

What does rock bottom look like to you?

For me, it was a sudden realization that I was in a dark place and I wasn’t sure how to get out.

Three months after being told I wasn’t good enough to maintain my manager’s training and then stumbling my way through a half marathon (Barely finishing in the time allotted. omg. One day I’ll write about it), I had a moment of clarity penetrate the deep, hateful and angry fog I didn’t remember falling in to.

I was sullen, easily agitated, and I had a voice in my head telling me that my husband was cheating on me.  That voice was so insistent, that a simple discussion about moving to a less expensive apartment, had me believing that he was saying that so that when he left me, I’d be able to afford rent on my own.

I didn’t want to believe it, I had to tell myself that he couldn’t possibly be trying to leave me because we were planning a trip to Disney. Just the two of us.

The voice persisted. I knew it was irrational and I attempted to fight back with rationale. It was exhausting.

I couldn’t run and I ate anything not nailed down.

I’d like to say that I suddenly started eating well, exercising, and now I’m a bright ray of sunshine…

So far, staying away from caffeine is the only thing I’ve stuck with.

And that was the one I thought would be the hardest. I do still eat chocolate but I went from several cups of coffee and other caffeinated drinks a day to virtually nothing.

I had changed my diet to a mostly plant based/vegetarian diet with nothing processed. As it happens with anyone struggling with illness, I started feeling better and then I started slipping.

At the moment, I’m mostly vegetarian with a meal containing meat every now and I began going to the gym again.

The voice isn’t quite so loud but I’m not keeping it to myself either.  Hubby can’t read my mind (goodness know how much easier that would be!) and I’d hate for him to think less of me (He hasn’t so far. Fingers crossed!) but I let him know when I’m sliding backwards and he steps up his reassurance game.

It’s a day to day effort.

Today is a good day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

K.I.S.S

Keep it simple, silly.
Lately, my life has been in a state of chaos. Self imposed? Maybe. I mean, how we react is just as important as the type of shit hitting the fan.

I’ve been overwhelmed. I’m trying to do too much for too many and everything is suffering.
Remember my new year’s resolution? Taking time for me? Yeah.

My store manager says I’m right on target. My team loves me and I’m creating a great working environment. My district manager says I’m behind. The juggling act I’m doing is with the wrong pins. I need to be more selfish. I’m doing no more than is expected of a shift supervisor.

It seems as though I’m expected to perform but no one will tell me what they want and whatever I do is wrong.

The control freak in me is raging. I need to have a solid grasp on something.

I’m reading books on business, team building, and being a good leader/listener/communicator.
I’m not working out and I’m eating like it’s going out of style. The worse for me the better. This in turn is making me tired, moody and fat.

Last night, on a whim, I bought the food cups for the 21 day fix. We have workout dvds coming out of our ears, a gym, and a beautiful 2 mile trail around a lake just a few feet from our door. I don’t need another workout to avoid. I thought maybe the cups, pinterest, and the app could be just the simple structure I need to get a small handle on me.

Just put some food in the portion controlled, color coded cups and only eat so much of a color in a day.

Simple, right?

Except, it’s basically portion controlled clean eating. Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge fan of the idea of clean eating. It’s just that this simple system is going to require pre planning and thought. It’s not the kind of simple I was hoping for.
You know what I want. The kind of simple that comes with a personal chef. While we’re visiting LaLa Land we might as well throw in a nanny and a maid.
That’s my kind of simple.

I’ll still give it a shot. Worse case I end up with more containers to fill my tupperware cupboard.
It’s win/win either way, really.

2/200

Thanks to a great friend, I’m now a proud holder of a 30 day pass to the gym she’s a member of. I’m not sure what it is about this gym, but I really like it.  And can’t afford it!  But I’ll take the small little snippet I get and love every moment.
We chatted side by side on the elipticals and 2 miles flew by.
It’s also nice to know that I haven’t completely lost the conditioning I worked so hard to build last summer.

Give and take

I’m walking out the door in my running capris and older running shoes for a long needed day away.
“I’ll be back in a bit,” I tell my boys, “I’m going to get my nails done with a friend.”
They look at me confused.
“I thought you were going running,” they say.
They know, to me, my running clothes are sacred. They’re tucked away in my drawer and are only used for running. It’s just always been that way.
“No,” I laugh, “I just don’t have any other pants that go high enough for a pedicure.”
But it’s not funny.
I’m embarrassed.   I worked too hard and I ran my first half marathon in these pants. It’s not ok for them to become my pedicure pants.

In this time of resolutions, it’s easy to get caught up in grand ideas and strict regimens but I know, for me, every day is a day of resolutions. Every day I need to commit to myself.
It’s so easy for me to give. It makes me happy. My job, my kids, my husband, my house… all four limbs being pulled in different directions. I tell myself that I have nothing else to give. I don’t. I can’t give anymore without breaking.
So I’m going to commit to take.
I’ve done it before when I trained for last year’s half. It was uncomfortable, but the world didn’t end. It’s going to be the hardest resolution to keep. It’s going to require organization and scheduling and telling people no. The thought alone scares me.
But I won’t become the person I want to be without taking. Just a little bit. Consistently.
My brother messaged me the other day with a challenge to run 200 miles this year. “The gauntlet has been thrown,” he taunts at the end.
It fits.
I’ll take it

Not one of my better ideas but it was awesome anyway.

Months ago, back when we were in the midst of an eternal and brutally cold winter, a fellow running friend sent me a link to a local 5k/10k.

The Esprit de She. A run for women that would take place on June 26th at 6:30. It sounded like a great idea at the time. At a time when it felt like we’d be in jeans and coats forever, the thought of running on a gentle summer’s night sounded like an amazing idea. The free manicures, massages, wine and food might have helped, too.

So I wrangled in some friends for the ultimate girls’ night out.

Gentle summer’s night my ass.

90-something at race start with 50% humidity and a huge bright sun beating down on us at the starting line. We were not sparkling… it was sweat. Lots of it. My eyes stung and my freshly shaved legs burned and we hadn’t even started running.

And then we were off.

I set off at a very easy pace, I’m not a fan of oppressive heat and we all know that running and I haven’t always been the best of friends.

Here’s the weird thing, it felt good! And, dare I say, effortless? Maybe I was already delusional from being out in the heat for so long, but there was no burn, no tightness in my calves, I was breathing easy-ish… I was actually enjoying it!

Unfortunately, that’s when I psyched myself out. It seemed to be going too well. I began mentally assessing myself for anything that would indicate that I was over doing it. Was I sweating enough?  Is my heartbeat too fast? Should I have stopped for water back there?

Could it BE any hotter?

I’m an over thinker.

But I kept on. Walking a bit, running  a bit.

It wasn’t my best 5k time, but for the conditions, I’m proud of it. It was only 1 1/2 minutes slower than my most recent PR.

After the race, the sun finally set, and we enjoyed the gorgeous (much cooler) evening and the free wine, buffet, and music. We talked about how amazing our upcoming half will be once it’s finally cooler considering we’ve been training in this heat. I may have said that I anticipated it being a “Piece of cake” – that runner’s high is a crazy thing…

It’s amazing how accomplished you feel after such a grueling run. You know I’ll be freaking out around October.

Injury report: Even though the race went well, and I have no new injuries to report, I am dealing with a back (hip?)  issue that I dealt with a while back. I’m not sure what has caused it to rear it’s ugly head, but I’m in a good amount of pain at the moment. (Icing and Aleve is taking the edge off, but work (aka on my feet forEVERRRRRRR) isn’t helping either.

 

I’m not ready

Just now, my oldest son was standing in the kitchen joking with his dad. He looked so grown up and handsome in that moment that it took my breath away. As he began to walk past me, I grabbed him in a hug and held him tightly. I tried to let go and let him by before he could see the tears in my eyes, but he turned to me and said “I love you.”  And I lost it.

I’m not ready for him to be a high school senior. I’m not ready for him to go live on campus in a little over a year. I’m not ready to not see him every single day.

I’m not ready.

The dangers of running

I’m running a half marathon in 4.5 months. WHAT????? While running a half in November is going to be AMAZING because of the beautiful NC fall weather, training for it in the throes of an NC summer is not so amazing. Waking up to run at dawn o’ clock is not an option when I work until at least 10 lately.

I took to the treadmill today because no one wants heat stroke and I’m still nursing my knees. I was hauling buns through a great run, aiming for 3 miles, when I look down and see that the gym is quickly filling with water. It was at least an inch deep and rapidly making it’s way under my ELECTRIC, PLUGGED IN WITH ELECTRICITY treadmill…

I stopped the treadmill and immediately hopped off, sloshed my way out the door chanting “No, no, no, no…” 

The maintenance man working on the apartment’s pool was in the filter room right across from me (thanks for the head’s up, buddy! :/) and I jokingly (with maybe a hint of anger) asked him if he was trying to electrocute me.

Day 1 of (for real this time) half training finished. 136 to go.

Self diagnosis Saturday

This is not going to become a thing. I just thought it sounded catchy and it fits because that’s exactly what I’ve been doing after today’s run.

I’ve said it before, but being a new-ish runner in my mid(gag, cough, wheeze)30’s, it’s sometimes hard to determine whether I am indeed hurt or if I’m just not as spry as I used to be.

When I’m dealing with any kind of running pain, I rely on ice, ace bandages, and advil to help me through the healing process but only after a large, healthy dose of google.

Today’s self diagnosis? ITBS. It means some long word which translates into “the outside of your knee is sore because of a complex network of bands that you’re not warming up enough, not stretching enough, and you’re using too much.”

In other words, stop running and heal or face the wrath of a long term sideline.

AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.

I have a 10k in 3 weeks, a 5k in 4 months and I have a half in 5 months.

I’ve hit a time in my training where injury is not an option. If you ask me, I haven’t been running enough and now I’m plagued with an “overuse” injury?

Awesome.

I’m going to try some yoga, ice and Advil. I’ll also add in a pinch of rest and cross my fingers. That should fix me right up!

 

Don’t blink

Many years ago, when my oldest son was just a baby, I came across an ad for Carter’s (I think). It had several simple sentences counting the moments in time that all add up to one year. At the end it states “Don’t blink.”

I nodded, sagely. Having already been through the first few months of rapid growth and change with my son, I was obviously already an expert on how fast time flew. 

And then I blinked.

He turns 17 today.

He now stands over 6 feet tall and has a mop of curly hair sitting on his head. His voice is deeper than his dad’s and he has his first job interview tomorrow afternoon.

I can’t even.