Today is one of those days.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you probably have read about these horrible, incurable and unidentifiable stomach pains I occasionally get. They leave me buckled over in pain, unable to be comfortable in anything I do. Everything from walking to wearing buttoned pants hurts like a mother f-er. It takes me off the gym track just as I’m having success. I’ve been to multiple doctors, spent thousands of dollars to be tested and spent a day in the ER because of it. No one can tell me what it is or what causes it. I even had one doctor tell me that the pain would go away if I just lost weight. No sir, it was even worse when I was 30 pounds lighter. (Also, can we talk about how he just looked at the number on the scale and NOT my overall fat vs. muscle weight!!)

My latest “let’s test this and see if it helps” is giving up acidic foods. For the last few months, I’ve cut out tomatoes, apples, hard cider and the rare carbonated beverage from my diet almost completely. The results: it still happens, though less frequent.

The pain comes out of nowhere and I can never tell how long it will be sticking around. Sometimes just a day, but definitely as long as four.

Today is one of those days. While I’m celebrating that it’s been an entire month in between instances, I sit, complete with pain, wondering what caused it and wishing with everything I am that it would just go away.

I think watching the acids has certainly helped. I miss tomatoes more than anything, but they are worth giving up if it means I no longer have to walk from my office to the bathroom with tears in my eyes. I’ve taken an extra dose of the omeprazole I’m prescribed, which helps every now and then. I drank kombucha to help the internal inflammation. I’m about to chew my 20th tums of the day. I celebrate a little every time I fart 💨 (#realtalk) because it relieves some of the pressure. I’m mad at myself for hardly being able to leave my desk all day (barely 3,000 #fitbit steps).

Kudos if you got through this post. I know there are worse things in the world than a temporary mysterious pain, but I needed to have my pity party for a moment. I’m determined to one day have an answer for this, even if it’s as little as an official diagnosis.

In the spirit of timeliness

I’m about to break allllll the content and communications rules here but at the same time, its totally within my brand to be late on posts and absent for a period of time, right? RIGHT. That being said, the week of Thanksgiving, I decided to do daily Instagram posts on why I’m thankful for running. My intentions were to take those posts and elaborate them into a blog at the end of the week, but then I was stuck in a turkey coma for quite some time. Yeah, we’ll just say that. So with that being said… here are said reasons:

  1. The obvious; the before. Before I chose a healthy lifestyle, I lead a heavy one. Both in weight and within my head. Thoughts like “Oh, I’ll never get that job because I’m too fat,” or “I’ll never fall in love because I’m a size 22” would conquer my head. I tried to appear as though I were a confident, plus size woman who embraced every pound but realistically I was dying to have a better body and dying to feel good. Up until I graduated college, I ate everything I wanted to – everything from a pint of Ben & Jerry’s one to two times a week, fried foods daily, spaghetti to meet my budget and more all-you-can-eat sushi than any of my male friends. Now, I haven’t given up some of these things completely but over time I learned the beauty and satisfaction of moderation completely.
  2. The strive; the challenge. Running opened the door to so many other doors. It was the main gate to my Buckingham Palace. From 100 burpee challenges, to push-ups on my toes, to obstacle courses, tire pushes and even sharing my journey to complete strangers. I became a better, STRONGER person because of running.
  3. The companionship; the commitment: One of the things that pushed me to go further in my running was the bonding time it created for my dog. Full of energy when we first saved each other, but with no backyard of our own – we’d set out on two, then three, then six mile jaunts together. He kept (and still keeps) me going all for the sake of his well-being. Though his age prevents him from going as far and as often as we used to, few things make me happier than seeing the happy exhaustion on his face when we run together.
  4. The others; the inspiration. I’ve always wanted to inspire but never did I think it’d be through what I’ve done with my life rather than through words of encouragement. The biggest hug to my heart, though, is hearing that my journey has inspired my dad’s – who has spent the better part of the last two years working on his fitness and eating habits to live a longer life for his wife, children, grandchildren, dogs and granddogs. I am thankful to have made the decision to share the journey with him, the rest of my family and my friends so that we may live in longevity.

I’m sure I could come up with at least ten more reasons, but those were ones I found important enough to share on the ‘Gram.

My passion has slowly returned over the latter half of this year – with medals earned and miles logged, I feel I’ve finally shaken the marathon funk from 18 months ago. So what better thing to do than to run another?!

?!

?!!!!!

Yep. I’ve been thinking a lot about doing another marathon the last month or so and have kept it as my little secret that I am searching for the right one in 2018. Last week, I was selected as a contributor to the 2018 #RockNBlog team via the Run Rock n Roll Series. I certainly took that as a sign to get my feet back in high gear. I’ve spent the last few days researching and budgeting and looking for couches to crash – and I believe I’ve settled on the San Diego Marathon on June 3. Training starts Monday and without any further adieu: here we go again.

What’s Next?

After two weekends of 10Ks, I told myself I’d keep going. Long runs on the weekends, strength training through the week. While I’m still grumbling at my 5 a.m. gym alarm, I’m still facing issues with my hip which have left me unable to run, and some days, unable to even bend over. I know it will get better in a short time (like tomorrow after a panic call to my chiropractor) but I fear I’m going back down the damn rabbit hole for the tenth time over.

I’m also sitting here with that recurring stomach pain I’ve often written about. Since cutting my beloved tomatoes and apples out of my diet, the pain has been fewer and farther in between, but still here. Still a literal thorn in my side. It didn’t stop me from the gym this morning, but will it let me reach my 10,000 step goal? My ass in my work chair for the last three hours says no, but my OCD says “FIGHT THE PAIN!”

So, maybe I just need to commit to something. You know… make a plan. Normal people do that kind of thing, I suppose. Pick a half marathon (or maybe a full??) and get to the pavement. I have been pondering another full more and more. I am not sure a half would be as satisfying to me anymore (though the 10 miler did the trick just fine). Some days, I feel weird calling myself a “marathoner” or “marathon runner” when I’ve only done one.  I’m in the runner’s abyss, lost in translation.

What’s the best Race you’ve ever participated in?

 

Crack, crack goes my neck

Holy crack… I mean crap… I just went to get my hips adjusted only to find out that my entire spine was out of place, from those things that don’t lie all the way up to my neck. I am more sore than leg day, more sore than after a marathon and more sore than food regret on Thanksgiving. I’m pretty good at knowing when I need to go to the chiropractor but thought this time around my body was handling things a little better and I waited a while in between visits. Next time, I’ll listen to the four to six week recommendation.

Oh hey there. Sorry that I (yet again) went absent for a while. Last we left off, I was training for the Reno 10 Miler. Well, that went phenomenally and it was the first (and only) time I ran double digits since my 2016 marathon. What a feeling. The sun was shining, the course was hilly and the all-you-can-drink beer afterwards was absolutely worth it all.

I’ve spent the time since then focusing more on strength training than anything, but with the colder weather outside and my work schedule slowing down a bit, I’m working on ramping that mileage back up. In addition to the 10 Miler, I completed my fastest 5K in three or four years, coming in at 30 minutes flat, as well as two consecutive Sundays of 10Ks. The first of which, the Dirty Wookie 10K, is where this post’s featured image comes from. (Side note, I wasn’t going to post this image because I don’t find it to be very flattering, but running isn’t supposed to be pretty). The second of which, Girls on the Run, was six minutes faster than the first and was the final in a series, so I dual-medaled! Getting a series medal is now off the running bucket list.

23331485_10101512283868038_7639121445123841923_oOh, and on an unrelated-to-running note, I also was honored as the 2017 Chapter Member of the Year for the Public Relations Society of America, Sierra Nevada Chapter for which I got to do a pretty sweet photoshoot with my dog.

Now that I’m done with races for the year, my goal is to keep up with 5-6 mile runs on the weekends until I can pick another half or full marathon that I want to do in 2018. Perhaps something early on in the year so I can slack off for the final 75% of the year and just claim I was an early to bed, early to rise goal achiever. Just kidding.

I’ve also been following along with the Tone It Up 21 Day Challenge in which I’m doing 21 reps of five different exercises for three rounds, four to five days a week. Every once in a while, I’ll join a blacklight spin class that may or may not be becoming my new obsession. Perhaps one day I’ll get used to the soreness in my unmentionable space from the bike seat. And through it all, I still have 10,000-steps-on-my-Fitbit OCD. Moral of the story, I’m doing my best to stay active, even if its not running!

You’ll see that I’m doing more posts on my Instagram (hence why I felt it was due time for a blog update). Please follow along as I do enjoy connecting with everyone.

What have you been up to? What races are you training for?

Until next time, which is hopefully not six months from now.

(PS; my new-found love for the “My Favorite Murder” podcast wants me to end this by saying, “Stay sexy, don’t get murdered.”)

Sacramento Dessert Bar & the Week-Long Migraine

So on July 28, I woke up at the usual 5:15 a.m. and made my way to the gym to work on my upper body. Felt great, kicked butt, yadda yadda. As I’m getting ready for work, my vision started to blur a little. I realized I hadn’t eaten yet so I went and grabbed a quick protein shake and chugged some water. Vision still blurry and head now pounding, I could tell something wasn’t right. As I headed into work, I got nauseous, my mouth and fingers went numb and I was sweating profusely. WTF was going on? Within the first ten minutes of the work day, I was in the bathroom three times throwing up. I was trying to tough it out as I was already taking a half day to drive to Sacramento for my cousin’s wedding, but I couldn’t take any more. I headed for the door and made it home just in time to puke five more times. I did everything I could to toughen up as it was an important weekend and I was so looking forward to spending time with family. Luckily Scott was coming with me and he was able to drive on my behalf but we weren’t even sure I could do a two-hour drive in my condition. Thankfully we did make it to where we needed to be, but the rest of the day, I was constantly sweating and could not shake my headache. That was the absolute worst migraine I’d ever had. And it didn’t go away. For seven days. SEVEN DAYS OF HEADACHES. None as bad as that day, but the lingering pounding sensation meant there was little to no desire to be active.

I did pack running gear, per usual, and really wanted to run along the Sacramento River, but instead I opted for a 1,000 calorie Oreo Cheesecake at Rick’s Dessert Diner with my family and a Punch Bowl at Coin-Op. All the sugar probably made my heart beat just as fast as working out anyway…no? I’d get back to working out Monday anyway, right? Wrong. Whatever, that cheesecake and the other desserts my peeps got was the shit. Despite multiple nights of nine hours of sleep, I did not make it to the gym once. It wasn’t until yesterday that I finally put on my  Mizunos and ran a 5-mile taper run, and last long run, before Sunday’s Reno 10 Miler. Lucky ducky Pawko got to join me for the first mile (sadly, we haven’t been able to get outside much because of said migraine, the heat, and smoke from nearby looming fires). Surprisingly, I felt pretty ok. A little hip pain here and there, but I paced under 12 mins per mile and was even able to sprint to the end and finished in 58 minutes. My quads are paying for it today. Every time I find myself sitting at my desk for more than ten minutes, I instantly regret the moment I have to stand up. I’ll probably squeeze in one more 5K sometime this week and other than that, it’ll be all strength training, foam rolling and active rest days.

I started this morning with some upper body and core work. I had a last minute opportunity to go back to Burning Man at the end of the month, which is one of the only times you’ll ever see me in crop top (if you should be so lucky), so now I feel pressure to work on my core. Realistically, I know not much can be done in three-ish weeks, but hey, it’ll make me feel better at the end of the Playa. Planks, crunches and hip dips for days. And on the note of preparing for Burning Man, as I started to pull out all of my costumes and supplies, I discovered I literally have a tutu for every color of the rainbow. This makes my heart so, so, SO happy.

An OMG Embarrassing Gym Moment

I’ve been waiting to write this blog since 5:45 a.m. (it’s now 9:01). I decided to start today’s gym session with a few minutes in the sauna as my quads are sorer than sore from running. I usually sit in the same spot but today I decided to sit there, then scoot over so I could lay out on the bench. Not only did I burn my ass when scooting, but I got caught on a loose sliver of the bench resulting in pulling a big chunk of the bench with me on the scoot and said big chunk impaling into my left butt cheek. OUCH! I couldn’t believe it. I stood up (thankfully I was the only one in there) and began pulling piece after piece out of my butt before realizing the biggest one was all up in there. As I reached in my pants to get it out, I removed my hand and saw that it was splattered with blood. More ouch! I walked out of the sauna to further investigate and was three seconds short of being caught with my pants down in front of the gym mirror staring at my ass. I cleaned up my mess, which included a giant blood stain on my pants in a place that could be confused for a girl who leaked on menstruation. On top of that, I now had a tiny hole in the butt of my $60 Nike pants. This morning started as a fail of epic proportions.

I had arrived at the gym no fewer than eight minutes ago. There was NO way I could just walk back out without feeling like someone would notice. PLUS, I did not wake my now-sore happy ass up at 5:15 in the morning just to turn around and drive back home. As I had spent the first 60 seconds in the sauna determining my work out strategy for the day, I now had to rethink squats and dead lifts to avoid the risk of someone noticing the blood stains when I bent over.

I walked upstairs to spend a longer-than-usual time on the bike because it seemed like a safe strategy and I could hide in a corner of my own embarrassment. When I decided it was time to move on, I got up from the bike, ass extremely sore, tucked my sweat towel in the back of my pants and tried to pull off some cool swagger look — realistically, no one probably noticed my incident or my swagger. I continued to the rower and any other machine that would allow me to sit in my shame. After 50 minutes, I was done.

When I got home, I was finally able to get a good look at my backside (it’s really hard to do so when you’re in a nervous frenzy and in a public space). I was probably in my head about the hole and the blood WAY more than I should have been. Thankfully I only have a small cut, and even more thankfully, I got my tetanus shot updated within the last year.

B. Robb and the 8th Mile

If you’re just tuning in, I’m training for the Reno 10 Miler. My last true race was May 1, 2016 when I completed my first marathon. Since then, I went through fitness struggle after fitness struggle, finding no true motivation and perhaps even losing my lack of love for running. Don’t worry, I read that happens to a lot of runners, I just never thought it’d be me. Signing up for this race, seems to have been just what I needed. However, I’ve been worried about whether or not my body would let me even properly train for it as right hip likes to come at me in all-out war similar to the end of last night’s Game of Thrones episode (spoiler alert, only not really).

I’ve been a week ahead of my training schedule as one day I just kept running so on the new schedule for this past weekend, I was scheduled to run eight miles. When I began training, I said that as long as I can get up to an 8-miler, I should be fine. So in essence, this was a make-or-break weekend. I started off broken thanks to some vodka tonics Friday night, which not only derailed my training plans, but also derailed my plans to not drink for a while (see: Portland trip). However, as punishment, I ended up at the gym after a homemade hangover breakfast and treated myself to kettle bell swings, hip thrusters, plie squats and other various booty breakers.

After that bit of torture (just kidding, it was actually a GREAT workout), I was determined to prep myself to run tomorrow. Also, the fact that I was neck-and-neck with someone in a Fitbit Weekend Warrior Challenge, really irked my competitiveness so I was determined to kick some cement ass the next day. Just like the old marathon training days, we went out for sushi later that night so I could get SOME carbs in me (still working on that “giving up” thing) and at 10 p.m., I hit the sack. Man, what a wild Saturday night. I normally don’t feel the need to wake up early to run unless it’s a work day, so to set my alarm to 5:15 a.m. on a Sunday was a pretty mean accomplishment. Not the waking up the next morning part, the actual setting the alarm part. I did almost hit snooze, but the thought of running eight miles in 100 degree heat had me on a hop, skip and jump outta bed.

When I realized I hadn’t charged my headphones the night before, I prayed to the running Gods that they would survive at least half way otherwise I’d be miserable without them. Luckily, they survived until I was a half mile away from being done and from there I just blasted New Found Glory at an appropriate “blasting music at 7 a.m.” volume. Hey man, I may be selfish, but I ain’t rude!

Anywho, I felt GREAT on this run. Very minimal hip pain, great stamina, great hydration and high energy levels. Not once did I feel like quitting. Not once did I try to walk… well, not once till the last quarter mile… but, why quit then? When I finished, I let out a big sigh of relief as I not only beat the triple digit weather, but I powered through in a mind-over-matter mentality and conquered my goals for the weekend… and then some.

The 10 Miler isn’t until August 13 so I may try for another eight when I’m in Sacramento next weekend – I do love me some lower altitude running. But we’ll see. I don’t want to push it for fear I WILL injure myself. But, as I sit here writing this, I’m really realizing that my passion is back. I’m focused, determined and ready to rock.

PS; I also won that Fitbit challenge… I apparently even intimidated someone enough to quit before it was really over. Whoops.

My Sweet Pawko Boy

Earlier this month, I celebrated my sixth “Pawkoversary,” as I call it – the annual mark of when I saved my dog, or he saved me, however you look at it. And while I missed the first six years of his life, I have made it my daily mission to ensure he enjoys the love and comfort he missed out on as a puppy. Runs, dog park visits, car rides, food, cuddles, toys, walks and just about anything he asks for. I am that sappy dog mom obsessed with having a photo of everything he does. I have a doggy cam that feeds him treats on my command (though this was only a recent addition to our lives). He is my baby boy. My Pawko Tawko. My “Mr. Sweet Face” a la “Jane the Virgin.” I’ve moved houses to make him more comfortable. I’ve ditched nights out to stay home with him. He has two beds (a downsize from three). He takes a good chunk of my income on the daily. And all I ask for in return is the “thump, thump, thump” sound of his tail against the garage door as he waits for me to come home from work.

I like to bring him with me on runs so he gets the exercise and I get the pleasure of seeing his tail wag and smiling face (yes, dogs smile… look closely!). He is a bit of a wild one on the leash, despite attempts at training, harnesses and the gentle leader and unfortunately was a contributor to my initial hip problems so I don’t bring him out as often as I would like. Plus, his age is really getting to him and a pup who could once power through and pace me for six miles, gets pooped before we hit three. When I was marathon training, I’d plan my longer runs so that I’d get home before the last mile and could pick him up for a quick jaunt that was newly-Pawko-sized.

A few months ago, he would not stop licking his front right paw. After investigation, I saw that it was swollen and red, and I could feel a lump under the skin which in return put an even bigger lump in my stomach. We had a vet appointment scheduled the next morning. I couldn’t even process what our fantastic vet at Animal Medical Center was saying before the water works began. Surgery. Just to be safe, surgery.

I didn’t sleep for the two weeks in between our first appointment and the surgery. I cried almost any moment I was alone. We were put on antibiotics which helped with the swelling and redness, but ultimately and to be safe, we had to get that thing out of his paw. The night before his appointment, with all the worst thoughts in my head, I said, “one more run,” and off we went. My champion, just hours before surgery, powered through three miles with his Ma.

Thankfully, surgery could not have gone better. He had a honey-comb looking lump in his paw that came back benign. His blood work could not have been better. My boy is once again, a healthy boy. If you’ve never picked up an animal after anesthesia, let me tell you – it’s an entertaining experience at the least. He didn’t know where he was. He had tear stains a mile long and his eyes were as wide as the sun. On our way to the car, he stopped in the middle of the road (literally) to take a nice, big, post-surgery poop. I had to lift his 70-pound body into the car and could tell he was nervous and confused. He stood in a crouched position the whole drive home and didn’t bark at the sights that would normally send him in a frenzy of excitement. But my boy was headed to the comfort of his own home and that’s all we could ask for.

To no surprise, Pawko gobbled up his dinner and rested comfortably on his pillow on the couch for the rest of the night. He was back to normal in the morning, aside from a bandaged foot. He was on a strict no-walks schedule for the first few days, and even after that, I made him wear a bootie on his paw when we left the house, despite it being completely healed. Dog mom things.

13086716_10100936944482778_6212359544455338679_oOn Tuesday, six weeks post surgery, we went for our first 5K. He was off like his champion self with his tongue in the air and ears flapping in the breeze, but after the first mile, he started limping. My whole body went numb as I watched him struggle to walk. Thankfully, that was all over in an instant. My hope is that he just stepped on something as he regained his pace naturally. Even before surgery, I could certainly see the age in his stride. And it saddens me every mile we complete together. But as long as he can do it, we will do it together. Nothing can replace that end-of-run happiness for either of us. Nothing can replace the look on his face as he tries to catch his breath and recover. His eyes say “thank you, I’m going to bed now,” and his pant has a pattern of “water, water, water, water, water.” I love my Pawko Boy.

 

 

 

 

A girl has no toe nail 

Title is in honor of Game of Thrones returning and in lieu of my post run scenario. 

Well, I did it. It sure as shit was not easy. I debated holding off until tomorrow but my other half insisted that I should stick to my plan otherwise it won’t get done. Thanks boo. I woke up earlier than planned and did my usual Vaseline in the crack and everywhere else routine. I didn’t have much in the way of fuel so I settled with a Lara Bar (unpreparedness #50). I had to procrastinate till my headphones finished charging but once they did, off I went. I started out slow because I could feel every ounce of beer and donut swish around in my belly. Or that could have been the cookies and kambucha from last night (don’t look at me like that, healthy food routine starts over Monday). After about a mile and a half, I was feeling pretty good and felt time was going by fast even though I was pacing a minute slower than normal.  Once I got to the three mile loop, I had to start really distracting myself. It was getting warmer and my hip and IT were starting to burn. So I present to you my random running thoughts episode … 16. Sounds right. 

  • I prefer running a start to finish vs out and back. I can so just turn around now and still get 5 miles in. No, go. Just to. Stick with the plan.
  • Mind over matter.
  • This is a walking / running trail, not a bike trail. Take your speedy contraption to the streets!! (Seriously, there are signs that say no biking).
  • I should add more *NSYNC to this playlist 
  • Where can we get pancakes later? Wait, dammit. Carbs. No carbs.
  • How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? 

As you can see, the further along I got, the more delirious I became. It was hot. I was lethargic. I did a little bit of waking. More than I would have liked to. My hips hurts. My toe is black and blue. My IT band needs a foam roller. And I tried new energy gels that came with my Runner Box that gave me no boost and left my hands a sticky mess. I’d tell you the brand but the wrapper is still in my running pack and I’m far too lazy to walk across the house to get it. Through all this, I can finish the weekend with a sense of accomplishment. I did it. Seven miles. Half way to a half marathon. In a few weeks, I’ll only have to run three more after that. I’ll be sure to have a lot less donuts and beer when that time comes. 

What goals are you setting this weekend? 

Reno Race for the Cure, October 15

On top of being a Publicist for three major casinos, I also am on the Board of Directors for Susan G. Komen Nevada. My grandmother was a two-time breast cancer survivor, making the cause near and dear to my heart. I am empowered every day by the incredible stories of strength, heartache, survivorship and love that I get to hear from our community and being a part of this organization is a true honor.

For that, I hope you’ll join me at the Reno Race for the Cure on October 15 in Downtown Reno. I have a team, Sara’s RaRa for TaTas, that you can be a part of and together we can work towards a world without breast cancer. If you are unable to make the 5K Race, I make a personal goal to raise $500-$1,000 each year towards providing breast health services to women and men in Nevada and to funding research for a cure. I hope you will consider helping me reach that goal – every dollar counts. Click here to donate. 

Susan G. Komen has a BOLD GOAL to reduce breast cancer deaths by 50%. We’re getting to half by breaking down barriers to quality care and by finding new treatments for the most aggressive forms of breast cancer. Join us in the fight against breast cancer at the Reno Race for the Cure on October 15. Register for the Susan G. Komen Reno Race for the Cure and start fundraising today. Be a hero; be more than pink. Visit KomenNevada.org/renorace.