Marathon 2

On June 3, I became a two-time marathoner. It wasn’t without challenge, chafe or crisis, but it was with pride, power and pep. It wasn’t the race I wanted, but its a race that, at the end of the day, I am proud of.

Since I am a Rock n Blogger for the Rock n’ Roll Marathon Series, I decided to sign up for the Remix Challenge, which is a 5K one day in addition to the full or half the next day. I told myself I’d walk most of that so as to not put too much stress on my body or risk a freak accident that would stop me from being at my best the next day. But, in true me fashion, I ran the whole way and killed it with a 10 min/mile pace (I’m normally 11:30-12 min/mile). I spent the rest of the day in recovery and relaxation mode, fueling up on carbs, enjoying Porto Vista Hotel’s spool (spa jacuzzi pool) and straight up Netflix-and-chillin’ in my hotel room. I was determined to awake the next morning in a calm and motivated state.

Since I traveled to San Diego for the race, I purchased a VIP pass so I had somewhere to eat breakfast, get coffee, stretch and hydrate pre-Race. While shoving a bagel down my throat, I saw the one and only Boston Marathon winner Des Linden hanging out on the other side of the tent. I tried to finish scarfing down my meal so I could go take a selfie with her, but I sadly missed her by seconds. Still, being in her presence was one of the most motivating feelings I could have pre-race. “Run like Des,” I told myself.

I made my way to Corral 22 hydrated, fed and stretched. Normally I like to jam to some New Found Glory when I’m nervous, but I didn’t want to waste my headphone battery pre-race as I knew I’d need the power-through songs towards the end.  Instead, I made a few friends – some returning marathoners, some first-time marathoners. We shared our stories as we waited nearly an hour after the first corral started for our turn. At about 6:56 a.m., I was officially en route on marathon number two.

828418_278303175_XLargeI vastly underestimated the number of hills that were on the course and they started right from the beginning. What did blow me away was the amount of course support there was from the City of San Diego. Everything from costumed strangers with motivational signs to a full on stretch of bars set up outside of people’s houses. Around mile 4.5 I enjoyed myself a shot of tequila, a swig of beer and a few jolly ranchers (the whiskey leprechaun was sadly on the other side of the street). Little kids were high-fiving everyone who would accept and neighbors thankfully set up their hoses to help runners stay as cool as possible on a wicked hot day. I kept myself occupied just at the sheer curiosity of what would be around the corner on the next stretch of road.

At about mile 10, the crowd thinned as the marathoners and half marathoners split courses. I had spent the latter half of the race headphone-free so I could enjoy the conversations, cheers and live music, but as the course became more and more desolate, I knew it was time for my “26.2 songs to get me through” playlist to be cranked.

During my training, the half-way mark seemed to be where my downfall would begin, no matter what distance I was aiming for and that was no different for this race. My feet were so sore I could feel and count at least three blisters on each foot. It was hot. SO hot. I felt well-fueled, well-fed, well-hydrated, but the heat and hills still took a toll on me. I did everything I could to just enjoy the surroundings, what I was about to achieve and the thought of what was at the finish line. I had great friends and family cheering me on and coaching me as best they could from a distance, my favorite bands were blasting in my ears and I was in beautiful San Diego. Of the many messages replaying in my head throughout the long course, “only half marathons from now on” was definitely one of them.

As I approached mile 22, a police officer was moving a course barricade. He then proceeded to tell us the race was over and the course was being shut down. “What do you mean?? We have two hours left to finish!!” “There’s an active shooter downtown.”

In this day and age, that is my biggest fear. Every concert, festival, special event I go to, I am met with that fear. I blew up in water works and called my family and my boyfriend to let them know that I was in a safe spot. We were being re-routed to the mall and a shuttle would come pick us up. Despite safety, I was mortified by the thought of not finishing. I did not spend six months training for something to be destroyed by this god-forsaken society we are currently living in. By some stupid schmuck. By today’s new norm. Fellow runners saw how distraught I was and comforted me. Thank you, strangers.

Luckily enough, the situation was quickly controlled and unrelated to the Race with no injuries at play. About ten minutes later, we were back on the course and met with the amazing news that we would be able to finish. However, the break was my downfall. I spent so much energy crying and fearing that it completely killed any stride I had left. I knew the last 4-ish miles would be the biggest challenge, especially with the MASSIVE hill that was miles 23-24. Literally all up-hill, at the end of the race, on the freeway, with no shade. It was brutal. I feel like whoever conquered that that day, should get a medal just for beasting that portion. The brightside was that a good majority of the remaining miles was downhill – but at that point, I was so beat-up, blistered, chafed and burnt that mostly-walking was how I kept going and “just keep moving” is all I could tell myself. 828418_278213763_XLarge

As I turned the corner to see the finish line, a little over a quarter of a mile away, I got that final burst of energy and off I went. Six hours and twenty minutes later (including the potential active shooter lull), I was a two-time marathoner. And thanks to the Remix Challenge, I had three medals to celebrate it with. And some pizza, beer and uber-delivered ice cream sandwiches.

 

When You Know Something Will Suck and It Really Does Suck.

I have officially survived all of my extremely long training runs. An upcoming ten miles sounds like a breeze, but I am terrified of 26.2 of them. Over the weekend, I barely made it to my 20 miler. I cried. I struggled. I hurt. I doubted. I still finished.

On Saturday, I didn’t want to talk about it. On Sunday, I still tried to process it. Today, I am still recovering from it.

I did all the things I needed to do. From stretching, to hip strengthening exercises throughout the week, to good sleep and water, but still, I suffered. But secretly, I had a feeling it would be that way. All week, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to conquer it. And I let that thought in my mind win. My hips felt off balance, my hamstrings were tight, even my upper body felt like it was in suffering. If I didn’t have a friend by my side, I would’ve quit by mile 15. Goddamn the convenience of Uber. No pep talk I gave myself lasted more  than a half mile. No food or beer motivated me enough. But ultimately my heart was too stubborn to be damned not to finish.

Mile 20 was a few steps from my front door. As the door swung open, I fell to my knees. I crawled to my bedroom floor. And I cried. I wallowed. I pitied. I couldn’t even be proud that I finished it because I wasn’t proud of how I finished it. My lower back was on fire. The arches of my feet were numb.

I continued sulking in my sorrow by soaking in my bathtub. I cried when I couldn’t get the faucet to switch from the shower head. All I wanted was to lay in hot water and pity myself. There was a burning question in the back of my mind and as I finally set into the sea of epsom, I asked it – Am I going to be able to do this? What am I going to do on June 3? I don’t know if I’ll be able to do this. Up until now, I was so confident in myself as I knew if I did it once, I could do it again.

Though I didn’t want to talk about it, there were a few friends that forced me into it. Many helped me believe that I should be proud that I did the 20 miles and that they are now in the past. One told me that a bad dress rehearsal means a fantastic opening night. Others didn’t know how much I was hurting inside and out and instead just helped me celebrate.

While I’m not physically ready for the next run, mentally, I need it for my sanity. To prove to myself that I’ve got this. That a bad run is ok. That I’m a bad ass mother fucker who CAN and WILL get to that finish line.

One Month and Counting

Seriously? Al-fucking-ready? Training for marathon #1 seemed like it took a decade.  This one, is right around the corner. One more super long 20 mile distance training run stands between me and feeling done with the training. The test of all tests is already on the horizon. While I’m ready to have my weekends back, I don’t feel I gave up all that many. I’m ready to have a little less chafe on my inner thighs but given its getting warmer and I’m wearing shorts more, I’m probably bound to get that anyway. I’m ready to cut back on my carbs but we have yet to do our traditional sushi carb load. Marathon #2 is one month away. One more month.

Having connected with more people on Instagram this go-around has made this journey more excited and uplifting. I’ve loved the conversations that have transpired both on and off line from people following the journey. And seriously – it holds me more accountable than anything ever has before. Gotta do the damn workout do get the damn ‘gram pic! (I’m also slowly becoming a pro at selfies and timer pics).

I’ve been getting asked a lot about how running affects my body – everything from how my knees feel to weight loss to time consumption. My body aches – of course it does – there are days where I’m taking 30,000 steps before 10 a.m. There are days I forget to put vaseline on my boobies and they get chafed up from bouncing around for 45 minutes. There are Friday nights where I go to bed at 8 p.m. to be up at 4 a.m. to be out the door by 5:30 a.m. and to not return until 10:00 a.m… AND THEN …. I’m in bed the rest of the day because I don’t want to (see also: can’t) move another muscle. And no, I’m not losing any weight, I won’t lose any for the next month, and in fact, I’ve gained weight. My diet ranges from clean eating early on in the week, to heavy eating by the end, to recovery eating and celebratory eating. It’s hard to stay consistent because every day I’m preparing my body for something different. (PS; Check out the latest podcast from ‘300 Pounds and Running‘ titled “Why am I Gaining Weight While Training” for more perspective on this).

Hey, if you’re reading this – I’m in search of some new bottoms for my marathon – whether it be capris, shorts or a skirt – I want something with a rad print / color and high waist (because….gasp…. I think I’m going to do the run in my sports bra….hello first stomach tan since I was ….never).

What am I missing? The speed of my training just feels like it isn’t real yet. Will it ever?

What advice do you have for me and #2?

What do you want to know more about?

 

I Run and I Do Things

As the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon draws near, running is one of the only things on my mind. From planning training routes to buying new shoes and thinking of my race outfit, to ensuring my travel plans are all in order and thinking of my pre-race to-dos like a trip to the chiropractor, a pedicure and a trip to Reno Running Company to stock up on Honey Stinger Waffles and Sport Beans. (Side note: most of this equates to spending money which is my number one anxiety tick. Help me, I’m poor.) For the next six-ish weeks, when Facebook asks “What’s on your mind?” or an acquaintance wants to make small talk, the world will only hear me speak of running. Running to the store, running over the weekend, running through your mind, running to the toilet to vomit because marathon #2 draws near….

Which is why I sat down to write about the ‘other’ things. The other workouts that have made me stronger, the other goals I have for a better race day, the other things that will fill the next few weeks of my life… I don’t JUST run. I don’t run every day. Hell, some weeks I run twice, including my long distance run. See… even when I have intentions to do or write about other things they always equate back to running. Everything comes full circle during training but there are very, very few things in my life that I’ve worked as hard for and all these things show that. But still… I want you to know the ‘other’ things:

  • Cross-train. I’ve been doing a lot of leg presses because, quite frankly, they make me feel like such a BADASS! Just today I PR’d at 180# for 50 presses. After that, I did 5 rounds of 100 jump ropes and 20 bicep curls with 15#. Other favorites include rows, squats, shoulder presses and battle ropes. I’ve been really consistent about my 5 a.m. wakeup calls for things other than running and all of the different exercises have seriously aided my body – faster pace, less injuries and more stamina. I still shock myself every time I pace at a 10 minute mile (only on shorter distances…) but I know its because I’m really working hard to strengthen my entire body.
  • Sobriety. I’ve spent most of this year sober but birthdays, concerts and vacations have fallen back-to-back over the last two months and that affects my weekend productivity and even into Monday. I have one more fiesta on the books but after that, its a dry zone for me until race day. (Friends, don’t take it personally if you don’t see me the next few weeks).
  • Walk my dog. Cuddle my dog. Talk to my dog. Love my dog to pieces. Enough said.
  • Self care. I’ll be upping my chiropractor visits just to make sure I’m on my game. Epsom baths will become more frequent. A massage might be in my future. I’ve also been trying like hell to get my skin to clear but I’ve always struggled with adult acne and that shit is powerful right now. I’m trying out a few new things in hopes something will get it under control.
  • HEALTHY EATING. I was doing SO well with paleo at the beginning of the year but between carb loads and previously mentioned birthdays and vacations, I feel like I’ve fallen a bit off track. I’d really like to focus on upping my greens, curbing my chocolate cravings and seriously cutting down on weekend gluttony. I haven’t checked the scale in a few weeks (which is seriously liberating) but with a Hawaii trip post-marathon, I’d love to see it lower than it has been in years (and last I checked, I was almost there).

I truly did have other intentions for this post but sometimes the words just come out differently (and like the nerve vomit, word vomit is another nervous tick of mine).

SIX WEEKS…. AHHHHH.

 

Halfway there, halfway chafed

I’m in a temporary rut – one of exhaustion, hormones and with a lack of motivation. This week I have been nothing short of tired, no matter how much sleep I get. But I keep envisioning that June 3rd goal, how important it is to me and how amazing it will feel when it’s complete. I do have successes to reflect on, so I’m turning to this post to do so.

On April 8, I ran my first half marathon in two years! I traveled to the Bay for the Rock n Roll San Francisco Half Marathon, complete with great friends and my ultimate running partner. The day we drove in, the rain was a torrential downpour. Fingers and laces were crossed that it would clear up by Sunday, but until then, we had a two mile walk in Hurricane Half Marathon to get to the Race Expo. I love that we’re able to bring our guests to enjoy some of the Expo perks and I loved even more that Blue Buffalo was one of the vendors. I legitimately walked out of the Expo with more goodies for my dog than myself, which was great because I knew he was going to be pissed at me when I got home (see: Mamma’s Boy). Walking through the merchandise area gave me chills and it was the first time I had gotten nervous about the race. I decided on some retail therapy and got a beautiful teal commemorative tanktop that eventually went great with my race medal. 29873128_589164891464079_981320735037531872_o

We stayed at Club Quarters in the Financial District and it was a runner’s dream! Not only was there FREE WINE every day from 5p – 6p, but each floor had filtered water stations and each room had a yoga mat and resistance bands, plus access to fitness classes and a gym complete with Peloton bikes. Plus, the staff was super nice, there was electronic check-in, free laundry and an attached restaurant/bar. If I was in SF for business or just to be away, I could definitely see myself staying there for a few days without ever leaving (seriously, even my UberEats driver walked into the lobby instead of meeting me curbside).

On Saturday, we went to the birthplace of Irish Coffees at Buena Vista and aside from the finish line, this was the best part of our trip. To eat, you basically had to hover around other people until they got up from their spot and you could sit where they were. Luckily we made friends with an older brother and sister who allowed us to join them and another pair of strangers for breakfast. You would’ve never of guess that we had never met. It was like one big happy family at a breakfast table for the next two hours – sipping on Irish Coffees, compliments of the other couple, laughing, chatting, throwing things at each other (no really, I accidentally threw food on an old man’s crotch) and of course, enjoying some amazing, AMAZING food. I had a crab cake benedict that was perfectly crisped.

From there, we walked some of the course, said hi to the seals and eventually made our way back to the Expo for some last minute supplies and a less wet experience. Oh, and yes, the weather cleared and it was absolutely perfect. For dinner, we stumbled upon a restaurant down the street from our hotel called Mangia Tutti. Since working for an Italian family, I’ve become somewhat picky about my pastas and other delicacies. But everything from the wine selections to the bread dippings to the homemade pasta and authentic Italian waitress, was incredible. It was so nice to sit around a table and enjoy good laughs, good food and good company, all to ease the nerves of the Race morning. But alas, the sun was setting and it was time for me to get in my race preparations.

Fast forward to 4 a.m. when my alarm went off – I did all of the usual stuff – toast with PB and banana, Nuun, stretching, more Nuun, trying to poop, failing to poop, freaking out about not pooping and leaving before I pooped. I grabbed an Uber to Pier 39 as I was lucky enough to get VIP from the Rock n Roll race. I was also lucky enough to get to post to the RNR Instagram Stories all weekend which was SUPER fun and I squealed when I saw that some of my posts had almost 10,000 views (PR geek moment). As I was waiting for my friends to join up with me, a fellow Rock N Blogger recognized me and immediately invited me into the runner family. It was really awesome to meet face-to-face with some of the fellow runners I see on Instagram on a daily basis and that truly was one of the highlights of my trip.

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Ok, go time. (Literally, I finally pooped just before the Race started).

I ended up finishing the Race strong but slow coming in at 2 hours and 50 minutes. A lot of that was due to stopping for the bathroom or mostly to take photos of the most beautiful course I have ever run. You guys, I RAN ACROSS THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE. And the weather was perfect, sunny and most importantly, especially in SF, clear. The views were some of the most incredible I have ever seen in my running days and my heart was just beaming as bright as the sun. My running pal and I stuck together for the majority of the race, talking and motivating, all to pass the time. By mile 11, I was ready to be done so I sped up a bit. I had been suffering from sore feet all week and a cramped calf from walking the hills which had me super worried about my performance all weekend. At the mile 12 marker, my foot started to go numb and I literally yelled out “Please, no, not now.” And it worked. The Running Gods heard me. The .1 of 13.1 was a steep downhill to the finish line which had runners crossing at top, powerful speed. Crossing that finish line was one of the best feelings I’ve had in recent times as I’ve ached so badly for that feeling. I so missed that feeling. I so wanted that to be the outcome of this journey.

And now… on to 26.2.

Get to the ‘Gram!

I hope you’ve been following along with me on Instagram as I’m MUCH better about sharing and conversing on there – definitely better than once every other month.

Training has been going fairly well. I celebrated my 30th birthday earlier this month with a trip to Disneyland and a cruise to Ensenada. I skipped a long run, ate all the churros and drank all the tequila. Worth it. Pre-trip, I was down 12 pounds from January and feeling better than ever. While I’m still struggling to get fully back on a diet plan, I’m at the gym every day and running when I’m not. I’m finally over double digit mileage, running further than 10 miles for the first time since Marathon #1 in 2016. It felt great to accomplish, but was a challenge to complete. I’m doing much better with strength training on my own than I ever have before and can see a real change in the shape of my body, even if the scale isn’t showing that. I’m more confident about my mid-section than ever before and I think I’ve finally shook off all of the gym self-consciousness I previously had. Dead-lifts next to a super fit bikini competitor? No problem. Bench rows next to a hot dude? I’m hotter (joking… you get the point).

What I’ve noticed this training go around is that I’m no longer nervous about those long training runs. I know my body, I know I’ve done it before, I know I can do it again. My biggest obstacle is just to keep my focus, lace up my shoes and get going. Seriously – some days the hardest part is just getting out the door. Yesterday, it took me two hours post-alarm to finally get the ball rolling… or the feet moving rather. I did everything from Candy Crush to laundry to telling my dog how handsome he is (an every day thing of course).

One thing I need to do is to take back control of my nutrition and my carb-loads. The last two long runs, I enjoyed some delicious BBQ from a local restaurant, but woke up with such a sour stomach that I completely messed with my run. On my 10-miler, I had to call my boyfriend to come pick me up and take me to the nearest bathroom. Yesterday, part of the delay was to let my stomach settle so I didn’t have to do that again. While I’ll still eat delicious tri-tip burritos from the restaurant I won’t mention, it’ll have to be when I’ve got no place to go. Or… actually… all the places to go, no miles to run.

The chronological order of this post is all over the place and for that I apologize. Also over the weekend, I tried out my first trampoline class at EZ Air. It was so much fun, it didn’t even feel like a workout! And we were doing BURPEES on TRAMPOLINES! The most challenging part for me was lifting my body out of a foam pit and onto a balance beam. It really tested my upper body strength but made me feel macho by the completion. I’m excited to check out their next class on April 14 and hope that my local friends will join me in on the fun.

Next up, I’ve got a half marathon! I’m super excited to be traveling back to San Francisco in 12 days for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon. SF was the location of my very first half so I’m sure it’ll be an emotional race for me as I think back to the runner I was then and the runner I am now. I was bummed that race didn’t go over the Golden Gate Bridge, nor could we even see it from the course (because, fog) but this time, we get to go over and back on the iconic monument and hear some rockin’ bands along the way. Anyone out there racing with me?

Signing Up For Your First Half Marathon

It’s been a while since I’ve officially raced a half marathon (just a little over two years to be exact) but Rock n Roll San Francisco is just around the corner so its time, once again, to suck it up buttercup. While my end goal this year is full marathon number two, believe it or not, 13.1 still makes me nervous. As I pondered the race this morning in the shower (you know, the place where we ALL get our best ideas), I thought back to my very first half marathon, which ironically, was also in San Francisco. What did I do to prepare? What would I have done better? Why did I decide to eat an entire bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on the drive home afterward? (See also: why WOULDN’T I do that?!)

I remember having all of the questions, and none of the resources. Running was still somewhat new to me so I didn’t have too many friends that I could reach out too. Of course, there was the internets, but who reads blogs and trust strangers? Thus, I present you with some helpful tips for preparing for your first half marathon.

  1. Picking the race: go with a run that includes some fun! Pick somewhere that you’ll have to travel to, but not too far or tricky to get to. I’d go with a place you are somewhat familiar with, but will still present you with some new scenes to pass the time on your run. That’s why I went with San Francisco – it was a short 3.5 hour drive from home that I had been to a few times, but hadn’t seen enough of. I knew how to get there, could plan a strategy around booking a hotel and the finish line and had a few pre and post race restaurants already planned out.
    • Part two: One thing I love about the Rock n Roll Races is that there’s always a free concert that coincides with it. At my first RNR, I got to see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis before the race and was so pumped on the show that it fueled the rest of my run! Find something that has a fun component to it. Tiffany necklace? Beer garden at the end? Running through Disneyland? This just gives you some extra motivation for getting across that finish line.
  2. Pinterest allllll the training plans. Seriously – look at a few and decide which one is most feasible for you. I tend to go with fewer short runs during the week, one long weekend run and three to four days of strength training. Why? Because it better protects my hips and I don’t get burnt out from running as quickly. The best way to figure out what will work for you is to just go for it. There’s nothing wrong with changing your plan to better conquer your challenges and Pinterest is there to help you get it done! I guess I am too – so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need help picking a plan.
  3.  Buy a new pair of running shoes. DON’T be like me and think you can run long distances in $30 sneakers from Payless or classified “running” shoes from the Nike Outlet. Take an hour to visit your local running or sports specialty store and ask someone to help you find the perfect pair. My life (and my feet) changed the second I stepped foot into Reno Running Company for some new kicks. The right store will analyze your running style, narrow down the type of shoe you need and even try and find something that fits your style (hello purple and pink Mizunos).
  4. Make a running playlist. Making a new one of these has been on my to-do list for a while. My personal computer recently died and with it went years and years and years of my favorite songs. What’s left of it, are my iTunes purchases and a very minimal list. Thanks to Spotify, I’ve been able to at least quickly select some playlists made by others (Punk Rock Workout being my favorite). Pick out 20-30 songs that make you dance, smile and move and group them together. They’ll keep you going along the way and help you pace out your miles. Don’t be ashamed to add whatever it is that will get you going – remember, this is for YOUR ears and feet. (queue Esther Dean’s “Drop It Low” in the background of my life).

I’ll never forget that last half mile of my first half marathon. I cried, I pep talked, I even picked up the pace. It helped that a fireman in a tuxedo was waiting at the finish line with a Tiffany’s necklace for me, but that’s not why I’ll never forget it. Me, who at her heaviest was 263 pounds, was conquering the world. My hope for every aspiring runner is to have their finish line moment, there are few things in the world quite like it.

Sign up for Rock n Roll San Francisco, April 8 in the Bay! Use the code RNRRNB2018 to save $15 on registration. See you there! 

#FuelYourPhenomenal – January Runner Box

Just to get some technicalities out of the way – I pay for my Runner Box subscription every other month and this is a totally organic, thoughts-are-my-own, post. I’m a real sucker for subscription boxes. As I prepare for a few travel adventures and home improvement projects this year, I actually had to scale back and cancel a few of them to save some cash (sorry, Birchbox… Ipsy beat you this time). Of course because I’m training for the Rock N Roll San Diego Marathon, Runner Box was definitely not on the chopping block. (Side note, use the code RNRRNB2018 to save $15 on your RNRSD registration!) To break up the monotony of “here’s how I trained this week” or “here’s the stomach pain ruining my life today” posts, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite and not-so-favorite items from the January Box.

Favorites:

  • Alllll the snacks. I am currently living off of a 90% paleo diet (still eat Greek yogurt), so I’ve been very focused on reading every ingredient of everything I purchase. This month’s R Bar was my favorite snack of the bunch. It was peanut butter and jelly flavored – how could I object?? Peanut butter anything (especially with chocolate) is my weakness. R Bar is dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free and non-gm with just three ingredients that make it rock.
  • Vermont Village Vinegar Shot. I used to take apple cider vinegar daily because of its many positive health effects, but as I slowly discover what’s too acidic for my body and thus causes pain, I learned that the beloved ACV is one of the perpetrators. This product, though, is a 1 oz. shot of ACV with blueberries and honey, which helped to cut the acidity and of course make it more delicious. The other night, I was feeling quite sore and inflamed, so I thought this would be a good time to test the shot (man, now that I think of it… I missed an opportunity by not taking it in a shot glass. That’s 34-day Sober Sara talking.) Anyway – the next morning, I definitely felt some of the swelling in my hip go down, but that could also be attributed to foam rolling and an epsom salt bath.
  • Biena Chickpea Snacks – I was on-the-go all weekend and slipped these in my purse, knowing I’d get hangry. They were very filling and a great healthy snack for the movies – though I was jealous of everyone enjoying their wonderfully-smelling buttered popcorn.

Dislikes:

  • RunGum – I used to have a daily routine of a piece of gum on my way to work but when it was suggested that this habit might contribute to my stomach pains, I quickly (but sadly) cut that out as well. It’s another one of those things (like ACV) that I will have every once in a blue moon. So, a piece of gum that provided energy for a six-mile run seemed like a great time to be blue. Wrong. This stuff was terrible! I had a “mint” flavor that was more like a gasoline flavor. The texture was also very rough and never truly squish-ified (solidified felt like the wrong word) for a normal gum experience.
  • Endurance Tap Natural Energy – Okay, I’ll admit, the product gave me a great energy boost, but it was maple-flavored, and I loathe anything maple-flavored. I’d certainly be open to another flavor!

I really do love my Runner Box and especially opening my mail to the motivational quotes included on the box and many of the products. Oh! This month’s box also included a monthly calendar with runner-focused quotes and important race dates. It’s hanging on my wall!

Happy running this weekend, folks! For me, its a quick four miler before I get my first cheat day of the year thanks to the Super Bowl – ahem – “Big Game.” Go JT!

Last Week Was Fun and I Never Want to Remember It

I know its only the fourth week of 2018, but so far, I’ve felt a focus and desire to reach my goals more than I ever have before. This has included making it to the gym every day I said I would, making my meal plans and sticking to them, taking my vitamins, etc. But then last Monday happened and although I felt incredibly discouraged by it, today I write this as one last send off to its past.

After a delicious, paleo, in-the-diet-plan, homemade dinner on Monday, I started getting severe but intermittent sharp pains in my abdomen. By about 8 p.m., I had my head in the toilet. And it hardly left there all night. I’ve been through something like this before, which I thought was just food poisoning, and it usually goes away within 12-15 hours, so I decided to stay home from work and get some rest. I hardly moved all day, unless it was to hurl or grimace in pain. I couldn’t drink water or even eat saltines. I couldn’t walk to let my dog outside or feed him dinner. I knew if I went to Urgent Care, they’d send me to the ER. I didn’t want to go to the ER because I’m still paying for my last trip in October 2016. 

More than 48 hours later, it was still happening and this time worse than ever. I finally decided to go to the hospital Wednesday night where I was checked for possible appendicitis. After lab work and a CAT scan, thankfully appendicitis was ruled out. The hospital gave me some heavy pain medication which was worth the trip in itself because I went from “I’d rather be in Hell right now” to “Maybe I can get a decent night sleep!”

My labs did show some things which I’ll be following up with my doctor on this week, and my body has certainly felt weak while in recovery. I was getting winded after simple tasks like doing the dishes. Whether this is related to the mysterious pain I often get, I’m not sure. But it did give me more ideas on what to ask my doctor and hopefully I can kill two birds with one stone.

It took a few days for me to get back to the gym but I am determined to continue on the accomplished path that I started the year out with. Yesterday, Pawko and I did a well-paced four miler that was a great accomplishment for us both – me after the week from Hell, and he at his farthest distance in quite sometime. We were quite proud of ourselves, and earned our Epsom salt bath and belly rub rewards respectively.

Here’s to a brand new week and here’s a  to last week.

I See You Looking at Me…

That’s it… 112 is officially going on my running playlist.

This weekend I conquered (more like struggled through) six miles. I’m feeling the soreness in my hips from upping my mileage and focusing on my training, but I’m also working on strengthening and stretching that area so it doesn’t become a common problem. Between mile three and four, I had a bit of wreckage with my run and kept having to walk, stretch, adjust my gear and basically avoided getting back on pace. Once I got over that little hump, I stayed focus on the finish line for the remainder of the run and felt great once I reached the end. I made a promise to myself that I could spend the remainder of the weekend relaxing and resting without feeling guilty, and such is what I did.

As I was trying to pass time on my run, I couldn’t help but notice the different type of eye contact and reactions I had from drivers along the way. I often wonder what exactly they are thinking as I run towards them and they drive past me. I’ve gotten smiles and waves and honks and even a few middle fingers. Yep. For whatever reason, multiple assholes have decided giving the girl trying to push herself to be her best, a big ol’ bird from behind the wheel. Like, can you really smell me from there?

So I present to you, driver reactions to distance runners on the road:

  • The woman smiling is rooting me on because she knows how great and healthy I’ll feel when I finish
  • The older woman switching lanes so I can have more room on the road is silently shaking her fist at me and saying “damn kids.” She also apparently thinks I have a sign on that reads “wide load.”
  • Mischievous teens are impressed that a girl my size looks so bad ass in running shoes and a tank top in 50 degree weather
  • Fellow runners honk in jealousy because they wish they were out on a jaunt (I know this one is true from experience).
  • Non-runners are wondering why I am running on the road, in the bike lane, against traffic – no its not because I’m running from a monster, but so I can see you (looking at me).
  • If my dog is with me, EVERYONE is oogling at how handsome he is in his bowtie with his tongue sticking out and freedom blowing his ears back.

To be quite honest, I have a few more that I could list here, but I’ll save those for one-on-one conversations with people I know won’t judge me for them. I hope the above made you laugh, because while I aim to provide you with interesting, motivational and informational content, I also aim to make you smile in the interim. Have a great week!