Global Sports Bra Squad Day

This semi-rebellious yet whimsical and giddy lyric from “I’m Ready” by Jack’s Mannequin has been stuck in my head since Saturday:

“When did society decide that we had to change and wash a t-shirt after every individual use: if it’s not dirty, I’m gonna wear it.” 

When did society decide that we needed to wear t-shirts and cover ups because of a few tiger marks and bread rolls dawning our bodies? When did society decide that we couldn’t just wear what makes us confident? When did society decide we couldn’t be confident in what makes us comfortable? And most importantly, when the fuck did we get ice cream? (Name that movie).

I had the honor of participating in a meet-up for Global Sports Bra Squad Day on Saturday thanks to two fearless organizers. The idea of the run was to do the jaunt in your sports bra – no matter your size, shape or what-have-yous. I’ll admit that I was very apprehensive to go for a run in a sports bra, but my goodness, once I saw the forecast for the day, I was all about it. Actually if it weren’t for my pacing partner of the day, Rebekah, I probably would’ve cowered at home in my PJs before suffering from some severe FOMO. Leaning on each other for support, both of us stepped out of our comfort zone, no fucks given.

19429980_454471681600068_8731960823867391023_nAs I had a hot date with Lake Tahoe later that morning, Rebekah and I met up early to get started on our 5K. How’d we fight our insecurities? Like Forrest Gump, we just sta-rt-ed-run-ning. Along the course, messages of “You are beautiful” and “This is what strong looks like” were sprinkled every so often. It wasn’t long before we got onto the topic of how both of us work out, eat (mostly) healthy, drink (mostly) beer – so why did running in our sports bras make us uncomfortable? My stomach certainly hasn’t seen the light of day…pretty much ever… but yet I’m a gosh-damn marathon runner. I know I’m strong. I know I kick some major ass. Why the discomfort?

People. That’s why. From high school bullies making sumo-wrestler impersonations as I walk by, to bullies online asking me if I can even see my feet when I look down, to the woman who birthed me (she doesn’t deserve the ‘m’ word) straight up calling me fat… yeah, it’s been said to me, it’s gutted me and clearly, it’s shaped who I am today in both good and bad ways.

We finished our run just as the rest of the group was starting – about 15 GORGEOUS women of all sizes rocking their sports bras, sending big middle fingers to anyone or anything that’s ever made them feel insecure. It was empowering, motivating and a message for anyone who saw them out and about. 19437432_454471664933403_5332829303010991259_n

And you know what else? I paced about a minute faster than I have been and could’ve gone farther. I also determined that more runs need to be done a la sports bra. So suck it, insecurities. Suck it, injuries that have slowed me down. I’m back with a goshdamn vengeance.

Shut the Carb Up.

For years I’ve had this agonizing stomach pain that was just as annoying from the pain perspective as was from the brain. It just makes its way into my body whenever it feels like with no true way to relieve it. None of my doctors seemed to have an answer for it, despite multiple tests taken and thousands of dollars spent. I’ve been to the ER for it, I’ve had to quit or put-off working out because of it and I’ve had to spend many nights hurled over in bed from the pain. I finally went to a Gastroenterologist, who seems to think my body doesn’t process carbs, garlic, tomatoes or anything acidic at a normal pace. So, the chubbarita (thanks Emily) in me instantly died a little inside when he told me I needed to give these up (or at least restrict them… basically the same thing to anyone who loves food, amiright?!). But actually, the first whine out of my mouth was, “BUT I’M A RUNNER!!” Despite the fact that many of my reactions are, this is not an exaggerated claim.

This was about a month and a half ago – I’ve gone about 75% carb-free and still get the stomach pain, but not nearly as often as I used to. Now that I plan to up my running mileage though, I predict another obstacle to add alongside insult and injury. What am I going to do when I need to run in the double digits and I can’t have my wheat toast with peanut butter and bananas (also another item he added to the ‘give up’ list… I know, I … I KNOW). The doctor’s response was to focus on protein intake, but I still find myself very lethargic when working out. What’s most upsetting is that it puts a dent in all of my nailed down race/training routines. But I guess it’s good to throw complacency out the window… or something.

I thought I’d put a call out to all my readers for their advice on this one. Does carb-intake affect your running routine? What do you do in lieu of? This blog was meant to make people feel like they are not alone, myself included, so lemme hear ya!

(PS; also on the list of can’t-haves: hot lemon water, ibuprofen/advil, gum or mints. So, sorry in advance if my skin isn’t glowing, I’m in a lot of uncontrollable pain and my breath smells.)

So how exactly do you start over?

You do. You just do. You get your happy ass out of bed at 5:30 a.m., you lace up, you procrastinate a bit, but then you go. You just go. I have started over at least 12 times since running a marathon. But you know what? That’s okay. It means I still care. It means I still have goals to achieve – and I do – but failure is a part of every success story.

Those close to me know that my job has brought on a crazy, ever-changing schedule, endless great meals including free peanut butter cookies always at my finger tips and a slew of stressful-just-want-to-sleep nights. But you know what? Not an excuse. I set out to prove that to myself last week when Festival Season kicked in. I set a goal to workout or hit my 10,000 steps every day, stay on track with my food, get a lot of sleep and hydrate and you know what? 90,000 steps later, I did it. I even managed to have a social life after a few 10 hour days. Fast forward to post-festival and I erased all that hard work. So you know what I did this morning? I started the fuck over. I grumbled and groan as my alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. but three miles later, I forgot about the “dammits…” that ensued as I was risin’ and not-so-shinin.’

At mile one, I told myself “it’s never too late to start over.” It’s cliche but so damn true. So I may have had a pastrami Reuben sandwich (work lunch, I promise) and some gelato the day before (not a work lunch, piss off), but before those slip-ups got out of hand, I knew I needed to step back to zero and just run. Just run.

Going forward, I plan to increase my runs to 2-3 per week, with a lengthier one on the weekends so as to work my way up to the Reno 10-Miler. It’s a lot closer than it seems, but I have faith I can kick some ass.

My other obstacle ahead is learning how to fuel for longer runs without carbs. I’ll save that story for another day…

Hey, I was once a blogger.

To sign up or not to sign up. That is the question that’s been roaming through my head for the last 13 months. I’ve missed the miles. The medals. The milestones. I’ve slowly tried to become a runner again (yeah, yeah once a runner always a runner). But truthfully, I haven’t gone a single month with more than 13 miles logged since May 2016. It’s hard. I never believed it could be. During my entire training process, I never thought I’d want to quit once I was done. But my body was tired, and sore, and frankly just didn’t have the will. When this year started, I thought I’d reset and refuel. And while I’m consistently at the gym (give or take a week here and there), I’m still struggling to face the course. I re-injured my hip in April to the point where I thought that the looming hip replacement was going to come 30 years early. My weight, like mind, has been complacent despite any healthy efforts.

While doing a blacklight boxing class yesterday (yes, as cool as it sounds) I decided – here’s where that changes. The second my paycheck clears tonight, I’m signing up for the Reno 10 Miler. I’m also signed up for the Reno Race for the Cure (join Sara’s RaRa for TaTas today!) I’m craving, itching for that double digit run SO badly. From there, perhaps another half marathon, maybe some more blogs in between.  And perhaps that’s where you come in. What questions do you have? What do you want me to write about? Go ahead, post below and let me know! I’m here, happy to help. Not an expert, but I’ve lived, breathed and trained the pavement so you can consider me the generic version. I’m the Great Value to your Kraft.

2016, the year I ran a marathon

Subtitle: and gained 20 pounds of fat post-race.

As I look back on this year of one of my greatest, if not the greatest, accomplishments, I beam with pride. As I look at this girl now, in front of me, with no motivation and even less muscle than when the year started, I wonder what happened to that motivation that so aptly came with January 1, 2016. While I know post-marathon blues is a real thing, I also know (and convinced myself pre-race) that I am better than that.

I find myself starting over every day. I’ve convinced myself that I’m at least making a conscious effort. I’ve forced myself to work out, if even only two or three days a week, I make my salads for lunch, even if I have a cookie to go along with it…or two or three… I know I need to go back to my routine and my healthy habits, and I know I’ll get there – I just find my head spinning in circles as to when that will happen as I quickly undo years of hard work. YEARS.

Evoke’s 30 Day Challenge, I very impatiently await my return to you.

Better late than never.

Three months ago yesterday, I became the 1% – a marathoner, a person who has run 26.2 miles, a goal achiever, and the absolute best version of myself. The days, weeks and months after led to a lot of contemplating, nostalgia, laziness, pride, a return to self-doubt, and feelings every-which way. It was hard for me to sit down at a computer and write about May 1, 2016 because every time I did, so many emotions came about. I just couldn’t find it in me to do it, to get all the feels out on the screen and to share with everyone how amazing that day went. I can’t explain why, and I’m not even sure I know myself why, but know that every step I took that day (just over 50,000) was met with accomplishment, gratitude, tears and thirst for the finish line. I finished in five hours and 43 minutes – just shy of the six hour limit. I was number 92 out of 100. And at the finish line, waiting for me was a group of people to whom I’m forever grateful for (and a box of donuts).

Aside from crossing the finish line, the most imperative part of that day was at mile 23 when a complete stranger was waiting for me to give me the pep talk of a life time. He was tipped off by my friends who knew I’d need the encouragement. He gave me gummy bears and told me that in just three short miles, I’d be something forever – a marathoner – and that I will only get to be a ‘first time’ marathoner just this once. All I had to do was run aid station to aid station (which was a lot harder to do when one discovers that the next aid station was shut down early). He let me know it was okay to cry and yip and holler, but I had to finish the race before I truly could. When I crossed the finish line, a friend was on the phone with him and he was one of the first to congratulate me. Stranger (who’s real name is Michael), to this day, you’ll never know how crucial that moment and your pep talk was to me.

Writing this is bringing back all the feels. My eyes are watering as I replay stand-out moments, as I think of turning that last corner and being cheered on by more strangers, letting  me know I was almost at the finish line. The entire 26.2 miles was met with such support, people honking from their cars, aid stations asking how we were holding up, friends texting along the way. I will never forget that day, no matter how delirious I was at times or how much my vision was blurred by the tears in my eyes. I can’t imagine a moment in my life where I will be more proud of myself.

Fast forward to present day and time – I have found it hard to get myself back on track. I’ve gained weight and lost muscle. I’ve enjoyed one too many delicious meals. I’m ready to be the healthy me again, the strong me again, but maybe not the runner me just quite yet. Yesterday, three months post marathon, I restarted my journey with a healthy eating and exercise program. I look forward to regaining my confidence and fitting in my clothes again, to not being so tired and grouchy all the time, and to making and meeting new personal goals.