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.

 

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! 

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.”)

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.

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.

Here we go! #MotivationMonday

I simply can’t fathom that Race Week is here. Every workout, every short jaunt and long sprint, every chafe, every Nuun tab and all the carbs all lead up to this. Aside from the whole nutrition and extra rest yada yada that will come this week, my goal is to wrap up my final thoughts into this blog because until now, this week was nothing but a dream. A so far away dream that is now here and I’ve already pinched myself a thousand times since waking up this morning.

#MotivationMonday comes in the form of thanking everyone who inspired me and carried me throughout this journey. I can’t even when it comes to listing you all, but to Scott for the sushi dates before long runs and being patient when I had to give up a big part of our weekends, to Marysa for always checking in on me and cheering me on from the PNW, to Ann for your coaching and companionship, to Randy for bragging about me to everyone at work, to Mark for engaging with all my posts and always sending encouraging texts, to my family for forgiving me when I had to train, to Evven at Evoke for helping me reach new feats in strength training, to Pawko (yes, my dog) for helping me stretch and finish out many of my last miles, to New Found Glory for your upbeat and fantastic music that I could blare through my headphones to find my happy place at mile 13, to wheat toast, bananas, peanut butter, ibuprofen, Honey Badger, GU, potatoes and water for the energy boosts, to Frankie for the honk-and-waves and tweets, to Allie, Elizabeth, Margarita, Nancy, Kristen,  Brandy, Mary, Bridget, Kris, Ray and Lara for liking every single one of my social posts (yes, I noticed!), and to my body for toughing out through injury, soreness, laziness, lethargy and whatever other obstacle came my way these last six months – thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

In all seriousness, I really wish I could list every single person and thing that has helped me out along the way and please know that if you even so much as acknowledged that I was running a marathon, you were a part of this with me. You motivate me because I don’t want to let you down!