How Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson got me through a run

Here’s to hoping this humors you and makes your week a little bit better. If it doesn’t, it will at the least make you realize that in addition to being a badass, I’m also a weirdo. Or super cool. Whichever. Whatever.

In a year where I’ve already run over 300 miles, including a marathon, I’ve also already lost my distance training. Ya know what they say – “use it or lose it.” It’s true. And it’s not like I’m disappointed by it, I mean… hello, I ran a marathon. But I definitely didn’t think I’d struggle to get back to a 10K just three months later. Again, use it or lose it. I didn’t use it, so I lost it. I mostly didn’t use it because I’m secretly a really hot ninety year old woman who was nursing both hip and back injuries, so again, not disappointed.

As I persist to get back into a routine, I chug along, huffing and puffing, especially in the latter half of whatever distance I’m doing. My heart wants four miles and a donut, my body just wants the donut. Except on yesterday’s run, my heart (okay and maybe my body too), wanted Dwayne Johnson. Yes, The Rock. The People’s Champ. The Brama Bull.

What?

Hear me out. Running is monotonous. Running is long. Running tests all of your strength, both physical and mental. Sometimes to get to your goals, you have to think of weird things, or do boy band dance moves while everyone’s watching, or train yourself to play Words With Friends while keeping pace. Yesterday’s run embodied weird things. Like, how cool would it be if, on this trek of mine, I just randomly ran into The Rock? How would that go? Knowing me, it would start with word vomit and end with a really cheesy selfie where I look terrible and he looks like he hates the girl in the photo with him.

No, no… that’s not what would happen. What would REALLY happen is I’d be like “Yo Dwayne, I know you’re not from Reno so let me show you the course!” I’d give him the preface that I average an 11:30-12/min mile but don’t worry, I’m a marathoner. He’d give me the People’s Eyebrow and I’d assure him that yes, this size 14 curvy fit woman has run not one, but TWO marathons. Feeling confident he wouldn’t have to give me the People’s Elbow, he’d agree to stroll along and we’d become best running pals for life. (Side note, even though I grew up as a huge WWE fan who was in love with The Rock, I still can’t do the People’s Eyebrow.)

Two miles done.

While trying to keep my cool, I’d get consent from DJ to do a Facebook Live because you know, if this was really happening, I would need to make sure the whole internet world knew. My intro would go something like this: “You guys, I was just minding my own runner business when I caught up  with a familiar (literally) figure. Meet my knew BFF who I assure is not going to lay the smackdown on my candy ass.” Then angels would sing and I’d probably drop my phone as I moved the camera upwards to catch his face.

Three miles done.

As we trail along, we’d bond over our love for Kailua and protein shakes and how jealous I am that he got to film a movie with Amy Pond.

Being the social media king he is, Big D would want to put me on his Instagram and tag my running profile and that’s how I’d finally reach 1,000 followers on my Insta.  At the end, we’d high five and I’d introduce him to Pawko who would get to take his first picture with a celebrity.

Voila, four miles — done!

The moral of this story is that I probably don’t need pre-workout.

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?

 

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! 

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!

The Power of Ten

Happy New Year! It’s January 2nd and I’m still suffering from an NYE champagne hangover. I blame it on the fact that from Christmas till NYE, I got whatever cold is going around along with the fact that I need to realize I just cannot drink like I did in my early 20s. Needless to say, January 1st was supposed to be my first official marathon training day, but that did not happen.

Back to that cold thing… man – I thought I got off easy with just a terrible sore throat, but it got worse Thursday night, so I went to bed at 7 p.m. and literally could not leave my bed (except to go to the bathroom) until 9 a.m. Saturday. It was rough and I have never really been happier to breathe fresh air. Between that and a week of bad eating, my body is certainly feeling the repercussions. Everything from a food belly to an awful case of acne is happening, but of course, its time to kick all of that in the ass. As such, I was up dark and early to begin training with a three mile treadmill run and a one mile cool down walk. While it wasn’t my best due to the aforementioned circumstances, it felt a hell of a lot better than laying in bed all day.

As I enter 2018 with a positive outlook and a big goal in mind, I set up a few smaller, attainable goals to help me get there. Ten to be exact. They are daily action items that will keep me focused on the bigger goals ahead. And since you asked, here they are:

  1. No alcohol until Valentine’s Day
  2. Only black coffee or tea (no sweet, sugary coffees)
  3. No eating out unless previously scheduled or necessary for work
  4. Meet 10,000 step goal daily
  5. Go to sleep by 10 p.m., if not earlier
  6. Drink a gallon of water per day
  7. Take vitamins daily
  8. Take an Epsom Salt bath at least once per week
  9. Make extra time for stretching and foam rolling
  10. Make your shopping list on Friday and grocery shop by noon on Saturday

What’s your goal for 2018 and what are you going to do to get there?

Well, I did it…

Marathon number two is official.

In May of 2016, I didn’t think there’d ever be a marathon two. I said, “No way. Absolutely not. Never Again.” The rest of 2016 was spent without mileage boosts. I’d mostly (never) remember to go to the gym. The weight gain was fierce. The insecurities were arise. But no worries, I ran a marathon. That instantly makes me skinny and fit for the rest of my life, right? If only.

Then, come Fall 2017 I started to seldom say that if the right race came along, in the right place, at the right time of year, then maybe… just maybe I’d do it. This turned into, “okay, I think I’m gonna do it.”

A few months back, I happened to stumble upon a tweet from the Rock n Roll Marathon Series looking for bloggers. Thinking I didn’t have much to lose, and that it was likely a long shot, I took my chances and applied. About two weeks ago, the best surprise landed in my inbox in the form of being notified that I had been selected for the Rock n Blog team! As I scoured the list of RNR runs for ’18, the word “marathon” stood out like a sore thumb. It was my sign, my calling, my fair warning of lots of chafe ahead.

San Diego caught my eye and soon after, my ducks were in a row  – I had a good friend I could stay with down there, I could fly in the day before and back the evening after and not miss any work, the weather is seemingly always perfect and the altitude was on my side (seriously… going from running in the Northern Nevada altitude to sea level is always heavenly).

At approximately 4:30 p.m. yesterday, I did it. I made it officially official followed by Facebook official. In 2018, I’ll be running Marathon #2. Training starts 1/2/18.

Dear chiropractor, we’ll see each other monthly. Dear friends, I’m sorry, I can’t go drinking, I have to run 18 miles in the morning. Dear boyfriend, I’m sorry I have to go to bed at 7 p.m. to make my long run in the morning. Dear Pawko, hope you will enjoy the first or last miles of my run with me. Dear everyone else, I’m sorry you’ll have to listen to me talk about this from here until June 2.

#SorryNotSorry

 

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.