B. Robb and the 8th Mile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Sweet Pawko Boy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

A girl has no toe nail 

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

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

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

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

What goals are you setting this weekend? 

Reno Race for the Cure, October 15

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

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

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

 

Runner Hacks

I’m writing this on five hours of sleep with a 2:50 a.m. alarm. Today was one of the rare, but ‘part of my job’ days where I had to be at work at 4 a.m. There are certain triggers that make me my most productive, most creative or most delirious. Today is a little bit of both and the trigger was being up before the sunrise. The other big trigger is when I’m sick. Seriously, 8 p.m. on a Friday and you can bet your ass I’m on the couch with a glass of wine on my third hour of binge-watching. But, strike me with a nasty cold and I’m waiting to accept my tenth mission from the chore-gods. I deliriously digress…

As I was sitting in a meeting yesterday, we got off-topic and started talking about working out on lunch breaks. YES, it sucks to get back to your desk and be a sweaty, hot mess the rest of the day. YES, it sucks to slip back into your work attire from said sweaty, hot mess. But when it’s 5 p.m. and you realize you can just go straight home because you got your fit girl on instead of your fat girl on (we have the most irresistible peanut butter cookies in our employee cafeteria…) it makes all the four hours of gym smells worth it. In said discussion, I went on and on about my lunch time workout hacks, when finally a lightbulb went on. “Hey! I should write a blog on that!”

So here you go. 6 Lunch Time Workout Hacks (so there’s no excuses).

  1. Baby wipes are not just for babies! I love me some green tea or aloe vera-infused Huggies. While nothing is as good as an ice cold shower after a sweaty betty sesh, a nicely scented wipe down can get you through the 4-5 hours you have left in the day.
  2. Pack your hair dryer. Now, I know you aren’t washing your hair in the employee bathroom sinks, but your hair will be wet from perspiration, as will other areas. Use the cool setting on your Revlon 5000 to eliminate any moisture. A small desk fan can be helpful, too.
  3. Freshen up with some dry shampoo, pack your foundation for touch-ups and don’t forget to carry a travel-sized deodorant and some perfume to re-apply post workout.
  4. Bring some dryer sheets or foot powder for your work shoes. Either will absorb the sweat and eliminate the stink.
  5. Pack extra underwear. You may have read before that I’m pretty particular about my undies when it comes to working out. If I’m going to workout at lunch, I have a pair to workout in and a fresh new pair for when I get back into my work clothes. Trust me, it makes a huge difference.
  6. If still doubtful, remember that even a 30 minute walk is great for your heart. Bring some tennies (don’t hate on the pencil skirt and Nikes look) and explore the walking areas outside your workplace. You won’t get quite as sweaty, your makeup won’t smear and you never know what new discoveries will come about.

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.)