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.”)

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 night’s 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 normally don’t feel the need to wake up early to run unless it’s a work day, so to set my alarm to 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, skip 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? 

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.)

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!

F@$% Running

I had the absolute worst run on Monday. EVERYTHING went wrong and it sure was a lesson against procrastinating. I ran out of time (and motivation) to do my 8-miler this weekend so I thought heck, it’s only eight miles – surely I can do it after work. Wrong. From the beginning, my calf cramped for two miles while my running pack kept falling off for four. I didn’t have any Advil left, my water was leaking all over my hip, I didn’t think I’d need an energy gel but alas when I wanted one, there wasn’t one. My knee cramped. My hip cramped. I got a new phone over the weekend that wouldn’t connect to my headphones for a good ten minutes and even worse, I have none of my music on there yet. Last but not least, I could only find it in me to walk/run seven miles.

I’m NINE days away from my marathon. NINE, PEOPLE. I know everyone has their moments, but really? This close to the race?

I’ve been trying to put it behind me since it happened, but I can’t seem to shake it as it terrifies me that all those things will happen come race day.

Race ready, blog not-so-steady

Hey you! Remember me? I’m the girl who wanted to blog about her marathon training and have alas made it this far, only to fail. But I guess its better to fail at the writing than the running.

There are fifteen days until my first marathon. I’m already starting to feel a post-race depression kick in. I feel it every time I work out. I feel it while I taper. What do you mean I only have to run EIGHT miles this weekend?! Ooh-wee, I’m leaving the vaseline and the GU at home, papa.

Two weeks ago, I finally hit the point where I knew I was ready. I ran 20 miles – the only thing that scared me more than the actual run. That day was phenomenal. The sun was out. My Honey Badger pre-workout did it’s justice and turned me into an unusual 6 a.m. chatterbox. (Seriously… do NOT try and talk to me in the morning). I had my traditional night-before sushi coma that was more delicious than ever. I slept well. My body felt great with no injury in sight. Everything went just as it was supposed to.

When training started, I vowed that each long run would be met with a new product test. This time, we worked really hard at the whole eating thing. I have never craved nor savored a bagel more than I did at mile nine (and I’m a Jew, so that says something). I was let in on a *spudworthy* secret at mile 12 and at the end, I devoured a hamburger, fries, three beers and two shots of whisky that numbed any cramp or pain that came my way. So, when a runner tells you they “run to eat,” it seriously is so very true.

After a two mile incline in the super hot sun, my running gal pal told me I should give myself a “whoop whoop” at the top. What came out of my mouth and what she actually heard resulted in my new mating call, my new holler and what you should yell at me any chance you get (like from the cheering sections on race day): “Jew Whoop!” While that’s not what I said, it’s fitting and Ann had every right to think I would come up with something so clever.

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As I sprint around some of the memories from that day, the one that keeps crossing my mind the most is the thought of being ready and how I felt it most in the last three miles. Truly, it’s because of the people I had with me that day. The ones who texted me every few miles to check-in, the ones who surprised me with a group Facebook follow, the ones who pulled over in the middle of the street to honk at me, and most importantly, the ones who ran with me. I have never felt luckier in life than I have since training began.

But also knowing that I’ve worked my ass off these last six months has left me with such a feeling of completion, even though I haven’t officially ran the race yet. I’ve remained committed. I haven’t quit. I’ve dedicated early mornings, late nights and weekends to accomplishing something I never dreamed I would do. Something I told everyone I would NEVER do. Something I am, now, GOING to do.

Fifteen days separates me. Each day I get a little more nervous, but each day I recall that feeling of being ready because I AM ready.