Project BQ – Marathon Training Week #6

dreams-hopes-poster-rhino-treadmill-unicornI was frustrated last week.  I was run down, burnt out, and just down on myself and my performance.  I feel like I’m always making excuses (it doesn’t matter how true they are…it’s just how it seems to come across).  Yes…I worked really hard in an Extreme Heat Warning…and clawed my way through two workouts that included some speed work.  And at the beginning of the week last week…my body said…”ENOUGH!”  And it was a huge struggle.  The worst part is when my body can’t do something physically, it mentally rips me apart.  I’m not good at dealing with things going wrong.  I’m not good at feeling like I’m not living up to my potential.

I am my worst critic.  I am very hard on myself.  And I know this.  It comes with the territory of being a Type A Virgo.  Perfection is all I know.  So, when things skew off the line…well…I pretty much beat myself up over it for a long time.

Well, my coach…I LOVE MY COACH…noticed this downward trend.  And when he sent me through my plan for this week, he assigned me 0 miles.  All I had were guidelines.  The distance, and most of the paces were up to me.  This…was the RESET WEEK.  I have never felt better for an entire week of runs than this week.  This was exactly what I needed to regain a bit of confidence in my abilities, the process, and learn to have some fun along the way.

My coach, Daniel, may be the smartest coach in the history of…ever.  So, let’s dive into this week, shall we?

Monday: INSTRUCTIONS: BASE RUN – COVER YOUR WATCH OR DON’T WEAR IT!

I discovered something last week when I did my tempo repeats on Thursday…if I covered my watch, I wasn’t stressing as much over pace.  I couldn’t judge it.  It was what it was…and it actually was good when I uploaded the data.  Right on target, even.  When I run tempo or speed with the watch uncovered…all I do is stress and get wound up.  This covering the watch thing…this works for me.  I have a little Nike sweat band that I got once to cover up my Garmin during The Color Run…and I dug it out again this week to wear…EVERY DAY…because this week was up to me.  I held my usual base pace  and smiled…a whole heap!  I ended up doing a full 7 miles at base pace and probably could have kept going, but I had other things happening that day.  So I fit in my additional hip strengthening exercises and met with Corey as well for my personal training session.  It was the perfect way to kick off the week.

Tuesday: INSTRUCTIONS: ANGRY RUN – THIS IS THE “GET MAD” RUN. LET YOUR FRUSTRATIONS, STRESSES, ANGER, FEAS, AND ALL OF IT COME OUT. BE MAD ABOUT ERIE. STOP AND CRY IF YOU NEED TO. RUN FAST IF YOU NEED TO. GO FIND SOMETHING TO PUNCH (I liked that part, LOL). DON’T RUN FROM YOUR FEELINGS – INVINTE THEM AND RUN THROUGH THEM. THIS IS THE RUN YOU GET TO HAVE ALL OF WHAT YOU’VE BEEN FEELING.  THIS IS ALSO THE RUN WHERE YOU LET ALL THAT GO. IT MIGHT BE FUN OR IT MIGHT SUCK. IT IS WHAT IT IS. DO IT. THEN WAKE UP TOMORROW A NEW RUNNER WITH A NEW MIDSET AND NEW APPROACH LEAVING ALL THIS CRAP BEHIND.

Deep breath, friends.  Because this run…this was actual therapy.  I decided to actually run this as if it were an actual temper tantrum of fit.  So, I headed out and did the first 2 miles as a warm up.  Because every good tantrum starts with a build-up.  After that, I ran quick fartleks each mile for 5 miles…using each mile to symbolize some stress, frustration, or part of my life that has been holding me back: cancer, my fall race debacle messing up a ton of my plans, friends who aren’t taking care of themselves, work, myself…and maybe a few other things that got worked in halfway through each mile.  It sucks when you don’t like how you feel because people make and actions and yourself make you feel like less of a person.  This run helped me work through that.  And I rounded it off with 2+ miles cool down…because every fit of anger and tantrum ends with a cooling down period.  I basically did a 15K that morning.  And I needed that.

Wednesday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.

Even with the permission to go longer, I actually made this a short, base pace, recovery run.  I did wear my watch, but as with the two previous mornings, I covered it and just ran comfortably.  I had the same pace as Monday when all was said and done…and was happy to keep it short and easy.  I stopped at 4 miles.  But they were 4 wonderful miles. I then decided that since I had the time, and Thursday’s run was up to me, I could FINALLY return to a Wednesday morning spin class.  I was SO happy being back in Michelle’s class.  Spin class is therapy for me.  It’s hard work, it’s challenging, but it’s a great non-impact way to get some more endurance in.  And since Wednesday is always Endurance Ride Wednesday…it’s my favorite.  I met with Corey later that afternoon for personal training.  We had to change up the original plan as he snapped the resistance band.  It involved a lot of squats.  Because he’s evil.

Thursday: INSTRUCTIONS: FUN RUN – PICK OUT YOUR FAVORITE WORKOUT…COULD BE ONE I’VE GIVEN YOU, ANOTHER COACH, YOUR FAVORITE FROM 5 YEARS AGO. IT CAN BE A WORKOUT GEARED FOR 5KS OR 10KS OR A MARATHON. WHATEVER YOU WANT – RUN IT!

I have never liked, loved, or enjoyed speed workouts.  Ever.  Not ever.  Not in the history of EVER.  So I was really stumped on this one.  But, when all was said and done and I headed out (watch covered) that morning, I set myself up to run Mona Fartleks. Daniel got me hooked on these from the first time he assigned them.  They’re actually kind of fun, and still challenging at the same time.  The basics: 2 mile warm up, 2×90 sec, 4×60 sec, 4×30 sec, 4×15 sec (with equal recovery after each at a pace faster than base pace), 2 mile cool down.  Got it done, putting in 7 speedy miles that morning.  Then I worked in the 2nd day of the additional hip strengthening exercises to my physical therapy stretches I do every morning.

FRIDAY: Always a rest day.  I slept in.  I took a shower.  I stretched.  I finished off the My Favorite Murder book, “Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered.”  I went to work.  I cooked.  I ate food.  I let my body recharge.  I watched “Designated Survivor” and then went to bed just after 8 pm.  I set an alarm so I could get up, stretch, put on sunscreen, and head out early for my long run…of no set distance.

SATURDAY: INSTRUCTIONS: RUN IN YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO RUN! WATCH IS ALLOWED, BUT TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS AND PROMISE YOURSELF NOT TO LOOK AT IT ANY MORE THAN 1 TIME EVERY 2-3 MILES. 10-20 MILES…I REALLY DON’T CARE!

I got up early and had a small bite to eat.  I stretched while I hydrated.  I lathered myself up in sunscreen.  I tied on my new Adidas Boston Boosts.  I fixed up my nutrition.  Anyone else loving Maurten?  I drank down the Maurten 320 Drink Mix and packed one of the Maurten 100 Gels to take with me.  Maurten has worked wonders for me.  No energy crashes.  No stomach problems.  It’s brilliant.  And I have had 2 very energetic and great long runs using it.  I’m sold.  So if any local peeps want my barely used container of UCan…let me know.  I didn’t know how far I’d run that morning.  I covered my watch.  I did a short warmup mile before hitting the actual roads and just letting myself go.  I told my roommate that I may have to call her to come get me if I decide I’m done before getting home. But despite hills and the hotter morning, this run was better than last week’s 19 miler.  And I only had to stop for traffic and at one point to make a tight turnaround.  That was it.  And I still had some in the tank when I made my way back to the apartment complex.  I ended up doing 20.25 miles…surprisingly at marathon pace.  And I felt so good.  I smiled.  I said good morning to people.  I was working, but I wasn’t straining, fighting, or dying at any point.  I needed this.  I needed this more than I knew I needed this.  I want running to always feel like this.  I need the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon to feel like this.  First 20 miler came early for me…but I feel good.  I felt good the rest of the day.  Walked the malls, did the grocery shopping, made dinner, stretched, foam rolled…yep…it’s good!  It’s all good.

SUNDAY: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! RECOVERY RUN!

With no expectations and no pace requirements, and a heavy heart from all the mass shootings this country is dealing with…I headed out this morning to chase the sunrise.  And that’s what I did, pausing at every mile (for the first 3) to take pictures of the sun coming up over the horizon and the cotton-candy sky that emerged from the dark night.  I ran the Fast Freddie course here…putting in 5.0 miles for the 50 states of this country.  Feeling blessed to wake up and be able to run easy, refreshed, and without care, when people are waking up and maybe missing their loved ones today due to a senseless act of violence.  With that being said, this recovery run was the last of my reset week and I enjoyed every step of it.  I needed this reset week more than even I knew.  This is why I hired Daniel.  He knew exactly what to hit me with this week so that I could shed frustrations, anger, and disappointment and find a new focus and really prepare myself for the upcoming weeks leading into the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  I feel better about it.  I feel refreshed.  I feel ready.

So today I have a bunch of meal prep to do and some things to get done around the apartment today…and await this week’s plan.  I’ll embrace the good…the bad…the hard and easy this week.  When you’re struggling…don’t be afraid to reset.  Don’t be afraid to build from the experience.  Come back to it feeling ready, refreshed, and with a laser focus on your goals.  Just don’t forget to keep it fun and enjoyable.

Okay…new week, new training plan.  Let’s go.

Confessions of a (Not So) Average Runner

I am a runner.  An average middle-of-the-pack runner.

Or so I thought.

That is…until I got deeper into the running community.  And I realized…I’m a bit of an anomaly in this particular fellowship.  Maybe I’m not so average.

Maybe I am actually a black sheep.  A unicorn.  I’m feeling more and more like a star trying to fit into a round hole (as my roommate so blatantly put it awhile back when I took a moment to whine about this very subject).

I am a runner…that didn’t run as a child.  No cross country or track in high school.  Basically my running in my non-adult years was the bases of a softball field.  IF I was fortunate enough to hit the ball.  I wasn’t much good at hitting.  I was a damn good catcher though.  Maybe squatting was more my thing.

I’m digressing.  Back on track…

I am a runner…that will never have some inspirational Transformation Tuesday photos.  If anything, my pictures tell a very different story.  I started running just after being diagnosed with Celiac.  My body was depleted of essential nutrients that it stopped absorbing.  My pictures show someone going from being tiny and maybe fitting that “fit” standard all social media aspires to…to someone with a little bit of meat on her bones and muscle tone that isn’t as defined because my body is healthy.  Maybe the scale tells me things I don’t like…but I feel strong and I feel healthy…and that beats a number on the scale anytime.

I am a runner…that didn’t start running to lose weight, maintain a certain lower weight, or to make my body smaller.  In fact…the more years I’ve run, the more I’ve weighed.  I keep hoping it’s muscle and not the desserts I love so much.  HA. (It’s okay, though, if it actually is the desserts because we all need to live a little!)

I am a runner…who didn’t take up running in place of other habits such as smoking or drinking.  I never took up this sport to replace some demon I was battling or some habit I was dispensing of at the time.  It was never my rehab.

Nope.  Much like Forrest Gump…one day, I just felt like running.

But what I have discovered is that this isn’t your typical running story…and in a sense, it has left me feeling like quite the outsider in a truly diverse community.  And it’s perplexing how I can be surrounded by great people…and yet still find myself running alone more times than not.  How is it that in a community that has every shape and size of person…I just don’t fit?

I think social media recently illuminated this light bulb and got me thinking on this particular subject.  Good or bad…the gears started turning in my head.

Awhile back…when lots of Transformation Tuesday posts were still fresh in my head…my local MRTT/SRTT social media post showed a pic of two of the chapter leaders and invited everyone to tag their BRFs (Best Running Friends).  And this is where it all clicked with me.  I have this great community all around me…and yet…I do 90% of my runs alone.

And this wasn’t always the case.  When I first started running, and after a big bridge repair happened and made going over to Louisville a lot easier, I started running Monday nights from a new running store in the Highlands of Louisville.  It was the Monday Fun Run and I showed up, the girl from Indiana, who didn’t know anyone there…and afraid I’d be running alone and get lost…had people to run with for the first time.  My first run, I met Courtney, who was kind enough to run with me and guide me around the Loop at Cherokee Park, because I was certain I’d get lost as I didn’t run in Louisville unless it was a race…and that’s marked out…and…and…she was awesome.  And she put up with my RunKeeper clicking off my pace and miles from my pocket…because I didn’t own a Garmin yet.  Courtney and I are still friends…and this store brought so many more people into my life.  Especially when I started training for marathons in 2013.  That Monday group invited me to come and join them on their weekly long runs as I dove into marathon training for the first time.  A large group of people met up at the running store (the store is gone now) every Saturday morning for long runs.  All paces.  All levels.  Everyone welcome.  As someone who met this group by taking a chance, I decided it would be a much more fun way to train.  I love running with people.  And from there…I gained a lot of friendships and running buddies.  I ran fast…I ran slow…but I always had someone to guide me through the process and take me the next mile week after week after week.

And keep me from getting lost in Louisville. (I actually do get lost…a lot).

But…these days I feel like I’ve lost all of that.  Many members of that group no longer run together.  Some have health issues that prevent them from participating in the sport anymore or for right now.  Some have just taken to training solo.  Some have outgrown the group because they’ve gotten superhuman speed or are doing triathlons so their focus has to be on other aspects.  Some are battling injuries.  Some are taking time away…for no other reason except that they want to explore other hobbies that they enjoy and need time to do.

And all of that is fair.  And fine.  We all have our own goals and aspirations and restrictions and limitations.

I am always game to run with people, but as someone who is known as one of the “fast” runners (I’m really not…but thank you!), I feel like everyone feels intimidated and doesn’t want to slow me down.

Insert my coach saying, “PLEASE…SLOW HER DOWN!”

The great thing about running is that it can be an individual sport, but it can also be a team sport or a sport that you can buddy up or form groups and make the miles tick away as you please.  Where I see so many groups out there running together, I feel like my training and my so called “speed” have left me more isolated than ever before.  And it sucks.  It sucks, because I am such a social person, and I love the social aspect of training with people and running with people, because that can be far more entertaining than waiting on the next beep from the Garmin watch, or simply getting lost in the sound of my footfalls on another empty road or my breathing as I run, perhaps, a little harder than I need to be for a training run…because my mind is now focused on nothing more than finishing another solo run.  It’s definitely more rewarding.

I probably sound like I’m whining…

I guess…being someone without a past in running, or someone who has dropped weight, or someone who has overcome addiction…I guess it just makes me a bit more of an outsider.  And, yeah, sometimes I’m jealous.  People with stories are the people who inspire others.  No one gets inspired by the girl who just one day decided to run instead of walk…and has had to battle back after some pretty bad (and always poorly timed) injuries…time and time again…because people usually give you the, “Oh…I’m sorry you got injured…again.” look or tone or whatever.  I don’t like being the person who gets told, “you’re so injury prone,” or that “You shouldn’t do that because it will make you get injured again.  You’re always getting injured.”  There was a time where that didn’t matter…but now it’s so ingrained in my head that I feel like pushing the limits in running will just lead to injury.  Funny how people can change your way of thinking…and make you feel like less of a person, even if that isn’t their intention.

Yep…I have been injured.  What runner hasn’t?  But, it seems that in the time I have had to take off from running was when my community crumbled and scattered and all that’s left are a few bits of the foundation…and, God, am I ever thankful for them.  Because, I’ve not had an easy time of it, regardless of what people think.  When you’re told by both your orthopedic doctor and your physical therapist that your body just isn’t built for running…but this is the one sport that you’ve actually been able to show up for, enjoy, and, sometimes, even be good at…well, stopping is not an option.

Not yet, anyway!

Through all of this…the very struggles that make elite runners feel human…is where I have felt the most lonely.  My comebacks have been slow, steady, and silent.  My setbacks have been disappointing to myself and to those I felt were counting on me to show up every weekend and run some miles with them.  It’s all a very internalized struggle that just recently showed me how very different I am from most people I know who are runners.

But I’m not an outsider.  I’m one of them.  I just came to it differently.  I fight for it differently.  I do it for different reasons.  And sometimes…when I’m digging into another mile on a long training run, I need to remember MY WHY.

It’s not always easy being an average girl, with an average build, who runs a rather average speed, an average amount of times a week, who has been pretty basic her entire life…with an average story…feeling anything but average in this life these days.

I’m okay with being average.  Just…tell me there are more out there like me.  Because I’m looking for you!

Reflections of a Recovering Runner

comeback01Slow.  Weak.  Broken.  Scared.

These are the words that describe me when it comes to prepping for and going out for any sort of run.  Whether it’s a race or a training run…or just an easy fun run to shake off a bad day or a extended period sitting…or even just an excuse to stretch the legs.  I feel like my mind has to work overtime anymore for fear of, frankly, damaging myself again.

Where once I would have used words like…Confident.  Strong.  Fast.  Free…to describe myself as a runner, I can’t seem to see that anymore in my running, my reflection, my ability.

Every run…is a mental and physical struggle for me.  I have to think about everything and still attempt to run…well.

Note the phrasing…attempt to run well.

Because every step I take on a run, I have to listen to the signals my body is sending me.  Does my hip hurt?  If so, is it because of speed…or incline…or form?  If so, am I overcompensating with the other leg?  Does anything else hurt.  Are my feet falling quickly and softly.  Is my cadence even?  Am I leaning back?  Am I heel striking?

It sort of takes the joy out of lacing up those shoes and going out.  PLUS…before I even get started, I have about 30 minutes of necessary PT exercises and warm-ups, and those are usually a good gauge as to how any sort of run is going to feel.  If my leg lifts hurt…you better believe my run is going to hurt.  And then the brain starts working overtime, doubting myself, thinking I’m just going to end up sidelined again.  Wondering…is it all really worth it?  What happens when the activity that you used to do so easily, freely, and with so much joy…mentally and physically drains you?

You press on!   Or at least, that’s what I do.

When it was bitterly cold, when there was snow, when it rains…I’m out on that sidewalk in front of my apartment doing all the plyometrics and warm-up exercises that my physical therapist assigned me.  Why?  Because taking another year off to recover from injury doesn’t sound appealing at all.  In fact, it scares me.  I have gone through a year of hardships, trials, and a lot of pain…and my journey is not over yet.  That being said, I’m not one to give up either.

What brings this up?  Well…tomorrow is one of my favorite races to participate in.  I had to miss it last year as I was…running the Boston Marathon.  Injured.  So, I would have had to miss it regardless…but…I have a history with this little 5K.

The Pro.Active For Life 5K is in its 10th year running.  And I have run it in 2012, 2013, and 2014.  In each one…I have placed in my age division and/or as one of the top 3 female finishers.  And…it is my PR 5K race.

And tomorrow, for the first time, I’m actually nervous about going to Frankfort after work to run in this race.  And it’s simply because…every run is day-to-day.  I feel good some days; I hurt some days.  There is no rhyme or reason to it.  And there are a lot of amazing, skilled, fast, and mad talented runners in Frankfort and at this race.  My legs are still weak from a year off…the hill repeats sometimes making me feel strong, and sometimes making my legs scream at me and my hip hate me for the next 3 days.  My speed…is not consistent.  My legs tire easily…or just refuse to power me through some runs.  Yes…even short ones.  And especially sprints…and I’ve never been a sprinter.

And all of this has been rolling around in my head this entire week since getting back from Florida.  I am not afraid of not placing or setting a new PR.  I don’t care about that.  I’m afraid of letting myself down.  I hold myself up to a certain level and expect a lot of myself…especially at races I’ve always performed well in.  But…it just seems daunting and impossible these days.  Because. my mind races through that checklist EVERY. SINGLE. RUN.

I have to work harder than before to run.  I have to work harder than most to be able to run.  My body, literally, is not made for it.  But I’m not letting it stop me.  I am a work in progress, for sure.  And it’s hard…and I know it’s possible that I may not get stronger, or better, or even faster…but I’m not going to stop trying.

I’m also scared going into tomorrow evening because I have a rather long run planned for Saturday morning…and I’m doing it solo…because people are recovering from Boston, or tapering for Derby or Flying Pig.  And that scares me too.  I worry about pushing too hard in the 5K and not being able to do my run on Saturday.  And, sadly, the run on Saturday is the more important of the two.  And this has been my struggle, my concerns, and my fears/worries since…well…I started running again.  But, it’s been weighing heavy on me for this entire week leading into tomorrow night.

I have lost a lot of confidence in myself.  I know that.  And I have lost strength, fitness, and speed.  But I have not lost my drive.  Running may feel harder…because, these days running is harder.

But I can’t stop.  And I won’t stop.

It’s okay to be scared…but I can’t let it take control.

This is my comeback.  It’s slow.  But it’s progress.  And for now, progress is all I can ask for.  The rest will…hopefully…fall into place.

Easter Treats

Last weekend I was out of town and was on the go the entire time (not a bad thing!), so sitting down and sharing some of the high points of my week was not an option.  And while I’ve been pressed for time this week…and with the fact that it’s Easter and I spent much of my morning doing meal prep for the week, and the afternoon over at Amanda & Richie’s for dinner with the family…it has left me with little time to really plot out my blog.

This week has been a big hot mess of fatigue.  My trip to New York City was amazing, but I was dead on my feet. I got in well after midnight on Tuesday, and still hauled myself out of bed early to get to my 5:30 am spin class on Wednesday morning.  I was exhausted, but I was glad I went.  Early mornings and late nights followed, trying to make up some time and work from being out of the office for 2 full days…and it all got done in the end, but it was some really busy, long days.

All that being said…there is plenty to be happy and thankful for this week.  And being tired due to having the opportunity and ability to go out of town and see places and do things…is more than enough.  It makes the overwhelming fatigue that I felt yesterday worth it.  In the end.

So, here are a few treats to share this Easter that just made me happy this week.

1. NEW YORK CITY

It was my first actual distance race back after returning to running after over a year.  A half marathon.  It was one that I had to defer last year because of the hip labrum (which we didn’t even know was the issue at that point).  The chance to run it this year had me feeling nervous and excited and happy all at the same time.  The weather was bitter cold and super windy (what’s new, NYC?!), but every mile was magical for me.  I felt good.  And definitely surprised myself when I came in to the finish line well ahead of what I thought I was capable of.

But this was more than just the race.  I got to meet up with my friend Ellen (who was also running) the day before the race.  And…I got to see my friend from high school, Marisa, not once, but twice.  I love seeing Marisa when I am in the city.  She knows all these great places to check out and has suggestions about things to see when we are in various areas.  I drank in every bit of NYC…enjoyed amazing food…great company…and yeah…went on a little run.

Finishing the race was a gift in and of itself…finishing it faster than I thought I was capable of…a surprise…being uninjured at the end and able to wander around NYC for the rest of the day…a blessing…hanging out with good people who make my life better…priceless.

Can I go back now?

2.  Gluten Free Easter Treats
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My allergen-free bakery is at it again for the Easter holiday.  They often do up a good number of Easter treats, and this year they had some new ones to indulge in.  You better believe I ordered some of everything.  Two egg sugar cookies, 2 chocolate bunnies, and 6 sunbutter chocolate truffles.  I’ve already indulged more than a little.  As always, Annie May’s Sweet Cafe makes the most delicious treats.  They go all-out for these holidays and I’m proud to support them and indulge myself in the amazing goodness they put out on a daily basis.  If you are in Louisville, Kentucky…you need to stop in.  Their gluten-free pizza, soft pretzels (only on Wednesday) and all their standard goodies…are fantastic.  You can even order some of their stuff online.  DO IT!!

3.  Back On Track With Home Cooked, Fresh, Vegan Meals
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While I am never one to deny myself good food and treats while I am on vacation…often the week I get back, I’m living off the stuff in my fridge and my pantry.  This morning, I enjoyed spending 3 hours of my time prepping healthy, plant-based meals for the rest of the coming week.  I have soups, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and some rice dishes planed.  All healthy.  All vegan.  All completely and totally YUMMY!  It feels good to get back to cooking my delicious and healthy foods up again to enjoy for (sometimes) breakfast, lunch and dinner each day of the week.  Easy to enjoy as I do all the work ahead of the time.  Makes those crazy hill repeat days and spin class days and just…hectic days that much easier.  Cooking is love.  Eating is fun.  And this kind of food makes me feel better about myself and how I am fueling and feeding this body.

4.  Zootopia Dress and Officer Judy Hopps
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While in NYC, Cathy wanted to buy me a present for finishing a great NYC Half Marathon race.  So…I thought about getting the stuffed animal from the Disney Store in Times Square of Officer Judy Hopps in her uniform.  She is apparently very popular…they kept selling out.  Judy is apparently very popular.  So, we ended up getting her back in our Disney Store in Louisville.  Super happy.  I love her.

And then, later on that day while making a random stop at Target, I noticed a dress in the girls section of Zootopia.  It was totally adorable.  It was also an XL.  And I held it up and thought…”I wonder if this would fit me.”  Well, I took it to the dressing room, so ready to be disappointed…but…IT FIT!!  So, I bought it.  Yep…I’m 35 years old and shopping in the girls section.  Seriously…I wore the dress today with some leggings.  TOTALLY adorable.  So much love for Zootopia.

5.  Glow In The Dark Easter Egg Hunt

I love my downstairs neighbors.  They’re the best.  They are also moving…(seriously…this bums me out!).  Not far…but they won’t just be a staircase away anymore.  Anyway, they invited Cathy and I out for a glow in the dark Easter egg hunt on Friday night.  I had SUCH a blast.  So much fun.  I’m so glad they thought to have us out so we could hide and seek eggs with them, and their adorable and awesome son as well.  Yep…it’s going to be hard to let them leave.  But, we’re already talking about all the get-togethers we’ll still have.  And girls nights.  Those are important too.  It just will involve some drive time.  We’re totally making this work.  Anyway…glow in the dark anything is awesome.  Easter egg hunt…a total blast.  Even in the cold night air.

6. A New PR

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It was one of those runs that I end up running faster than I feel I am running.  The Papa John’s 10 Miler felt so EASY to me.  The hills are always hard…but I climbed them.  I beat them.  And I had so much left in me at the finish line.  AND…I had a new 2 minute PR…in a race I was just running as I felt.  I wasn’t trying for a PR or trying to run fast.  It just happened.  Even with the hip protesting for 8 of the 10 miles.  I am shocked and surprised.  But what a feeling.  I hope, one day, to feel comfortable to push like I used to.  Right now, running what I feel has shown me that I still have more in me.  One day I’ll harness it.  I’m just not ready yet.  But a new PR is a new PR.  And I’m proud of it and happy to have it.

Life is sweet…and hopefully only getting better!!

How was your Easter week?

Never give up!

If there is one thing this journey has taught me, is that being afraid of doing the thing you love is not okay…yet it is a constant struggle with me these days.  So…I will just leave this little reminder here…

…for me…

…for you…

…for anyone who is still chasing their dream, despite setbacks…

…NEVER GIVE UP!

Whatever it takes, keep going.
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Looking back…and looking ahead…

I am, literally, a few hours away from entering 2015.  It is often a tradition of mine to lay out my mileage goal for the upcoming year.  I did this the past couple of years, surpassing my goal the first year…and falling short in 2014.  I had hoped to run 2014 miles in 2014.  Then, I was injured for about 3 months, and running wasn’t even an option.  So, with my final run of the year logged this morning in the bitter cold (my water bottles froze)…my total mileage this year came out to be 1543.86…leaving me exactly 470.14 miles shy of my goal.

I hate it when I don’t meat goals.  It’s aggravating and my perfectionist Virgo self doesn’t handle that well.  Not one bit.  This goal was definitely obtainable…until my foot was injured.  So, this year…I’m doing something a little different.

No mileage goals.  I can’t handle another year of disappointment should I, once again, fail to meet them.  Part of having goals is obtaining them.  In 2014…I just couldn’t hit the mark.  It was impossible when I was out for as long as I was.

Get used to disappointment, right?

The thing is…I’m not built that way.  This girl is a go-getter.  This girl is a fighter.  This girl likes results.  This girl…is literally falling apart these days.  Not physically.  But mentally.

You know that book PostSecret?

Well…I have my very own RunSecrets to share…

RunSecret #1

RunSecret #1

 

RunSecret #2

RunSecret #2

 

RunSecret #3

RunSecret #3

 

RunSecret #4

RunSecret #4

 

RunSecret #5

RunSecret#5

 

RunSecret #6

RunSecret #6

So…there it is.  A look into what has been rolling around in my brain as of late.  I’ve slowed down.  And, I won’t lie…this bothers me.  It bothers me a lot.  I feel like I lost quite a bit of fitness and endurance when I had to take a hiatus from running.  So…this coming year, I don’t want to set myself up for failure and disappointment.  So, I have a few simple goals in mind:

  1. Remain injury free
  2. Run the hell out of the Boston Marathon
  3. Try out a new distance
  4. Travel far and run there
  5. Eat better
  6. Train harder, but smarter
  7. Run with different people at different paces – challenge myself!
  8. Remember that can’t run like anyone else but me…so stop comparing my speeds against my peers
  9. Run a race on my birthday with some friends to celebrate going up an age division
  10. Have more confidence

Overall, 2014 wasn’t a bad year for me.  But it sort of just brought about new challenges and some very unexpected rough spots with my running.  But, there were high points too.  And I came out of 2014 with 6 marathons under my belt, bringing me to 8 full marathons total.  I became a Marathon Maniac.  I learned how to push myself to my limits in the Dopey Challenge at Disney World.  I deepened some friendships (you couldn’t even begin to know how much a text or phone call from my friend Kelsey would lift my spirits during my injury) both on the roads and off.  I discovered that marathon running slows you down.  I spent a few great races with some of my best friends cheering me on from the sidelines.  My grandpa finally got to come to a race and see me run.  I only wish I had been in better shape at that point (foot injury was not completely healed).  I ran a mile with my 8 year old nephew.  He’s amazing.  I ran a half marathon on a broken toe.

The difficult part leading into 2015 is going to be overcoming my fears and learning how to just focus on me and not compare myself to others.  I can only run as well as I can run.  I can’t run like anyone else.  What I have lost in speed and fitness…I will gain back.  It might be a slow process…but I’ll get there.  If there is anything I learned about myself in 2014 it’s that I’m tough…and I am determined.  I’ve just fallen a bit off track.  But with a little focus and a lot of self-control…I’ll get back to where I’m comfortable.  I might even overcome some of my fears.

For all of you who have stuck with me…thank you.  Here’s to a wonderful 2015.