Posts Tagged With: beer

2014: Looking Back Before Looking To 2015

2014 was pretty epic. I accomplished and experienced things that I never thought I would or could. I also failed. More than once. I surprised myself with both the successes and the failures. I had a LOT of fun. I met a LOT of people.  Since this is the time of year that we make our goals for the upcoming year, I felt it was important to FIRST look at what the past year held and remember what I learned from those experiences.

EPIC:

Um, heller….did anyone say, “BOSTON MARATHON”??? The mostest epic-est, awesomer-than-anything and favorite part of my year and running life altogether was being a part of the athlete field in the 2014 Boston Marathon. It took me many years to get there, and to realize that dream was the ultimate epic experience. This got the diamond crown.

I got the medal.

I got the medal.

EPIC BUT NOT AS EPIC AS BOSTON BECAUSE BOSTON IS PRETTY DAMN EPIC ON ITS OWN:

I was able to PR in both the 5k in January (21:13) and the half marathon in February (1:40:15) as a part of marathon training. I was pretty damn happy about those times, too.

I learned how to train my ass off.  During Boston training, I never missed a workout. Ok, I never missed a running workout. Zero. I missed one swimming workout the entire training cycle. ONE. I learned how to be devoted. I learned to not make excuses. I learned that in order to become the runner you want and know you can be, you have to work and work hard. I learned how to go the extra mile. I did that, and I’m really proud of the work I did. I know I was capable of running an amazing race in April, which is almost as good as actually running that amazing race.

Beach 2 Battleship 70.3 – 6:03      I learned about being a triathlete. I looked fear in the face, cuddled with it for a while, let it whisper sweet nothings into my ear, then kicked it’s ass out. I learned how to swim better than I did before, I learned how to open water swim, I learned how to ride my bike in between swimming and running, and I learned how to run after swimming and biking. It was epic. And I’m going to do it again.

Almost to the finish of my first tri, B2B 70.3.

Almost to the finish of my first tri, B2B 70.3. It looks like my knees are stuck together.

I had fun.  Running is really awesome. But it can become competitive for me, and the ability to “just run” a race diminished. So that’s why I decided to do an endurance triathlon. Well, I had one on my radar for a number of years, but I needed to do something different and NOT be competitive. It worked, and I had a total blast training for and competing in the 70.3.

Mott’s Channel Swim – I entered and completed an open water swim race. Pretty proud of that, mostly because I would have laughed until I peed myself had you told me two years ago I would do something like that.

After the Mott's Channel Swim, a 1.3 mile open water race.

After the Mott’s Channel Swim, a 1.3 mile open water race.

The 10×10 Challenge. Ten continuous miles for ten days in a row.  I learned that it’s definitely doable to complete this challenge in July, but not advisable. I can’t wait to do this challenge again. It was an epic feeling and quite the journey in itself. Try it, you just might learn something about yourself.

Post-Challenge

Post-Challenge

Coaching. I found that I really love coaching. I’m learning a lot about it, and I know that I want to keep doing it. Being at the 5k with those boys made me feel like a momma hen watching her chicks fly for the first time. It’s a really cool mix of pride, excitement, and nerves.

Here’s the video I made for my Stride boys.

FAILURES:

I hate to admit this, but there’s usually something good that comes from failure. I think we all know this, especially as athletes. I’ve had a lot of good things come from the hard work and dedication that I’ve put into my running and triathlon training and races. I’ve also had some pretty big fails. But with a little distance, I can see how the failures have done me good. Dammit.

I’ll start with the little one. I got a pretty big PR (4 minutes) in my half marathon in February. So you’d think it’s all good, right? No, I was pissed. I got a 1:40:15, but I could never see the success in THAT because I was too busy being pissed that I was only 15 seconds from getting a sub-1:40.  I wished I had pushed just a second or two faster, that I had put my head down and gunned it into the harsh wind that met us a mile or two from the finish that totally wiped me out. I wish this and I wish that. What I REALLY wish is that I could’ve forgotten about all that garbage and celebrated the huge success that I DID have. I ran a really good race, and I’m now really happy about it. But my finishing moment was ruined by me wishing I had something better. When you start getting that attitude, that nothing is good enough, it’s time to think about things. And that is what led me to decide for sure to do the triathlon. I KNEW that I wouldn’t be competitive with it. I KNEW I would have fun, that I COULD NOT get all ants-in-my-pants about times and stuff. I knew I needed to step out of the bubble, the one that says you’re never good or fast enough. That was stupid, and that race taught me to not be stupid.

So the next one… it was the epitome of good and bad. The Boston Marathon. Yes, I’ve talked a lot about this, but I think, after this, I’m done talking about part of it. I’ll wipe the bad part out of my memory like wiping the marker board clean.

Running Boston was so awesome, so overwhelming, but I had a big fail. I trained and trained and spent hundreds of dollars on a coach and getting there and all the hubbub that comes with seeing your dream marathon come to fruition. My parents came to see me, my sister and her husband came to see me, my husband and my two kids came to see me. I was ready for the race of my life. Oh, I got the race of my life all right. The race recap I wrote that day describes the race perfectly – It was the Best of Times, It was the Worse of Times. You can read it HERE. It really was the strangest combination of good and bad. The bad was something I didn’t see coming. I thought that it was possible for me to run out of strength because I pushed the race. I was worried about how warm it was too, but when racing, I never felt hot. I wasn’t sweaty. I went for my goal, and I was doing it. I was heading for a sub 3:40 and I only had a 10k to go. Part of my race mantra was “I can do anything for X amount of time”. I was counting down. I was doing it. In freakin’ Boston. That was the best of times.

I can’t remember the exact feelings, but around mile 20-21, I knew something was wrong. I knew I had to stop, regroup, and slow down. I knew my PR was shot, but I was having fun.

Heartbreak Hill area, having a brew with one of the college kids. Most of it spilled out the sides of my mouth, but still, this was fun.

Heartbreak Hill area, having a brew with one of the college kids. Most of it spilled out the sides of my mouth, but still, this was fun.

Then the bobble head feeling started. And the nausea. It all went downhill from there. I barely remember the last part of the race. I knew I had to stop several times so I wouldn’t throw up. And I didn’t truly understand what happened until I became the internet doctor later that night.

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Can you see the sarcasm on my face?

Where’s the lesson in this? How can my slowest marathon of seven teach me something? First of all, I’ve never tried harder to finish a race. I could NOT DNF. No. Hell no. So I put on my big girl tights and pulled out every bit of anything I had to finish that race. And it took me almost 5 hours to do it, 75 minutes extra minutes in just the last 5 miles. I had to put one foot in front of the other carefully and consciously. To sum it all up, I had salt depletion dehydration. How did I turn that frown upside down? I acquainted myself with Endurolytes. I thought that taking in salt was just an endurance triathlon thing. Honestly. But I talked to a lot of people, tried them myself, and learned that Endurolytes are pretty damn awesome. I used them throughout the summer, especially during the 10×10 Challenge. I used them during my triathlon. I used them with long runs. And if I learned one thing from the Boston Marathon, it was what salt depletion was and how serious it can be. Oh, and how to help prevent it. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to learn so many lessons, especially the hard way.

WRAPPING IT UP

You can always learn something when you look back at your experiences. Whether you learn them right then or have some “delayed learning” like I did, chances are, some piece of information can be available to you at almost any given moment. It’s just up to you to grab it.  Where does this leave me as I look back over 2014?

I’m very proud of the work I did. I’m proud of the chances I took. I’m proud of the fact that I let myself learn things along the way. Sure, I have a tiny baby scar from feeling so horrible during one of the best races of my life, but I’ll go back. I’ll do it again, and I’ll get my moment of glory. Some day. I’ll be patient. I know I have things to work on too. Facing fears and not letting them take over. NOT taking the easy road (swimming only on calm days). Balancing life and athletics.

As I took towards 2015, I know that I’ve got a beast mode full of grit and determination that I have not fully used before. I also have a lot more patience than I used to. What EXACTLY does that mean for me in 2015? You’ll just have to wait and see! Plans post to be coming soon. 😉

Do you look back before you look forward?

Categories: 10x10 challenge, beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, coaching, half iron distance, learning from failure, marathon, open water swimming, running, running buddies, running challenge, running streak, running with friends, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Pizza, Beer, and a PR

Last Thursday, I headed back to my old stomping grounds just outside Houston to visit my friends.  Had to be sure I checked my bags before I closed them for good.  Anyone else ever find this when they go away?

Someone wants to go with me!

Someone wants to go with me!

Living in southern Texas is hot, or at least warm, about 95% of the time.  Except for this year and especially my first night there.  All the people were “excited” over the possibility of an ice storm and snow and all that brings when things like that only happen every few years. All I could think about was getting my run in before the rain and temps dropped!!  As soon as we got to Nichole’s house, I got out my running garb and took off for my 7 miler with 3 miles of pick-ups. It felt pretty good and I was happy to finish just as the cold rain picked up.

Originally, the plan was to do the “beer run” in town, which is an informal run of however long you want and then socialize while drinking beer, then order pizza from my absolute favoritest pizza place evah, Grimaldi’s. Unfortunately, the weather deteriorated so much that only one crazy runner was out, but we went for the pizza and beer anyway. Score one for me. I am quite a pizza snob, so had been dreaming of this pizza for about a month.  It did not disappoint and I got a big enough pie that I could eat off it for a few days. Mmmmm, good stuff.

That night and into the next day, it rained and the rain froze, so my friend and I sat in front of her fireplace and chatted for what seemed like hours. Thank goodness that was my day off, so I didn’t have to worry about running in the icy cold. This is what we did to entertain ourselves.

Finger people couples - oh yes we did!

Finger people couples- oh yes we did!

That night, we went out for more drinks with more friends and stayed at a dance club that had enough second-hand smoke to give emphysema to the entire city of Houston until 1:30 am. Cough. But it was fun and I got to do the Wobble.  Bonus.

On Saturday, I got my 5 mile easy run in and then went to the best social event in, well, almost everywhere, the No Label Brewery tasting.  Five bucks for four pints of good beer.  A bunch of people I knew were going to meet us there, so we socialized, drank our pints, and had a great time.  It was so good to be outside in the warm sun surrounded by friends having a cold one.

A bunch of my peeps at No Label Brewery

A bunch of my peeps at No Label Brewery

I realized that I was not in my twenties later that day when I just got reeeaaalllyyyy tired. I stayed at another friends’ house and when we were at dinner, I felt reeeeaaalllyyyy old. I just wanted to go to bed.  So when we got back from dinner, I did just that.  My long run that included a 5k race was on Sunday, so I wanted to be prepared for that.

Sunday was a beautiful morning.  I wish I would’ve taken my phone with me so I could’ve gotten a picture of the steam rising over the waters in the bayou in George Bush Park.  Just gorgeous. It was a cool, crisp start to what was going to be a really nice warm day, for January anyway. My goal for the 5k was to crush it, but as normal for me, my warm up felt a little sluggish and I didn’t put too many expectations on my performance.

It’s a pretty small 5k, but it’s a really cool concept.  It’s free (you can make donations), and the point is to just get people out and active.  They’ve grown from 50 or so runners to a few hundred with chip timing too, so it was fun to participate.  I had PR’d on that course the year before while training for Houston, so I wanted to again.  When it started, I took off and ran a bit before looking at my watch. I thought I was going close to my goal pace of 7:00 minute mile, but saw I was actually going about 6:30-ish.  Yeah! Mile 2, as expected, was a little harder and I know I slowed down a bit.  I was passed by a lady who was older than me, but she had the most amazing stride. I wish I looked like her when I ran!  I knew there was no way I could catch up to her, so I let my competitive urge go.  Then a little later, she was stopped off to the side of the course – boo. I like to win my age group and things like that, but I do not like to see other athletes pulled up at the side.

Near the finish of the 5k.

Near the finish of the 5k.

I was getting tired when mile 2 hit, but I knew that I would regret not giving the race my all, so I kicked it back into gear. I cannot for the life of me do any sort of math during that kind of run, so I just waited until the end to see where I was regarding the PR.  My watch time was 21:15 (chip time was 21:13!!), so I was absolutely thrilled to race that well and PR by about 37 seconds.  The race is pretty small, so I ended up with first overall female, which was pretty cool.  I saw some familiar faces, gave a few hugs, and then headed out to finish the rest of my run that included two more miles of pick-ups. Gasp. I got ‘er done and headed back to hang with my friends.

What a good weekend.  The timing was good with coming in before their ice and getting back before ours. I got to socialize with my friends, drink a little beer, and do my running that included a PR.  I’m actually liking 5k races a lot more and find the challenge to be a good one. I am now making a sub-21:00 5k my goal.

So the marathon training continues here at home with a wacky schedule due to our “snowpacalypse” coming. I did get my 7 miles in today and tomorrow’s swim will depend on if the Y is open for business.  School was closed today and tomorrow and possibly Thursday (appears that the kids will be going to school until friggin’ July), but we will see what actually happens. We’re all stocked up on our food, drinks, so bring it on, Mother Nature!!

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ten Things I’m Thankful For

As you know, I like lists.  So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I decided to make a list of ten things I’m thankful for.

1)  All the obligatory things that most of us are thankful for.  My family, my kids, my health, my sense of humor, my husband’s company, my house, running water, grocery stores, a few bucks in the bank, the birds, leaves, waves of the ocean, and well, I could go on and on.  There’s not a day that goes by that I know I’m lucky, I’m thankful, I’m appreciative of these things in my life.

2) Lists. I’ve mentioned this before, but what other little thing can give you such a sense of foreboding of all the things to be done, organization of said things, and then a sense of accomplishment when you can put a nice little line through each thing you’ve either put in your grocery cart or completed?  Could you imagine the grocery stores if we didn’t have lists?  I would still be wandering around the grocery store wondering what I needed for our Thanksgiving meal, then returning about a hundred times because I’d keep forgetting what ELSE I needed…. and I don’t know how I would have gotten through listing our Texas house for sale with out multiple lists.  Lists are a wonderful thing.

3)  My husband, Andy.  He’s my biggest athletic supporter, my jock.  He pushes me to follow my dreams, supports all the work along the way, and yet, doesn’t post videos on YouTube of me doing the Wobble in the kitchen.  He lent his shoulder to me after my attempts at Boston failed, he danced around with me when I made Boston.  He is my sherpa, photographer at the end of races, my driver when I’m tired. He calmly listens to me when I perk up and say, “Honey, I have an IDEA!”.  He doesn’t judge me when I have one too many glasses of whine wine.  I’m a roller coaster, and he’s the calm, the even one, the rock.  Love you, R. Andrew.

A sense of humor is essential.

A sense of humor is essential.

4) Coach Alain and the Gotta Run running group in Katy, Texas (a town near Houston where I lived until a few months ago).  It’s hard to imagine not accomplishing your goals when you have someone constantly telling you that you can.  I don’t know how many times I second guessed my goals while training for the 2013 Houston Marathon.  But when you have someone look you in the face, put his hand on your shoulder and tell you, “You got this”, it’s hard to not go get it.

Coach Alain and me after the Houston Marathon.

Coach Alain and me after the Houston Marathon.

A gift from my Texas peeps that is now in my back yard in NC.

A gift from my Texas peeps that is now in my back yard in NC.

5) Coach Kristen.  Now this is interesting.  Had it not been for Kristen, my current coach in NC, traveling to Houston in 2012, I would have never joined a running group.  Talk about irony…. Kristen was my sister’s coach and came to Houston to run the 1/2 marathon and wanted someone to pace her.  I ran 5 miles with her (there was no pacing done, Kristen ran like a rock star) and when I saw all the amazing support the Without Limits crew gave to each other, I knew I wanted to be part of a team.  So three days later, I joined the above mentioned Gotta Run group.  When we moved to NC, Kristen became my awesome coach, the one who listened to me whine and moan and groan about shin splints and all that had to offer, the one who constantly tweaked my training plan to adjust for my injury, the one who has given me such good advice to make me a better athlete, the one who will train me to be the fastest marathon runner I can be, plus a triathlete.  She’s teaching me patience too, although she may not know that the jig is up – I’m on to her.  Thanks Kristen, you effing rock.  Seriously, I am so thankful for you.

6) Energy Drinks.  When you’re driving millions of miles (ok, it FELT like a million miles!) across the country and you’re tired and worn out and stressed, you need to stay awake, right?  Same goes for getting up early to train and then spending a hundred hours watching your kids at football practice. Drinking coffee would only make a 10 hour trip into a 15 hour trip due to constant pee stops so I found energy drinks.  Sugar Free Red Bull is my favorite but I found Amp is just about as good, plus it has “vitamins” in it.  When I’m exhausted and can’t get a power nap in, which is most of the time, I’ll grab one of these and then a short time later, GAME ON.  I also realized I cannot have this after 5 pm or it’s GAME ON until midnight.

I believe someone will discover this is the real source of super powers.

I believe someone will discover this is the real source of super powers.

7) Music.  Music can take me to a time and place in an instant and distract me from anything that’s on my mind that I don’t want on my mind any longer.  It can make me cry, laugh, dance, and run faster.  I’m also thankful for iPods and iTunes to make getting music so much easier!  I remember having my radio on, waiting the arrival of my favorite song so I could push the RECORD button and then have that song at my fingertips.  Then there was the Walkman, the barbarically sized thing that I hooked to my shorts so I could run with music.  How cool was that???  Probably not really cool considering the size of my foamy earphone things.  Yikes.  Now I have about a billion different songs that I can easily shuffle through while my tiny little earphones stay tucked into my ears.  I’m thankful for that.

8) Doctors.  To make a long story short, doctors can diagnose and then remove cancer from your mom.  They can do CAT scans so you know your sister doesn’t have a brain injury after a bike accident.  Besides that, as a runner, it’s nice to know that when you have issues with your various body parts, you can visit a physical therapist or chiropractor to heal said messed up parts.  I get chiropractory things done to me and after, I feel all twisted up pretzel-like as if I’ve just gotten out of the dryer.  But I’m finally running without pain and so my chiropractor can twist me into a pretzel and then do active release on my shins as much as he wants.

9)  Beer & Friends.  These things go hand in hand many a time, and I’ve needed them both this year, so I am thankful to both this year.  I have amazing friends, and we’ve had some great times drinking beer. Just as many NOT drinking beer too, so no one send me the link to AA – I’m a responsible marathon runner.  My brother-in-law brews beer. My husband brews beer.  And what do you get at the end of a lot of races????  Yup, beer.  I’m always thankful for that.

A group of us at No Label Brewery - the perfect mix of beer and friends.

A group of us at No Label Brewery – the perfect mix of beer and friends.

10)  Running.  Surprise!!! Haha, I’m stating the obvious, but I am SO THANKFUL for running, for the ability to run, and all that running does for me.  I’m heading to the Y to run the Gallop for Gravy 5k in the morning, so I get to do my favorite activity on the day I’m most thankful for it.  Then I’m going to eat my body weight in mashed potatoes and gravy and probably have a beer.

Haha

Haha

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!

Categories: Boston Marathon, marathon, running, training for marathon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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