Posts Tagged With: having fun

I Won’t Back Down

My marathon is only 11 days away. I just realized how ridiculously close that was sometime yesterday when I was thinking about the fact that I will be flying to Houston for said marathon next week. Next week. Oy. I know I’m ready, but I am never really, truly 100% ready. Maybe physically, but not in my mind. Marathons are a tricky business for me, and I’ve failed my fair share. Through a ton of work, the trend has reversed and I’ve celebrated a lot of success, and I’d like to keep it that way. So here’s a few things I’m doing to prepare for my race. In eleven days. Which is in eleven days. Eleven days away from today.

1) Staying warm. Except for my workouts. No one wants to run a marathon with pneumonia, and the temps have been frigid in the entire country, save Phoenix, which will probably see an uptick in residents come 90 days when everyone’s home listed during this freeze sells and they migrate to a warm climate. I suspect the reverse come July, but hey, it sucks in the cold. Or does it blow? I digress. “Snowmageddon” is scheduled to begin here in coastal North Carolina any minute. Schools were cancelled for the day. The ABC store closed at noon. I mean, this is serious business when the ABC store closes because what goes hand in hand with “snowmageddon”??? Booze. Big mistake, ABC Store. Big. So I’m keeping warm and will watch from the window when my insane children run around half naked on the front lawn when the ice begins to fall from the sky. Excuse me while I douse the house in Lysol.

lysol

2) Perfecting my playlist. This is sort of on hold right now, as my old computer decided to take a dump the week before Christmas and I was forced to buy another one so I could play on Facebook work. My new “smart” computer can’t “find” (hint: the songs are RIGHT THERE!) my old playlists and songs so I’ll get it all ready to go and download when my computer savvy husband can fix it for me. Thanks, dear, you saved my new computer from getting cursed at then thrown out the window.

3)  Making my list and checking it twice. Since I’m traveling out of town for the race, I will have to make sure I take everything with me. Literally. And I can’t ever make a complete list the first try, so I started this morning. I go from bottom to top, considering all the weather options. Then I add accessories like iPod, chargers, gu, gum, chapstick, and all that fun stuff. By the time I’m done, it’s about twelve pages long and has no less than five million items. Does anyone know what the airlines rip charge you for oversized luggage?

luggage

4) Obsessing about Watching the weather. Speaking of weather, I’ve been watching the Houston weather for three days. Let’s say it’s not my absolute favorite forecast, but it could be worse. I know it will change, and there’s nothing anyone can tell me to get me to stop checking my five weather apps on my phone. Don’t even try. Weather is one thing I cannot control, so it’s obviously the best thing to obsess over, capiche?

5) Spontaneously crying. It just happens and I have come to the point where I don’t try and stop it because it will just come out on race morning as one really huge freak out that no one needs. Trust me on this one.

6) Doubting myself. Hey, before you get all mad, just know this is a very normal process I go through and if I didn’t, I’d think there was something wrong with me (more than there already is, anyway), which would make me doubt myself even more. I’m at the point in training where I’m tired and achy. I don’t even know if I could complete a half marathon at my goal race pace if I was attached to Shalane Flanagan. Deep down, I know it all comes together. It always does. But the self-doubt is there, rearing its ugly head, telling me I can’t do this and I can’t do that. So how do I turn it around?

7) Visualization. When I feel like I can’t even make it up the stairs without stopping to rest, I think about pushing myself to finish (even if just a few more stairs).  I’ve been visualizing my races for the last several years, and it works. It turns the self-doubt frown upside down, and it gives you a chance to dream, to realize your dream, and to revel in it. I hear my foot steps as we hit mile 2. They’re soft and even. I hear myself breathing. It’s easy and light. I see the mile markers go by, I hear crowds of strangers cheering us on. I smile when we pass the belly dancers. I feel my legs aching as I speed up at the end to cross the finish line, meeting my goal (I’m still working on this one). I’ve got this. I think.

8) Planning my race. I’ve done this the last two races, and it’s actually quite difficult, but highly and extremely effective. I will plan everything, from the time I get up on race morning, to when to run to the start line, to all nutrition for the entire time from opening my eyes to the last mile, every sip, every calorie. Everything must be in order and planned. That is key to success – then on race day, you know it, you don’t even question what you’re doing, because it’s already decided.

9) And having fun. I’m having fun. I’m celebrating a really good training cycle. I’m thinking of the future (hint: I’m not ready to take a break at all). My friend and I are both traveling to Houston together and going for some big goals on the 14th. We celebrate each other, our achievement at making it through training, and most importantly, we celebrate the fact that we CAN do this thing called marathon.

643516_252510345_Medium

My theme for this marathon is “I won’t back down”. When I really listened to this song after Tom Petty passed away, it became clear that I hadn’t really listened to the words to this song. The fact that one of my coaches loves this song and uses it to drive himself during races is no accident.  It’s perfect for running a really difficult, long race, where mental strength is key. Last year was “Bulletproof”, and for Boston in April, it was a key phrase from the song, “Blow your Mind (Mwah)”, namely, the one that says, “If we don’t F*** this whole thing up, guaranteed I can blow your mind”, which I channeled into making sure I was doing EVERY THING IN EVERY CELL IN MY BODY to not eff up my race so I could get the result I deserved. It worked. Wish me luck on the 14th!

“Hey, Baby, there ain’t no easy way out. Hey, I, will stand my ground. And I Won’t. Back. Down. No, I won’t. Back. Down.” Thanks, Toms.

 

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, follow your dreams, marathon, marathon training, no fear, qualifying for boston marathon, training for marathon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

New Limits in an Epic Year

Well, hello there again, strangers. Today marks the first day of school for many parents, and I find myself here with a mimosa glass of cold water, finally able to sit down, guilt-free mind you, and write a post! The first day of school is normally bitter sweet for me, as is the last day of school. I LOVE having my kids home during the summer and school breaks, but there is something to be said about having uninterrupted hours to do the stuff I need to do to make this house clean and run like a well-oiled machine without finding the room I just de-cluttered all re-cluttered within five minutes because the kids are home. I don’t know what it is, but they’re just messy. Truth be told, I’d much rather have a messy, loud house full of kids, their friends, and their clutter, than a clean, quiet one, so I am a little sad about school starting.

I thought the best way to catch y’all up is to make a list, because I LOVE lists. I especially love to cross stuff off lists and am one of those who will write something down that I’ve already done simply so I can cross it off. I never said I was good at time management….

So here goes. Here’s a list of things I’ve been doing, in no particular order of importance.

**Ironman Florida is ELEVEN weeks away. I have to admit, when I saw that on the calendar just a minute ago, the word, “Holyfuckingshit” just flew out of my mouth. Sorry, mom. In reality, I have less than 11 weeks left. Gulp. Training has been kicking butt. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but it’s not supposed to be easy. I’ve had good swims, bad swims, good bike rides, awful bike rides, awesome runs, bad horrible sweaty runs. That’s the name of the game, but I can say that I’ve done my training and I’m feeling really good about it. I’ve pushed myself to new limits I never thought I could do (and still walk – it might be weird looking, but I’m walking). I’m loving it and can totally see why people get addicted to endurance sports.

**I started a company. Yes, I’ve hinted about this, but finally, FINALLY, I got my ducks in order and launched Epic Running Company, LLC.

EPIC Logo FINAL 2

This is something I never thought I would or could do. But it materialized just this year when I asked myself, “Self, why the hell not??!” My focus is a middle school running program I started, but I’m also interested in helping adults reach their running goals. I currently have one client, and he’s currently kicking butt in his marathon training. I love watching people push themselves past something they never thought they could do.  The program at the school will be starting on September 15th, and I’m so excited, I am giddy just thinking about it!

**I rode 80.55 miles on my bike in 4 hours and 19 minutes.  That’s an average of 18.7 mph, y’all, and for me, that ain’t no joking around. That’s a limit I never thought I’d cross. Granted, I had intervals during the ride, and they certainly made me feel every single cell in my legs as they screamed for me to slow down, but I didn’t slow down and it made up for me wanting to throw my bike into the Cape Fear River the prior week during a very challenging century ride. Two weekends, two completely different rides. That’s training.

**Athletes talk about things like we are babies/infants. We talk about pee, the color of it, if we got to go poo before a long workout, how much we eat, WHAT we eat, what we drink, how much we drink, how much, salt, sugar, everything we consume, what we wear, all that sort of stuff. I would hesitate to bring this up, but hey, THIS is the bread and butter of athlete-speak, right? So here goes. Yesterday, near the end of my ride, I experimented with peeing in my bike shorts. Other people do it and it seems like such a handy time-saver. I wanted to give it a try and see if it’s something I could do during the race. I found that yes, yes, I could do this if I really needed to NEAR THE END OF A RIDE, and I’m not to the point of being able to pee ON the bike (I just sat on the ground and let it go as I ate my Uncrustable), and I’m not sure, after 40 or so years of training myself NOT to go on myself, that I could even pee while riding my bike (without falling over) if I wanted to. Anyway, here’s what I liked and didn’t like.

I like that I didn’t have to walk into the spidery, web-filled, mosquito-infested woods to pee, possibly baring myself to an innocent person “looking for morel mushrooms” or something equally treasure-like only to find a biker’s butt. “Hey mom, you’ll NEVER guess what I found in the woods today.” Peeing in your shorts completely eliminates uncomfortable run-ins like that. Also, you don’t have to wait in line to pee. Bonus. Go in your shorts and then “accidentally” spill your water, conveniently rinsing it off. You get some relief, AND you cool yourself down. What I didn’t like about it is that there was pee in my shorts.

Yup. Even though they're black pants, there's pee.

It collected like I was wearing a wetsuit. I didn’t like that and was baffled about how spandex can be waterproof (although we know I’m not talking about water).  So anyway, I might try it again, but am concerned with how the runoff is handled. I assume we all know where it goes, since most of us are familiar with gravity, but I won’t know until I try. I’ll be sure I’m riding solo, so if you’re one of my biker buddies, don’t worry.

**Sweating. I’ve never sweat so much and have reached new limits in how many pairs of shoes I can soak through during a long run (right now, it would be two in 14 miles but I really needed 3). Seriously, I’ve never done so much working out in humid, gross, disgusting coastal North Carolina. I can usually find a loophole in running or doing something that causes the entire liquid portion IN my body to come OUT as sweat. But there’s no loopholes in Ironman training, that’s for sure.

sweat

**I can change a flat tire on my bike in less than 10 minutes. I’ve had LOTS of practice – 7 flats since the season started for me in May. This has caused a new level of stress during the ride, probably for the people I’m with as much or more than myself, and I’ve developed situational Tourette’s Syndrome that features the “F” word.

This was me. Or a nice version of me the last flat I had.

I’m not proud, but I’ve decided I’m over it and it’s almost funny. I now have new tires, new rim tape, and new tools, since the old ones broke and were “gently tossed” into a ditch in Pender County when I had a flat and it took 4 of us 20 minutes to just get the tire off the rim. That was fun. But now I am confident that if I get a flat during the race, I can change it quickly and be on my way. That’s a skill every biker should have.

My favorite quote.

My favorite quote.

**I’ve truly embraced this quote: “If you want something you’ve never had, then you have to do something you’ve never done.” I live and breathe this quote. I’ve cried, I’ve bled, I’ve thrown stuff, I’ve sworn, I’ve been so tired, I forgot what I was saying in the middle of my sentence, but I’ve kept going. I know it’s only going to get harder, but the beautiful thing is that we can adapt. We change to accommodate the difficulty that will come. It’s going to get really hard with school, two kids in two sports, husband training for a marathon, and my training, coaching, and a house to run, but this is what life is, isn’t it? Isn’t THIS what we’re supposed to be doing? Having fun and making memories along the way, doing things we never thought we could?

I smile thinking about this year, the things I’ve been able to do, the experiences I’ve had with my family, and it really is going to be the Epic-est year.

I’ve embraced uncomfortable-ness like never before.  And there’s absolutely nothing that will make me stop.

 

 

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, coaching, follow your dreams, go for your dreams, interval training, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, marathon training, no fear, open water swimming, running, running buddies, running with friends, swimming, training for triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Leaving Las Vegas

The great birthday surprise of 2015 went perfectly.  Read the reveal story HERE. He never found out what I had been planning for months, and we had a great time. Of course, we’re a little more tired, our wallets are thinner, and I can’t speak for everyone, but I know my belly is a little rounder. It was worth it! I love Vegas. I grew up on acreage where it was quite and serene and now live 15 minutes from the perfect ocean view, and I enjoy that as much as anyone.  BUT, I absolutely LOVE the energy of Vegas. There’s ALWAYS someone up, something to do, somewhere to walk. I love to watch people, go see different sights, and of course, I do like to party, responsible adult-style partying anyway.

My husband and I went running the first two mornings we were there, and I was actually surprised at the amount of runners out.

The running was perfect. Perfect weather, perfect company, and perfect environment.

The running was perfect. Perfect weather, perfect company, and perfect environment.

We chatted (mostly me purging telling him all the things I hadn’t been able to since last summer when I planned this whole thing), enjoyed the sunshine, and wandered through Circus Circus since I’d never been in there before. The three hour time change REALLY messed with both of us, especially since we had to get up so early (and I woke up extra early at 3 am the day of) to get to the airport on time, so on all nights except the last, we were up in our room and asleep by probably 8.

By 8 pm, we looked like this poor guy in the airport.

By 8 pm, we looked like this poor guy in the airport.

That meant we were up bright and early at 6 am, ready to get on with our day. Most mornings we had a beer in hand, casino card in the other, and were seated at our favorite penny slots by 10. I’ve never let myself play slots before since I know it’s just throwing money away, but I planned all along to let the purse strings go a little and have some gambling fun. I had been hoarding money for just this too.  And it was fun. I didn’t come away with any winnings and didn’t even break even, but it was something new for me, and it kept me entertained for hours. I won, I lost, I won again, I lost again, I watched my dad play the same silly slot time after time and do the same exact thing.

My favorite slot machine.

My favorite slot machine.

My parents haven’t been to Vegas since the early 80’s and my sister/brother-in-law haven’t been at all, so it was fun to watch them see the “Vegas sights” the first time, including the big guy wearing a teeny bikini complete with a bunny tail.

A friend from Wilmington and two friends from Des Moines came as well, so it was fun to hang out with everyone. We went to the Carnival Court outside Harrah’s since we were told that we just have to. Wow. It was worth it. We had so much fun watching the bartenders do their thing “Cocktail” style and the music was perfect. And I may or may not have had a shot poured directly in my mouth 🙂

Andy's the tall one in the back, then from left, Katie, Sonia, Me, and Del at Carnival Court. Made a lot of memories that night (afternoon).

Andy’s the tall one in the back, then from left, Katie, Sonia, Me, and Del at Carnival Court. Made a lot of memories that night afternoon.

On Sunday, the others had things to do, so just my family went to Fremont Street. I’d been there before but was only there for maybe 30 minutes so didn’t get to experience the entire thing. THIS time, we stayed there for quite a while. It was pretty damn awesome.  I never though lil’ ole’ ME could sit at a Blackjack table and play with the big dogs, but there I was, playing Blackjack IN LAS VEGAS.  And I knew the rules! Little did my husband know two months ago WHY I wanted to re-learn how to play Blackjack – so I could play on our secret trip!  Let’s just say I didn’t come away throwing $20 bills around. The stupid dealer was just too hot. Oh well, it was a new experience for me, and well worth it.

My sister and dad zip lining near the ceiling of Fremont Street.

My sister and dad zip lining near the ceiling of Fremont Street.

I hate to admit it, but I missed my 12 mile long run on Sunday. I felt guilty, but not guilty enough to do anything about it. I know things happen during training and this wasn’t an essential long run, so I let it go. We got home late Monday, and I can honestly say we were there the perfect amount of time. I was glad to be home! Too bad the weather here is horrible. Not a nice homecoming, that’s for sure. To punish myself for missing the long run, I knew I needed to make today’s workout count. So I ran 10 miles at marathon pace, or 8:15. It was rainy, really windy, and about 45 degrees. No excuses.

It’s time to get serious about this race that’s in just a few short weeks. I have two 20-milers left, a LOT of pace and speed work to do, and some major yoga to go along with it. I keet thinking to myself that it will be all worth it when I cross that finish line with a nice shiny new PR.

My luggage was just delivered from it’s extra long trip back, so I guess it’s time to unpack. Ugh, reality!

My hubby and me on his 40th birthday.

My hubby and me on his 40th birthday.

When you go on a vacation, do you plan to run/bike/swim?

Categories: las vegas, marathon, running, training for marathon | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Saving Turtles and Losing Toenails, Not Necessarily in That Order

I lost my toenail last week.  The day after I ran the Boston Marathon, I knew I was going to lose the 2nd nail on my right foot. It looked very dark black and blue and had a blister under it. It’s been a few marathons since I’ve lost one and I don’t really understand why it’s THIS toenail either, but whatever. Small price to pay for a marathon, right?

I was taking my toe nail polish off the day I realized it was going to fall off soon and I started singing, “Nananana, hey hey hey, goodbye”. And that got me thinking of songs that my toenails and I could sing to each other in sort of a,  “You say tomato, I say tomahto” fashion.

ODE TO MY TOENAIL MEDLEY

Jammin’

Time After Time

One Week

The Final Countdown

“Goodbye, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu”  (that song the Von Trapp kids sing at the end of The Sound of Music)

Say Goodbye

Good Riddance

Breakaway

Killing Me Softly

Please Don’t Go

I Will Remember You

I Can’t Find the Words To Say Goodbye

I Used to Love Her, But I had To Kill Her

Hanging by the Moment

No, I didn’t actually sing these songs to my foot and they certainly didn’t sing back, but it was enough to entertain me for a while. Now I have a small little nail growing in, so I just paint where it should be, and not many people are the wiser. Sometimes you don’t remember how important the nail is either.  Less than an hour after the thing came off, I dropped my iPhone. Yeah, right on my friggin’ nail-less foot. Ouch. Then my cat came up and bit it later in the day. He’s bitey anyway, but sheesh, pick the one with protection, dude!

This is just to prove that he bites. He's kind of an A-hole.

This is just to prove that he bites. He’s kind of an A-hole.

On other notes, I’ve been feeling a little triathlony lately. Here’s the rundown of what I’ve been doing:

Last Monday: 5 mile run and .93 mi open water swim

Tuesday: 1 hour on the bike on the trainer

Wednesday: 5 mile run and .65 mi open water swim

Thursday: Nothing

Friday: 8×400’s at 1:35 and 2 at 1:45, 6.5 miles total

Saturday: Yard work

Sunday: 11.5 mile run at 9:00 pace

Monday: .93 mi open water swim

Tuesday: 5 mile run

Today: 25 mile bike ride

Scheduled for Tomorrow: 5k race – the WILMA Dash, and all women 5k downtown Wilmington. Will be my first evening race in the heat. Sorta wish I would have skipped this one, but oh well, I signed up so I’ll go.

The open water swimming is going well. I’ve been able to swim in pretty rough conditions as well as really good, rather perfect conditions. I have come to enjoy it, except when I breathe wrong and I’m floating there all gagging and stuff. I’m super slow, but I’m just trying to learn how to sight, which is totally easier than what I thought. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m swimming by myself (well, smaller than groups of 5 plus a “safety person” and I’m WAY behind so essentially I’m by myself), which is the opposite of what I’ll be doing on race day, but each practice is helping.

The view from where we got out of the water on Monday.

The view from where we got out of the water on Monday.

When I went on a bike ride a few weeks ago, I was almost home and saw a turtle heading straight into a four lane road. I pulled over and put him back on the other side of the creek/drainage ditch so he didn’t become turtle soup, at least not on my watch.  Then this morning, I was riding along and saw this tiny little thing just making his way across a road.  Of course I had to stop and put him on the other side and across a fence. He was probably between the size of a quarter and dollar coin. Just teeny and cute!

tri3

I do have to say, I had one of the best weekends in over a year.  Last year at this time, we were all stressed out with getting our house ready for sale, two kids in baseball, and getting our house ready for sale. I still don’t know why it’s taken so long for me to get settled here, but I’m slowly getting more put away, hung up, and relaxing. I guess when you live with adrenaline for over three years, it takes a while to get out of your system. So I’m a little dreamy about the weekend. We spent time with the family, swam in the pool, got kayaks to take out in the waterway, went to the beach, hung out with friends, got some yard work done, got some good exercise in, drank, ate, and relaxed. It was just fabulous. Oh, we even took the kids to the restaurant/pub where my husband and I met 16 years ago.

Cheers to almost 15 years of marriage!

Cheers to almost 15 years of marriage! And a $5 pitcher of PBR.

So THAT is what I’ve been up to.

 

 

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for triathlon, triathlon, trying somethign new, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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