Friday, February 28, 2014

Looking for a spring time race?

Tomorrow is March 1st and in my world that means that spring time is upon us!  More importantly that means warmer temps and spring race season is about to kick into high gear!  After realizing that I needed to spend more time recovering, I nixed my initial spring race plans and decided to stick with running just one race.  That one race happens to be The Fairview Half Marathon on April 5th.  Last year was the inaugural event for this race and we had a blast!  

A few days after making this decision, the event organizers posted that they were accepting applications for pacers.  I've seen pacers at every race and often thought that would be a fun gig, so I figured hey why not apply right?  I submitted all of my necessary info and played the waiting game.  Earlier this week I was notified that I had been accepted and would be pacing the 2:35 group!  I am so excited for this opportunity.  That's a fun easy pace for me, so I hope to share some good conversations with fellow runners, and also hope to have some first-timers in our group!  

The race provides free childcare which is incredibly rare in the racing world.  While we don't have children, I love that it allows the opportunity for couples to come run together without the added stress of trying to find a sitter so early in the morning.  

If you were looking for a fun, well organized event, with a scenic course check out The Fairview Half Marathon and 5K.  

Whether you want to do the half or 5K, come join us!  There will be food and frosty beverages afterwards with friends at a TBD location!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February Happenings

February may be the shortest month of the year, but we have managed to pack it jam full of exciting things!  We kicked off February by celebrating my 30th birthday with family and friends!  I haven't had a birthday "party" since my 21st birthday so it was long overdue.  Huge thank you to my sister and amazing husband for coordinating such a fun night!

The week following the shindig was the Hot Chocolate 15K that I over zealously signed up to run a few weeks prior.  After we got back from our Bahamas Half Marathon trip I knew I needed to give my knees a rest from the beating they had taken of race-after-race for months straight.  Little did I know that during this rest time I would slack on my form during strength training and end up straining my sartorius muscle, which also leads to knee pain.  I ended up backing out on the Hot Chocolate race and got serious about my recovery.  Lots of people have asked "So what did you do, why are you not running?" and my answer is simply "2013 was the year of the run" and it was.  I don't regret a single second of it but my body finally said enough.  I took a solid two weeks off of running, none, zilch, zero.  That's enough to make me a bit edgy but I knew it was necessary.  During this time off I spent a lot of quality time with the foam roller and the stick, iced, stretched, and made several trips to the chiropractor.  Just last week I was able to start running again!  While there is still some work to do, things are definitely on the mend.

While I was not able to focus on running, I focused my attention on the nutrition side of things.  We've always been healthy eaters but I made a few changes/enhancements to our regular eating routine and have been loving it so far.  As a birthday gift to myself, I took the plunge and invested in a Vitamix!  Holy mother of blenders, this thing is amazing!  I can finally say that I have mastered the Vitamix and the green smoothie, and would challenge Smoothie King to a battle any day!  My husband who is incredibly picky with food (especially veggies) has now been converted to a green smoothie fan...he even requests certain recipes.  For two people who are on the go, all the time, it's nice to get in a huge serving (or two) of fruits and veggies in such an easy way. (I'll also throw in Muscle Gain protein powder and Rehydrate packets for an optimal recovery smoothie)

We had a blast of much warmer temps last weekend and I got throw on a pair of shorts (hallelujah!)  Last year in Spring this pair of shorts barely zipped and were quite uncomfortable.  I decided to give them a whirl and low and behold they not only fit, but were a little loose!  Sometimes it's just that little bit of motivation that keeps you on track with your health and fitness goals.

Exhibit A
*In non-running news: I took a step way outside of my comfort zone and attended the required course to get my CHL!  I grew up in a gun loving family so I guess you could say it's in my blood.  My Dad is over-the-moon excited with my decision so I see future trips to the gun range together.  Between blenders and pistols, 30 has been riveting so far!*

Back to the running news, I am very proud to announce that my husband is officially a marathoner!  When Brandon decided a few months ago that he wanted to tackle the 26.2, he asked me to coach him and lay out his training plan.  Pretty sure coaching your spouse is somewhere on a list of "Things You Should Not Do" in your marriage.  While we had our share of ups, downs, disputes, and him not listening to me >cough cough< I will have to say that overall we did pretty well with each other!  On Sunday, February 23rd we headed out the door at 4:30am (yawn) to head to the Cowtown Marathon.  It was fun to just be a spectator this time around and see all of the nervous yet very excited runners wandering around.  The temperatures on race day were not ideal for a full.  Temps started out in the 60's and made their way up into the 70's with a lot of humidity!  I felt awful for Brandon but kept my worries to myself; he had enough to worry about.   

Once Brandon rolled through the start line, I set out on foot to head down to the Mile 16 mark of the course.  I made it there in good time and got to see all of the leaders of the full, half, and ultra marathon come through!  As someone who isn't the fastest of runners, I am always in complete awe of the leaders.  How they hold that pace and make it look so effortless is just incredible.  Brandon came through the Mile 16 mark looking strong, and while the heat was starting to get to him, he was still smiling.

Mile 16
After he kept cruising, I packed up my things and made my way over to the Mile 23 mark where I met up with the rest of the cheering crew: Greg, Brian, and Fonzie.  Mile 23 was an interesting spot to watch the runners come through because this is where your body wants to quit.  We saw one runner completely collapse with muscle spasms and several others who were showing signs of dehydration.  Mile 23 is also where you can finally start to see the end in sight and have to mentally overcome those pains.  Brandon was still truckin' along when he ran past us.

Mile 23
It was a mad dash back to the finish line to make it there before Brandon did.  I booked it about 3 miles in a dead sprint to make it there....I was NOT about to miss him cross the finish line after all of the running around I had done that day.  I made it just in time to see him cross that finish line at proud!   

His exact words when I met up with him were "That was the dumbest thing I've ever done" :)  Two days later he's already planning his next one.  I know him well enough to know that it won't be his last.

We're going to cap off an already amazing month with a concert from one of our favorites, Lucero!
Taken in 2011 - Ben Nichols (Lucero front man) and myself.
Thanks February for being pretty awesome.  I appreciate you.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Feeling a little nostalgic.

The clock is ticking down to the last few hours of my 20's and I feel like I lived about four different lives.  I thought it would be fun to take a little trip down memory lane shall we?

Age: 20 - I entered into my 20's having come out of a bad relationship.  The situation was a "this will either make you or break you" scenario.  Luckily I chose to let it become the very thing that has now given me the "No BS" attitude I have today.  It has served me well.

(Disclaimer: trying to find pictures from pre-Facebook days is tough!  How in the world did we keep them organized and accessible before FB?? I did my best...)

Short blonde hair, size 10 I think, and before I had braces.
Age: 21 -  I was finally "legal" to drink, whew, glad that's settled  ;)  Three months after turning 21 I graduated from college.  My Dad had gone overseas to work as a contractor on base which meant he missed my graduation.  A couple of weeks after graduation I had gone to a friends party about an hour from my house and when I left the party one of my tires had a complete blow out.  I called my friend who came to fix it and then I proceeded to sit on the side of the road and cry to him about "What am I doing with my life" until about 4am.  Very dramatic Lifetime TV moment, but it's the moment that got my butt in gear!   

Landed my first "real job" at the place that would eventually change my life in the best way, Hot On! Homes.

Age: 22  -  After settling into my new job, I started to develop a new routine.  A new routine that didn't involve partying into the wee hours of the night, stopping at Whataburger for a late night snack, all of this happening any day of the week.  My new routine involved waking up at 4am and driving over an hour to get to my gym by 5, work out for two hours, and then shower and go to work.  My "friends" at the time just didn't understand my new lifestyle and over time, those friendships faded.  In preparation for the tri, I completed my first "distance" run, a 10K in Austin!

All of this time at the gym culminated into me completing my first Olympic Distance Triathlon.  Life started over again.

That was exhausting.
 Age 23-24: I lump these two together because I think I've successfully suppressed most of this time from my memory.  It involved my first marriage which failed quickly.  All I remember thinking at the end of it was "this isn't supposed to happen to me, this is not how my life was supposed to go....".  Reality smacked me in the face with the assurance that it is all in His timing, not mine.  Definitely one of the lowest points in life and it resulted in a poor diet, no running, and alas life started over again.

Age 25:  Brandon and I re-connected and started dating and life started to finally make sense again.  Everything that I had been through all finally made sense and had lead me to this point.  The early part of 25 started off unhealthy but happy:

Then I finally got my itch for fitness back and boy it came out full force!  I got back into a training schedule, started making smarter decisions with my food and in November that year I ran my first half marathon!  I finally felt like I had my life back. 

If you've thought about running your first half, read this post, we ALL started somewhere!

Age 26:  Two of the greatest days of my life happened at 26.  1)  I married the one that was supposed to be "the one" all along.
Size 2 dress that I worked my butt off (literally) to fit into!

2) Later that year I got the amazing opportunity to run my first full marathon on one of the biggest stages in the world, the NYC Marathon!  There's the saying that goes something to the effect of "I dare you to train for a marathon and not have it change your life", there could be no truer words.  Forever changed.
Every inch of my body hurt, but I couldn't stop smiling.
Age 27 - 28:  My husband, friends, and family started to join in on the running fun!  This lead to running becoming not just about me, but learning that even more fun than running your own race is watching others cross their first finish line.

 Age 29:  This past year has been incredible and full of adventure!  It was the year of running which involved 8 half marathons, and 1 full marathon which you can read about all those here if you'd like.  I think this year solidified us as a "running couple" and we are perfectly ok with that.  I decided to branch out into the other side of running and become an RRCA running coach!  Running has taken us on so many adventures together!  
Start line of The San Francisco Marathon

2nd Full Marathon Complete!

Oh the happiness that running brings me!

95% humidity this race, that was oodles of fun.

Putting together this post was an eye-opener for me because it feels like the 20-year old me was a lifetime ago.  If you would have asked 20 year old me if I ever thought I'd run a marathon you would have gotten a big "hell no".   These years have been a wild ride but I am constantly being reminded that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be, and there really is no greater feeling that that.

I've learned....
  • That friends will come and go, because true friends are considered family....and family will never leave.
  • It really is the small things that mean the most.
  • There is no substitute for hard work.
  • Once you let go of what you're "supposed to be" is when you can really find out what you're meant to be.  
  • The number on the scale doesn't mean squat.
  • That learning the real meaning of helping others and giving back will fill you with more joy than any paycheck could ever buy.  
  • Nothing is more freeing than letting go of what others think of you.
  • Running has taught me more about life than any other life experience.  It has taught me that it only gives back what you put into it, it has taught me patience, that you can do any damn thing you want to if you work for it, and that the only way to see improvement is to work harder.  Nobody can do it for you. 
This photo captures all that I'm excited for in this next chapter!  Happy, healthy, focused and not taking a single second for granted.  So 30, come at me bro'.