When the gods of running (and volleyball) smile upon you

 

I think this was me this morning.
Nothing to do with the post except that it is Monday after Spring Break.

Last week, the gods of running smiled down upon me.  Most of you are probably already laughing, since you already know that the gods of running rarely smile on me.  That, or their sense of humor is extremely warped.  OK, their humor is probably extremely warped.

First, I’ll give a bit of the back story for those who may not know.  For 2 years, my friend, Amy, was my trusty running partner.  She was the navigator and the pacer.  I was the trainer (go ahead and laugh) and the water/fuel girl.  Amy LITERALLY held me back – but that was a good thing.  When I would get in “the zone” and start to speed up, she would grab me and tell me to slow down!!!  I embraced training without her, though – and when I had to run without her I did my own thing when I wanted and how I wanted (which, I admit, wasn’t the SMARTEST approach I could have taken….note running gods’ warped sense of humor.)  And unless you’ve been living under a rock, or this is the first time reading my blog, I ran my first marathon on a bum ITB and had to take 7 weeks off before I could start slowly running again (which was, no doubt, directly related to the way I trained without a partner).

Training post-marathon/ITB rehab has been going fairly well.  I have occasional aches and pains; of course at least one of my muscle groups is ALWAYS tight, but I have been dealing with the issues as they arise in a surprisingly smart fashion, especially for me.

Last week, I crossed paths with another runner….in my hometown.  That is noteworthy, people.  That’s not to say that there aren’t runners in my hometown (because there are plenty).  I just don’t know of any that consistently run the distances that I like to run <read: not as obsessive as Jen>.  It just so happens that he recently moved to town and needed to know places to run (and wouldn’t mind having a running partner).  We exchanged numbers and were able to coordinate running together last week.  If you are a runner, you know that finding a running partner that is compatible with you is…..well, difficult.  (And if you are an introvert, this is very reason that you never seek out running partners in the first place.)  I think we both felt that it is a good fit, and since he is a good pacer, it’s a GREAT fit for me! Our first run felt a lot like Crazy Jen going to confession.  Clearly he needed to know what a running nut he was dealing with (to make an informed decision, of course), so I rehashed all the stupid things I have done in the name of the run.  But the good thing is that he doesn’t care that I’m crazy, or is just THAT desperate for someone to run with, so it looks like it’s going to work out for both of us! 🙂

This weekend was a whirlwind of volleyball (I know….what’s new??) First, the team that Taylor coaches was playing in the Mid-East Qualifier in St. Louis.  USAV sanctions a handful of qualifiers across the country and the WINNING team (singular) per division is awarded a bid to USAV Junior Nationals in June.  Taylor’s team was playing in a division with 100 other teams and her team made it into the Gold bracket, which was the top 16 of the tournament!  They ended up losing the first match of the Gold bracket to the eventual winner of the division, which effectively ended their hunt for a bid, but she was so proud of how her team ended up.

Taylor is back row, far right.  Yes, she is shorter than ALL her players, even her liberos.
Taylor is back row, far right. Yes, she is shorter than ALL her players, even her liberos.

On the fight into St. Louis, Taylor said the guy next to her kept bending over and talking to his feet.  She wasn’t quite sure how to react, so she asked if he was talking to her.  He said no…..he was talking to his Dachshund, who was IN his carry-on bag!doxie

She got the biggest kick out of it!

Alli played in a tournament this weekend as well.  Before we left, she whipped up some cupcakes all by herself!Alli's cupcakes

Too bad that she left them on the counter, which means we didn’t get to share any with her teammates.

On Saturday, we were in a terribly weak pool.  Even though we were seeded 2nd in the pool, we easily won every game.  No one scored on us more than 16 points per set all day.  Alli served at least 50 points, which is CRAZY!  She was on a roll and her serves were smokin’ hot!  Since the facility was 1.5 hours from home, we reserved a hotel room for the night (because I KNEW we would be back at the gym by 7 AM!) and ate dinner with one of her teammates.

Celebratory dessert for earning 1st in our pool!
Celebratory dessert for earning 1st in our pool!

I wish my camera could have captured how wide their eyes got when the server brought out the apple pie.  First, she poured cream onto a hot plate, then added the apple pie and topped it with a scoop of ice cream.  They enjoyed every bite!

I knew that the bracket would be tough for us on Sunday, because were some decent 12s teams in the tournament.  We easily beat the first team we faced, but met our match in the second round.  This team attacked every ball, played great defense and tough serves, but the thing that threw us off was the way they worked the net.  We haven’t faced many teams that are good at blocking and working the net, so we had some adjustments to make in that regard.  Our little Frogs hung tight and battled for every point, played great defense and attacked the ball, but we eventually dropped the first set 22-25.  The second set was a nail-biter, with each team trading points, keeping the game basically tied until it was 14-all.  At that point, the wind blew out of our sails and we started struggling, making mistakes that I have never seen from this team.  The loss put us at 5th place in the tournament of 21 teams, which is pretty good for a bunch of 10 year olds! 🙂volleyball mom shirt

I saw this shirt at the tournament and joked that I NEED it!  LOL  No…..I wouldn’t actually wear it.  But it was fun to joke about it!!

Happy Monday everyone!!

Jen

Fun Friday Q and A

I’ve noticed several bloggers have been doing Q&A posts recently, so I figured now is as good of a time as ever to answer some of those burning questions that I know are keeping you up at night!

1. How long have you been running and why/how did you start?  I have been running for 4 years.  The catalyst for my transition to a healthier lifestyle was seeing my fat arms in a picture that was taken from behind.  Nevermind that I had a muffin top and needed to lose 15 pounds, I was worried about the arm fat!  I started making healthier food choices almost immedately and started running with a Couch 2 5K program within a couple of weeks.  I ditched C25K when I had to walk for 5 min after running 8.  I figured it was easier to keep going….and I haven’t stopped since!  (Except for the stupid ITB injury, but I’m not going to mention that)

2.  Which Jen likes hills?  And why do you name them?  First, both Jens LOVE hills.  (If you are unfamiliar, I have a split personality: Crazy Jen and Sane Jen)  The bigger the hill, the better.  And, for the record, I’ve only named one hill… I affectionately call my “go-to” hill “Old Friend”.  (When I’m on my way to the hill, anway.  When I am 3/4 of the way up Old Friend, I usually say words that I hope other people don’t hear.)

Old Friend.  84' increase in .44 mile.  Making my mouth water just thinking about it!
Old Friend. 84′ increase in .44 mile. Can’t wait until I tackle this ‘friend’ again!

3.  If you could live anywhere other than Texas, where would it be?  I would not, could not live anywhere else.  So, if living in another state is required, I respectfully request to be taken out to the back 40 and put down like a lame horse.  Just make sure I’m buried in Texas!

Ain't Texas.  'nough said.
Ain’t Texas. ‘nough said.

4.  What is this obsession with peanut butter?  Peanut butter is quite possibly the most wonderful substance ever invented by man and is even better when paired with honey (God bless the bees!)  I consumed an inhuman amount of PB & honey during marathon training.  Even though I’m not 26.2 training these days, I still consume an inhuman amount of peanut butter.  This has, no doubt, been a big contributor to the 4 extra pounds I’m carrying around these days.

No caption needed.  This is greatness.
No caption needed. This is greatness.

5.  If you’re from Texas, why the hell don’t you own cowboy boots?!?!  I have owned cowboy boots, just not currently.  Even though I AM a die-hard Texan, I don’t pull off the ‘cowgirl look’ very well.  I can, however, pull off the ‘runner look’ without a hitch.

6.  What do you have against summer sausage?  Basically, if I have difficulty eating meat that has been ground up, mixed with mystery ingredients and shoved into a casing.  I have a similar aversion to bologna, weiners and the like.

Threw up in my mouth just looking at this pic!
Threw up in my mouth just looking at this pic!

7.  Why did you lock Crazy Jen up and throw away the key?  Crazy Jen caused a hitch in my get-along during marathon training.  Crazy Jen does things like: runs every long run at race pace, sets PBs during training, doesn’t strength train, doesn’t cross train, pushes through a run 6 miles after ITB starts hurting.  Just to name a few…  Let’s just hope I don’t lose my mind and go dig through the landfill to retrieve the key.

8.  Are crazy cupcakes for Crazy Jen?  Of course not!! All the Jens love all the cupcakes!  However, even Crazy Jen would prefer to avoid another Caramel Crack Cupcake debacle.

My "Caramel Crack Cupcakes", as they became affectionately called.
My “Caramel Crack Cupcakes”

9.  What is it with the pink compression socks?  There’s really no color better than hot pink.  I do have to admit, it can be blinding, at times.  Since compression socks are $50/pair, the pink ones were the only ones I owned, for a time (so naturally I always wore pink compression socks).  Santa brought me some black ones, and I have to say that I really don’t like wearing black.  I know my ninja brothers and sisters would disagree, but black is soooooo boring!Compression socks

Yes, Coach Bounds RAN across the field when I came to stretch on the track after my run last August.  And YES, I know he was making fun of me, but I really didn’t care 😉

Happy Friday, Happy Weekend, Happy Spring Break!

Sane Jen