My *goalz* are making me uncomfortable

As usual, I’ve been meaning to write a post, but just haven’t had the time.  I just realized my last post was about Ragnar, which was wayyyyy over a month ago!

I’m still focused on my word of the year: uncomfortable, and I think I’m doing a fairly good job keeping myself on my toes….

Swim Update

Apparently, Dori finally found her fins (somewhat).  My first swims were terrible.  I can’t even imagine how painful it must have been for anyone else who had the unfortunate luck to be near the pool at the same time as me those first few swims.  I didn’t give up, though! Thanks to the guys at the pool who have taken me under their wings, I have made marked improvement which is DIRECTLY related to their tips.  Don’t get me wrong….I still have a LONG way to go.  I know this because I had Alli film me today when we went to the pool, and there is still a lot of work to be done.  But I am very happy with the fact that I can even swim 500 or 1,000 yards at once, regardless of the speed.

Running has been a pain in my psoas

Considering I haven’t updated since Ragnar, I should probably update on the psoas (aka hip flexor).  The psoas is directly responsible for lifting the femur during walking and running – believe me when I say it is a VERY  important muscle!  I have had some yucky injuries, but given the choice, I would choose a stress fracture over psoas trouble every time.

Right after Ragnar, I went to get a massage.  When I got up from the table, I knew that was a huge mistake.  OK…..I knew it was a mistake before I went but I did it anyway.  The MT really irritated a nerve in my glutes, which were over-worked from trying to pick up Mr. Psoas’ slack…..I could barely walk when I got up off the table.  That added some days to the recovery, for sure.

I had registered for Skyline Half Marathon, which was just 2 weeks after Ragnar.  I knew immediately that I had no chance of running it, nor did I want to.  I have some BIG goals (which I’ll announce later in this post) and I need to be as close to 100% as possible if I have a chance to reach them.

During the 2 weeks after Ragnar, all I did was bike and swim.  My coach had already built in a week of nothing after Skyline.  Despite my efforts, I couldn’t sway him to let me run….which was smart, by the way…(but he did add in a couple of bike workouts for me. 🙂

I started running again the second week of May and just this week have started feeling that I might fully recover.  All 3 of my runs this week have had minimal recovery and I haven’t noticed very often that my psoas is even there….which is really good news!

Goalz

A few months ago, I let my coach talk me into running a 50 miler.  Honestly, I was starting to get excited about it (there were 4 guys and me from my club ), but I had another idea that I just couldn’t shake.  I KNOW I can run a 50 miler, with the right training.  This other idea, though…. I am so close to being able to snatch it. But even with the right training, I could still fall flat on my face.  These 2 things – the 5oM and my idea – were on the opposite ends of the training spectrum.  The 50M is mostly endurance based and my other idea….well it is mostly speed with some endurance built in.

After A LOT of discussion with my coach, I decided to back out of the 50M to focus solely on this goal, which is <drum roll>……to qualify for Boston.  The timing of the 50M was terrible – with the training and then a month’s recovery after, I wouldn’t have had time to properly prepare for BQ attempt.  I couldn’t shake the feeling in my gut that it just wasn’t the right time.  My mantra became, “don’t give up what you want most for what you want now.”  This was instrumental in helping me choose my path.  I remember telling Brent that I couldn’t have anything to blame, except me, in the event I don’t qualify.  The 50M would have been a HUGE excuse.  This has to all be on ME.  Like I said, I don’t even know if I will qualify.  I do believe that I can get close, but there are so many variables on any given day.  It scares me to death but is exciting at the same time!

I’ve only told a handful of people about this BQ attempt.  I feel weird (ok…scared beyond belief) even talking about it in this blog.  I don’t want to be one of those people that ramble on and on about their BQ attempt ad nauseam.  I seriously debated about putting it out there at all, because if I fail…..well, you know.  I mean, who wants to put a goal out there then fall flat on their face??  (Hint: Not me)  But I decided that putting it out there will give me some accountability….just like the removing the 50M as an excuse….I need accountability.

The Road to Boston (Gosh, I’m so corny)

My first marathon of the season will be in Rochester, NY, in September.  I had originally chosen it because Brent instructed me to choose a ‘hilly’ marathon during that time frame to prep for the 50M.  It worked out perfectly because my Sole Sister, Jenn, just happens to be running her FIRST marathon in that VERY race!!  I am BEYOND excited that I will be there with her when she becomes a marathoner!!  This isn’t my BQ race, though.  OH MY GEEZ!!!!  The elevation is at least 3 times anything I’ve ever run in Texas!  I am just hoping to clock a decent time and get an idea where I stand for the “REAL” attempt, speaking of….

The “REAL” attempt will be at Houston Chevron Marathon in Houston in January.  January is a looooooooong time away!!  In reality, this will be broken up into a couple of training cycles.  Technically, I’m training for Roc right now, but I’m focused on my first triathlon (a sprint) that I will run at the end of July.  This distraction is good for Jen, mentally.  After Roc, I’m running Ragnar Hill Country Ultra with some bad asses from my club, Renegade Endurance.  (By the way, YOU should join and make sure that you tell them Jen sent you!!)  After that, I suspect we will scale the training back to build up to Houston.  My max training cycle is 4 months….anything over that starts to kill me mentally and physically.  Plus, there is an excitement in starting a new training cycle. (Or maybe that can be attributed to the fact that the training load is scaled back! LOL)

What if Jen falls flat on her face?

I have no idea.  I’m not even going to consider it right now.  Even if all my training lines up perfectly, race day can still be a bust.  You just never know what the race will throw at you.  I know I’m going to put my whole heart and body into training and hope for the best when I toe the start line.

And there you have it…

The cat is out of the bag and there’s no going back!  Now I need to play it smart until I get this psoas totally under control so that it doesn’t derail ALL my hopes and dreams.  (Sadly, I was only half-joking there…)

OH!!  SCHOOL IS OUT FOR THE SUMMER!  I SURVIVED!!!

Have a great weekend!!

Jen

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Be the Inspiration

OK…I hope this doesn’t come across sounding conceited or cocky, because it is meant it in the totally opposite way, but people tell me all the time that I have inpsired them during the course of my fitness journey.

Every time someone tells me this, I think the same thing…HOW?!?!?

Fortunately, I experienced a moment of clarity this past weekend.  Moments like these are few and far between aaaand usually take me by surprise, so I pay attention!

The catalyst for my epiphany was my Sole Sister, Jenn.  She ran the Winter Warrior Half Marathon last Saturday evening, C-R-U-S-H-E-D the race and set a new PR!!  I was SO EXCITED for her….she has been working so hard to stay motivated and keep training during the cold New York winter months (cold = her nemesis).  The race would have been a victory for her without a PR, simply because of her commitment to her training.

As I was practically shouting at her via text, she told me – again – that I inspired her.  I am so glad that I can be an inspiration to her, but in my mind (again) I was like – WHY?!?!?  So immediately I began thinking of all the ways that SHE inspires me!  I’ll list just a few:

  • She has a healthy approach/attitude toward her running and training.  She is motivated by her desire to stay healthy and for the simple enjoyment of working out.  She isn’t out to impress anyone or try to be better anyone.  She simply wants to be better today than she was yesterday.
  • She doesn’t fret about races.  She runs them for sheer enjoyment (and medals, of course).  She doesn’t mind stopping to take pictures, hand out high-fives, and a host of other things that I would find mind-boggling and crazy to do while the time is ticking away on my chip.  I adopted her no-stress race approach for Dallas, and I believe that it was a huge factor in my mental toughness on race day.
  • She is an encourager.  That just speaks for itself.
  • She is a SPARTAN BEAST!  I can’t wrap my brain around it.  She COMPLETELY inspires me this way!  I am not tough enough to carry heavy buckets, roll in mud pits under barbed wire, jump over hot coals, climb tall things AND do burpees while having to run in between!  She is so much stronger than me!

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Can't. Even. Imagine.
Can’t. Even. Imagine.

Jenn isn’t my only inspiration, but I am using her as an example.  I’m fairly certain that she, like me, doesn’t see herself as inspiring.  And even though she always tells me how much I inspire her – she is also an inspiration to me and countless others.  My point (and my epiphany) is that when we follow our passions, try to be the best version of ourselves and our best life – we can’t help but inspire others.

So go follow your passion, be the best version of you, live your best live and set the world on fire!

Jen

Wilderness Adventures and Guinea Pig Murders

I have really good intentions of posting more often, but life is really getting in the way!

Last week, I found out that I DO NOT need bifocals….or corrective lenses, for that matter, which obviously made my week!!  That was until 15 minutes later when I drove through to grab Logan a hamburger and couldn’t find my wallet.  No worries….it was safely in my purse.  Why didn’t I look there first?  LOL

Wilderness Adventures

Ok, I didn’t really go on a “wilderness” adventure, but my sister, brother and I went out on Saturday afternoon to survey my mom’s 113 acres.  I haven’t been over there in AGES and it has really changed….changed in the fact that it is completely overgrown with thorn-producing trees and plants! IMG_5261

Somehow, I managed to escape the situation without poison ivy or poison oak, which is nothing short of miraculous.  I am extremely allergic to those terrible vines.  As soon as I got home, I stripped, threw my clothes in the washing machine and immediately took a shower to wash off any plant oil with which I may have come in contact.  At this point, I think I am good, since 4 days have come and gone and I have no sign of an itchy, red rash! *whew*

Since the “roads” were overgrown and practically impassable, we were on foot for much of the tour.  I felt like Bear Grylls – all I needed was a machete!

Yes...we worked our way through this!
Yes…we worked our way through this!
An area rooted up by feral pigs, literally the biggest menace in Texas!
An area rooted up by feral pigs, literally the biggest menace in Texas!
The cabin my oldest nephew built for high school weekend campouts has definitely seen better days!
The cabin my oldest nephew built for high school weekend campouts has definitely seen better days!

Guinea Pig Murder

In my ONE post last week, I mentioned Alli’s new pet guinea pig.  Turns out, she didn’t really like the guinea pig so I advertised the Great Guinea Pig Give-Away on Facebook Sunday evening.  Almost immediately we had found a new home for Bevo and the new family wanted to pick him up that evening.  Bobby put Bevo in the cardboard box in which we brought him home and placed it on Alli’s desk.  I took the cage outside for a cleaning.  When I came back into the house, Sophie was at the end of the hallway WITH Bevo in her mouth!  I have NO idea how a miniature dachshund was able to get that box off the desk in the first place.  In any case, Bevo was dead within minutes and I had to call the family back to tell them they would be getting an empty cage.  So far, no one has spilled the beans to Alli.  As far as she is concerned, we gave the guinea pig away! LOL

Bevo's last pic...literally less than an hour before his untimely demise!
Bevo’s last pic…literally less than an hour before his untimely demise!

Time for Cupcakes

It’s been a while since Alli and I baked cupcakes.  Monday evening we whipped up a batch of Red Velvet and last night we made my favorite, Kahlua.  Alli even tried a new fancy frosting decoration on some of the Red Velvet!IMG_5309

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Hitting My Stride

As I look back through my recovery journey since August 3, I am absolutely amazed at the progress I have made.   In August, I somehow managed to run 59 miles.  That number is incredible to me, considering I started with a 30 min 2:1 run:walk interval my first time out!  Last week, I ran 23 miles!!  I stopped focusing on mileage as a number quite some time ago, but I feel incredibly blessed right now because those 23 miles last week were the most amazing miles I’ve run since last year’s ITB injury.  The actual running has felt effortless – my runs would have been completely effortless if not for this stubborn, humid heat!  I am not currently having any of the post-run stiffness that I was experiencing before my stress fracture occurred, which I have also been battling as I have been rebuilding my strength and my running base.

Soul Sister 7 Mile Race

My friend Jenn and I signed up for a virtual race hosted by GoneForARun.com – Soul Sister Run which was 7 miles and to be run 8/28-30.  However, Jenn ended up with stitches in her foot so we postponed in order to run the race “together”….virtually. 🙂

Sunday morning, I set out on the run and it was amazing!!! And HOT!  I didn’t “race” it, because I am still building base and I will be racing Plano Balloon HM on 9/20.  I ran it at my turtle long slow run pace.

This will be the ONE and ONLY time I wear a race shirt on race day!IMG_5281

The funny thing is….you can’t tell that this shirt is completely soaked with sweat.  It was a hot one, but a good one!

Happy Hump Day Friends!

Jen

 

Sole sisters and beating the ITB

Friday was a really great day.  The staff at my school planned a spread just for the office ladies.  I have to admit I was a bit nervous, because spread food can be somewhat less than healthy.  Of course, everyone I work with knows my eating habits.  And this is just one reason I love working here….so many people brought “healthier” versions of food – just for me! 🙂  I was also blessed with this note from a coworker.  It completely made my day.  note

And then, if that wasn’t enough, when the mail came I was completely blown away again!sole sister

My Twitter “Sole Sister”, @karaokejennjenn had mailed me a package containing this coffee cup.  I absolutely LOVE it!!!  I have to say that I’ve had my coffee out of it for the past 3 days!

Friday evening, Alli and I made cupcakes.  One of her teammates was having a birthday on Saturday and requested our cupcakes. 🙂  She wanted red velvet, so it seemed like a good time to search for a good red velvet recipe (since I had yet to find one that I thought was satisfactory).  I am happy to announce that we found “THE” red velvet recipe.  It is soooo delicious!red velvet

I’m actually looking forward to whipping these up again, red finger nails and all!  LOL

Saturday morning I was out running at 6AM, in order to get my 10 mile long SLOW run in before the volleyball festivities of the day were to begin.  I know that no one would believe me if I told them I wore a shirt that said “Minnesota” on it, so I took a pic before heading out.  minnesota

I feel this needs some explanation…. A LOT of explanation.  Because everyone who knows me knows that I am a Texas gal through and through.  However, Taylor recently went to Minnesota to a National Qualifier with one of her club’s teams.  She found this running shirt in a store and bought it as a souvenir.  I actually really like the shirt, even if it does have a weird state plastered on the front of it! 😉

The run was amazing.  Absolutely amazing!  There really is nothing better than running when the sun comes up.  But the run wasn’t without its problems.  Last week, I suffered some ITB issues from mile 6 on (and it was a 10.5 mile run).  The rest of the day, my leg really bothered me.  I have been diligent with my foam rolling and strength training, so I tried my best not to worry.  (Those of you who know me know that I failed miserably at this attempt.)  It bothered me again just a bit on my next run, but got better each day.  This week, ITB started bothering me around mile 5.  I couldn’t believe it.  I tried not to get too upset about it, but with my history of ITB derailing my race efforts (and my first half marathon of 2015 coming up next weekend), it was hard not to let it get in my head.  However, something happened…..by mile 7, it had worked itself out.  I have NO idea how this happened, but this gave me hope that I am just working through some issues related to the distance increases.  The miracle in all this is that my legs felt AMAZING Saturday afternoon!  I couldn’t believe how fresh they felt after driving the distance to the tournament location, then sitting as long as I did.  When they still felt so good on Sunday, I really began to get excited.  Maybe this actually is related to the distance increases and not the beginning of more problems!

Alli’s team played in the North Texas Region tournament this weekend, in the 12s division.  The teams in this tournament were vying for a bid to next weekend’s Region Bid tournament, so they were a higher caliber 12s than we typically play.  The girls didn’t play well on Saturday in pool play.  We dropped 2 sets (we never drop sets in pool play) and ended up seeded 2nd in our pool, but still earned our way into the Gold bracket for Sunday play.

Sunday morning we faced the Texas Image 12 National team that handed us second place in our first tournament of the year.  They beat us 22-25, 23-25 in the finals that day and our girls were so upset!  Every single tournament, Alli has asked if this team will be playing in it because she wanted a rematch!  The girls seemed so nervous when they found out who they were playing, but they stepped up their game when they went out onto the court.  We lost the first set 24-26, after being up 24-17.  Heartbreaker….we SO should have won!!  The second set we rallied and closed out the set 25-17 to force a tiebreaker.  We went point for point in the last set, but ran out of steam and ended up losing 11-15.  The girls had nothing to be ashamed of – they were playing against giants!  playing against giants

You can see the size difference in that picture! LOL

I was so proud of Alli this weekend.  She really stepped up her game in getting to the ball and rarely called for help.  It has been so much fun to see the improvements with all the girls on the team this season!  We are now finished with USAV tournaments and can focus all our efforts toward AAU Nationals (and beating the Puerto Ricans) in Orlando in June!

Happy Monday!!

Jen