Butterflies in my stomach. Nervous energy. Excitement flowing through my veins. The fear of the unknown. The thrill of the experience ahead. The wonder of not knowing what’s to come. The utter possibility of anything happening. All of these are feelings that I get when I toe a start line. All of these feelings are something I'm craving to feel again. So, I guess you could say I’m back to training and I’m ready to hit the ground running. Ok, ok, I'm really bad at puns.
My next race will be the Squamish 23k in BC, Canada in August. This will be a whole new experience for me because, well... It's through the mountains of Canada! Although I’m super nervous about this, I’m also really, really excited. I’ve been a bit conflicted in terms of what I want to do or what races I want to run. I wanted something different to look forward to and I think this is it. I signed up for it on a whim months ago after talking about it with a running buddy. He'll be there, but doing an extremely more difficult race so we will hardly see each other other than before/after the race. I know It’s going to be a long, challenging road of training and I honestly don’t even know where to begin…but I’m ready to start figuring things out!!
The race is 12 weeks away, so its time to actually start following some sort of training plan. I know the hustle and grind of training, especially long distance training, is a pain but I do like following a good plan. I 'm still in search of a running coach, in case you're not up to speed- things didn't work out with the last one. I need someone to actually advise me, not just throw some words into training peaks then ask me 5 days latter how things are going, but I digress.
I will be honest: my biggest obstacle when training is myself. I put so much pressure on myself that race day comes and if I slip up on anything, even a little, the negative self-talk creeps in and takes over and I can't battle her. I have been practicing positiveity, confidence, and letting go of racing stress over the last few months and I have gotten so much better. It’s amazing how much power the mind has over the body.
During the past few weeks I have enjoyed the simple act of running if & when I please. No specific training, which if you know me well, then you know that usually makes me feel like a fish out of water. Somehow though, the last few weeks have been just what I needed. Not only has it been a physical refresh, but a mental reboot too! My soul is aching for racing again. I want to train smart & hard. These last few months have been fun with all the casual runs I've done, but it's time to bring that grit and determination back to life again.
Here’s to doing things you never thought you’d do, like running in the mountains of Canada!!
Ready.... Set.... Train!
Dream Big. Work Hard.
I know I said I would never write about this, and in great detail I never will. It is my private life and I’d prefer to keep most of it that way. What I'd like to share here, is the amazingness of the community of people surrounding me.
When a tragedy occurs in your life, you will see true kindness in a select few and indifference in the rest. There are those who don’t want to be reminded of it; they would prefer you to cope privately and quietly so as to not be reminded of pain that is not their own. But the story isn’t over for me, it never will be.
I’ll spare you a lot of the details of the brutal hours that followed because that is my private life and again I’d like to keep it that way. I think about those next few weeks a lot and wish I had been stronger….for my own sake. But I wasn’t. I barely left my home or talked to my family any more than what was required. I deleted all my social media, never answered calls/texts and essentially just disappeared. I took care of all the logistics and phone calls, but other than that I was hardly functioning.
I eventually resurfaced, but in truth, it was really so I didn’t have to face what was happening. I couldn’t. I pretended everything was ok, but in reality I don’t think I spent a moment present in my own life for the next month straight. I could hardly focus on what was going on except for at night when I would allow myself a few moments to scream and cry into my pillow. I was angry at life, I didn't understand and was convinced something was wrong with me. I didn't want to be in a world where children were taken away from their mothers so tragically. My fear became stronger than my faith and I started to question everything I had ever believed in.
Here’s where pure kindness comes into this story. I can tell you, without a doubt in my mind that a large amount of my survival and recovery is owed to the hope, love, prayers in whatever form, and positive energy of friends and family. People who I never thought would show up- DID, and even those who I knew would care, cared more than I could have ever imagined. I have friends who have stayed by my side almost every second of these almost six months and kept me going. I have people who came into my life during the midst of all of this and have unknowingly pulled me through just by being their kind spirited selves. All of these things got me through each day and for that I am eternally grateful. To every person who said a kind word, paid a visit, gave a call, said a prayer, you made things a bit better in a time where everything felt hopeless.
Six months ago, my life stopped. I stopped going to work for weeks, I isolated myself and could barely get myself to do anything productive. Things are a bit better now, I can finally say I’m okay and mean it. My heart will never stop hurting, but getting through my day is a little bit easier now.
This might be the worst year of my life so far but I’ve learned so much. Life is such a beautiful tragedy. Those tragedies teach you lessons. I love a little deeper, laugh a little harder, I’ve been humbled and I’ve been blessed, I’ve found strength in myself and I’ve seen the love of others, and most of all I may have broken a few times along the way but I made it through. It’s hard. It’s so so damn hard some days. But it’s time to start a new chapter. My life is much different now than it has been in the last 10 years, this is my reality. This blank page of life is staring back at me asking to be written and I must find my faith once again and see where life is going. There is nowhere to go from rock bottom but up.
Thank you all, again, for pulling me through when I needed it the most.
Okay, bear with me while I launch into all things training for the next couple of months! In the spirit of running and injury prevention, here’s are some great resistance band workouts that my physical therapist has me do, some of them with the band and some without. It’s great for strengthening around your hips & knees, keeping runners less prone to injury. Don't forget to keep up with your strength training too! It's important not to ignore muscles underused in the act of running, just because you think they’re not necessary. Remember, your muscles all work together and it can be helpful to think of your body’s movements as part of an overall linked chain.
And remember, if you have aches and pains, get them checked out to make sure they're not serious!
You can do these workouts in your living room, outside, in the gym, or wherever you please. Best of all- all you need is a resistance band and yourself!
LATERAL LUNGES (shown without band)
KNEE EXTENSIONS (shown seated)
KNEE EXTENSIONS (shown standing)
PLANK ALTERNATING STEP OUTS (shown without band)
HIP FLEXOR STRETCH
Dream Big. Work Hard.
I have been running for almost 3 years now (with injury breaks mixed in) and I have gained SO much from it mentally, physically and spiritually. When I first started, I struggled to complete a mile but I knew that figuring out how to run would get me in physical shape; but I didn’t anticipate it would somehow change me and help me grow in ways that nothing else could.
I started to think about all these lessons that I’ve learned from my running. They are universal. Really, these lessons could apply to life in general or any physical activity– swimming, cycling, cross fit, weight lifting, yoga, etc. Running has become a life-changer for me, a passion and an outlet but sometimes it can even feel like the last thing on Earth that I want to do. I’ve learned so much more about myself in the past almost 3 years of running, finding myself & pushing my potential.
To live my life as a runner & a good human being, I just need to follow these simple life lessons. ❤
1: To be good at anything, you have to put in the time and effort..
2: Do the best that YOU can do. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Just be the best possible you. Run your own race.
3: No matter how hard you work and how prepared you are, disappointments will unfortunately happen.
4: The most gratifying experiences usually come as a result of enduring the most painful trials.
5: If you focus on putting one foot in front of the other, you will eventually reach the finish line.
6: The mind is a very powerful thing. Training your mind is just as important as training your body.
7: Learning the difference between physically being unable to continue and giving up.
8: Accepting that every day is different — some days 5 miles is really easy, other days it feels like 50.
Can I tell you all something?
I have been listening to my body a TON and I swear it’s paying off! (Genius concept, right?) Seriously though, focusing even more on the workouts that my body WANTS has been even better than I can explain. I still have a long way to go to really feel back to my normal self, but I feel like I’m finding a rhythm and learning to trust myself again… it also helps that my trainer shows me new things! (Thanks trainer guy!) *wink*
I’ve found that when I listen and take some time off, my body tells me when it’s ready to get back into working out. This whole idea of intuitive exercise, if you will. I have been sleeping terrible lately, and have been hitting the snooze button a little too often to get my 5am workout in. We’ve all had those days when it’s been tough to get to the gym or get a workout started. Whether it’s gloomy outside or you’re tired or you have too much to do. On days like this, I often tell myself to give the workout at least 10 – 15 minutes. By that time, my mind is likely more focused on the workout than the craziness of the day, or week. Usually after the workout I feel good and I’m happy I pushed through rather than skipped it.
But then there are those days when I am just physically or even mentally/emotionally exhausted and working out is THE LAST thing that I want to or should be doing. It’s those days when you try and push through the 10 – 15 minutes and you just can’t.... and sometimes, that's ok. But it's important to know when your listening to your body or just making excuses.
(I want to preface this by saying that the running community is amazing. They are supportive, positive, helpful, uplifting, and incredibly friendly.)
I started running before social media blew up. I often find myself extremely grateful that social media didn’t show up any sooner in my life than it actually did. I didn’t have a watch at the time that i started running, whenever I completed a run, I was just proud of myself for finishing! I had no clue if I was fast or slow, or even what fast or slow was and based my milage off how far something was in a car. (I now have a watch, but still) Goodness, if social media were around when I started running, I probably would have given up. Thankfully I didn't! One thing I strive for in my social media presence is relateability... I am just a normal gal who goes through ups & downs in her running journey. I don't run super speedy 5-7 min miles, I don't run 50-100 mile races, I just run.
After years of using social media and now being a social media-er, I have concluded that I have two internal voices: the rational, content, level-headed, calm one, and the fiery, irrational one. The fiery, irrational one is always the one to speak up first when I look at my Social feeds, "Why can't I run that fast? Why can’t I look like that? Why didn’t I get asked? Why doesn’t my stomach look like that?” After those initial outbursts of rage and jealousy, the level-headed one chimes in and pushes the crazy one off of the bridge.
Luckily, she always wins. She says:.....
Simple might be my current favorite word. Simple means no fuss and no sweat. However, it DOES NOT mean boring. In fact, I think we can all agree that we need more simplicity in our world of crazy social media, endless to-do lists and myriad emojis (thank goodness for the new ones though). Why not start with our food?
I’d like to think that I’m a relatively simple person. I don’t need a fancy car or expensive things. I don’t need 10 jars of nut butter at once (Want, yes. Need, no). I get excited over a ripe avocado or when my dog greets me at the door. I like quiet, low-key nights. I have zero issues just sitting on the couch and not doing anything. As you know, running outdoors is where I find my calmness in life. Oddly enough, another place where I’m starting to feel calm is in the kitchen. Yes, I said me in the kitchen... with food. I eat it too! ;)
Truthfully, one of the reasons I was hesitant to start posting recipes on my blog is because most of the things I cook don’t require "recipes". I gravitate toward minimal ingredients and preparation. I just make them up as I go along and feel silly for publishing them. I see tons of other recipes that are very simple, and you could argue you don’t “need” a recipe, so I figured why not chime in myself. I see so much benefit in sharing ideas and hopefully sparking inspiration for others. That’s the point in the circle of blogging life, right?
Creamy Avocado Zoodles
Have you ever had a zoodle? They are just so fun & versatile…or as fun as vegetables can be. This is one of my go-to zoodle recipes, It’s a lighter, summery dish but filled with all the good stuff (healthy fats and greens).
2 large zucchinis
1/8 cup of chopped dill
2 TBS Roasmary
Fresh ground black pepper - to taste
1 or 1-1/2 avocado(s)
2 tsp of olive oil
Mix avocado, dill, Rosemary, black pepper, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor until full blended.
Wash, peel and spiralize the zucchinis with your zoodler tool
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix avocado sauce with zoodles.
Serve and enjoy.**
**You can store in the fridge for later, but I suggest storing the sauce and raw zoodles separately and mixing before eating.
Anyone else feel like 2016 has been such a whirlwind already?? I mean, how is it that May is already here?
Gosh, I've done so much already-in an effort to escape what was happening in life and allow myself to heal, I traveled and ran races that I may or may not haven been fully ready to run. I flew to Dallas, road tripped to Baton Rouge & New Orleans with Lacy, went to New York with Lacy, got really sick, went to Atlanta with Team nuun, planned my goals, and tried out some new gear. But let’s get serious here and talk about what really matters: I’m running again! I mean like a normal person!
Recovering from an injury is the strangest thing ever. Part of me still feels like that scared gal lying on the table at PT hearing that I tore a tendon in my ankle and that my hips needed strengthening. The other part of me still feels like that strong gal is still inside of me- you know, the gal where I was flying at the fastest pace per mile I’ve ever done with a huge smile on my face!
I want to get back to that happy, confident runner that I was, but I want to do it the right way. So, I’m still seeing my trainer twice a week, working on my core, cross training, keeping up with the PT home exercises and easing back into running slowly. And by slowly I mean I've already run a bunch of races... but more as a means to push me to train, I havent run any with a focus on time yet but that's coming. It’s definitely not as easy as I thought it would be. I’ve always known that running was a huge mental game, and it’s never been more true than when you’re recovering from an injury and even more so recovering from life. I thought I’d bounce out of my PT’s office, take off running, and never look back. But it’s definitely not that easy or fast of a process. If you’ve ever been injured before, you might recognize the signs of these common recovery side effects, also known as recovering runner problems:.......
Who do you run with?
When I started my running journey, I ran mostly alone. I liked the solitude, I relished the quiet time and I enjoyed just being alone. And at times, I still very much do.
Over the years I’ve grown to likewise appreciate company on my runs. I’ve run with close friends, I’ve run with a group of friends and I’ve run with people I’ve just met. I’ve logged miles with runners faster and more accomplished then me and I’ve run with rookies and runners slower than me. I have been inspired by others and I hope along the way I’ve inspired someone.
People say running can be a lonely sport… I think not. Running has opened up the world around me at a grass roots level. I’ve gotten to know myself better and I’ve met some wonderful new friends along the way.
While running I’ve come to learn that everyone, if not the same, that we are very similar. We all put our shoes on, we all walk out the door and we all take that first step and run. Every runner covers the same distance; to all of us the mile is the great equalizer. Everyone sets some personal records and everyone has moments of defeat. With all we share as runners, running is never a lonely sport.
Whether I run alone or with friends…I always have a friend by my side.