Reflection of 2013

Where to begin? That’s always the question is it not. 2013 saw a lot of growth for me as a runner mostly and some changes as an overall athlete. My focus really changed  from Trithlons to just running and biking events due to a feeling of complete failure as a swimmer. Coming in almost dead freakin last during every swim undertaken and then having to bust my tail on the bike to catch up to my wave……only to expend too much energy in the first 2 events and absolutely dying during the run. This had to change and it did – because I gave up swimming altogether. Sadly.

I completed my second ever marathon, The Army Marathon in April of this year and despite really not training like I had planned and having to visit the porta john somewhere around mile 19, I STILL managed to shave off around 10 minutes from my previous marathon time in San Antonio a few months prior. I also became well acquainted with the phenomenon of the runners black toenail!! Hah! Something about that distance just rubs my poor toes the wrong way apparently, but only on my right foot – which is the larger of the 2.

I started spending a lot of time running with these people, who I call, “the boys”. Although they are all grown men by any estimation – to me they are simply the boys. Their ages are irrelevant really. It is their hearts, quirky sense of humor and the knowledge that if I needed something they would be there that kept me running with them through the year. We spent many a mornings out on the trails here locally. Sometimes we would have a good day and we’d all be “on”, running until our time was up or we had met our distance for the day without anyone falling out. Other days, one of us would beg off from the rest of the crew with something as simple as a headache or more sinister and annoying as a stomach bug that decided to wait until we hit the trail to decide that it must make a quick exit……NOW.

The relationships I have made or strengthened this year with my running buddies, men and women alike are truly priceless! J.T…my ever present running buddy for every race or event I thought I may want to do. Who frustrated me with her ability to smoke the trails – despite swearing off road running because she hated it so much. The keeper of the trail tissue 🙂 and my road guard when the belly bug would strike and I’d have to pay a visit to the treeline.

P.C.W…my on again, off again training partner of all things NOT related to running. Although she did manage to sneak in a few runs with me and was my running partner for the Army Marathon she was mostly my swim and triathlon partner. Someone who does not know the word QUIT. Always a smile on her pretty face! Whether it was hill training in 96 degree heat in July or visiting with her and her new grand baby – she never has a negative word to say.  J.S and A.B……men I spent a great deal of time with on the trails. Picking their brains about all things related to the trails and giving them as much crap as possible – and was returned, always returned. The greatness of these people is that we all look out for each other!

At this, the close of 2013, I find myself coming almost full circle in that I am once again contemplating swimming. Not just any swim but the completion of a goal to finish a Half Ironman distance triathlon!! CRAZY talk eh?!! I know, I know. But you know, I don’t really have quit in me either. I WILL prepare for and complete my first one in Austin, October of 2014!!  Between now and then……….well that’s a post for another day. In the meantime, here are some pictures as evidence of the absolute FUN I had over the year and the people I experienced it with. Thanks for the memories boys! And the girls too of course!! Ha ha

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RAGNAR RELAY…..PILOT RUNNER CHALLENGE….PERSONAL BESTS!

    I told ya’ll there was a LOT of exciting new aspects of life coming up! I received via UPS my first shipment of promotional material for the Ragnar Relay right here in the good ol’ Texas Hill Country in October of 2014 – oh yeah, and my cool tshirt to go along with it! I am sooo excited for this event and am seriously looking forward to helping some of my friends and acquaintances make their way down there to participate!! You can check it out for yourself here: ragnartrail.com

      The Pilot Runner Challenge begins here in a few short days and I am going BEAST mode! Yep, I figured if I am going to challenge myself to something outside of my comfort zone, I may as well make it COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone. Beast mode essentially means not only will I not be eating all the foods I normally do not eat (wheat, soy, dairy, processed foods etc) but will add to the list by also refraining from eating red meats and eggs…….oh yeah and one of my FAV foods HONEY. It will be a challenge but not impossible. I am going to go out tomorrow and get all of my shopping done for the staples and then of course, I will need to hit up the produce isles a few times during the course of the challenge since fresh foods do not last nearly as long.

      Did I mention that I had a personal best on my 10 K this morning? Oh my! It was one of THOSE days. Maybe you have encountered them a time or two. The kind of day when you wake up without the help of the alarm but seem to still have a difficult time rolling out from under the nice warm covers. That was me this morning! 6:00 rolled around and PING, my eyes opened of their own accord. Great right? NOT! Well, that’s alright I told myself, I can still rest. Problem was, I KNEW I needed to get out there on the road for a solid 6 mile run at a minimum. 7:00 came and went and I told myself – another 30 minutes, that’s all you get. Um, nope! It was 8:30 before I finally got my lazy behind up and got dressed.

     See, the problem was not only that I just did not want to get up. The real problem is that my husband is related to the bears in Alaska I think and prefers the house to be a block of ice – okay, maybe a slight exaggeration on my part. Still, with the thermostat set on 71 degrees and our room the coldest one, it FEELS like it’s about 45 in the bedroom and I do NOT like being cold. Well, unless it is to run, then I like to be a bit chilly but certainly not to jump out of bed! Oh and another slight problem this week is that my mojo seems to have fled the country for warmer parts or something. I am not sure where it went but even the thought of running made me want to slink back into the covers and forget the world for another hour……or four.

    The angel on my shoulder, however, won the argument and so by 9:20 or so I was on the road, starting a 6 mile jaunt through the neighborhood. I know this route like the back of my hand. I could probably run it or at least walk it, blindfolded. It is my “go to” route when I don’t feel like driving to the trail head or when the road is simply more convenient. I had my music playing, mittens on and I was going to knock out these 6 miles. I was determined! It did not feel great..not even good. In fact, the first 2 miles I really had to talk myself into moving forward and putting one foot in front of the next. 

      Before I knew it, I’d climbed “the hill” – which is one of those 3/4 of a mile long, grind it out, passing the gas station and the doughnut shop kinda hill. I refused to stop! That hill was not going to beat me this morning! I chugged my way up and finally crested the 3rd rise in that blasted hill and then slowed down to something resembling a shuffle to get my heart rate back down to something resembling “normal” and then resumed. There were very few cars out and about spewing their poisons into my oxygen, the sun was bright and the air was crisp, but not painfully so. A stunning morning for a quick run!

    I realized upon returning that I had hit a new PR….a personal best…a record for how fast I can complete 6 miles!! I am happy with that! Especially since I shaved about 45 seconds or so of my previous time!! After a shower and some food we took a family trip to the bookstore (one of my absolute favorite places to go!) and spent far too much money making sure everyone came home with something – including myself. Bought a new vegetarian cookbook!

   It’s a good day ya’ll – a good day indeed!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

      Our Christmas eve ended last night when the clock turned over to Dec 25th at midnight! Upon wrapping all the gifts for the kiddos we realized that the stockings were going to be a bit lackluster but it was far too late to fix it. The days’ festivities began when the kids knocked on our bedroom door at 6:00 this morning! Ugh, seriously?!! Guess what five hours of sleep means for me? A good old fashioned NAP later today. 🙂

    Gifts abound and everyone is as happy as can be. Hubster surprised me with a Fitbit fitness tracker and some workout clothes! I honestly was not expecting anything else since he had given me a new Garmin about 2 weeks ago! I really wanted the Fitbit so I can better monitor my sleep and food intake and this thing does most of it all on its own. I’m more than happy with the blessings I’ve received this past year: family, friends, teammates and of course health! Thinking it’s about time for a reflection of the year but will save that for another post. 

    Now it’s time to make sure the grub is on and ready very soon because I am HUNGRY after my run with the dog! Have a blessed day. Remember the reason for the season. Enjoy your family and other loved ones!

Paying it forward

         This morning I met with a personal training client and doing so reminded me that we each are on a journey. Each of us must travel our own path but along the way we meet others who are doing what they need to do as well and we join forces – even if for only a short time. Meeting with her reminded me of my own journey through weight loss and healthy eating and all the fabulous friends and associates I have made along the way!

      I think part of paying it forward is remembering that we are all unique, with our own ideas, opinions, pleasure and pain and meeting each person right where they are. It is not our job to mold anyone into some semblance of what we think they ought to be. It is not our job to fix anyone or attempt to fix their problems. Our job in paying it forward is to share what we have learned, love people for who and where they are right now and display a real attitude of acceptance. Give what we have to give and sometimes even give a little more than we think is possible. 

     Sometimes, paying it forward is a simple random act of kindness without an expectation of anything in return – like paying for a meal at the drive through or filling their gas tank at the convenience store. It can also be just a simple word or two that will make the day of someone who may be having a rough day. Tell them you LOVE their shirt, their hair or just hold their door open with a genuine smile. It doesn’t hurt – I promise! 🙂 

      For me, paying it forward also means helping others find their motivation to get healthy. So much of this journey I am on now seems almost rote on some days so I am thankful when I encounter someone who needs a pat on the back or an encouraging word. I am walking through my life partaking of all the joys presented to me and hoping that I make a difference. How will you pay it forward today? 

Another chilly run….completed whilst depleted

    I began a new segment of my journey to become healthier back in August. I saw a Nutritionist because I was so frustrated with the fact that despite how many miles I often run, I simply could not lose any more weight. I had been at a plateau for oh, 4 1/2 YEARS! 

    The nutritionist did her analysis and found that although I do not have an allergies, exactly, I do have some food sensitivities to: wheat, soy, peanuts, dairy and of course – sugars. I was only partially shocked but it was because I had been avoiding most foods that we are told are “unhealthy” for us. 

     So, since August I have lost about 12 pounds, a couple pant sizes and gained an increase in energy!! Some days are easier than others! I try not to think about it like it’s a “diet” but rather it’s a lifestyle choice that I willingly make. This means that there are more options! If I feel like I want to eat junk – I EAT IT – in moderation of course. This is mostly because 1) I physically feel awful if I eat too much junk 2) I know how easy it is to pick weight back up within the first year of dropping it and I don’t want to start over again.

       Having said all that, the run this morning w/my crazy trail running friends was done so without eating first. I’ve always eaten before trail running! It just seems to take so much more energy from me than running the road and so I always eat. Bonking last weekend at El Sendero was a rude awakening though and so I have decided that I need to get my body accustomed to running w/o pre-fueling. Not for every run obviously! But certainly for some. Today was a great test with almost 8 miles ran with my tank on empty. 

Endless forward progress and a constant work in progress!!

A try and an unsuccessful attempt at a 60K…..Lessons learned

 

               Image This picture was taken last week on Saturday during my much anticipated attempt at the El Sendero 60K at Reveille Ranch. This was a real experience of Murphy and all of his wonderful gifts he bestows. Hah! Can you hear my sarcasm? 

It started out as a brilliant idea to save some cash by camping out the night prior to the race rather than paying for a hotel room for myself and my running partner. Murphy reared his ugly head within 20 minutes of leaving by inviting some soupy fog into the area where we had to drive. From there, the fun continued with cold temps arriving for those of us who have been in Texas long enough for our “blood to thin” and anything below around 50 to feel FRIGID. This was not a big deal whilst we were sitting around the campfire, talking and hanging out but turned into an issue when I had a difficult time sleeping because I simply could not get my feet to stay warm.

Are you familiar with Murphy? Hmph, he is not a nice guy I must say! We got through the night basically unscathed. Cold but unscathed. Got dressed in our sleeping bags and for some reason – I failed to eat anything other than a banana. Ooops! Um, a banana pre- 60K run is not exactly smart fueling I have to say! That’s okay. Not great but not a really big deal since there are snacks along the trail that I can pick at while I run. Sounds good right?Between the snacks and my Tailwind nutrition (liquid calories essentially) I think I will be alright. Turns out, I was alright for the first loop…….well, except for the fact that my feet were absolutely frozen for the first 20K. Not such a great way to start since a frozen foot seemed to also cause my ankles to roll quite easily and this trail is covered with wonderful rocks to give one an opportunity to roll their ankles! 

    To make this story short, I knew mid-way through the 2nd loop that I was not going to make the third loop. Ask me about the weather sometime! That was another determining factor of my dropping to the 40K…….besides bonking due to lack of proper nutrition. 

Lots of exciting activities coming for 2014 including: Run Ranger Run in February, The Army Marathon in March and a Trail Warrior for the Ragnar Relay in October!! Stay tuned for the details! 

The beginning….

This is all new to me but you will find that there is usually NOT a shortage of words when speaking to me. Let me tell you what I love! I love to run! I love to bicycle – in the warm weather! I am an explorer of all types of healthy food alternatives from wheat, dairy and sugar free to green smoothies and vegetarianism and many alternatives in between. 

     I bet you are wondering “who is this person?” I am a multi-faceted woman with lots of minor talents like writing poetry, baking delicious food and finding inventive ways to make myself – and sometimes others as well – sweat. I am a mother of 7 children, wife, athlete and team member, teacher, lover of the outdoors and reader of many books.

     I started participating in Triathlons about 5 years ago and was hooked immediately! I love the challenge of completing 3 events against other women in my “age group”. Last August I started running on the trails of Central Texas. My initial thought was, “oh my this SUCKS”. Of course it sucked! I decided to go from running no miles on the trail to running 6 miles – right off the bat! Hah! Not my smartest decision but guess what, I was in love. In love with the challenge of the trail.

  Since then I have completed a 55K, 40K and several trail races of less than 30 miles. What I have found is that training on the trail has made me faster on the road! Insane right?! 

There are some new and exciting things coming up and I hope to enlighten, entertain and perhaps even educate a few people while at the same time having a boat load of fun and learning myself! 🙂