Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 relived through running

In my opinion, a successful year can be looked in one of two ways:

One can either waste time replaying every mistake, every misstep, every time actualization fell short of expectation, and reflect back reconsidering all of the "what if" moments that were never taken.


 One could scroll back through the sands of time reflecting on all experiences, both jubilant and sorrowful, realizing that life is truly a blessing where each day presents new possibilities exposing us to the seen and unseen where there is just as much value in failure as there is in success.

For me, I try to not let myself get caught up on all of the mistakes that have held me back and times where I fell short of the goals I spent so much time day dreaming over. Instead, I try to take the good and the bad of the year to realize the growth that has radiated out of my soul pouring onto every aspect of my life teaching me the lessons my pretentious self needed to be taught.

2011 was a very humbling year in this way for me.

Shamrock Shuffle 8k.
Being bold here going out with nearly a sub 6 minute mile,
then slowly dying out as the miles clipped on.
All the while still smiling as my muscles were calling me crazy.

There were many moments where I felt inspired and uninhibited, knowing that I was the only thing holding myself back from a fulfilled life. Moments were I felt unstoppable. 
Loved. Brilliant. Fierce.

Moments where I felt brave enough to try anything while throwing caution into the wind.

Soldier Field 10 Mile.
Fueled up on more then my share of dairy before this race.
That was not the most pleasant lesson to learn.
Nonetheless, still a lesson learned.

Amidst all the bloating an overfill of dairy will bring,
still managed a 4 minute PR.
And that one felt so good.

Moments when my body ached, but I felt like I could fly like the wind and chicked as many men as possible.

Bastille's Day 5k.
I'm sorry sir, but you've just been chicked by a gal half your age.

There where times when I celebrated with cupcakes, ice cream, cinnamon rolls, potato chips, chocolate, and sour patch kids.
But that's just me. 

Felt so amazing to finally break 20 minutes in the 5k.

I found my voice in life this year through running, realizing that life is what you make of it.
There is no magic potion, no secret ingredient, no angle that will make life any easier or guarantee any success. You will only get out of life what you are willing to put in, and unless your heart is open to dance through every experience that will come your way...sadly you may miss out on a lot of mind blowing adventures.

Oak Brook 1/2 Marathon.
I don't have to run. I don't make a living from my fitness. Running will never pay off my student loans and will never lead me to an Olympic gold medal. It is not a requirement or a "to do" on the list of tasks that carry over from one day to the next. Instead, I chose to lace up my shoes everyday rain or shine for me...and only me.

Running can open your heart to living life boldly and bravely if you let it.
It can empower you and strengthen your spirit well beyond what you could ever imagine.
It will bring unthinkable freedoms.
It will make the impossible seem possible.

Nothing will ever top the embrace of my husband after smashing my 1/2 PR by 5 minutes.
Nothing. Best moment all year.

It won't always be easy, and there will be plenty of times when I show up to a race less then prepared and my body will crumble. There will be times I may fall short of my goals, and the success that I spent so much time pining over will become just a fizzled out dream. But that does not mean that I will not forge forward to tomorrow and stop setting my sights high.

Instead it means that next time I will try something different.
I'll step further outside the cushion of comfort that I often unintentionally surround myself with, pressing past chance and possibility and allow myself to be reckless for a moment.

My pledge to 2012 is to live bolder then ever, and not let contentment fill my soul.

Pre Chicago marathon.
Two days before I came no where near my goal for the day.
But what an experience.

2011 brought many life lessons, most of which I learned when I fell flat on my face and was foolishly greeted with failure and loss upon returning to my feet. Putting myself out on a narrow ledge feeling vulnerable and shaky has been what has kept me going for most of 2011. I've taken chances that have scared the mess out of me, some successful and where near successful. And I'm going to do it all again next year. Head held high, owning each and every moment.

Life isn't simple, and I don't have all of the answers. But as long as the pursuits of my heart are pure, there will not be a day that goes by where I look back regretting who I am or what I am working towards.

It would be easy to say that I hit a lot of my goals for the year, end of story.
But the story isn't over for me yet, I have a feeling that another chapter is just beginning.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday Rewind

After months of planning, the holiday season of 2011 has come and gone leaving my home a disaster and me with zero energy to attend to it. I should have asked Santa for a maid. Seriously, it ain't cute.

The fat old man did manage to squeeze in a stop to our home and left us with some rather wonderful gifts. Even my fur babies got a few treats.

How did he ever know that I wanted these Saucony Ulti Mittens?
Santa must be reading my blog.

Complete holiday meal in stuffed toy form. Someone needs to learn how to share.

Somehow I still managed to get in 51 miles last week with the 5 holiday celebrations that were going on around us. All easy miles, but this was my first 6 day running week since the first week of October. There were 12 weeks in there where I kept my activity level down to a 5 day max, so getting back into the swing of things last week was a bit tiring in combo with all of the other festivities going on. Last night I crashed before 10 pm and didn't wake up until 8:30 am this morning, and it felt amazing.

With all of the out-of-towners here for the holidays and the gatherings in the last 5 days, I decided that it would be the best time to unplug from social media for a few days. 

No tweets. No blog posts. No status updates. Nada.

Instead there was plenty of laughter, hugs, memories created, and more then my fair share of cookies.

Family picture. The furry ones were in holiday overload mode.

This weeks goal is to hit the high 50's with mileage, try to keep up with my girl Charlyn on Saturday for a long run, and keep away from the 3 lbs. of chocolate my Mother-in-law gifted us.

Yikes, that's a lot of chocolate for 2 people.

What was your favorite holiday gift that you received?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Base building during the holidays

I don't know about you all, but the holiday gorging is already in full swing in my household. Family is in town and there have been many delightfully sinful treats surrounding me for the past few days with no near end in sight. I'm a sucker for anything sprinkled with peppermint and decked out in festive colors this time of year.

I'm not opposed to indulging in the holiday treat that surround us all and I have more then my fair share, after all tis but once a year right? As a matter of fact, as I'm typing this round 2 of the Christmas cookie train is rolling full speed ahead through my kitchen. But, I do believe in self control and maintaining nutritional balance 365 days a year.

To keep myself at bay from eating my weight in sugar this week, I decided that this would be the best time for me to get started with building my base mileage for that spring marathon I'm all jazzed up about. Since the Chicago marathon I've been keeping running to a maximum of 5 days with no more then 45 miles covered per week. Most of those runs have been garminless and extremely easy where I head out the door just to enjoy running in it's most simple form without any concern as to numbers. It has been a nice change of pace for me and has allowed my body to play catch up and have a little time to rest and repair.

Initially when I decided to begin base building this week I had the goal of a mid 50 week with my first 6 day running week in 12 weeks. Then family came into town, I felt rather ill for a few days, mother nature decided to make a little visit into my life, and I somehow committed myself to making more holiday treats then time seems to allow. So goals have now changed in order to accommodate everything while still keeping my sanity.

How I'm getting through the next few days:

Just get out of the house and engage in some type of activity.

Start the day with a nutritional breakfast.

If necessary, shave off a few miles in order to keep in the high intensity strength training sessions.

Resist the urge of late night snacks containing high amounts of carbs, sugars, and fats. Instead fill up at meal times with proteins and veggies.

Family will always come before the incessant need to hit a certain number of miles for the week.

Take runs as a quiet time to recharge and destress from all of the togetherness. Love the family, but my mind has difficultly handling the constant noise if there isn't a moment of silence and reflection in the my day.

And of course,
find time to give thanks and celebrate the birth of Christ with family.

Years from now I most likely won't recall the workouts I did on the holiday or how many miles I covered or didn't cover this week or the fact that my home looks like a tornado ran through it. Instead, hopefully I will look back and remember the smiles and laughter shared with the ones I love.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Starting back at square one

As the 10 weeks since the Chicago marathon 2011 have passed, I've spent quite a bit of time focusing my efforts on things other then fitness goals and have watched my level of fitness slowly disappear as each day passed. While I'm not totally out of shape here, it would be safe to say that I'm feeling rather squishy and weak lately.

This past Saturday morning I attended a power yoga class in the early morning hours with hopes of starting the weekend off on the right foot leaving my mind and body void of all the stressors in life that I've been toting around recently. My intentions for the practice were to breath deep, maintain a quiet inner peace, and lengthen all of those muscles I have been neglecting lately. I love yoga, but I haven't kept a solid commitment with my practice this year and there has been little to no progress in my abilities to fold the body into the unthinkable positions. These days I call it a successful day when I can touch the floor in a forward fold without a soft bend in the knees.

As I was making my best attempts to not roar in laughter at my bodies sad efforts to bind and balance into ways that it just wasn't willing to comply with on that cold snowy morning, I finally had all the affirmation I needed to acknowledge that there has been a great deal of fitness lost in this creaky body in a 10 week time period. Utkatasana has a funny way of humbling the body and putting movement into perspective, it all looks so simple but requires an insane amount of mental concentration and bodily awareness which I do not posses at this time.

photo source

Sure piece of cake, I could do that in my sleep. 

Then yesterday I went to the Bears game with some friends and was feeling the burn from Saturdays yoga practice while sitting in those uncomfortable stands with the chill in the air stiffening my achy muscles. By the time the game ended and I arrived home, I my body was so exhausted I felt like I had just completed a marathon.

So today that leaves me starting back at square one. Losing some fitness in the past several weeks has hurt my ego a bit, but essentially it was necessary for my mangled and battered body to have some time for RNR after a year long pursuit of chasing down my dreams. I know that with some work and plenty of love my body will be stronger then ever come marathon #7 this spring.

But in the mean time, there will probably be more then a fair share of days where I am again brought to laughter at my silly attempts to find my bodies limits. One day Utkatasana sequence I will figure day.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Cookie Overload

 Last week the hubs very politely requested for me to make some of my very special homemade sugar cookies for some of his coworkers. Because his face is so stinkin cute, I obliged. It wasn't until after I agreed to get my bake on in our kitchen I found out he wanted enough cookies individually packaged with my holiday love for 15 people. Shoot, should have asked that question first. No big deal, after all I used to do this for a living.

Pumping the breaks here I should explain that my holiday cookies are quite spectacular if I may say so myself. While I no longer bake professionally, I still have some mad-style baking skillz that will blow any other housewives out of the water. Hands down, no competition. But I'm sure that most housewives aren't professional trained French chefs either, so I guess it's a draw. These holiday cookies are a labor of love that take copious amounts of time to produce and a millisecond to consume. But baking is a calming experience for me, and holiday treats always put me in good spirits.

These holiday cookies are a labor of love that take copious amounts of time to produce and a millisecond to consume. But baking is a calming experience for me, and holiday treats always put me in good spirits. Three and a half hours later a tornado looked like it blew through my kitchen, I had green frosting in my hair, and I felt sick from all of the sugar I'd been sniffing in. Suffice to say that my holiday spirit yesterday had a few ridges around the edges.

But they sure looked purdy
The hubby always gets the scrap dough, and just a little reminder of what a great wife I am

Don't you just want to bite that snowman's head off?

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear"
Buddy the Elf

Happy Holidays

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

something about the chase...

For me there is something insanely poetic about late afternoon runs during the last few days of autumn. The way the golden rays of the sun peak through buildings illuminating the newly naked trees and glimmer off the rare blue calmness of lake Michigan makes my heart flutter. Ahh, it's almost magic and easy to miss it if you're not anxiously awaiting it's arrival.


This magic has the power to light the fire back in the hearts of those that have allowed it to dwindled down to a faint flicker with the change of seasons. For me, I wait for this time of year for that exact reason. Strangely the brisk chill in the air always brings me deep inspiration and reminders of why I pound the pavement day after day, dream after dream.

In recent months running has been feeling like a job for me, focused and dull. But it's not, rather it has always been my quiet me time where I unplug from the universe and disappear off of the map for a few brief moments in time each day. Time for me to reflect, pray, and dream. Somehow this fall I turned into my own drill sergeant, and my movements became robotically uninspired making all euphoric feelings from my dreams null. Passion and optimism no longer stoked the fire for my future, instead they doused the flames with rancid water extinguishing any hope for the actualization of my sought after glory.


Knowing that the unwelcome feelings of lull lingering around this neck of the woods would eventually clear out to make way for new opportunities has been my motivation to quickly close out the old day and begin a new. Anxiety about the return of my inspiration has left me frantically searching the oddest of places for it's return has been ever consuming. Funny thing is, that which our heart is most insistent about finding will always be the one thing that we will never stumble upon...until we stop looking.

A gentle reminder recently that faith, (whether it be in your God, future, or even yourself) is grown in risk rather then in safety have quietly left necessary imprints on my heart. As someone who continually concerns themselves with progress and the actualization of my goals and what my heart desires occasionally needs an unplanned intervention of words from a soul wiser then my own that has the power to shake me to my core when it tickles me at the right moment.

I was tickled.


My dreams are just a blue print for where life is really leading me, and lately those dreams have not lead anywhere near expected. Instead they jerk me around like a puppet and assure me that there will always be a risk in the things which God intends to bless me with. The penciled out rough draft of life which I tuck away in my back pocket will always be with me as I chase down life, but my heart is open to what this city is trying to teach.

I think it's time that I start carrying an eraser in the other pocket.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Alright #7, this time I'm ready for you

Recently I've come to the conclusion that my body is not cut out for marathons, but then again who's is? Obviously it is not normal to run for endless amounts of time, especially for us non elites that claim we do it for fun.

But, I decided that I'm going to go for #7 in spring of 2012 anyways even though I know that:

  1. I will not break any kinds of American or world records doing so
  2. There is not a chance in hell that I will win the race
  3. My body tends to like the training for the marathon part, but rebels against me in the tapering
  4. The last two three marathons I've ran it's been quite a battle and things haven't pan out too well. There was the pre Boston injury of 2008 which I neglected to take proper care of and completely derailed my training, then the mental break down during Chicago 2010, and finally this October where physical my body just said no way chica. Oh yes, all glorious moments in my life.
Looking at all of this is enough for me to say "hey it's been a good run, but it's now time to hang up my marathon shoes", yet strangely I feel quite the opposite. Sure I may not be the fastest one out there, but I know that marathons can be fun and that I can conquer this race distance.

Back in 2004 I ran my first marathon, and enjoyed every second of it. At the time I was a broke college student working 6 days a week while going to culinary school and trying to support myself on less then 1,000 bucks a month in a rather expensive city. Life was stressful and I had very little time for fitness, but I somehow managed to get in some semi-solid yet very unstructured training. My day would typically start at 3 am where I would head off to my job as a professional baker putting in a full day of kneading and whisking before heading to classes that were keeping me occupied until 9 pm. Attending a culinary program wasn't quite like other college programs and my classes would generally consist of at least 6 hour block of time in an extremely hot kitchen with crazy French chefs muttering out non stop orders and questioning why my mise en place was such a mess.

Back then I was young, broke, and determined to run a marathon so I some how made things work. After my 22 hour days I was squeezing in random runs during late evening hours on an dark barren path all by my lonesome. There was no training plan or no speed work, only the goal to finish with a smile on my face and not be murdered while training companion less at odd hours of the night. The whole idea was crazy, and so was I.

Thats my young bod in the bottom left corner.
Took me 10 minutes to cross the start line after taking my sweet time race morning

But I did just that finishing in 3:28 while the smile never faded from my face. I felt like I was living a dream and was having the time of my life. I didn't once stop for fuels, there was no Gu, I didn't own a GPS nor did I really care about my pace, I just ran. And I enjoyed every minute of it.

A blender blew up in my face a few days before the race.
It was filled with a boiling hot tomato sauce and my kitchen partner covered the blender and turned it on.
This is reason #1 why you never put hot things in a blender,
it'll blow up in someone else face.

I've never again been able to mimic those feelings of elation and excitement for what each mile will bring in a marathon, but have somehow ventured on this unending quest to do so. Marathon #7 could be another epic fail for me and in the 6 months until race day life may take me in another direction, but I jumping head first into this adventure with loose plans to do things different this time around.

Maybe that late May morning will be the day that I finally feel that glory and freedom again in a marathon, and maybe it won't. Either way, I'll be there ready to take on whatever the day may hold...smiles and all.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Do you recycle?

We do in our house, or at least I thought that we did until earlier this afternoon.

photo source

Living in a highly urban area, it becomes common behavior to not pay attention as to where our trash is going. Many businesses and people here tend to not fret with concern as to how many trees are being killed with the endless amounts of wasted paper being used and that those convenient bottles that house our fresh alpine waters are going to end up in our oceans and landfills.

Chicago isn't exactly the most environmentally friendly city in the country, but it seems to be trendy now to have some concern for that which we are all leaving behind. In my house we don't recycle because it's a fad, instead I keep it as an important task to ensuring that mother earth will continue to be beautiful for generations to come. So I recycle everything. Milk jugs, junk mail, plastic toiletry containers, anything and everything. Our apartment is tiny, and we have more then overgrown our space, but I keep the area under the sink void of clutter in order to stow away our recyclable items which I later drop in a communal bin designated for my building located in my garage.

My building wasn't always on board about sorting disposables, for the first year or so there was no recycling program in place and all waste was considered garbage. If you chose to recycle, you would have to drive the items to the recycling center yourself because there was no pickup service. However, the condo association here seemed to get their act together about three years ago and put a large recycling bin in our communal garage. With the convenience of having the receptacle so close, it became second nature to be aware of what trash items go where in my home.

Today I was left speechless when I was waiting to pull in my garage when the trash man was emptying our two large trash receptacles, and then rolled the recycling bin on over and dumped it right in with the trash. Well paint me green and call me gumby, boy do I feel foolish.

Is this really a creditable program???
Has this been going on all along? Have I really been so oblivious as to know where the recyclables that I was taking so much care to dispose of appropriately were going? Apparently so.

I'm not sure if this is a common practice, but it may be more then I would suspect. So it has got me thinking as to if we all just naively sort our waste with hopes that it all ends up in the proper place, or if that is just me. This is a government funded program, shouldn't I be able to trust that these items are being taken care of appropriately?

photo source

Do you recycle? And if so how do you make sure your recyclables end up in the appropriate place?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The "now what" edition of my life

So that's all folks for racing season 2011 in my neck of the woods. While Saturday's race wasn't a pivotal turning point for the year, it was a nice way to close out a successful year filled with more then my share of PR's and boatloads of gained perspective. This race was a far cry from all of the others that I fought for all year long. Months ago I wouldn't have even dreamed about toeing the line of a race and leaving anything less then my best on the course, but a lot has changed in me this year. I've come to realize that PR's are great but aren't a guarantee, and sometimes falling short of expectations can bring more enrichment into my life then any success.

When I could be annoyed with myself that I have had zero muscle soreness from this race, that I came in a mere 30 seconds behind the 1st place female, and that I really didn't push myself because I lacked all kinds of motivation...strangely I'm not. Instead I'm remembering the better parts of the day, like the warm up I did with my hubby and how he found a pair of my clean underwear static clung to the inside of his pants and how we spent the day playing with the Santa beard and decorating our Christmas tree.

We clean up pretty nice

So that's that for me for now. No big races on the radar anytime soon. NADA. Well, maybe not.

I haven't committed to anything as of yet for 2012 as my mind continues stirring with quite a bit of uncertainty as to what I'm going to tackle next. I have some goals that I'm ready to work towards and things I'm gung-ho about accomplishing, but no race plans. I desperately want to give the marathon another go this spring and have my eyes on a local race, but I also want to hit of the streets of my native land and do the Chicago marathon in the fall shooting to break 3:10 once again. But the hubby and I also want to start a family and not let our lives center around my training schedules, really it's not like I'm bringing in the big bucks with this hobby so I think that I could manage shelving it for a few months.

The icing on the cake gets thicker as in 2012 I'm going to be pressing hard in the entrepreneurial role and the hubby and I will be tightening the purse strings in order to save for a house. So looking ahead, 2012 looks sticky for me because I want to do it all. I want to be the successful fitness professional that keeps knocking out PR after PR while pregnant and saving for the house of my dreams but still manages to keep it all together and have time for my man and all of the other people and commitments in my life.

My little monkeys, Miles and Chase, have given me great baby practice. But I don't think that they are ready quite yet to share the spotlight.

I'm already familiar with bellytime

And they've given my biceps great practice as I often tote both of them around in my arms

Are my loosely bound dreams even realistic? How many 1:24 pregnant half marathon finishers have you seen in your life? I've seen zero, but my crazy mind still wants to think that its possible.

Better yet, is my body even ready to take on another marathon or...can't believe I'm saying this... childbearing? I don't know, but it's starting to get really old caring for it like its in a geriatric state.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chicago Santa Hustle 5k & Themed Race Thoughts

American culture is funny, we commercialize everything. Don't get me wrong, I love the holiday season, but as a Christian woman sometimes I have a difficult time understanding how the birth of our savior Jesus Christ is represented by a jolly fat man who gives out lavish gifts to those who have made the "nice" list in modern day. Then I remember that in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we try to make a buck off of everything and suddenly things all make sense.

So I decided to indulge in the time honored Santa tradition and register for the Chicago Santa Hustle with high hopes for starting off the Christmas season with a warm festive cheer. The race was $40 where they distributed a Santa beard, hat, and a polyester long sleeved shirt that had Santa's ever-so-famous red suit with white trim printed on it. Delightfully tacky. I decided beforehand that because this was my first ever themed race, that I was going to sport holiday gear and partake in the morning festivities. I even went as far as to print "" on the back of the top in hopes to give myself some sort of individualism.

I accidentally put a letter on backwards...whoops

I think Santa needs to lay off the carrots and have some chocolate cake to fit into that velvet suit

With a father that is a professional photographer you would think that I could take a clear photo...
guess not

I decided to not sport the beard and hat as I discovered a few days earlier a beard made of synthetic material smells funky and gets all kinds of fuzzes in your mouth and eyes. Instead, I pulled out some candy cane striped socks that I randomly have to pick up a little extra seasonal cheer and have been using the beard as a toy.

Miles makes an adorable Santa dog

But the verdict is still out on D filling Santa's shoes...
looks like hes about to kill Vixen

As far as the race goes, I feel like it was an unorganized mess and slightly disappointing. The thing that annoyed me the most was the lack of indication as to where the starting line was. I asked several volunteers who had no idea, there was no signage nor was there any type of fencing to separate the runners from the spectators. And on top of that, everyone was wearing the same outfit which made it difficult to not just see a big blob of red all around. It became stimulus overload for me.

Because this was more of a "fun run" type of race, there wasn't really organization at the starting line. It was one of those "well this looks like a good place to stand" kinda things. I hate races that start off like this, especially those that have nearly 4,000 participants. These are the kinds of races where you get people lining up in front telling others that they are going to run slow or that they clock a 10+ minute per mile pace. I get it, we all like to start up front. But if you are toeing the the line with the front of the pack with intentions to run 4 minutes slower then the winners, you are just going to create unnecessary and unsafe traffic and maybe ran over. I usually finish up front and even I don't like to crowd the start area, but that's just my modest personality (sarcasm). 

The thing about races like this is that really they are cute and kitchy, but they lack a lot of conceptual thought and fail on the delivery. They did have a reindeer, a horse drawn sleigh, some blow up Santas, and free cookies and chocolate along the course, but this race didn't seem to spew out "Christmas" as much as they promoted. In my opinion they should have ditched the faux beards and cheap looking hats and instead spruced up the aid stations with some holiday garb, maybe added a few holiday characters along the course, and had the kid who was handing out bags of m&m's be a little bit more enthused about it.
Sadly, this was as Santariffic as the race got

All and all, this wasn't a race for those shooting for a PR. I ended up not racing like a maniac trying to earn that sub 19 clip my mouth is watering for and instead just kind of moseyed through the course. After having no choice but to let a lot of my fitness slip through my hands for the past 2 post marathon months, it was honestly unrealistic for me to even consider pushing my body to pump out a race with 6 minute miles at this time. I'll get there in 2012, but for now I need to continue to focusing on working out those kinks that 2011 brought while staying healthy. And sadly, that means I've lost quite a bit of speed recently. But it'll come back eventually and I know that my body will be ready for forward progress again, just have to keep giving it the TLC that it needs at this time.

Does it bother me that I finished only about 30 seconds behind the first place woman? Yes. Did I want to finish in the top 3 women but ended up coming in 5th? Yes. Will I run a themed race again? No, unfortunately this is where themed races and I will part ways.

I understand that this is America and we all want to make a buck off of something, but please theme races when you have the opportunity to blow my mind away with your creativity...DELIVER WHAT YOU ADVERTISE, AND THEN GO THE EXTRA MILE!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hey Yoga Girl

Saw this on my Facebook feed this morning and thought that it was worth a share.

Too funny.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Time to dust off those racing shoes and reconsider plan A

Picked up my race packet today for Saturday's race

Santa is that you?

Thinking that the beard may be a NO for the day.

Had the darn thing on for 2 minutes while sitting still and ended up with a mouth full of fuzz, can't imagine what it would be like for 20 minutes while my lungs are gasping for air. And that hat...maybe it was meant for an elf? I have an incredibly small head and it still doesn't fit, not to mention that my ears are ginormous so wearing an itty bitty hat is never a style I like sport. However I'm still feeling the festiveness of this race. Itl'll be my first costumed race and I'll be sporting some fabulous socks and possibly a jingle bell or two.

Originally when this whole 5k mess started back in late October I was hoping to race the hubby, leaving him in a trail of dust, and break 19 minutes. Since then the hubby has decided to not race and my body has felt otherwise causing major training adjustments to be made. Apparently my body is not the machine that I like to think it is, and sometimes requires rest and recovery...especially post marathon. Really I was crazy to think that coming off of a marathon that knocked me off of my arse and shook up my body quite a bit that I would be able to put in the necessary work needed for a sub 19 5k.

So I've made adjustments, lots of them, causing me to plan workouts on a day-to-day basis. At first I thought that training this way would be overwhelmingly frustrating, but it's actually been quite the opposite. I push when my body wants to be pushed, and I rest when my body is screaming for rest. Shouldn't this be how we all train ourselves all the time??? Maybe you already do, but I don't always follow these rules. Sometimes I force those crazy workouts even though I know my legs only have crap in them, and of course I end up with crap that lingers on for days after because my ego was too stubborn to listen to what my body needed.

Trying to get a feel for what my body is capable of at this present time, I headed out for some planned race paced 400's just to test the waters today. Good news, I was able to hold my goal race pace for 4x400's. Bad news, it was challenging in a way it shouldn't have been at this poin and it took forever to recover. By the 4th 400 my legs weren't too happy with me.

3:02, 3:01, 3:01, 3:05

Who takes 400 ridiculously slow meters to recover from 800's???
Clearly someone who's race plan may be a bit too aggressive for their current state.
Great, now what?

I think my race plan needs a little adjustment. Who knows, maybe Saturday will roll around and my thunder thighs will magically be able to pound out my planned 6:05 pace and I'll be able to sneak in the finishing shoot just under 19. But I'm thinking that chances are unlikely for this and it may be best to shoot for a bit more conservative and realistic pace for the day so that I don't die after mile 1. Throw into the mix the fact that I rarely run 5k's, and in my opinion they are much harder then marathons, I'm not expecting a miracle here.

Maybe a goal to finish in one piece would be more appropriate at this timing. Who knows. I'm going to give it my best shot and just hope to not go into cardiac arrest.

On an unrelated note...I recently joined twitter. Feel free to hit me up @chirunnergrl.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Old Endings and New Beginnings

As 2011 is winding down and my focus is now shifting over to 2012 and the possibilities that may lay ahead, I'm feeling a strange sense of calm amongst all of the chaos stewing around me. This year brought an unfamiliar bravery into my heart which I never knew existed, an untamed spirit that has been waiting for years to be unleashed.

At 27 I feel more like a foolish child then ever. Dreams constantly dance around my head of the unthinkable, leaving me feeling limitless and antsy for one day to end and another to begin. If there is one truly great life lesson that 2011 has brought, it would be that the only boundaries in life which exist are those which one imparts on themselves. Living in blissful ignorance of the difference from that which I am currently capable of and that which I am pursuing makes some think that I am off in candy land living a reality which is unthinkable and unattainable, and to those I say PISH-POSH. What ever happened to that encouraged childlike innocence telling us to dream of becoming president or a successful doctor who travels the world finding the cure to cancers? TO DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE! Does the art of believing in something powerful and magical wash away once one hits adulthood where we all succumb to what we feel is our only fate and settle for a life that is predicably ordinary? Does one only stay within their realms of comfort never daring to color outside the lines?


Of course you do, if you want a life filled with conventional dullness and feel content never challenging yourself to outdo your societial predetermined potential. While some may call my dreams a hopeful wasteland, I call them opportunities and blessings. Daring for a moment to swim upstream with hopes of achieving something uniquely different from what society has predestined me to achieve is what gets me out of bed everyday. These days I'm holding on for the glimmer of hope for the impossible. I see no sense in settling for the stability of a dead end business career in exchange for a paycheck that comes on someone elses terms and strips me of my individualism. Instead I chose to brave my soul to any who will listen and find value in that which I am passionately barking about on a daily basis, health and it's unseen freedoms.

Now what? What happens in 2012, and where is this all going? I wish I had the answer to that, but as of right now I don't. Here we are 33 days out from the new year where I should feel stress and pressure to keep pressing forward with a concret plan for the direction my life is going, but that's not how I opperate. Instead I fuel my dreams knowing that there is no intention to connect the dots going forward, rather the point is to look back and connect the dots from there.


There are plenty of personal goals I have, some PR's I'm ready to chase down, and an entire professional career that I am more then ready to devote my everything to in 2012. But there is no plan, and I'm thinking that next year I'm going to do things differently and not hold myself to a series of schedules and must-do's. I'm thinking that 2012 will be the year that marks new beginnings for me and my pursuits will be only those which speak to my heart purely.

2012 this is my manifesto to you..
to inspire others to live out their dreams.