Runners and their Ramblings

While running, I like to have long conversations with myself. Truth be told, I do this even when not running. A few gems:

Sometimes we feel limited by things we can’t control. One way to overcome these limits is to change your thinking. For example, pair limits with overcome. I have the ability to overcome my limits. Take responsibility.

SHMC. Otherwise known as shmuck. Not the derogatory term for an idiot. This acronym is my check-in during running. S – sweating: am I? Because I should be. H – headache: do I have one? Because it’s one of the first signs pointing to danger of heat-related illness. M – mouth: is it dry or wet? Dry mouth can signal dehydration. C – cramps: another telltale sign of heat-related problems. Every mile, I run through the SHMC checklist.

Running essentials

Do you know what tastes good during a long run? Besides an ice cream cone. Jelly beans! A race several years ago gave us jelly beans around mile 10 and I’ve never forgotten how amazing they were. So I did some research and was happily surprised the fuel I typically use during a run has about the same calories and carbs as jelly beans. And jelly beans are much cheaper! I’m now the proud owner of a huge bag o’ beans. Win!

Aftermath of the first 10 miler in the training cycle

I find it hard to believe I will complete training runs longer than half marathon distance. Now I know this seems like a big duh moment, but it still blows my mind. The satisfaction I find in 13.1 miles is so comfortable to me. How do I run 26.2? How do I even mentally train for it? I remember experiencing every single emotion while running my first half: joy, elation, surprise, fear, pain, sadness. You name it – I went through it. I did receive some strange looks while running and crying. When they asked if I was ok, I said yes. They probably thought I was lying. It’s hard to imagine what I’ll feel that day. The mind takes us down some crazy roads when there’s nothing to focus on except footfall and breathing. I typically zone out and come to wondering where am I?

There’s still time to become accustomed to these thoughts. But it is fading fast.

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I ask you –

How often do you talk to yourself? Bonus points if you never stop!

Do you like jelly beans? Have you tried the yucky flavors, too?

Share a time when others didn’t understand your emotions.

Making Changes

A game changer for sure. This short documentary shocked my whole system. I know I’ve previously mentioned intuitive eating, but making the switch to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is something I’ve never considered. Until now.

Remember the post a few weeks ago (or was it just last week?) where I mentioned craving vegetables? It’s gotten worse. If you can even imagine. I literally can’t get enough. Bizarre at best. And it’s been surprisingly easy to not eat meat. My usual post-run veggie scramble was a little tricky though. The urge to add eggs almost derailed me, but with a quick reminder all the protein I truly need is found in the vegetables I added.

Bell pepper, spinach, cilantro, and tomatoes. And a peach

I ordered a salad and felt no desire to add chicken. During a chili dog dinner, at the request of mini me, I made a Frito chili pie instead. Yes, chili is often made of meat, but baby steps. Not sure where this journey is taking me – I’m just along for the ride. The strange looks among a family of carnivores is slightly unnerving. They’ll get over it. Can you imagine my first Thanksgiving as vegetarian?! Oh the mutiny. Although why it’s anyone else’s business I’ll never know. Moving on…

Clearly I have no timeline for this rather large change. The best information I’ve read is to start slow: substituting meatless meals or meatless days, then gradually crossing over to entirely no meat. To be frank, I have no problem with animals and my basis is not about animal rights (if this is your viewpoint, great!). I’m most interested in the physical and performance variations of those who consume animal proteins and those who do not. My research has taken me down some winding roads concerning blood quality, inflammation, and arterial dilation post-animal protein consumption. It does make sense most animals eat plants; therefore, a plant-based diet is the foundation for all creatures. Why should my body not thrive in this same environment providing I ingest enough proteins, carbs, and other essential elements from plants? And even if I don’t see a measurable difference, what have I wasted except my own time? But what if I learn to fly?!?!

I’m soliciting advice from other non-meat-eating peoples. Send them my way!

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I ask you –

Have you watched the documentary? What was your take on it?

Is this a crazy idea? Can’t be any worse than my others.

Share your thoughts on vegetarians because we all know the stereotypes exist.

Eat, Sleep, Run

“…I don’t like training. I love competing.”

Usain Bolt, Olympic Gold Medalist
Available on Netflix

It can be a struggle to find a show both inspiring and fast paced to get me through a run. I Am Bolt did it for me. Highly recommend!

On another note, can it just be winter now? Between the heat and the occasional rain which makes it unbearably humid, Texas is shaping up to be exactly how I remembered it. Think showering outside with all your clothes on. In the desert. That’s my take on it.

My grocery bill skyrockets during a training cycle. All I do is meal prep, eat, think about what I’m eating next, and plan when to eat. A whole different type of cycle. And the sweets! Running makes my sweet tooth crowd out the boundaries.

A sleep schedule is the biggest joke though. Working from home means I’m not required to go to bed at any decent hour. So I don’t. Who am I? 10pm, 11pm, whatever time I finally feel like closing my eyes. Because it’s not like I’ve done much during the day so it’s no surprise I’m not tired. Repeat daily until bedtime is a thing of the past or we return to a “normal” world. Whichever comes first.

I watch a lot of cooking shows…while running…and find myself getting sleepy. If only these 3 things could fall in line.

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I ask you –

Name your top 3 daily activities.

What’s the average temperatures where you are?

Do you have a regular bedtime? What about the weekends?

Training Update

There’s a tiny voice inside me still not believing my fall marathon will actually happen. Nearly every week, I see reports of more races being cancelled. However, instead of letting that voice take over, I continue to train and follow my plan. Except for that one time a few weeks ago. Struggle city.

Keep reminding myself

Currently, I weigh about 150 lbs. Never thought I’d disclose that outside of a doctor’s office. You see, I struggle with my weight; not on the heavy side but on the lower side. When I don’t like what the scale says, I just stop eating completely…so I’m having a tough time accepting this number because it’s only 10 lbs less than what I weighed when I gave birth. My mind tells me well if you’re not creating a human right now then why does the scale think you are?

The easy answer is I’m strength training consistently 5 days a week. Muscle weighs more than fat. Behind-the-scenes there’s a lot going on. Typically during a training cycle I quit lifting – usually because I don’t have a whole lot of time to devote to it, as well as my own personal belief that if you weigh less, it’s easier to run. I honestly don’t know the truth about it. Now I have time to do both. The only workouts I don’t do are lower body because I intend to keep my legs as fresh as possible. Soccer body.

I know as my runs get longer, faster, and harder my weight will find a new norm. And I will embrace it as best I can. Seeing as how I’ve never been able (or willing) to accommodate both types of training during a run cycle, there’s much to learn. Short of giving up on strength training to change a number on the scale, what could this really serve? Probably nothing.

all the Navy references

I certainly don’t look like I’m any amount of time from expelling a human from my body (unless I eat a whole cake) so I’m good there! I quite like the easy way those dumbbells move overhead. My run pace is still on par with last cycle’s paces. And there’s still room in my day for cookies. Let this be a lesson in “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

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I ask you –

50/50 on the fall marathon chances? Or less?

Where did the term “food baby” originate?

Personal motto: “If I can’t fix it, I’ll break it!”

Fickle Life

Literally nothing but net

I didn’t realize how short this post was until I got ready to publish. As much as I debated on editing this to make it longer, nothing came of it. Better luck next time.

Bad news. The mud volleyball tournament is cancelled. Well, rescheduled to Labor Day. Still gonna be hot so what’s the difference haha I was disappointed for a minute, then I remembered this past weekend’s long run went to hell within 2 miles so now I need to ensure the next long run doesn’t do the same. And if I was playing volleyball all day the chances of running anywhere except to get snow cones was nothing short of nada. It works out.

I’m just filling the time with activities until my mini comes back from her Tennessean summer with her dad. Typically we alternate months but after the stay at home order radically changed our plans we had to make up for it on the back end. Happy to report she’s healthy, happy, and spoiled. And she’ll be home in a few weeks, just in time for vacation!

Physiology, not pictured

PSA. Did you know the average person can’t answer 5 random questions on 5th grade anatomy? I made up the stat; thought I’d join the club. Seems par for the course lately. But this is clearly true because the amount of people who don’t know the nose and mouth are connected is staggering. Otherwise why would their mask be covering the latter and not the former?

Stay tuned for a post on things that annoy me, currently in development.

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I ask you –

Name your favorite flavor of snow cone! Dragon’s blood, I think.

Submit your thoughts on things that annoy you so I don’t sound like a complete ogre when I make my own list.

Should I go play volleyball by myself this weekend or run? Don’t answer that, I’m easily swayed.

Hobbies and Hot Weather

Growing up surrounded by four walls and forestry, all the benefits of country-living have been experienced. Minus what is affectionately referred to as cow tipping. You people are insane. I’ve been involved in not only the stupidest activities but also many that have no statute of limitations so we won’t be speaking of such. One and the same. If you’re like me, you are no stranger to mud. You know, the yucky brown or red stuff that plagues your vehicle and clothing the minute it’s considered.

That being said mud can be a secondary word in some sentences. For example, mud running, mudding (you have to say this with a southern drawl and drop the ‘g’), and something I’m particularly interested in, mud volleyball!

Add a little water to the fields of happiness above and magic will happen! Basically what I’m saying is I joined a mud volleyball tournament for July 4th weekend. Aptly named Pig Pen Mud Volleyball, the entry fee is donated to charity – though I do think there is a monetary prize for the winner. My focus on winning could best be classified as zero. I’ve never played mud volleyball, but surely all my years on a junior and high school court will easily translate, right? I know for sure this same tournament happened last year – from what I hear this is year 5 – but I was working a million hours a week and driving about as much so there was no way I could participate.

Fast forward to 2020: things are starting to look up! I’m incredibly eager to play with my teammates whom I’ve yet to meet and most likely won’t until day of. Upon sign up I was informed there would be no practices, the only requirement is to have fun, and most, if not all, my team will consist of city employees, presumably with a median age of 50. I’m not judging. If I wanted to form a more similar to my age team, I would have recruited them. Who has time for that? Alas, beggars can’t be choosers and I’m content to meet new people and not break any bones.

Do love some sand volleyball

Will I be keeping you all abreast of the tournament, complete with mud-attired non-uniforms and lots of alcohol? So glad you asked! Indeed you can count on me to provide a figurative and literal play-by-play of the day’s highlights. If any of you have a desire to travel to this remote area of Texas to cheer me on, I will gladly welcome you with a cold bottle of water and muddy hand print on your rear end.

Good game, everyone!

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I ask you –

How many “muddy” activities have you ever participated in?

Does volleyball appeal to you? I adore playing volleyball.

Gordon Lake and Oscar Park Volleyball Courts, 10am, July 4th. In case you need something to do.

A Predicament of Utmost Importance

Heat training has cracked up to be exactly what I thought it would be: a major pain in the a**. Unintentional as it was, perhaps this is an opportunity in disguise. Or else an upcoming setback. Not one to dwell on the negatives, I am navigating this uncertain time. Obviously I’m being overly dramatic. “Heat training” has not been a part of my plan nor is it necessarily happening currently. Really I’m just trying to figure out how to complete this training cycle throughout the hottest months of the year. Now that my work schedule is getting back to semi-normal (read: full days on an alternating schedule vs previous half days on an alternating schedule) there are decisions to be made regarding when to run.

There are a few options. Do I run prior to sunrise, attempt to complete the miles via treadmill as soon as I return home from work, wait until much after sunset when it – maybe – cools off, or establish an alternating schedule of my own to closely align with my telework days so I can run outdoors mid-morning? Most likely it will be a seemingly weird combination of all these things.

Pay very close attention

It’s probably best this way. I couldn’t imagine Texas being anything other than the hot state it is. Let’s not get started on global warming and climate change. If things go as the all-knowing meteorologists predict, it will most likely hit 105 sweltering degrees some time this week and I’ll be forced to make a decision well out of my control so I best get started deciding now. I took a short break two weeks ago to mull over this issue. Well…actually…hormones and laziness got to me so I decided to skip runs 3 & 4 and focus on recharging my batteries. The body can only take so much GO, GO, GO before it warns you that you may be demanding too much. Besides, breaks are as important (perhaps more important) than the gas pedal. Knowing when to stop is complicated and requires heeding the warning signs. I’m slowly figuring this out.

My trusty trail

Nonetheless, the show must go on! On the bright side there’s only about 5 more months of hot weather which delivers me right to the doorstep of the marathon. How thoughtful. Though I’m hopefully kidding. It will surely become more manageable as time marches on. Not lost on me is the distrust I have in my body now. Performance is based on all cylinders correctly firing at the right time to produce optimal results. Without my temperature regulator, or with a confused regulator, I’m hesitant to push past the point of no return. I guess that’s why God made Fall.

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I ask you –

Training for anything? Do tell!

Is your workplace returning to “normal”? What does that look like for you?

What’s your favorite season and why?

No Laughing Matter. Kidding!

Last week was hell. But the good kind of hell. Let’s not mince words and get to the point.

Home sweet home

If you hedged your bets on me not returning to the gym opening day all I can say is I hope you didn’t lose a lot of money. Because I was there. Granted it was 2.5 hours after they officially unlocked the doors, but, hey, I had to work that day so my options were limited.

Needless to say – or is it needed? – I completely broke apart every muscle group minus glutes/legs/anything below the pelvis. It felt incredible! Seems those home workouts were lackluster at best. As the week wore on and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness, aka the true hell that sets in to muscles when you’ve pretty much over taxed them) set in, I was located on the couch, unable to move, but so proud of myself. This is the beginning stages of some type of masochism.

If you’re wondering, or judging me, by the negation of lower body exercise, may I remind you I am in the final weeks of pre-marathon base building training. Say that a few times fast. Absolutely I could go in and knock out reps of squats, lunges, and good mornings (p.s. these are my favorite) but the recovery is a heavy price to pay. But now that I say…errrr type…this, I’m reminded how important those good mornings are for strong hamstrings to power my runs. Anyway. I just didn’t do it, ok?! But I will. Promise.

Ugh. Texas heat

Moral of the story: everything is sore, I’m managing to both run and strength train on the same days, and the training plan officially starts tomorrow. In my next life, I will be a juggler in the traveling circus.

Hope you all enjoy your Memorial Day. Remember the true meaning of this day and know we are quite fortunate to have what we do.

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I ask you –

How crazy am I to jump back into the gym day 1? Nevermind. Don’t answer that.

Are there any circuses that don’t travel?

Memorial Day plans? Since large gatherings are most likely out of the question. Unless you’re extremely rebellious.

To Thine Own Self Be…

…the truest you can be.

Amazingly enough, there are still people in our world who feel like they can’t be their true selves. As if society dictates how/what/whom they should look and feel, it’s a very common occurrence.

In recent conversation, it came up that a woman I know, after expending emotional energy, allows herself to cry and mourn what she has lost. It struck me as profound because how often do we let ourselves just feel? Believe me, it can be a terrifying journey to embark on – with the scariest of turns and very little sustainable food sources. At the end, however, you will be rewarded with soul food beyond anything you’ve ever tasted. So how do you get there? You simply start.

Please pause for a random thought:

Exercise does for the body what feeling does for the soul. It hurts! True. It really does hurt. You won’t catch me lying about the pain. But so much good can come of it. The mind and soul need ample time to process; without this time, it’s much like complacency – everything starts to feel the same.

For example, do you know what food tastes like when you rapidly inhale it and don’t take the time to enjoy it? Sure, you taste it but you don’t really taste. There is a means to an end.

The above was an awe-inspiring documentary I am better for watching. Truly unbelievable are the men and women whose souls flourish in bringing people together for a common goal. As the caption states, the hope one witnesses in others who have faced a tough set of circumstances really proves how much we need one another. Try not to feel moved while watching this movie; I dare you.

And now back to our main content:

In being true to yourself, I believe it’s also important to be – what these hip young people call and I know as a buzz word – transparent. Transparency doesn’t exist in my vocabulary. (The word doesn’t, the idea does.) It’s not so much about being see through to others; who cares what they think. Easier said than done, I know.

There was a time in my life when perception was reality. Loathing. In the real, wide world this isn’t necessarily true. As a child, I didn’t know why I was different. The pressure on myself to be perfect and have things just so was, frankly, debilitating. At the age of 6, when I’d visit other friends’ homes, their bedrooms would be a wild mess. How I envied the randomness of it. In an effort to curtail my perfectionism, I’d go home and ransack my dresser drawers to make my room look “lived in”. But each time I did this (yes, multiple times), the experience would end in tears and my returning the room to its former cleanliness.

Coloring is calming. Try it

It took many years to embrace my Type A personality. Today, I’m comfortable with it. It’s just how I am. Things have a place and belong somewhere. I take pride in a clean car and home. Sure, bordering on compulsive, this behavior isn’t always healthy but it’s who I am. I do my best not to impose myself on my mini’s way of living because obviously choice is very important. But if I’m being completely honest, her lackluster care for order in some things but not in others drives me insane.

You know that emoji with both arms up and a big shrug? Just insert that right here.

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I ask you –

When was the last time you dove into your emotions?

Any buzz words you’re sick of hearing? Transparent is definitely the biggest for me.

Type A? Type B? Thoughts on this?

Puns and Problems

Similar in nature to the dreaded freshman 15 is what I’m not-so-lovingly referring to as the covid 19. Get it, get it.

HOLY TOLEDO!

It would appear my favorite pair of shorts are becoming…ummm…snug. The scale also seems to be inching upward, as well, even in the face of a training schedule and some at home strength workouts. Yikes.

My only saving grace (can it even be called that?) is I see others, mainly elite runners, struggling with the same issue. Not only are we moving less, but we’re also stuck at home surrounded by baked goods. Wait. Is that just me? It’s clearly become a big problem. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, so why is it now?

I need less of this…
And more of this!

Working office half days every other day means I’m at home more than 60% of the time previously. And if you count when I worked at the gym, I’m home exponentially more now. This has created a pocket of daylight where I simply sit – either on the couch or at a desk working remotely. Sure, I have a mostly sedentary job even at the office but there are many instances of movement from office to office or going upstairs. Now? I walk 10 feet to the kitchen for more water or 20 feet to the bathroom. I really need to correct this. Pronto.

With a vacation, a marathon, and every day whatever-this-life is on the horizon, I really need to get my sh*t together. At the time of this posting, ideally my gym will be reopened. Sometime this summer I expect to return to in-person work full-time. As for life? I’ll leave this open ended with maniacal laughter. I can’t change the inevitable heat wave I’m sure to encounter which will render me inside and shaded more than, say, fall or spring-like temperatures, but the few things I can control I will. Let’s start with portion and dessert control, shall we?

Perhaps I scale back on the sugar-laden sweet nothings I imbibe in regularly. Or maybe I don’t inhale 3 servings of pizza. I’m not saying I will; I’m just saying I should. Let’s all get real here. Most likely I’ll keep on the same track currently on and complain the entire way. Sounds reasonable enough.

The scale does not control me! Those shorts, however…well…that’s another story.

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I ask you –

Same boat? Just me?

Do you work from home more now? Truthfully, I’m extremely lucky to have a job and my deepest worries go out to those who have a very limited source of income, if any, due to circumstances. Please note I’m not making light of this situation.

Any tips for making this crossroads a bit more bearable?