Planning, Planning, Planning / Update

Choices are difficult

To prepare for a decision, I enjoy overwhelming my already anxiety-ridden mind by processing every single thing that could go wrong and then changing a few small details to ensure the outcome of my choosing. In other words, prepare for the worst and expect the best. Or is it the other way? Same thing. There are a few other variables to committing to this plan I’m still debating. So I’m not fully ready to say yes, I’m doing it. Not yet.

I’m in the beginning stages of formulating a training plan for the Texas Triple. Mostly I’ve decided to do a 12 week cycle and only run 4 days a week – 3 of those days will be back-to-back to simulate the triple part of this silliness. I find it funny how everyone I’ve spoken to about this endeavor is very encouraging. That’s because you’re not the one doing it! My goal is to spend the remaining days of the week focusing on strength and prehab, aka making sure I don’t get injured.

Obviously this is a preliminary plan and you know how that goes. Wild eye roll. The best of intentions have a way of traversing down a path towards hell. Major swerve to get back on course. But then it’s all sunshine and rainbows! Haha, I wish. The bright side is my summer body will be in tiptop shape!

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I ask you –

Is this still the craziest idea I’ve ever had?

Spring/summer plans?

Give me all the tips on making sure I stay injury-free!

Cultural Norms of Fitness

Badminton in Bangladesh?! Sign me up! I adore badminton. It was one of those childlike sports I truly excelled at. Of course, my only competitor was my sister and it was the only sport offered in our front yard, but hey…

Racket and shuttlecock – technical terms

For Chinese culture, fitness is considered more about socializing than what we traditionally refer to as working out.

In Columbia, Sunday’s may well be reserved for runners and cyclists to take to the streets.

In begs to be stated and cannot be overlooked, most fitness-related activities and sports in general are attended to by young men. Women may have not caught on to the pension for fitness; more likely the female population has yet to be allowed to partake in “men’s sports”. A few publications tell the story of social inequality when it comes to fitness, particularly the ability/inability for a certain race/sex/culture to gain access to standardized “fitness” facilities. However, with many gyms offering a range of price points, I think it difficult to concede there’s not a financial option for most people. That being said, I’ve not experienced this in any other place except the United States. What happens elsewhere I have no idea. I would hope gym discrimination isn’t a thing though.

From here to there

From the well known bodybuilders to athletes of other sports, fitness has served well to bring us together. Imagine the Olympics and the New York City Marathon. Global athletes come together to do what they do best and we cheer them on from the comfort of our couches and speak about them in the office like we’re their biggest fans. Because we are! Fitness unites humankind in a basic way. Athletics is now big business. Sure, we can debate all day about the sheer amount of money thrown at major league and professional athletes but what they do is extraordinary and can’t be taken lightly. Sports and fitness are entertaining, at the very least. But what about the little people?! Like me and you!

Our world has undergone so many changes from societal norms to viewpoints. It’s incredible but also very overwhelming. The people I meet share one thing: their stories. Each has a gift. What it looks like varies widely. But it’s their gift to be shared at their choosing. I count myself as one of the lucky ones to be able to have an opportunity to simply listen with my heart and eyes wide open. Fitness may look like nothing I’ve ever seen from one country to the next. But fitness unites us all in a basic way.

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I ask you –

Have you experienced a gym or sport in another country? Tell me about it!

For you travel bugs: any place you’d like to (re)visit?

Where’s my badminton players?! – I excel so beware!

20/20

I can’t stop laughing at the jokes about people wishing Barbara Walters would host the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square because then she’d say “And this is 2020” or something to that effect. Puns are my favorite.

*giggle*

Since the fitness industry can feel like it revolves around capitalizing on the human population’s desire to commit to resolutions and those resolutions typically happen on New Years Day and most, if not all, Mondays, it would be wrong of me to tell you this isn’t really my favorite time of year. But it’s really not. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I believe each and every person who walks into the gym January 1st has the very best intention to get their health in order, to make the steps it takes to change their life, and to reach all the goals they’ve set. I truly believe it. But if I could change one thing, it would be to inspire them to change their life before it gets to this point. Before another Monday sneaks up on us. Before another decade arrives. Before they’re at the point of no return. As I am a realist yet also a dreamer, this is conflicting.

However, before you discount my ramblings as sheer cynicism, please remember I believe in you. I believe you can do this without me, but if you need help, I’m with you on your journey. My faith is unwavering. My words are upbeat and kind. I will cry and laugh with you. Occasionally, I’ll even be stern with you. Because I believe you can do this.

“This” doesn’t always refer to joining a gym. I believe you can do anything. Read it again and yell it out loud for those talking in the back. I BELIEVE YOU CAN DO ANYTHING! Anything! You want to be a master sculptor? Do it! You want to complete an Ironman? Go for it! Time for a job change? (Are you a personal trainer? Call me!) 2020 is a time for celebration because it just is. Because why not?! And 2020 looks really cool when you write it so I think the reason speaks for itself.

Told ya!

My goals: peak performance, write, and do hard things. Not necessarily in any order. More like circular goals. Nonetheless, the old ways aren’t working – time to try something new.

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I ask you –

What are your resolutions?

If you don’t believe in resolutions, tell me something you plan to do this year.

What year was your best? (physical best, most accomplishments, etc.)

Goals of the Superstitious Variety

Page Turner

After chatting with some pretty amazing trainers (courtesy of Anytime Fitness, of course) on the topic post-race season goals, I mentioned wanting to really focus on nutrition. With a propensity to not eat enough, I knew I would need a plan that encourages me to eat and build muscle.

So a new goal was born! Keto helped me regain confidence in my body after baby, but I know I can do more. I have a short torso and long legs. I know this means nothing to you. But every woman knows a postpartum body is much different than anything before. Things change. Add breastfeeding to that and whoa! In an attempt to be transparent (I hate that word, can we just say tell the truth?!), I believe some may think I’m training for a competition. To be wildly clear, I am definitely not. But I am fascinated about enticing my body to respond in that way.

The road sign of my life

Like everything, I’ll keep you all updated right here on this journey of lean body mass. So step aside naysayers! The only stage I’m rocking is the comedy club in my head!

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I ask you –

Goals? New or old?

Thoughts on competitive fitness?

Do you consider yourself superstitious?

My New Holiday Jingle!

I really do!

It’s the most runderful time of the year!

There will be Saturdays for sleeping

And friends for some meetings

Without having to go.

We can toast to a break

I promise I won’t make

Anymore plans with the excuse of FOMO!

With the treadmill off

No one will scoff

When I say it’s only 10 miles.

No more tales of the wall

And I can’t find my tension ball

My legs are now all smiles!

The long runs are over and the weather is colder and my family finally comes near!

It’s the most runderful time of the yearrrrrrrr!

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I ask you –

How long should I wait for a record deal?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Aftermath / Letting the Dust Settle!

Day 1 Thoughts:

Wow! I certainly didn’t expect to achieve a new PR (personal record) and definitely not by 10 mins. Last November, I ran a 2:28 (again, that’s 2 hours and 28 mins) at the Norfolk Harbor Half Marathon in Norfolk, VA. On Saturday, I ran a 2:18! Before, I had a pacer and a whole group of people I was running alongside. This current race had no pacers, very little course support, and it’s a 3 mile loop – which means I am running the same route each loop. #boring

Prior to take off

But I felt good and was basically running off of pace versus staying tuned into my watch and monitoring every number. When I saw 2 hrs at almost 11.5 miles, I was tired, but I thought oh my, I could really PR today.

Overall, I’m sore. There is some hip pain and a large blister on my left foot, but I know, no matter the time, I can make it through tomorrow’s race. And even if I hate it, I have a shiny new PR as consolation!

Finish Face

Day 2 Thoughts:

When I woke up at 5am to eat my oatmeal, I wasn’t feeling it. My body was sore, the blister was looking particularly angry, and I had to give myself a long pep talk just to get out of bed. I told myself I at least had to try. It’s what I trained for. 18 weeks of training culminating in this weekend where I had two chances to prove to myself I can do it.

Completely fake smile

As I began running, seeing many of the same faces from yesterday, I started to loosen up. It got hot quick so I shed all the extra layers, including the Camelbak and ran until I was ready to either slow my pace or walk. After the first lap (remember each lap is a 5k aka 3 miles), I knew unless I broke something or was forced to stop, I would continue. Lap #3 was a philosophical turning point. I kept thinking about my Munchkin – the challenges she will face in her life and how I am preparing myself to be by her side. A thought that continues to stick with me is she is not my excuse to do hard things, sometimes she’s not even my reason. (It can be hard to convey what I mean here. Be open minded.) What she is to me is my audience. She’s always watching. And if she sees me sucking it up and and showing up every time, then perhaps those values will also translate to her own life. Time will tell.

Pain face

In saying all this, allow me to get to the point. You’re welcome! 2:27. I almost couldn’t believe it. To think I had to talk myself into getting started and these tired legs managed a what would have been a PR prior to the day before inspires confidence in a future marathon goal. I may not can walk much later – and definitely not tomorrow – but right now my smile speaks for itself.

Fritos, banana, and whatever else they’d let me eat

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I ask you –

What’s my chance of feeling 100% within 24 hours? – I know, I’m laughing, too

Daniel Tiger-style

The sign also flashes but I was standing in their yard and I didn’t want to be caught trespassing

“Rest is best, rest is best!” When I tried to find a photo of Daniel Tiger, a bottle of Jack Daniels popped up so maybe that’s the only sign you need.

Much conversation exists on the power of rest. Mental, physical, spiritual – rest binds us. It replenishes our entire body; burning the candle at both ends has been shown to decrease productivity and your ability to fight disease, among many other awful side effects.

You may have nutrition down to a science and you regularly work out, but aren’t seeing the results you deserve. Check your sleep patterns. I often encounter men and women who tell me they sleep, on average, 4 hours or less per night. WHAT?! When I recover from my shock, which has ceased because I hear this response a lot now, I ask what the reasons behind not sleeping are. Work. Family. Stress. Life. Stress about all of the above. So you’re telling me you’re stressed and not sleeping stresses you out even more so the cycle continues? Pretty much.

A common misconception is the ability to “make up” sleep. I’m guilty of this, too. As a teenager, out all night doing things we shouldn’t discuss, I figured it was okay because I could just take a long nap on Sunday and be caught up for the new week! Yeah right. Once the sleep schedule is disrupted and you’re consistently not getting enough sleep (recommended 7-8 hours nightly) then it’s gone. There’s no make up day to this portion of the test. We have failed. The only way to recover is to establish a sleep routine and stick with it.

Time refuses to stand still

As it always goes, this is easier said than done. I firmly believe some people are night owls and some of us are destined for early mornings and 8pm bedtimes. If you can’t see me waving my hands in the air, look closer. I really wish I understood this mystery. BUT – I think clocks can be reset with dedication and commitment. Perhaps the addition of a very loud alarm clock helps. In any case, losing sleep is nothing good.

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I ask you –

How much sleep do you typically receive?

Are you a night owl or an early riser?

List some barriers to getting a good nights’ sleep. – Caffeine, a full stomach…

Marine Corps Marathon Recap and Reevaluation

My apologies there’s no photos for this post – since I didn’t personally attend the marathon myself, I would have had to use stock photos and those just aren’t as much fun!

After conversing with several people who ran the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM), I’m toggling between keeping my commitment to running it as my first (read: potentially only) marathon. As much as I love people, 50,000 of them makes my heart race. Even if I was to start and stay in the back of the pack, the chance of being exceptionally close to any runner is still high. Though course support is definitely what the MCM has in full force, my decision is based on other factors, as well.

Location, travel, training, and weather have me questioning the MCM. I can only imagine how beautiful the DC area is in the Fall and I love traveling so those aren’t my concerns. The training plan is a little iffy, but the weather I have to train in is highest on my list and the sheer amount of other runners is numero dos. It may seem silly to worry about these things; however, when you pour your time and money into an activity you always hope for the best outcome. Control freak much?

Training through the summer is limited in my own situation. The notorious Texas heat translates to a lot of indoor treadmill running which, in my opinion, doesn’t mimic outdoor running well. I can definitely tell a difference when I’ve trained primarily on a treadmill vs. outdoors. Also, and I know I keep circling back to it, I have no desire to run within arm’s distance of hundreds of people for 26.2 miles. That’s a big no thanks from me. So what’s my other options?

Option A: Find a new marathon. Not a bad idea. Although I loved the idea of the MCM because it’s a veteran’s support community, there are tons of other marathons available. By being a little more choosy on what marathon to participate in, I can decide what fits my training cycle best, too. I could find a local (Texas) marathon in the Spring – I’d already looked at a few of them before. Or…

Option B: Run the MCM. Surely I can recruit at least one other person to run with me that day. Perhaps someone who has already completed it and would like to voluntold themselves to be my pacer/motivator/conversationalist. Also someone who won’t allow me to take a hard turn to port when the going gets tough. Anyone? No? That’s ok because the beauty in being voluntold is it’s not really an option! Standby for heavy rolls. Side note: it took 3 tries to get that verbiage correct and I know 95% of my readers have no Navy experience but for the 5% who do – please appreciate my intent!

The bright side is there’s still plenty of time to decide. Unless I want to go with a marathon in Spring 2020. But I committed to writing then. So writing I must. Training will continue, but I don’t know for what race. The show must go on!

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I ask you –

What races are on your horizon?

Are you Option A or Option B?

Any volunteers?!

Abbreviated Day in Photos, part 482

Have you read the story of the person who changed their Roomba to curse when it bumps into things? That’s me! I’m the cursing Roomba! How do you think the gym gets clean? Fairies?!

The other day I mentioned a need for someone to follow me around and take notes of the great things I dream of when running. It’s mostly nonsense and can span the range of highly emotional to very inspirational. Any takers? Bring your own golf cart.

That time I fell into a washing machine (not really) but it’s very possible

Friends and family joke about the volume of calls I’ve made to local law enforcement on the drive. Seriously though, I see the most random s**t! The other night my own neighbor tried to run me off the road in his white challenger. If I hadn’t been too tired to fight back and also fearful he had a gun, I would’ve stopped and yelled. I’m only assuming it was a male, I really don’t know. Women must band together. But I would’ve yelled at her, too!

Here’s a few other random things:

Lucky Charms. Yes. The end.

Cereal and books – all a girl needs

Look at all these leaves! One day it was 75° and beautiful out. The next was 25° and wind gusts to 40mph. The aftermath –

Nevermind the sucker

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving to you all. I will return next week with stories of family, humor, and, let’s hope not, violence. But have you met my family? Anything is possible. Please answer all collect calls.

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I ask you –

Is there a patent on the cursing Roomba or is there still room for me in that market?

What’s your favorite cereal? – Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch: my top 2

Where are you traveling for Thanksgiving? Any tips for keeping my sanity?

33% – Odds are Not in My Favor

Need a blank card? I have drawers full

Should be no secret cards are my love language. I enjoy the process of writing a message inside a blank card, addressing it, placing the correct postage on the front of the envelope, and raising the small red flag on my mailbox to indicate I have something important to be delivered.

Recently I mailed 3 cards within a few days of each other, for various reasons. Usually cards are a ‘just because’. Remember opening the mailbox when you were a child and receiving a colorful envelope with your very own name on it? Did you feel excited? Even as adults that same feeling still exists. And it’s amazing. My grandmothers and great aunt instilled in me a sense of thankfulness. It was required as a child to send thank you cards after holidays and birthdays and any other time you received a gift. Some may say this is an antiquated practice now – who has time to send a thank you card. I do. You do.

Truth be told, I felt a little disappointed when I didn’t receive a response from the cards I sent. Only 1 of the 3 recipients said thank you for thinking of them. A real thank you. One didn’t reply at all. Tis better to give than to receive. However, acknowledgment goes a long way. My feelings may have been a little hurt at the lack of thanks…but I think the real culprit was the level of appreciation, i.e. I’m not sure if it was there.

Practice thankfulness

Do you appreciate what your body does for you? How often do you consider all the work your fingers, hands, and feet complete in a day? It may seem silly. We often take for granted what others do for us and, in that, we’re taking for granted what we do for ourselves. We treat our bodies like garbage cans, feeding it junk and expecting it to give a peak performance. Trash in, trash out.

The symbolism between writing cards to express your feelings for someone and showing your body gratitude is not lost on me. No, I don’t see anyone writing letters to themselves, though maybe we should, but your soul’s love language may be equal if not greater than the love you show yourself by treating your body well. Massage. Healthy foods. Strength training. Conditioning. Working on balance. All ways to treat your body right. I know we get busy and we forget to say thank you. But you should thank yourself every day in some small way.

Written with love

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I ask you –

What’s your love language?

How does the above indicate how you treat yourself?

Do you know how to mail a letter and address it properly?