Sunday, August 31, 2014

Two firsts

I hope you all are having a lovely weekend!  Friday night, I had a great family night with my guys.  We went a did a little shopping, had a nice dinner out, and snuggled while catching up on t.v.  Yesterday morning I went for a run, but more on that in a bit.  I also did a bit of cleaning and went to the grocery store.  In the afternoon, the boys and I went to the park and met up with a dear friend and her family who were in town for the long weekend.

We had a great time at the park and then we watched my friend's daughter so she and her hubby could have a date night while they were in town.  So often, I take for granted the fact that Matt and I have family close by so we are able to go out for some quality husband and wife time, so it was really nice to return the favor and spend some quality time with a really sweet little lady.  I miss you, Dana!  I loved spending time with you and your sweet family!  Here's to seeing each other again soon!

My run yesterday was really nice and included two firsts for me as a runner; a snake encounter and getting caught in the rain.  I was looking forward to trying out my new shoes and when I noticed that the forecast called for rain, I decided to head out around 11 a.m. to beat the storms.  The forecast at 2 p.m. called for an 80% chance of rain while the 11 a.m. - 12 a.m. forecast only called for a 30 - 40% chance of rain.  It was mostly sunny with a few clouds when I set out and the temperatures were rather pleasant.  It was a bit humid, but there was a nice breeze.

I decided to do a quick 3 miles to give the new shoes a whirl.  When I got to 1.5 miles on the trail, I turned around to head back to my car and I noticed a biker (one of many I saw, as usual) coming towards me on the opposite side of the path.  He was pointing to the ground on the path in front of me rather urgently.  I nodded because I saw what he was pointing at, something that appeared to be a big twig on the path in front of me.  He kept pointing furiously and I guess realized that I did not see what he saw so he yelled "snake!"  Yes, that "big twig" I saw was actually moving across the path.  I stopped because, in typical Laura fashion, I wanted a picture of the snake, but he was too fast for me.  He was black and blue, just a typical garter snake, I suppose, but it was kind of neat.  I'm surprised that for all the times I have run that path, and others like it, that I've never seen a snake.  I've seen frogs, deer, and a raccoon, but never a snake.

Shortly after the run in with the snake, I came to a stoplight and started talking to a nice woman who was riding her bike on the trail.  She asked "Do you think we will make it back to our cars before the rain?" and I said that I hoped so, especially since I was just about a mile from my car and the sun had come back out from the clouds.  I asked if her car was at the parking lot just ahead where mine was but she indicated that it was at another lot in the opposite direction.  After we crossed the street, I wished her good luck and we set out on our separate ways.

I felt the first drops of rain when I was just a little over a half mile from my car.  It didn't bother me too much, and in fact, it felt rather refreshing.  There was a family in front of me taking a walk; Dad was out with his 3 older children and he had a fairly new baby in an infant carrier in front of him.  Shortly after I passed them, it started pouring.  I would have kept going since I was so close to my car, but I was worried about my phone getting wet (just the top of it since I had it in my armband), so I stepped off to the side to get under the trees.  I also thought maybe this was just a quick rain shower and that maybe it would blow over in a few minutes.  It didn't, so I put my phone under my shirt and just headed back to my car.  The woman on the bike who I met at the stoplight passed me in the opposite direction shortly after that and we just laughed and I said "I guess we didn't make it!" 

The rain felt really good actually and the trail was really beautiful in the rain.  I felt bad for the Dad and his kids, though.  The older kids seemed to enjoy the rain and he did have a towel of some sort covering the baby (I guess it was a burp cloth).  He did not look like he was having as much fun though; poor guy.

The view from my spot under the trees; it's hard to see, but it was raining pretty good at this point.
I made it back to my car and dried off for a bit before I headed to the grocery store.  I have definitely run in the rain before, but this was the first time I have been caught totally off-guard by it.  It was really refreshing and rather cleansing, though!  It figures, of course, though that I had the new shoes on; Murphy's Law, I suppose.  Speaking of the new shoes, they were wonderful.  I was able to run without the horrible calf cramping that has been plaguing me lately and I returned to nearly my normal pace (about 20 seconds slower, but I'll take it over the nearly 2 minute slower pace I've had recently).  It was a great run and definitely needed!

My new, soggy shoes! 
Have you had any animal encounters lately on a run or interesting weather phenomena? 

"The best way to shed negative energy...run." 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I love compression socks

I am a little obsessed with the 110% Flat Out Compression Sox that I received as part of my Napa swag.  I've mentioned the residual cramping that I've had in both of my calves lately and while it's been getting somewhat better, I decided to put the socks on last night before bed and my legs were so happy!  I slept with them on, too, and I already have them on tonight to wear to bed again.  


All cozied up and ready for a peaceful night's sleep
I woke up a few nights ago with a charlie horse in my left leg and I've had a nagging tenderness in my right leg indicating that I would likely get one in that leg, too.  Wearing my compression socks to bed last night helped the tenderness go away and my legs felt really fresh today when I woke up.  I am in love with these socks and am excited to take them to Napa with me to help my legs feel fresh before I run and to recover after each of my running legs.  (Disclaimer:  I received these socks as part of my swag for the Another Mother Runner Ragnar Relay contest.  All opinions expressed are my own.) 

In other exciting Napa news, the start times for the teams were posted and our team starts at 5:30 a.m. on the 19th!  It seems super early, but that means we will be done in time for our post-race team dinner on Saturday, the 20th.  At some point, I am going to do a quick calculation to see approximately what time my first leg will start based on our estimated race paces, but I may recruit my dear husband to help with that, as we all know math is not my strong suit.

I went to the gym tonight and did 30 minutes on the elliptical, which felt good, but this girl is really looking forward to getting some runs in on this long, holiday weekend!  

I've been feeling a little un-shiny lately and could stand to feel some of the sunshine from within, so I love this quote.

"The sun shines not on us but in us." 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It's almost here...Napa Valley Ragnar Relay!

3 weeks from today, I will be arriving in San Francisco to begin my epic Napa Valley Ragnar Relay adventure!  I am so excited and also still a little bit in the "pinch me; is this really happening?" mode.  I've been looking forward to this all summer and having a blast getting to know my awesome teammates online and I can't believe in just a few short weeks, we will meet in person and run an amazing race.

I was remiss in not sharing some fantastic Napa related news on the blog; a few weeks ago, we received our van and leg assignments for the race!  I am excited to share that I am runner 8 and a member of Van 2!  I am really excited to share a van with the awesome gals in Van 2, but I am a little sad to miss the equally awesome ladies in Van 1.  I wish we could all share the same van, but I know we will have some great quality time before and after the race.

Van 1 consists of:  Jennifer Hall-Lewis, Erin Ranes, Lisa Petersen, Kelly Preddy, Kim Dixon, and Dimity.  An awesome group of gals who are going to kick ass and have a blast!

Van 2 consists of:  Melissa Gilley, yours truly, Jodi Snowdon, SBS, Jennifer Martin, and Smitha Barki.  Another fabulous group of women, if I do say so myself, who are going to bring it like the Badass Mother Runners we are and have a ball doing it.

As runner 8, my legs consist of a 5.6 mile hard run, a 5.50 mile hard run, and a 2 mile easy run, for a grand total of 13.1 miles.  I am really excited about the elevation changes on my first two legs (I say that now, but I'll see how I feel as I run them) and I'm equally as excited about my flat as a pancake last leg.  I'm sure my body will appreciate that short, flat last leg!  I had hoped to post the elevation maps, but I am having a bit of technological challenges downloading them from the race website.  I'll try to get them posted soon!

I've been keeping a close watch on the news from Napa in regards to the earthquake this week and I'm certainly keeping everyone in that region in my thoughts and prayers!  I checked the Napa Ragnar Facebook page this week and the race is still on (whew!) and race officials are evaluating the course to see if there are any changes that need to be made due to earthquake damage.  They indicated that if any changes were necessary that race participants would receive an e-mail notification.  I'm wishing for a quick recovery for the people and business in the Napa area that were affected by the earthquake and aftershocks.

It finally cooled off a bit here, which meant I was looking forward to a run this evening.  However, the cool down was a result of some pretty awesome thunderstorms, so I went to the gym tonight and did 45 minutes on the recumbent bike.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

"Little by little, a little becomes a lot."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Update on August Goal

I'm going to post a somewhat quick post tonight as I am fading fast!  For some reason, the past few nights, I have been tossing and turning at night, which has meant sleep that isn't terribly restful.  It also didn't help that I didn't try to go to sleep until 1 last night (morning?) since I wasn't tired.  In any case, I am feeling awfully sleepy.

Mother Nature is still having quite the temper tantrum and our heat index today was near 110, so I headed to the gym tonight after dinner.  I did 30 minutes each on the elliptical and the recumbent bike and tonight's t.v. viewing consisted of the Emmy's, Undercover Boss, and the Real Housewives of Orange County Reunion.  It felt good to get in a great workout, especially since my lunch consisted of delicious pizza!

I think I mentioned earlier this month that one of my goals was not to weigh myself until my next weigh-in at the gym (this Saturday, in fact) and I am pleased to report that I have not weighed myself since the 2nd!  This is a huge accomplishment for me and it has been quite liberating.  I'm, of course, curious about my weight but I know that weighing myself on a monthly basis is a much more consistent measurement of my progress.

Here's to a non-scale victory (although, I guess it is related to the scale, so maybe not entirely a non-scale victory)!

"If you don't love yourself before, you won't love yourself after.  It's your body.  Adore it at every weight." 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday ramblings

Yet again, I have fallen off the grid rather unintentionally.  Monday was my birthday, the big 3-2 and I had a really lovely day.  My friend, Mary, decorated my cube at work and we had a delicious pizza lunch with some cupcakes at the office.  After work, Matt, the boys, and my Mom took me out to a wonderfully delicious dinner and then we came back home to open presents and have cake, yum!  I got a new pair of running shoes last weekend as an early birthday present from my Mom and Matt.  I am so excited about my new shoes and I am antsy to try them out, however, Mother Nature is being a bit of a saucy wench.  We've had excessive heat warnings nearly the entire week and with temperatures in the upper 90's and head indices in the 105 range, I have not been running this week.  I'm hoping for a cool down later this week!

I intended to get the same running shoe that I had previously, the Saucony Omni 12's, and when I went to my local running store, I tried on the upgrade to the 12, the Omni 13.  It felt really great on my feet, but I also tried on a pair of New Balance shoes, which I wasn't crazy about, and a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14's.  I loved the way the Brooks felt on my feet, too, so I took them out for a test run at the store as well as the Omni 13's.  Both shoes felt great on my feet, but honestly, the Brooks felt a smidge better, so I went with them.  I can't wait to give them a go and see if they make a difference as far as the calve cramping that I've been experiencing goes!

My  new kicks! 
I had a fairly busy week at work, which involved some late nights, but I did make it to the gym a few times, which was nice.  I've really enjoyed going to the gym and working out on the elliptical and recumbent bike while catching up on some fun shows on HGTV, Bravo, and TLC.  I really need to start adding in some weights, but I am still a bit intimidated by the equipment and those who seemingly know what they are doing on the machines.  Yesterday would have been a prime time to work on the machines, because I think, in addition to me, there were 5 people at the gym, but I was starving after my workout on the elliptical and the bike, so I headed home to get a bite to eat. 

Forgive me, as the rest of this post has nothing to do with running or weight loss and everything to do with a girl who misses her Daddy.  Much as this blog has been a great outlet for the ups and downs of my weight loss journey, it has also been an outlet for me in my grief.  I had every intention of blogging for a bit last night, but unfortunately, our internet was down for most of the evening.  Rather than settle down with a good book, I decided to watch a movie that I bought awhile ago, but hadn't watched yet.  I saw Gettysburg at the store a few months back and picked it up, because I remembered watching it a few times with my Dad (go ahead and say it.  History geeks, I know) and I couldn't pass up the $5 price tag for such a great movie.  As the overture started playing during the opening credits, I lost it.  Naturally, the overture was melodramatic as is fitting for the general theme of the movie, but I wasn't expecting the flood of emotions that came with it.  The memories of watching the movie with Dad in preparation for our wonderful summer trip down the East Coast in my Grandma and Grandpa's RV, which included a detour to Gettysburg (one of my all-time favorite trips with my Dad) and memories of Dad and I touring the battlefields and soaking in all of the history.  He and I both had a particular interest in Little Round Top top and Joshua Chamberlain's bayonet charge in order to protect it during the battle and we thoroughly enjoyed Jeff Daniels' portrayal of Chamberlain in the movie and exploring Little Round Top on our trip. 

I barely made it through 20 seconds of the movie before I had to turn it off.  I instead decided to go through a box of my Dad's things that I had yet to sort through.  I'm not sure why I thought that would be a good idea considering my fragile emotional state, but I did it anyway.  I came across his camouflage winter coat from his time in the service, as well as some accessories from his dress blues, including a really nice navy silk bow-tie that I'll likely give this to his bow-tie aficionado eldest grandson someday when he's older and his medal bar from his uniform.  Holding those items that he likely wore countless made me feel a bit closer to him, but it also made me really sad.  

I also found a multitude of photos, which I still haven't gone through completely and some notebooks that included handwritten notes from around the time he retired from the service and my parents divorced.  My Dad was an incredibly articulate and intelligent man and his musings included some political commentary, which didn't surprise me at all and some lovely poems, which did surprise me.  I had no idea he wrote poetry!  I also found drafts of letters he wrote during that time period, including one to me that I don't think he ever sent.  It was written around the time he moved out of our house in California and moved back to New York to live with my grandparents.  I distinctly remember the day my Dad left and watching him drive away in his car and while I knew he was as sad as I was, reading this letter that he wrote to me was a bittersweet glimpse into the feelings he had at that time, too.  

I am thankful to have these things that belonged to him, especially his handwritten thoughts, even though they can be hard at times to read.  However, I couldn't get over this incredibly sad ongoing thought that I had as I was going through his things.  All that's left of my Dad is a box of photos, clothes, and notebooks that sits in a corner of my living room.  I couldn't shake this thought and needless to say, I was a mess.  It wasn't an easy night, but after getting some sleep and some perspective, I woke up with an argument to that train of thought.  No, there is much more left of my Dad's life than boxes of "things."  He lives on through me and my boys.  We are the most important physical reminders of his life.  I have his smile and his love of history and foreign languages and let's be honest, his stubbornness.  And I see so much of him in my boys, too.  We keep his memory alive and I need to remember that.

It was really hard not getting my happy birthday phone call from him on Monday and a sweet card in the mail and I'm sure that has something to do with my sadness this week.  I'm not really sure the grief ever gets easier, but it helps to hear from others who have been through the same things.  I saw an incredibly astute quote from Bindi Irwin a few weeks ago in regards to the loss of her dad, Steve Irwin, and it has stuck with me.  As people approached her after her dad died, so many people told her that time would heal everything, which she noted was "the biggest lie you will ever hear.  It doesn't."  At first, reading that quote was a little disconcerting to someone like me who has so recently experienced that loss.  However, her follow-up to that quote was beautifully accurate.

"That kind of sadness never goes away. It's like losing a piece of your heart that you never get back."

Thanks for reading my ramblings today!  Wishing you a great week and hopefully cooler weather!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Back to School

I did not intend to neglect the blog this week, but life was a little hectic with back to school shenanigans.  On Monday, both of the boys were home since summer camp ended and Nick didn't start school until Thursday, so we had a little Mama/Sons adventure by going to have lunch with my Mom and then tracking down some of the STL 250 cakes.  We managed to have quite the scenic tour of Illinois and downtown St. Louis and we knocked 9 cakes off our list!  Slowly but surely, we will get all 250!

On Tuesday, Jack moved from the Infant Center at his pre-school to the big boy 2 year old room and while it is just a parking lot away from his former room, it seems like such a big deal!  He has been in the Infant Center since he was 10 1/2 weeks old, so it was a hard transition...at least for me!  There might have been tears on my part.  It was bittersweet saying goodbye to the sweet women who have loved and cared for him during the day for the past 2 years, but they are not too far away and Jack seems to be transitioning well into his new classroom.

We also had Curriculum Night at Nick's school on Tuesday evening and it was nice to drop off his school supplies, see his classroom, and get to know his teacher.  I've been fortunate enough to get to know his teacher over the past two years as she is very involved with our Parent/Teacher Organization and I was so excited to find out that Nick would be in her class.  It's going to be a great year!

Nick's first day of school was Thursday and the year is off to a great start!  It's bittersweet realizing that our days of swimming and general summer merriment are nearing a close, but it is nice getting back into our school year groove!

My boys have been blessed to have wonderful teachers in their lives; from our family and friends to the teachers at school who allow them to grow, learn, question, create, and play and I am thankful for the role that each has played in their lives!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

"Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Diva Dash 5K

As a quick follow-up to yesterday's post, I forgot to mention that I do still have short-term and long-term weight loss goals, but I know I can reach those goals without weighing myself everyday. :)

Yesterday morning, I ran in the inaugural St. Louis Diva Dash 5K and it was a great morning!  You can't go wrong with tons of pink, sparkle, and amazing women!  After hearing about the race a few weeks ago, some friends from work and I decided to form a team and thus, the Dandy Divas Dashing team was formed.  I loved that this race was geared towards empowering women and young girls; Girls on the Run was the local charity partner for the race and following the 5K, girls 8 and under were able to participate in the Lil' Princess Fun Run.  I loved watching the younger girls race and seeing the huge smiles on their faces when they crossed the finish line and got their medals and tiaras!

Packet pick-up on Friday afternoon was very efficient and the volunteers were very friendly.  Tutus were available for purchase, although I was excited to try out my Tough Girl Tutu.  What better race to give it a test run, right?  I loved the tech shirt that we received for registering and was even more pleased to find out that the original size I requested was too large!  Since it was a women's cut tech shirt, I erred on the side of caution and got a 2X, because in my experience with tech shirts, the bigger the better.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the 2X way too big and was able to swap out the 2X for an XL on race day.

Love this race shirt!  You can't tell from the pic, but the silver parts of the shirt are sparkly!
Race morning was a bit dreary and muggy and it started to sprinkle a bit as I headed down to the race site.  The overcast day though worked to our advantage as it made all of the pink shirts, tutus, and sparkles stand out against the gray sky.  This was a much smaller race than I'm used to (about 448 people based on the race results), but I really loved it, particularly since I could park so darn close to the starting line.

The one slight drawback of the smaller race was the retro timing chip that you had to affix to your shoelaces prior to the race. I think I've run one other race where that was the case, but all of my other races have had the timing chip embedded into the race bib.  Not a big deal, by any means, and they even had people at the finish line to cut off the chips for you, which was a nice touch!

There were a lot of accessories available for purchase at the starting line, so if you forgot a tutu, tiara, or headband, you were all set to go!  It was a lot of fun to see so much creativity in full force and we even ran into Princess Aurora near the packet pick-up area.  She had a beautiful costume that she bought from Etsy and we talked to her about her RunDisney experiences, which was neat.  

We took a few group photos before the race started so we could model our team t-shirts.  My friend, Stacy, found a local screen printer who whipped up our shirts in no time at a very reasonable price.  I love that our shirt features one of my favorite running mantras:  I Got This!  If you are in the St. Louis area and you have a need for screen printed items, check out Abby Dabbles.  We loved our team shirts!

Team Dandy Divas Dashing
I noticed as we were waiting near the start line that many of the runners had their names on their bibs, which I love.  I think that it may have been a feature only available to individual participants and/or we missed the deadline for pre-printed bibs, as ours didn't have our names, but there is always next year!

The starting line had great music playing to get us going (who doesn't love a little Fergie Ferg singing Glamorous to get you in the Diva mode?) and at 8:00 a.m., we were off to run the 5K.

The starting line; a sea of divas in pink!
I ended up walking most of the race for two main reasons.  1) my calves are still really bothering me but I hope (fingers crossed!) that the new shoes I'm getting for my birthday next week will help 2) I was having wardrobe (i.e. chaffing) issues.  I bought a pair of black running shorts to wear under my tutu, as it is far too short and shear to be worn without any type of under short/pant.  I hoped the shorts wouldn't ride up but alas they did and I forgot to put BodyGlide on yesterday morning (I also forgot my Garmin and my arm band.  Clearly my brain does not function that early on a Saturday morning) therefore resulting in some special chaffing in the inner thigh area (sorry for tmi).  I love the shorts though, but I think I am going to have to use them for cross-training on the bike and elliptical only. 

In any case, I had a nice race doing a bit of run/walk intervals and listening to an AMR podcast about completing a sub 2:00 half marathon. I'm fairly certain that a sub 2:00 half is not in the cards for this girl, but it was a good podcast nonetheless.  I enjoyed people watching during the race and the overall positive atmosphere of race day; there was a lot of encouragement and laughter along the course, which is always nice.  I kept pace with a woman doing the race with a girl who I presumed was her daughter.  A gentleman, who I presumed was her husband, was following them along the course and he would stop every half mile or so to cheer his wife along and encourage her.  I think she may have had an injury because she had KT tape on the back of one of her legs.  In any case, he would drive ahead a bit on the race course and hop out of his car to run with her or cheer her on as needed, which I thought was really sweet.  

My gals were cheering me on for the last quarter of a mile or so and I was super excited to get my Diva bling.  We saw a preview of the medal on the race website and it did not disappoint!  It was sparkly and divalicious!  My finish time was 49.12.7, which certainly is not my best 5K by any means, but it was a really fun race with some great women and I'm looking forward to running with them again soon! 

Our team post-dash, including Stacy's two sweet daughters who participated in the Lil' Princess run
Sweet Diva bling
After grabbing some post-race sustenance and team photos, we headed over to watch Stacy's daughters participate in the Lil' Princess run.  Each age group had it's own race, beginning with the under 2 crowd and ending with the 8 year olds.  The race distances coincided with the age groups with the littlest Princesses running a shorter distance than their older counterparts.  

A few of us headed to a local restaurant for a post-race breakfast, which was delicious!  We even ran into a few fellow Divas at the restaurant.  

It was definitely a great morning and a great race with my fellow Divas!  Have you participated in a Diva race before?  Do you have any suggestions for other Diva-like races? 

"Flaunt that skirt.  Rock those socks.  Stand out in the crowd.  Run like a diva."  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I've procrastinated too long

In regards to writing this post, that is.  I think my procrastination is entirely due to the fact that I have been afraid to write this post and working up the nerve to post it.  I have mentioned that my weight has been going up recently and it has been a constant source of frustration for me.  According to MyFitnessPal after my latest weigh-in, I've lost 37 lbs., which is nothing to sneeze at.  However, at one point, I was down nearly 60 lbs., so it is a little discouraging to see where I am now.  It is entirely due to my lack of working out and poor eating habits, so I just need to get back on track and I feel like I'm headed in the right direction, but more on that soon.

As part of my process of getting on track, I have decided to not focus on the scale at all.  With the exception of my monthly weigh-in at the gym, I am not going to weigh myself and am instead going to focus on getting stronger, healthier, and eating better.  I have been a slave to the scale for far too long and it is so demoralizing and draining.  My weight fluctuates so much on a daily basis and it is way too easy to get discouraged by those fluctuations.  Am I frustrated by my weight gain?  Hell yes.  Am I going to continue to let it bring me down, essentially letting it define me?  Absolutely not.  I am more than a number on a scale; we all are.  My weight does not define me.  It does not dictate my ability to be a good wife, mother, daughter, or friend.  It was hard as hell to write this post, but I started this blog to hold myself accountable and to share my journey, including the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I went to the gym last Saturday for my consultation with one of the trainers and as part of the session, I weighed in and had my measurements taken.  I talked for awhile with the trainer about my unhealthy habit of weighing myself so frequently and it was good to talk through those issues.  I was surprised to find that my weight at the gym was quite a bit less than my scale at home.  When I weighed in at home last Saturday, the scale said 249.2 and the scale at the gym said 236.5.  I don't think I have to tell you which number I preferred.  I asked the trainer about the discrepancy and he was just as perplexed as I was.

I am proud to say that I have not weighed myself since the weigh in at the gym last Saturday, which is a huge accomplishment for me.  I will not be weighing in again until my next assessment at the gym on August 30th.  Instead, I have been working out regularly and trying to eat better (still a work in progress if I'm being honest).

After my session at the gym last Saturday morning, I rode the recumbent bike for an hour and watched a few episodes of Extreme Couponing on TLC.  Much as I like to think that I could ride the bike all day, towards the end, my tush was a little irritated with me.  Monday night I did 35 minutes on the elliptical and Thursday night I did 35 minutes on the recumbent bike.  I'm enjoying the gym and particularly, a little bit of time to catch up on some shows on TLC and HGTV!

When we received our Napa swag a few weeks ago, my teammates and I had a great discussion about body image and it just re-confirmed my love for these women.  I think I may have been the first one to make a comment about needing to work on my planks and crunches to eliminate the "muffin top" I had going on when I tried on our team t-shirt, but I was soon reminded of the fact that we all come in different shapes and sizes and we are all badass, beautiful strong women!  I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again (and probably many more times), I am very thankful to be a part of such a great group of women.  The support and encouragement that they provide is invaluable!

I'll end tonight with my teammate Melissa's comment from that discussion about body image a few weeks ago because she was spot on and I find myself repeating her wise words on a regular basis.  Thank you, Melissa!!

"Scales have a number. Same with your shoe size. Also your age. Your phone number.  A bunch of numbers. That's all they are. They are NOT WHO you are. You are a BAMR."

Friday, August 1, 2014

A little perspective

I am in a rut with my running and I wish I knew why.  I can attribute some of it to my frustratingly slow pace as of late and the fact that my legs have been cramping terribly when I do run.  With that being said, I have not run since before vacation and am a bit afraid to since my runs lately have not been stellar.  I intended to go for a run yesterday evening after the boys were asleep, but I really needed some snuggle time with the boys so I made some popcorn and we watched cartoons together.

In any case, I have spent some time this week working on building my leg strength back up because I feel as though this will help my running.  As I mentioned, I went to the gym Wednesday night to work on the elliptical and tonight, I went and rode the recumbent bike for 35 minutes.  I've missed riding a bike and I honestly could have spent much more time on the bike.  It helped that there was a t.v. screen on the machine and I got caught up in some episodes of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta.

In addition to ramping up my cross-training, I briefly mentioned earlier this week a thought of switching gears on my Napa training and mixing in a Hal Higdon plan.  I desperately want to get out of this rut and I thought changing things up would help.  However, today I received an e-mail that I think I was meant to get.  I receive e-mails from several local running stores, and today's e-mail from Fleet Feet St. Louis had a great article about 5 Common Errors in Half and Full Marathon Training.  The tip that spoke to me the most was tip #4 Knee-Jerk Overreaction:

Training is not linear. We will have good days and bad days (hence the reason Common Error 2 is on the list). As I said in that section, our schedule is a scaffolding to follow, not an ironclad contract to be followed at all costs. That being said, it is also not something to eschew. Our training program allows us to stay on target without wandering too far away from out primary goal. The problem is that all too often, when we have one of those rough days (or weeks), we scrap everything and change directions mid-course. Half and full marathon training is written with the intent of having good days and bad days. We can’t get too high on the good days and we can’t get too low on the bad days. The reason we need to stick with the program is that the rough patch is taken into account in the program itself. By overreacting, we miss out on the benefits that may just be around the corner. In the end, if we keep switching things up as a knee-jerk reaction, we end up missing the training effects of any and all programs. Training for a half or full is like the race itself: it's not a sprint. We have to train intelligently and patiently if we are survive safely and happily.

How true is this?  I have completely been overreacting.  Of course I will have good days and bad days with my running, just as I have good and bad days in life in general.  Instead of running away (ha) from the bad days, I need to face them head on and accept that they, too, are making me stronger, mentally and physically.  Patience has never been, nor will be, I fear, a virtue of mine, but I need to try to have patience with myself and my body.

"Running well is a matter of having the patience to persevere when we are tired and not expecting instant results."