Saturday, December 3, 2011

Race re-cap...of the WORST race EVER

Let me start by saying Erica and I left her place at 6:00 for what normally takes 20 minutes to get to National Harbor for the official start time of 7:30.  We sat on on the bridge from VA to MD (1.5 miles) for a good 90 minutes.  At 8:00 we pulled into our parking space.  Then we had to hike to the start line (that no one was really sure where it was or could tell us how to get there.)  We tried to follow some people we saw walking only to be told to get off the path….with no word of another option to get to the start except go up.  Up where???

We hoof it up the hill and before I had time to let my heart rate drop down and breathe normally again, we stepped into the first spot in an open corral we could find and down the hill we went.  No more than 5 minutes in and I was slammed into from behind because the race came to a walk (this happened in 3 separate locations).  We didn’t have the whole road to ourselves and the GRAVEL trail around the harbor was crazy small - too many people on too small of a surface.  Not only was it frustrating, it was dangerous.
From what I have been told, the race was changed from the race map some people received.   I can tell you I was told there was 1 hill and there were in fact 3 very large, 1 long, 1 steep hill.  I ran the first 13 minutes of the race (I’m including the forced walking b/c that wasn’t my fault), walked 2 and then tried to start the next 13 but after hoofing it up the hill and not having a chance to catch my breath, I knew I couldn’t make it 13 so I adjusted to run 5 walk 2.  Then we hit the first hill and I ran as much as I could and walked the rest of the way, come to a little bit of a flat area and started running only to meet the 2nd hill (long hill) about 45 seconds later.  I had to walk it.  Granted, I then tried to run 15 seconds, walk 15, run 30 seconds, walk 30 and then it was run to the sign.  Finally a downhill came and unfortunately we passed another runner that had fallen and people were around here screaming for help.  It took a little bit but then a policeman ran over.  Um, where was the medic they were yelling for?  I actually never saw an ambulance but Erica said she saw a few.  So I kept running to then come to the 3rd and final hill (steep hill…also the hill we had to hoof it up to start).  Please tell me - why the crap would you finish a race on an UP hill?????

After that we had to walk at least 1/2 mile up yet another hill to get to the chocolate.  We were promised fondue and hot chocolate.  In case you were wondering, yes, that means no other food after the race.  I ran the 5k and the rich chocolate didn’t sit well with me.  If I had run a 15k, I would have probably puked.  Also they made it seem like it was unlimited fondue (read: unlimited food) but that wasn’t the case.  I didn’t even have half my chocolate nor did I finish all my food (which btw, the banana was brown, slimy and disgusting - looking like they had cut it in half yesterday).  There were unlimited porta potties up there but leading up the 3/4+ mile trek to the start of the race?  Two.  Yes, 2 porta potties.  From what I was told, around 20,000 people signed up for the race?  I checked the numbers and 15,443 finished the race.  Imagine if the other 4557 runners showed up.

I understand this was their first race in DC but they teamed up with a DC store that does/coordinates many races that flow seamlessly.  I just don’t understand how they could have screwed this up so royally.  It seems like they were only in it for the money - it was a hefty entry fee but deemed worth it because of all that was supposed to be included and the race was supposed to be run.  I don’t see me doing this race again in the future.

I checked the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k facebook page and people are PISSED and laying into them about the poor organization and so much more.  If you want a chuckle, check it out.  One thing I found interesting is they seem to blame the traffic on an accident that took longer to clear than they were told.  Funny, no one saw an accident…even the people who got to the race early/on time.
  • I feel bad for the people who made it in time for the race start who had to wait 45 minutes past the original start time to the adjusted 8:15 start time due to “traffic”.
  • I heard a girl say that she trained so hard for the race so she could run the whole thing but that chance was taken away from her due to the course and forced walking.
  • I feel bad for the 15k people who had to wait over an hour for their race to start.
  • It was also freezing at the top where the food was but there were no heaters.
  • After reading the races facebook page, for those who chose the shuttle bus option, apparently the drivers weren’t told where to go or where to drop off the racers.  Some had to walk 2 miles to the start line.
  • This was also some racers first race and some mentioned they never wanted to race again because they assume all races are like that.  Which kind of breaks my heart.
That said, it was a race.  I went out there and did it.  So there’s a plus.

Pardon my rant but that’s my recap.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I survived the reunion!

If you couldn’t tell from my post before, I was pretty nervous about this reunion.  If you needed more reassurance of this - you could have looked at my luggage.  When I pulled into the hotel Saturday afternoon, I had to get a luggage cart to help me with my stuff.  Yes, that’s right.  Just MY stuff.  I couldn’t carry everything in one trip; that’s how you know I’m nervous.  I needed options from what to wear, the jewelry, coats, shoes, etc.  Options = lots o’ crap.

I ended up heading downtown to the club where the reunion was held with my friend Meredith but before that, I headed over to her house to meet her.  Thankfully I had a few extra minutes because somehow I didn’t remember to grab EVERYTHING from my car and left my tights and purse options in my car.  (see - LOTS o’ crap)  After that situation was sorted out, I kind of said to heck with all of this.  I’m just going to do what I want.

The reunion was at a club which, initially, I thought was kind of weird.  Have I mentioned I’m fat and don’t like clubs because I get self conscious?  Ohhh, that’s right.  Well we got to the door and had to pay to get in…yes, it was cheaper if you paid ahead of time but I’m not going to lie - I wasn’t 100% sure until I was in the car and parking downtown that I was going to actually make it to this reunion.  Good thing Meredith and I shared the same opinion and decided, if we didn’t like it, we could leave after a little bit and just go somewhere for drinks.  Did I mention the guy taking the money at the door was Matt, who I had a crush on for all 3 years that I went to that high school.  Ha.  (Yes, Matt Hester, if you are reading this, I had a crush on you in high school but I'm pretty sure you were aware of it back then).  I was surprised he knew who I was/recognized me and even asked me about the Virginia Tech/Virginia game; I hadn’t even put anything about that on facebook.  But lets not forget, I’m nervous so I just start talking about football and head in the door.  Whoops.  No clue what’s going on with him now.  I know, I’m socially awkward.  I embrace it.
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The summary of the night - I saw a few people I recognized, a lot I recognized and wished I didn’t, even MORE people who either names sounded familiar but didn’t recognize them or recognized them but couldn’t place their name OR just thought - did I graduate with you?  Because I don’t remember you at all.  Going into this I thought, we’re all 10 years older and mature, I can talk to these people.  It will be fine.  And for some, that was definitely the case.  But sometimes the bitchy girls will always be the bitchy girls and the cliques will remain cliquey.  And I know how horrible this sounds but there was one guy there I could not place to save my life and I asked someone who that was and it turns out it was a guy I had lots of classes with who wasn’t exactly making fun of me about my weight but wasn’t super friendly either.  I’m sorry for saying this but guess who’s a chunker?  Did it sort of make my night to see that he had put on a LOT of weight?  Yes.  Yes it did.  I’m not even going to lie.  It also took every ounce of restraint not to walk over and say hi and casually mention that I have run a half marathon and done a triathlon.  But I digress.

We ended up staying for about 2 1/2 hours which is longer than I thought we would make it and ended up going to a wine bar afterwards.  (This is Meredith and I at the wine bar.  There were no good pictures of me that night and I’m okay with that).

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Yeah, because more wine is what we needed.  (note the sarcasm)  Turns out?  Our bartender?  Definitely graduated with him and definitely didn’t recognize him.  Overall, I’m glad I went.  I saw a few people I wouldn’t have seen otherwise and I proved to myself I could go.  I did back into my shell a little bit and then I thought to myself - that’s not who you are anymore.  So get out there and dance!  And I did.  :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

10 year reunion? Already??

I headed up to the DC area yesterday for a little outlet shopping because I wanted to hit up a fun store - Torrid.  They have lots of fun, flirty, hip clothes.  I guess I should back this up and explain why - my 10 year high school reunion is the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Granted, I’m not super excited about it being the Saturday after Thanksgiving, especially since niether my family nor I live in Charlotte anymore but I'm also kind of excited to see who shows up and to see how I handle the situation.  Being overweight in high school, I wasn’t popular or in with the “popular” crowd but I didn’t hate it either…however I’m nervous thinking about running into some of these people from my past.

I’m definitely much more outgoing and more articulate of how I feel than I was in high school, but the thought of running into these people again is nervewracking and also sort of sends me back to high school.  Am I going to be shy?  Am I going to be too nervous to talk to people?  Will I make it in the door??? I also recently found out the reunion is going to be at some club uptown (Charlotte doesn’t like to call it downtown.  Weird.  I know.)  So, of course, my first thought was - what the crap am I going to wear?  Hence, my little shopping extravaganza.

Also, when did I get to be so much of an adult that it’s almost time for my high school reunion???  I honestly don’t know if I can walk in the door to this thing…but at least I’ll look hot while driving there.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I survived bootcamp...barely.

I had fabulous plans for getting a bunch of stuff done tonight…and then I took bootcamp.  I thought, sure, this will be great, it will challenge me, I’ll do something new and build some muscle.

Um, yes, it challenged me.  Yes, I do enjoy running but only when I want to run.  If you tell me to run, I will not want to.  If you tell me to sprint, I will curse you under my breath.  Welcome to my evening.

Apparently these people are like their only little family which was kind of awesome to see but made me feel like I was in high school, walking into the “cool clique” and while I may have sat there, waiting dreading the start and shaking my leg from nervousness, I got over it.

The schedule does say “be prepared to head outside sometimes”.  My exact thought: no way we’re going outside tonight.  They’ll be nice to me, take it easy and stay inside.  Um, whhhhaaaaaaaaaatttttt?

Immediately we were outside with bands and weighted bars but before we got to use those, we had to run.  Then we did squats, lunges, 180 degree turn jumps, squat down and little tee-tiny raises and releases, raises and releases…focusing on one leg.  This was also on the curb so one foot was always elevated - i.e. working harder.  THEN we got to sprint.  Oh joy.  Yippee.  Three times up and back.  Then we came and did all of the above (minus the first run) on the other leg.  Then we got to sprint again.  This time it was only twice, but longer and up half of a hill.  Then it was time for shoulder and upper body work with the weighted bar while attaching the bands for MORE resistance.  Oh and then we got to sprint again.  This time one LONG run UP the hill.  Then we did more upper body work, then another run then tricep dips.

So I’m not as fast as the other people.  So I was always last.  I kept telling myself, don’t let them mentally beat you.  You may be slower but you WILL complete EVERY thing they do.  And I did.  I also didn’t cry.  I may have teared up on the way home because I reflected and felt like the typical fat girl who is always last but screw that.  I completed and didn’t go home and didn’t quit.

But oh sweet mother, I am in pain.  Tomorrow I might cry just trying to get out of bed.  The inside of my legs are killing me - like if I did ballerina squats or pleits (I can’t spell it, even though I did take years of dance when I was younger, but you know what I mean).  One guy did ask me if I was coming back.  My answer?  I hope so.  I want to go back to prove to myself that I can and stubbornly to show all the speedsters I’m not the type of girl to give up and I may be fat but I’m working on it and I get better every week.

No.  I don’t like sprints.  But you know what?  It’s building muscle.  It will make me faster.  So there’s a positive.

I’m supposed to meet a friend to run tomorrow after work.  Yeah, that may turn into a walk but I will at least be bringing my running clothes with me just in case my legs don’t feel like lead tomorrow.

I worked out.  I challenged myself.  I grew am growing as a person.  I may have cried a little but I’m still proud of myself.  I didn’t give up and I didn’t quit.

BOOYAH!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Shamrock Half Marathon

March 18, 2012.

I'm officially signed up.  I think I'm going to puke.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hello little blog

...I know, I know.  It's been awhile.  I may or not be cheating on you, little blog, with another blog.  Shocker, I know.  Sometimes I seem to forget or not have time to catch all of you up on this blog but I'm going to try to do a better job at that. 
 Some things that have been happening in my life recently:
I decided not to do the sprint triathlon.  The day I was going to sign up, I drove the route and the bike route is out and back on 3 different roads.  All hills.  And I don't mean just slight inclines, I mean big hills.  Steep hills.  Long hills.  Long and steep hills.  From the beginning.  I just knew there was no way I could handle those hills and then run the 5k - also hilly.
I'm thinking about signing up for another half marathon.  This scares the crap out of me.  Part of me says to wait until I build up my mileage and I feel more confident.  The other part of me says go ahead and sign up.  Not only is it cheaper, it will give me the extra push to make sure I'm running and building up my mileage because I'm committed.  Then I also wonder what if no one comes and no one is there to support me.  I know that's stupid but I think about it.  It's a thought.  Deal.
I really want to do a half Ironman.  I've mentioned this before but I really want to do it.  I need to find one that's not terribly far away and do-able.  Although we all know how much I hate running when it's hot so the fact that there aren't fall races in cooler states makes me a little sad.  But I guess I'm going to have to just deal with it and run in the heat.
I'm coming up on 3 years being a homeowner.  That is just weird.

I think those are the big things.  Another realization I've had - it's never too late to go after you want.  You're never too old, too anything to go after your dream.  Hello.  Look at the 40 year old Olympic swimmer.  Never give up on yourself.  Always keep trying.

Until next time, blog world.

Monday, August 29, 2011

August and the Mortal Man Tri

For those who don't iknow, I took on the challenge of the Mortal Man Tri for the month of August.  Basically you complete the distance of a full Ironman over the course of a month.  Everyone who is participating is linked on a shared spreadsheet where you update your distance as you go and it tells you your percentage complete, how much farther you have left to swim, bike or run and I have to say - it's pretty awesome.  I was off to a pretty good start the first of the month...and then I went to Raleigh for my cousin's wedding the weekend of the 13th and I just lost my motivation.  I finally got it back after the month was about 2/3 of the way over but I am done not finishing things.  I looked at what I had left and knew if I was diciplined enough, I could do it.  As I write this wiith 3 days left in August (including today), here's what I have left and how I will accomplish it:

Today: Bike 15.1 miles, zumba
Tuesdasy: Bike 15 miles, run 3.1
Wednesday:  Bike 15 miles, swim 974 yards

Then I will be done.  I worked hard over the weekend (covering a full sprint tri), another 15 miles on the bike and line dancing.  I may have completed the sprint tri backwards (run-bike-swim instead of swim-bike-run) but that didn't make it any easier.  About 10 minutes into the bike, my legs were killing me and I wished I had stretched but 1- I was trying to simulate race day conditions and 2 - if I stopped the bike to stretch,all my distance would be wiped from the bike.  Side note - I think it's a bit ridiculous that the bike gives you about 5 seconds of stopping before it resets itself.  I wanted to quit so many times and contemplated doing so, but I knew I needed to knock out this big chunk to get me ahead in the mortal man tri but also with irene coming, I knew I wouldn't be able to get any training in the next day and was just hoping the roads would be clear and the gym open on Sunday.  All that to say, I'm SO glad I did the distance.  My total time for all 3 was 1 hour 50 minutes 51 seconds.  Obviously this was all done inside and it will be different outside on race day but I've already made improvements and I have some more things to work on but I'm pretty proud of myself.  I think I may do a mock tri again in about 3 -4 weeks to measure my improvements and maybe even do it in the correct order.  August has been a challenging month but well worth it.  I'm finishing August strong with my training and completing the full Ironman distance.  How are you finishing the month strong?

Friday, August 5, 2011

2 steps forward, 1 step back.

Sunday marks the end of the 4th week of my triathlon training.  I haven't really mentioned it because, quite honestly, it scares the crap out of me and because of that - I'm training but I have yet to sign up for the race.  Maybe part of me is hoping it fills up so I don't have to actually take the step and maybe part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop but the other part of me checks the race website daily to see how long I can go before I have to sign up because I want to do this...what can I say, I'm a complex person.  Yes, I've done a triathlon before but this is me coming off of a year of sporadically working out.  The last time, I had been consistently working out for months before even thinking about taking on this challenge. 

I'm scared I can't do this.  I'm scared I'm going to fail.  I'm scared I will be disguting in my swimsuit - last time I felt like my legs were strong and no matter what, that's what I saw when I looked in the mirror.  Now?  Not so much.  I'm afraid I'll be slower than I was last time.  I'm afraid of the new course since it's starting from a new location.  Yes, the other one had a massive hill to climb but the new course has rolling hills - lots of them.

What has happened to me?  What happened to the girl that could take on anything and was ready for anything that came her way?  I miss that person, but I know I'm slowly getting that person back.  One thing I've struggled with and had to come to terms with is: I'm not where I used to be and that's a really hard thing to accept...it's like now that I'm "back on the wagon" so to speak, I feel like I should be kicking butt and taking names.  There are days where I feel like that and then there are days where my legs feel like stumps which take every ounce of energy I have to simply take a step.  Some days it's really hard for me to wrap my head around everything and when that happens I just have to keep telling myself to keep going - keep moving forward.  DON'T go back.  I did that long enough.  Never again.  Never.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Change, change, change

As I was driving home the other day, I realized this summer marks my 6th year here in Richmond...which ties with the longest I've lived in a place before...which was Richmond from when I was born until I was 6.  Most of y'all know I've been searching a lot lately for a new job and what exactly will make me happy.  Lately I've been thinking maybe I could make it in the Peace Corps or maybe Americorps - meeting a lot of new people, helping, making a difference.  What more could a girl ask for?  All I know is I'm ready for a change, to be out of my comfort zone and to do something that makes me happy.  I'm still trying to figure all of this out and find the best place for me.  Have any ideas?  Pass them my way.  The unknown can be scary but it's also exciting and hopefully the change I'm seeking and hoping for will happen soon.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A little bike ride and a few thoughts

Richmond has been hit with two days of absolutely beautiful weather!  What was I supposed to do...stay inside at work?  I don't think so!  I took the day off today so I could enjoy the weather.  Seriously, can you blame me? 

I decided I was going to get a quick bike ride in and head down to the park Ronnie and Deana showed me a couple weeks ago.  The only part I forgot was having train tracks to go over and not knowing if they were smooth or if I'd faceplant on my way to the park.  I was only about 5 minutes into the ride and all I could think was how miserable it was, how much my legs hurt and how I still had 30 minutes left to bike.  But I kept going...and for a lot longer than 30 minutes.  I finally made it to the park and I loved every second of it and on the way back, I saw so many things that made me smile - kids playing in the park, a tractor pulled over so the guy could go in and talk to the guys at the service station, an F150 logo from the back of a truck that had fallen off, etc.  It's so easy to go through your day and not take in all these small things and get annoyed at that biker you can't get around because there's traffic coming the other way.  (Yes, you're welcome cars on Purcell and Mountain.)  Me?  For today and right now, I'm thankful I was on that bike, slower than in a car, so I could see and experience those things, being reminded how amazing the small things can be sometimes and to enjoy just being outside, being a biker, being 28, being me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I will not burn out....hopefully

I've come to the conclusion on why I get burnt out so much when I train for something.  I love having a goal to work towards and a culmination of all the hard work when I know I can relax but sometimes I seem to get too focused.  The closer I get to a big race, the more afraid I become of getting hurt so I stop doing the "fun" things like combat or zumba or anything that might tweak any part of my body.  That's when the fun goes out.  So now I'm making an effort to keep the fun things when I'm training.  Especially if it's a lite training day, I can throw in a fun class or every few times, throw out a lite day for some cross-training.  It truly seems to be a mental game and hopefully this way, when the race is completed, I'm still in the gym, having fun.  Yes, I can take time off to recover from the running and biking and whatnot, but I won't get burnt out.  At least this is the plan.

I mentioned this is the year of Elaine and 2 weeks in, it's going pretty well. ;)  I'm slowly taking back my life and doing things for me.  When I get up the guts to tell the world a few things I have on the burners right now, it will just keep the momentum going for this to be a kick butt year!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Old habits die hard

You know what's interesting about grocery shopping?  You get in habits and you just kind of go through the store on cruise control.  Today I went to the fancy, new Kroger at Short Pump and I realized quite a few things. 

Nutritionists will tell you to stick to the outside of the grocery store for the healthiest, most natural food and the great thing about the new Kroger is the the outside "aisles" are loaded with LOTS of yummy, delicious options AND it is a pretty far distance from the inner aisles and processed foods.  Now don't get me wrong, I eat packaged foods, I can't stick to just the outsides but I try to at least eat some natural foods.  As I was searching for the bagel thins, I came upon my weakness of sweets like Swiss Rolls and oatmeal pies.  The interesting point to all of this is I realized how much I was into my old routine - when I wanted to put the Swiss Rolls into my basket, I looked around and realized I was in the front of the store which is a very open area that can be seen from almost all sides of the store.  That's when it hit me - I was ashamed of what I was about to do.  I know I don't need that trigger food in my house when I'm trying to get back on track, yet there I was.  So I quickly turned my cart around and went to the next aisle.  It amazed me how I was so comfortable with my normal Kroger because my yummy, "bad" foods were in an area in the back of the store, so I could quietly slip the food into my cart, go to the self-checkout and no one would be the wiser I just bought a box of something I swore I wouldn't buy again after the last time I devoured a box.  What have I learned?  I think I need to get out of my comfort zone - try new grocery stores, new floor plans that keep me honest and be more aware of what I'm doing.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The culmination of Do Life 5k's and bday celebration week

My birthday celebration week has officially come to an end with a trip to Atlanta.  It was such a fun trip filled with lots of sweet niece hugs, kisses and a blowing-kisses-off and a little peek-a-boo thrown in there for good measure.  It was also the last leg of the Do Life 5k tour I was able to attend.  As Andrea and I pulled into the parking lot, I was excited to see we pulled up next to the Do Life car!

At least that meant we were in the right place. =)  We met up Sunday afternoon at Centennial Olympic Park and as we were walking to the meetup, I couldn't believe how nervous I was even though this was my third event.  Andrea and I walked in and let Maddie run around for a little bit and as I was sitting on the bench making sure Maddie didn't get into trouble, Ben called me out for not coming over to say hi....though I assured him I was only letting everyone else get their time and pictures with him since I had already hung out with him twice.  Of course I had to document Maddie's first "run".

What event would be complete without a little run-in with the cops?  Thank you Atlanta cops for trying to stop 55 people from running...the horrors that can come from people exercising are just astonishing.  After we assured them no money was exchanged - we were just going to go for a run, we were about to set off until the cop told us he couldn't let us leave until his supervisor arrived.  Everything turned out fine and they let us leave to run our 5k.  It was blazing hot in the Georgia sun but definitely not as humid as DC.  I'm happy that everyone finished, no one had heat stroke and then we were off for lunch...where Sasha showed up!!  I haven't seen Sasha since the end of 9th grade when my family and I moved to Charlotte.  It just made the trip THAT much more enjoyable.  I was sad to see my time with the Do Life tour come to an end but I can't wait to see what fun things await this team in the cities coming up.  Seriously, if you're near a city they're visiting - you should go!  Check out the site and click on the map to find a city they're coming to near you!


Some things I have learned from the Do Life 5k's:
I'm stronger than I think
I may have an aversion to running in the heat, but I can do it and be proud at the end.
Everyone has a story and you can be inspired around every corner.
Whether you are first or last, there is nothing to be ashamed of; as long as you go out there and take a step in the right direction, you have won.
If you have a passion for something, others will see it and build you up and support you.  Case in point: Ben & Do Life.

I had a fabulous weekend with my brother, sister-in-law, niece and the Do Life crew.  I have never been more motivated to get back to my triathlon training and I'm so excited about it!  I've already started laying out my workouts for the week so I will be ready!  What goals are you taking on?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Do Life DC & Reflections on 27

It's official; 27 is over.  I have always maintained I'm not sorry for anything in my past and I wouldn't change any of the good or the bad in my life because it has made me the person I am today.  That being said, I was so glad to see my 27th year come to an end.  This year has been hard and filled with lots of tears - more so than probably years 20 - 26 and I'm ready for a change and I'm ready for 28 to start kicking some butt.  Don't get me wrong, it hasn't all been bad - I've had some fun trips and memories, I've learned a lot about myself, other people and what I'm willing to accept and what I refuse to accept any less of - especially in friendships.  I've seen some friendships go that I didn't think would ever happen but I've learned a lot from those hard times and tears.  I also saw my niece turn 1.  Did you seriously think I wouldn't post something about her?  Seeing her little personality evolve has been such an amazing blessing and she has shown me what is to love someone, unconditionally, from the beginning.  There's been so much more but I'm choosing to learn from 27 and look forward to the adventures of 28!  My friend Dave names his years each birthday and I think I'm going to take a page from his book.  This is going to be the year of Elaine.  Stay tuned to find out what that means.

How did I end 27, you might be asking yourself?  With the Do Life tour in DC, of course.  I left work early and headed up to meet Erica at her house and then hopped onto the Metro to head into the city.  Getting off at the Smithsonian, we had to take a bit of a walk to the WWII memorial but we found Jed and Pa in front (I actually spotted them from a distance when Erica and I were searching for the meetup point.  I mean, they're hard to miss.)  They pointed us in the direction of the meetup and we even saw another person from the NYC 5k!  Before it was time to run, we headed across the street to get a picture of the group (75 people!) in front of the National Monument. 

Then it was time to run/jog/walk the route in the 90 degree heat with about 90% humidity.  My friend Jenn also made it for the 5k!!

I started off running but the heat was just too much, so Jenn and I were booking it at a very fast walk, with a few running sprints thrown in there just for fun. :)  We got to the end, hung out and waited for the rest of the group to cross the finish line, cheering for the last person to finish.

Before heading off to dinner, we stopped for a few pics with the Davis boys because this was the last stop for Erica and we of course wanted to document how sweaty and nasty we all are, because doesn't everyone want to document that?



We walked about 30 minutes and finally made it to a GW dining hall and it was quite delicious.  The end came way too soon and then it was back to Erica's to sleep and then get up at the butt crack of dawn to drive back to Richmond and work.  What a great and positive way to end 27 and I'm so glad I was able to celebrate that with Jenn, Erica and the Do Life family.  Atlanta is up this weekend and I hope to see you there!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

NYC & Do Life a.k.a. Bday Celebrations week part 1

What a fabulous start to my birthday celebration week!  I met up with Erica in DC and we hitched a ride with her brother into the city.  It was a quick 3 1/2 trip (not even kidding) and we entered the city with all the lights and it was beautiful.


We were up early to head to the Met for the McQueen exhibit.  We finally made it after a few subway issues and crossing the Park, but it just added to the adventure.
 It was absolutely amazing seeing McQueen's creations up front and in person.  They had quotes from him and video from his runway shows and sadly you could see the inner turmoil within him and the darkness he dealt with however that's what made him such a genius.  From there, it was a quick lunch at the Chicken Bar which was delicious!  I think there is always more room for grilled chicken restaurants.  Then it was off to see Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette in 'How to Succeed in Business Without Trying' which was hilarious and I was surprised to find out how great of a dancer Dan is and seeing him in person was a special treat.  For a yummier treat, we headed to Junior's for our own phenomenal cheesecakes.
 Strawberry Cheesecake!  Yay!!  After a quick nap, we walked around the Lower East Side and found a fabulous little restaurant, saw a bunch of different shops, including Zarin's of Housewives fame!  Sunday came bright and early and it was time for the DO LIFE TOUR!!!!  Okay, I'm not going to lie - I was nervous.  I was fine riding on the subway but as we emerged from the subway steps and walked onto Columbus Circle, I was overcome with nerves and questions.  What if no one talks to me?  What if I make an ass of myself?  What if I fall flat on my face while running?  What if the guy who's blog I've been following and have been incredibly inspired by turns out to be a complete jackass?  What if I'm the last person to finish the race?  Surely, I should just turn around and go home.  What can I say...sometimes I let my head and insecurities overrun my life, but I stayed and met lots of new people and everyone was SO nice!  I even met Ben!

Then it was time to run and while I started out relatively strong, my aversion to heat and running when the sun is on me started to get the best of me and figured a jog/walk was the best course of action.  I ended up jog/walking with a few different people and it was great to hear everyone's stories of weight loss, what they've overcome, where they are, how they deal with certain things and of course we all had to share our blog addresses.  I'm happy to say everyone who started the 5k, finished and we all celebrated with a group picture and then headed to Whole Foods to eat and hang out.

I will always remember the faces of the Do Life crew when Erica and I told them we were from Virginia and we would see them at the DC run on Wednesday and that I would see them at the Atlanta run on Sunday as well.  They seemed to be blown away...that or who are these crazy people...but I choose to think they were blown away.  =)  I truly don't think Ben has any idea of the impact his blog has had on people all across the nation and I can't wait for him to realize this as people continue to show up across the US and share their stories, share their life and run.  Eventually it was time to head out and while I was sad to go, we had a bit more shopping to do and then had to de-funktify ourselves so we could catch our bus back to DC.  We had a little drama when we realized the train we needed to take would not be stopping where we were due to construction, but after a last minute scramble and getting a cab, we made it to the bus!  After getting back to Erica's, it was time for me to head back to Richmond.  I made it in town around 11:30 and pretty much sank into my bed.  Exhausted but happy with such an amazing weekend. 

I had tweaked my back two days before leaving for NYC and I think I overdid it this weekend with traipsing all over the city and the run on Sunday, so I'm taking it easy tonight and I'll be hitting the gym tomorrow for some eliptical work and swimming to ease my back pain and then it's off for the DC run on Wednesday!  I'm so excited to be taking part in any of this tour and to meet some of the amazing people and hear the stories of how their lives have changed and how they are changing; the ups and downs, the tears and celebrations.  We are all linked together by a common goal: living life to its fullest - whether by weight loss, adventure, pursuing a passion, being involved in others lives, etc.  I really hope to see you in DC and/or Atlanta!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Birthday celebration week commences Friday!

This weekend I head off to NYC via DC and I can't wait.  It is the official beginning of my birthday celebration week, I get to see the McQueen exhibit at the Met, Junior's cheesecake in celebration of my day, and the first of 3 5k's with the Do Life crew.  If you're going to be in NYC, DC or Atlanta, come run and/or walk it with me!  Ben (of the Do Life movement) is hitting multiple cities all over the country (Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, LA, etc) and it's such a positive movement to be involved with - and did I mention it's FREE????

While I'm excited to go to NYC because I love the city and wish I could move there, if I could only find a job, I'm also nervous.  I start thinking I'm not prepared, I'm going to fail, I will be the last one to finish, everyone will laugh at me and I'll be a huge joke.  I have realized I struggle with not being able to do what I once did, either by distance, speed or just the activity and instead of facing those and saying I'm working towards those goals again, I start to self-sabotage and only think negatively.  I think of why I can't, why I shouldn't, how I'll humiliate myself and just be a hassle to everyone else.  I don't know why I do this...part of me knows it's something all girls deal with - the negative thoughts, but that's not enough of an excuse.  Which is why I'm also happy that I have people going with me because they're not going to let me back out over my insecurities, which unfortunately is something I seem to do more often than I would like.  No matter what, this is the beginning of my birthday celebration week which is the beginning of the end of 27 for me, which has been an incredibly hard year.  I'm excited to put 27 behind me and start 28 off on the right foot and hopefully it will be a much better year, full of positivity.  If you're in NYC on 6/19, DC on 6/22 or Atlanta on 6/26, I would LOVE to see you and would love to do the 5k with you.  It's going to be SO fun and we're all hanging out afterwards!  Hope to see you out there, celebrating with me!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Keep on keepin' on

Have y'all seen ABC's new show Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss edition?  It is absolutely amazing.  It amazes me how much difference a year can make.  When I think about it, a year seems so incredibly far away and way too long, but really it's not...4 counts of 3 short months.  The people on this show are at their seeming end and they reach out and ask for help and that simple action of asking for help can actually be the most difficult for a majority of people.  It doesn't matter if you struggle with weight, depression, alcohol, drugs, pleasing, shyness, etc.  Making yourself vulnerable and asking for help, knowing the answer can sometimes be no is an incredibly brave thing to do.  These people transform not only their bodies but their entire lives - their personality comes out, they discover the inner person they always wanted to be and thought was there but never dreamed they could be and do things they never thought they could do.  Case in point - Rachel from the first show hiked up a mountain and bungee jumped off a bridge 400 feet in the air.  Two words:  BAD ASS.  Yes, their lives were documented for a year and they had to put themselves out on national TV in their skivvies but they get this amazing personal trainer who gives them the confidence to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  That's what I hope to remember every day: just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep on keepin' on. =)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Au Revoir to the Miller's

Tuesday evening I met up with the recently married Ronnie & Deana Miller!  It was the last time we could hang out before they moved to the Raleigh area for Deana's residency so I told Ronnie the choice was up to him what we did.  He chose a bike ride around a park in Glen Allen.  R & D had told me about this park a few times but I never filed it away in my brain and boy was I missing out.  I forgot my camera so I can't show you all the fun we had but no worries, I'll be going back soon.  This place is great!  It has softball and baseball fields, a football field, a playground, 2 trains to play on, a lake with dukes, sheep, goats, horses and trails galore!  We had so much fun going around to all the different places and Deana was telling me about the duck she aptly named Herbert.  I've been a huge fan of Deep Run Park for years now however Glen Allen's park kicks Deep Run's butt from here to Wednesday AND it's maybe 2 - 3 miles from my house, so I can totally bike there!  SCORE!  With all the fun we had at the park, I didn't want to stop riding my bike because that meant it was time to say goodbye to the Miller's.  Ronnie has been a close friend of mine since my sophomore year of college and it's been great having him just a few streets away.  Have no fear, we'll be meeting up again soon...I can't imagine a whole football season passing without seeing them.  Ronnie and Deana - I hope you have a fabulous time in Raleigh....though I don't think I can ever cheer on Duke, but I think I have grown enough to not root AGAINST UVA when they're playing other teams, but that's only because you went there, Deana, and have changed my mine (a little bit) about the school.  Ha.  What can I say, rivalries die hard.  GO HOKIES!  I can't wait to see how this adventure plays out for y'all and the fun you'll have in NC.  Love y'all!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Memories, memories

When I was younger, I was on year-round and summer swim teams - I basically spent as much time as I possibly could in the pool and I loved every second of it.  As I got older, it changed to only summer swim teams because we were moving around and I wanted to do different activities - gymnastics, soccer, tap, ballet, jazz, etc. until I stopped after we moved from Augusta, GA.  Every time I enter a pool area and smell the chlorine, my memories of that time in my life just take over me and I feel like I've gone home; it's a safe place where I can just be.  I went to the gym after Bible study Thursday night because I had a lot on my mind and when I'm in the pool, cutting through the water, all the outside noises and complications are blocked out so it's time for just me and my thoughts.  Another great plus?  If you're upset, and you need to cry, the pool is a fabulous place to get all those emotions out because no one knows that you're crying.  I'm very fortunate that I'm still able to do some of the things I was so involved in when I was younger because it has so many memories attached and I'm glad to know they still provide that comfort...it's like going home and your mom fixing your favorite meal.  It just doesn't get better than that...and it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's June! It's June!

Happy first day of June!  Did you know that June contains the scientifically proven happiest day of the year?  It's true, it does!  Don't believe me?  Check out the article here .  Sure, it's Just pure coincidence that the happiest day of the year happens to also be my birthday.  :) 

Things I'm excited for in June:

NYC
Junior's cheesecake
McQueen exhibit at the Met
Meeting up with the Do Life tour for 3 races.
My birthday & the happiest day of the year!!!
Hanging out with my niece
Sharon returns from 1 year in the Phils

June is also the month that my good friend, Ronnie and his newly married wife Deana move to NC...that will be a sad day when such a close friend (and my resident fix broken stuff at my house :) guy) moves away.  However they're starting their own adventure with Deana's residency at Duke and I can't wait to see how awesome it is and how much they love North Cackalacky.  It's also the start of the summer, more time to hang out with your friends, relax by the water, enjoy the sun on your face and enjoy the slower pace to life.  I'm also hopeful for June to bring some of the changes I've been praying for and working towards.  What are you excited for in June? 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bootcamp bribes

Here is the email exchange between Tiffany and I about bootcamp yesterday.

Me:  Today.  You're going.  That is all.
Tiffany: Ummmmmm I have my clothes with me…ha…..LOL
Me (7 hours later and 90 minutes before class): I don’t wanna go.
T:  You better…..it’s gonna be hot as fish grease though…LOL
Me:  Meh.  Let's skip this week.
T:  NOPE!!!!!!
Me: K.  How about I skip this week?
T:  Ummmmmmm Nope to that either!!!!!
Me:  Yes but if I don’t go, I don’t have to face you until Monday.  And really that’s a holiday so we won’t have it and then I won’t see you until Wednesday and that’s a whole week and then you will have forgotten.  =D
T:  Ha ha at your  plans……Oh I will remember!!!!!  Put a smile on your face and drive to Deep Run Park for BOOTCAMP!!!!!!

All of that to say, I am so thankful to have friends that keep me accountable.  Bootcamp was the LAST place I wanted to be last night, but I went, it was hot as heck, I worked out, I sweated and I felt better afterwards.  I also picked on the trainer and called him out on a few things.  Heck, you have to keep things fun and yourself entertained, right? 

Tonight is an interval run, upping my intervals but have no fear - I'll be running the inside track at the gym.  I may be from the south but it is just too dang hot out there to be running outside. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

weekend

Sorry I've been so lax about getting stuff up here- I have a post from Ronnie & Deana's wedding to get up here...as soon as I upload the pictures.  BUT this weekend I manned a yard sale for my parents since they were in the Domincan Republic...I know, I know, and I agree - I should have been in the DR on the fabulous trip.  Just kidding!  They deserved a break.  Since I was over there, I took advantage of their neighborhood and the hills that come with it.  I decided I would run to a playground area and take advantage of the different surfaces and do some strength exercises.  It's amazing how close something seems by car, yet while I was running I kept thinking it's definitely around the next curve, I guess the next curve...the next curve?  Finally, I gave up and headed home.  I went out to clock my mileage and it was a 4 mile walk/run!  I didn't realize I had gone that far and it just reinforced what you can do when you put your mind to something and you're thinking about other things.  I also realized I was only a 1/2 mile from the playground but that's okay - I got in 4 miles WITH hills!  I love when I feel accomplished!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fears and excitement

I feel that part of an adventure is facing your fears and doing things that scare you and excite you at the same time.  Here are a few of those things for me:
  • Moving to a new city and starting over
  • Getting married
  • Completing a half-Ironman (and maybe even an Ironman)
  • Starting a new job
  • Skydiving

Some things that scare me:
  • Gaining back the weight I worked so hard to lose
  • Being alone the rest of my life
  • Losing my family
  • Letting someone down/making them lose faith in me by my actions
  • Singing karaoke  :)
I believe in knowing your limits - and then shattering them and finding your new limits, in constantly pushing yourself to be better and grow as a person (in whatever way that may mean for you).  I also believe conquering your fears makes you stronger and also identifying exactly what it is that scares you helps you achieve more in the future.  Finding the root of your fears but also finding a counter-statement to what scares you.  Be honest, be vulnerable, be you.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Combat, friends, gym, run. What a week!

Well this week brought Combat with friends thanks to open house week at my gym!  After the class, my friend Kristi said she thought I hated her by asking her to come to because of the intensity of the class.  However, I'm glad to report I received an email the next day saying she loved the class and felt great afterwards!  Wednesday brought bootcamp with my friend Tiffany who was there for the first time.  It was definitely better than the first one last week - the exercises were harder and more intense and the order of things were switched.  We were hanging around afterwards, waiting for the parking lot to clear out, and one of the instructors came over to talk to us.  In the course of the conversation I was able to set Tiffany up to run with the trainer before bootcamp Mondays and Wednesdays.  She just loves me right now.  Hey, you never know what will come out of my mouth - I like to help my friends out and she wanted to run. =)   It's a win-win.  Tonight was running and breaking in new shoes, which I've never had issues with before however even if you get the same brand of shoe (mine is Adidas), the cut can be different and it's going to take a few more runs to break these in.  I remember running with a friend a few years ago when she asked if I had gotten to the point where my body hurts at first and then says, well, I guess I'm running and just gets over the pain.  Tonight, it took about 7 minutes of running to hit that point.  Not too shabby.  Tomorrow brings a long day starting with a run in the morning followed by a 3 hour drive for a good friend's wedding with plenty of dancing!

30 minutes (21 running, 9 walking) - 2.15 miles. A smidge under 15 minute miles.  Do I wish I was at 10 minute miles like before?  Sure.  But I know I will get there, I just have to keep pushing myself.

Whenever I get discouraged, I think of a quote by Henry Ford - Whether you think you can or you think you can't, either way you're right.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Bootcamp, bring a friend and weigh-in's

Well today was weigh-in day and I was down 3 pounds!  I will take every bit of lost poundage I can. =)  The gym and I had some quality time last week and hopefully that will continue.  I also started going to a bootcamp on Monday - it was interesting to say the least.  This was one of the deals from the living social site, but I don't think they were expecting the response they got.  We packed the parking lot at Deep Run - people were parking in the grass, on the side of the road, on hills (yay for 4 wheel drive, right?).  I think they'll have to adjust the exercises they do and how they go about structuring the activities but it seemed to get off to a good start.  However I do have to rant about one thing - complainers at bootcamp.  Don't get me wrong, I groaned a little when they told us what we were doing - mainly on the burpees, supermans, and the v hold but I did them and I didn't say one word about it.  The people around me were griping saying "I'm out of shape", "Why are you making us do this?", "you're horrible" and so much more which really irritated me.  I get that you're out of shape; most of us are which is why we signed up for the bootcamp.  You know how you fix that?  You work out, you go to bootcamp, do the exercises and get stronger.  You voluntarily signed up for these classes - you weren't forced.  If you don't want to be here, then don't come; if you do want to be here, then hush your mouth and get to work!  And now I'll get off of my soap box.

I'm having a mini freak out thinking about the 5k's in DC and Atlanta next month and will I be ready?  I'm about 2 weeks behind on my running plan but I'm running tonight (the weather is AMAZING!) and will up my intervals again but I was hoping to be farther along in my training so I could do speed work because I selfishly want to beat a few *certain* people in these races.  Good, healthy competition goes a long way. =)  It seems I will be frequenting DC quite a bit - I was up there this weekend to visit a friend and then we headed to Baltimore to see Brian Regan who was hilarious!  It was my first time in Baltimore though I really want to go back and visit the inner harbor, however if you're up there and looking for a diner - I highly recommend the Paper Moon Diner (not to be confused with the gentleman's club in Richmond).  It was delicious and they have quite an array of food.  Be sure to try the fried green beans.

The week ahead brings more bootcamps (hello 8 AM Saturday morning), running and gym time.  HEAD'S UP FOR RICHMONDERS - American Family (my gym) is having 'bring a friend' week next week (5/9-5/15) so if you're up for a workout and some fun classes, let me know and you can come as my friend.  (I highly recommend Combat Monday nights at 7:30.)  I love working out with people so this will be fun!  Until next time - go have your own adventure - and then tell me about it!!!  :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Back at it

I decided last night was the perfect night to head back to the gym.  I went to take a Body Pump class since I hadn't been in awhile and go for a quick run.  Well I hit some traffic on the way to the gym and by the time I got there and changed, it was almost time for class so I decided my run would have to wait until afterwards.  I think I've mentioned I can be competitive and a little stubborn sometimes so when the instructor said to load up the bar because the squat track was easy, what she meant was - if you've been coming for awhile now, you should load up the bar because it will be an easy track for you.  What I heard was - you slacker, you haven't been in awhile so you really should go all out and load up to get back in the swing of things.  Needless to say, my legs were shaking by the time we were done.  Once we got to the lunge track and even the back track, to say my legs were wobbly would be an understatement.  Once that was over, it was time for my run.  In the words of my friend, Amy, OH MY B'GOODNESS!  From the first step, I could feel the work I had just completed in Pump class but I told myself it's only 30 minutes and 3 cycles.  I can do this.  As I started the run, all I wanted to do was stop because my legs hurt but after I got into the groove, the pain lessened considerably and I was able to power through.  It also reminded of my first Sprint Tri when my friend CJ came and found me on the course towards the end.  I was walking because I was so tired and she told me I was SO close to the end, I needed to run and I could do it.  So I ran with her and as we were running I remember telling her "my calves better look AWESOME right now" and she slowed down a bit and yelled to me that they looked great.  As I was running around the track last night, I felt like my calves were popping out of my legs so I knew I was working hard.  So to get me through the last cycle I just kept laughing and repeating I was sure my calves were looking hot.  Haha.  Whatever it takes to get through a workout, right?

This should be a good week for me.  Tonight I'm doing the eliptical (give my knees a break) and swimming, tomorrow morning will be Combat and Zumba and then later in the afternoon I'm meeting a friend to go for a run (this could be a slightly painful day of running) then a few runs over the weekend as I travel to DC and Baltimore!!!  Yay!

I also signed up for a deal from livingsocial.com (which I highly recommend signing up for living social and groupon - deals around your city) for 20 bootcamps for $20 which I think starts next week!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A run, skip and a fall

I met up with another Sarah friend of mine on Monday to go for a run (apparently Sarah's and I seem to be really good friends).  I upped my intervals so now I'm running 7, walking 3 for 30 minutes.  It was great to catch up with her and be motivated by hearing about completing her first marathon!!  I'm only supposed to run for 30 minutes each time, however on Saturday's I typically do longer distances and then walk the difference.  As Sarah and I set out on our run, we decided to run from Flatwater to Pony Pastures which completed the 30 minute run/walk portion.  I suggested walking back and Sarah said we were running.  Well, Sarah won so we ran/walked back to Flatwater and I could feel the extra running in my calves and right above my heels.  Sarah, working in the sports therapy world, told me the exact muscle that was acting up...but let's be real, I don't remember it.  I know I worked hard because I basically made it home, showered, sent a few emails and was in bed.  I was tired, in pain and not feeling great.  (I forgot to turn a light off downstairs and just debated leaving it on all night because the thought of going back downstairs and climbing up the stairs again almost sent me into tears.) 

I may have gone to bed in pain, but I woke up feeling much better...though I figured it was best to give my legs a rest yesterday.  I'm keeping up my intervals with a run today, tomorrow and hopefully upping my intervals to 8 & 2 on Saturday.  It was great running and catching up with Sarah and she helped remind me that while I may have fallen from where I was at my peak, I'm still farther along than I first started on this journey.  The important part is that I'm trying.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

0 to 100

I got up this morning with the intention to go for a simple run so I went to the gym and hit the inside track.  While I was running, I decided to go ahead and up my intervals - which was awesome!  I finished my run right as combat was starting so I decided to stop in - it just happened to be the day of a new release.  Somewhere around the 2nd track, I decided this was a BAD idea.  Around the 4th or 5th track - right at the first cardio peak - I almost puked.  When I was working with my training team 1 1/2 years ago, it was my goal to work so hard that I puked, however that was not my intention this morning.  When it comes to working out, I seem to do nothing or go balls to the wall and give it everything I have; there is no halfway.  While almost puking came as a surprise, it makes me happy to know I'm pushing myself.  I may pay for it tomorrow with an incredibly sore body, but as my friend Jeff says - pain is weakness leaving the body.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Big Richmond weekend

This past weekend was a big weekend in Richmond.  The Monument Avenue 10k sold out and I think almost every person in Richmond was cheering on the runners, VCU played in the biggest games of their life - the final 4....and I think every TV in Richmond was turned to watch the game and support our Rams.  It's been really awesome to see the city come together and support the team.  Oh, and it was also my Daddy's birthday. (Yes, I'm 27 and call him Daddy - I'm a Daddy's girl.  Deal with it. ;) )

We hung out on the back porch, had family friends over for dinner and it was fabulous and yummy.  Leave it to my Mom to bring out the kids in 60+ year old people by placing whoopie cushions at every persons place setting.  The hilarity that ensued was priceless.  With the Monument Ave 10k, this brought the annual carb-load with the Kriegers!  It was great to see everyone and catch up.  This is also why I love my friends - not only do they come in from out of town, but they keep me accountable.  I was talking with Jorie (we used to be in a running group together) and she was asking me if I was training for anything and when I was coming back to the group.  (Ouch)  I told her once I can run my distance consistently and can get my speed back up, I'll be joining them and she told me she would keep on me about when I was coming back.  I love that my friends don't let me off the hook and hold me accountable.

I also love that my friends are up for running with me...even in (according to Sarah) snake infested areas.  I met Sarah for a run, Monday after work, by the river and we were running intervals.  We were done so we were finishing up by walking and I looked down and saw a snake which, to me, looked like it was dead.  Keep in mind, they're re-doing the on-ramp and fixing the bridge in this area, so it's a highly traveled area and construction zone.  I took a step and the snake started slithering toward me.  I have never high-stepped that high and run that fast in my life.  Sarah, who is petrified of snakes, screamed like a 5 year old girl and sprinted down the street. HA!  It was scary and my heart was racing at the time, but looking back, it's pretty funny.  When we got back to the car, we tried to re-create the terror of the snake...but we need to work on our camera timing.  I think we just kept jumping because we didn't know when the picture was actually being taken.



As we finished walking back to the car, Sarah told me she was listening to what I said but was really scanning the road for snakes and freaked out by every sound in the woods.  We made it through the snakes...so we thought we deserved from Bruster's ice cream....or sherbert.  Whatever your preference.  Sometimes you just have to listen to your friends, lean on them, gather support from them, and then have fun and enjoy your life with them.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New shoes!

The time has come for new running shoes...which is kind of fun for me.  Not only do I like shopping but I love the smell of new shoes (weird, I know) and it's fun.  I went to Road Runners in Carytown because they were so fabulous to me before - watching how I walked/ foot rotation, taking me through different pairs and brands to find the right shoe.  Kind of like the Goldilocks and the 3 bears - having to find just the right one.  This time, they weren't as fabulous but I still got my shoes and kept my pride in check.  While I know you don't buy running shoes based on color, I was THRILLED to get a spiffy green pair!


I also got my 13.1 magnet for the back of my car...it only took me a year.  Better late than never, right?  And if my dream of moving to NYC comes true, I'll just have to find a new place to proudly display my accomplishment. :)  I can't wait for my next run!  I think I'm going to try a new bootcamp this week that meets up at various parks around Richmond.  What are you doing to keep things fun and new?  Happy trails!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring is in Richmond!

I woke up this morning to an absolutely gorgeous day in Richmond - a little crisp, cool air in the morning but with plenty of sunshine and warmth on my face.  It's official, spring has come to Richmond...my favorite time of year!  The only thing that would make it better is football, but we can't have everything we want. :)  My knee has been bothering lately...apparently I haven't been babying my knee enough and it's time to build the muscles back up around my knee, but the new thing is my ankle hurting.  I'm guessing it's time for new shoes.

Anyway, this morning brought me back to Flatwater for a run and it couldn't have been more fabulous.  One of the reasons I love this run so much is that I get to run next to the river for 3 1/2 glorious miles.  I have always loved being in or around water - to me, it's very calming and it helps me to straighten out my thoughts when things are bothering me.  I'm also a multi-tasker (just a hint, if you salsa dance, don't listen to that music while you run, otherwise you may find your feet trying to do the salsa moves while running...this usually ends in an almost face plant, based on my experience) so while I was listening to my ipod, I'm staring at the river marveling at the water.  Don't get me wrong, I took Science and Physics in school, I understand water and how it moves but it still shocks me, and makes me want to be more like water.  I know, this sounds weird.  However as I'm running, I'm watching the water, how the wind affects it, speeds up, slows down, splits to go around large masses, goes above rocks, etc.  No matter what life throws at me, I want to be able to speed up, slow down, move around or above objects and not let anything stand in my way.  How can we all be more like the river water?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things

Clearly, trying to do healthy things makes me happy...hence the blog.  Though that's not the only thing that makes me happy.  Besides, life is about more than exercise. :)   This past weekend I was in Atlanta to celebrate my niece turning 1!!!  I can't believe she's 1 already!  It seems like the year has flown by but at the same time, I feel like she should be 5 by now.  I love making cakes so I convinced Andrea that we should make Maddie's first birthday cake.  Even though we were delirious by the time we finished decorating the cake at 12:15 the morning of the party, I think we did a good job.  (For those wondering, each of the "dots" are actually individually piped stars)
Then it was time for Maddie to blow out her cake and smash into it!  Though being the gentle, loving child she is...she wasn't quite sure what to do, so Andrea helped her out.
Then Maddie was nice enough to share...what a thoughtful kid.

It was a great party and a great weekend with Jason, Andrea, Maddie, my parents and the Smiths.  My little niece is starting to develop a personality and I love seeing it and seeing her laugh.  Pretty much, if she laughs, then I'm a happy person.  It's amazing how much I love her and how quickly that love developed.  However, all good things must come to an end and as sad as it was, we had to hop back in the car and drive back to Richmond.  This week has been crazy busy which includes two potlucks tomorrow.  Another thing that makes me happy?  Baking and cooking.  I had to decide on my dishes at the last minute...my favorite of the 2?  Angel food cake surprise.  It's yummy, light and filling. 

It's also nice to be reminded to be thankful...this has nothing to do with the fact that I use this over Thanksgiving. ;)
A pasta salad was made....but the picture's not too pretty.  What else have I enjoyed this week?  My family being silly...and loving where I come from.  Enjoy!



Monday, March 7, 2011

Rewarding weekend

After a drama-filled week last week, I just wanted to get out of town and away from all the craziness...preferably to some water...for some reason being around water is very calming for me.  However, after waiting too late to call and stop by griff & mc's place an then talking to a few people, I decided to self-heal in-town and with some friends.  Saturday morning brought beautiful weather and a walk/run 10k with my friend, Laura.  We started in Carytown and zig-zagged all around to Monument, Grove, Byrd Park with plenty of people watching and commenting along the way.  Our treat for completing the 10k was going to be Carytown Cupcakes - courtesy of Groupon.  After we finished, we grabbed our purses and headed back down Cary, making a stop at Subway...where I was quickly reminded what I conveniently forgot - if I do anything over 5 miles, I make myself sick.  Joy.  As I'm standing in line placing my order, I had to yell over to Laura to come finish for me and I basically collapsed into my chair.  Laura was a trooper and brought my food and sugar-filled soda to pump me back up.  Yay Mr. Pibb.  After that, I still wasn't feeling great, so we decided to hold off on the cupcakes for another adventure.  I woke up Sunday morning and boy howdy, I could feel the 10k from the day before.  Instead of taking a rest day, I chose to get a little swimming in and it was fabulous.  I forgot how awesome it is to be back in the water and block all the noise, thoughts and commotion out of my mind.  It's always nice when you rediscover the joy you found in something so long ago and one of the reasons you miss it too.  All in all, a great training weekend for both the 10k in April and my triathlon in May.  Wow.  That just sounds so soon.  And with that, I'm a little freaked out. :o

Monday, February 28, 2011

It's not the load that breaks you down, It's the way your carry it

Like every other girl in America, I was tuned in Sunday night to watch the Oscars.  The gowns, the jewels, the hair, makeup, everyone dressed up...it's so fun to watch and comment on everything!  This year they praised quite a few Hollywood greats, visionaries and people who paved the way for changes in the industry.  One of those people was Lena Horne.  In honoring her, they listed a quote by Lena - 'It's not the load that breaks you down, It's the way your carry it.'  For a woman who helped pave the way and break stereotypes, she must have had one heck of a load on her shoulders.

Lena's quote got me thinking - we all have things that weigh us down every day but it's how we deal with those burdens.  Some of us deal with it by holing up and getting much needed alone and reflection time; others by doing some form of exercise - be it running, kickboxing, tennis, bootcamp, etc.; hanging out with friends and just talking; escaping into a movie; whatever it may be, we all have our own coping mechanisms.  I don't know about you, but I find it very easy to lose myself in a goal and having something to work towards.  I've been thinking a lot about doing another triathlon and found one coming up in May.  I've tried to find other people who would be interested in doing the triathlon with me but scheduling conflicts seem to hinder quite a few people from joining.  I kept thinking how I needed to have the accountability of someone else to train and complete the triathlon but I think doing this without that accountability may help me prove to myself that I can put my mind to something and accomplish it.  So I'm doing another triathlon!!  Oi, this is going to be interesting.  It's a sprint triathlon (300m swim, 20k bike, 5k run)...the distances aren't too terrifying.  Maybe you should think about doing one too!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What makes you happy?

I've been fighting it for awhile now but it's official, I'm sick.  The upside to this is that I've been able to catch up on all my blog reading.  One blog I have really enjoyed reading is "Ben Does Life."  Apparently he's starting to write a book and looked to his Dad for some inspiration as a forward.  I pasted it below.

I’ve learned a lot about the disease of addiction over the past 12 or so years.  One of the most interesting aspects of the condition is that it’s not about the substances we use.  Regardless of how we get there, most of us end up in the same sorry state – lonely, empty, and sad.  We isolate ourselves so nobody sees what we’ve become.  We lie and deny; it simply hurts too much to face the truth.  We settle into despair as our health disintegrates.
Those who find recovery generally agree that they seek a new way to live because the old one just wasn’t working anymore.  The substances, whatever they were – whiskey, pills, cocaine, pizza, video games – eventually betray us, and don’t provide the joy or escape they once did.
So we try a different way of life, something new and tentative and scary.  We reach out to others and gradually reconnect.  We find love again.  We stumble at first, keep working at it, find our stride, and then we run with it. And, sometimes, we run far.

I bolded the last part because it depicts the challenge and the change.  I've talked previously how I felt like I have lost a little bit of myself and I'm starting to slowly find me again and it's still true.  I am trying to find one thing a day that makes me smile and find a positive.  A few weeks ago, I took my Mom to NYC for her mumble-mumble'd (just for you Mom - I didn't sell you out :) ) birthday.  My 2 favorite pictures are her with the FAO Shwarz toy solider (b/c he flirted with her and that was hilarious) and then a picture of us in Central Park.

I love to keep photos around of people I love and fun times, so when I get upset, I have something around that makes me smile.  Other things that make smile?  Setting a goal and a reaching it, no matter how small the goal.  I got my runs in last week, before I got sick.  Since I can barely walk without coughing or sneezing, running is out for now but that doesn't mean I can't go for a walk or do the eliptical at the gym.  Which also leads to some pretty spectacular hacking moments.  Yes, you're welcome for that visual.  So for this week, my goals are: get my 3 runs in - keep upping my intervals, say goodbye to a friend moving to dc :( but enjoy a last party in her honor :), make sure I get to hang out with Megs so I get to see her rock (that's right kids, Megan and Allan are engaged!) and kick this darn cold!  I feel like a little bit of myself comes back every week.  So a big thank you to everyone who has stuck with me through these last couple months - I know I didn't make it easy but I appreciate each and every one of you!

One more thing - SPRING IS COMING!!!  I don't know about you, but we had 2 absolutely gloriously beautiful days which reminded me spring is just around the corner.  Bright colors, warmer weather and more sunshine.  What's not to love?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Reflection

This time last year, I had just completed my first half marathon and sobbed after I crossed the finish line.  That was one of the proudest moments of my life, up to that point, as it took so much hard work and determination to get there.  Even with all the snow last year, I did whatever it took to get my mileage in - even running around the inside track at my gym for a 10 mile run.  My gym is a bit smaller than a 1/4 mile track, so it's 6 times around to complete 1 mile; do the math on that and it was 60 laps around that track.  Was it incredibly fun?  No.  Was it necessary?  Yes.  One thing is for sure - I couldn't have done it without my running partner, Amanda, who joked I gave up on our friendship at mile 11.  Though I assured her it was okay because I re-instated our friendship at mile 13.1.  It was also amazing to have my cousin and now cousin-in-law there and running the race as well!



I was so driven to get to that point and now, looking back, it also makes me sad looking how far I am from that person 1 year later.  It's amazing how quickly your choices add up and how taking a little time off turns into a few months which turns into a year and I'm now getting back to training, though my first race is a 10k.  Sometimes I wonder where my determination, motivation, no excuses attitude came from and where I can find it again.  Though I think what it comes down to is whatever you have internally is going to manifest itself.  Whether it's struggles with certain questions or situations or debating on whether or not to do something, being frustrated with things, whatever it may be it will just consume you and start to overshadow other situations in your life.  Now I've previously said I'm not a huge fan of making excuses and that still stands.  However, I am a huge fan of knowing issues in your life and facing your problems because I truly think that is the best and healthiest way to move forward.  There have been a few situations come up in my life over the past year that have caused my focus to shift away from my "motivated, determined and no excuses attitude" and it has taken me this long to realize the culprit.  All I can do is learn from this past year and try to take everything one day at a time, making the best and healthiest decisions each day and remembering to take time for myself and to recharge.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Turn turn turn...

Why is it so hard to follow through with your commitments after a long day of work?  I start off the day so excited to get to the gym and run or have a good, hard work out but after a long day at work, I get into my car and go back and forth between deciding if I'm going to go to the gym or not.  Recently, more often than not, I make it to the turn and I head off to do something else instead.  Why is this?  I wish I knew...

One thing that helps me is to keep inspirational quotes and pictures and memories around me.  One person that has inspired me recently is Courtney on the newest season of Biggest Loser.  Maybe it's because I can relate so much to her as she lost 100 pounds on her own before joining the show or maybe it's because I love her work ethic.  No matter what kind of challenge is thrown at her, she remains positive, does everything that's asked of her, doesn't complain - she just wants to be an example and an inspiration to the thousands of people watching.  And I truly think she is.  So how can I use this to make a goal?  When I'm wavering between going to the gym or going out to do something else, remember the struggle I've faced and remember the positive, can-do, don't take anyone's crap and stop making excuses attitude of Courtney.  What are you inspired by?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Changing of the Tides

"You won't make your decisions easier just by putting them off until later. When a decision is called for, go ahead and make it.  If you keep your options open for too long, those options will no longer be available to you. Choose one option based on your best information, and go with it.  Give sufficient thought and consideration to your decisions, but don't drag them on endlessly. The sooner you get started implementing a decision, the more effective you'll be.  Accept the fact that you won't make a perfect decision every time. And remember that you'll have opportunities to adjust your approach if things don't work out the way you planned.  You cannot predict the future yet there is much you can do to intelligently and effectively prepare for it. Instead of agonizing over what might or might not happen, get busy creating value that will be there no matter what happens.  Go ahead and decide. The sooner you decide, the more time and energy you'll have to make the decision work out the way you intended."
-- Ralph Marston

I came across this quote in an email reminding me to apply for grad school before the cutoff date.  I think it is a great quote that can be applied to so many different areas of your life.  While change can be scary, sometimes change is exactly what's needed...and while it can be scary, that's what makes life so exciting!  I'm not saying I'm a huge proponent of making gigantic life decisions on a whim...these things should be thought through and options examined but once you feel that it's the right decision, you should start making plans and arrangements to get the change under way.  I am definitely feeling convicted by the quote because there are a few things going on in my life right now where I have been sitting on the fence, not making a huge move either way.  Now is the time to make those decisions and move full steam ahead.  Oh, and if you're afraid of failure when you're making a change - don't be.  Failure is just an opportunity looking to be turned on its head into success.  What you see as failure can actually be the road to a new adventure.  I'll keep you up to date as my decisions, and the changes that come with those decisions, unfold.  Join me?  Make a change!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Starting over kinda sucks

Today was my first run for the year...and my first run in quite a few weeks.  Wow am I out of shape.  It's really frustrating starting over because I know where I have been and where I should be and I want to be able to jump back in to 6 mile short runs and 10 mile long runs.  Let's just say I have a battle to get there but that's all a part of starting over.  I did find an interesting article in Runner's World magazine about starting/re-starting running and I thought I'd post the parts I found particularly helpful.

"Whether you're returning to the sport after taking time off or you're just starting out, the mental and physiological barriers that stand between you and your inner runner may seem insurmountable....It takes time for blood vessels to respond, for your heart to get bigger and stronger, to add mitochondria to your muscles," he says. "But the good news is that our bodies are incredibly adaptive."

They also list strategies to overcome common early frustrations:
-"The second week feels harder than the first. Feeling a little stiffness a week into an exercise routine is normal.
-Three miles is still hard
-Even a short run leaves me incredibly sore.
-Other runners chat, but I'm out of breath.  Slow down.  There's a level that's comfortable for everyone - some runners might be able to talk while doing an 8 minute mile, others might be at a 12 minute mile."

One last tidbit:  Focus on time, not distance.  Especially when you're starting back or first starting.  The mileage will come in time, but focusing on the time rather than how far you've gone keeps you from getting disheartened by how slow you're running or how long it's taking you to cover a certain difference.

Remember it's hard to start something new, but you feel better once you're done and/or completed your goal.