Thursday, October 30, 2014

Signs 6 (A Pictorial)

You may wonder why I'm always doing these 'Signs' posts. it's because, guys, I really want you to know that the world is a beautiful place and it's screaming at you to notice.  So often we are bombarded with negative news and stories that leave us feeling like this world is a hard and hopeless, but I promise you this: there is way more good out there than bad.  All you have to do is get out and look for it.


Let your light shine brightly.  Do not let your light be dimmed by anyone.

**All pictures taken out on the run. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Surprise! I'm (half) Crazy.

Surprise!  I ran a half marathon today. 

I know, it's crazy. I guess I'm crazy. Wasn't I just saying that I'd suddenly been stopped in my training? Yup. That's exactly what I was saying.  You may remember that the half marathon I was training for in November was suddenly cancelled. I wrote about it here. Well, after I wrote about it, a very dear, sweet friend who is suffering from a foot injury (on a side note, I think just about the only thing worse than a cancelled race is a race you can't run because of injury), offered me her bib for today's Houston Half Marathon. 

I debated for days about whether to take the bib. I knew I wasn't really in race shape yet. The furthest I'd run was ten miles and after getting over the initial shock of my cancelled race, I have to admit, I'd gotten used to the idea of tapering down for a while. Well, once I made up my mind not to take the bib, I ran it by husband. I presented all of my reasons for not running and without flinching, The Hubs replied, "yeah but you've got nothing better to do that day."  And so it was decided, I was running. 

I have to tell you, having only five days to mentally and physically prepare for a half marathon you weren't planning on running is kind of terrifying. To make it worse, I had some medical tests done on Friday that made swallowing pretty excruciating, which made eating no fun, which made fueling properly pretty much impossible. In fact, I spent most of Friday and Saturday curled up in the house feeling lousy.  To say I wasn't feeling at my peak condition would be putting it mildly. 

 The greatest thing happened  though, I had two other awesome friends who were also running. I haven't run with friends in a long time and because I knew that I wasn't that well prepared, I was super excited to have these ladies my my side. 

Appropriate that the start of the race was near a church.  I was praying just to finish.
As we lined up in the starting corral, I just assumed we would all take off at our own different paces (I've run with Rachel (on the left) before and she usually smokes me and I knew Danielle was quite the real runner), but as we took off, it was decided we would stick together as long as possible. Y'all, this was the greatest decision!  What a treat to get to spend my morning running and chatting with these ladies!  

The first six miles really flew by.  We kept our pace relatively slow and entertained one another chatting about upcoming trips and work and pretty much anything we could think of. Once we hit the halfway point, we all picked up the speed. We ended up picking it up a bit faster than I normally would have pushed it, but I made up mind to try my best to stick with the girls. As the race went on and our pace continued to pick up, I really started to feel it and as we approached mile ten, the can'ts set in.  Ten miles, after all, was the furthest I had made in in about six months. I began questioning if I would be able to keep pushing for the additional 3.1 miles to come. But that was the beauty of running with the girls, I wasn't going to be the first to slack off, so I just had to suck it up and try to keep pace. A little after 10 miles, Rachel decided to take off ahead. Danielle and I stayed side by side. As things continued getting harder we started talking about all of the food and drink we were going to indulge in after the race. I'm sure runners who were passing us or being passed by us, were really confused hearing things like, "chicken and waffles," "beer," and "mimosas" as they ran. At about mile 12, we caught up with Rachel and the three of us silently pushed on.

We are all faking it in this picture.  None of us were really that happy. 
We ran hard together. We ran 'till we puked (well, one of us did - I'm not naming names) and we all finished together. Literally, we all three crossed the line one after the other (each of was a second apart). Even though I was in quite a bit of pain, finishing with friends was so much fun. 

Also fun?  Post run beer!
On a side note, check out how huge my Garmin is.  I know they make must smaller/better models, but this guy works just fine and been on lots of runs with me.  Hard to get rid of him.


I'm not going to lie though, I am paying the price big time for running unprepared.  After my post-race cheat (#^*\ the diet after a run!) meal, I've been mostly confined to a horizontal position. My legs are screaming at me and the rest of body is super pissed.  Overall, I'm totally beat.  But, The Hubs was right, there was absolutely nothing better to do today!!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Total Rundomness

Rundom thoughts:

After a seven mile run and some yoga stretching, I looked down, saw these guys, and had the sudden thought, "Thank you so much legs. You have, literally, always supported me and carried me the distance. So what if you're really short and have some dimples?  I love you."

It's always important to let someone know when (and I should have included where) you're running. This is how we roll:

I think my neighbor has gone too far in the Halloween decorating. I'm telling you these heads are CREEPY. 

Oh the things we do for love. The Hubs decided we should go on a 21 day diet plan (upcoming beach vacation to blame). Now, I don't really believe in diets, per se. I believe in healthy living. I believe in everything in moderation. I also really believe in daily doses of cookies, brownies, or cake. So, imagine my lack of excitement every day when all of my meals look like this:

All of my meals, except...
You can take the carbs away from the girl, but not the cookies!!

After I left The Bar Method this morning, I looked up and saw this gorgeous sunrise. Later in the day I noticed lots of people posting very similar pictures of the very same sunrise. I love knowing that so many other people were looking up and smiling at the same time I was. 

I couldn't bear to click the link for fear the answer would be no. I like my post-run beers way too much to find out they aren't good for me. 

Earlier this week I made a decision and I'm feeling more that half crazy for it.  More on that to follow....

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What the Funk?!?

Anyone ever find themselves in a funk?  I know I do.  More often than I would like to admit. 
Funks are brutal and consuming and exhausting.  If anyone knew all of the energy it was taking me to first, have and then, fight all of the negative thoughts swirling in my head when I'm in a funk, they would understand why I groan so loudly when the alarm goes off (it marks the start to another day of negative thought thinking and fighting) and why I sigh with pleasure when my head hits the pillow at night (it marks the end of negative thought thinking and fighting for the day).
There are all types of funks: work funks,  running funks, diet funks, relationship funks, and this list goes on and one.  If I'm honest I tend to find myself in nearly all of them all at once.  Funks, at least for me, are really cyclical.  I start thinking, "I feel like crap," then that turns into, "I feel like crap, so I don't want to work out," which leads to, "I feel fat and lazy because I haven't worked out, I should eat some ice cream," which then goes, "I feel fat and lazy because I haven't worked out and I've been eating ice cream sundaes for a week, might as well order a pizza," which of course causes, "I look terrible, I'm sure my husband doesn't love me anymore," and so on and on and on.  **Disclaimer:  I never said funks were logical. I know they are far from logical.  I know that all of those funky thoughts floating around out there are pretty darn absurd, but that doesn't make them any less real. 
So what the f@%k to do about funks???  Something's got to give.  We can't keep feeding the cycle.  The cycle is way too overwhelming for that.  We have to battle back.  We have to find our way out of the funk and into the light.  Here are things that work for me when I'm in a funk:
  1. Workout anyway.  No matter how terrible you're telling yourself you feel and no matter how much you just don't feel like it, get up and sweat.  I swear by the get up and sweat technique.  The other day I was ready to murder my husband, let me be clear, this was in no way his fault and 100% the funk's fault.  Everything he said made me want to either explode or cry.  You know what I did?  I laced up and went out running for an entire hour.  I ran in tears and in frustration.  I ran until I was all out of tears and all out of frustration.  I would have gone longer, but I felt sure that the emotions had passed and it was getting too dark outside to go on any longer.  When I got back in the house, the desire to Gone Girl my husband was gone and I was back to loving him like crazy (of course, it helps that he's awesome and had gone to the grocery store and started dinner for me while I was out running).
  2. Remember, this too shall pass.  Funks don't last forever.  Trust me on this one, they always pass.  It's their nature.  Funks are really crappy and terrible.  And, when you get good and in one, they feel interminable,  But, they eventually will run their course.  Funks come and go, it's just that getting to the gone part is really hard.  What helps me speed up the process is remembering that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  I know I will feel better relatively soon.  I focus on the fact that the funk is just a way I'm feeling and not who I am.
  3. Indulge in it.  Look, sometimes a good cry, sleep, binge is all we really need.  I don't know why, but sometimes our brains/hearts/bodies are just looking for some sort of release.  It's okay to give into it every now and then.  Grab a box of Kleenex, a soft pair of really stretchy pants, your best sappy movie, and a tube of cookie dough and just go with it.  I can't tell you how much better I've felt after a good sobfest.  Now, be careful here.  It's okay to make a stop in Funktown, but do not bring everything you own and set up shop there.  The point of indulging is to get it out of your system and move on.
  4. Give it form.  This one seems weird, but trust me it works.  Give the funk a form.  Write it all out in front of you or call a friend and say all of the words out loud.  Negative thoughts seem HUGE when they are running on repeat in our brain, but when you see them in front of you or hear them spoken out loud, it's easy to recognize how base-less most of them are.  You can see/hear the smallness or ridiculousness of the negatively and once you've taken those thoughts out of your head and given them a form, you can GET RID OF THEM.  Sometimes, right after I write down all of the crazy dark things I'm thinking, I stop and make myself write all of the counter-points to those thoughts.  First, "I feel fat," then, "I am healthy."  Or, "I'm ugly," followed by, "my husband finds me attractive."  The point of the exercise is to get the thoughts out of your head in order to make room for the clearer, more positive thinking that is to follow.
  5. Have an attitude of gratitude.  I think this sums it up:
    Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
    It turns what we have into enough, and more.
    It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity.
    It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
    Gratitude makes sense of our past,
    brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
     - Melody Beattie, author of Codependent No More.
  6. Do something for someone else.  Look, it's just plain hard to believe that voice in your head telling you what a piece of crap you are when someone else is looking into your eyes and telling you a heartfelt, "thank you."  Let's face it, funks are pretty self-centered.  When we get all funky it's because we are allowing our focus to be all about our own selves.  So, turn the focus outward.  See what you can do to make other people feel better.  I promise you, you'll both end up better.
I wrote all of this because I've been in particularly sh#tty little funk lately.  I can feel it starting to lift.  Physically and emotionally I'm starting to feel better.  So, I put this all out there for you just in case maybe one of you was feeling a little funky too.  I want to be happy and I really want you to be happy too.  And, I have no idea why, but this lady makes me feel a little happy. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Picture Perfect Ten

Last week, I mentioned that I ran ten miles before leaving for New York and promised that I would fill you in on the long run. I think the best way to summarize my ten miles is in pictures. 

Pre-run fueling:

10 mile entertainment (yes, I recognize I'm several years late to the Gone Girl party):

It was a hot ten:
These ten miles were full of signs:

Put them together and you get, "Love Win(s)"

No, I did not fall down and take this picture. 

And the best of them all:
Who remembers Bonita Apple Bottom?

Post run re-fuel:
Fun Fact: I've never had a soda in my life.  But, I will get down on some Sonic iced tea.

You see what I did there? Ten pictures for ten miles. 

****Here's a bonus pic:
No matter how dark it is, the sun always rises!

It's Oprah, y'all!!  I'm heading out this morning for day 2 of the Life You Want tour. I just can't wait. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Suddenly Stopped.

This afternoon, I got the below email from the organizers of the half marathon I'm supposed to be running in three weeks:

So, here I am. Suddenly stopped. Training suddenly over. Race plan suddenly gone. Not sure what to do next. 

Here is a little secret about runners: We are planners. Big time planners.  As in, every single day is planned around training for a race. We plan our miles, we plan our meals, we plan our cross training, we even plan our rest days. We do all of this planning in a very specific timeline designed to produce the best possible results on race day. 

And how do we runners react when a simple click of the mouse and opening of an email blows that plan to smithereens???  How else?  We go for a run (well, after an hour or so of head shaking and WTFing).  I haven't figured our my next move yet. 

What do you think?  Big bummer or well deserved break?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Central Perk and Think Pizza

This weekend I was able to scratch one item off of my runner's bucket list. I ran Central Park! 
Fully enjoying my Central Park touristy moment.
One perk of having a best friend living in Manhattan is that I've been able to run all over New York City. But, for some reason, I had never actually run in Central Park.  So before this trip I made a point of saying that I wanted to spend one morning running in the park. 

On Sunday, I was able to convince my lovely husband and friends (after a long Saturday night out for dinner and drinks, which makes them extra, extra lovely) to take the short subway ride to Central Park and run with me. 

The hubs caught up with (lapped) me in time for a picture break
Then off he went leaving me in the dust.  Some things never change no matter where you are.

It was an absolutely perfect New York day and running around the reservoir was beautiful. New York, I have to hand it to you, you are really good to runners. 

You know what always makes runs easier?  Gratitude. While I ran I thought about how grateful I am to be able to run in great places like this. I know not everyone gets to run all over the world and I am truly grateful for my opportunities. I also thought a lot about how grateful I am to have such amazing friends in my life.  I know I am blessed.  The only thing I know to do to honor all my blessings is to always be grateful for them.

You know what else makes running easier? The promise of truly wonderful New York pizza!

There are lots of reasons to run, pizza being right up there in the top!