Tuesday, February 28, 2012

best part of my day.

I celebrated my birthday over the weekend, despite finishing off a double weekend of teaching I got to celebrate in my requested way once classes were over. An amazing dinner on Saturday night where I overstuffed myself on delicious foods and may or may not have had too much wine, then a quiet day Sunday spent with my family.

The older I get the more I realize my life isn't about stuff and things and what I get or what I've done. All the stuff in my house, all the medals I've racked up from running, the first place AG finishes, all my accomplishments and degrees and career... all pale in comparison to my family and friends. Thankfully I get to do some of my favorite things alongside my family and friends, like snow and water skiing, running, yoga, and taking adventures.

Since my dad was scheduled for surgery for his broken tibia (snow skiing accident a few weeks ago) early Monday morning.... well. That was more important to me than my birthday. It was a lovely and quiet birthday nonetheless, exactly what I had wanted. And most importantly my dad's surgery went well, and while I'm back at work today, all I want to do is go and sit at the hospital with him.

I guess getting older means you turn into a schmoopy old mess... at least for me. And I am old. Thirty-three in fact.

I'm hoping it's my magic year!

In other news I'm now starting to doubt whether I'll train hard for a spring half or not. I may push my goals back, I've had a few setbacks, including an injured knee (thinks to my stupidity in hot yoga), in running. Time will tell, at least my speedwork is on pace, so at least I have that. I'll decide in the next week or so which route I'll go.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

and i thought i was in shape.

Well I'm not. Not as much as I thought. Good shape that is. True I have tapered off of running a lot of miles every week, but even still I thought with the running I was doing combined with hot yoga and some swimming made for a fairly fit FWR.

Then I started weight training two-three times per week. And a steady stream of core work four times a week. My friends? I've. Been. Schooled.

The thing is this. I thought running would cover all my workout needs. I assumed I could continue to shove 2200 calories worth of delicious foods into my mouth, run 4x a week, go to yoga twice a week and I'd be golden. Turns out in my case that isn't how it works. I let myself indulge and slack on workouts through the holidays. Telling myself I'd start training for my half marathons sometime in January and my weight would get shed and my body would tone up. All while consuming said calories. Because ya'll know about my little addiciton to cheese, right? It's my favorite food. I tried to break up with cheese. That didn't work.

So. In my quest to run my ONE goal race this year, in April, I decided I have to give it all I've got. I resigned myself to my new, not so toned body and decided to start strength training and doing core work. Because I know that while miles and speedwork are important to my racing? I've also learned that it isn't enough to get me where I want to be. I need to get stronger, my legs need more muscle, my core needs more strength, all in order to pummel my goal race this spring. A 1:45 half marathon. So, my not so in shape body and I started in.

I started with the training of the weights and the core work a month ago. I saw zero progress for three weeks. All while being beat down by the exhaustion that comes from weight training and cross training far more than I've ever done before (i've incorporated spinning and elliptical into my new rotation). I have been sore almost daily since I started my new plan. I am exhausted every night and excited to fall into bed by 9:30p. But I am loving it. I love having my ass handed to me. It's a new challenge, and I'm having fun with it. Something I never thought I'd say. Me, the girl who hates weights.

Wanna know my secret? It's not even a personal trainer! I researched the shiz out of weight training plans and weight circuits, like the good little nerd I am. I pull from what I find online and from my arsenal of workouts given to me by previous personal trainers. Then I make a weekly plan. I like to mix it up. Especially with core work.

I warm up with some intense cardio on weight/core days. Then comes the good part. The part where I hoard weights and exer balls into a private corner of the gym, all while glaring at anyone who comes near my sweet precious little workout lair. And I do my thing. For at least 30 minutes. After which I can barely lift my arms, my legs are shaking and the thought of going to hot power yoga later that night makes me whimper. But I go to hot yoga anyway. Because dammit I am on a mission. And I fall into bed happily exhausted. And sore.

So there you go. Weight training and core work is kicking my butt. But I love it. And finally, after a month of dedication and work, it's paying off handily. Along with a new and improved lower calorie diet... most days anyway. I didn't count that entire bag of tortilla chips I ate Saturday. ON MY OWN. The new approach is working, I'm losing inches (if not weight) and can visibly tell I'm toning up. This all seemed to pay off in my speedwork today, too. I'm finding my easy running pace keeps inching down, while my speedwork doesn't exhaust me the way it did before.

Make no mistake, I still have a lot of hard work to do the next few months to prepare for that ONE GOAL RACE for my year. But I'm excited and nerdily interested to see how far I can go with my new and improved running strategy. Run less, cross train more.  Have ass handed to me regularly in hot yoga and with weight training.

Done and done. Stay tuned. I plan to write about some upcoming races, that will be mostly for fun and adventure. And I plan to write weekly about my half training listing out my workouts. But work is crazy busy and I am teaching college classes again. Which means blahgging time is at a minimum. Regardless, I will make an attempt.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

the surf city half marathon.

The Surf City Half. Marathon in Huntington Beach, CA was hands down one of the best races I've ever done. If not the best. I went there to enjoy the race, soak up the views, and run next to my sister. Check and check. 

 *pre-race waiting. i have never waited SO LONG for a race to start, we waited and waited and waited..... deep breath...and waited. therefore we took pictures.*

*the starting line area*

I'm insanely proud of my sister for running her first half. I'm so happy I got to run along with her for it. She did so fantastic, it isn't easy to travel and be touristy the few days leading up to run your first big race. She gets mad props. Not to mention it was much hotter than we were expecting, the California sun wasn't something we were ready for considering we are in the middle of winter here in the heartland.

While this was one of my favorite races to date, I battled some pretty wicked sickness the first 5k of it. I thought I was going to have to drop out. I was bummed that I had to run up to my sister and tell her to keep going without me. Then text my family and let them know where my sister was, when she would be passing them, and gave them all manner of annoying instructions to give to her. And tell them that I may or may not drop out, would be awhile, and that they needed to wait for me.

I limped my way through stomach pain to a curb, plopped down, and proceeded to get sick. This was after round two with the porta-potties. FUN!! When I mentioned I would vomit all my beachy raciness when I got home, well... I guess I wasn't lying. I sat there thinking "I came all this way, waited all these years to do this race and dammit I'm going to do it."

*hamming it up for race pics clearly runs in the family, my sister at mile 4.5, is she not the most precious thing ever? the answer is YES.* 

*taken while walking along in pain, i figured since i was walking i should go ahead and take some pics, because, uhhhhh, pretty views!* 

So I got up and kept walking along in pain and misery. All while thinking, "wow the ocean is so pretty." With my stomach cramping like mad. I. Was. Sick. So I kept sucking down water, walking along, holding back the tears hoping I would start to miraculously feel better. That the junk would pass, aderenaline would kick in and I could run to catch my sister. And wouldn't you know right after the 5k mark that exact thing happened. And I caught my sister around mile five! I felt perfectly fine the rest of the race! It was crazy. Of course that didn't last, in fact today is the first day since the half that I actually don't feel puny.

Other than that glitch, the race, the views... all of it was fantastic and I had so much fun. So for now, I'll let the pictures do the talking!

 *we ran by 'balancing manny' from the ellen show. he ran the entire half with that watermelon on his head. he was so nice, i talked to him for quite awhile and he was such an amazing sport about getting his picture taken.*

*mile 11 views*
*happy at the final stretch, not so scenic*

 *a more scenic view of the finish area* 

*FINISHED and happy!*

*getting our official surf city pics at the end of the race. my sister is so adorable and tinsy, i just want to pick her up and put her in my pocket! LOVE! i also love our matchsies sparkly pink headbands!*

 *helping celebrate running a first half? next to the ocean? yes please! hopefully this picture brings my sister enough joy to convince her to do the long beach half with me.... because, just... HAPPY. and because basically it is going to happen. whether she likes it or not....*

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

best part of my day. newport beach.

I'm not sure where to start with it all because I had a wonderful trip to LA, Catalina and Huntington Beach over my long weekend. The company, the weather, the running, the locations, and the food were all complete perfection. I'm not overstating and trying to be polite when I say that this was by far the most fun (and the best location) I've ever had on a "racing" trip.

There are far too many pictures I want to share, I may just need to share my Flickr account here instead. Of course I find all the pictures far more interesting and entertaining than you would. Even still, I need to post a few. Along with posting about the Surf City Half itself, and my trip in general. Highlights included, but not limited to, getting to spend a lot of time with my sweet little niece who's comedic and bubbly personality is starting to really shine. And running a race on the PCH.

For now, pictures from Newport Beach in the morning, before we left for Catalina Island. Happy.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

my faves: my sisters

Any girl who has a sister or two knows that there is just something to having a sister, unexplainable, complex and invaluable. I mean, whether you like it or not you are in each others lives from birth to death. That's big. My relationships with my sisters have been up and down, there has been screaming, yelling, and hate but also hugs, endless support, love and more laughs and fun than can ever be counted.We can share brutal honesty and at the end of the day know it's in our best interest. It's a safe and fantastic relationship we all have, and one that I don't take for granted.

Because I know if my ass ever starts to get too big? Or I'm wearing a questionable outfit? I can count on my sisters to tell me to put down the chocolate, or take the ugly off, walk away, do some cardio and buy something new....

  *i look unusually big compared to my sisters here, while in fact that one in the middle? she is almost 6' tall.... she has mercy on us and squats for pics. youngest to oldest starting with me on the left*

I am the youngest of three girls, it was no easy task to grow up under the shadow of these two really amazing girls. They offered me a lot to live up to, but also a lot to look up to. There's just something to the fact that we have literally been through pretty much everything together. And there is love and support for each other no matter what. Basically it kicks ass.

I've pretty much been the only runner in my family for quite some time. My dad got me started running as a kid, but I'm the only one who really took off with running and.... well, for lack of a better term "ran with it." While my sisters have run off and on, it was never anything we did together. We all lived in different cities for quite awhile, on opposite sides of the country. It just never worked out that we could join forces and run together. Or race together.

Until recently. My oldest sister moved back to Wichita and we have now run several races together. At Thanksgiving all three of us ran a 5k together. Sunday, we are going to run a half marathon together. FINALLY! I've watied years to do the Surf City Half Marathon in Huntington Beach, CA, it just never worked out that I could get out there and do it! I guess really it was just a matter of waiting for the right time and right people (i.e. my sisters) do the race with. It all worked out this year! While it will just be my oldest sister and I running the half marathon now, our other sister will be there cheering us on, along with our sweet niece, all color coordinated to match our running outfits.

It's going to be fun to run this race along the ocean with my sister, I love getting to run alongside a runner doing their first big race. It's almost better than a PR. And I can't wait to blather all about it and vomit words and pictures all over this blahg of mine regarding my trip to LA and the race. Get excited! Beachy race vomit is on it's way! Can I get a SQUUUEEEEE?