Monday, January 30, 2012

best part of my day.

It was actually a week ago, but it still makes me happy. As mentioned I'm training for the OKC half marathon with some girlfriends. We run Saturday mornings as a group. Last Saturday it was a balmy 12 degrees (real feel of 1 degree) when we set out for our run. I've been bringing Milo along for our training runs. Mostly because he needs the exercise, but also because he loves to be out and running with the girls. I can't deny him the level of happiness he gets from running. It's too precious.

After we finished up last week we noticed Milo had gotten a bit icy on his chin. What a good buddy, he didn't even complain. We tried to get him to sit to for a picture, he of course took this to mean it was belly rubbing time. Regardless, I got a good enough picture of his icy little chin. Happy as can be.

I love that dog. The best part of having him run with us is the fact that he loves to be the leader of the pack, he is all "Hey girls, I've got this, you just follow me, I'm going to make sure we are all safe and accounted for. FOLLOW MEEEEEEEEE!! Also, I love you guys. A lot. This is awesome. Let's do this every week, okay? Also did I mention that I love you and that this is awesome?" Pretty sure those are his exact thoughts.

If you didn't know, shepherd dogs love herding, love running and love having people to keep track of. Saturday morning training group is Milo's ideal start to a perfect day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

hard work.

Sometimes it pays off, sometimes it doesn't. Hard work isn't always rewarded, sometimes it ends with someone else getting the glory, or it ends in injury, or in failure. For me, anyway. For the past year I have put in a lot of effort and hard work. Into my life. Into my career. Mostly, I invested in me for the past year, working on my emotional, mental, physical and relationship health. Thankfully it has paid off, in every single aspect. And for that I am both fortunate and outlandishly grateful.

I can't even begin to explain the amount of effort I've put into my life the past year. With the help of quite a few doctors, and the unselfish, unwavering love and support of a LOT of family and friends, and even though it's hard to admit it the help of medication, and an amazing therapist, I am at the best place I've ever been in my life. That of course isn't to say my life is perfect, far, far from it. And I will be the first to admit that fact. But who's life is? Those claims are false.

I have horrible days that make it seem as though all the work and effort I did were for nothing. I can't control those days. Those days are simply the reality of dealing with an illness called depression. If you aren't a believer that it really is an illness, well, I am not here to change your mind. But you know what? It is. Case closed. And although I can control it with the aforementioned help, sometimes even that isn't enough.

Wondering why I'm spilling my emotional guts all over my blog? Because. I can. I've wanted to for more than six months now and never had the courage. But here you go. I have depression. It took me to some very dark places. I got help for it. I take medication for it. There you have it. It's a real thing. And it can suck the life out of you. And no, running is not my therapy. And it never will be. There was and is no amount of running that can or could fix my depression. Man, that would rock if it could, though.

No amount of running will fix my chemical imbalance or be a substitute for sitting in my therapist's office talking things over. Or a substitute for an abundance of understanding family and friends who are always willing to be there when I'm at my worst. No matter what. In fact I am convinced running made my illness much, much worse. I thought running would help fix me, it didn't. Not a bit. I don't hold that against it though, I still heart the shiz out of running. We are besties now, we understand each other!! But the running that ruined me is in the past. Thankfully. Running (and fitness and health and yoga) is and will likely always be a part of my life. But is so far down on my 'important' list than it used to be. Thank God.

The point of all of this being that this blog of mine, despite readers, followers, whatever, is something to document the reality of my life. So there it is. Because that is my life. Much more complicated than can ever be written on a blog, in a few paragraphs. No one wants to read that mess anyway. The fact that I can admit I have issues, have faced some very ugly moments and days in my life and sit here logically and in fantastic health and say I am better, is why I'm writing this post. So on those days I feel like it wasn't worth the work and effort, and the days I can't pick myself up off whatever surface I smashed onto so hard that I can barely breathe, let alone function, I can read this and remember it will all be okay.

And maybe, just maybe, there is some other runner, or human being out there who shares the same struggles. A lot of you fortunately don't, but maybe there are one or two who do, maybe this will make them feel better too.

All of that being said. I am now fully prepared to engage in some very hard work in speed training, cross training and logging miles to achieve my ONE goal race for this year. Yes, you read that right. My ONE goal race for the year. In caps. BOLDED. The Oklahoma City Half Marathon, that I hope to run in sub 1:45. SQUUEEEEE of nervous excitement. I am prepared to work harder than I ever have, and am prepared if I am met with failure. You see, I have full confidence I can train hard for a half marathon injury free. Marathons? Not so much. But this is part of my maturity, I know my strengths (in every area of my life) so much better than I ever have. Half marathons are where my legs like to be. Why fight it? I am also prepared because I have spent a full year working on getting healthy.

Interwebs, I can finally breathe again.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

triathlon cup, part deux.

I completed my second YMCA competitive indoor workout... I mean Triathlon, on Sunday. As I mentioned in November I am participating in the Greater Wichita YMCA Tri Cup Series. This means there is a triathlon at differing Wichita area YMCA's starting in November and ending in May with an indoor-out race. Although I planned to participate in each tri, I missed December thanks to some horrendous female issues (you're welcome for that, boys).

Sunday marked my second attempt at doing a triathlon, or as Edder likes to call it, my indoor workout competition. He has a point. So we'll go with that. I showed up calm and ready to rock, not sure what or how I would do, but knowing I was in at least a bit better shape than I was in November. I've been running, spinning, swimming, yogaing my heart out the past month.

Here's the thing internetters. I have learned there is a distinct difference in being comfortable in water since birth, with lakes, with the ocean, with swimming and what not. And swimming in a tri. I realized that I am clearly most comfortable in a water situation that involves a lake. Where I can jump off of a dock, a cliff or boat and swim around in the open water for fun. Or play in the water with a ski under my feet. I am not, however, comfortable with swimming in a cush, temperature controlled, clean and confined body of water with other swimmers. Noted. I'm thinking I will likely be more comfortable at the tri I plan to do in June at a lake than I am in a pool. I'm a free flying fish, if you smell what I'm steppin' in.

To make a painfully humiliating explanation short. The swim portion of my competitive indoor workout was horrid. I got in the pool, talked with the lovely and nice girl sharing my lane, did a few warm up laps and was feeling fantastic. Then our heat began. Lap one (out of 10) went smoothly and quickly, it was perfection. Lap 2 - 6 however, total disaster. I panicked. BIG TIME. And why? I don't know, maybe it was the new pool, the discomfort of swimming with others while people watched. Whatever it was, all I know is that my breathing got ragged and hard, I couldn't catch a breath. I couldn't calm down. That made me panic more. My legs felt like they were going numb. I felt like I was going to vomit with every stroke. I was flailing around, floundering, trying to get calmed down and back on track. I just couldn't.

So. I switched to backstroke, which slowed me down even more. And while I knew I was slowing down, doing backstroke helped calm me down enough to flip it over, get my shiz together and finish it out like a grown up. I still felt like I was going to vomit. Needless to say I was the last one out of the pool. By an entire lap. I felt a bit defeated. BUT. Thanks to a little pre-planning in what I wore (shorties and a running tank for the entire race including the swim) and set up I was able to pull myself together during my 1:13 T1. Much better T1 than the first Tri I attempted. Despite the fact that my swim was a good minute slower than my first tri.

Once I got myself on the bike a girl I met at the first Triathlon (we were in the same heat) had seen me run through T1 and came up to chat with me. That was a much needed relief, she is a seasoned triathlete and I got to vent about my swim. Then she told me to amp up my pace on the bike and kill it. So I did. Bike time for 6 miles was 20:03. A good minute and a half faster than the first Tri. T2? A mere second, that was thanks to the bikes being right next to the track. I noticed as I hopped off the bike that out of the seven others in my heat who all beat me out of the pool, four were still on the bike. I was feeling better. I can't swim, but biking I can do okay. Not great, but okay enough.

My comfort zone. I got on the track to do my two miles, my breathing evened out and I just flowed along like I have been doing lately in all my runs. No idea of pace, but I was passing my fellow heat members over and over again. My legs felt strong and fantastic, apparently my fiasco of a swim gave me the oommph and energy I needed to do what I needed to do on the run. I ended up finishing before anyone else in my heat in 16:55. Again, not fantastic, but not awful. I'll take it.

Finish time = 51:32

1st AG
11th Female

Overall, I was bummed about my swim, but on the other hand it made me realize that running really is where I'm comfortable. And at least I can make up some time on the bike and run. Especially since I've always thought of myself as a VERY mediocre and average runner. At least I know where I can improve for next month. I will likely employ a swimming coach very soon. And look into finding out more about triathlons since I went into this totally blind. I know I need it. I have been defeated by the pool. So sad. As for the bike, I know I can get faster. And for running? Now that I'm training to PR in a half in April, I should get some speed back soon.

I've gained enough points in the Tri Cup Series by getting first in my AG at both tri's to keep my first place standing in the series overall in my AG (out of three tri's so far). I can't complain about that. My goal is to stay in the top three standing in my AG so I can get my Tri Cup Series prize in May! And since THIS GIRL is in a different age group, we are not competitors, we are just tri buddies. So glad I have someone to do this with!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

best part of my day.

Last Saturday morning kicked off my official training for the Oklahoma City Half Marathon. While I have done the marathon there twice, both times with not-so-great results, I'm not ready to tackle a marathon there again just yet. I'm not sure when I'll be ready to tackle a marathon again period. Although, someday I do plan to go back to OKC and run that marathon in under four hours and give it everything I have. Someday. Not just yet. For now I have zero interest in running any marathon, although I am putting my name in the lottery for NYC again. I'm leaving that one up to fate.

Instead, I am training for the OKC Half, if I can't yet get redemption for my full marathons there, I can at least go down and tackle the half marathon. And aim for a PR, likely a lofty PR given my recent runnings. But that's a different post for a different day.

For now, basically I just wanted to post some pretty pictures that I took on our refreshing and beautiful group training run Saturday morning. We have chosen to do our long runs along the river area which makes me a very happy girl. It's hands down my favorite spot to run in this city. I am training with a fantastic group of gals and we all plan to run the half. I'm very much looking forward to the training and race, more so than any training or race in recent history.

Monday, January 9, 2012

hello 2012, welcome to my world. and the frosty 5k.

I'm sure I'm not alone when I admit that 2012 and the new year took me by surprise. At least I hope I'm not alone. I haven't been quite on top of things like I had hoped this year. But starting the new year out by writhing in pain and sickness all pitiful in bed will do that to a girl. I suppose.

I was finally ready for Christmas to be here... last Saturday. I missed the boat. So here it is, the second week of January and I'm left realizing that I am running a half marathon in less than a month with my sisters. I have house projects to finish. I have classes to prepare to teach very soon. I have organizing to do. A basement to clean out. All before 2012 arrives. I am not ready yet! I think I missed the boat again. I also have a Triathlon next week, pretty sure not ready for that either. Can I just slow down time, prepare myself, get adjusted and THEN start 2012? I didn't think so. 

Therefore, I'm going to shovel in some miles over the next month,  get my junk together and pray to sweet baby Jesus that I do not let my sister down while pacing her through her first half marathon. And that I don't let my household fall apart. She assures me I won't, on both fronts. I'm glad she has the faith, because I do not.

Despite the fact I wasn't ready for 2012, it arrived anyway. And like a good little runner, I woke up on New Years Day without a hint of a hangover (that's what eating chili and cheese, watching monty python and knitting while hanging out at your sisters house on NYE will do for a girl) and went to run the New Years Day 5K with some friends. It went really well. It was a beautiful morning, there were no PRs, I didn't wear a Garmin, just a nice jaunt through downtown with my good friends. I have no idea what our finishing time was, I didn't even bother to look it up. Because I didn't care. Regardless, it was a fantastic way to start the New Year.

 *shellers, jenn, myself and katie pre-frosty 5k new years day. such a beautiful morning!*

 *katie and i at the finish line, my hands are glowing, that is creepy*

And THEN. I got sick. Which wasn't so great. Which could explain why I could barely keep my eyes open until midnight on NYE. So the next two days were spent writhing around uselessly in pain and misery. So that was a good time. At least I still got my NYD run in. And I managed yoga the next day despite said sickness. In fact, I've not missed one day of working out yet this year. Which even I can barely believe! Running, swimming, biking, strength training, yoga. I've been loving it.

I have a lot of posts rumbling around in my head! Stay tuned, I'm thinking 2012 should prove to be an exciting year. I started officially training for the OKC half marathon (i plan to actually race this and attempt a PR) with a fantastic group of gals, the Edder and I have a few trips to California planned in the next few months, we have some cook-offs planned, I start teaching college classes again next month, we are putting the finishing touches on our home improvement projects (and will be starting some new ones), I have five triathlons in as many months I plan to participate in and then there are of course endless pictures of my adorable Milo I need to post. Clearly.

Happy Monday Interwebs, and cheers to a wonderful running week.