Perry the Trail Dog

Things you never expect: 2014

DSCN1330When I started off 2014 I had a singular focus; The Grand Adventure.  I was going to see all of the things that Dad had wanted to see (or at spoken about ad nauseum).  It took me months to plan, but I did it all 7,747(ish) miles of it.  If you had told me in January 2014 that I would also run a half marathon, begin to love spin class, and be planning to run another half marathon I would have told you you were crazy.

185.3 miles. That is how any miles I have logged this year (according to MapMyFitness).  That may not seem like a large number, but when you consider that I didn’t even start tracking my workouts until I came home from The Grand Adventure that is a huge number.  If I had logged any of the miles that I racked up in London or the miles hiking during the Grand Adventure that number would be much higher.  If you just look at Perry Dirty Damselthe races completed since August; 3 5ks, 1 10k, 1 12k, and a half marathon.  That doesn’t even take into account any of the training miles either.  Granted I’m slower than refrigerated real maple syrup, but I get there.  Sometimes I even get to take my training partner with me.  He likes that as you can tell by the smile on his face.

I have some pretty significant goals for 2015.  The 25 meter target is Shamrock.  I am not only training physically for this race, but I am really trying to whittle down my weight so that it will be easier on my joints (and I can go faster).  I want to finish in 3:29:59 or less (since I did my first half in 3:30).  The 50m target is the half-marathon relay in Delaware that I am doing with CrossFit girl.  The 75m target is the Olympic 10k that I am doing with/against my brothers, but also with C!  She and I are determined to beat those former Marines!  After that, I am going to see how the summer is.  Summers in the mid-Atlantic are brutal when you are an asthmatic.  I may be pinned back on the treadmill.  When the fall rolls around I have my eye on a few races.  I am really hoping that D will be back from Iraq by the time the Rehoboth Half Marathon runs.

IMG_5437All in all, this year turned out completely different than I thought it would, but in a good way.  I really hope that this bodes well for 2015.  I have some awesome friends who have not only provided me with great moral support, they have been crazy enough to jump onto this train with me.  I love them all.

My first thank you goes out to Joel.  It was through watching his weight loss journey that fired me up in the first place; you are doing amazing, keep it up!  To T, Dixie’s Mom, Bear’s Mom, Bella’s Mom, Bourbon’s Mom, and CrossFit Girl, thank you!  You guys have kept me going even when I thought I couldn’t.  To D; you do have the legs to pull off that tutu.  Keep your head down and come home safe.  You owe me a the promise of a half marathon.  Gesh, what some people will do to get out of a promise.  Most importantly, thank you to my brothers for telling Dad that my running is “what people do now for a mid-life crisis.”  Love you too.




Christmas morning, ah yes, lounging around in jammies, drinking coffee, opening presents…..Ha! That’s funny.  That was most definitely not how my morning went.

This morning I was woken around 5am as Perry has no idea that I had the day off. I did manage to sneak in breakfast and coffee before I got in the car to head to [solidcore]VA.  I was sore from yesterday’s spin/run combo that I did, but I knew that the only way to improve was to continue to push myself.  The drive there was a piece of cake.  Perhaps that was because every other sane person was actually at home in their jammies, drinking coffee and opening presents! I will admit I had some serious misgivings as I pulled up.  I was already tired and sore.  This was going to suck.

[solidcore]va just opened their doors on the 20th of December.  I have been to them before (in DC) and got my ass solidly kicked. As the trails are too sloppy to run and both my gym and Biker Barre are closed I needed something to work my butt today.  I can’t afford them on a regular basis, but this was a break glass situation.  It was this or I was going to wind up sitting on the couch all day and be lazy.  [solidcore] it is.

IMG_5422The new facility is very nice.  It’s bright and airy.  I know the mirrors are there to check your form, but I tell you what they really do is just reflect back how weak and sweaty you are.  Ok, maybe that’s just what I see.

I had really hoped that with all of the running, barre, and spin I’ve been doing that it was going to make this a little less painful.  Ha!  No, no, not really.  As a matter of fact it was just as painful (if not more so) as it was the last time.

There were five of us in class at 8am.  I take a great deal of solace in knowing that I wasn’t the only nutjob who had signed up to have their ass kicked at 8am on Christmas.  There was a couple; he was new, she was on her 2nd class like me, two girls who came in from DC, and myself.  Of course the two girls who came in from DC made everything look effortless. Nothing like being the only fat person in class.

I pushed myself to my limit and beyond.  Every muscle in my body was screaming at me.  Sometime in the first 1/3 of the workout I really wondered what happened to my sanity that I thought that his was a good idea.  I knew from experience that was my inner sloth whining and I told her to shut up and I kept pushing.  IMG_5424

By the time we reached the end I was a sloppy wet shaking mess.  Oh crap, now I’ve got to drive home?  Crap…..perhaps I could let Perry drive?

Honestly, while I do enjoy getting my ass kicked, I much prefer running, barre and spin to do the kicking.  Huh, never would have thought those words were ever going to come out of my mouth.


Cross Training: First world problems

Let me start off by saying I wimped out and I am doing the “Couch to Half Marathon” program. I know I could have done a different variation given the miles I have been racking up, but I wanted to have a couple of weeks of less mileage.  Yeah, it’s probably a copout on my part but that was my decision and I’m sticking to it.
All of that said, I’ve really been struggling try to figure out what I am going to do for my mandatory 2 days of cross training a week. The gym that I am a member of only has Zumba classes on the 2 days that are scheduled for XT.  YICK!!  Definitely not a zumba person.

I really LOVE the yoga studio I go to, but CorePower Yoga is 30 miles away which during the week in traffic might as well be the other side of the moon.  I am, however, considering doing yoga (a level 1) on the afternoons after the long runs (on Saturdays).  That still doesn’t solve my cross training problem. I know this is TOTALLY a first world problem.

I’ve tried shifting my XT days to the weekends to allow me to bounce between CPY and Biker Barre which are much easier to get to on the weekends then they are during the week.  That being said, the mileage is going to start ticking upwards shortly and there is no way I am going to be able to do a 6-10 mile run during the week.  Not to mention 4 days of running back to back is hard on the body.  Especially a body that is carrying extra weight.

I think the solution may be trying a month of unlimited Biker Barre and seeing if I can catch the weekday classes.  There is a slight flaw in my plan though and the slight flaw is me.  When I get home from work I dislike leaving again.  This plan of me getting to Biker Barre is going to require me going home, changing into my workout clothes, and leaving again.  I can’t go straight from work because HRH Perry would not like being left home alone that long.  This is definitely going to require a massive amount of willpower to fight against not only my desire to put my jammies on, but my inner sloth as well (not to mention the absolute darkness that seems to come at 3pm).  Sigh.  I miss daylight.

It would be much easier if I had friends that I was meeting there; therefore, having a sense of duty and obligation to go. Unfortunately, that is not the case.  I know I should have the sense of duty and obligation to go for myself, but let’s face it if I had that kind of duty and obligation I wouldn’t have pick a gym based on it’s direct path between work and home so that I HAVE to go otherwise I’d feel completely guilty.

January is going to be a very interesting month.  Here’s to hoping that I can display some strength and willpower I didn’t know I had.  I know if I can get through January February ‘should’ be easier.  One would hope.

In the pursuit of the Shamrock: Oversight Required

CaloriesinoutMost “normal” healthy people don’t exercise and when they are done mentally celebrate the number of items they have “worked off” in the process.  I noticed recently that I was starting to slip back to the dark and scary place I’ve been before.  Every item I was putting into my mouth I was mentally calculating what it would take to work it off.  When I was at an exercise class or on the treadmill I was calculating what “sins” I had committed during the day and pushed myself harder in order to work them off.  Yeah, definitely time to reel that crap in before it gets out of hand.  After careful consideration and prompting/encouragement from Miss M I decided that if I am going to run the Shamrock Half in March I need to do it healthy.  Enter the nutritionist!

If you are considering visiting a nutritionist the first rule is that you have to be prepared to document every single item that goes into your mouth.  Every.  Single. Item.  The second rule is that you have to be honest.  This includes the 2 M&Ms that you eat out of your bosses candy jar.

I knew going in that she was going to want to track everything so I had started a food journal before I even sat down with her.  I also knew that I was going to have to be honest with her about my past, both extremes of it.  The only way that this was going to work is if it all came out.

I started the appointment off by me telling her what my goals were; the half marathon, the number I want to see on the scale, and the size of clothing I’d like to fit into; in that order.  My number one priority at this point is training and running the half healthy.  We discussed the training plan and she said her desire was for me to only loose 1 pound a week while in training.  Fair enough.

There are two more rules that you have to know.  The third is that you have to be willing to listen to what they have to say.  The fourth rule is that you actually have to DO what they say.  Coming out of the meeting I have a new way of tracking food by way of exchanges vice calories to try to keep me out of the dark and scary place.  I have a new run down of how much of what types of food I am suppose to eat.  I also am to start keeping track of the measurements as well as my weight.  Believe it or not, she also increased my caloric intake by 200 calories a day.  Now, before you say anything, I’m allowed 200 calories by way of 1 extra protein exchange and 1 extra fruit exchange.  I don’t get to down a candy bar every day.

Honestly?  I think she sees me as a challenge and I am ok with that.  Bring on the training!

12Ks of Christmas

A couple of weeks ago I was on the fence about trying to squeak one more race in this year.  It’s getting cold here in the mid-Atlantic and running in cold weather when you are an asthmatic is a huge NO NO.  During a conversation with Army brother, though, he told me about this mask that the guys wear in Alaska called a Cold Avenger.  He said it worked wonders for his guys in Alaska being able to PT outside when it was cold. I ordered one from REI hoping that it would allow me to keep running outside when it was cold.  Not only because I hate the treadmill, but also because I’m starting my next round of marathon training and I really don’t want to wind up cooped up inside for the next several months especially during my long run days.  I think I’ll go crazy.  So, what better way to test out whether it works or not then to actually sign up for a race; The 12Ks of Christmas.  Go big or go to the hospital, right?!

IMG_5355Race day came and it was a balmy 26 degrees.  This truly was going to be uncharted territory for me.  This particular race dressing up in a Christmas theme is encouraged.  Given my dislike for all things Christmas I had decided to go as the Grinch.  I even had the mom of a friend of mine make me a Grinch inspired hat. Oh and since I was going to need a green tutu for the Shamrock Half Marathon in March I might as well order my custom green tutu from Glam Runner.  I know, twist my arm, right?  I had even found Grinch pj pants that I was going to leave at the start line to wear over my running tights just until the race started.  The mask kind of made me look even more dorky than I already did, but the mask was the only reason why I was actually able to be there.

IMG_5357Several friends of mine had also signed up to do this race.  Bourbon’s Mom signed up for the 5K with several of her friends.  CrossFit gal who did the Across the Bay 10k run and Bella’s Mom had signed up to do the 12k with me.  It was really nice having company again.  Even better, this time I had someone cheering me in at the finish line since the 5k went first!

Many things went well during this race.  First, the Cold Avenger worked like a dream.  Not only was I able to breathe warm air, but I felt no ill effects of running with it on.  There was no degradation in my breathing at all.  CrossFit gal said it looked like I was running with one of those VO2 masks on.  My only complaints are that it went up and over my ears making me a little TOO warm and that since I mouth breathe I was pushing and pulling a great deal of water into the warming chamber.  But hey, I was out running on a 26 degree day!  I’ll take it!

Second, I had heard about this app called RaceJoy.  If a runner signs up to be tracked then your friends and family can sign up to track you (for 99 cents) and send your cheers.  It worked great!  Bourbon’s Mom signed up to track me and my other IMG_5363friends so that they knew when to be at the finish line waiting.  They were so confident they were able to go to Georgetown Cupcake while they were waiting for us.  It also allowed for me to get cheers along the race course which were really helpful in poking me in the hiney when I started to sag.  My only complaint is that only people who have smart phones can use this company.  I’d like to see them be able to integrate regular computers so that my parents who don’t have a smart phone (as well as some of my friends) could also have the option to cheer me on and watch my progress.

The race itself was a mixed bag.  I ran well-ish.  My time was down about a minute per mile over all from my half marathon time, but not as well as I would have liked it to have been.  I wound up finishing in 1:40 which is not a fantastic time given the folks that were running the race, but I was pleased.  That being said, the logistics of theIMG_5360 race were not exactly what I would call wonderful.  While there was water at the 2 mile mark there was no other water.  When CrossFit gal (who’s very broken and was walking) and Bella’s Mom got to the water station they weren’t able to get any water.  On the way back (which would have been the 5 mile mark) there was no water at all.  The turn around point was just a spray painted mark on the ground and was easily missed (which it was by both of them).  They wound up doing almost 8 miles vice the 7.45.  Not to mention the communications by the race were almost non-existent.  The only good thing I have to say is that they did get out prizes to both the first finishers and the last finishers.  Finishing for both of those girls was incredibly hard.  Getting a reward for finishing at all is HUGE.

I finished before either of them did.  Bourbon’s Mom was watching them approach the finish line via RaceJoy.  I was able to keep texting them both to tell them how much further.  I was also able to text them and keep encouraging them along.  As soon as they popped around the final corner and we could see them I jogged half way out to encourage them in.  I was dancing and making a fool of myself to get them to smile and finish strong.  (Not to mention the upside of getting warm again.) IMG_5364When Bella’s mom reached me I encouraged her to finish strong and run it to the finish line.  I was so proud of them both.  They did a great job!  I’m sure they are both cursing my name today, but they did an amazing job and should be proud of themselves.

I’m not 100% certain I will do this particular race again, but there were several good things I got out of it.  Sometimes you just have to take the good things out of an experience and move forward.  Onward to Shamrock Half Marathon training!!


Where is my hammer

I’ve always struggled with my weight.  Even as a child I struggled.  When I decided to go into the Navy I went completely off the deep end.  I won’t go into the gory details, but if you look up the term exercise bulimia you’ll have a good idea of what I was going through.  Every.  Single.  Morsel. Was an obsession.

At my heaviestWhen I got out of the service I went to the completely opposite end of the spectrum.  Partially due to a toxic relationship I was in, part of it was depression (see toxic relationship), part of it was my inner sloth getting to take over.  It’s amazing how you can loose yourself.  “It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.” -Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay  How very true those words are.  That’s me, on the left, at my heaviest in 2003.  It was after that picture that I started to put my life back together.

Why is all of this relevant now?  Because I am ready to take a hammer to my scale.  I know how to loose weight; both healthily and, well, unhealthily.  I promised myself I would never become that crazy girl (again) who after eating a 90 calorie yogurt would go out and run until all of those calories (plus a few extra) were burned off.  Yet, I find myself obsessing over the scale again.

MapMyFitnessI’m currently working out 5-6 days week.  I’m running 3 of those days and doing back to back classes (barre and spin) on the weekends for cross training.  I’m tracking all of my workouts on MapMyFitness to not only keep me honest, but to keep track of my progress. I’m using it mainly for my time splits during running and to log all of my miles.  I really want to run a race in Delaware next year that I have to be able to maintain a sub-12:00 minute mile.  Plus, I’m getting ready to start my half marathon training for the next race I’m running.

All of that said, I know I’m healthier.  My times are getting better.  My lungs don’t burn as much.  My endurance is up. My shape is changing. My clothes lay different.  I’m able to fit in clothes I haven’t been able to fit in before. I should be happy.  Yet, I’m not.  Why?  The scale has not moved a single ounce.  I know I probably should throw the thing away (it’s not broken though I’d like to take a hammer to it) and just go off of the way that I feel, but if I do that I lose all accountability to myself.  I use it to keep me from become that 2003 girl again.IMG_5303

I know that muscle weighs more than fat.  I also know that when you are closer to 40 than you are to 30 that your metabolism slows down.  I also know that all of those things I did in my 20s definitely were not good for my system. I just wish the freaking scale would start moving in a southerly direction. Seriously.  Before I actually DO take a hammer to it.


Ever just have one of those days where everything seems to click?  It’s been raining and gross all week, but for this narrow window of time that just so happens to coincide with your available narrow window there is no rain.  Or when your breathing and your feet and everything else seems to just come into play the way that it should?  That was the kind of run I had today.  One of those magical (rare) runs.

It’s been raining here in the mid-Atlantic for 4 days straight.  Cold, dismal, yucky rain.  I checked the weather report this morning and it said cloudy but 60.  (Ha! On the 60 but I digress…) I knew based on the weather forecast for the rest of the week if I wanted to get outside and off the treadmill today was going to be the day I was going to have to pull a Shawshank from work and get out to run.

Driving to the park where Perry and I run I was debating how many miles/laps I wanted to do.  The park has a loop that is a little over half a mile.  Sometimes I run mileage, sometimes I run laps.  All depends on how I am feeling.  As Perry nuzzled excitedly into my shoulder his tail wagging profusely I said, “What do you feel like 3 or 4 miles today.” He was happy for either so I set my goal for 6 laps.

Stepping out of the car at the park, however, the wind was blowing so I was a bit nervous.  I’ve been struggling trying to figure out how to dress in this colder weather.  I’m an over dresser which means I’ve been over heating myself a bit.  I’m trying to be better.  I hooked Perry up to his running leash and off we went.

As we made our way around the loop the first time my legs and feet couldn’t have felt better.  My breathing was amazing.  Even Perry having ADD as we ran around the loop, for he wanted to do a belly flop into every single puddle, didn’t slow me down.  Lap after lap fell by.  Granted the wind sucked when I changed directions every two laps, but it barely registered.  Even the music was great.

Coming to the end of my sixth lap I gave serious consideration to do another two laps.  I knew, from past experience, that sometimes it is just best to enjoy the moment you are having and not push your luck.  The Universe really dislikes it when you do that.  I pulled Perry and myself up and 6 and was very proud of the work we did.  I took off Perry’s harness and he immediately belly flopped gleefully into the nearest puddle.

Springer run

Can we go again, Mom?

All in all today I did 3.74 miles with an average pace of 11:33.  Perry got to run, play in the puddles, and get a little off leash time when we were done.  Today is a very good day in our house. I really hope that this is the beginning of having more days that click.

Rhino Horn

I have been experiencing pain in my left foot now for weeks.  It started during the Dirty Damsel trail race. I had purposely worn old running shoes because I knew they were going to get trashed.  Little did I know I was going to trash my feet.  (It’s only 1 run, it’s only 3 miles…) During the run I pulled a muscle in my foot.  Thus began my slow decent into pain.

Flash forward several weeks.  I could no longer walk barefoot.  The first few steps whether it be first thing in the morning or after sitting for 5 minutes was unbelievably painful.  When I was sick and unable to run it actually got worse instead of better.  I finally broke down and made an appointment to see a podiatrist.

Thirty seconds into my appointment he was feeling my foot and on the second “does it hurt here” he had to peel me off of the ceiling.  Honestly, he’s lucky I didn’t deck him.  Xrays were done and guess what?!  I have a rhino horn!  Do you see it?


Do you see it?  If you look at my foot sideways it actually does look like a rhino horn.  I want to come up with a name for him.  Anyway, that is technically a heel spur.  It comes from the bone trying to compensate for the plantar being too tight.  Of all of the things the military forces you to stretch out I’m truly surprised that they don’t teach their people to roll out their feet.  But I digress….We shot my foot with cortisone and I was told to roll it out every night for at least 5 minutes preferably with ice.  He wants to see me back in a couple of weeks.

Today it was rainy and gross and I just had the injection yesterday.  All three of these reasons could have given me an excuse to just go home and put my jammies on.  With the day that I had at work I needed to stretch my legs a bit. I told myself I was only doing 30 minutes in whatever form that took.  I wound up doing 2.4 miles in that 30 minutes.  Not my best time, not my worst time, but I did it.  I’ll clock it up as a win.

Now, what should I name him, my rhino horn that is?