Everyone has a story: Don’t be an asshat

Something has been stuck in my craw and I need to get it out. Last week, I had the distinctive displeasure of hearing someone say that they dated someone who ran eight half marathons (said with disgust) and how they could have saved themselves a great deal of time and money had they known that because why run eight half marathons when you can run a marathon.   This is someone, hereby known as Negative Norton, that I had respected right up until that point. What kind of asshat cuts down someone like that?  Eight half marathons is a huge amount of effort, training, and dedication.  Hell, ONE is a huge amount of effort, training and dedication.

Negative Norton then went onto say how people who walk marathons get the same medal as the person who ran the marathon; so, don’t be a walker.  While I can comprehend the point they were trying to make (albeit badly) about effort; maybe the person who walked the marathon couldn’t walk a year ago.  Oh, and by the way, Negative Norton, shows what you know, winners get fancy plaques and sometimes checks not just a finishers medal.

Then this week NavyMom posted; “Okay finished my long run…yes roll your eyes you 10 milers my long run is only 5 miles …”  Immediately, a large group of us jumped in to cheer on her effort.  This is someone who until recently has struggled to get one block due to her near crippling nerve pain and she just went 5 miles!   This is an effort that should be celebrated not cut down.

When did it become ok to cut others efforts down? When did it become ok to cut our own efforts down? That person who “just” ran a 5k might have “just” finished chemo.  That person who “just” ran a 10k may have mere months ago “just” weighed 100 pounds more.  You never know what obstacles that person had to overcome in order to conquer that distance.   There are visible challenges, but more often than not they are invisible ones; PTSD, diabetes, anxiety, asthma, etc.

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Still damn proud of it & no one can take that away from me.

While yes, there can be only one prize winner; every single person who crosses that finish line has overcome some challenge at work, at home, and/or within themselves.  That is something that no one can ever take away from you unless you let them.  Don’t be an asshat to anyone else either. Cheer on their efforts because you never know when it will be you struggling to crawl across the finish line.

Snozilla 2016: Dedication or crazy

The line between dedication and crazy is a very thin one.
Friday was a rest day.  Hooray for rest days!  This morning, however, I awoke to nearly 19″ of snow on the ground with it still coming down an inch an hour.  Wha??  I thought I moved south! After spending 30 minutes shoveling out the driveway (because, you know we couldn’t have the snowblower fixed in time) Perry and I came into the house thinking we were done.  An hour later both he and I were pinging off the walls and we both desperately needed to go for a run.  One tiny problem.  While the main road was plowed my road was not. What was a girl to do?

 

Yes, I spent 30 minutes and shoveled nearly 300′ just to get out to the main road.  I truly have gone off the deep end.  Dedicated? Crazy? Meh, a little of both??

IMG_8013After I was done I raced inside to put my running clothes before the wind and snow picked up again.  In feels like 11 degree weather this is what I wound up putting on;

 

 

 
Top Layer:

  1. Bergan’s Baselayer
  2. Under Armour 1/2 Zip
  3. Rehoboth Beach Running Company Tech Long Sleeve
  4. Bergan’s Jacket

Bottom Layer:

  1. Eastern Mountain Sport Base Layer
  2. Under Amour Cold Weather Gear
  3. 2 pairs of socks (1 Fits/1 Balega)

This doesn’t take into account the hat, mittens, and my ColdAvenger, every asthmatic winter best friend.

What I did the other day, which I think is GENIUS, I treated my Lone Peaks with Nikwax waterproofing.    It works like a dream.  I’m still getting the NeoShells (they should be here Monday, fingers crossed).  In the meantime,  I was able to get out (with my gaiters on) and get some running in still managing to keep my feet dry.

I kept it short only 1.75 miles due to the low visibility conditions.  We had to run on the main road and with a few plows and medical personnel out on the road I didn’t want us getting hit.  Although, how you could have missed us in bright pink and orange is beyond me.  We returned to the house.  I took a well deserved Epsom Salt bath and promptly inhaled a Udi’s Pizza.  With the extra 600+ calories I burned today I earned every single bite of that sucker.  Plus I’m confident with the amount of snow coming down I will be earning more calories later today.  Sigh.  When will it be spring??

 

Rest Days: Yes, they actually are a thing

ShooterGirl and I joke on a regular basis about rest days.  We both hate them.  We both know we need them.  Yet, both of us have a really hard time coping with them. We will text each other with the rhetorical question; “Rest days are a thing right?”  To which the other will respond, “Yes, they are a thing.”  I now remember why, exactly, they are a thing.

Last Saturday I went trail running with Bourbon’s Mom and CrossFit Runner covering nearly 10 miles.  It was good, it was easy, even if it was sloppy.  Then I kinda,blogger-image-39128797 sorta, maybe, ok, yeah I skipped my rest day and have worked out for 6 days straight.

Normally, my rest days are Monday and Friday; thereby bookending my workouts. Well, Monday was a holiday and it was lunges at CrossFit.  Lunges are good for me and my running.  So off I went.  Tuesday was wall ball hell, er, I mean, no, on second thought no it truly was wall ball hell. Wednesday was Dru’s spin class and oh did he bring it with the climbs and the weighted sprints.  Which leads me to today.

I don’t know if you have heard or not but we are suppose to be getting a record snowstorm tomorrow and Saturday.  This completely jacked up my long run schedule with Bourbon’s Mom.  I knew that if I was going to get it in at all it was going to have to be today.  Now or never.  Even with the “feels like” temperatures being close to 0. I bundled up and off Perry and I went to our favorite running spot.

IMG_7973Last night we got ~1 inch of snow and no one had been on the trails yet.  It was glorious.  The woods were so quiet and beautiful.  The plan was to get 10 miles in.  Not only because that was the training plan, but I had to get in at least 1000 calories because I had budgeted that expenditure with Mary.

When we got 2 miles in I had to take a detour to add on an additional 4 miles.  I knew the trail we were on was going to come out a little over 6 and doing it twice was definitely out of the question. After the detour and we got back on our original trail; that’s when I started to sputter.  The gas light had come on a couple of miles before and now I was really running on fumes.  I knew I had had enough to eat before we started, but I think that all of the workouts this week were starting to catch up to me.  I broke out my emergency Honey Stingers and ate those thinking maybe, just maybe, it truly was a lack of fuel this morning.  At the 8 mile mark I was still struggling.  Walking was definitely NOT an option as it was too cold.  When I popped out onto the road I made the decision to not do the last 2 miles but rather take the direct route to the car.  I hit the car at 9 miles.

More importantly, though, was that I felt like absolute gark.  No gas in the tank. Absolutely none.  Crap…..wait until ShootGirl hears about this.  Oh the lecture I’m going to get. “Dear, rest days are a thing for a REASON.  Don’t be stupid.”  I could hear it now.  Sigh.  Yes, rest days actually ARE a thing.  Got it. Noted.  Good thing I’ve got two built in rest days coming to me.  Snomg!

Some girls pay for this

Some girls pay to be covered in mud.  Others go out and find their own.  975milesI definitely fall into the latter camp.  Today’s run I knew was going to be muddy and sloppy based on last night deluge of rain.  As I was getting dressed I tried to pick clothes that if I happened to face or butt plant that they wouldn’t be stained.  Around here we have sand, but we also have clay.  After washing clothes from Georgia’s Spartan Race four times and still having them stained I knew that could very well happen.

The plan was simple and straight forward 10 easy miles.  Bourbon’s Mom is still IMG_7885rehabbing her foot; therefore, the plan was 2 run minutes followed by a walk minute. We are slowly increasing her mileage in preparation for the Disney Run.  I also had invited CrossFit Runner with us.  She and I had bonded one day at a workout.  Runners have a way of sniffing each other out (it also helps when they wear Ragnar logo clothing.)

We started down the farm road which led to single track.  About a half mile down the trail we hit our first hill.  Bourbon’s Mom groaned.  “They are good for you!” I gleefully shouted to her as I dug each foot into the hill to get to the top.  Truthfully, I have a love hate relationship with hills.  I know they are good for me, but they are hard as hell.  I know if I don’t embrace them I will hate them, so I decided long ago to embrace the suck. I also have to admit the ShooterGirl was right.  CrossFit has helped me with my running. Please don’t tell her I said so, I’ll never hear the end of it.

IMG_7891The trail was filled with minor uphill and downhill portions.  One of which, of course, I had to slide down and then land square on my butt.  I laughed as I felt the mud ooze into my tights.  Not only because some girls pay a great deal of money for mud on their skin, but I knew we were going to have to go back up this relatively short (but steep) section.  “I hereby dub thee Butt Hill for making me land on it and improving it.” I said in my most Monty Python and the Holy Grail voice.

We moved along nicely keeping with the 2:1 splits.  Somewhere along the way we all had misjudged at least one puddle and had one (or more) wet feet.  Ironically, no one complained.  All of us, I think, were just genuinely happy to be out there. There is something incredibly wonderful about being out in the woods.  Of course, Perry was thrilled to be out there.  He found every stinking puddle he could; the deeper the better.

The goal had been to do 10 miles, but I knew we were going to be a bit short as I looked at Coconut when we made the turn to head back the direction we came.  I was just hoping that we weren’t going to be too short.  We hit the parking lot at 9.75. Not super short, but short enough. Sigh, oh well.  We were close.  Next week shall be the double digit week, and I will remember champagne to celebrate Bourbon’s Mom finally flipping into the double digits!

When I finally got home and took off my shoes, socks and tights I could see just how gloriously muddy I had gotten. I don’t think I could have smiled any bigger if I tried.  Now THAT was a good time!

But MOM I want to splash in ALL of the puddles.

But MOM I want to splash in ALL of the puddles.

 

Climbing: Back to the beginning

“You told me to go back to the beginning, so I have.  This is where I am this is where I will stay.  I will no be moved.” -Innigo Montoya, Princess Bride

 

As you move through the timeline of your life I like to say that there are rocks that serve as markers that you put down in specific places.  It can be a song, a smell, or an activity that reminds you of a specific moment in time.  There are good rocks and there are bad rocks, but it doesn’t matter where you go or what you do when that specific rock gets picked up you are instantly transported back to that moment in time.

Recently, I stumbled upon one of those rocks. It was a rock that I didn’t even realize was there.  Many moons ago, I was married to a man named Paul.  We didn’t work out for a variety of reasons and after our divorce he passed away. History aside, before we got married we climbed together.  Almost every weekend we would drive up to Columbia (to the only climbing gym in the area at the time), climb for a couple of hours, go grab lunch at the only decent Mexican restaurant in the area (this was almost 2 decades ago), and then head back to the gym to climb some more.  Some where along the way we stopped climbing.

After my first Spartan race I realized that I needed to get tied in again.  First and foremost, for grip strength to help me with all of the pulling obstacles.  Second, to get accustomed to heights again to help me with the rope climb and several of the other obstacles that require me to be off the ground.  The last time I went up the rope at CrossFit my whole body started shaking from being up that high.   That’s not cool.  I’d rather conquer my fear than do burpees.

One weekend a couple of months ago I went digging in my shed for my climbing harness and shoes.  I don’t know why I had held onto them, but I did.  I pulled down the plastic crate which had been moved from coast to coast twice.  Peaking out from under 15 years worth of dust and grime was a piece of yellow tape wrapped around one of the loops of the harness.  Since Paul and I had had identical harnesses the tape was used to distinguish mine from his.  I brought the harness and the shoes in the house, washed them both down, and tossed them in the closet.  Winter cross training, I thought.

After months of procrastination I signed up for the basic skills class; after all it had been nearly 15 years.  I walked into the gym and instantly I was transported back to 1999 with the flood of memories that came back to me.  It was the first time in years that I had tapped into those particular memories.  I slipped into my harness snugged it up as tight as I could and realized that it was still too big.  I smiled.

The instructor started going through basics and everything came back to me. How to tie the knots.  How to belay.  Everything.  I guess going back to the beginning was a good thing. After class we were allowed to use the wall. As I tied in and put IMG_7810my hands on the the first two holds there was this wave of thoughts that came over me.  Thoughts of climbing with Paul, climbing with my Dad and brothers, but more importantly how I felt when I conquered one particular route that had kicked my ass for months.  The further up the wall I went the more my soul smiled.  I remember this feeling.  The feeling of stretching, moving, bending, pulling, pushing, but most importantly conquering.  It’s like vertical chess and I love it.

When I went into work on Monday and was talking about how much fun I had a couple of the girls immediately said, “I want to go!” We set up a date IMG_7824for that Friday night.  Since neither of them had their belay card yet we went bouldering instead of climbing.  Now, bouldering is completely different.  It requires way more arms than legs and, well, you aren’t roped in.  We plotted, we climbed, we fell, we swore, but most importantly, we conquered.

I’m glad that I made the decision to start climbing again.  It is good to go back to the beginning.  To start over this time with a fresh perspective, a new body, and memories of all of the lessons I have learned along the way.  That being said, as I left the gym on both occasions to head to my car I had a sudden craving for a steak quesadilla.  Apparently memories have cravings.

 

Sainted Mary and the Road to Utah

HERO-ECSDetailPage-UT-2016

Today I sat down with Sainted Mary and I knew I was going to drop some major news on her that was going to change everything. 

“Mary, I’ve decided to do a 50km. Oh and not just any 50km, but one at altitude.”

I wish I could have captured the look on her face.  It was awesome.  Mary knew at that moment that even though I’m 9 pounds away from my new goal number I am not about to let myself rest on my laurels.  I’m going to push and push hard.

Honestly, the thing is I have absolutely, positively no idea how to fuel my body for anything that is about to come.  Not for the training and definitely not for the racing.  All of this is new to me.

“Mary, I know that there are a million crack pots out there that could tell me how to eat.  I want to learn from someone whose job it actually is. I want to do this race, I want to finish it, and I want to finish it strong.”

As luck would have it,  Mary told me that is going to a sports nutrition conference in a couple of weeks.  As I laid out my racing schedule and subsequent training schedule she started to get really excited.  As much as she loves working with the weight loss clients, she loves sports nutrition, and I am getting ready to really challenge her.

The road to Utah isn’t going to be an easy one.  It’s going to require a great deal of time, discipline, focus, and time out in the mountains camping and training because let’s face it sea level isn’t ideal for training for a race at over 8k feet.  It is, however, one that I am incredibly much looking forward  to.

If you are interested in joining me; they do have races of varying lengths from 5k up to the 100 miler. I have a link and a discount code (D30BKUT15) for you.  Come out, join me!  It’s 262 days away!  What do you have to lose? It will even be fun.  Wait, I really have become a crazy pants haven’t I?