why do you want to be fast?

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PR

…. my good friend and co-worker asked me at work last week. I had told her about my excitement with my latest PR from my most recent half marathon. I was so happy that day that I cried. I have been working hard lately trying to get myself in better shape, and to see the results of my minimal training made me extremely happy. I have only been running half marathons for three years and the PR made my 20th half very special.

That is until dinner that evening, when someone that I had just met that night asked me what my time was….. “What was it?!” he said, “were you under two hours??”. Right there. Someone who didn’t even know me slapped me back to reality and made me realize how slow I am and how much work I still need to do.

Or do I?

The question my friend asked me last week made me wonder, why DO I want to be fast?

I actually said “You know what? I don’t even really know”.

Self doubt, comparison and social media can be brutal. Do I want to be fast for myself? Or do I want to be fast so I can show other people how fast I am? I have never been a competitive person. Growing up with a twin was enough. People compare the two of you whether they admit it or not. So a part of me tends to shy away from competition because people will either see me for who I am or make up their own minds about who they think I am. And the people that don’t really know me…. Do they really matter? Why should I be concerned about what Joe Schmoe thinks of my finish time? Why should I be concerned about what people on social media think about my finish times?

(I’m not saying that these feelings of slow inadequacy will go away, I’m just trying to figure out how to deal with them….)

So the question to myself still stands…Why? Bragging rights are certainly nice, but then again, there will always be someone faster, better, stronger than you, so again, why? For the photo on Instagram? For the better corral placement? For the feeling of accomplishment? For myself? Am I afraid of being judged for my lack of speed? Or am I just too lazy to even want to try to become faster? Am I afraid of the challenge?

No matter how old you are, there is still something to be learned about yourself, isn’t there?

“You’re never satisfied. That’s what life is, it’s just this ongoing, neverending vacation adventure, you see. You can’t get it wrong and you’ll never get it done…..” – Ester Hicks

running on stress and depression.

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Three years ago I was dealing with a substantial amount of stress and depression. Every day after I dropped my son off at school, I would run. Not fast. Not far. But I would run (…. away). I would take off and just listen to the music in my ear buds. Zero thoughts crossed my mind. I ran away from the boxes that needed to be packed. I ran away from the thoughts of failure. I ran away from my son’s trichotillomania. And I was able to deal with it all. And I was able to get through it. Little did I know that it would just be the beginning of my love for running.

Flash forward to my new state of affairs. New problems. New stress. Same old depression. I went for a run yesterday and I found myself back in that “place”. That place of zen. That place where you just zone out and just GO. My body was tired. I was hot. I was thirsty. My legs hurt. I wanted to stop and walk. But my brain said NO! So I didn’t. And I was ok. Something seriously turned off in my brain and it made me “just go”. I felt nothing but the desire to keep. going. And to tell you the truth, I’ve never even felt that in a race before (which I guess is why I always perform so poorly in races, lol).

I am no stranger to depression. I can remember those creeping thoughts as early as seventh grade. I had my ups and downs in high school, followed by some serious downs in college. I felt like I had to have it all figured out. I felt like I didn’t fit in. I felt like a failure so I almost changed my major the semester before I was supposed to graduate. That particular year was the worst (let me tell you, you don’t ever want to be forced to drink a cup of activated charcoal).

But now I am not older. I am better. I am stronger. I am a role model for my son. And I will. Not. Fail.

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parenting is hard/i miss my family.

For those of you with kids….. remember that day when you decided that you were ready to have a baby? Remember that day when you found out that you were pregnant? Remember when you had dreams of how you would decorate the nursery and what your child would be like? When I decided that I was ready to have a baby I didn’t think about things like “will my child be lonely?” or “is my child happy?”. I didn’t think about things like “your child has developmental delays” or “your child has trichotillomania”. I dreamed of the football player that my son would be (he has no interest in playing any sports of any kind) and how he would follow in my footsteps by playing a musical instrument (in which he also has no interest).

But then I read an article on Scary Mommy’s blog and realized that my son is Ferdinand the bull. Ferdinand “would rather smell flowers than fight in bullfights”. My “bull” (who is also very headstrong and stubborn) loves to build Legos according to his own instructions. He thrives in his room when it’s an absolute disaster and has no interest in special dress up days at school (he doesn’t even care if “everyone else is doing it”).

My real worry (at this moment….. because let’s face it, as parents, we always worry) is about my son’s loneliness (and mine also, for that matter). He is constantly asking me to set up play dates and asking me “who’s going to be at the beach house?”. He’s always wondering “who’s going to meet us at Disneyland?” or “who can I play with today?”.

My son and I are lonely.

When I was growing up, I didn’t know how good I had it. I have a twin sister, an instant playmate. My best friend lived a block up the street. I would walk up to her house and play there all day long. I played in the neighborhood with the other kids outside until the street lights came on. I had family to hang out with, grandparents and cousins for all holidays. And once a week in the summer I would go to Wildwood in New Concord, Ohio with my grandparents and sleep in their camper and play with the other grandkids of their friends.

My son does not have these options.

First, I tried to give my son a brother or sister. Things were not meant to be and I have so much guilt because of that.

Second, our closest family is an hour away. And it’s not my family. All of his cousins are at least 7 years older and have no interest in playing with a 7 year old. My son is dying for their attention but they are just into their own things at this time.

We don’t have any (constant) kids in the neighborhood to play with. Divorce is messy. Kids come and go.

I guess the bottom line is, I wish that my son had the kind of life that I had growing up. It wasn’t perfect, but I never felt lonely. Not like we do now.

I miss my family.

I miss my family.

love, hate and Ragnar.

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OneMore My introduction to anything Ragnar was back in February of 2013, when I had just started to become a serious runner. I had just completed my first half marathon and was ready to do my second, two weeks later, with one of my BRF’s, Annie. She invited me to a team meeting for a Ragnar race that she was thinking about doing. I sat down at a table full of strangers and learned all there was to know about doing a Ragnar Relay race. The signs, the vans, the traveling…. All of it way too hard core for me. And although the thought of participating in such a thing scared me away, I met a lot of cool people that day. Flash forward to October, 2014. Again, my running partner in crime, Annie, needed my help. She could not take her place on her Ragnar Trail team and asked me if I’d be interested. The thought of it still scared me, but I was trying to venture my way out of my comfort zone. I was reluctant, but I agreed. RedLoop Nothing could have prepared me for the hellish hills of the Red Loop (my first leg) in the heat of the day. I don’t even know what my finish time was. All I know is, I was so happy to see Kyle. After that run, I thought, “never again”. I figured that I had had my Ragnar experience and that was that. But I still had two more legs to run. I was nervous about running the trails at night. My second leg, the Yellow Loop, was scheduled around 11pm. I don’t even recall if I had any night running practice at that point. Either way, it was my most favorite run of the weekend. I saw maybe 10 people out on the trail during the time that I was out there, but the majority of the time I was alone. And I wasn’t afraid. I had found a way out of my comfort zone. TrailAnnie Leave it to Annie (again) to rope me into yet another adventure. Annie, a Ragnar SoCal veteran, was looking for more people to add to a Ragnar Relay team that she had joined. Even though the Trail and Relay races are vastly different experiences, I felt that I had conquered most of my (unknown Ragnar) fears at Vail Lake.   “Sign me up!” I said. I even strung my sister along for the ride. sleep This brings me to the love/hate portion. It’s kind of like pregnancy and childbirth…. There are parts of it, when you’re going through it, that are awesome and fun and rewarding. And then there are the rough, exhausting “why the hell am I doing this?” parts. After my second leg, just like at Vail Lake, I had made it over the hump. The lack of sleep and lack of sleep space was the worst of it. Everything else was THE BEST. The instant camaraderie with my team mates, the YouTube videos in the parking lot in Oceanside, the 3am comedy routine, the compiled list of quotes…. All worth it. And just like at Vail Lake, I made some awesome friends during Ragnar Relay SoCal. And I can’t wait to do it all over again. eddie-harris-jr-the-sooner-you-step

slowly sinking in.

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medal

In my living room all of my running shoes are in a pile. Each pair has its own story. Some have seen lots of asphalt. Others are barely broken in. The purple Pure Flow 2’s in the pile are the shoes of a marathoner. It’s been two months. Two months ago today I completed my first full marathon. A year ago I had no desire to attempt such a daunting task. I thought that marathons were for real runners.

Why can’t I feel good about my accomplishment? Maybe it’s because I didn’t run the entire race? Maybe it’s because I don’t run fast? Maybe it’s because I didn’t exactly train very hard for my marathon…..

Or maybe I’m just too hard on myself?

Whatever it is, I’m waiting for the accomplishment to truly hit me. I’m waiting for that feeling of elation. When will it come???

celebrating

upping my game.

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Sometimes people are put in your life to make you stronger.  Sometimes people are put in your life to challenge you.  Or piss you off.  Or stress you out.  All of these people make you focus on what kinds of people you want to keep in your life, how you want to treat people and how you allow yourself to be treated.  I am fortunate enough to have two very good running friends in my life right now.  Both have had their share of challenges, physical and mental, yet they still keep running, striving to make themselves better.  And they want their friends to be better too.  I am lucky enough to be one of those friends.

Two years ago I had no desire to run a half marathon, simply because I didn’t think that I could.  I had no desire to run a Ragnar race, because I was too scared.  And a full marathon No way.  You see, I am afraid to leave my comfort zone.  I am completely happy to just stay in my little box and keep things organized there.  My thought is, if I become an expert at all things in my little box (comfort zone) then I don’t have to worry about making a mistake.  I have won.  And if I make a mistakeI have lost. 

It makes all the difference when you have friends who believe in you.  And they help you believe in yourself.

My friend Annie is one of those friends.  Because of Annie I run half marathons.  Because of Annie I participated in a Ragnar Trail Relay.  And because of Annie I am now signed up to run a Ragnar Relay.  Annie has helped me become a better version of myself.  Annie is a lover of life and she wants to share great experiences with everyone.  If it wasn’t for Annie, I wouldn’t have the running resume that I have now.

My other running friend is Allison.  Because of Allison I am going to tackle my first full marathon.  Allison is dedicated to her training plan(s), in all kinds of weather.  She gets the job done.  She runs half marathons like they’re second nature.  For her I am grateful because she helps me believe in myself.  She is selfless in every way and she pushes herself to achieve new goals.  I am so grateful to have gotten lost with her on that bus to the runDisney expo last February.

Thank you, best running friends, for helping me to reach the next level.  I am upping my game.

The Lost Loser

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  Partly because I don’t want to sit in front of my desktop to type anything.  And mostly because all summer long, I haven’t been running.  At.  All.  And it makes me feel like a Lost Loser. 

I can use all kinds of excuses.  It’s been too hot.  I haven’t had the time.  I need to hire a babysitter just so I can get a run in.  I can’t get up early enough to run.  A REAL runner wouldn’t use these excuses.  (Yes I’m beating myself up again).  A REAL runner makes the time.  A REAL runner runs marathons, sub 9 minute miles and finishes a 10k (my favorite race distance) in half the amount of time as me. 

Let me backtrack…… when you become a mom, you kinda loose yourself.  You have about nine months to transform yourself and get yourself ready for completely giving away your identity.  This may not be the case for everyone, but it was for me.  I lived in the world of project management and wall sections and shop drawings.  Meetings about project submittals and putting drawing sets together were second nature.  And then in an instant, I wasn’t that person anymore.  I’m not complaining, but things change and so do your priorities.  Suddenly meetings with co workers were replaced by weeks alone with a newborn.  Years away from a “real job” put me in a place of questioning myself.  “What are your hobbies?”.  “What do you do in your spare time?”.  “Who are you???”.  All of these things played on my mind after I was no longer in the working world of architecture. 

And then I found running.  It made me feel complete and fit and accomplished.  I accomplished goals that I never thought I could accomplish.  It made me feel like part of a community, a part of SOMETHING. 

And then this summer happened.  I hit a wall.  I didn’t make the time to train.  It was way too hot.  My son made it hard for me to get out for runs (yes, I’m blaming my son for my laziness….). 

Recently I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon.  I actually ran a 10k and then a half marathon.  I wasn’t prepared, due to my lack of training, and I was actually a bit scared.  Not because I knew that I couldn’t finish, but I’m really not sure why.  Anyway, I actually had a decent 10k time (for myself, and for a runDisney race, and for not training).  But my half marathon time was dismal.  Not my best.  I ran with my sister and my husband, who ran his first half marathon.   And the thing is, I felt really good for the half.  It was actually a really easy half marathon for me.  Yet my finish time made me feel like less of a runner.  Like….. not a runner at all.  The real runners make fun of this kind of half marathon time.  And it makes me feel like I can’t classify myself as a runner at all.  Even though I’ve completed [only] 9 half marathons, some of which had 10k races preceding them, and I have 3 more half marathons on my calendar right now……

Long story short, not running makes me feel lost and a lot like a loser.  Because REAL runners run ALL THE TIME, NO EXCUSES.  So I started thinking, maybe I need to redefine the definition of “runner” for myself.  I need to reprogram myself?  Yes, I love to run.  But……… l’m not fast.  I’ve never run a full.  I’ve never done a triathlon.  I can’t run a consistent 10 minute mile.  Am I really a runner?

the running racket.

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Ahhh runDisney, you never cease to amaze us and stress us out.

For those who are fans of runDisney AND Star Wars, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Most of us have been waiting on this day for over a year (or more):

EARLY AP/DVC REGISTRATION DAY!!!!

I am fortunate enough to be a Disneyland Annual Passholder. This allows me to register for run Disney races one week prior to general registration. But the stress still mounts!!!

Why you ask? Well over the past couple of years, runDisney races have become extremely popular. Which means that more people are interested, more people will sign up, bigger hype, higher prices… And now with a race like Star Wars into the mix, I predict that a few things will happen:

–  Serious runners will sign up, or not sign up because they think that dressing up for a race is silly.

–  People who love to run and love Star Wars will sign up, dress up, and have fun!

–  People who love Star Wars will sign up, they are legitimately interested in starting running, and will continue to run and possibly sign up for more races in the future.

–  People who LOVE Star Wars, and do not run, will not take it seriously, will not train, but will sign up, and have a hard time.

The thing about runDisney is, once they catch you, they got you. They keep on adding to the hype, the social media buzz, the merchandise and the bragging rights (c’mon, admit it…. People don’t like to, but they do “but I’m LEGACY!” or “well I’m a Perfect Princess!!). And people will pay the price. Over and over again. The experience is awesome. It’s fun, and it can be a family event. They definitely know what they’re doing. I was able to get myself into the Rebel Challenge but I was not able to get Father of One in.  I read somewhere that the Rebel Challenge (running the Star Wars 10k and the Star Wars Half on back to back days) sold out in 8 minutes this morning.  That’s got to be a record.

Now with the Star Wars race newly announced and ready for general registration next week, what will runDisney think of next??!?

May the Force be with you. And don’t forget…… #LetTheWookieWin, you don’t want your arms pulled out of their sockets when they loose…..

running in a rut.

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(stuck) in a rut: kept in an established way of living or working that never changes.

I never thought it would happen to me. After running consistently (every week and sometimes daily) for over 3 years I’ve finally managed to get myself in a running rut. Blame it on no upcoming races on my calendar. Blame it on no motivation. Blame it on the streak of 100 plus degree days that we had last week, but I am here. And I don’t like it. I feel fat and lazy and unaccomplished. And now with a batch of blood work, x-rays and an MRI, I feel like I’m being forced to take it down a notch. My doctor even called me last night and actually told me not to work out for the next couple of days due to the results of my most recent blood work. Sigh.

60miles

Like Disneyland, running used to be my happy place. And the sad thing is, I haven’t even been going to Disneyland as much anymore.

Maybe I need to find a new happy place? (insert sad face here…..)

I need to be happy with where I am, not where I think I should be. My slow and steady progress with running has me frustrated. Without the atmosphere of The Happiest Place on Earth, I feel lost. Maybe it’s time to make a change?

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If any of you really know me, I despise change. I drag my feet and leave kicking and screaming…… until I realize that the new thing/place/experience is actually okay. And then I realize….

Why didn’t I do this a long time ago?!?

My problem is, lots of times I don’t listen to my intuition. I think that others know better. I feel like society pushes me in a different direction. And then there’s the bigger reason…. I feel fear. Fear of the unknown stops me dead in my tracks. Keeps me in my rut. But what was it that Nietzsche said?

nietzsche

After I get my health issues straightened out, I think I need to put on my favorite pair of Brooks Pure Flows, put Kanye’s “Stronger” on repeat and just go. Find a new route. Do more yoga. Run some trails. And then maybe I’ll find my new happy place.

oldandnew

running as a means of transportation.

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Yesterday I challenged myself to do a run with a purpose. My XTerra was in the shop and my husband was out of town. My goal? To run from my house to the Nissan dealership to pick it up. I mapped out a course on Map My Run and found that it was close to 8 miles. Very doable. I decided to plan my route based on the way that I drive every day to take my son to school so I would be really familiar with the streets and wouldn’t have to worry about which direction to go. I had been on these streets hundreds of times. I was excited. I felt challenged. I couldn’t wait for the next day when I could tackle my goal.

Then the next day came and I wondered if my goal was smart. After all, if something happened to my son halfway through my run, I’d be stuck. If I got injured or something I’d be stranded. All of my friends were busy and/or working/not available. I then had a thought that maybe I should just wait for my husband to get home so that he could drive me there to pick it up…. It would only be one more day. I almost chickened out. But then I decided to think of it as a little more than a 10k or a little less than a half marathon, both distances I have tackled before. I just had to get out of my own head.

So, I decided to give it a try.

After work, I filled up my water bottles, strapped on my hydration belt, grabbed my Garmin and headed out the door. It was noon. I had 4 ½ hours until I had to pick up my son from school. Plenty of time. I felt myself stalling. I kept on forgetting things (headphones, visor, sunglasses). Finally I made myself just go.

The first few miles flew by (oh, I just did a 5k!). Then around mile 4 ½ I saw some dude make a beeline to cross the street, in the middle of the street, when he saw me. It looked like he wanted to say something to me but I just picked up the pace and didn’t make eye contact. As soon as he was out of sight I stopped to walk so that I could catch my breath. Then I picked up the pace again for another half a mile until I knew that I was far enough away from him.

A mile later, I stopped at my son’s school to refill my water bottles. I only had 2 ½ more miles to go, but I didn’t want to repeat my urgent care IV experience. A half a mile later, I saw the Tustin Nissan shuttle van stopped at a light! I had thoughts of just running over to him and asking him for a ride! But then I thought “no, you’ve come this far, don’t give up”. I kept going.

The rest of the run was simple. I made it to the dealership, all sweaty and flushed, picked up my truck and headed home. I felt so proud of myself that I went to Provisions and had a celebratory beer.  Okay, maybe I had two.

A few notes afterward:

– Even though I had traveled the route dozens of times before, I had never paid attention to the sidewalks and pedestrian routes. There were places that the sidewalk disappeared or wasn’t safe. There were some places where utilities made it difficult to run (meters, utility poles, drains, etc.). If you’re thinking about running a new route, drive it in a car first to make sure that there are safe places to run. Unless you like the adventure of running in the street…… I do not.

– Make sure that you plan your route on well traveled streets. I chose streets that were well traveled but they weren’t very residential. High concrete walls enclosing developments and bridges over freeways made me feel isolated.

– I made sure to text my husband to let him know when I was leaving and told him that I would text him when I got there. I also spoke with the receptionist at my son’s school and told her my plan (she was both impressed and shocked). I wanted to have points of contact in case, heaven forbid, anything happened.

– Always wear your RoadID.

Afterwards, I told my husband that it was totally a mental thing for me to do that run and he asked me why. I told him that I felt completely on my own and that although I had done that short distance many times, it wasn’t a protected route, like on a race course.

I know, I know, sounds like a lame excuse. And maybe it is. But somehow I feel more confident as a runner. Maybe I need to step out of my comfort zone a little more to become better. I now know that I can rely on my running shoes to get me somewhere in a pinch if I need to. And that makes me feel stronger.

The ironic thing about my trip…. As soon as I left the parking lot of the car dealership, the shuttle van was pulling in.

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