Sunday, January 14, 2018


"Sometimes you have to go through hard times to get to the good stuff".  ~ Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach is one of my favs, along with Mikaela Shiffrin, Deena Kastor,  & Kara Goucher.  Each for different reasons, but each of them has something deep inside them that is different than everyone else, a fire, a purpose that is incomprehensible to most.  The most beautiful part is that like most legends in any field, if you asked them about it, they likely would not be able to articulate exactly what "it" is.  But that is the beauty of watching them from a far, if you are in tune enough, you see it, you "get" it.  I am reading Abby's book now and this quote stuck with me as I was thinking about what I wanted 2018 to be.  2018 is time to get to the good stuff.

I have (3) goals for 2018; they're broader than I usually make them....usually it's run X time, qualify for X, race X.    But I went in a totally different direction this year, and I love these more than any goal(s) I have ever set.

1.  Rediscover Joy.  I think somewhere lost in the race of life, I lost the pure joy in it.  I think that happens when you are in "fight" mode most of the year.  But, 2018 so far has been about happiness, and finding joy again.  I am a high achiever, and in running, work, and relationships I think I often let the pressure exceed the pleasure of what I am doing.  I am going back to why I fell in love with all the things I do in the first place, and starting there.  So what does that mean?  Lots of things, and I have lots of mini goals and milestones, but for example:

  • Being "with" more:  calling more, visiting more, I am a huge introvert, but the relationships I do have mean so much to me, and so I want to be with those people more and not think of it as another thing to do.  My mom always says all you have is the moments...and I don't know how many I have left, none of us do, so I want more...selfishly 😊
  • Laughing more:  I think I laughed more in the month of January so far then I did in all of 2017.  I love to laugh, but caught in the fight all last year,   I have so much, an amazing family, a fulfilling job, the sport of running (which has brought me remarkable friendships, sponsors, memories, and happiness), and best of all, I married my best friend...which I still wake up everyday and pinch myself that I get to pal around with this guy all the time (the humor between the two of us enough to cause daily happy tears). 😆
  • Racing more:  This is my pure running one, I started running to fill the competitive void from softball.  I love to race, I love the feeling of testing myself, I love going into that pain cave and reaching deeper than anyone thought I could.   And somewhere in the last few years that has gotten lost.  Racing became a chore, a rare check in, the big focus to qualify for the trials of course.  And that is still the big goal, but I am racing a lot more this year, and  as a result I won't always be race ready - and that's okay, my heart will make up for it ❤  When you race you make yourself vulnerable, and the faster you get the more eyes are on you, the more vulnerable you become.  But if there is one thing I learned in 2017 it's that no matter what I still have hugs waiting at the line, regardless of what I do, and those are the real awards that matter.
And so, most know this by now, but I am racing Boston!  And not that social media should be ANY kind of validation, but it was definitely a sign to me that I made the right decision! After posting this the amount of support...and even lodging love I got was ridic cool.    (**Literally, my Boston Buddy Kelly commented "stay with me!", and back to point #1 about "being with" I feel so comfortable around her, I cannot think of a better race situation, my heart is full just thinking about it...)

2.  Recovery.  This one is simple.  I am really good at doing the little things that are part of training full time....massage, foam rolling, strength, etc.  What I am not so good at➩Sitting.Still.   Every time I want to sit down I begin to think, I should...get the mail, vacuum, pay the bills, get gas in my car, grocery shop, get email, etc.  And after reading Peak Performance (great book) over break, I realized probably the most important part of recovery is not all the other things that are part of the "gig"....but truly letting your mind and body rest.  So what does this mean....****trying to catch myself when I am in tornado mode, and asking Justin if he wants to grab dinner, or just sitting next to him when he watches all his ridiculous shows (this has only happened once so far and I think he was shell shocked)...and my biggest one right now, is at night I typically try to "clean up email" which turns into another hour of work, so instead I am reading, which usually results in sleeping, but whatever, it's the effort 😉

****marketing disclaimer: this is a work in progress

this is still my all time favorite picture from our honey moon last year....I was being me thinking of what to do that day for our "itinerary" and we sat down to eat acai bowls at this about smack you in the face!

3.  Regain my mental mojo!    This one actually came from my coach.  As we debriefed 2017 and I asked him what he would like to see in 2018, that was his first response...mental confidence.  I don't like to think that I used to be "cocky"; but I used to have at least an internal swagger...maybe it was cocky, I hope not, that let me know no matter what on  game day, I would deliver.  Whether it was a test, a game, an interview, a race, or a meeting.  As long as I prepared properly, I had it, no question.  Somewhere along the way, I have lost that.  My mojo.  Not only am I less confident outwardly....more importantly, internally I am constantly doubting myself.  And I have been preparing harder then ever lately.   As I started to think through "why" - I guess it's because there are only so many times you can get knocked down before the knees get wobbly getting back up.  But 2018 I am going back to my roots....I didn't get to where I am because of luck...I earned it.  I am not 100% sure how this manifests itself yet to be honest, but for starters I have started to read a lot of sports psychology books...and just reminding myself⇨I. Belong. 

So the 3 R's (I didn't do that to be creative, it's so I remember them😂) are my focus for 2018.  And I have never been more energized, more excited, more happy to be alive and kicking than THIS year.
2018, bring it's time for the GOOD stuff😉

Saturday, December 30, 2017


I always find it fascinating to read about how others train, compete, and recover; learning something regardless of the level or sport/profession.  I am fascinated by what makes successful people "tick"; that's probably why I love reading biographies/autobiographies.  Post marathon the topic of the day tends to be about recovery, what's next, what are you doing, etc.  So much so, it spurred me to focus this blog on...recovery💤
I'm not sure there is a right or wrong way to recover - what works for one, could be a disaster for another.  And in today's world of Instagram, Strava, and Twitter where we all follow each other's journeys, it's hard to not get caught up in what everyone else is doing; and of course thinking that's what you should be doing😐
I am reading a great book, "Peak Performance", which no matter what you do, even if it truly is sitting on the couch eating bon bons, you would get something out of it, on how to do that at an optimal level😉  Anyways, a key premise of the book is stress & recovery; and that contrary to what most people think, progress/growth happens after recovery, not after stress (work/training).
No spoiler here, I tend to focus on the "stress" portion of the equation, like a champ😩

Physically, I didn't feel that beat up, which is shocking considering all my ankle/hammie issues; however I did take 1.5 weeks completely off anyways.  After 3 days I actually felt fine, but just wanted to err on the side of conservative.  I shy writing this because I think if my coach had his preference I would still not be running here at the 4 week mark (and sometimes he reads this!); but for me it really wasn't physical, it was mental. I almost needed running to recover, but NOT training....if that makes sense?  I was tired from the year, everything about it was a grind.  But we don't need to rehash that now,  do we?🙅
 I have not "trained" at all for 4 weeks - - run yes, trained no.  Meaning, I had no schedule, no workouts, stopped strength work, stopped PT, basically stopped anything that sniffed of "training".  The first day I got back I saw my "circle" (Doc, Becky, Brian/Torrey, Brent) to make sure everything was in working order - my pelvis tends to tilt after hard efforts - which if left alone can pull and tug at everything and cause a chain of fun.  So I got that adjusted, took a few ice baths, and then pretty much decided to be a normal person for the next 4 weeks; and for the first time in...well ever...I took 2 weeks completely off from work; no email checking, nada, nothing.  Completely checked out.
So what did I do?
  • Slept.   A lot.   I mean there were nights where I would sleep 10 hours, get up, go for a run, come back, eat and then take a 45 minute nap.  And it felt amazing.  I'm guessing it was my body's way of saying...I need this, just let me be.
  • Just Be.  Read, chill out at Starbucks, hike.   I really made an effort not to clean, reorganize, reorder, the entire house.  This was not about doing all the things I needed to do because I had the time, it was just about being.
One of my absolute favorite pastimes is to get Starbucks, my famous Acai bowls, and just chill and read, catch up on email, write this blog, etc.  
  • Eat.  The same.  I got this question a lot.  Do you have to totally change your diet?  No.  I don't watch calories, and if I am brutally honest, I actually have to in the reverse manner.  So it was SO nice to just eat when I want, and not have to worry about fueling enough.   The only thing I really changed diet wise was when I did run, I didn't use UCAN...mentally I want that to be my "training" competitive advantage, and  given that I wasn't doing any hard or long efforts I just stuck to cereal😊  Come Jan 1, when we get back to business, UCAN is called back into action!
  • Run.  Not train.  For me, what I missed/craved was running with other people, running routines, run-breakfasts, etc.  There's no stress, no harm in those runs in my opinion.  So I ran when I wanted to, without any structure.  And ANYTHING that felt like training, I said no to...for example a 6 am request, I dinged....that sniffed of discipline, alarm clocks, and rigor😁 
Brenda!  One of the best parts of this layoff was not worrying about how far or fast I needed to go; but being able to just run what others are doing and having fun while doing it!

Run buddy Tim, who is all kinds of fun to run with, and going to help me a lot in this next build up phase!

I actually got to run with Molly Huddle, who trains out here in the winter!  Which was interesting given I hadn't run hard or long for 3 weeks; but a run is a run, and it was fun!
  • Let loose.  Well...for me.  Chasing a dream involves a certain amount of discipline, therefore a lot of choices.  To me, they are not sacrifices, but choices; but nonetheless they take a lot out of you.  I go to bed, really early, and I wake up, really early.  My days are pretty much planned to the minute.  I avoid anything that could end up in a sprained ankle😉, and I really don't go out much - I just don't have time between training, coaching, and working.  All of my free time, goes to Justin, and I wouldn't change that for anything.   So, I stayed up late, I went hiking, I went skiing, I colored (my niece, Eleanor, taught me how😍), I baked, I went out, and I took copious amounts of naps.
Week night movies and dinner out?  #crazy

Skiing lessons!

Family time!

Yep, I totally baked those for my #1 Buckeye Fan for the bowl game 💃

And yea, I colored that, Eleanor gave me coloring lessons (hysterical)  "So, you really need to just to pick 3 colors and stick with them and stay within the lines.  If you need help choosing them let me know".     OK boss!
I am not going to lie, as I write this and think in a few days it's back to business - - - I get nervous.  My body is in for a rude awakening😵  But, on the other hand, I am excited, I am ready, this period of rest has strengthened me, and I am ready to rock n roll.  I think I really did this recovery period right...for me...Which is good.  I have big goals for 2018!
(I have been thinking a lot about those in my downtime, and that will be my 1st blog for the new year!)

**And lastly, I want to say to everyone who reads this, thank you, your support has and continues to mean so much.  From the bottom of my heart, my wish for your 2018 is nothing but tons of good health, abundant happiness, and just plain smiles😉

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

CIM Recap

The good thing about waiting so long to recap CIM is that it isn’t a gut reaction.
The bad thing about waiting so long to recap CIM is that it isn’t a gut reaction.
Over the course of the past few weeks I’ve been asked almost every day, so - how’d it (CIM) go? What do you think? Are you happy? Are you upset? You must be pumped!? You must be so disappointed, right? To which I’ve answered almost every time, “I think... I’m still processing it”.

I remember the day before and just experiencing, what I think most runners would agree is the best part of the sport, the community.

Hugging my UCAN rep, Katie.  I talk a lot about UCAN and how much it flat out works; but maybe more important to me is the people behind the brand.  They have witnessed many highs and many lows; they "get" that it's part of the sport, and I will never forget the text Katie sent me after the race.  I would do anything for these guys; when I get that OTQ I want to physically give part of the finish line to them💗

One of the coolest parts of the sport is how approachable the best of the best are; this is Steph (top 10 at NYC this year) and Ben Bruce (stud runner himself) with their coach Ben Rosario from NAZ Elite.

And me and Brenda!!!  I met Brenda at Kara's retreat (see previous blog on that😉) - she has to be one of the coolest people ever!  She is a rockstar at Oiselle and we actually still keep in touch!

Another cool part of the running community is how really, it's all one big family.  This is Sally, who started Oiselle, who Kara (Adam's wife) runs for - I know Kara and Adam both love her to death so I figured if they love her, I have to meet her - and wow, yes she is amazeballs 😊

And running buddies!!!  Many long runs with this rock star Bry!💚💚💚

I remember the night before spending time with my mom and Mrs. Cyr who flew in and feeling incredibly grateful.
I remember bagel boy at Whole Foods; we both were eyeing the blueberry bagel package because thy had the highest carb count 😉 he took the last one, and I probably looked like a little kid whose favorite toy was taken away😩 However, 5 minutes later when I was there and Justin was telling me to just decide, bagel boy came back  after he had paid for them and gave me one! II truly believe the majority of people have an amazing heart given the chance.
I remember sleeping like a rock, as all the work had been done at this point, and the training cycle such a grind, I was/am just tired.
I remember waking up at 4, fueling with UCAN and a bagel (yes the blueberry one😉), and reviewing the course one last time.
The proverbial pre-race shot....note my shoes are perfectly coordinated with my racing singlet #planned

I remember the boarding the athlete bus in the pitch dark and being totally at peace.
I remember the elite start corral and seeing all the faces you start to see over and over again from being in the same circle (another incredible aspect of the sport); and just wanting to start.
I remember the first 10 miles thinking the pace felt like I was walking? 6:35's were too easy; this must be a good sign?!
I remember at 13 smiling at Adam & Kara in my head, my pace was exactly what they beat into me the night before on the "pep talk" phone call.
I remember shortly after 13 thinking...okay it's time to start squeezing it down a little, and then pressing the gas pedal; and it really not working.  But, not panicking. 
I remember at 15, thinking I shouldn’t even be here (NEGATIVE MIND SWIRL💩), if you asked me in April if I would be running today I wouldn’t have been even able to look you in the eye.
I remember at 17, slamming on the gas pedal to squeeze it down, and having absolutely nothing there. And panicking.
I remember nailing the fueling plan, I felt fine, I didn’t hit the wall, there just was nothing in the tank beyond 6:35.
I remember at 22 6:35 started to slip away and there was nothing, nothing I could do, in my mind I was sprinting. In reality I was slowing.
I remember at 24 entering the pain cave and telling myself to suck it up this was for Jane Cyr.
I remember crossing the line and hearing my mom call my name because I can hear my mom’s voice among 14,000+ people any day.  
I remember the hug.

I remember bagel boy. Yep after 26 miles, and among some 14,000+ people we ran into each other. Tell me that was not meant to happen?!

I remember the moments afterwards feeling elated, disappointed, confused, grateful, exhausted, excited, like a winner, like a failure, full, empty...but keeping that inside because what mattered most was the hug.

I remember sitting on the curb at the hotel all clean and ready to go waiting for the LYFT to come and Justin saying, so how do you feel about all this. And tears welling up. And he hugged me and said , I thought so.

And so life goes on, and some days I felt so pissed at myself, and others, so grateful, and others, lost.

And usually as more time goes on, I get more analytical and critical with myself; but this time it’s the opposite.

Going in, our "A" plan was 2:53, 6:35 pace.  I ran 2:56:08.  I never hit the wall, I never ran out of gas, I just didn't have any gas.  

I decided I’m proud of CIM. I decided that I did what I set out to do amongst a lot of !%$& that happened in 2017. And I never ever gave up, when many have bagged it after February. I decided I feel really far away from something that means a whole lot to me, but I gained something more this year then any qualification could ever deliver - acceptance.

I nailed the race plan, I nailed the fueling plan, I got the hug...I just didn’t have it. It wasn’t in me. And all things considering I decided I am proud of what was in me.

The more miles I run, the more I realize it's about the story behind those miles.  The miles that made this CIM story were filled with a lot of struggle, pain, and fight.  I ran every single mile in a fight against cancer.  And cancer didn't win.  We won.    I love you Jane Cyr, xoxoox ❤

Bring on 2018!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Training Update, Taper Time, & a really important Hug!

Today marks the start of exactly 2 weeks to race day; which means it's time to take it down a notch, let the body recover, and freshen up.  Typically, I am not a taper kinda gal, I dread the cut back, the emotional ups & downs, the mind swirl that makes me discover a new tweak that will definitely cause me to DNS whatever race it is😖, and the new found time that allows me to reorganize and/or re-clean every room in the house.  But, then again, this has not been a typical training cycle; and I could not be more excited to take it down for 2 weeks.  Nothing has come easy, and it has been a bit of a grind, way too much fighting, way too little dancing.  But all if a sudden, things have just started to come together, just in time.

A recent trip home for "Early Thanksgiving" included a 20 miler in the tundra, a Bulls game for my guy, and a Hug from me --> All 3 sent me home realizing how full my heart is and things are coming to together....home has a way of doing that, doesn't it?

The difference with previous cycles was that I had workout build on top of workout build on top of workout, and after months of doing that, I could see my progress develop.  This cycle, I struggled to get healthy, then I struggled with injury, and I fought my way through training with endless doubts and fears; never really getting that momentum, really feeling stuck in neutral.
What I did have this cycle, is SO MUCH SUPPORT.  From Doc Z, to Doc Maynard, to my PT gurus in Brian & Torrey,  to my strength coach Dave, to Becky my rock, to Brent, to Ashlea, to my mom, to Justin, to my Track Angel Bill, and of course my Coach, Adam.  And probably what gives me the edge like no one else, is my inspiration, Mrs. Cyr. Which brings me to why I am running on 12/3.  I think if I was reading this I would say, if it wasn't going your way, why didn't you just call it?  And the answer is so simple to me.  Anybody can call it.  But if I call it, Cancer wins.  Does "it" really need another point?  Mrs. Cyr and I are winning this one.
So what do I have going for me this time:

  • I strung together faster longer runs this time around
  • I strung together a really consistent base of weeks upon weeks of 85/86 MPW;without racing much there really wasn't much up and down like last time
  • I strung together 3 really good workouts the past 3 weeks:
    • Track ladder
    • 1.5 mile repeats at faster then race pace
    • 2 mile repeats at progressively faster then race pace
  • Strength work→ Dave and I met 2x a week almost every single week
  • Confidence in my fueling like never before with UCAN
  • Mrs. Cyr in my heart, and a hug at the finish line
This actually is a happy "CB"...this was after my last true workout, the 4 X 2 mile repeats.  I knew in my heart I had put together 3 solid workouts in  3 weeks,  I needed that.  So this is more of a I'm "dead" in relief "dead" 😊
Naturally, I know the question is, so what's the goal.  I think I have an idea of a, "A", "B", and "C" goal, but I need to talk to the boss to make sure I am thinking about it right and he is aligned.  Regardless though, there is a bigger meaning to getting to line this time, and crossing it.  And I guess for the first time in my running "career"....I see that, I am so grateful for it, and I am ready to roll.
So let the taper begin, I have a really important hug waiting at the end of 26.2 miles❤

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Retreating (?!)

If you told me a few years ago I would be writing a blog, I wouldn't have believed you.  If you told me I would be writing a blog about attending a "retreat", I would be concerned you were headed toward the loony bin.  And yet, here I am doing just that - I am not sure where that puts me😉
** This is long so if you want the cliff notes version, skip to the end, otherwise here is the inside scoop!

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Kara Goucher's Podium Retreat, and not only did it blow my expectations away, it was one of the best weekend's of my life💓  A buddy texted me..."you have to blog about it, I'm nosy".....and I thought that's a good idea because I actually scoured Google before I left to see what I was getting myself into; and found a few blogs with an insider look.  So, I am "giving back" to the google search obsession I often take from!
First, full disclosure → I dreaded this.  Wholeheartedly.  Tried to get out of it 3x.
(1)  Kara, is Adam's the 1st year under Adam, I knew it was going on, but I laid low, and typical Adam 😉 the day before he was like... "shoot you should be at this".....oh nuts too late!
(2)  2nd, year, perfect excuse, I was running Chicago the next weekend 👍
(3)  3rd year, he asked way in advance, and to be honest, I was  really sick at the time, and couldn't see my way past Sunday, so I said yes, but never really thought it would come to fruition.  And then 2 weeks prior, I used the, "you know we are 6 weeks out from game day, maybe not the best timing, right?"....he didn't bite 😒
So retreating we go.
Upon arrival, you check in and then there is an opening happy hour/dinner. And while I know most people find it hard to believe, I am a MASSIVE introvert. I have to be extroverted for work, coaching, and running sponsorship responsibilities; but outside of that I am about as introverted as it gets. People, lots of em, new people, introductions, socializing, all makes me want to run 🏃   But, it went smoothly, every single woman seemed so "normal"...just like me...(am I normal?)....and talking and connecting with them seemed so very natural.   There was an opening "get to know you BINGO" game, which is typically bad news for me, games/competition tend to get the best of me, I can't  help myself, but I tried to be on my best behavior and not destroy everyone to win the stupid game.*
*for the record I believe I did win, there was a slight discrepancy as to whether bingo is a full card or a line, I got the whole card, and so technically I think I won, but I mean it's neither here nor there....

The 1st day,  if it was the only day, would have made the retreat worth it - that's how good it was.  I have attended, probably hundreds of conferences, meetings, events for running, work, coaching, etc and no matter how good they were, I ALWAYS at some point find myself looking at my watch, thinking, "okay now when this is over I will go do x, y, z."  This is probably the first 48 hour period in MY LIFE, where I was present.  I loved every minute, was 100% engaged, and just...happy.
We started with a track workout, where you partnered up with someone your speed....400's  - only 4 of them- and was super fun, even in altitude.  The best part, was while a huge part of me of course was in the "must win" camp, there was a better part of me in the, "this is really cool, to be doing this with women of all ages, backgrounds, goals, stories" camp.  The speed felt good, but the feeling felt better.  I ran some extra miles with Adam afterwards to get in my mileage for the day, and magically my bum hamstring just kind of healed.

Absolutely hilarious story, this awesome lady comes up to me and says are you from Phoenix, I was like, YES! How did you know?  Well, we were the only 2 wearing gloves in 65 degrees #suresignyouarefromphx

Because you have to add the picture of you running on the storied Buff Track👊

This was that "feeling" that was way better then "winning"
Then lunch (all the food was AMAZING, I don't think I have ever eaten that well), and talks from Anna Paffel about "living in your fire" and Dr. Amy Oldenberg about strength training.  Both, very engaging, and powerful in their own rights.  One made you think about your life, one made you think about your body.  Probably good to do both.
Then pilates in the park with Tracey Katona, I loved her ❤  her energy and spirit were right up my alley, the kind of person who just tells it like it is, all the time.  One of my life philosophies (from my mentor Jodi), is life is too short to beat around the bush, just shoot straight.  Easy to say, hard to do. But, what I am learning is people who do - are so authentic.  It's refreshing.  Anyways, it was awesome, I love and believe in pilates so I totally dug this.

It looks like fun and games,but it was HARRDDDDDDDDD.
It was a perfect day, and afterwards we walked to the "Made in Nature" store where they showed us their set up and we had a happy hour with more amazing food.  They got a new loyal shopper because of how incredibly friendly and welcoming they were.  Plus, just learning about all their products, it's really good stuff, made with really good stuff.

We had a mini break before dinner, so I and 2 newly found amigos, headed to Pearl Street to check out the local running store, which we never made it too, but managed to drop dollars elsewhere😖  Ashley & Karen, were 2 connections I made that I hope to never lose.  Some people you just automatically connect with.  It's like kindergarten on your 1st day, right?  Somehow you just find your peeps😊

Dinner that night, was probably the best I've ever had, cooked by Lottie Bildirici, or if you're on instagram, @runningonveggies (she specializes in athlete's diets/nutrition) - and is just another bad ass.  I had butternut squash soup, which I would never eat on my own, and it was AWESOME.

this was dessert, an apple crisp concoction that I could eat all day, every day.

...and the butternut squash soup, oh vey, amazzzzzing!
The next day began with another cool connection.  One of my amazing bridesmaids, Kerry Lee, close friends randomly came up to me and said, are you CB, Kerry talks about you!?   Go naturally we planned to go for a run and get to know each other, hearing her story (powerful) and her girl crush on Kara (hysterical).

After that we had a session with Kara's strength coach; which was very cool. Personally, for me it was a huge validation of what I have been doing with my strength coach - - almost all of the same principles and exercises.   This was followed with what for me was probably the most beneficial session; self defense!  Julie Morrill lead this, and it was terrific!  I travel a lot and often find myself running in 'new' places by myself. I used to have a no fear attitude, but after a scary encounter in LA a year ago, I am pretty wussy now when it comes to when/where I run.  Julie showed us how to use our elbows(brilliant!) and scream something very cerebral when being attacked as their act is physical, and they will hear what you are screaming, and think...wait, what? For example,mine will be" WHERE IS MY PEANUT BUTTER!?"  REALLY FRIKKIN LOUD.  Just the time they take to think wha?! could give you the seconds you need to run.  I do still worry that I just wouldn't be strong enough....I mean when Justin pretend tackles me, I go down immediately, and I know it's coming ...maybe next time I'll try the elbows😏 #triptotheemergencyroomforbothofus
The day ended before dinner with Kara talking to us about her journey and future. I think one of the reasons Kara is so adored, is her willingness to be honest.  She wears her emotions on her sleeve; which in a world where a lot seems "fake", she is authentic.  I guess the pinnacle of the whole weekend was my realization that Kara is a "fighter"  - - and I, over the course of the past few years have been in fight mode, in fact for a long time, I always feel like I am fighting.  There is a lot of good to that - - fighters are tough, fighters grind, fighters win, fighters never, ever, ever give up.  But in fighting you put your hands up by your face so you don't get hurt, and it blocks who you are.  And sometimes I think I have been so busy fighting, I never let my guard down, I never let people really know who I am.  Kara, is a fighter, but knows when to take the gloves off.  Maybe, not her entire life, but she grew into it, and that is what I want for myself, and I guess that is why she is my hero  ❤

Saturday night before I went to bed I talked to Adam about the Sunday long run.  That is when he informed me we would be doing a workout.  At first blush I was like, are you kidding me?  Do you not recall the egg I dropped last weekend?  My confidence is at an all time low, and now you want to run 16 miles at altitude, with a workout in it.  Come on dude.  But I took the gloves off and just listened, and decided I could do it.  I barely slept that night, visualizing the run, the paces, the logistics.   I woke up really early to be back in time for the "most important part of camp" at 930.
And in 30 degrees, pitch dark, in altitude I ran....exactly what I wanted to... I nailed it.  Was it some crazy workout, no, but did I execute it flawlessly, yes.  For the first time, in a long time, I felt like myself.  I really needed that.
After showering and playing with all my post run toys, I headed down for the part that probably made me the most queasy about this whole weekend.  The sharing 😓
I'll leave it at this, because I do not feel anything I could write could capture it.  We each had to say one word that described us, and one thing we were going to do in the next year.  And the magic, at least that I observed, was that for almost everyone's one word - their strength, what they are most proud of about themselves, was also their weakness, and what they wanted to change somehow in the year ahead.  I get that.

**I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, and have gone back and forth with some of the women I met there, that weirdly, I miss them?  I'll never forget that weekend or what I learned:

1.  Running, is so much more than running to me.  It just is.  Yes, I love the sport, I love the journey, I love the hard work, there's something magical that it's just my own two legs powering me, I  love the people, the community, the racing scene, the routine, I love it all.  But what I love most about running is that in life we all face battles we DON'T choose, we just get.  We don't choose that pain and suffering.  In running we get to choose that, we opt into that, and that ability to "go there", those moments when we break through and come out on top, those moments are what have made me who I am, learning to choose that pain and run through that pain, has enabled me to persevere and deal with life....anything in life.  Listening to everyone's stories reminded me of that.  It's so much more then a sport for me.
2. You don't have to talk to share.  I didn't really say much all weekend, I'm just not good at sharing.   Sometimes listening to others helps you get it all out.  And just because I didn't share my story doesn't mean I didn't share.  I have said this before, but I ran miles and miles in silence with W during Chicago training, and I felt like I knew her better then most in my life.  It comes out, and if people care, they hear.
3. Be kind, be gentle.  Everyone, EVERYONE, has their own struggles...and someone said it well, you cannot compare crap is worse then yours, it doesn't work that way.  To everyone, the battle they face is their battle, and in their life causing them just as much pain as yours.  The tricky part is you don't know what exactly is going on, so  be kind, be gentle, you could be the straw that breaks the camel's back, or the rainbow they need.  
4.  There are so many good people out there.  All we hear about is the negative, but there is way more positive.  Seeing a group of 60+ women who didn't know each other, get to know each other, and hear their stories reminded me, the power of people.  We can be, we are... really good.
Running brought these 2 together, Running brought these 2 into my life, and somehow Running enabled me to be at their amazing retreat

Monday, October 16, 2017

Ripping it off fast.

Getting this one out fast like ripping off a band-aid, and then it's over, and I am putting it behind me.

Sunday I raced the Denver RNR.  And I bombed it.  BIG TIME.  Hands down my worst race to date.
Everyone on my "team" has  provided me some great excuses to use  (it was cold, I tweaked my hammie Friday, altitude, not tapered, and plenty more good ones😊)....
But the truth? It just was not my day...I sucked.

I ran the 1st mile in 6:26, and looked at my watch thinking it would say 5:55, and I knew it was going to be a long day. It was the longest race of my life, every mile dragged on forever, my head wasn't in it, I could not wait to be finished.  In fact at mile 7, I was 90% decided to drop out and then I looked at my wrist and reminded myself what TOUGH was. Tough is Mrs. Cyr.  And sometimes all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and fight until you are running smoothly again.  Well, smooth never came, but I never gave up.  Kind of praying I would get my legs back, but instead it was just a battle to the end.

The hardest part of yesterday was disappointment.  There are so many people (I don't have to name them because they know exactly who they are, they give so much of themselves) who believe, support, sponsor, and sacrifice for me.  And then to give them Sunday....feels not so good😩  There is no possible way to pay them back...ever...but what I can give them is a whole lot better than that.

When I crossed the finish line Justin hugged me, and he went right to the excuses (God love him❤), but I told him, I just plain sucked.   He switched my shoes for me because my hands were frozen, and I told him I would meet him at the rental car in 30 minutes.  I didn't cry, I didn't think, I was just in a trance.  I got about .5 miles from the car and then I definitely cried and threw up in some fancy bush - sorry Denver Art Museum...I felt so overwhelmed, so tired, so pissed, so angry.  You see, the hardest part of chasing big dreams, is when you reach so high, you fall so far. And. it. hurts.

But that was yesterday.  And no event, no circumstance, no outcome determines who I am. How I respond does. And I know just how to do that.  In fact, I just had a track workout that showed me how to rebound😉 #seelastpost

So, today, I put my shoes on and got right back on the roads.

If you looked up unconditional love in the dictionary, you would see these guys.  I love them more then I could ever out into words.

Aunt Carrie and Uncle Justin being responsible caregivers to E Sr. and Connor👀

There is quite possibly nothing that I love more then putting this on and racing, nothing.  And nothing took that away from  me Sunday.  In fact, it made me love it even more.

Saturday, October 7, 2017


2 weeks ago....
"Workouts" for runners are kind of a big deal.  You plan your week around them. If you know what they are in advance they can create anxiety.  If you are waiting for them the day before, they can create insane anticipation.  Once completed, they always deliver relief.
A runner's mood can hinge on the outcome of the weekly workout.  A training block is built upon not one workout, but consistent performance of one upon another upon another.  You can "feel" your fitness growing, and your confidence right along side of that.
Since running competitively I have completed lots of workouts.  Some better than others, some huge confidence builders, some stinkers, some average, but I have never really bombed one.  I have been with Adam for about 3 years now, and he just knows my ability/capability really well.  The prescribed splits have pretty much always been spot on.  
Thursday night I got the workout for Friday morning, and it was a softball.  The paces were stupid easy, and normally I would push back but I had been traveling, I hadn't been feeling very well, and it hadn't been a great week - not dead legs, but just nothing in the tank.  So I figured this was best, just get the turnover going and use it as a confidence booster.  
I went to bed Thursday night excited to kick it and in a good mood.  Lately, I have been doing my track workouts with my track angel, Bill. He's the head coach at Notre Dame Prep, and a great running mind.  In tandem with Adam, it's been perfect.  But, I didn't want to overuse the welcome mat,  so I figured for this one I would go by myself at 6 am at a community college.
I woke up, happy to be home, happy to be back with Justin, feeling much better, ready to rock:
6 X 800 @ marathon pace with 800's in between @ long run pace (3 warm up/3 cool down), net 12.

Got to the track, warmed up, felt good.  
Rep 1: hmmmm, this feels clunky, this pace feels sick hard, I must be going way too fast, click...3 seconds over, yikes....ok, that felt a lot harder then that pace....totally unacceptable, get it in gear CB.
Rep 2:  Dang without recovery this kinda sucks, why do I feel like I have never run before? Everything hurts.  I'll nail this one b/c I am breathing really seconds over,  NO.
Rep 3:  Ok, well at least the in between paces seem natural, first 2 are just off, no biggie, you've had a really tough week, just grind this out, come on CB, click...8 seconds over....
tears welling up in eyes 😩
Rep 4:   Maybe I should bag it, I've read a lot lately about being smart, and on days when you dont have it, sometimes its smarter to shut it down....yep, I mean I'm tired, I haven't eaten my usual all week, I'm stressed, the travel, yea, I'll just do this one more if I get it, I'll keep going, if not, I'll bag, 1 second over.  Ugh....what is wrong?
Rep 5:  Ok, this is ridiculous, suck it up CB, get these last two, you got this, you are not giving up now, stop saying all the reasons you can't, and say the one reason you can - this is for Mrs. Cyr, dig DEEP...let;s, 2 seconds over.  Something is wrong.  My legs aren't dead, I am.
Rep 6:  Alright, all out sprint, this is stupid, if you were smart you would  have stopped, but you didn't, you're finishing this, so red-line it.  Everything you got, right here.   Click.  Sub 2 seconds.

The rest of Friday, I just went through the motions.  I didn't know what to think.  I know one workout doesn't define you, doesn't make or break a training block, but this was the ultimate softball.    I tried my best to hide my tears when talking to Adam on the phone later that day,   I was pinching my arm NOT to cry.  He ended the conversation with "I like the way you rallied back at the end".  All I could think is was that my last rally?
And I never posted this.
90% of the posts I write I never press publish on.  I write them and then think, no one is going to care to read this.  It's much easier for me to write then to talk, so I guess it's just as helpful for me to write it, regardless of whether I press "publish" or not.  But if I am truly honest, I think I also for the first time in my life didn't know how I would respond, if I could rally.  And for me,  that was scary territory; and putting that in writing was even scarier.

I knew the workout since Monday.  And I dreaded it.  It was a repeat of 10 X 1K that I did about a month ago.  It's brutal.  It's a long workout that demands pretty intense mental and physical focus. Last time I did it, I would actually call it pretty much a success, but it was a big struggle, and I definitely did not nail it by any means.  The back (5) I lost the pace quite a bit, until Bill yelled at me and then I finished strong.
But now, I don't know if I could pull that off.  Perhaps one of the toughest workouts - a week after my debacle.
I thought about it all week. I visualized success....but it never lasted, bad thoughts crept right in.
On Thursday, I finally gave in, I texted Adam and said I was really hope(?)  he would say let's do something else.  That didn't happen.😒  He stoked me like only he knows how to, slightly pissing me off, and finishing with  "Win this workout CB".
Win This Workout.
That would be my rallying cry. Get the "W".  (Fitting for the Cubbies too)

I knew I needed Bill and so had arranged to meet him at the track early....he knew the workout well, and knew the prescribed paces.  He was just as dialed in as I was.
Rep 1:  ok, Just like we reviewed on the phone, hit the 100 in 23, 200 in it, click - right on
Rep 2:  same thing, again CB, come - right on
Rep 3:  ok now you know the milestones...settle in.....losing it a little after the 400 mark, keep on, click, right on
Rep 4:  All I hear is Bill's voice and my breath, I am in the zone, click....nailed it
Rep 5:  Hang on for one, got it
Intermission...THIS.IS.HAPPENING.  Bill tells me to use arms more when I am tired takes the mind of the pain cave.
Rep 6:  Ok, this is where I lost it last time, stay tuned in, click...BOOM.
Rep 7:  These next two are the most important Bill says, stay dialed, nailed it.
Rep 8:  Hardest one, legs starting to feel heavy, entering pain cave, click..nailed it.
Rep 9:  One more to one more, everything else is gone, just Bill's voice,  click, nailed it.
Rep 10:  Do not let this go, this is for Mrs. Cyr, focus.....use your arms, use your arms, click,  "W".

Splits from the workout on 8/23  vs. Yesterday

I debated about posting this; especially because I didn't have the courage to post part one...but the more I thought about it, I thought why not?  This hasn't been the smoothest of training cycles by any means, it's been nothing like my Chicago Build-up, it's been a grind, it's made me question everything...and yet it's moments like this, that give you hope, that keep the lows at bay, that remind me at the core what it means to fight...just like Mrs. Cyr.
And so, we keep fighting👊

That's the post workout Double W -->  W on the shirt for the Cubs, W on the hands for the workout.