Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Torn ACLs and Grandma's; not together.

How's that for a headline?
About 3 weeks ago I was cleaning up email at Starbucks one Saturday afternoon while Justin was playing in a tennis tournament.  I received that call that puts a crack in anyone's heart...that panicked, in pain, hurt call..."I think it's my ACL".  And long story short after the usual clown show that is our healthcare system; he tore his ACL and medial and lateral meniscus.  Immediate surgery.  Within a few days we were up at the crack of dawn, and not to run, but for 5:45 AM surgery. I had perfectly planned out the day (because naturally if that was a career I would be people's day planners🙋).  I would drop him off, go running, and then work from a Starbucks near there for a few hours, pick him up, and back to life as normal.  Yea. No. I do not think either of us knew what we were getting in to.
After,  I left the prep room, I had to sign a bunch of paperwork, one document which stated there was a possibility he could die 😕Now, I hate being dramatic, the chances of that were .0000001%, if that; but it shook me. My hand was shaking so much while signing, the nurse hugged me. (*very embarrassing)  To boot as I walked out the double doors the nurse came running  and said, "You'll want this!" and handed me his ring  😲.
How fast life changes. 2 years ago at this time I went from yes, I want to get married, feels right, logical next step➯to now having the thought of what if? Life without Justin, just wouldn't even be worth living.
There's a protocol for these breakdown situations🠞 Phone Mom.   I cried, and part of me was waiting for her to tell me to pull it together like when I was little and a hot mess over things; but instead I felt her virtual hug.💗  Roughly, 5 hours later and a phone call that there was a change of plans during surgery, I went to see him.  The nurses helped me get him in the car; and as they did I thought..🤔 well how will I get him in the house?  However, they assured me he had crutches.  Well, let me tell you those suckers only work if you have all your faculties functioning.  So, cutting to the chase...buckets of sweat later, a random strong neighbor, 6 trips to Walgreens, 3 to CVS, 1 all out breakdown at Walgreens, more throw-up than I ever wanted to clean up, multiple nurse calls for help, we hit a functioning level where I could go upstairs and scream into a pillow.
Every Sunday Justin has been crew support for so many, water, crossing guards, shirts, you name it.  So in honor of him, the Sunday after his surgery we made "J's" (*which did not go down without several minutes of arguing which way the "J" should go).

We were a team before; but now so even more 💗
Transitioning to Grandma's➯ a week later the plan was to run the 1/2 Marathon in Minnesota.  I was excited, because I knew after my race in May, with any sort of decent weather, I was ready to go sub 1:25 (nothing impressive, but a mental barrier I needed to click off).  I was feeling great, and stronger than I have in a long time.  However, now there was no way. For one, I was not leaving Justin by himself, he could barely function, and two I was exhausted.    I had managed to train through this quite well - my long run and workout for the week had been spot on; but I was starting to feel dead tired.   I hadn't discussed this with Adam, but life happens, and I assumed he'd understand.  I mean at this point I've thrown way worse at him, and he has always understood😉  I called Delta, and this could be another blog all in itself - but of course he had to be on the phone to cancel (* I guarantee you if it was the other way around he could have cancelled😡).  So, I tiptoed downstairs and woke him up, and said hey, can we talk for a second?  Oh Vey 😵 that went over like a load of bricks.  He would not have it.  At this point, he even insisted on still going. I had a week to use my sales skills.
Fast forward to the day before,  I finally got him to agree to cancel his ticket, and we decided (well, he decided) I would just go.
I don't even remember taking off or landing; the flight attendant said she wasn't sure if I was alive.  Best flight/nap ever.  To Minneapolis.  We then proceeded to fly from Minneapolis to Duluth 3x due to thunderstorms💩  I had to hustle to get my bib, and basically just went to bed.  The original plan had been Justin & I were going to share a hotel room with 2 of our close friends, Dan & Kerry.  I felt a tad guilty that I was the 3rd wheel to their party, but I tried to let them do their thing and not get in the way.  A 4 am wake-up call led to the elite bus being 30 minutes late and lots of Type A runners freaking out.
Which brings me to here💥  None of this➱ the guilt from leaving Justin, the circus clown plane tour to Duluth, nor the bus "situation" really bothered me.  Instead, I found myself in this insane cloud of gratefulness.  To be there. To be racing. To be feeling as strong and healthy as I was.
Easy decision on who these shoes would go to👍
The race recap is straight forward.  It was 47°, freezing* (for me, anything below 70 and my hands turn purple⛄) Adam & I had planned on a conservative 6:25 start, and if all was going well crank it down the last 3 miles. Just get the 1:25.  I looked at my watch after the 1st mile, assured it would say 6:25, and it said 6:15, hmm, okay, felt easy, and basically I ran 6:15's the whole way.  I had 3, what I am calling, "Float" miles⛵ - perhaps my head was stuck in the grateful clouds?  I am not sure, but I ran ~7 miles @ 6:15 then a 6:30, I saw it and was like what are you doing?🙄   and would click of 3-4 6:15's, and then do it again.  I finished strong though, last mile was 6:11.  1:23:37.  Happy?  ABSOLUTELY.  Satisfied?  NO.  I want those 3 miles back, it's only about :45, but close to my PR.    But, no beating myself up, I'll get those!  I think it's getting back to racing, and learning to stay dialed in every mile.   I felt strong at the end, nailed my fueling (*took UCAN bar when I woke up, and sipped UCAN electrolyte drink during the bus drama), and had one of my better pacing efforts.  It was great having Adam there, I think he made it every 2 miles with little cues and words of encouragement that fired me up.    Afterwards, I got to hang with Kerry and see Dan (and a few other friends I knew running) qualify for Boston, which was incredible.  The spirit of running is unexplainable; without training with them everyday I still "get" what it took to achieve their goal.
Afterwards, Adam & I debriefed and talked next steps.
ANY day when I get to hang with my sole sister Kerry, is a GREAT DAY 💗💗💗💗
Having the guy who makes it all happen there was awesome.  I always get asked do you think a coach is needed/worth it?  ABSOLUTELY. For so many reasons.  I know I am a solid ship, but I need a captain to get me to destination I want; otherwise I would probably stop at too many islands along the way, hit 20 icebergs, and probably sink.  No better captain than mine 😊

The return trip was without drama, but with more thought.  Typically, post race I find every way possible to critique.  And don't get me wrong, I really want those 3 "float" miles back; but on the whole, I love where I am at mentally right now - which I think has been my biggest roadblock.  Adam would adamantly say you CANNOT compartmentalize the different aspects of your life, and think what is going on in one area will not effect another area.  Which, after a year of fighting with him on that, ok, fine.  But, I do think I did something at this race I have never done before.  Every time, I started to let my mind swirl, I found myself thinking about what I WAS grateful for.
  • My whole routine this week went out the window, not ideal before a race👉I am so grateful I am healthy to make sure we could get through this and take care of him.  I thrive on adrenaline.
  • 3 flights to Duluth, crappy for legs, messes up my whole pre race routine👉how cool is it that I met this amazing travel buddy to laugh our way through this, and perhaps even give the legs some extra rest just sitting.
During the travel nightmare I met this awesome travel buddy, Austin, and we had some pretty epic laughs revolving around the famous #ding or lack of #dings waiting to touchdown, or maybe not, go back to Minneapolis

  •  Bus 30 minutes late, shoot, whole warm-up routine out the window👉it's really cold outside anyway; this is perfect I will have just enough time to do 2 quick miles and then race!

It's June. I am wearing gloves. Enough said.
I share this because anyone who has been kind enough to follow this journey would recognize, if not be shocked by how far I have come in the mental department.  And, I can't really offer any key nuggets on how I got there but, well, perspective.  
I am excited about this training block, having a ton of fun, pushing really hard, and while I know I have a lot of work to do,  also kind of excited about all the work that has been done!


Monday, May 28, 2018

Report Cards & Racing Recaps

In January, I posted my (3) 'resolutions' for 2018.  Normally, I am not into New Years Resolutions because as a "Type A", very competitive, perfectionist I am pretty much setting and tracking goals on a daily basis ( insert all the razing I have gotten over the years for my infamous timed showers 😂).  However, this year I wanted to be very intentional about focusing against a new mindset  - - so I set specific resolutions; and I actually do reflect on them often and I think* they have helped me quite a bit.  So 6 months in...how am I doing?!
First off, Rediscover Joy👉  (Being 'with' more, laughing more, racing more)
  • Grade: A-
  • Being 'with' more:  This one has opened my eyes to how important relationships are to me; even as an introvert.  I don't think I ever really realized that.  From family to friends to co-workers to running buddies - - people matter, a lot to me.  I like deep relationships with few and genuine relationships with many; where both sides truly invest.  Whether it was more frequent or more consistent connects, more check-ins, or long over-due re-connects....the past 6 months have been awesome. People can and do fill your heart (*I am not stupid, I know they can do the opposite too, that's why you choose wisely) 💗
Whether it's work buddies...

or hot pizza dates with this guy?

or running week in and week out with the old crew...

or adding new ones to the crew....


...or long overdue reconnects.
  • Laughing more:  Absolutely.  I have not laughed so much or so hard, so often in a long time.  120% of this goes to Justin.  While I am often the butt of the jokes or commentary😖 I can also dish it out pretty fast...but I guess more than anything I don't understand how I lived life without him.  We celebrate 2 years in less than a month, and I was the one nervous about marriage; and now I don't know what I would do without it.
From playing sports, to watching sports....only thing with Justin is he (actually along with my coach) don't understand bets, and paying up when you lose.  Maybe it's a male thing.

anything for free stuff 😜
  • Racing more:   Well, not so much, Boston didn't happen, and thus all the races leading up to it never happened either.  And that was rough.  But, I am probably the strongest and healthiest I have been in a long time now, and actually just got my first race under my belt last weekend.  I went to Chicago for the Spring Half Marathon with a goal of 1:25 in my head.  It came pretty easily through 7, with my splits dead on 6:23/6:24, without much effort.  At around 7 you hit the lakefront, and the wind had different plans for me.  That was miserable.  I tried to refocus and race not for time, but for place, a true race.  And I ended up 1st in AG, and 6th overall, which for a bigger race, I'll take.  I left, confident in my fitness, and excited that I was on the right path.
The lack of fans in Chicago, tells you how cold, windy it was - that city is usually electric with their fans! Even so, I don't regret it, because it ended with finish line hugs from mom❤

Second, Recovery.
  • Grade:  B (solid)
  • This is a tough one for me, but owning it, has made me think twice before I do anything.  I'm getting older 👀 but I find myself so much more tired now than I ever have been.  Work, travel, training wipe me, by Wednesday, I cannot wait for my Saturday nap!  I am much more intentional about not working as much at night, being okay just sitting watching movies with Justin, and leaving that load of laundry or unswiffered floor until I have more energy😊 And I think it has actually helped my running, I am not burning it so hard, all the time.  Unfortunately, with work/travel it's hard to really have balance and so be it, I love what I do, and it works for me, and I do my best to manage the ebbs and flos to enable recovery.
  • I think I also have found a great thing with my PTs @ Spooner PT.  I see Torrey and Brian once a week for a tune-up and strengthening/stability work.  They are so vested in me and my dream; I sincerely feel like they rebuilt me and genuinely care about getting me there.  I look forward to Monday nights with them.
  • I started Cryotherapy ( by recommendation of Brian) - at USCryotherapy; and man has that made a huge difference for me. I could and probably will write a whole blog in it because of the amount of questions I have gotten around it; but for me I really feel like it has decreased the overall level of inflammation in my body, and enabled me to get ahead of negative inflammation and feeling really good.
That'd be me running in -180 degrees!  You have to keep moving so you don't get frost on your eyelids (Or at least I do!)
Third,  Regain my mental Mojo.
  • Grade:  B-
  • On the one hand I just got off the phone with my coach, Adam, and he said, I quote, "you need to be less cocky"- now granted that was in regards to a bet I had with him, that I won, and just like Justin, he denies it, (*must be a male thing, see above), but still that's swagger 😉
  • And in regards to running when I get the prescribed paces, workouts, I don't get the anxiety/fear I used to, in fact, I kind of like the tempo run now!  In the bigger picture, I see that after everything - that I can handle a split/pace.  
  • Even after my first race back last week, it didn't go as planned, and I honestly can tell you, it didn't really bother me.  I felt how I wanted to feel through 7 miles, weather I can't control, and I knew, and was confident enough to know, the result was not indicative of my current fitness. Now, am I ready to qualify yet, heck no, but headed in the right direction, yep.
  • So, where I lack, is the bigger picture, of truly believing I will and can achieve my dream.  Letting it all play out, trusting the training, believing in the run.  Feeling really far off still.
Sometimes I think I just need to channel E. Jr.  You ask kids if they're good at something and they unabashedly tell you , yes.  When/where do we lose that swagger?  Especially as females...?  I got this👊



So here's to keeping this train rolling one week at a time. I am very excited about SUMMAH and have lots to look forward to!  Happy Memorial Day, feeling extra grateful to all those who served so we can do and have what we do❤


Friday, April 13, 2018

Resilience vs. Resistance

Yep.  I know.  It's been a while.  It's not that I haven't had the time, or haven't had the energy, or haven't had the passion ....I was just waiting to write when I knew what  'the ending' would be.
...I love beginnings, and I love endings...it's just the in between I struggle with 😩
Most know by now, Boston isn't happening.  And, it's not news, in fact it's really old.  Thus, I could sit here, with that in the rear-view mirror look and tell you →it was meant to be!  There are better things ahead!  I am so grateful it worked out that way! ....or I could be honest.  It hurt.  It still hurts.  And not so much because of the DNS - hell the past year I set a record of those!  But more because, there are only so many times you can get kicked in the teeth.  You know it stings when you are healthy, when you are feeling great, when you see the light, and it still aches.
I want to know the ending.  And I don't.  I want to know all the hard work, the focus, the dedication...pays off.  I want to know it's worth it. That I am not wasting my sponsors, my family, my friends, my coach's, my company's time by supporting me.  I am stuck "in the in between", and feeling lost.

I love that I often define myself by one single subjective thing.  My dream.
I hate that I often define myself by one single subjective thing.  My dream.

When it's going well, I feel like I float through the world.  Since chasing my goal of qualifying I have built a life revolving around running.  My lifestyle, my schedule, my friends, my 'side' hobbies all are made up of and surrounded by the sport.  It's an empowering community, and it's home to me.  It's addicting (the people, the endorphins, the chase)...and it quickly can become all you care about.  And I feel guilty about that. 
Sharing running with E. Sr has been one of the greatest experiences of chasing my dream.
Your tribe is your vibe, no one understands all the quirks of a runner better than another runner
 I look around me and see so many people suffering in some way - people I love, a lot...people I barely know who tell me their story...people I have never met, but hear/see their story.  And you realize it could be worse, it could be better, I had that, at least I don't have that, I can relate, I can't imagine, I wish I could help, I feel helpless.
But comparing pains/struggles is not the solution - if it hurts, it hurts.  And if it hurts,  you can't be 100%.  If you cant be 100%, you cant be you.  If you cant be you, life becomes...hard.

I had a turning point on a trip to Cincinnati while having dinner with one of my closest friends, fellow runners, confidants, bridesmaids, long lost sister💓  As we sat down, I tried to dodge it, quickly asking about her, and she sniffed right through it, and said, "no we are not doing this, you always do this"😒  And so, I told her:  I wasn't doing Boston, but I am healthy now,  but I am not training, but I don't know why, I don't have a plan, I don't know if I have a coach? Have I just wasted a lot of people's time, energy, money?  What the hell am I doing?...I feel...well angry, and lost.
And she asked me if she had ever told me the 'popcorn story' -  how she had had 2 brutal years with a litany of injuries and one day while making popcorn and burning it she slammed the bag on the counter and blew up.  *(No details needed, imagine, it, we've all been there, one little thing is just the last straw).  Immediately, I could relate, I hadn't had a popcorn tirade, but I had had a popcorn moment.  And she told me she hated that running had become like a person, that controlled her life, that determined her moods, that dictated her happiness.  That without it she was fake to everyone else, inside dying.  I related - my dream is like a person, doing the exact same thing to me.  But then what she said, changed everything for me.  That it was okay.  That having a passion that deep, having something that drives you so much...is living.  That my dream was a big part of who I am, it's my lifestyle, it's my community, it's my breath.  Of course it is affecting you this much, and of course that is okay, that is life.  If not this dream, than another passion would have the same effect.
It's living a fully lived life.
On the flight home, it's all I could think about.  In a way we all have that one thing that we really really live for.  And it changes with the ebs and flows of life, but usually is not a 'fad'.  It's important to us, for deep reasons.  The thing could be 'superficial' but what's behind it is not.  Growing up my dad's mood was based on the Cubs winning or losing - for real.  But, as I got older I understood the Cubs represented so much more than a team (it was his dad, it was his baseball dreams growing up, it was his community).....for my mom, her mood is hands down our family's health & well-being.  When anyone is hurting, sick, injured, struggling in any way - she is CRUSTY.   Family means THAT much to her, being together, talking about being together lights her up.   For other's it's their career, their goal, their health, etc.
And one could argue that it's unhealthy to be so into "it" - - but I guess where I landed is that perhaps if "it" is all you have.  But most of the time we all have A LOT more, we just have a big place in our heart for "it"....for example, I am blessed I have A LOT more to me outside of my dream....I have a very tight family, my best friend as my husband, I have an awesome, fulfilling career,  I have friends outside running (yoga buddies, golf buddies, yoga buddies who are golf buddies😤), coaching, my faith, hobbies (now those tend to be fad based!), etc.  So is there a lot more to me than my dream?  Of course, and I get that, but my heart....right now....is dominated by my dream.
The other part of me, Golf Buddy?  Sort of...we both are brutal, but it's fun as hell to pretend!
 
Yes this is happening, I am taking tennis lessons so I can beat Justin (*this is currently the only thing I cannot beat him at)
I have other passions....everyone on Instagram is pretty much over my obession with Acai (it's world renown) 💃
 So instead of trying to 'squash' it, instead of feeling guilty, instead of thinking it's unhealthy....I've come to the realization it's about resilience vs. resistance.  It's not refusing the downs, it's surviving them.  And knowing they're coming, and knowing I'll weather the storm.  When you dream BIG, you will feel small, many many times.  There will be failures, doubt, and criticism.  And if we want to be able to navigate through the heartbreaks of a fully lived life, we can't equate the disappointments with not deserving happiness.  Instead, it's accepting the setback, believing you will get through, and then BEING RESILIENT and getting through it.
So where from here?  I've decided I am going to give it one last push, I realize I'm coming down to the wire. I have less than 2 years.  And I still really want it (obviously).  I am going to give it everything I have, leave nothing on the table, knowing that if I come up short, it was worth it.  It enabled me to live a fully lived life - in my way.  And if I get it,  it was worth it.  It enabled me to live a fully lived life - in my way.   It's a win  - win.  So I guess I don't need to know the ending.  Because either way, I like it.  Which means I can start to find joy instead of anxiety in the "in between".  I will always run, that's not in question😊 but not with the intensity and focus required to achieve what I want to achieve.  There are other things I want to be, other things I want to chase, other beginnings and endings to live "in between".
But now I am 100% content and back to training,  getting closer to racing, getting closer to thinking about the big ones, chasing down my dream one mile at a time, in the only way I know how, all in 💓



Sunday, January 14, 2018

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.was.so.serious.   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.compete.  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 table....talk 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 ON....it's time for the GOOD stuff😉

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Recovery

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).
STRESS + REST = GROWTH
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❤