Sunday, July 26, 2015

Triple T: Team Camp, Travel, and Training

That's the perfectionist in me - of course I cannot just write an update, I have to have a creative title :)
Team Camp
The Sonoran Distance ladies headed up North to Flagg for camp last week.  And it was nothing short of amazing.  And even I am saying that despite conditions being a little 'rough' for me!  I think everyone gave me crap all week, but I am not the greatest "camper" - - and when a spider (no joke) crawled across my face at 2am on the last night, that was game over for the live off the land experience!  Seriously no electricity, no phone service, no wifi, nothing - and for someone who for work is constantly buzzing and beeping that in itself was a huge culture shock.  Looking back at it though, I kind of liked it - - maybe no one really needs me that bad :)
I could wrote a whole post on the experience in itself, but CB style I am boiling it down to Top 3:
3.  (Least favorite) Running up to 10,200 ft  always sounds better the night before.
OHHHHHHHHHHHHh veyyyyyyyyy.  We did this 7 mile hill race as a team that literally is just a vertical climb to the top.  BRUTAL.  I mean at mile 2 I was swearing at myself saying why, why, why do I always say yes to stupid things like this?  Especially things that require a 4 am wake up call.  lol.  The highlight had to be at mile 6, teammates Ariana and Priscilla ate a burger for the MAMA BURGER challenge - GROSS.  I did manage 6th, and we all placed top 10 - HELL YEA!  SDP representing!

This was minutes before the start when we realized what the hell we just signed up for - 7 miles, 2200 elevation gain (already at 7700 ft at the start)
2.  Feeling at "home".
I feel like I am coming out of my shell now  - but always feel like a complete weirdo as every trip I have all my 'accouterments" -  foam roller, rubber bands, R8 roller, yoga toes, 3 different pairs of running shoes, compression stuff, the list goes on.  I have had people recognize me from the airport saying  - "Hey  I think I saw you doing like some leg swings at the airport" - yep that was me :)  But in Flagg, it was like being with 11 other aliens!  Everyone had their weird stuff and routines - -' wasn't weird?  I fit in!
1.  Stronger Together
It truly is our rally cry  that originally we got from and to support our amazing sponsor, Pantene, but it really does embody our team.  We are a strong group of women who support each other, not ripping each other down  - and this weekend I think a lot of us got closer, worked out any differences we did have, and kind of became determined on a mission to empower other women to do the same so we can all rise :)  LOVE IT.
0.  Archery
I am adding this in because seriously when I retire from running this is my sport.  Autumn taught me how to shoot the thing - and then I hit 3 in a row (after initially pointing it the wrong way) - wicked fun!  This could be way too political of a statement, but I think we should have bow and arrows instead of guns, I mean at least you would have to really want to hit your target because it takes like 5 minutes to get it ready :) And I am not sure, but I don't think you can die from arrows?  But you sure as heck would be on your butt.
My archery coach (and amazing runner too) to the right is Autumn

seriously, I think I look like a natural? No?

This past week I had an awesome opportunity to travel to SLC for work and got to run with teammate Natalie Como - -we had 8 miles (also a 4 am wake up call that sounded great the night before) - that went by so fast.  Catching up was a fantastic way to start the day, and sometimes in those quiet miles of the morning the conversations you have are so real, so important :)  After I left Natalie, I went to Corner Bakery and ate the entire menu.  The man came over with everything and asked me what the person joining me would like to drink.  I smiled, and said there was no one, and he  -verbatim  - "Damn girl, that is awesome".  Ha.  Lately, I have been starving non stop.
After a work meeting that went spectacular - the kind that gets you on a total high, just like running, I headed to Cincinnati.  It was a quick in and out, but in a span of less then 48 hours, I got in:

  •  tough as hell track workout on my old stomping grounds
  •  6 meetings
  •  Justin time 
  •  dinner + 2 runs + Graeters +  SDP/Pantene meeting with John and Ariana   
It was good to be back in Cincy and see someone you know literally on every corner - and it was even better playing tour guide to SDP :)

Breakfast with the Pantene team!  (We agreed beforehand to behave while ordering and not completely scare them -even though we literally just had ripped off the miles :)
The training update this week is about transition.  I am moving from "running" to being a "runner" which has different demands of your body.  And I feel it.  We have put together 5 solid weeks of 55-60 miles, and 2 weeks of track work (12 X 400, and 7 X 800).  Sleep, nutrition, hydration all change, and I am just working my way through that now.  I also have transition with work that I need to manage through, scope of role changed significantly, and right now it is very overwhelming :(  But like with all things - give me 3 months and I will figure it all out.  I have gotten lots of messages about race plans, game plan,etc.  That too is under construction :)  As soon as it is all ironed out I promise to share!  As for now, I wake up everyday, truly happy, truly smiling, and more focused then ever for 2:43!

ahhhhhhhhh, nothing makes me happier, back to the track!

Friday, July 3, 2015


I can't believe it but it has already been a year since I moved here!  One of the most unique things about this blog is that I am blessed to have friends/family all over the great states reading it - so I thought I would do this one on top 10 things about running/training/living in AZ....with a little fun special sauce at the end for everyone living elsewhere :)

1.  Cotton Mouth

Yes, this is just what it sounds like.  So when I first moved here and would go running I could not make it a mile without literally feeling like there was a full out wad of cotton in my mouth.
no caption needed - that is how I Felt!
Everyone told me that it would go away and it did - I just have to be vigilant about my hydration.  I drink 130 oz of water a day, 2 Nuun tablets, and this does not include any fruit or water I use for food.  Before I run I literally force myself to drink 12 oz of water.  If I do this everyday - I pretty much never have issues with the heat.  (see # 7)

2.  The Morning

I have always been a bit of a morning gal, especially when I was a work a holic - but when I moved to the East Coast I started to value sleep more, and since it was SO cold in the winter I often would run at like 9/10am on the weekends.  Now, I am ready for dinner at 10 am on Sunday :)  Running at 3:45/4/430/5 is very common here, you have to be done by 8 latest.  Especially if you are doing any sort of effort (tempo, pick-ups, strides, track work. etc).  And now that I am an old fart it literally takes me 45 minutes to get out the door because I have to go to the bathroom, drink water, go to the bathroom, do my ankle exercises. go to the bathroom,  hip exercises, foam roll, and go to the bathroom one more time just in case :)  And then Monday - Friday before I leave I check email to start the clean up of any disasters that have occurred overnight.  Retail world is full of overnight chaos :)  As a result, I am in bed by 9....#hugenerd.  While I am still fighting this a bit, and love my sleep, I will say there is something so beautiful about the quiet and sereneness of the morning.  In fact, teammates are often so tired we don't talk much either, but all you hear is the breath on the crushed sand as the sun welcomes the day.  I have seen more beautiful sunrises here to fill my heart for years to come.

3.  The People

LOVE THEM.  By far the best part.  When I moved out East, I struggled for the first 2 months because I am more happy go lucky and no one smiled or talked to you - there were lots of fingers flying while driving, and it just felt 'gruff".  When I said hi to the front desk guy at my apartment he looked at me like I had a disease.  I quickly learned NOT to take it personal ~ it's just the East Coast Vibe, and I learned to love it - it's funny actually.  In fact, one of my teammates is from NYC and once (ok, now I feel like I am doing this one time at bandcamp....) during mile repeats there was a group setting up some sort of charity thing on the track and as we whizzed by she said if they don't move that #^%$%  I am going to go "New York" on them.  That was the end of the mile repeat.  Laughing and running is not my strong suit :)  Anyways back to the people - they are so friendly.  I literally met my best buddy. Lauren,  here in a yoga class, she saw me and said "you're new aren't you?" and that was that.  Now we talk/text everyday.  She has been my rock to lean on as I learned AZ.  And of course my teammates - all like sisters - love them to death.  And then just all the other pockets of people - Yoga teachers, pilates teachers/peeps, church friends, neighbors, haircut lady, my PT, etc just all amazing.  I have never been in a place with so many people who are self-less and loving.  It's awesome.  The ironic part is not too many people are TRUE Arizonians, most are transplants.  Not sure, if that has anything to do with it - like a melting pot?  Having said that  - the people are my favorite part in EVERY city I have lived in, looking back at the friends I have made in every city just speaks to the point, there are 50 different states, but one thing is the same - the people are amazing.  While Providence (East) was perhaps the gruffest - I met some of my closest friends there - it's just their "cover" :):)

4.  Food

Super Healthy, which I love.  There are lots of great restaurants that focus on fresh, farm to table, organic, non GMO, etc.  You absolutely can eat out healthy.  Also the Whole Foods/Sprouts type stores are abundant and in general people just tend to eat healthier.  It might be because it is so hot you do not want to eat big heavy meals?  Or also because the 'athlete' community here is so strong and obviously nutrition is about 80+% of the game.  Either way I love it.  A few of my favs are True Food, Flower Child, Fresh Box, Phil's Grill, Morning Squeeze, and Luci's Healthy Marketplace.  If you every visit me you can be sure we will make a stop at one of these! My treat ;)

5.  Grocery Stores

This one might be because it is what I do - but I find it fascinating the number of grocery stores out here.  Well, really on the west Coast in general.  It is SO different then the Midwest/East Coast.  Out East, I had Stop n Shop - which if there was a bed bug registry for grocery stores I am pretty sure it would be on it.  On the other hand here,  I  have 12 options of legit grocery stores (Fry's (equivalent to Kroger), Safeway, Albertson's, Winco, Smart & Final, Basha's, Haggen's, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Target w/Grocery, Trader Joe's, and AJ's Fine Foods.  I prefer the Fry's by me, it's beautiful and produce section rocks - but I also get my fish and a few things Fry's doesn't have at Sprouts.

6.  Traffic/Driving

I think the drivers here and the traffic is not bad at all.  People complain  - like everywhere  - but it's all about perspective. I was used to gridlock on 88 in Chicago, or the East Coast where everything is SO tight, or 71 on Cincy.  At least it always moves!  And I feel like there is less crazy zigging and zagging out of lanes like you see everywhere else.  The HOV lane system here is pretty good, and I cannot say I feel like traffic is a drag.  The use of the horn is definitely a cultural thing - In Cincy I don't think people know it comes with the car, in Chicago it;s used just as much as the brake pedal, and out East I'll just say the horn is an extension of the mojo we mentioned above!  Here there is horn usage but I am pretty certain that is your Chicago influence!  It's not common, and usually more taps then hold downs.  A huge difference :)

7.  The Weather

So, Arizona has these storms called "Haboobs" - yea for real.  The first time I saw one I thought I was in the Wizard of Oz.  It's like a tornado, dust storm, terrible thunderstorm, all rolled into one.  They happen during Monsoon season - July/August.  These are the toughest 2 months because not only is it very warm, 110+, but there is humidity too - so a double whammy.  As for the heat - honestly, it doesn't really bother me, but I am weird, and someone who is ALWAYS cold.  (Quick Frame of reference - I just got back from Chicago where it was 75/80 and I was wearing a sweatshirt...Justin always brings extra stuff for me even though I say I will be fine, and never fails I always end up putting it on).  As long as you are hydrated I think it's very bearable, and feels REALLY good at night.  I love being warm :) I do drink an extreme amount of water so whatever I do  'do' outside I am sweating profusely, pretty much non stop, but that's pretty much the only downside I can see :)

8.  The Critters

Not going to say anything about this because I am superstitious.  Enough said.

9.  The Discussions

This one could obviously be controversial, and I am not trying to be - at all - just an observation I have had.  Folks on the East Coast are very in tune with current affairs - and I felt if you ran into someone you knew at Whole Foods, the gym, or anywhere you would start talking about GMOs, Gay Rights, Politics, etc.  It was very liberal, and very educated.  Very different from Chicago, MSP,  or Cincy - where you run into someone and you start talking about your/their life - what have you been up to, what's new, etc?    Arizona on the other hand, you run into someone, and it's about what you are up to "athletic" wise :)  what race are you training for, what do you recommend to recover faster, what do you eat before workouts, how do you do strengthen this, etc? There is just a VERY strong athletic/fit culture here - it's a lifestyle.  I cannot say one is better then the other, they all help us relate to each other and deepen relationships in a different way :)

10.  The Running!

I saved the best for last!  Running here is by far the best I have been in - you can train year round (unless you trip on a rock and it sidelines you for 4 months), there are hardcore trails, soft canal long run trails, roads galore great for running, no potholes, altitude an hour away, good spots for hills, lots of flat - - really a running heaven for me :)

One of my favorite so big your worries seem tiny
And I thought this would be fun, a little chart ranking the cities I have lived :)  This is N=1, so just my ridiculous POV, but thought it would be fun!
The point is, and I did not plan this - but isn't it amazing we live in one country, yet there is so much different culture, quirks?  We truly live in the best place in the world :)  Happy 4th of July!

Happy Trails,