Life With Ed, Part 9: A Good Day

Disclaimer: This is a series of posts about my experiences with anorexia and bulimia.  Many of the things I discuss could be extremely triggering if you are dealing with an eating disorder, so please read at your own risk.  I am not an doctor or a therapist. I am simply telling you my story. If you are interested in reading the rest of my series on life with an eating disorder, click here.

I debated sharing this post with you because it might be a little insane-sounding. Nonetheless, this was a big moment and realization for me, so here we are.

So, as I’ve whined about ceaselessly previously mentioned, I gained some weight after my back surgery. The total tally was about 10 pounds. Whether it was the result of decreased activity, changing my diet to go gluten-free, or who knows what else, it doesn’t really matter. The point is, my weight went up. I freaked out. I changed my diet, increased my exercise, and generally threw myself into an all consuming struggle to lose the weight. I wrote about that struggle here. While 10 pounds might not seem like a lot, it has affected my self esteem, my relationship, my social life, and my sanity in more ways than I care to admit. I’ve spent more time crying in the mirror than any grown-ass woman should.

Eventually, I had to put away the scale. I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted no matter what I tried, and it was tearing me apart. I decided to start measuring my various body parts as a way to demonstrate my progress, since I could see that I was toning up. I had to let go of weight as the only way to determine if I’m succeeding in my quest to get healthy. After awhile, I started weighing myself once a month, only on one assigned day. The rest of the time, the scale sat in my closet.

I made the mistake of weighing myself most recently a couple of days after my recent small surgery back in November. The anesthesia took away my appetite, and I ate next to nothing for about 3 days. Oh, what wonderful results the scale and measuring tape held for me that day! I was only 3 pounds away from my normal weight! Of course, as soon as I started eating again, I felt like my weight was going up and was just devastated about it. I have some big events coming up at the end of December that I’d like to look my best for, so I promised myself I was just going to focus on working out, making healthy choices, and put away the scale and the measuring tape. Clearly, there wasn’t much I could do about it in just a few short weeks without making drastic changes.

Yesterday, I woke up and got ready for work. Standing there in my underwear and looking at my abs, I actually felt pretty good about the changes I’ve made. Am I perfect or where I want to be? No, but barre, running, cycling, and healthy food choices are making a difference. My first thought was “I wonder what I weigh?” I immediately pushed the thought aside and swore to myself I would not weigh myself, lest I get depressed about the number. But then I thought, if I think I look good now, what difference would it make to assign a number to it? Why would that possibly change how I THINK I look? This in itself was revolutionary.

I promised myself that I would keep that feeling regardless of what the scale said. And then I weighed myself.

After all that hemming and hawing and hating myself, it’s the same weight as it was right after surgery, the one I thought I couldn’t possibly still weigh. Maybe I did gain some and then lose it again, I don’t know. And yes, it’s a higher number than I’d prefer to see overall, and at first, I cringed, but then I thought to myself “Who the hell is going to notice 3 pounds besides me?” NO ONE, that’s who. No one. Is 3 pounds really worth crying in the mirror and hating myself? Is 10? No.

I’ve been working a lot on positive self talk and on guiding myself to make good choices based on things that have nothing to do with my weight and outward appearance. That’s a pretty hard thing to do when you’ve been doing the opposite for your entire life, but I’m working on it. For example, in the past, I might have said something like “You have to go to barre tonight because you’re going to look like a fat pig in that dress next week if you don’t.” Now, I think that first. But THEN, I think “No, you need to go to barre because it makes you feel good and strong and your back needs a strong core to support it.” If I find myself stressed out and craving a big dessert after a long day, I normally would think “Well, you’re fat anyway and you can’t lose weight so you might as well.” Now, I still think that first. But THEN, I think “You deserve to make choices that make you feel good about yourself. Will this choice make you feel good, or will it make you feel bad?” And I try to answer that question honestly; the answer changes depending on the day.

Eating disorder recovery isn’t linear, and it isn’t easy. I will probably never call myself “recovered;” I’ll be perpetually “recovering,” at least, I hope, since that is better than relapse. It’s a process and something that takes a lot of hard work. No one can do it for me. While some days it seems hopeless and that I’ll never be able to change the way I think about myself, some days are days like yesterday. And then I think, “Maybe not today, but one day.”

 

Miles Raced, Memories Made, and a Giveaway!

If there is one thing I’ve emphasized over and over again on this blog, it’s that the miles I run are much more about the memories I make while running them than they are about the times in which they are completed. My quest to run a marathon in every state has never had anything to do with running the fastest marathon or even completing each one within a certain time limit. I’ve picked the races in each state that have really appealed to me for one reason or another because I’m on the journey with the intention of making enough memories to last a lifetime. Yes, sometimes those memories are not always fun, but I’ve learned something about myself in each and every race that has made them a valuable experience, regardless of how I’ve felt during the felt.

The main reason I started this blog is to record the memories I’ve made at races along the way. But what do I do with the “stuff” I accumulate during races, like bibs? Where do I record my stats? What does everyone else do with all their pictures? Until now, I haven’t really been sure, but I was recently contacted by a company called RACEDAY books. They specialize in binders that are similar to scrapbooks and are specially designed to record all of those memories in a convenient flip-book design. At first, I was skeptical about testing out the product because I’m not the most creative person in the world, but I realized that I do need a place to keep all the aforementioned stuff, and now that I am doing fewer races, the idea of keeping up with a book isn’t quite so overwhelming, so I decided to give it a try.

IMG_20141207_134939_919

Things were off to a good start. I ordered the pink book (they also come in green) and was greeted by this lovely display!

The first thing that I noticed about the book is the simplicity of its design. The book I reviewed has three main components: race details pages, photo pages, and clear sheets where you can insert a bib or whatever other mementos you so choose.

IMG_20141207_135101_309

This book belongs to ME

 

The race detail pages have space for pretty much every type of race statistic you can imagine. I’m not much for things like age group place and all that (probably because it’s usually rather depressing) but for people who like to record that type of stuff, this is the perfect place to do so. There’s even a spot for weather and other details.

IMG_20141208_212914_674

Detail page and photo page

If you’re the type that likes to add photos from your races, you can opt to add photo pages to your book. The first photo page follows each detail page. The photo pages are heavy cardboard, and the book itself comes with colorful tape (in the color of the book you chose) to make it easy to affix photos while keeping with the theme. Of course, you can use scrapbook paper, glue, or whatever else you want, but I’m a simple and lazy gal and I like this setup. Honestly, anything more complicated would be a deterrent to me because it would seem overwhelming. This never felt like something that was too hard to do or that would take too much time, so it made me want to actually set up my pages! You can add photos to both sides of the photo pages if you want. If you choose not to add photo pages to your book, you can still include great memories with the detail page and sheet protector, which can also hold photographs if you so desire.

IMG_20141208_212958_660

Clear page protector for the race bib

After the first photo page is a clear page protector that is designed to house the race bib. This is one of my favorite features of the whole book! I feel like most runners have some place to put their medals, but very few have some place to store their bibs. This is the perfect solution! A few years ago, I started to really appreciate races that take the time to create a unique bib, and I love keeping them! I have the race bib from every marathon I’ve ever done, but they used to just sit in a stack. No more!

IMG_20141208_213024_037

Final photo pages

After the page protectors comes another photo page, and then the section begins for the next race! Of course, you can shuffle the pages around so that you have more photo pages for a race with a ton of pictures and less for another. The choice is yours! My pages are fairly plain because I like them that way, but there is plenty of room for decoration and fun stuff.

I think RACEDAY books are a great option for runners who want a place to store their memories without getting into a full-blown scrapbook. There are definitely some limitations, since you don’t have the option of using your own specially designed paper and the book isn’t as big, but I think for all but the most hard core scrapbookers, it would get the job done. The book comes in green and pink, and there are lots of options on the website if you want to add on additional features!

RACEDAY books is giving away a 15-page binder to one lucky reader! Also, they have been generous enough to provide a coupon code good for 25% off through the end of the year! Just enter TREXRNR at checkout!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: RACEDAY Books provided the product sample and compensated me in exchange for my honest review of the product. All opinions are my own, for better or for worse.

Soul Searching – Rehoboth Seashore Marathon Race Report

I have a feeling this race report is going to be kind of a stream of consciousness type thing, primarily because I’m still not really sure how I feel about the results of this race. A lot of mixed emotions and, as you may have guessed, soul searching, occurred. I actually never intended to run the full marathon in Rehoboth. I have already run a marathon in Delaware, but Kate, Patty, Amanda, and some Oklahoma friends were all coming, and the three of them were doing the full. Amanda hadn’t run a marathon since April and was worried about keeping up, so I told her that I would run the full if my training after Prairie Fire went fine. It did, so full marathon it was.

I went into the race feeling confident. Amanda and I have been training hard using the Run Less, Run Faster plan, and although we haven’t been perfect, our training runs have gone very well and we’re doing a lot more speedwork and consistent training than we usually do. We decided that our goal for the race was to finish under 5 hours, which would be a post-surgery PR for me and what we thought would be a pretty easy pace.

But first, we had to get to the race. Amanda and I met Kate in the Charlotte airport, where we took our time getting drinks and ended up being the last ones on our flight. Oops! The Winthrop University basketball team was on our flight and 3 players were sitting behind us and very amused by the 15 selfies we tried to take. Fairly poor planning on our part resulted in a 7:30 pm arrival to Baltimore, followed by a 2.5 hour drive. After picking up our rental car, we didn’t get to the house where we were staying til almost 11 pm! You would have thought we were 90 years old with how dramatic we were. I rushed poor AJ off the phone because OMGSLEEP.

10849959_10152627004034143_6353566681738125583_n (1)

Photobomb courtesy of Kellen on attempt number 15. Yes, we learned his name, and yes, he had that many opportunities to photobomb.

Fortunately, it was just a short walk to Patty’s hotel and the race start in the morning. We were able to meet up with the other ladies, grab our bibs, and relax before heading to the start!

10377533_10204448070835946_4479863542089717518_n (1)

The security to get into Patty’s hotel was like freaking Fort Knox. Um, sir, we’re 3 small women we’re bright yellow shirts with obvious identifying information…we’re clearly not trying to kill anyone.

Of course, we missed the Maniacs picture (like always) so we took our own with some other poor planners.

10419974_10152628375214143_5208075361207439178_n (1)

The town of Rehoboth Beach is actually quite lovely. Yes, Charlotte ran in that Santa outfit the entire race. She is amazing.

I went off looking for my friend JC at the start and FINALLY saw him. I was running over when I was suddenly stopped by a reader, Theresa, who said “T-Rex Runner?!” and we ended up chatting. By the time I turned around, JC was gone and the race was about to start! Theresa turned out to be extremely cool, though, so it worked out. And I’m still always surprised when someone recognizes me!

Our plan for the race was to run 10 minute miles as long as we could. Kate was hoping to PR that day and wanted to head out a faster pace, so we waved goodbye to her at the start. We were less than half a mile down the road when I saw two Team T-Rex shirts running side by side! I knew one was my friend Murray, but who was the girl next to him? I ran up and said “I like your shirt!” and she looked at me and said “OH! Oh gosh!” Turns out, her name is Jordyn and she is awesome. Seeing the two of them running together made me smile, and then also feel a little bad because I forgot to wear my shirt. Oops!

Around mile 4, the marathon course headed on to an unpaved multi-use path. I had no idea that was going to happen because I’m an idiot and never, ever check the course description unless I’m planning to PR (so, basically never). The soft, uneven surface (kind of like a sand/gravel mix) didn’t bother me at first, but a couple miles in and my wonky left ankle was already a little achy. I’ve had tightness and pain in it since my stress fracture last summer, but it doesn’t usually bother me when I run. I figured we’d be off the trail soon enough and put it out of my mind.

IMG-20141206-WA0002

The trail wound through a salt marsh and was really beautiful!

We were sticking to our 10 minute miles pretty well and Amanda, Patty, occasionally Murray, and I were having a blast running together and waving and yelling to all our friends along the out and back portions of the course. I usually really like out and backs because you can occupy yourself by cheering for all the people on the other side. That changed during this race, but we’ll get there in a minute.

1525420_10204017463609941_6990257633038548862_n

Our friend Heather took this picture of me, Patty, Murray, and Amanda. I look so happy!

Amanda’s hips started bothering her around mile 9 and she occasionally stretched at the water stops. Still, we were mostly sticking to the plan, but once we got back on the trail, I grew increasingly concerned about my ankle. It was hurting a lot at the halfway point. Amanda said she needed to slow down because of her hips and I was ok with that because of my ankle (which, by the way, normally only hurts AFTER I run…ugh), so I told Patty and she decided to go on ahead since she was feeling great.

Oh, what a suckfest the next 13.1 miles were.

I got a sharp pain in my back at mile 15 and could have just killed myself. I knew I was taking a risk by running two marathons so close together (just two weeks between Route 66 and Rehoboth), but I had really hoped that since I had taken it easy in Tulsa, I would be fine. I was instantly so angry and disappointed in myself for putting my back through this. I’ve never really felt like that before; it’s kind of hard to explain. Normally I just get frustrated because I’m hurt, but this time I was frustrated because I’m stupid. Does that make sense?

IMG-20141206-WA0008

Pre-suckfest in the state park. These are the only hills of the race.

Despite generally not feeling all that great, we kept running. My back kind of stopped hurting, although my ankle did not. We were a little more liberal with the walk breaks at water stations, but we kept moving forward at a decent pace. We were thinking we were off the trails for good, but just our luck – a looonnnnnggg out and back began around mile 19, and nearly the entire thing was on another trail.

post-27812-ricky-bobby-gif-help-me-Jesus-FuhG

Another trail? Ugh Jesus take the wheel.

In the best case scenario in my mind, we would hit mile 20 at 3:30. That would give us a full 90 minutes to finish the last 6.2 miles, meaning we could basically walk the entire thing and still finish under 5 hours. Well somehow, despite how generally awful we were feeling, we hit mile 20 at 3:33! Hooray!

We hit mile 22 at 4:05.

Yes. You read that correctly. It took 32 minutes to go TWO MILES. We were running/slogging along and all of a sudden, my heart rate went through the roof. We’re talking over 200 bpm, checked multiple times. I even sat down for 5 minutes and checked it every 60 seconds and it didn’t budge. Walking didn’t help, sitting didn’t help, but we sat anyway, for quite awhile. Then, we started walking slowly and eventually jogging, hoping to avoid getting caught in another tachycardia. At mile 22, we still had not reached the turn around of this eternal out and back. We had been heading out, out, out for 3.5 miles watching all the people coming back towards us with no end in sight! Certainly not the ideal situation in the later miles of a marathon.

The last few miles, Amanda and I were determined to just keep moving forward. We talked a lot and did a lot of soul searching, as we had the entire race. Some of the questions we asked were, “Why does it feel like marathons are getting harder instead of easier? Why are we doing this to our bodies if they clearly do not appreciate it? Why bother training hard if we’re just going to have bad races? Where are the on-course margaritas when you need them?” [Note: I have never encountered an on-course margarita. If I did, I would drink it, finish the marathon, and then never run another one because that would be the pinnacle of racing for me and nothing could top it.]

Normally, the last couple miles of a marathon go pretty fast for me. This time, not so much. We crossed the finish line in 4:54 and some change, under our 5 hour goal.

IMG-20141206-WA0000

As always, I just really wanted to sit down. Any curb will do.

Nearly a week after the race, Amanda and I still aren’t sure how we feel about it or about training or marathons in general. Yes, we reached our goal, but I think we both expected it to feel a lot easier than it did. The reality is, it didn’t feel easy at all. Was that naive or inaccurate expectations on our part? Maybe, but I don’t think so. We’re committed to finishing our training plan and seeing how the race goes in February, but after that, we’re really not sure. Maybe it was just the trails, or maybe it was me running marathons too close together and her too far apart. I don’t know. What I do know is that running should be fun, and life is too short to be doing things that aren’t fun and that cause you pain. So, we’ll see. Either way, I always love running with one of my best friends, and seeing Patty and Kate and the girls was great too! Kate PRed, by the way, and Patty had a great race also! These memories are always worth it, no matter what.

IMG_3247

Post-race picture in the Fort Knox-esque hotel

If my friends weren’t so awesome, maybe I wouldn’t want to run so many marathons with them all the time :) Either way, I’ll be making sure to put at least a month between marathons from now on. I’m certainly not risking hurting my back. But I guess you don’t know your limits til you test them, right?

IMG_20141206_185708_625

The Winthrop basketball team was also on our flight home after getting beaten by my alma mater – GO TERPS! Kellen was perfectly happy to take a non-photobomb picture with us, though.

So, yeah. Still not sure how I feel about the whole thing, but I’m glad I went regardless. LEAVE A COMMENT: Have you ever had a tough race that makes you question why you run a given distance or if training is worth it?

29

Today, December 9th, is my 29th birthday. With each passing year, I’m honestly surprised that I survived another one and lived to blog tell about it. True story: when I was a kid, and especially a teenager, I could not imagine being older than 17. I did not have any type of life plans past that age because I really thought I would die in some tragic and yet ultimately moving and perhaps movie-appropriate way, like saving the life of a young child as I pulled them from a fire. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, but it did leave me with the ongoing conundrum that I still face today: I get to the next year and I’m like “Well, now what?”

I’m still clueless about what the future holds, but I think I’ve decided that that’s the way I like it. Any time that I’ve tried to plan out my life, it has ultimately ended up initially disappointing me but then giving me something even better instead, so I think I’m just going to go with it from now on. After all, 28 was a pretty kickass year of my life:

1.  I visited 6 countries: Japan, Canada (a repeat, to be fair), Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, and Curacao. I experienced totally different and amazing cultures in each of them and confirmed my passion for travel, geography, and all food except cuy (fried guinea pig).

10495084_10102926526020248_8111883088142846527_o

Day 3 of the Inca Trail – the best view I’ve ever seen

2. I spent most of it traveling around the country doing research for Ramblen, a true dream job. And with this, I confirmed my passion for health and fitness and my lack of passion for all people in airports.

3. I started writing for Women’s Running magazine both in print and online. My monthly column and weekly blog post have been a huge, challenging departure from what I do here on the blog, but I think it has really grown my writing. I love working for a magazine that is passionate about running and fitness for all women!

1497538_10100175740692875_1404933233506657626_n

My very first column

4. I finally womaned up and got back surgery. Best decision I ever made. It has changed my life. I actually mailed my surgeon a thank you note and some pictures from the Prairie Fire Marathon today to thank him because I’m sentimental like that.

5. I spent the summer living in one of my favorite places (Tulsa, Oklahoma) with some of my favorite people. I wish I could have stayed forever, but that’s not how it worked out, and probably for a good reason that I have not discovered yet.

10563149_10102863493707508_380400698960443376_n

Country roads, take me home

6. I got engaged. I like to say that AJ and I work well as a couple because he is one of very few people who never annoys me. That’s not true, because he does sometimes annoy me. But really, he’s just the best and even though I don’t talk about him much, I hope you guys all get to meet him and make him feel uncomfortable someday. It’s my favorite past time and I’m sure you’d find the same joy as me.

10462750_10102794659117578_2882235336111089803_n

#engagementselfie

7. I was able to go back to running marathons. That wasn’t a given, and I’m grateful that my body is giving me another chance. My new schedule looks nothing like my old one, but I’m ok with that.

10608297_10103104991623748_8645353643560900330_o

Couldn’t have done it without Patty

Yes, it’s been a very good year filled with wonderful friends. And I think this might have been the year that I finally figured out that I don’t have room in my life for things, people, or activities that cause me stress or make me feel bad about myself. Eliminating all of that can be a challenge, but it’s a worthwhile one.

So, here’s to 29. I’m nowhere near where I thought I’d be at this age – thank God.

Starting Small

Sometimes in life we have problems or tasks that seem impossible and insurmountable. It seems like we’ll never accomplish them. For some people, it might be paying off debt. For others, it might be losing 100 pounds. It could be decluttering your house, recovering from your eating disorder, or training for a marathon. It can be anything! Whatever it is, when you look at it, it seems pointless to even start trying to address the issue because it is going to take such a long time or might never happen in the first place.

If you’re like me, when you are faced with one of these problems, you might look for inspiration on how to fix it. What you’ll probably find is stuff like this:

l995366325

Pinterest is chock full of motivation.

Everyone likes a good motivational quote, but motivational quotes don’t necessarily tell you how to tackle your problem. They pretty much just tell you that you should. Well, duh.  They also don’t really help when you’re in the trenches and cannot envision a day when you won’t be counting calories, scrimping to pay off debt, or can’t find your 2013 tax information under all the piles of crap in your house.

I get it. I’ve been there. I am there right now.

Luckily, a blogger passed along a revolutionary piece of advice to me, so I’m going to pass it along to you with my own thoughts in hopes that it helps you the way it helped me. My girl Emily over at Authentically Emmie wrote a post about taking steps to find her “center” and feel more balanced in life as she navigates her divorce. In it, she made a comment about making a commitment to declutter her house by donating or throwing out 10 items per day. For some reason, that really clicked with me, although 10 things seemed like a lot. AJ and I struggle with keeping the house clutter free – not so much because we buy a lot of things, just lots of junk mail or things we need to file or random wires and cables and boxes are always lying around. So, I told him we were going to aim to declutter 5 things per day.

And you know what? We suck at it. We don’t do it every day. But we do it some days. And each time we do, that is 5 fewer things lying around the house than would have been there had we not bothered at all, or if we got discouraged because we can’t be completely consistent and just gave up. We’re better off now than we were before, even if we only do it once. It’s not as bad as it would otherwise be.

We’re also in the midst of trying to pay off some debt. Debt panics me immensely, but that doesn’t mean I never have it. As much as it panics me, not being able to hop on a plane whenever I want also panics me, so I don’t always make the financially prudent decision. As we are combining our lives in preparation for the wedding, it made sense to sit down and really go through our finances and take a hard look at what we’re spending. We made the unfortunate decision to do this in November, right before the holidays. The results were sobering. Part of me wanted to say “Well, let’s just start after the holidays because there’s no point in trying to stick to a budget right now.” But the reality is the situation would only be worse after the holidays. At least if we try to stick to a budget now, we will probably spend less than we would otherwise. And that’s something. We’re better off now than we were before, even if we only spend $100 extra instead of $200. It’s not as bad as it would otherwise be.

Some would say that this attitude encourages mediocrity, and maybe it does. But if you, like me, are the type of person who is easily daunted by the idea of doing something forever or making a really big, hard choice, it’s easier to set small goals along the way with the expectation that it isn’t always going to be perfect.

So, I’m encouraging you to start small this holiday season. When it seems impossible and/or stupid to eat healthy for an entire day because you know you have a holiday party at night and are going to drink too much wine anyway and blow your diet, just focus on eating a healthy lunch. That’s one more healthy meal than you were planning on having otherwise, right? When the thought of taking the time to address 50 Christmas cards is laughable, just do 5. Just say no to one item in your Running Warehouse shopping cart. Just run one mile.

It all adds up, and you’ll be better off than you were before. What’s a big task you need to take on? How can you start small to accomplish it?

A (Hopefully) Unique Runner’s Gift List

There’s about a million gift lists for runners floating around out there right now, but I like gifts and also lists, so you’ll be getting one from me, too! I did go out of my way to try and find some unique things not mentioned on your average list, so hopefully you won’t be disappointed! No affiliate links here, just stuff I think is cool and different.

1. Running Clothing for a Cause

I’ve talked about Run Janji on the blog before! This awesome company, founded by runners, sells running apparel (for both men and women) to fund clean water and other welfare projects around the world and here in the U.S. I’ve got a ton of their apparel, but I’m currently loving their capris! They are a mid-weight material and run a little small, but I think the print is super fun and versatile. They have a wide waistband and a roomy pocket with a zipper! I’m always looking for unique running clothes, and I love that Run Janji’s merchandise is different from what you normally see. It’s also meaningful and helps someone else, so you can’t beat that!

IMG_20141127_102704_319

Please excuse the squinting, it was very bright!

2. Christmas Ornaments

Obviously not applicable for my Jewish readers (unless you own a Hanukkah bush or put up a Christmas tree anyway), but I love this idea! I’m a total ornament junkie and buy them everywhere I travel. I love when races carry them, and I love the idea of commemorating a special race with one!

il_570xN.673065498_8i7p

3. Course Map Art

I don’t like a lot of stuff around my house collecting dust (despite what entering my house would tell you), so I tend to bring back wall art when I travel. I love the idea of having a simple, framed print of my favorite marathon route on the wall! This Etsy shop does custom orders, so you can have any route that you want. The hard part for me would be picking one!

il_570xN.666800731_7o3w

4. Drinkware

Why run if not to drink more beer, amiright? No? That’s not why you run? Awkward. Well, these fun pint glasses and mugs from Gone for a Run are sure to be a hit with some runner you know. They are customizable with your name, race date, race name, etc! Perfect for all those “drinking clubs with running problems” that are out there!

TR-11563-2

5. This shirt.

Available in men’s and women’s sizes, this shirt says “They keep you alive” and features running shoes that look like lungs! Um, love. Even better? Proceeds benefit Fight Cystic Fibrosis.

photo-21_original

 

 

6. An all-in-one race board!

This is pretty cool – a bib holder, medal hanger, and place to record your PRs, all in one! Not that you need any help remembering your PRs, of course. This one has sold, but if you contact the seller, you can get another one made. They look to be around $50, which is a bargain for this type of piece!

il_570xN.617700286_jk2r

7. A guaranteed entry into the New York City Marathon

There is no way to do this, but if there was, I would already have asked for it. My birthday is very close to Christmas, after all – for once, it would be a gift worthy of the dreaded “combination gift!” No but seriously, can anyone get me into NYC?

 

The 11th Commandment – Route 66 Marathon Race Report

A few weeks ago, I made the snap decision to head back to Tulsa this year for my 3rd consecutive Route 66 race weekend. The decision was born out of a combination of my intense homesickness (can that be a thing if I don’t live in Tulsa but wish I did?), really not wanting to miss out on one of my favorite races, and a serendipitous drop in flight prices right before race weekend. So I bought my flight, not knowing which race I was going to do.

I ended up deciding to run the full marathon on the basis of needing to do 20 miles anyway in preparation for the Rehoboth Beach Marathon on December 6th. It seemed silly to do the half and then pretend like I was going to do 7 more miles afterwards while all my friends were running the full (please). So I figured I would do the full, stay with Patty and her running group as long as I could, and just see what happened. As you know, I’ve been training hard and putting in plenty of speedwork, so I felt confident I could keep up with the 4:30 pace she was anticipating for her group, at least for most of the race.

But before we got to the race, I got to do two really fun things – a special Marathon Maniacs shakeout run with Bart Yasso and speaking at the expo in the Blogger’s Forum for the second year in a row! The shakeout run started in the rain, but we had a fun group of dedicated runners, including the three founding members of the Maniacs, some familiar faces, and some new ones! Here’s a picture from afterwards – I’m the white hat behind Bart’s head. Fail.

B3FTcHWIQAIUSRB.jpg large

The official term for this photo is a #Bartie

Later in the day, I spoke at the Blogger’s Forum at the expo. This year, I was joined by my friends Sarah from Run Ginger Run and Angie from Keeping Pace, as well as a fellow alum from last year, Becky from Running Jacksons! We spent about half an hour answering questions about blogging, running, and life! I’ll be back again next year, so definitely consider checking out the forum if you are in town.

10815090_10152469284397633_1873879617_o

You can tweet embarrassing questions and I will be forced to answer them!

Race morning began bright and early with our usual late arrival and missing of the RunnersWorld Tulsa group picture. Aaron, Patty and I never seem to make this one. We were able to get a picture with the running group that Patty co-leads (and the one I trained with this summer), the Dom-n-8rz!

1517483_10204132542486876_3703364773306650219_n

We are family!

This race was particularly special because we were celebrating the comeback of Patty’s co-leader, Terry. Terry was diagnosed with cancer this spring and went through chemo and radiation treatments while continuing to run as much as he could. In October, he finally received word that he was clear of cancer. Through the whole thing, he has been a constant source of inspiration to the Domz for his strength and positivity – he certainly was to me this summer! So to celebrate his remission, Patty, Aaron, Gary, Randall, and I planned to run the entire race with him. When I talked to Patty about this plan, she said that she didn’t know how fast we would be going. Terry finished Route 66 in 3:55 last year, but hasn’t trained as much as usual, of course. Meanwhile, Aaron and Gary haven’t been running much at all due to other obligations, but both were determined to cross the finish line with Terry. Whether that would happen in 4 hours of 6, we had no idea!

But first, we had to take the obligatory Maniacs photo. Except Aaron and I didn’t. We got in line for the bathrooms while everyone else was taking the picture. Let’s be honest – it’s not like you can tell who anyone is in it anyway.

1558597_10203290732329711_6946123338978919833_n

#sorrynotsorry #priorities

As we got ready to start the race, I found my friend Nathan, a reader who I met at last year’s Route 66. When I spoke to him the day before at the expo, I invited him to run with us, and he did! So starting the race, we had a group of 9 (including 2 half marathoners) ready to set out on the course. It was much (thankfully) warmer than last year’s 19 degree starting temps at around 60 degrees, and I guess it was a little humid, but I didn’t notice very much. The starting line of this race is so much fun and full of excitement!

10816012_10200116949241811_1672765702_n

Is it weird that I have a friend in high school? Maybe. But he’s cool.

The first few miles of Route 66 always seem almost comically hilly to me. I think it’s because the first year I did this race, I truly believed Tulsa was super flat, as the rest of Oklahoma is, right? Wrong. There are some serious rolling hills! But we took the pace easy, walked through the water stops, and joked around. Terry would pull us back with a gentle “Getting a little fast, guys” and we’d snap out of it and slow down. I can honestly say I never looked at my watch at a mile marker because it didn’t matter. We had joked at the start of the race that our only goal was to have fun and stop for all the jello shots, but I quickly realized that was not a joke. We were stopping at every jello, beer, or other alcohol stop. This is Route 66, y’all – there are a LOT of them. It quickly became the 11th commandment: Thou shalt leave no jello shot behind! I’m sure leaving this out of the first set of commandments was a simple oversight on God’s part.

10484586_10202978127239698_2244372361605146846_o

Jello shots #1 and 2 at RunnersWorld Tulsa! These had some serious kick.

It’s not very often that I am tempted to eat something with gluten in it now that I know how it makes me feel, but I tell you, it was a struggle not to drink beer at all the stops like everyone else. Here I am, just trying to get my buzz on while running a marathon, and stupid gluten is screwing it up. Le sigh.

We decided to continue me and Patty’s new tradition of high fiving at every mile marker, and people, I have got to tell you: if you are not already doing this, please start. It is seriously so much fun. Also kind of dangerous because we almost tripped all over each other trying to get around to everyone for a high five, but really fun. It made the miles go by fast! At every marker, Terry would yell “MILE WHAT?!?!?!” and we would all yell out the number. The people around us thought we were possessed and/or drunk. Half right.

10696267_10204191721130054_8503533239978587473_n

Thanks to Lygea for the pic!

We also continuously did head counts at each water stop to make sure we hadn’t lost anyone in the group. It was very comforting to know that no one was forgotten about and we were all in it together. I have no idea what the pace was, but I know I was really comfortable. We stopped for several more jello and beer stops before the halfway point – I think I had 4 jello shots before mile 14! That might be more than I took in all of college, but then again, I was a whiskey girl.

There was only one point during the race where I felt remotely uncomfortable, and that was along Riverside, where the wind was blowing from behind so it felt like there was no breeze. We just felt the humidity at that point. It also probably didn’t help that we were coming off a jello shot/music/cheer squad high from the Brookside section of town, and everything seemed very quiet. Nonetheless, if I only felt uncomfortable for two miles of a marathon, I can’t really complain.

IMG_0058

It’s a major award!

We said goodbye to Sara and Karen at the half, and then there were 7 of us. The next few miles have a tough gradual uphill climb, and Nathan’s calves were bothering him. I harassed, cajoled, and generally annoyed him by running backwards and not letting him drop out of sight, and he pepped up a bit when one of the many Red Bull stops on the course came about. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen Red Bull on the course as a sponsored beverage, and I was slightly horrified, as the smell of that stuff just makes me gag. Gary, Aaron, and Nathan were all super into it though – hey, anything to deaden the pain of undertraining, amiright?

The miles honestly seemed to fly by for me. I was having so much fun, and at this point, pretty much everyone else was too. Nathan started hurting really bad, and there wasn’t much I could say that encouraged him. Probably because I am bad at encouragement. Terry dropped back and ran with him for a bit, and then I did, but ultimately we parted ways around mile 16. And then there were 6.

The latter half of the race saw a lot of walking as everyone started to get fatigued, the hills took their toll, and the training situation became noticeable. Personally, I felt great and knew I could have kept going, but I was having way too much fun with our group. Around mile 19, we passed another group of people cheering and I yelled “alcohol?” A guy holding a cup said “this is alcohol!” and handed it to me, which is I think the only time in life when it is acceptable to take drinks that a strange man hands you. The tally was now something like 5 jello shots, a mimosa, and a rather strong screwdriver. The crowd went wild!

10422949_10152492839146769_1356528809219672357_n

This may not have been the mile 19 stop, but either way, I got to make Jeanne and she was AWESOME! And done with the race way before we were, but that’s neither here nor there.

Last year, Route 66 was Patty’s 50th marathon, and the Domz had made a banner for her that hung over an overpass at mile 25.5. Terry, didn’t know it, but the group had made one for him, too. We all knew what was coming,  but he had no idea. As we turned the corner, he was overcome with emotion and started to cry – and so did pretty much everyone else in our group. Even I got a tickle in my throat. It was one of the most special marathon moments I have ever had the privilege of being a part of, and he deserved it.

IMG_0062

After the emotions calmed down – banner in the background

I hung back for a second and watched this amazing group run under the banner. These people have taken me in as one of their own, an honorary Dom-n-8r. And as someone who rarely feels like I belong anywhere or with anyone, I can honestly say that being in Tulsa with them makes me feel like I belong. If you’re ever lucky enough to go to Tulsa, I hope you get the chance to meet them.

IMG_0063

The best.

It’s not very often that I don’t want a marathon to end, but this was one of those times. The Domz still had one more surprise for Terry, though. Just before the finish line, a huge group of them were waiting to greet Terry and congratulate him.

 

10806200_10102709576723417_4476809875317509693_n

Hugs for Terry!

There were just a few hundred feet left to go. I just tried to soak up every second.

10818352_820010411375763_7804679673578025878_o(1)

We did it!

And despite the lack of training for some, and the hills and the humidity and the fact that a marathon is still 26.2 miles long, we all agreed – we wouldn’t change a thing. Every year, Route 66 is one of my standout races, and this year was no exception. For almost 5 and a half hours, I got to celebrate life and running with an incredibly inspiring group of people who have so generously made me one of their own. I’ll raise a jello shot to that.

Bringing Team T-Rex Shirts Back!

After many requests and much laziness on my part, I am excited to finally announce that Team T-Rex shirts are back!!

trexshirt

Me in my shirt. I’m wearing a small.

Here is the information you need to know:

The shirt order cut off is Tuesday, November 25 at 11:59 pm.

To order: Send an email to thetrexrunner@gmail.com with the cut (unisex or women’s), size, and color you would like to order. Please send me an email even if you commented on the Facebook post and said you wanted one! I need your email addresses so I can take your dollarz (via PayPal).

Sizing: Here are links to the women’s size chart and the unisex size chart. Shirts run pretty true to size and I am wearing a women’s small. The shirts do not ride up and are a normal length, unlike some women’s cut shirts.

Colors: Colors can be found at the bottom of the size charts, but the most popular colors are lime green, grey, and white.

Cost: The shirts cost $25, which includes shipping. They are a technical/dri-fit fabric and are meant to be worn while running (duh). After I receive an email from you with your information, I will send you a PayPal invoice that you can pay using PayPal or a credit card.

International orders: I will ship internationally, but there will be an extra shipping cost and it might take awhile to get your shirt. I’ve sent them all around the world with no problems so far, though!

Warning: These shirts have brought epic PRs to many of the people that have bought them. They even brought me a half marathon PR and almost a marathon PR in the span of one week. If you’re not prepared to start running really fast and making new friends with all of the people obsessed with your shirt, this may not be the shirt for you.

So, to review:

  • The cut off for orders is Tuesday, November 25 at 11:59 pm. Shirts generally arrive about a week after I order them and I ship them out when I receive them.
  • Check out the Women’s and men’s size charts to see available colors and pick yours.
  • Women’s and men’s sizes are available. Children’s sizes are available too!
  • Shirts fit true to size.
  • $25 each, including shipping (unless international).
  • Email thetrexrunner@gmail.com with the color, size, and cut you want to place your order!

Note: Some people have asked if these shirts are available as singlets. As of right now, unfortunately, they are not. I am working to find a suitable material, color, etc for the singlets, but I have not been able to do so yet, mostly because the ones I’ve found are pretty expensive, and ain’t nobody got time for that. Trust me when I tell you I’m working on it! For right now, take comfort in knowing that these shirts are very lightweight and surprisingly good at wicking away moisture. I’ve worn them for several marathons and have yet to be disappointed!

Not convinced yet? Just look at all these happy customers!

72457_4680870023787_918929599_n

JC loved his so much he took it to Antarctica!

575546_10201215118205528_1436860797_n

Eddie and Jim looking snazzy

abbi

Abbi always looks this happy, I promise!

Thank You, Peyton Manning.

Bear with me as I spew my thoughts upon you, as I’m thinking them almost faster than I can type. Despite the fact that I’ve been a lifelong football fan and I knew Peyton Manning had surgery on his neck a few years ago, I didn’t know what kind until today. He had a spinal fusion in his cervical spine. You may recall that I’m on tap to get a spinal fusion in my lumbar (lower) spine sometime in the next few years. I got to thinking about how amazing it is that Peyton had a fusion and went back to not only playing professional football, but if you know anything about the man, he is absolutely killing it.

“All that pain,” I thought. “All that rehab. Starting from scratch. Feeling like it would never be the same again, but he came back better than ever. That’s crazy. That is so inspirational.”

And then I realized something. I did that, too. No, not a fusion (yet), but by all accounts a pretty major surgery that had me rebuilding my body from the ground up. All of a sudden, all those trips to rehab flashed through my mind. I remembered the first few days after surgery, staying in my parents’ RV out in Colorado and taking the world’s slowest walks around the RV park. Trying to bend over and not being able to get far enough for my hands to hang down even past my hips. Walking in the pool. Running in the pool. Exercise after exercise, hours of time spent with the resistance bands, five minutes on my bike, and, eventually, my first steps back to running on the road.

ResizedImage951398723148286-e1398724384931

Hobbling down the streets of Boulder a few days after surgery

I’ve been so caught up in trying to get back to where I was before that I haven’t taken the time to appreciate where I have been. I’ve been busy trying to prove to myself that I can run marathons again, complete a century bike ride, and lose the weight I’ve gained (3 pounds to go!). I’ve been busy being frustrated at myself for not being fast enough, fit enough, or good enough.

Today – and knowing myself, maybe only for today – I’m just going to be proud of myself. I have come such an incredibly long way. Thinking about it actually makes me almost tear up (as close as I generally get to crying). I know that if I was watching AJ or someone close to me go through this process and recover and come back like I have, I would be blown away and so proud. So today, I am blown away by myself and proud. I can do that, right?

I will never be the fastest marathoner in the world, or even most likely in my age group. I may never be able to run the way I used to. But whether I ever set another race PR or not, the real PR is here, in the journey, the comeback, the recovery. I know one day I’ll be walking this road again, and I know I’ll be just fine. And when I get mad that I can’t bend over or run a mile without stopping, I’ll come back to this blog post and remember how I felt today, smirk at how cheesy I sound, and think, “This is gonna be one hell of a comeback.”

If Peyton Manning can do it, we can do it. Ok, fine, probably not. But we can do hard things, and we can be proud of how far we’ve come, even if we still have a long ways to go.  What’s your hard thing?

Speed Work, Self Confidence, and 18 Miles

With the Run Less, Run Faster plan that I have been doing (Now on week 5! Look at me go!), each workout has a purpose. Because there are only three runs per week, there is a goal pace for each run and a certain type of workout each day. Tuesdays, for example, are a speed workout with intervals. The workouts have progressed each week, so while I started out alternating running 1 minute fast with a 3 minute recovery interval, then progressed to quarter-mile repeats, I’m now up to today’s workout of 6 half-mile repeats with 90 seconds of recovery. The pace for these intervals is supposed to be 8:06 min/mile based on the calculator I used for my goal marathon time of 4:10.

Each week, I find myself dreading Tuesday’s workout and feeling anxious about it. Will I be able to do it? Will I feel exhausted? Will my heart explode? What if I can’t hit the pace I’m supposed to? I work myself up into a frenzy over this (yes, working myself up into a frenzy is a near daily occurrence in my life). I’ve mentioned before on the blog how I have the seemingly rare (read: insane) issue of getting really worked up over my training and then usually not caring about my race results at all. It’s totally backwards. I get so focused on hitting the correct pace during training. If I saw an 8:07 pace on my watch for an interval instead of the assigned 8:06, I would regard it as a huge failure and honestly be devastated. Yes, I realize this is stupid.tumblr_nesswsW3UP1ql5yr7o1_500

I find that as a result of being so nervous about hitting my paces, I always run my intervals too fast. Always. My pace for the intervals on Tuesdays is almost always more like 7:45-7:50. I haven’t missed a single one yet. That’s not good for my training and it makes my intervals feel harder than they need to, psyching me out even more! So what is my problem? Why, knowing that I always succeed in my speed workouts (at least, so far) do I still panic before each run?

I have been thinking about it a lot, and I think it is a self-confidence issue (duh) pertaining to the fact that I wasn’t a particularly athletic kid. I rode horses competitively but never had to push myself in a physical way to get faster or stronger – it was more a mental thing. I just don’t believe that I have the ability to run that fast. I’m disappointed in myself because I want to be more confident and I am trying to build myself up in this area. You’d think that weeks of solid workouts would make me feel better, but so far, not so much.

Interestingly, I don’t really have this problem with my Thursday workouts. Thursdays are tempo runs, and my tempo pace is 9:05-9:20 per mile. I always run more like 8:50, but even that is a pace I am mentally more comfortable with, because I have run a half marathon at a much faster pace than that, albeit a year ago. There was a time when that pace would have scared the crap out of me, but it doesn’t anymore. So, that gives me hope – maybe one day 8:06 won’t seem scary either!

Mercifully, the long runs have been fine. The paces are easy  for me (although still with a purpose) and I haven’t found myself stressing about them at all. This weekend, Amanda, Chuck and I ran 18 miles with the Governor’s Cup half marathon in the middle. I actually found myself looking forward to the run and not worried about it for once! And I was right not to be worried. We had a great time! We ran 2.5 miles (uphill, sadly) to the race start, ran the very hilly race, enjoyed ourselves, and ran back to our cars. We never worried about pace and just ran how we felt, walked at the water stops, took stretch breaks as needed, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We ended up finishing in 2:08 and our pace for the entire run was 9:50, well within my goal long run pace range! I even got to meet a reader, which is always a nice surprise. Sorry about my excessive sweatiness/exhaustion!

10355005_10103149467403928_8306863562813583341_n

Follow me on instagram at @thetrexrunner for this photo and more gems, such as when I ate tacos for breakfast. Not breakfast tacos, taco tacos.

I’m getting excited about how my training has been going. 18 miles is the farthest I have run (besides the marathon, of course) since my back surgery and it felt easy. I’ve decided to run the full marathon in Rehoboth Beach on December 6th because I feel strong and capable and want to run with my friends! Also, BREAKING NEWS FOR TULSA PEOPLE: I am coming back for Route 66 this year! It was a last minute decision and I have no idea what race I will end up running, but I WILL be there, so holla at me!

LEAVE A COMMENT: Does speed work intimidate you? Do you have a hard time running the proper pace? What are you training for right now?