Unprepared

It seems like it’s been forever since I have done a real race, and now one is finally upon me! This Friday, I’m heading up to Pennsylvania for the Bird-in-Hand half marathon, which I’ll have the pleasure of running with my dear friends Jenn and JC! This race, of course, is the one in Amish country where little Amish children hand you water at the water stops, the Amish community hand makes all the medals, and they even participate in the race! If you’ve been around for awhile, you know how excited I’ve been about doing this one. Despite the fact that I’m certainly not in tip top shape and never was going to be at this stage, I was hoping to at least run the entire race and just have fun.

Well, I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. I mean, the fun will definitely happen, but the running the entire race part? Doubtful. Last week, I mentioned that I was sick. As it turns out, that got worse throughout the week, and I actually have bronchitis, which is basically the only illness I ever get. I finally went to the doctor and got some medication, but the damage is pretty much done. I haven’t worked out at all in a week, and I haven’t run in nearly two weeks. That does not bode well for my ability to suddenly up and run a half marathon when I’m not in great shape anyway!

This also is really throwing a wrench in my plan to train for and run the Prairie Fire Marathon in Wichita, KS on October 12. I haven’t done a long run of any kind in a few weeks. I’m trying to stay optimistic (or rather, less pessimistic than normal) and hope that I’ll be able to string together some good workouts in the next month and a half, but I just don’t know what will happen. I know I’ll be out there hopefully completing the marathon, but it won’t be the way I was envisioning.

I have really mixed feelings about this. Last year, not being sufficiently trained probably wouldn’t have bothered me that much. I guess this time I was really hoping that all the pieces would fall into place and I’d successfully complete the whole training cycle. I was hoping to do as well as my back would allow, and the ironic thing is, my back has been great! My back has been allowing me to do anything I want within reason – it’s the illness and the insane tornado that is my life at the moment that is throwing a wrench in everything.

All I can do right now is focus on doing the best I can in the time I have left and enjoying the races. It was never going to be about my finishing time for either event, but I did want to feel like I was giving it the best effort I could and had done as much training as possible. While I guess I am doing that given the circumstances, it’s definitely not what I was hoping for. I don’t know how things will go, but at least I’ll have good company to enjoy the day with! That’s all that matters.

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I’m certainly not going to be the fastest, so here’s hoping!

LEAVE A COMMENT: Have you ever gone into a race with way less fitness than you were hoping? How did you feel about it?

Worst Epiphany Ever

Do you ever have those epiphanies about yourself that you realize are obvious to literally everyone else  in your life? That’s embarrassing. Today, I had one of those epiphanies.

I am incapable of relaxing. 

I told AJ this breaking news and he was like “Um, yeah. I live with you. I know.” I think people have probably told me in the past that I can’t relax, but I didn’t want to believe them. I wanted to be the “cool girl” – laid back, go with the flow, effortless beach hair that looks like the kind in the commercials rather than the actual beach,  etc. But no, I must admit. It is true. I cannot relax.

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NO IT IS NOT, SCOTT.

How did I reach this conclusion? Well, as you all know, I have a lot going on right now. I don’t need to list all that out because there are plenty of people busier than me and no one really cares how busy I or anyone else is. That being said, I started my final (hooray!) class for my Masters this week and shit has hit the proverbial fan. After a fantastic weekend in Washington D.C. this past weekend, I got home very late Sunday night and barely made it out of bed Monday morning. I’ve got what appears to be a sinus infection, and I can barely drag myself to the office (I have my own office and only two other people work in my building, so I’m not infecting anyone) let alone work out.

If you’re a normal person, you might be upset about not being able to work out, but you’re probably not freaking out about it. If you’re a normal person, your first thought when realizing you’re too sick to work out is probably not “Oh good, now I can get ahead on my school work!” It’s probably “I should eat a lot of pizza and cookies and drink a lot of water so I get better soon.” I’ll let you guess which one of those thoughts was mine.

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Thank God for Dominos and their gluten-free pizza because srsly.

I just can’t seem to chill out ever, no matter how beneficial it would be for my body or mind. Some fellow bloggers have talked recently about being “Type A, but lazy.” I am basically never lazy. If I am too sore or tired to run, I replace it with something else. If I am too stressed out to write a blog post, I do my school work instead.

Sometimes I think that something has got to change, and maybe it does. But then I think “If I relax, how will I get everything done? WHO WILL MAKE AJ LUNCH?” It’s hard to prioritize when it feels like everything is equally important. While working out maybe shouldn’t make that list, I know how good it is for my mental and physical wellbeing, so it seems necessary.

There is no point to this post other than to say that I discovered the world’s most obvious quality about myself. And I don’t suppose that I really plan on changing it? Oh my God, does that make me even more insane? But hey, admitting you have a problem is the first step, or something.

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NO TIME THERE’S NEVER ANY TIME

LEAVE A COMMENT: Are you capable of relaxing, or are you Jessie Spano in disguise too? 

Perception vs Reality: T-Rex Edition

My girl Suz had a post this week that made me think, and I like posts that make me think. She wrote a post about perception versus reality as it pertains to her blog and how she actually is in real life. I’ve spent quite a lot of time thinking about this as it relates to my own blog for one primary reason – you guys like meeting me, but I am terrified of meeting you.

The reason for that, quite simply, is that I’m afraid that what you get when you meet me won’t quite measure up to whatever it is you think I’m like based on my blog. It’s not that I intentionally misrepresent myself, it’s that this blog is imperfect and only has the capacity to show so much of my life. Not to mention, it’s clearly written down, which is different from talking to someone in real life. So with Suz as my inspiration, I decided to go through some things that you may or may not be thinking and tell you how true they are. Make sense? I didn’t explain that very well, but go with it.

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Eh, it’s night time and I’m tired.

1. I’m hilarious. I’m not tooting my own horn here – this is the thing I hear most about my blog, namely, that it is really funny. I’m not that funny in real life. If you talk to me, it is not like talking to Kevin Hart. You will not be rolling on the floor laughing. People would certainly say I’m witty and that I’m a good story teller, but I’m not innately funny. I’m much funnier in the written word than when I’m speaking, probably because I’m generally overwhelmed by social anxiety if I have to talk to someone new. Sorry to crush your dreams.

2. I’m independently wealthy. Not true, but I’ve been very fortunate to always have good, well-paying jobs. I get a lot of questions about how I afford to do so many races and travel all over the place, and the answer is a combination of the travel tips I’ve mentioned, the fact that I do have a very good job, I live in a ridiculously cheap area (South Carolina for the win!), I don’t spend my money on much else outside of travel and running, and, from time to time, I have credit card debt. You want real, you got real. I don’t have a trust fund, but I am lucky and I know that. I’m not stupid enough to think that everyone in the world can travel as much as I do, but I do think that everyone can travel more than they think they can.

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And by shoes, I obviously mean running shoes.

3. I’m extremely bold and adventurous. True. I’m just as adventurous in real life, if not more, than it comes across on the blog. I love trying new things as long as they do not involve birds in any way. I’m pretty much game for anything. The better story it will make to tell later, the better.

4. I make new friends easily. True, in a superficial sense. I can talk to anyone if I have to. It’s easy for me to meet people at races and spend hours running along and swapping life stories. It is very difficult for me to make real friends. I have a difficult time connecting with people on more than a superficial level, even if we trade all our dirty secrets. I find that most people think we are better friends than I think we are. I don’t trust people very easily, and it takes a long time before I care about someone enough to actually consider them a friend. It’s nothing personal, it’s just how it is. That being said, once I do decide that I care about someone, I care about them forever, no matter how bad the relationship goes. It is my fatal flaw.

5. I don’t care about my times when I run. I’m weird about this. I don’t really care about my times in most marathons (you know, when people are actually watching and my time is actually being recorded), but I get very upset with myself over my pace during normal training runs. I get super upset about a run that goes worse than I think it should. It’s made coming back from injury really challenging. I wish I could swap my mentality around so I cared more about races and didn’t stress out so much about training, but it is what it is.

6. I run every day. If you’ve been reading awhile, you know this is obviously false, but some people think that because of how many marathons I’ve done. No way. I run three times a week. I do work out almost every day, though.

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#thestruggle

7. I have a positive perspective on my injury, so I have a positive perspective on everything. Not even close. I’m one of the most innately pessimistic people you will ever meet. Some people would say I’m a realist, but I’m too pessimistic to give myself that much credit. I like to think I’m not pessimistic in a Debbie Downer kind of way, but I probably am. At least if I am, hopefully I’m more like a sarcastic and witty Debbie Downer than one you want to smack across the face. Anyway, I have to work really, really hard to be positive about anything. I am gloom and doom all the time. I am the queen of the catastrophic scenario. It doesn’t mean it necessarily seems that way all the time when you’re talking to me, but my head is one big black hole of “OMG everything is coming crashing down and this is going to fail and my dog is going to die and GAH why does everything have gluten in it??” If I have a positive thought, it is the exception, not the rule. I’ve been that way since I was a kid. When I talk about positive things here, it’s because it’s particularly noteworthy and I’m trying to avoid bringing you guys down.

8. My hair is naturally this luxurious. True. #blessed

9. I watch the Real Housewives all the time. That’s how I get all the GIFs. False. I rarely watch Real Housewives. The GIFs are hilarious enough to stand alone, and I find them all over the internet. I spend my time watching more refined reality television like Party Down South, 19 Kids and Counting, and 90-Day Fiance. Also, I like a good drama series like House of Cards, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and the like.

10. I’m cringe-inducingly honest. Even more true in real life than you can imagine. I feel bad for AJ. I either say nothing or I say the truth. I am really good at holding my tongue, but I won’t lie. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and I try very hard to be tactful, but I’m definitely one of those people who you don’t want to ask a question that you don’t want to know the answer to. BYE FELICIA!

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For some reason, people don’t always want to hear the truth and I have no idea why.

LEAVE A COMMENT: What perceptions do people have about you? Are they accurate or not? Is there anything about me that you’re wondering about? 

 

Pushing Through

First, go check out my guest post on my pal Katie’s blog, Skinny Minnie Moves! If you want to know how to get super fit through weightlifting, she’s your girl. I obviously wrote about running because I know nothing about weight lifting.

Second, if you make it all the way through this post, I have a surprise for you at the end!

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Sneak peak!

I’ve had a really good few days since I last posted. I think I’m starting to get into the swing of things with my new schedule, and I’m terribly impressed with how productive I’ve been this weekend. It probably didn’t hurt that AJ has been out of town since Thursday night, but nonetheless, I’m pleased. A brief recap:

I ended up staying at work an hour and a half late on Friday, long after my boss had left, so I could finish something up I had promised him. I definitely didn’t expect to be working late on my first Friday at the new job, but it is what it is, and I liked what I was working on. I ended up writing a proposal and an entire report this week plus some other stuff, and my boss was thrilled with what I gave him – a huge relief since I had pretty limited experience with the type of proposal I was writing. I went home and made dinner and then went to bed early in preparation for Saturday’s long run! I was determined not to skip it after last week.

Of course, waking up on Saturday morning I had instant feelings of regret. I may need to think my workout schedule because my legs are just brutalized by the time Saturday morning rolls around. They actually feel worse Saturday after taking a rest day on Friday than they do on Friday after working out the whole week, so I’ll need to work on that. Fortunately or unfortunately (since his presence forced me out the door), my friend Chuck had agreed to meet me and run my whole 16 miles with me for God knows what reason. It was my first time running with my group since getting back from Tulsa, and as excited as I was to see everyone, I was not excited about the stifling humidity outside. I wasn’t feeling great after 10 – pretty dizzy and weak, thanks to the absolutely profuse amount of sweat dripping off my body (seriously, I was the sweatiest person in our group). We had looped back to our cars at that point, and I gave serious consideration to just going home and finishing the other 6 miles later in the day after I had rehydrated a bit.

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And I hate looking at pictures of myself, so this should give you a good perspective on where my head was.

Ultimately, I decided to keep going. I’m not really sure why – possibly the swarm of gnats buzzing around that made me want to run away – most likely because I knew deep down there was a limited chance of me heading back out the door by myself a few hours later. So Chuck and I waved goodbye to everyone else (who had been much more sensible and quit at 7 or 10) and headed back out. It was mostly fine until 12.8 miles, when I just could not run anymore. I was way too dizzy and weak and felt like absolute crap, but we had to get back to the cars, and I’ll be damned if I wasn’t putting 16 miles on my legs that day, so that’s what we did. I can’t decide if it was the right decision or not, but it’s done now. I didn’t feel right the rest of the day and actually ate my lunch sitting on the kitchen floor because I was too tired to walk the 10 feet to the table. Then I watched hours of bad reality television and Criminal Minds and succeeded in scaring myself to death – smart idea when I was home alone, no?

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It’s really unfortunate that I find crime shows so fascinating when I am the most easily frightened person alive.

Today, I was an epic tornado of productivity! I wrote a guest post (I have the hardest time with those because I never have ideas)! I worked on Ramblen! I cleaned (I do not clean)! I did dishes (AJ always does the dishes)! I did all the laundry, including the comforter (I hate washing the comforter)! I went grocery shopping and bought PRODUCE like a mfing adult. I made all of AJ’s lunches for the week and mine. I made dinner. I planned out all the meals for the week. And I also tricked Chuck into riding two loops around Fort Jackson with me for a total of 24 of the hilliest, most brutal miles I’ve ever ridden. So actually, he probably tricked me, because I was all “Hey, want to ride tomorrow?” and he was all “Yeah totally, let’s meet at the Fort” and I was all “OK, that sounds like fun!” and then he probably cackled to himself because I had no idea what I was in for and good Lord, those are some big, nonstop hills. But, I did them, and I’m proud of myself. And now I’m continuing the productivity by writing this post! Look at me go!

I also have a new favorite song. Hearing this just put a huge smile on my face all weekend. While I might not ever have this much body confidence, it’s nice to hear from someone who does!

Ok, now your reward for making it through this post! After I mentioned last week about eating a Kind bar before my long run, one of my lovely readers (who works for Kind) contacted me and said she would send me some goodies since I love the brand so much! Well, I was completely overwhelmed when three HUGE boxes of Kind snacks ended up on my doorstep last week. It only seemed fair that I would share some of that great stuff with y’all, too! So I’m having a little giveaway to say thanks for sticking with me.. You’ll get: two packages of granola, a 12-pack box of Kind bars, and some other fun surprises!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Winners, Coupon Code and a Life Update!

Thank you all SO much for your amazing enthusiasm over my giveaway with Qore Performance! I’m happy to announce that the winners are Melissa and Conni, and they have been notified via email. But I have good news for you too!

Qore Peformance is offering a coupon code since so many of you wanted to buy the shorts! Use code “staycooltrex” to get 20% off through next Wednesday (8/19), and 10% off through the end of the summer! This is HUGE so take advantage of it while it lasts!

In other news, I started my new job this week! It’s certainly been a whirlwind. I think when you’re an adult, you kind of think of your first day at a new job like the first day of school. There will be a lot of annoying paperwork, some lectures, maybe a few meetings, but at the end of the day, you won’t really do anything of substance. Well, that was not the case for me! I think they had been looking for someone for so long that they had a ton of work that had piled up, so it all got dumped on my desk within an hour of my arrival on Monday morning. Whoa.

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I mean, WHOA

Any time I have started a new job, no matter how qualified I am for it, I have been terrified and felt inadequate. I think a lot of people feel that way. So when my boss asked me to write my first proposal before the clock had even struck 9 am, I was a little unnerved. That said, it was quickly evident that there was way too much work to be done to dwell on whether or not I could do it, so I just got to work. Admittedly, it’s an interesting adjustment heading back to an office after a year of making my own schedule. The Columbia branch of the company only has 3 people in the office including me, with everyone else spread out throughout the state. I have my own (big) office, but nothing in it, so I need to work on that. It’s nice and quiet, and I’ve been working on getting into a routine.

So far, I’ve been waking up at 5 am most days so I can head to a class (either at the gym or at barre). I shower and get to work by 7:30 and leave sometime between 4:30 and 5. I’ve started doing yoga at lunch since I bring my lunch to work and have room to stretch out in my office, which I think is a rather efficient use of time since I generally hate taking the time to stretch. Every day after work this week I’ve headed out for either a run or a bike ride since Amanda is in town for work and I want to make the most of things while she’s here!

Please forgive me for being potentially a little sparse in the blogging/response department for the next week or so. I’m just trying to survive at this point!

And now, a serious question: Do you have a heart rate monitor? What kind? Do you love it or hate it?

And now, a not serious question: Does everyone get nervous on the first day of work or am I the only person who gets worked up about such things?

I Skipped My Long Run

I skipped my long run this weekend. But first, if you haven’t entered my awesome giveaway from Qore Performance yet, DO IT NOW!!

I started out with great intentions. First, I was going to run on Friday morning, since I knew I had to leave fairly early on Saturday to drive down to Kate’s wedding. That plan was screwed up when I found out that I needed to go into my new job for a few hours for a conference call right in the middle of what would have been my run, so I decided to make Friday a rest day and go Saturday instead, even though I knew I’d be very tight on time. Of course, my legs were killing me (sore from a week of tough two-a-day workouts) and it was pouring rain, so I decided to give my legs another day to rest and figured I’d be less stressed running Sunday morning instead.

When I woke up this morning, I was exhausted and I really didn’t want to run, but I got up. I put my clothes on, strapped on the ol’ Garmin, ate a Kind bar, and headed out the door. With thunderstorms off and on, it wasn’t ideal, but I was determined anyway. Then I stepped outside. As I waited for my Garmin to find its stupid satellites, I thought “No.” I just did not want to go out there. Usually I can convince myself that a few miles will be fun and then I end up doing more, but today, I just didn’t have it in me. My legs still don’t feel right, I’m exhausted, and my stomach is in shambles, as it has been for the past few days. So, I went back inside, put my pajamas back on, and went back to sleep.

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I know, I KNOW.

I can’t decide how I feel about it.

Part of me thinks it’s not a big deal since it’s definitely not the norm. I don’t tend to skip my runs or workouts regularly. We hear a lot that running should be fun or there is no point in doing it, but today, I knew it wouldn’t be fun. I was sore, my stomach was upset, and it wasn’t a good situation all around.

The other part of me wonders if all of that is a cop-out and I should have just pushed through. After all, there will be a point during the marathon when I want to stop, right? Not everything in life can be fun – sometimes we just have to do it. In theory, I agree with that, but for some reason I just don’t feel bad about skipping this run. AJ will be out of town next weekend, so I can devote my whole Saturday to the 16 miles I have planned. I’ll have time to run with my group and not worry about other obligations, and hopefully my stomach will be feeling better by then.

To stop myself from completely slacking off, I decided to punish myself with a few hours of group fitness classes in the gym. I started out with Zumba, which is basically my idea of fitness hell because I am so atrociously uncoordinated at it. I get a good workout, but I feel so ridiculous the whole time that it’s hard to enjoy it. And why is there always that one person at Zumba that is a freaking professional dancer and does all the moves THIS BIG and knows the entire routine without flinching? I spend half the class distracted by how this person can possibly be good at Zumba and forget to workout. I then did Bodypump, which I generally enjoy but which was really hard today. Also, the instructor could not stay on the beat of the song for the life of him and I kept getting distracted by  that. Hmm, I am sensing a theme…perhaps I am the problem. Nonetheless, I followed that up with Bodyflow, which was a new class for me and basically the most confusing thing of my life. “Yoga/pilates/tai-chi set to Top 40 hits? What? Oww oww oww my legs don’t bend like that owwww!” That pretty much sums it up. In short, I’ve learned my lesson and I won’t be skipping my long runs again for the foreseeable future.

LEAVE A COMMENT: Did you do your long run this weekend? Do you ever skip workouts?

I Put Ice Packs Down My Pants and It Was Awesome

The title means exactly what it says. I recently put ice packs down my compression shorts while running, and it was awesome.

Let’s back up.

One of my best friends from high school had been posting some articles recently about a new company he is involved with called Qore Performance. The company designs compression shorts and sleeves with built-in pockets that are designed to hold cooling packs or hot packs (like those instant hand warmers), depending on the weather. The guys that founded the company are golfers who were looking for a way to keep cool on the course during the summer, and they struck upon the idea of placing packs at strategic locations along the body’s main arteries that would help cool your core temperature.

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Qore Performance shorts with packs inserted

The reviews for the product are already amazing, but they have a very specific application – golf. As I read them, I decided to text him to see if the company was interested in testing out the applications of their product for sports like running and cycling. To be honest, I just really was dying for something - anything - that would give me a respite from the summer heat. None of the guys in the company are runners or cyclists, so they agreed to let me test out the shorts and sleeve to see what I thought and if there are any potential uses for their product in the more active sports.

To start, the shorts are insanely comfortable. Instead of making them out of polyester blend like most moisture-wicking fabrics, they’re made of nylon. The shorts have mesh paneling along the femoral arteries and crotch, which helps keep things delightfully cool, shall we say. The 7-inch inseam length is appropriate for wearing under baggier shorts or alone, and there are no worries about chafing! Qore is working on producing shorter inseams soon for those who prefer less coverage. The rechargeable packs can be cooled by dunking them in cold water (they freeze at 58 degrees) or freezing them – I chose the latter, figuring it was the only way to beat the Oklahoma heat!

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Close up on the mesh panels (with an appearance from Headsweats)

I took the shorts for multiple runs of varied lengths both with and without the packs. On shorter runs (45 minutes or less), they are golden! The packs stay nice and cold and you can truly feel the cooling effect. Does that mean I was cold during my runs? Um, no. It was 90 degrees with 80% humidity. There’s only so much these things can do. But those packs did give me cool spots to focus on that definitely improved my performance. Was it a coincidence that my first runs in the shorts were the fastest I had done since surgery? Maybe, but I don’t think so. That being said, for long runs, it is a bit tedious to recharge and replace the packs, so it’s probably best for workouts under an hour. The good news is that the shorts are so comfortable (and the mesh paneling so cooling in itself) that you can wear them by themselves and still have a great experience!

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Because the internet can never have too many pictures of me in compression gear…ugh

These shorts are a game changer for me. I seriously want to wear them every day (Scott, send me more!!) even without the packs. The packs themselves don’t cause any chafing and they soften as they melt, so there is no discomfort or restricted motion. I can only imagine how awesome they’ll be when the weather is warm but not boiling!

I also tested out the arm sleeve, which features a space for one pack along the brachial artery. I didn’t think the shorts would be great to bike in, so I tested out the sleeve. Generally speaking, I hate arm sleeves, which is part of the reason I never carry my phone when I run – they’re too hot! Made from the same material as the shorts, though, this sleeve is cool and comfortable. I rode for about an hour, and although the effects of the pack wore off in about 45 minutes, I could definitely tell a difference! It would be effective on the run or bike, depending on which you prefer and what type of gear you like to wear.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Qore Performance gear will help you work out for longer while feeling more refreshed than usual. Will you still be hot if it is 95 degrees outside? Yes, obviously. It is not an ice bath. If you’re looking for comfortable, moisture-wicking, light weight gear that can help you stay cool in the summer with or without the use of ice packs and warm in the winter with the addition of heat packs, this is your product!

I’m giving away one pair of Qore Performance Shorts and one arm sleeve! Enter below now or I will keep them for myself.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was sent the Qore Performance Compression Shorts and Arm Sleeve for free in exchange for my review. All opinions and effusive compliments are my own.

Things Are Looking Up

Well, I had quite the busy week last week! After what has been quite a lot of stress recently, it seems like things might finally be starting to fall into place. I’ve held off from talking about it until it all came to fruition, but now I can!

1. The Job - I got back to South Carolina a week ago. Ultimately, it didn’t make sense for me to stay in Tulsa and be away from AJ if I didn’t have a job out there. I decided I would head back home and continue applying for jobs in both South Carolina and Oklahoma to see what sticks. As sad as I was to leave Tulsa behind (and I really was – God bless those miles and miles of wonderful trails), it has been nice to be home. My main reason for coming home that particular weekend was that I had a job interview this past Tuesday that I needed to be home for! I had spoken with the company on the phone and thought the position and opportunity sounded really promising, so I was excited about the possibility. Sure enough, I was offered the job the same day as the interview, and after spending a day negotiating terms, I accepted! I’ll be doing work that I genuinely enjoy (lots of writing, of course) at a great, growing company that is small enough that I’ll be able to make a real impact. Even better, it’s a step forward in my career, and they were comfortable with me continuing to work on Ramblen on the side! Wins all the way around! I start August 11th.

2. A Great Run - Last week, I had a run where everything just clicked. I ran 5 miles and averaged under 9:00/mile, including one 1/4 mile walk break, and my last mile was 8:13! That’s probably my fastest mile of 2014. I was absolutely ecstatic, and even better, I allowed myself to just revel in the moment rather than thinking “So what, you used to run half marathons at a much faster pace than you did those 5 miles!” Ok, fine, I did think that, but I quickly pushed it out of my mind and decided to just be proud of myself. Of course, my next run was pretty crappy, but I had one good one. That means there will be more good ones! And I also did my long run in the pouring rain by myself this week – score one for mental toughness!

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#rainselfie

3. A New Car – This started out as a bad thing, as I certainly was not planning on getting another car this week! I absolutely loved my truck (Dodge Ram) but I started to have more and more problems with it. It wasn’t anything earth shattering - another new set of tires, a motor in the door that broke, faulty tire pressure monitoring system, and a bunch of other things – but they all needed to be fixed, and the costs were quickly adding up. I had a lot of miles on that truck, and the thought of starting a new job and constantly taking it to the shop and having to work around that was really stressing me out. I decided to go look at new-to-me cars and seeing if I could get a great deal. Interesting fact about me: there is almost nothing that gives me greater joy than negotiating for anything, but especially cars. I basically live for it. I love the research, the conversations, the back and forth – all of it.  Long story short, I worked out an incredible deal on my dream car (Jeep Grand Cherokee) with no increased financial stress on my end!

Awkward story: after I signed the paperwork, the salesman asked if he could take my picture with the car so he could put it on the dealership’s social media accounts. I said yes and didn’t bother asking him to send the picture since I figured I could get it off social media. So I went back and checked all their social media accounts….yeah, they have never once posted a picture of a customer with their new car. I’m feeling a little violated.

4. Wedding Stuff – I’ll be the first to admit that wedding planning is not exactly my favorite activity, but it’s a necessary evil. That said, AJ and I decided to really sit down and look at what we wanted out of the day. We decided we wanted something relatively small – 50 -60 people, with an outdoor ceremony, a casual reception, and a focus on all the stuff we think is important (food, alcohol, fun) and none of the stuff we don’t care about (table linens, dancing, extraneous flowers). This weekend, we made huge strides towards getting everything planned out and booked, and we are so excited!  The wedding will be April 11, 2015!

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Why yes, our wedding reception IS at a brewery, thankyouverymuch.

Overall, things are definitely looking up! I’ve got a great giveaway coming up on the blog this week, so stay tuned!

LEAVE A COMMENT: How was your weekend?

The Plan for Fall

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to approach the fall marathon season and about what, if anything, I want to train for. It’s been hard to know exactly where to set my sights since I haven’t known what my back would be able to handle. While in Tulsa, I drank the Dom-N-8rz (Patty’s running group) Kool-Aid. Because she has been injured for awhile as well, it actually really helped me to feel more optimistic about fall races. I guess running with someone else who is hurt made me feel like I wasn’t as far behind. As I’ve been building up my mileage, I’ve had pretty great results – not necessarily with my tremendous endurance, because I certainly don’t have that back quite yet – but in terms of my back cooperating with the process, I really couldn’t ask for more. After a great 14 miles this past weekend, I’ve laid out a plan for how to proceed in the fall and I’m finally ready to share it! Watch everything go to shit now.

Training

I’ve decided that this training session will just be base building. No speed work, no hill work, nothing crazy. Just lots of easy miles and getting my groove back. I will be sticking to a run-walk plan for my long runs for the foreseeable future, as it’s working really well so far and I don’t want to push my luck. After my fall marathon is over, I’ll start easing back into the harder runs. I’m going to stick with the 3 times per week plan for now and supplement with lots of cycling and other cross training to keep my fitness up. Why mess with a good thing? Plus, it’s just really hot and running in the summer kind of sucks, let’s be honest.

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I don’t know what my excuse is.

September 6 – Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon, Bird-in-Hand, PA

I’m out of control excited for the Bird-In-Hand Half Marathon. Running with the Amish? Are you kidding me? Um, I absolutely signed up on the first day registration opened…last October. I wish I was kidding. My mom and I will be driving up to Pennsylvania and I’ll be running the half with JC! I have no time goals for this race, but I’d like to run the entire thing except for walking through the water stops. I think that is viable, and mostly I just want to have fun! I mean, that is pretty much always the case, but you know what I mean. In my long runs over the month of August, I’ll be focusing on stringing together longer running segments and fewer walk breaks to build my endurance and get my body used to running for extended periods of time.

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I’m going to become best friends with every Amish person since I obviously won’t be blinding them with my speed like this guy. (Image from Lancaster Online)

October 12 – Prairie Fire Marathon, Wichita, KS

After waffling back and forth on whether I would be ready for Prairie Fire, I felt a lot more confident this week after finishing 14 miles. I definitely felt like I could have kept running. Although we were doing run/walk intervals, I’m ok with that – I often walk parts of marathons anyway, especially at the end, so why not actually train for that and follow my program? I’d like to do 1 mile running and 1/4 mile walking, so I’d end up running over 20 miles of the race. I feel good about that, especially in terms of keeping myself healthy. Since I’ll only be able to do 4 or fewer marathons per year now, I need to be strategic about which ones I do, meaning no marathons in states I’ve already done. The Dom-N-8rz are all headed to Prairie Fire, and Patty and I will be running the race together since we’re both in the same boat. I haven’t run a marathon in the state of Kansas yet, so this seems like an ideal race to slate as my comeback.

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Pretty sure this is what me and Patty will look like during Prairie Fire. More or less.

I’m feeling really good about my fall training schedule and races. It isn’t necessarily the traditional plan, but I think it is what is best for my body and my mind. Of course, my health is my priority, so if I start having any pain as the long runs get longer, I’ll definitely pull back. We’ll see what happens!

LEAVE A COMMENT: What are your fall racing plans?

Life With Ed, Part 8: When You Try to Lose Weight The Normal Way

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.

Thankfully, it’s been awhile since I’ve written a Life With Ed post. I’m happy to report that I’ve made a lot of progress in my recovery, particularly in the realm of my actions. I’ve mentioned previously that the key for me in the early steps of my recovery was learning to control my actions first and then my thoughts later, because the actions were a lot more manageable. So, I’m happy to say that I have not purged since February 17, 2013, the day before my stomach surgery (hey, one for the road, you know?)! I never thought I would be able to say something like that.

That being said, I’ve also touched on the fact that I’ve gained some weight since my back surgery that I’m not happy with. While it was only about 8-10 pounds, that’s a lot for me, and it put me at the highest weight I’ve ever been, which sent alarm bells off in my head and nearly triggered a jump into the deep end. It wasn’t only the weight that was worrying me – it was the age-old battle of how to eat, diet, work out, etc. in moderation without triggering a relapse. Historically, I’ve only been able to maintain recovery if I don’t count calories or track my exercise. I get too competitive and freaked out if I keep track, so I generally just run based on my training plan and eat based on what I feel like eating and hope for the best. It always evens out one way or another.

So what to do when you’re a recovering anorexic/bulimic who wants to lose weight without triggering a relapse?

Well, I wish I could answer that question, but I can’t. I’ve never done it successfully.  I can only tell you about my experience and what I’ve been doing so far. To start, there was clearly an issue with how much I was eating versus how much I was exercising. Calories in vs calories out – basic math, right? So I started tracking what I’m eating using My Fitness Pal, which is a free app and website. At first, it was so challenging for me to get my calories where they need to be because I was used to eating as much as I wanted and drinking tons of beer. Plus, I wasn’t able to exercise very much at that point, so it was hard to “earn” any extra calories with exercise.

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Oh hello, evil eating disorder brain

Let me stop right there. One of my big challenges right now is struggling with the mentality of “earning” my food. I feel terrible about eating on the days when I don’t exercise. So I always exercise. I’ve been working out an insane amount to try and lose weight and not feel bad about what I’m eating. Even though I’m making the healthy choices, I still feel like I don’t deserve them. Yes, I know my body needs fuel, and yes, I know that I have to eat enough to prevent injury and make progress in my training, but that still doesn’t change my thought process before every meal. It’s always a battle. Last week, I forced myself to take a rest day on Friday in preparation for my long run on Saturday because my body was exhausted, but I was a nervous wreck all day trying to keep my calories down even thought I knew I needed the fuel and that I would make up for any “extra” that I ate during the run the next day. That is stupid. I know it is stupid and I can’t help but feel that way. It’s annoying.

As motivating as apps like My Fitness Pal are for some people, they’re dangerous for me. For example, each day when you complete your food diary, it tells you how much you would weigh in five weeks if you ate like that every day. The problem? On days when I burn a ton of calories (like long runs or days when I bike and do Body Pump) and can’t possibly eat enough to catch up, I see these super-low (to me) numbers on the screen and I think “I can totally do that.” Again, it’s a battle because part of me knows I shouldn’t, but the other part can’t help but be extremely tempted to undereat, overexercise, and see those crazy numbers.

Ultimately, what I’ve realized is that I really am just ready to be back to my normal weight and be done with this. I don’t want to relapse, and I feel like I’m mentally torturing myself every day. That being said, it’s not as simple as saying “well, don’t worry about the scale” because regardless of what the numbers say, I feel like crap when my clothes don’t fit or I’m noticeably bigger anyway. Would I love to tell you that I’m one of those people who loves their body? Sure. Absolutely. Can I say that honestly? No. So far, I’ve been able to eat healthy food and a decent enough quantity to feel like I’m at least doing ok and not taking things too far. I guess I just wish my brain would shut off and let me be in peace, for once. That being said, as much as I’m having a hard time with my thought process, at least I have been able to restrain myself enough to keep my actions in check. That was impossible a year ago, so I have a lot to be proud of! Who knows? Maybe this time next year, my brain will be in check too.

LEAVE A COMMENT: Do you have a hard time with the mental of aspect of losing weight, one way or the other?