A Real Half Marathon

I got to run a real half marathon this weekend in Central Illinois. It was chip timed, Boston Qualifying, and there were other people there. The water stop was different since they were single use water bottles. Nutrition was the responsibility of the runners and was set on a self service table before the “gun.” The course was loops instead of an out and back or single loop. The race was put on by It’s Race Time, who provided bib boards to the participants in place of disposable pins. They had an app I used and received cheers from my adoring fans throughout the race. I loved the experience. A food truck stepped up and gave us a free post race meal. Healthy in a Hurry had really good food, by the way. I had the fish tacos, which were grilled fish, cole slaw, white cheese, and sauce on tortillas. Delicious.

I have no idea how the conversation started last week, but I was at the gym and the conversation went to the coming half marathon. I somehow agreed that I could PR despite my own reservations about being able to. I spent the next couple days trying to shift my “I’ll try,” into “I’ll do it.” I convinced myself that I had to do it instead of simply being able.

Sunday morning arrived and it was windy and chilly as expected. I knew exactly what to wear from experience. I would need a short sleeve shirt, fake sleeves, gloves, and my pants that are vented on the backs of the legs. My threshold for long vs short sleeves is about 40 degrees. I can run cold, but if I get too hot, it’s miserable. My start wave was 8:20, which was great for me because that meant I could eat a real breakfast (overnight oats) instead of a stroopwafel like I do for early morning runs. I run better on real food. I drank a caffeinated Nuun to fill up on electrolytes prior to the race. I made sure to use the bathroom as much as possible before heading out on my 20 minute drive to Lake Bloomington.

I got to the race site and parked on the rural road shoulder meaning my car was leaning into a ditch. I walked down to Judy’s car and sat inside the warm car chatting with her until my wave was about to start. I walked to the start and it seemed like nobody was there despite the announcement that the wave started in 4 minutes. I took a dot on the ground near the middle and saw very few people behind me. The horn sounded and we were off. I was running close to a 9 minute pace and trying to pull back so I wouldn’t burn out, but I felt like the effort was easy. I stopped looking down at my watch as more people passed. I think everyone in my heat got ahead of me. I tried to just run comfortably.

After the first mile, we were into the loop with short hills and a couple of longer ones. I was feeling good. The app on the phone said my estimated finish time was 2 hours 12 minutes. That was 5 minutes better than what I was planning. I slowly realized that the app was not as accurate as my watch as each mile ticked along. I took my first GU at 3.5 miles as planned. I walked as I took it and my water, also part of what I planned. The GU exploded all over my hand and face and I squeezed it into my mouth. It was chocolate flavored. I licked what I could off of my gloves and tried to wipe my face with my shirt. It distracted me a little bit. I asked someone at the water table whether I had GU on my face and explained I had to know since it was brown. I got through the first loop and the checkpoint (the start/finish line was a turnaround).

I went back toward the loop and I really felt confident and comfortable. I was on pace to finish in the time I’d planned and I was hearing cheers through the app at every mile I crossed. I was able to take another GU around 7 miles without getting it all over myself thanks to removing my gloves. My music was keeping me entertained and I knew the course from running in training. I turned the checkpoint again and took the energy of the people who cheered. I decided to take my final nutrition at 9 miles for a shot of energy. I saw sweat on my sleeves and pulled them off to tie them around my belt. I put the gloves back on because the wind was making my hands cold. I was still comfortable and my pace felt good.

With only four miles left, I ran a couple hills, looked at my pace and saw it slowing. I felt like it was out of control. I tried to move my feet faster, drop them more quickly, lean forward. None of my usual tricks were working. Inside of mile 11, I started feeling disoriented with nobody around. I thought I’d gotten off course despite having just passed a man I’d seen twice before taking race photos. I did the math and realized that I’d have to run 2 miles at less than 9 minutes each to beat my PR. I took 30 seconds and walked to try to regain my speed. My pace didn’t rebound when I started running again. I realized my mind was falling apart before my body and took my headphones off and prayed. I focused on nothing more than finishing the race because my mind would not stop telling me I needed to walk because I wasn’t going to get my time and it would be more comfortable to walk. I felt my eyes well up and no tears came. I felt angry. Once I could see the finish line, I sped up as much as I could and it wasn’t as fast as some of the times I finish a run. I crossed the finish line at 2 hours 20 minutes and 18 seconds. I was relieved. I knew before I got there I wasn’t going to PR that day. I didn’t even check my time when I crossed. My friend, Sandra brought me a water and congratulated me and chatted. I looked at my time after that. I finished my 9th half marathon with a time 22 minutes better than my Detroit time last October. I finished 2 minutes and 20 seconds from my best. That’s still pretty good and the best I’ve done since my injury in 2016.

That was not my intent. I wanted to PR my half marathon before turning 40 in January 2021. I had no idea there wouldn’t be races this year. My plan was to get that record out of the way in Missouri on October 4th. That was supposed to be my 10th half marathon. Oh well.

Now I’m signed up for a competition at my gym next month. I was reluctant to sign up, but somehow my own words were reflected in something and I felt like it was a sign that I should. I’d said in a photo caption after my race: “It isn’t about winning. Sometimes it’s just about being the best damn me I can be. I rocked that. I owned it.”

Thanks for reading! I can’t wait to tell you more about my adventures.

Another Weight Loss Attempt?

A couple weeks ago, I started Noom to lose weight. Since March 2019, I’ve lost about 30 pounds. I’ve been stuck at that weight and changing body composition. I lost fat and gained muscle slowly, but I was still looking at myself and seeing my soft stomach, arms I referred to as “baby fat,” and generally not being as fit looking as I’d wanted. I have tried other methods to increase my fat loss including counting macros. My issue was my relationship with food. I wouldn’t let myself eat enough calories to fuel my workouts and I’d feel weak and exhausted. I would diet strict and every slip would turn into a binge or into 3 meals of fast food in a row to make up for all I’d missed.

My reason for choosing Noom was that it said that it used psychology to help people change their habits. It referenced dialectical behavioral therapy as one of the methods. I signed on for a 2 week trial that ended today and I’m going to continue through the course of the program.

So far, I enjoyed cookies a couple times and it was within my acceptable calories and food types. I didn’t over indulge. I’ve lost about 5 pounds. My goal was initially to lose 30 pounds. My last body composition said that I should lose 25 pounds of fat. My body mass index stated that I need to lose about 16 pounds to be within a “normal” range.

While I’m really excited about the prospect of getting to my goal, I’m still in the early stages. I had moments where I doubted myself. I’ve gone over on calories. I ate too many fats in a day. I had to battle the voice inside that wanted me to give up and enjoy anything I wanted instead of what I needed for fuel. I had to look back on articles to find out how to deal with “I can’t ever do this.”

My husband has been supportive, but doesn’t totally understand that I can eat whatever I want to with planning. My friends that I told were not fully behind the idea of me paying for a program. I have hit a lot of walls looking for help with this for years. I joined my current gym after trying different types of cross training alongside my running for a few years. That was when I finally lost what I did, so who’s to say this won’t work?

My depression has improved. I’m not fully attributing that to dietary changes as I had the medication adjustment recently. I have been more sleepy than I’d like to be, but I’m aware that the cause is getting up at 5am after waking up a lot at night. I sure do enjoy working out at 6am, now. I feel like I have the rest of the day to get things done. The biggest thing on my mind lately is that I can’t be sure if my perception is messed up because of my mental illness or if people don’t like me, so I’m having a hard time communicating. I don’t want to annoy anyone, I suppose. That would be a talk therapy or workbook type of issue, though.

Athletically, I am probably at a plateau. I’m going to work on what I can and do my half marathon on the 25th. Then, I’ll scale back the weekend runs a little bit. I have been reading articles and saving them and I intend to work on myself and what I can fix.

Thank you for reading! I can’t wait to share progress with you. I also hope that I can bring something useful back to you from my half marathon. Please don’t hesitate to comment anything or even inbox me if you don’t want everyone to see.

I actually feel pretty confident here. Loved my dress!

I’m calling it a win because I’ve needed one…

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I’d been struggling with depression and would be requesting a medication adjustment from my doctor. She adjusted my current medication and scheduled an in person follow up for a month in the future. I’ve had my ups and downs. I was better for a couple weeks and then I reached a point where I had some really dark thoughts and was too deep in it to confide in anyone about it. I’m still struggling with darkness, but I’m not trying to think of ways to end my life anymore. I’m still not myself and I know it, but I can’t snap my fingers and bring myself back. Faking it until I make it, I suppose.

I was trying my hardest with workouts at the gym and coming out on the bottom most days. I began to feel like my best efforts weren’t worth it and considered quitting. I distanced myself from talking to people because I didn’t want to discuss what I’d already decided in my head. I didn’t want anyone to think they should have known. I haven’t been able to get my speed up on long runs. Despite my goal this year of getting a PR, I was coming up much slower. I wasn’t seeing anything in myself past mediocrity and wanted to be really good at something. I couldn’t see past comparison to find the joy in my own progress.

I don’t know how much I like sharing any of this. Truth is, I fell into this around the same time last year when I was off medication. I can’t believe it came back to haunt me. The thing that caused my PTSD didn’t happen until late November.

Anyway, I made my best efforts to just do things. Going through the motions would ensure I didn’t throw any red flags to anyone. Thursday, I decided to try to use a weight I didn’t think I would be able to use to do the workout. I was mostly proud of myself right after finishing. Later in the day, I wasn’t as proud. Thursday night, I saw there were box jumps on the workout the next day. I went out to my garage for an hour and practiced until dinner and then again for about 30 minutes. I banged my shins and knees on the edge. I had the box close to the wall so I wouldn’t fall forward and I knocked my knuckles into the wall multiple times catching myself. I never made it on top of the 20″ box that night. Friday, I did the workout stepping up to the box instead of jumping. I waited until most everyone was gone after class and I pulled out a box and practiced until I finally did box jumps. I took a video and posted it because I did it. Even the joy from that faded later in the day.

Saturday, I did a workout where a mile run was at the beginning and end of the workout. While it was my fault my team came in dead last because of my inability to put 95 pounds over my head [again], my first mile was 8:49 and that was fast for me to run without a warm up.

Sunday, my husband encouraged me to sleep in and run after church. I got ready and decided I would go run on another part of the trail instead of by my house. I set out for 11 miles while in the back of my mind wanting to run 13.1 miles. I felt so good, I had to slow myself down at times. Around 11 miles, the wheels started to fall off and everything in me told me to quit. Then, I remembered that quitting is conditioned and the more I quit, the more I’d become comfortable with it. I don’t quit. I never have. I paused a moment, put my arms over my head, took a drink of water, and set back off along the trail. Near my car, I still had a little over a half mile to go. I slowed a little looking back thinking that nobody knew I wanted to go 13.1 miles and nobody would know if I didn’t finish. Then, I realized that I knew and I had committed to myself. I ran to 13 miles and turned back to finish. That last .1 mile, I was flying. I couldn’t stop. I just wanted to go. My watch read 8:36 for my pace. I finished in 2:22:44 and my PR is 2:18. It was the fastest half marathon time I’ve put up since my November 2016 injury.

I also started a trial of a weight loss app that I’ll get more into soon. I started Wednesday and I’ve been more energetic and started losing weight.

I hope that I’m back to my normal, cheery self soon. I’m a little sick of my own shit. I’ve made an effort to still be kind and raise other people up, so I hope that my being down hasn’t affected other people too much.

Thanks for reading!

Don’t forget to find the wins along the journey. Every good and perfect gift comes from above. God has carried me through these times. He was definitely there on my long run pushing me through because He knew how much it would help. I believe it.

I WAS feeling pretty good about myself.

I took a nearly 200 mile drive to see my BEST friend, Liz in Missouri a couple weeks ago. We hadn’t seen each other in over a year and it was time to exchange Christmas and birthday gifts. It was exactly the renewal I needed heading into a school year starting off as no other ever has. We ate at my favorite BBQ place there, I got to hang out with her pets, and we went to a climbing gym.

I’d never really gotten to climb before. I’d tried and didn’t make it up the wall beyond my own height. This time, I tried out different walls and I even went up more than once if I couldn’t figure out something on the first try. The only thing I didn’t do was repel down. I climbed down hanging on for dear life even though I was connected to a cable.

Liz took this pic of me. At first I was like “I look fat,” to which she replied, “I figured you’d say that, so I’m showing you instead of posting it.” I posted it myself after realizing that there’s a lot of muscle showing there and the photo was taken in the spirit of my friend being proud of me. I actually did something I didn’t think I could.

I got back home and had to step back from working out of a few days because I wasn’t feeling great. Once I felt better, I had my long run on the weekend and felt like I was run over by a bus for skipping a key long run the weekend I spent with Liz, but was proud to finish 15k. The following week, I felt like I was doing really well in the workouts and was able to do the workout “as prescribed” or “Rx” most days, which was a big deal to me. I ran on the weekend and tried really hard to beat the previous 15k time, but I couldn’t bring my speed up. The run itself went by fast, but my pace didn’t.

I posted to my social media that I was disappointed in my time and that it hurt my ego. I later admitted that my complaining was premature and that I should have just been happy to have completed the run. I meant it. I’m being hard on myself because I wanted so badly to get a personal record at the half marathon I’d originally signed up to run in October that has been canceled already.

Monday, I tried my best at the gym to do the workout as Rx. I believed I could when I got to the round I was most concerned about. Then, I dropped a 95 pound loaded barbell from almost overhead behind my back while trying to jerk it overhead to squat. I got zero reps in because I couldn’t do it. Ouch. My feelings. Tuesday, I again tried by best. There were 100 double unders with a jump rope, which I was excited about because I’d been doing so well with that. Nope. I couldn’t string them together to save my life. I whipped the hell out of myself with the rope. Then, the workout had toes to bar, a pull up bar movement where you hinge and touch your toes to the bar you’re hanging from. I attempted to do a similar movement with knee raises and couldn’t. I had to scale down even more by lying on the floor and raising my toes to the post behind me. I completed the workout in a reasonable amount of time, but not the way I wanted to. Wednesday was more of the same and I again dropped a 95 pound load from eye level.

Yesterday, still Wednesday, I had a rough mental health day. I spent a lot of time with tears in my eyes and I couldn’t control it. I didn’t want to live anymore, but I didn’t want to take my own life. I mentioned that I wanted to cry out for help, but I didn’t want to come off as negative. I just felt like at my age, I should be great at something and I’m not. I don’t have a career, I’m not a great wife or mom, I’m mediocre at everything and there isn’t really time for me to be great at anything. I wound up napping for a couple hours, skipping lunch because I wasn’t hungry, and snapping at people I probably shouldn’t have that had no idea I was struggling.

I received so much support and encouragement despite nobody knowing I was struggling. I appreciated it and it made me feel good. I also felt guilty for feeling so bad knowing that I had so many good thing and people surrounding me.

Today, I called my dr and asked if it was time to increase my meds and await a call about that. It wasn’t all stemmed from my athletic challenges this week. This situation we’re all going through is tough. The lives we were accustomed to are long gone and there was no time to prepare or mourn that. I went on for too long being “okay” with it until I got sick, had to isolate, and found out I didn’t have the virus. The emotional damage might amplify as the sunshine starts to wane and we’re living in cold months. I want to be ready.

I have a little over a month until the half marathon. I want to, but don’t expect to have a new personal record at the finish.

Thanks for reading! I love hearing your feedback, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

Who is this me?

Frequently, my husband gets to hear my commentary on my body while I change clothes or dry off after a shower. I call myself fatty. I pinch my waist and tell mirror me to try harder, eat better, etc. I try to be nice to myself, but I’ll never be satisfied with my appearance. Fine. It is what is is.

Yesterday, when I went on my run, I decided not to change into different clothes from the ones I’d worn when I worked out. I set out for a 6.6 km (4.1 miles) run in the noontime heat of the day. I have a virtual race time to turn in this week and that’s the distance.

I got a mile in and I was feeling the heat, so I pulled my shirt up and tucked the bottom underneath my sports bra. I typically won’t expose my belly, but I figured I could easily pull it back down. A little further on, I stopped completely and walked a moment before I decided to just take my shirt off and put it in my pocket. The skin I’d exposed felt cooler and my pace had actually picked up. I only fully stopped one more time to shove the shirt down the leg of my shorts so it would stop creeping out of my pocket.

I was not feeling super confident, though. As I ran, I occasionally put my hands over my belly and turned sideways. When there was a lot of traffic, I tried to completely cover my midsection with my hands. I finally stopped thinking about it until I got to 5k and stopped my watch to walk the rest of the way home deciding to do a 6.6 k later in the week instead.

As I walked home, I pulled my top from the leg of my shorts and tucked it into the band on my sports bra to soak up the pool of sweat that always starts pouring right after I stop running.

I felt a sense of pride as though I’d accomplished something. It wasn’t much, but I got over myself long enough to help myself out. I got uncomfortable to get comfortable. Who is that person?

I posted my picture to a fitness group I’m in and my personal social media pages. It wasn’t that I was proud of my body, which I actually kind of am looking at the photo. I was proud that I actually donned the sports bra while on a run.

So simple, but a statement of how far I’ve come.

I know I’m a huge dork for how exciting I find this. That’s ok, too. Thanks for reading! Drop me a comment any time or a message if you feel self conscious about the comments.

I see things differently when I think its been taken away.

Many people who have known me for years know that I trained for all 20 weeks less one run for the 2016 Indy Monumental Marathon when I toed down and tore a tendon in my right foot dashing my chance of even starting the race. It has taken me until this year to get my running speed back and I’ve taken on other athletic endeavors along the way.

Yesterday, Judy came over to my house so we could do 6 miles before my husband needed to be somewhere with one of the kids. Halfway through the run, I was warning Judy about how shitty the road was in the spot where we crossed. I looked up to check for traffic, sunk my foot and turned it all the way sideways. I briefly stopped and stretched before declaring I was fine and that that type of stuff just scares me because my prior injury.

Dip in the graph = dip in the road, too!

By the end of the run, I was feeling it and I could see swelling. I took both of my shoes off to do my stretches, but I started getting scared that I was injured. I grabbed my prescription anti inflammatory gel and rubbed it all over my foot and ankle, got an ice pack, and grabbed every ankle brace and wrap I could find. I dragged it all to a spot on the recliner with a pillow to prop my foot on and I treated it gently all day long. I went through sobbing about how long it took me to get where I was from my 2016 injury to comparing photos from that injury to this one. I was not okay mentally.

I thought that everything I’d been working so hard on was just ripped away and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. I looked around at all the things I needed to do around the house and I was just annoyed I was mostly helpless because…. rest [eye roll here]. I don’t do rest when I don’t want.

Leading up to yesterday, I’d been questioning why I bothered with functional fitness if I’ll only be mediocre at best and never great. I struggle with gymnastics skills that I feel like I’m working on with little progress. I can’t even do a pull up without assistance. I have been feeling like no matter how hard I’ve tried, I’ll never be as good as I aspire to be and I don’t do well with accepting being average. It seems odd to say because there is not one thing I can name that I’m exceptional at doing.

Thinking that I was injured enough to be taken out of doing the things that I enjoy to keep myself healthy and bring me peace showed me how far I’d come from the things that I CAN do. I learned how to do different lifts over time and I wouldn’t lose that knowledge. I’d have to work my strength up again. I finally figured out 20 inch box jumps on Saturday morning because of a quote I’d read in passing: If you can’t beat fear, just do it scared (Glennon Doyle Melton). Even after landing the jumps multiple times, it wasn’t good enough for me because I was using the foam box. Sure, there is shit I can’t do, but I’ve done the work to try and learn them and maybe I’m not giving myself any credit for that. I learned handstand push-ups in my garage when the gym was closed down. That’s something.

Garage workout selfie!

I took today off from functional fitness class, which was tough because it was deadlift day and I totally love trying to get a new maximum on that. I went in and did the power workout with Judy after the class cleared out. I got in some pressing, so I didn’t feel completely useless. As the day went on, the tinge of pain is very slight. I can use the stairs in my house normally, which yesterday and this morning were more challenging.

I’m still a little uneasy that something so quick could set me back again. I’m sure I’ll get to the point where I wonder why I try if I can only get so far, but why not just do something I enjoy doing? *Yes, I still want to be the best ever at everything.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy it. If you ever have something you think I should write about, drop me a note. I’m definitely more experienced at running than functional, but I’ll do my best.

*EDITED TO ADD: I’m actually feeling fine enough to work out again on it. Not even close to my 2016 tumble. Thank God.

What a strange/fun day

When I planned out my Saturday, I jokingly said I was probably going to die by the end of it. I reserved a 7am class at the gym for a team workout and the power lifting class immediately following. I had a small breakfast and some pre workout before leaving the house and brought a 64 ounce jug of water to hydrate in preparation for my hot evening 5k race. The workout involved sharing 400 meter runs and splitting other things [like 100 burpees] among the group. The power portion was mostly deadlifts, and I got a lot out of going to that. I needed some correction and I got it.

On my way home, Judy called and asked if I wanted to go out for breakfast. So, I had a HUGE breakfast and 3 cups of coffee while I sat there. I’m normally a 1 cup of coffee or pre workout type of person because caffeine is not the friend of anxiety, but it wasn’t affecting me.

I put the shorts I’d worn to the gym into the wash and waited to put them into the dryer so I could wear them later for the 5k race. Once they were in the dryer, I was off to take a nap. The copious amount of caffeine I’d had didn’t prevent me from sleeping nearly 2 hours before getting up and getting ready to race. I noticed the sky was looking ominous and my phone said there was a thunderstorm warning in my area. Sure enough, it was storming up in Hudson, the town 20 minutes north of my house where the race was planned. Judy messaged me that there was a bridge out on my usual route to Hudson, so I headed out and took the highway.

Let me tell you, it started hailing on my one year old CR-V and I was terrified. I don’t remember ever driving in hail before. I started seeing people pulling off the road. I saw a couple on a motorcycle hunched over being pelted and I couldn’t pull off to help because other people had pulled off to the shoulder there. I kept driving through it and by the time I got to my exit, I was behind the same 18 wheeler I’d been following and trusting to keep me in my lane by watching his taillights. I was going 40 mph on a highway and Google proudly announced through the navigation, “Speed Trap Ahead.” I laughed aloud by myself in the car and then said, “Thanks, I’ll keep an eye out,” to my empty car. Then, I saw the most vivid rainbow I’ve seen in awhile and I just praised God that I made it through the storm.

The race was started in waves. Mine was the 3rd wave of 4 and we were all shy and trying to stand in the spots (6 feet spaced dots on the ground) furthest from the actual start. The person running the start line informed us that there were only 10 people in our heat and we needed to move up. So, I wound up first momentarily until a woman came forward to take my spot after I kept saying people would just have to pass me right out of the gate if I started out front.

The sun had returned and the streets were steaming in places from the heat. I chose to wear my hat and a hydration belt because I was afraid it would rain again and my belt pocket is waterproof. I’m glad I did. I poured the cold water under my hat to cool off and I used the water to drink at one point. Toward the end of the race, there was a woman slightly in front of me and I picked up my speed and pulled ahead of her. She wasn’t in my age group, but how would I know? I wound up finishing 3rd in my age group.

Official Results

Judy and I went to a restaurant across from the race to get drinks. When the guy filled my beer and used a glass, I asked if he was sure I could take it outside because I could break it or take it. He dismissed me and said it was fine, so we went out to my car and pulled out the lawn chairs I’d brought along. Thunder came after awhile and the sky started sprinkling on us. We drove over the the other restaurant there for dinner and I may have taken the glass into my car when I threw the chairs in and put the beer into a water bottle. I intend to drive it back up there soon. I’m up that way most weekends.

We had a great tasting/not at all nutritious dinner of cheeseburgers, fries, fried mushrooms, and fried cheddar cheese curds. I was surprised I didn’t feel worse today from that, but I was nauseated at 4am. Anyway, after we’d eaten, I headed to the restroom and as I was washing my hands, the power went out. It was pitch black in there and when I found my way out, people were inside with their phone flashlights illuminating the restaurant. We waited the storm out and settled our bill to head home.

The roads were covered in tree debris. There were uprooted trees and the corn was all slanted from the winds that had come through. My phone was out of service and took me to a road that had a road block that said “Bridge Out Ahead”. I turned on a different road and the maps app was still trying to take me back to that road and put me down a tiny road with corn on either side. I turned around and asked the GPS to take me back to the restaurant. I found the main road and saw a gas station I recognized and pulled in. Their trash bins were all over the parking lot and I had to swerve to avoid hitting lids and cans just to pull into a spot to get my bearings. I finally saw the highway and got on only for there to be a barrel in the middle of the lane and I had no idea where to go except into the side the construction was being done and drive through other barrels afterward.

I finally got home in the rain and I sent Judy a message to make sure she got home. All in all, the whole day was great, but crazy.

Thanks for reading! I could honestly talk all day today, but I’ll leave you with this.

Oh, and a lightning bug landed on Judy’s hand and just hung out there. It was so odd and so funny, I needed a picture. I have no idea how the hell this ended up being the only photo I took of her and I didn’t do a selfie with her:

I should’ve posted when I was feeling awesome.

I’m still running and working out most days. I spend much more time in the gym since there isn’t much to do outside of the home. I stick around most days and complete a “power” workout after functional fitness class. It’s fun because I get to socialize with other like minded women. I’m also getting better at stuff I didn’t have a chance to work on before. I was running every day, also though and that took too much time.

I started a running streak with some gym friends on my “Run the Year” team. The plan was Memorial Day through Independence Day to run at least 1 mile per day. I actually thought I would try to go through Labor day at some point in time, but finishing through the 4th of July was pretty impressive and I wanted to stop.

My 4th outfit

I got to run a real, in person, 5k race the weekend before the 4th in a local town. They had a wave start to alleviate concerns about physical [social] distancing. There were no gatherings before or after the race. There was no water stop. Even so, it was a real race and I got to do it. I was shooting for a PR, which I thought was anything faster than 28:45. That was, until I found a pint glass I’d gotten from a local race as a prize and found that 28:16 was actually my best 5k time. It was humid that morning, but I was still bent on getting my best time. Fortunately, I ran into my friend, Jess at the start line and I latched on to her to hold pace. That was, until I couldn’t hold my pace and I actually felt like I was going to be sick. I pulled back and reset. I tried to keep moving as fast as I could and I finished in less than 30 minutes, which has to be the best official time I’ve had since I tore my peroneal tendon in 2016. I was disappointed, but I was actually a little proud that I was actually getting back some speed and pleased to have run a real race. After speaking to some experienced runners, they were surprised that I’d attempted to PR in those conditions and cautioned against trying in the heat.

My long term 2020 goal was to PR at my 10th half marathon in St. Charles, MO. The MO Cowbell was my planned race for the 4th of October. I was disappointed when I had to defer half marathon number 9 in April. I still virtually ran it with Judy. We’ve even kept up our mileage so training wouldn’t be as hard in the late summer months. Then, I saw the announcement on social media about the Cowbell going virtual this year. No race; No rematch with the mile long hill near highway 370 or running through Old Town seeing all the dogs people bring out to cheer for the runners. I don’t even want to say I was disappointed. It was more. I was frustrated and discouraged. I don’t fault the race or its organizers for it. I understand it is the stupid virus. I am tired of its existence.

I get to run another real, in person 5k this weekend. Another wave start race. I’m not shooting for a PR. I just want to run it for the tank top that comes with the race. I’m hoping I get another opportunity to beat my time in October.

I honestly think my running performance improvements are directly related to my working out at my gym, Be Strong. I’m stronger and less prone to injury. I’m also just a better all around athlete than I was before. I have cross trained in the past and I don’t think it helped me as much as this type of fitness programming has helped. I’m hooked and super enthusiastic about it. I feel like I have this amazing support system and I actually enjoy working out. I did their Hero WOD this 4th of July and I got another coin for it.

I stand by what I said awhile back when all this began. It is okay to be angry and upset with the things that are affecting you at this time. It isn’t selfish just because there is someone out there who “has it worse.” Emotions are valid and necessary.

Thanks for reading! I hope you find something to enjoy and hang on to it. I also hope to find more “in person” racing.

Go on; I’ve said meaner things to myself…

I could go on about how I’m goal driven and constantly improving as an athlete and how my writing encourages others. I could also go on about how I struggle with my identity and accepting that any accomplishments I earn are the result of my faith in combination with hard work and discipline.

I keep my plaque and trophies from races out of sight. I have one on display because I happen to have a medal display hanger, but it isn’t prominent. It says “1st place female 35-39” on it, and I’m just now 39, so it’s relatively recent. I know nobody will give me a trophy for a personal best and that’s really what I strive for in practice. I just want to be better than I was before.

I strive to be special and important and stand out. When it happens, I attribute the success to an anomaly or dumb luck and shrug it off. I wish I could say it was because I’m “too cool” to let it go to my head. That’s not the case.

I also think there’s a part of me that always thinks I could have done even better and has already moved on to the next goal instead of celebrating the one I just pulled off.

My husband likes to tell me that nobody is harder on me than I am on myself. He’s right, but don’t tell him that. He does celebrate his wins.

So, recently, I realized I hated my Facebook profile picture and decided to take a new one. Let’s look at the old photo.

I actually still don’t like my face in this pic. I don’t like my cheeks when I smile.

I can’t describe why, but I’ve hated my face in that photo for weeks and I hadn’t been able to find a new one that I found a satisfactory replacement. I propped my phone up on a holder on my desk and put the phone in selfie mode while I had some mascara and lip gloss on and felt like I looked good. I took one photo after another. Some, I laughed while chatting with my husband about selfies.

I hated every photo. My face was just too ugly whether I smiled or not. I prefer not to smile because it highlights my face not being symmetrical and my teeth being awful. Then, I have to deal with “smile,” comments about that. I wound up taking many photos and at one time accidentally setting off the automatic photo feature while I was in tears over it.

I was looking at 2 chins, face wrinkles, chest freckles, a crooked nose, pale skin, no eyebrows…

I finally settled on this one:

Anyway, I think this kind of brought to a head the fact that I am really hard on myself. I might need to think about celebrating the wins a little more and being kinder to myself. I have no idea why sometimes, I can act as if I’m confident and have it all together when I know that I’m not very kind to myself.

So, be kind to you. Set goals and crush them. Celebrate the wins and shrug off the misses. That’s what I should be doing, anyway.

Thanks for reading!

Time is totally relative…

I haven’t written in my blog in a month or so and the only reason I know is that I looked at my main page for the last post. I don’t know whether I feel like it was less or more, though.

I am still working out and running. I’ve returned the equipment to my gym because the time is approaching where we can return to training there instead of my garage. It was almost surreal to arrive there yesterday to drop off all the things I’d been using through the shelter order and to see the once full racks with no plates on them, no wall balls on their rack, and almost no bars in their holders. I’m proud to have still worked out while staying at home and not having classes to hold me accountable.

I feel like I’ve been blessed this time. I’ve gotten stronger in some ways. I’ve actually been able to get some new personal bests in lifting. I was able to find a set up for my garage to use for pull ups. Someone set out a pull up and dip station for trash pickup and my husband and I were able to pick it up to bring it home. This was after I ordered parts to make one in my garage and was waiting for them to be ready for pickup. I saved money and felt truly blessed. My family and I have also had our needs met even when it was seemingly impossible to get things in person or online that we needed.

Working out and running help me deal with life better. I’m not emotionally having much trouble dealing with staying at home. I have a hard time with social media and news in general. People are really accentuating some of their worst attributes. I often use shortcuts into the groups I most enjoy on my Facebook to avoid it. I often wonder if people realize they can see something they don’t like and just move on. I don’t think everyone is entitled to my opinion nor do I care to engage in useless banter with someone who is speaking to be heard and not to listen or learn.

I’m happy that the weather is warming up. Now my speed has to catch back up because I’m not used to being so hot. I am finally wearing shorts to run! I haven’t decided my legs are skinny enough to be worthy. I’ve decided that my legs weren’t the issue. It was my confidence. So, I have the cutest shorts with 5″ inseams.

I ran 7 miles on Sunday. I’m going to try to keep my miles up a little in hopes that training for my autumn half marathon will result in running that race and I’m still hoping for that new personal best. It won’t be my 10th half as I had planned. Not officially, anyway. It is still going to be awesome.

It was HOT (finally)

Thanks for reading! I hope you have some bright horizons to look upon and I hope you’re caring for your mental health. Remember that while the least compassionate people speak the loudest, the people who care are still all around. Many people are only cruel to others because of their own insecurity, anyway.