Friday, February 20, 2015

I did some stuff.

I didn't really check the date but seems like the last time I blogged was over a month ago. Maybe more. I've been doing some things since then and thought I would share them with you since they're just kinda hanging out there in my JPEG file just waiting to be inserted into my writer palate with captions. So, you ready??

In my spare time I like to peruse Etsy. Can be 25 minutes. Can be two hours. I found this poster and I wanna buy it and frame it and put it somewhere in my house where I'm sure my husband will frown at me and remark "is this absolutely necessary?" Yes. yes it is. 

I baked a birthday cake for my youngest in the nest. He loved it and it looked great. A special "thank you" to As Seen On Tv. That pan made a herd of young men very happy. 

I went to a University of Kentucky basketball game and had the type of seats that you can scalp on the street for upwards of $200. But as a true fan, I chose to go to the game, cheer loudly, clap and heckle the opposing team (just kidding) instead of buying two economy class seats to Vegas with what could have been my ticket windfall. You know you're a fan when......

I sailed down the mighty Atlantic coast of America to our warmer sister nation of the Caribbean and it's friendly islands. Those are palm trees on my sweat pants. 

Upon arriving back in Muricka (off of said ship), we celebrated by locating the nearest Chick Fil A. Sorry to the people in the booth behind us. 

And I'm still training for my next 70.3 (three months away) but since I have no pictures, I had to scroll back to the last picture of me on a bicycle which was this one, in midtown Manhattan back in Nov. notice the half dish on the back wheel. #aeroenough

I missed my last trail race, the weather was too bad to get to Indianapolis (imagine that ~ insert sarcasm) and now, I think, next up is the Run The Bluegrass Half Marathon here locally late March. I'm hoping to run with my blogger friend Courtney if she'll make the trip? She has THE cutest baby on planet Earth. 

This is my 6th year of consecutive training and racing and I've spent all kinds of time reflecting on what it's all meant to me. I've run at least 8 marathons, more than 20 halves, 3 Half Ironmen and 1 Ironman. I use to panic about getting it all done, finishing, how fast was I finishing. Now I find myself more worried about enjoying it all, trying to stay at a genetic point where I don't ache when I put my feet on the floor first thing in the morning, etc. I can't remember the last time I was worried about how fast I did a run, I just run and however that shakes out is fine by me. 

I'll leave you with this gem and ask...where you racing next?? 

Monday, December 22, 2014

New York and other things....

I meant to write after I got back from NYC and then fell into the dark hole of ones best laid plans. My training cycle leading up to the race was less than stellar for a myriad of reasons from family to life to a set of knees that hate me. So, I did the best I could and ran my worst marathon time ever of 5:06 but had a GREAT experience that day. I came, I ran, I slowly jogged and I walked the marvel, better known as the TCS New York City Marathon. I'm 100% certain that I'll never run another race in my life where it's wall to wall crowds for 26.2 miles. I smiled a lot that day. Especially at the sight of my fleece lined blue poncho that I was bestowed with upon exiting the finishers shoot to immerse myself back into the city masses. 

Now that I'm back home, it's been time to rest. I've never really took time off from running. For the better part of 6 years, I've run religiously, with maybe less than 3 weeks off total during this time. I've backed myself down to maybe 10 miles per week since I've been home. I started riding my bike again, swimming lots. To be honest, the pain I've had in my knees has left me sour. I've spent years in PT and with bags of ice strapped to my appendages. Sent home equipped with stretchy bands and lists of rehabilitation exercises. This time around, I want none of with that said, I've made an executive decision to do what us in the running world, refer to as "jogging". I lope along, singing, taking big deep breaths and trying to locate my love of movement. I sometimes jog 3 miles, I sometimes jog 8. I stop when I'm done and if that's at 4.21 miles, then that's when I stop. It's taken time but I'm starting to like and looking forward to putting my shoes on and heading out the door. 

Now that it's Christmas, I've taken on my annual puzzle building bonanza. My 9 year old son, very enthusiastically held up this gem at our local Barnes and Noble and exclaimed "Momma! This one! You have a boat!" Sure, made sense. I got home, hoping his enthusiasm would carry over into the searching-for-edges phase of construction, but alas, no. I was all alone with his older brother at the dining room table. 2 fragmented segments of "WHERE IS THAT PIECE I SAW LAST WEEK!?" 

Tree is up. Looks like a cannon full of holiday cheer exploded into the corner of my living room. There are literally no empty branches left. So I ponder....get another tree (+1) or get a bigger tree? 

Once the Visa bill arrives I'll be in search of an extra "six hunnit and fiddy dollars". 

Races for 2015 (going modest here)

January 31st - Planet Adventure Night Winter Trail Half Marathon
(I think this will be my 3rd or 4th year in a row)

April ? (I'll look it up later) - Abraham Lincoln Half
(I want the medal. Just that simple)

May 18th (drum roll please) - 70.3 IM Chattanooga Half Ironman

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall. It's the moooost won-der-ful time of the year. In my humble opinion.

During a normal training cycle I would regale you with stories of trying to potentially injure myself during the taper but this time around I'll spare you and and just share some random stuff, cause frankly, that's possibly just as fun.

Last weekend I had every intention of running 10-12 miles but I didn't. When I was running the Bourbon Chase relay 2 weekends ago, after finishing my last leg, I saw what appeared to be a freshly mowed and torn area of grass through a local park that stretches 8 miles one-way. It had been cordoned off with tape and I soon realized THAT WE HAVE AN OFFICIAL CYCLOCROSS COURSE NEAR MY HOUSE!!!! So, over the weekend, I brought my mountain bike to this glorious promise land of climb and descend.

If you don't know much about cyclocross it involves riding ones mountain bike on a grass/dirt course in loops / laps. You're encouraged to dress oddly if need be, drink beer and have just a good time in general. Years ago before I started cycling fo' real, I had bought a Specialized mountain bike and I'm thrilled I did. I even took good care of it!

This is what people who know what they're doing look like. Yes, there are jumps you carry your bike across. I dig this. 

Now, I'm still at a beginner level and although I have pretty good bike handling skills, I'm still not at a point where I can clip in to the bike with my shoes just yet. If you're doing it right, your quads will leave you wondering how you're going to get up off the toilet seat. 

This is my bike. You can either use the log as a jump OR you can ride around it between the end of the log and the tree. My only issue is that my bike is all aluminum frame and is a bit heavy. I'm a spoiled child who has a nice road bike so I'm regressing with this one but it's perfect to start off on! 

The race meet is almost over at the track, where I spend a lot of my time. There is art everywhere and my liberal arts brain loves every bit of color that fall will allow. 

I'm also super jazzed about this little lady who will be on NBC sports the Saturday after next. Her name is Southern Honey and she's running in the Breeders Cup. I've been around her ever since she was a baby. I know many people don't follow horse racing but I've watched her grow up and on Nov 1st she'll be competing for 1 million dollars.  

Thanks for everyone coming back and reading! I'll write again before I go to New York City to let you know about what I'm forgetting to pack and ALSO to give you the run-down on what's high on my list to see and also find out what you think I should see!! 

Monday, October 20, 2014

If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere...

Aban-don  : to leave and never return to 

So, technically I haven't abandoned my blog. Thanks Websters for clarifying that and clearing any guilt that might have been lingering. 

Since I'm fairly sure that everyone is gone, and thus am going to just be brief and lure anyone who might be on the fence back with this...

My friend Michael says I should start blogging again. 

She has a point. I mean, I'm still running and racing. After last years Ironman finish my perspective has changed on a lot of things. Maybe that's normal, maybe not (who needs normal?). The other night I was staring at my medals, cause I got some new ones this year and a supah new fancy place to hang them all and I never looked at any of them and thought about PR's or any of that. Sort of a "look what I've done! I was healthy enough to run all those things and ran many of them with friends!" 

In less than two weeks I'll board a plane and head to NYC for what I'm kinda thinking will be my last marathon for quite some time. And for once, I'm not nervous and all I can think about is having a good time. In years past I was a hot mess about making time goals. Amazing I wasn't on ulcer meds. Not that I didn't have fun in those but.....yeah, maybe they weren't as fun as they could be, or as I see them now. 

I've spent the bulk of my time on Trip Advisor, scoping out what I wanna see on my trip to the city. This'll be roughly my 15th time there, maybe more, maybe less, just shooting from the hip but towards the top of my list of things I haven't seen is this....

and this...

I'm a closet hippie. 

So welcome back. Can I get a head count. All present say "I". 

Monday, February 10, 2014

The easy button is broken.

I just want to run faster. Is that too much to ask?? I have replaced the early onset of frustration with will power and sheer determination. Word on the street is that it works better. 

What does determination look like?

This. Slovakian on the ground after grueling gunfight and ski adventure in Sochi. 

What do I look like after I try to run 5 8:35 min miles in a row?

Yup. Minus the gun, skiis, poles and gold medal glory and post race interview. 

I hired a coach, which was a wise decision on my part. We've been at this for a few months now and it's going well but I'm not gifted. I have friends and know people who can go out for a run and average 8:30 / 8:40 per mile and it comes so easily. Maybe back in my 20's I could have done that as well but the near 40's are telling me that I'm going to have to want it bad to get it done....and I'm good with that. Ironman wasn't easy but I got it done. This could very well be the same. It just seemed like when I went from 11 min miles to 10's that it was easier. That when I went from 10's to 9's it was easier. 9's to 8's.....not so easy. The winter before last I got close to regularly running in the 8's but I didn't really think much of it and by April, I quit pushing for a better time because I had to incorporate swimming and biking into my life for a half Ironman so speed work had to go. 

I realize the territory I'm trying to enter is the land of the BQ. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. I wonder if my lungs will always feel like they have a blow torch on them when I run an 8:35? If my quads will feel like they're slowly filling with concrete as well? There has to come a time when it won't hurt as badly. Right? Maybe I make it sound as if it's awful, it's not. I feel like a million bucks after I complete a really tough workout. I'm looking forward to the day when that really tough workout is not so tough after all! 

Until then...

I will happily run outside in the snow. 
Special thank you to - The Police, Bob Marley and Tears for Fears for accompanying me. 

Did you make a breakthrough that seemed like it could possibly take forever? 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I have returned.

"Hello!" (said in my best Kate Winslet cry looking for Jack, stuck in the belly of the Titanic)

"Is anybody out there!" (echo, echo echo).

Has your winter been like this? Mine has.

One of my favorite people in the world asked me the other day if I was ever going to blog again. Which, I've been thinking about it, yes, but sometimes my life is boring, even to me, so I can't imagine boring you guys. But here I am, in all my boring glory.

Snow angel made an appearance in the front yard. 

Last year I was in full training early January. Since I finished Ironman back in August I promised myself that I would allow sleeping in and for the fact that I'm a regular human being to set in. The only thing I haven't allowed myself to do is gain weight from eating crappy. Ok, maybe 4-5 lbs. Other than that, if I want to sit on the couch instead of riding my bike, well then, I sit on the couch with the kids and curl up, watch a movie....and not from the seat of my bike. Although, those days are about to end at some point soon. It's one of the best feelings in the world to have a completed Ironman in life's rear view mirror.

So, I have a few things on the plate this year. I want to run a sub 2 half. I'm working on it now. I know a lot of you follow me on Instagram and can watch the progress. I'm not naturally gifted as a runner. My first ever 5K was 40 minutes and that was me doing something that resembled running. That was only 6 years ago. My fastest has been 25 minutes, that was 2 years ago. When I started incorporating cycling and swimming into my life, I let my running goals fall to the side. I didn't really care how fast I went, just as long as I was running.

Me, attempting to get faster. The husband riding the bike in front of me. Faster damn it, faster.

But, now I'm getting older and everything hurts all over a little bit more than it use to. With that said, I feel like I want to make one final push to see what I have in the tank. Give myself every chance to succeed. If I don't make sub 2, that's ok. Not ok but ok, you know what I mean. What I do see (for me) that's even more promising is a marathon PR on the horizon. I think I have all the right ingredients to run a great marathon.

Anyway, if you're on Instagram, there's a running challenge put on by this guy called @Oldguyrunning. You can choose your level of monthly miles to run. I started this month since my miles on schedule fall in that range. It's kinda fun because you can troll the hashtags of everyone and see their running photos from each mileage pool. It always inspires me to get up and get going. I totally wish had t-shirts, the guy has a good thing going he definitely could build on. Each level has a name with a logo like "Tin Man", "Big Foot". Check it out.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

When the word "ain't" collides with an English degree and other stuff.....

I was debating on whether or not to write about this but heck, why not.

Ok, so we all remember high school right? The good, the bad and the ugly. When I was growing up, we moved quite often so it was nearly a new high school each year for me. I had friends come and go all up and down the east coast. Some schools were easier to adapt to than others. I think we've all had different experiences, but for me, I don't miss high school. I enjoyed maybe two out of the four years. Why? I don't like drama, at all. I'm the very least dramatic person you will find, UNLESS there is something crazy happening during one of my swims (like a very large fish that resembles a shark underneath me) or maybe if I've fallen during one of my runs (as happened recently) and am streaming blood off my knee caps. THEN, there's drama, which normally appears in the form of large crocodile tears or a scream. Screams normally jut happen in the lake. Post Shark Week.

Anyway, my daughter has been having a rough time recently at school. There was someone who was bullying her. I didn't want it to go on any longer so I sent his mother a nice text message asking if she could possibly speak with her son and have him just not talk to her at all. Problem solved? We had a nice exchange of messages but the next day, the teasing and bullying got worse. Much worse. So, I went to the principles office, etc. Then later that evening, some other people on social media made me aware that she had turned into "that person" on Facebook and Twitter. She went and used the most colorful language possible to describe the way she felt about me for getting her son in trouble. Extremely colorful. I know it's fun to watch that kinda thing play out on Facebook and Twitter. It's amusing at first..... and then what's funny, turns into pity. How could people be so dumb? Right out in front of everyone? I didn't respond in any way. It wouldn't be a fair fight but the next day "we" (parents and children) had to all meet face to face in the principles office.

What is the takeaway you ask? How did it go? I sat quietly, just listening to the ruckus, wondering to myself, just how many times can the word "ain't" be used in a sentence? Is the sky the actual limit on double negatives??

For example... "my boy ain't never gonna speak with her again." "I ain't never gonnalow (I've merged two words together) that". Again and again and again. I so badly wanted to raise my hand and play grammar police. I wanted to clear my throat and say "I believe the phrase you were searching for was...".

When people use excessive bad grammar, it feels like something like this. 

Do you have the same issues when you hear our English language being destroyed? 

Have you seen people people lose their sanity on Twitter or Facebook?

**In Unrelated News**

I finally was able to take all of my Christmas tree ornaments out of hiding. I love Christmas. It's absolutely my favorite time of year! I love to mismatch on the tree when decorating as well. I've thought about buying a standard set of matching glass balls, etc. but there's something fun about wandering into a store and just picking out a random bird or penguin and taking it home to put on the tree. My clothes hardly ever match so it's not as if I can expect my tree too. 

My daughter started running again. It was 80% her idea, 20% mine. I want her to do it because it's what she wants and not what I want. A few years ago she use to run 5K's with me. Quite a few. She was winning her age group at times but she fessed up and told me that she didn't like running that fast and wanted to take a break. I was ok with that. Running is a long journey in life. It's been 2 years since then and she seems ready to hit the road again. Makes me smile. This time I want to leave her alone and let her do her thing, find her own way. Next week is her first 5K after that long break. I'll be waiting at the finish cheering her on! 

Karen, my oldest child and me


Merry Christmas to me!