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

DRUMROLL PLEASE....


Merry Christmas to me! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ironman Tattoo Complete

I know most of you guys follow me on Instagram but for those that don't and for other pics I took but didn't post, I thought I would do an ode to the MDot tattoo post.

About 2-3 years ago I had dreamed of doing the Ironman but truly at that point just couldn't wrap my mind around finding the time it would take to train nor was I in a good place mentally to get through a swim where there was the potential of me getting jostled around and beat up in a river swim.

Anyway, a few years back I ran the Louisville marathon and I came upon a woman who was in front of me and she had the mdot tattoo on her calf. I ran up to her and told her how I looked up to her and that I just wanted to tell her congratulations on finishing. Yes, a total stranger but it's an Ironman and even then I understood what it meant. My very next thought was "if I ever finish an Ironman, I'm getting one of those!"

So, fast forward 2 years and Ironman finish and here I am. I had originally planned on getting one sooner after the race but I just wanted to make sure that I still wanted one and also I wanted to design something a little different for memories sake.

I chose Bleed Blue Tattoo's because a friend of mine had been there and recommended them. I heard they did some really great work and the place is something like an art studio when you walk inside. It's just a cool spot if tattoo's are your thing.

 
 
Rewind a month...back on Halloween I went and met with Jamie and showed her the design I was thinking about. The only thing we didnt have nailed down was putting the water inside the MDot. She told me that was something she was going to have to work on and think over. So when I came back last night for my appointment, she had it all drawn up and it looked FREAKING GREAT! I just didn't want to settle and that had been my biggest fear all along. When I saw the design all put together, I had a huge smile on my face.
 

Forgive my wardrobe choice and the scabs. I forgot to tell you guys about my nasty fall 2 weeks ago.
 

 
Jamie working away on coloring in the bike crank portion. It stung a bit I have to say.
 

 
The hard parts now over!
 
 
In with the waves!
 
 
Hope I still get compliments on it when I'm 80. Saggy calf n' all.

 
 

 
Me and Jamie posing in some really bad light.
 
 
 
I chose the design for a reason. The swim, well, that was my worst fear going in. I knew if I could survive that swim I would be ok. I'm a good swimmer, a strong swimmer but mentally I can be a huge chicken once I hop in the water. On Ironman day I did more than just survive. The bike for me was a testament to good choices and being happy. I did everything right that day when I needed to. The bike was my friend no doubt. The only thing left was the run. The tattoo looks great but it's still not complete. I haven't figured out how I want to incorporate the run but it will have to do with light and what I saw at the finish line. But for now, I'm one happy inked up girl! 



**yes, it hurt, but only just a little. :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

24601 (sang in my best Hugh Jackman voice)




 Jean Val Jean wanted an answer and as I begin to approach 40, so do I. I know something funny is going on because I’m asking myself all sorts of questions that I never asked before. I’ve reverted back to wearing Converse shoes on a regular basis and I’m taking care of my skin as if it’s the renovation of the Sistine Chapel. I refuse to look like a Sharpei.
I already have Grinch smile lines.
 

I’m officially declaring it a mid-life happening. Crisis is what’s used in airport terminology or when someone has a gun. There are no guns or airplanes in my story. So it’s to be called “the happening”. Wait? Is that a horror movie title?

I’m a mother of 3, who lives in hooded sweatshirts, Nike tops, compression socks, my Ironman jacket and North Face beanies. I make no apologies. I’ve officially reached the winter of training and I’ve sat around, no fewer than 5 times with a pen in hand, hovering over lined paper, trying to map out what it is exactly I want to do next year? I’ve run so many half marathons, so many marathons (half, not super successfully time wise). I’ve conquered the 70.3 and this year, the Ironman. I don’t want to do an ultra. So what DO I want to do?

A.      I still want to run a sub 2 half marathon. I can smell it so I might as well try.

B.      Sadly I don’t have much interest in the marathon anymore. I have NYC next year and I think that’s a heck of a way to say goodbye to 26.2.

C.      I love trails and trail running. It’s just way more fun than pavement.

D.      I love swimming. If I had to pack a bag to go to the gym, it would be my swim bag 9 times outta 10.

E.       I’m also going to get a kayak in the spring, maybe one for the kids too. The one I have now is a loaner. I’ve even found a paddle and run race that involves kayaking and trail running. THAT SOUNDS LIKE FUN!

F.       I almost talked myself out of signing up for the lottery to swim across the Chesapeake Bay. I somehow had convinced myself that I might not be good enough. Then I watched “The Other Shore” last night while on the trainer. Of course I’m good enough! I can time qualify! I have qualified already, I just need to be brave and train hard.

So, for now, this is where I am…

December – Otter Creek 16 miler on the trails.  I’m secretly hoping for snow. Or a light snow for the sake of nostalgia.

January – March (undecided)..might go back to Indiana for a trail race. It starts at night, headlamps and disco balls, my kind of night.

April – Ky Derby half Marathon (try for sub 2)

May – Head back to Knoxville for Rev3 70.3 and try to beat my time from last year. It was my worst race ever. Yes, the water was 59 degrees and it was a downpour the entire race but I’m hoping for better weather this time. Loved the course. Super difficult.

Paddle / Run Trail Race (Indiana)

June – Chesapeake Bay Swim (if I win a lottery spot)

November – NYC Marathon

So I ask….Is race planning easy for you?? It’s winter, I know we’re all planning. But what are your big goals for 2014? Are you leaving behind some things that you just don’t have your heart into anymore??

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ironman Tattoo

The tattoo has been a bit of an ongoing thing with me.




Back when I was attending summer school in Oxford in my younger years I decided one afternoon that I wanted a tattoo. I can't remember now exactly what I thought I wanted that day but I imagine it was something along these lines...


 
No offense to those that love dolphins.
 
 
I remember taking the bus to the local shop and sitting in the waiting room with only three chairs. No air conditioning in the middle of July. I just sat there, sweating, watching the artist work on some Bengal tiger sleeve on this one guy. I waited, and waited and finally left after an hour of listening to the low hum of the needle and not really being able to pinpoint exactly why I had even decided to go there in the first place. Welcome to being 18 years old in a foreign country with no adult supervision.
 
So I left, lesson learned. I always knew I wanted a tattoo but nothing ever really sent me to the shop till I ran my first half marathon in Philadelphia 4 years ago. It was a life changing day for me. Within two weeks I was off to the shop and had artwork from the medal, blazoned into my back for as long as I shall roam the earth..
 

 
 
I can't find the photo from my actual tattoo that I have now but see that foot? I have that foot with the words, more in cursive writing around the side of it that says "Philadelphia". It's about the size of my hand and I love it. No regrets.
 
So, my next project is the Ironman tattoo. I went and met with an artist last week. I just wanted to go over a few of the details of what I was thinking since it's not just the standard MDOT. She came highly recommended as one of the best artists in town and the studio itself looks like an art museum. It's just a beautiful spot but when I met her, she seemed kinda indifferent. She wasn't rude but she wasn't overly excited or helpful either. I want waves inside my MDOT but she says that it has to be big for her to do that. Maybe she's right but the artistic side of my brain wanted to say "liar". On the flip side, why would I question her, she's the artist, not me. The other issue I have is where I'm going to put it. Part of me wants it on my calf. Part of me wants to put it high up on my quad. I have a feeling that'll be a last minute decision though.
 
I was with some of my girlfriends the other day and we were debating the MDOT tattoo location and one said "if you put it higher up, you can hide it" but then the other said "yes, but the MDOT tattoo is the trump tattoo, it belongs where people can see it, even in an evening gown, it's ok to let others know, you're an Ironman."
 
Decisions, decisions.
 
 
What do you guys think??