Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I was once I weekly blogger, always blogging about something and always motivated on the road to wellness. Well, I have fallen off of that a bit, I still eat fairly clean most times, my weight is pretty stable so this is not one of those - I gained X amount of pounds back and now must begin Spark to get back in shape blogs. In fact, most of what I have to share really isn't that health related except for the fact that I see the positive benefits of being active here and having goals nutrition and fitness wise and frankly I have fallen off a bit...
Last blog entry was back in September in which I did a half marathon. Afterwards I did like one 5K event and since that time I have been slacking on my running thang. I still run at least 5 times per week but I am hitting the treadmill out of pure laziness - I hate the cold weather, and the treadmill is so much easier - and I am not really increasing my distances since I have no actual goal on the horizon for the winter months. Life has been rather overwhelming lately so this has worked fine and I have maintained but really have not focused on ME. That doesn't make me feel good and much of this I know is job related as my position has changed this year and I am really just trying to keep up with everything. But not really focusing on this outlet or wellness it making me not so happy right now. Some weeks I have been good with nutrition but since I do not really frequent this website as much anymore, I have had more bad days than I care to which again does not make me happy...
But why now do I feel that I need to do something about all this...well because life has thrown me some unexpected crap this past week. DH was laid off from his job of 7 years. Kind of knew it was coming, the company was definitely not doing well financially and he is a stayer so it is probably a good thing to make a change regardless. However, this means that there is uncertainty in my household, especially since we bought a new house this year. Definitely did not need this. My new "promotion" is pretty much for nothing seeing as now his income is not there, well there is unemployment but still. Obviously he is not taking this well, he is accustomed to being the provider and prides himself on this. I know that this will be tough to navigate through and I want to be supportive but this is lots of negativity JUST as we enter into the holiday season. I am still at the point in which I am embarrassed over the situation and only a limited few people know the circumstances, I don't know why I feel this way but I found myself angry when my mom told another family member about the lay off. I am not ready to share. So, I need an outlet because home life is going to be stressful for awhile...
Then DS#1, right after DH loses his job, I discover that DS#1 has been making some pretty poor life choices at 14 almost 15 years old. Pretty heartbreaking for a parent but ultimately makes me realize that I need to step it up, make stronger boundaries and alter my relationship with my teenage son so that there is a level of respect and that he sees that I am a parent and not a friend. Just upsetting altogether because I had no idea and if anyone had asked me about DS#1, I would have defended him tooth and nail and would NEVER think that he would do some of the things that I have discovered. Rebounding from this has been really tough and I know that this is not something that will change overnight and of course being the age, I am sure that this will not last either, extremely frustrating but once again for my sanity and for the sake of the folks that live with me, an outlet would be a very good thing at this time...
So, here I am, no game plan. Financially I need not spend a ton of money on races but a goal of some sort is in my best interest at this time. Running keeps me sane, I will not run though and challenge myself unless I have a goal. When I was training for a marathon earlier this year, this was so consuming both mentally and physically and it was such a structured goal it was good for me. At the time I certainly did not appreciate it but I know now that it kept me focused. Issue with this right now is that it is November leading into December which means snow will be coming very soon. Marathons are not even until at least late March or April around this area too so time wise this may not be the best option.
I feel very lost.
Anyhow, I will get through these hiccups but right now things look a bit bleak.
Friday, September 27, 2013
This race took place this past Saturday in Salem MA and even though I PR'd, it took me forever to write this blog!
Well this race from the very start seems to go my way, big time. The night before the race DH surprised me with a Priceline hotel reservation to stay in Peabody, MA so that I did not have to wake up at some ungodly hour to travel on race day. There was lots of traffic heading through Boston the night before the race but it was so lovely to have alone time to prepare, we went out to the Olive Garden to carb up which was a nice change too...
Race day morning, DH was none to pleased to have to be up by 5AM. Because of my last HM fiasco in which I totally missed the start I wasn't taking any chances - we were getting to that race bright an early! As we rolled up to the race venue I realized how absurd I was being. The volunteers for the race were just getting there, it was pretty dead that was for sure. But I was a-okay with that because I knew that I would have ample time to get sorted out, stretch and of course have my coveted bathroom time! DH sat in a chair fighting to stay awake for awhile, all the while scolding me about how ridiculous I was to arrive so early and how unnecessary it was - I paid him absolutely no mind as I for one was thrilled to be there bright and early and watch as all the runners stroll in - beats arriving to a race and seeing runners start the race without you!
After hours...the race began at 7AM. It was finally time for race start. DH took lots of pictures but of course I did not load them to the computer to post. He was very supportive and cheering me on which was awesome. BONUS: we both made a pact that when I was done running this d@mn race on a Saturday morning, we would still have time to go back to the hotel AND the JACUZZI! Talk about incentive! This thought would come in handy later on during the race...
I was in a good space for the start of this race, I knew that it would not be as hilly as my last one, there were tons of spectators and signs AND DH downloaded new tunes for me on my I-POD...no better way to start a race that's for sure!
I was cruising along at a pretty decent pace for most of the first half. I did not bring my fuel belt for this race as they promised water stops every 1.5 miles or so AND they made good on their promise. There was some up and down hill action going on but nothing too terrible. Only after mile 6 was there a massive one which I had heard about from the Internet so this was not a surprise either. Otherwise, I just kept on keeping on.
The later part of the race was on the beach which was nice and breezy but there were lots of walkers out by now and it made me want to walk too, especially since the last race I gave up and did walk. This time, there was no way in h3ll that I was walking, not even for a minute!
The spectators and volunteers at this race were awesome! I saw a sign on a downhill that said..."smile if you peed a little" and on the turnaround coming back a sign said "Laugh if you need to poop" you couldn't help it but to laugh and only in races when you need some distraction ANY distraction does crude humor seem to be perfectly appropriate!
Near the end, per the usual, things were tough mentally. The last mile was all pretty much uphill to the finish and no bueno. I DID however, psych myself up by thinking about that jacuzzi tub calling my name at the hotel! And while I knew that this was the opposite of the appropriate recovery as you are supposed to do an ice bath...I could NOT wait!
I ran into the finish...official time which was texted to me...gotta love technology...1:52:18...booyah!! The medals were cool too, it had a bat on it!
Soon as the race finished I did not waste any time with the festivities, DH and I rushed right on back to the hotel room. And YES I did partake in the jacuzzi, of course since I did not know that the hotel had a hot tub, I improvised and went in with a pair of shorts and tank - it was incredible!
So, there goes another race! I felt good that I am back in action and that I redeemed myself from my last race and came back on top!
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Let's just say that this race was "interesting" but I learned a lot about myself during this race and also a lot about others...
Where to begin...
AH, the start. Race start for this half marathon was at 9AM. Accompanying me as always was my always faithful sidekick and partner in crime, my mom - AKA The Evil Coach Villainess. The Evil Coach decided that on this special race day, not only would she attend to her typical coaching duties BUT she would also like to run in the 5K race. Now, let's not think for one moment that she all of a sudden found her inner athlete by any means. She wanted to run for a very shallow reason that some of us can relate to - the BLING! Even the 5K race was offering finisher medals. Well my mom did not actually sign up until the day of the race and I only had instructions for the half marathon.
So we arrived to the finish line location which was at Plymouth rock rather early. We were excited to get a prime location for a parking spot too which was unusual but we just figured that luck was on our side this day - who'd a thought that we could be so wrong... So we see volunteers milling around the finish and one of the volunteers tells us that the 5K start line was not anywhere near the finish and they had shuttle buses only to get to the half marathon. Since we were raring to go we thought that we could walk to the start line of the 5K but our idea was squashed as we were informed that it was 3 miles away. No one seemed to have good directions to get there so we hauled butt to get back into the car to get to the 5K start. Then the traffic started, then we were lost, then there was no signage, then we stopped to ask a volunteer who did not have any clue. You see, apparently for this race, the 5K, 10K AND the half all had different start locations and routes - can it get any more confusing than that! Finally after fighting traffic we made it to the 5K start. There I asked a volunteer where the start for the half sstart was. She did not have a clue. Same problem, too many start locations! So she took out her handy dandy phone and proceeded to tell me that it was in a park about 20 minutes away. Nonsense! I seriously did not believe this woman but I did my best to hustle my mom along, get her registered and get her to drive me back to the finish line as I knew that there were shuttle buses at the finish that would take me to the half start.
My mom took me as far as she could to the finish and I wished her luck on her race. As soon as I got out of the car, I started running. I saw one yellow bus leaving as I was running along but I also saw 2 other yellow buses sitting there at the tent area of the finish line. I hurriedly raced to the first bus that I saw parked - except, it was empty. The bus driver was rather annoyed and informed me that I had missed the last bus to the race. I pleaded my case and explained the whole thing about my mom and the confusion of the start area. She then called over another guy and they both confirmed that that bus was not going anywhere as the roads were now blocked off for the race. Then the guy asked the woman that I KNOW was the race director and she did not take any pity on me, she just kept playing with her two-way radio while I was having a melt down. I kept telling everyone that I did not have my car as my mom drove back to the 5K start, I even tried to explain that I was there well in advance and that they saw me earlier, I even explained that I did not have my phone. I was about the cry. No one seemed to care at all...
Then this volunteer, an older guy came up to me and said hold on...he then called this woman named Lynn over to me. He explained my plight to her and she agreed, surprisingly without much resistance at all, which was remarkable, to drive me to the race start. One problem - she had NO IDEA where it was either...UGH! So Lynn went to drop some things off, came back to me, asked some volunteers where the start was, they broke it to her that it was a good 20 minutes away and time was ticking! Lynn's car was over in a parking lot probably a good 1/2 mile away from the finishing tents. When she glanced at her watch she told me that we needed to run to get to her car. And we did...poor Lynn! She stopped a couple of times to catch her breath because although she was down to run to get me where I needed to go, Lynn was NOT a runner! She even took me through a short cut through a park to get there faster. Once to her vehicle, this woman did not even flinch one bit as she let a complete stranger hop into her passenger's seat, advised me that I needed to wear my seat belt and instructed me to go into her glove compartment to grab her GPS so we could figure out how the heck we were going to get to the race.
Lynn high tailed it to get on the road all while we were trying to figure out where to go. The race start was a distance, you actually had to get back on the highway to get there. Lynn was nervous and so was I, but she kept up with the small talk and you could tell that this woman really cared about getting me there - this was her mission! Her driving was a bit errrr- erratic I would say but mainly because this whole thing was so nerve wracking. Every minute that ticked away was so bothersome! And the GPS clearly said that the arrival was 9:05AM, every time a minute was shaved off I got excited!
Once we got closer to the state forest start we saw some volunteers but Lynn - who was familiar with the area was concerned because the park is HUGE and there was no telling where the start was. So every time Lynn saw a person in a lime green volunteer shirt much like herself - she would roll down her window and yell "I got a runner here, where is the start?!" She would get directions and speed away. Once we were at the park and the way long entrance, Lynn put that vehicle in overdrive trying to get there. We then saw police marking of the road which was assumed was the start. Once again, without missing a beat, Lynn rolled down her window and told the police officers that closed down the road that she had a runner and that we must get to the start. They thought about it for a moment but it was clear that Lynn's urgency was all over her face, so the let her go down the closed road to the park. The road narrowed quite a bit at this point and all of a sudden we saw to the right the registration area. But then I looked ahead, about a tenth of a mile and we saw the runners lined up already. Lynn drove towards them. Then we heard the gun and the runners took off...
We were now so far beyond the registration area and the race had already started. This was a small race so they all started at the same time. Lynn looked at me and I knew that it would be tough for her to back up at this point. She said "what do you want to do?"
I had some choices...
A)Cry...like I wanted to do all morning now
B)Drive with this poor woman who had volunteered to drive me, a good 20 minutes away and wait for my mom to finish her 5K - but I also did not know where Lynn's volunteer post was either
C)Suck it up buttercup - I had to get back somehow and it would not be fair to this woman to have her truck me all the way back...and as such there was only one way to get there...
So I told Lynn I was going to run! The guys at the start that were taking up the timing mat let me know that it would be okay if I ran but that my time would not register. I let them know that that was okay - I had my Garmin anyway! Lynn then gave me some words of encouragement - I think that she was impressed that I was going to run regardless, that I am not such a sore loser and that just because my time was not going to count does not mean I should quit.
I thank Lynn profusely and she backed up to leave the park. I then waited for my d@mn Garmin GPS signal to register in the deep woods of Plymouth, MA and without much fanfare - the timing mat people had already left - I plodded off by myself.
I had to fight back tears starting this race. This sucked. I was alone, I had no number, was this even a race?? I started hustling for the first three miles and even though I started 5 minutes after everyone else and I eventually caught up. I thought that this would make me feel so much better, but it didn't. Because this was a small race and I came so far from the back AND did not have a race number, I felt that people were staring at me...as if I was a rogue runner, race crashing - which I would never do! This race was for a nice charity too and that would NOT be cool! I had signed up online with plenty of time too, so not fair!! I tried to keep it together and find my groove but my I-POD kicked the bucket - it has been dying a slow death after mile 3. Race start at 9AM did not help as now the sun was beating down and it was hot. Then the hills - oh I have done hilly courses but this course was not even realistic which is probably why the participation was not huge. Just up and up and long hills and no downhills, I mean at least keep it even! I knew this going into this event and really I was here to challenge myself but after my dismal start I just did not have it in me...
So I hacked it, yup - I completely hacked this race. I pride myself on running the entire distance of a half marathon every time. This time, right after mile 4 and the heat and the hills I walked it. I walked and ran the rest of the way. And the more you walk the more you want to, it is harder to keep running once that happens. It sucks! Mentally my mind was not in it, I did not even enjoy this experience at all. I kept stressing so much, I wanted to get to the finish so badly and just be done. I was frustrated with how this all started.
Then I started to get mad! I was talking smack that I better get a d@mn medal and in my mind I was saying "and I wish someone would say something about me not having a number and getting a medal" and then my race shirt which were tech one I kept saying "and I am NOT leaving until I get my race shirt which I earned!" I kept contemplating how I was going to tell the race volunteers how I had signed up online and the circumstances once I got to the finish. All terrible thoughts going through my mind.
Probably not until mile 10 when I knew I was going to be done soon did I start to get into the spirit. I saw Lynn after mile 11 which perked me right up and I made sure to high-five her too! I started to feel really good then because she was such an awesome person and it was refreshing that human beings can sometimes be so nice! After the heat and the hills, I was happy to run into the finish...my overall time was 1:57:30 per my Garmin anyway...
At the finish I stomped right over the timing mat and you're d@mn right I got my medal! And NO no one said a d@mn thing about my race number although I was prepared for the fight or perhaps would just say that it fell off ;)! I saw the Evil Coach at the end who was grinning ear to ear about her 5K victory and her bling, I was happy that she was enthusiastic about doing a race. I did however break it to her about the start and what happened, she definitely felt bad about it and although I told her that it was all her fault - because I MUST taunt her - I can be honest here and say that it wasn't...
After the race, I waited as long as possible to see if I could meet up with Lynn as I had bragged to my mom about what a cool person she was and how thankful I was that she was a trooper. My mom, being as supportive as she is as well thought that this woman was just amazing! I would have loved to introduce them but alas the shuttle buses for the 5K start were going to be leaving soon and we had to hop on as I now knew what would happen if we miss a shuttle bus LOL!
I was disappointed that this race did not go as planned, so much so that I signed up for another half - my redemption race on 9/21, much bigger venue, less hills. I was sad that I turned into a big baby and learned that overcoming something like this for a race can seriously affect your performance. But then I think also that at least I sucked it up in the end and did it, yes because I was sort of pushed into doing so but I still did it even if it was not my finest hour nor a PR but that is okay - you win some and lose some and hopefully next time I will rebound faster from disappointments.
On a final note - since I did not get to see Lynn at the finish, I send an thank you email to the race volunteers email address to share my experience and find Lynn. They emailed me right back yesterday and promised to pass it along. A few hours later I received an email from LYNN! She thought that it was nice that I had sent the email, she apologized for her crazy driving and said that she was happy that in the end I ran! I would have let her down if I had not.
AND with THAT folks, that is what it's all about!!
Friday, September 06, 2013
WOW, I just looked at my Sparkpage today and realized that I have not written a Sparkblog since July, I skipped the entire month of August. Hmmmmm, disappointing. I mean I know that there are plenty of active Sparkers out there that never blog and that is their MO which is fine, but for me it is a strong indication that I have lost my Spark. Truthfully, that is what's up. Reflecting back over previous years - cannot believe that I even go that far back on this website, I kind of go through this phase during the summer months but this year it is bad! I cannot say that I have gained a ton of weight and back to the drawing board with some sort of dramatic revival that I see around here either but I am definitely heading down the wrong path. My eating, particularly through the month of August was pretty horrid. Just not enough focus on preparing meals and just winging it. I still tried my best not to get too much out of hand and let fast food dominate my life however, I can say that I did not have as many good days vs. bad days that would lead to me believe that I am consistently living a healthy lifestyle.
I have reasons for my distractions of late. Namely excuses but here is a bit of what is going on...
My new house. Who knew that moving would cause an upheaval in my life! I knew but I really did not. The part that is stressing me out big time is the finances of it all. There is so much to be done and not enough money to do it. I mean I could just debt finance the whole crap which is so tempting at times but I hate credit cards and owing money therefore this process has been painfully achingly slow with remodels. Just last week I finally got delivered my brand new stove because before that I had non-working applicances in my main kitchen. There is still more to do and it is difficult to keep motivated really when I have painting and tiling and fixtures and yard work and and...you get it, too much to do. I really should be thankful that the house in itself is livable and will be beautiful when it is finished, but right now it is hard to see it...
My exercise game has been pretty good. In fact that is what motivated me to blog today, I have a half marathon tomorrow. I wish that I was all woohoo about this but some of it is on a trail and the race gives all these disclaimers about being wicked hilly. But I needed a challenge and something to keep consistent. So I have been training for this half for the last 7 weeks which is good because I am spelling out my runs but I am thinking in retrospect that having the pressure is not helping my nutrition because with everything else going on in my life I am just focusing on finishing miles and not really the other things. After tomorrow's race, I am going to take at least 4 weeks and keep exercising but focus on nutrition.
My work has been the main disruption to my eating right as of late. My new job expansion/promotion requires far more travel, more than I anticipated. When I am at one office I have a fridge that I stock up and now I have been getting into the habit of bringing my food to the other office as well. However, my main office I am seeing less and less of so I am not keeping up with bringing the items that I need so I am constantly running out of things. Sometimes I am traveling and have to eat in my car. I really just need to sort this all out. I am guessing that I need a cooler to pack with me but then I am thinking, what if there isn't a micowave? URGH, you see overwhelming not to mention that the job itself has been stressful too so the last thing on my mind is figuring this stuff out.
Then there are the kids too, they both changed schools so there was the run around of that. Not to get into it but my little one has encountered some challenges which are being assessed and require appointments and running around. Day care needed to be switched. The oldest one is trying to make new friends and I am trying to facilitate beginning new activities/sports in our new area.
That is where I am, it seems like I am complaining or ungrateful but I can see the positive in these things too...
I have a beautiful new home
I have two wonderful kids that bring me much happiness
I have explored my new surroundings on my long runs which has made this training more exciting
I have a job which makes me feel challenged and fulfilled - not to mention with a promotion comes more $$$
So with this being said, September has to be my return to Spark. I need to come around and visit these place. I always seem to feel better when I put these thoughts and ideas out there.
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