Race Recap- Houston Half Marathon

Friday, January 12th- After a day of work, school and life stuff our family packed it off to catch our delayed flight to Houston and depart for our racecation. We flew out of Denver a little after 10:00pm. If you have kids around 4 and 6 years old, or have ever had kids that age, or were a kid yourself, you can imagine how that late night flight might have went. Fast forward to arriving at our hotel in Houston at 4am (my husband and I did all this with zero caffeine so we would be able to finally sleep once we arrived) Zzzzzzz…. Until…. 7am when my alarm (Owen had set it while playing with my phone on the plane) woke me up for the day.

Saturday, January 13th- After coffee and breakfast and an appropriate amount of digesting, I went for a shortish run (I got a little lost so it went longer than I intended) and then booked it over to check in with the elite athlete staff, uniform check, fluid drop-off, and technical meeting. A couple of highlights: I met a runner from Boulder, CO (it seems like everywhere I race there are tons of Colorado runners and I love it). She was running the marathon the next day, trying to qualify for the trials and seemed awesome. I forgot her name dangit, but I hope she made it!
While standing in line to pick up my bib, I was right behind Deena Kastor. I was a total coward and didn’t say a word although tons of other runners kept taking photos with her. Too starstruck.

We rallied hard after my meeting and drove about 45 min away to visit my husband’s cousins who live outside of Houston. She made us an awesome pasta dinner to fuel us up (her husband was running the full marathon the next day). Always nice to have friendly faces at your travel destination!

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After I had set my things out for race morning, I lay in bed rehearsing my game plan. My  ‘A’ goal was 1:13 which would be a 2:17min PR for me. It was a stretch and I knew it. A possible stretch, but one that would have to be a culmination of perfect conditions, perfect race strategy, and being fully recovered from my marathon a few weeks ago. I didn’t know if I was, I would find that out during the race. ‘B’ goal was to break 1:15 or just PR. It had been awhile since I’ve run a half marathon and I haven’t been training at that pace so I had to pull up a pace calculator and refresh on what that even meant per mile. In the end, I decided if I ran between 5:35 and 5:40 pace it would be a good day.

Sunday, January 14th- 4:30am alarm woke me from a deep slumber which is super unusual for the night before a race. I was clearly tired! Nerves usually keep me awake most of the night and I have NEVER made it to my alarm.

5:25am- buses departed for the race start line where we killed a bit of time in the warming tent. As we entered they were handing out gloves and I snagged a pair, unsure if I wanted to wear mine and possibly ditch them, or have a throw away pair that I would definitely peel off once I got hot.

6:20am- I started my warm-up, an easy 15 min or so (I failed to start my watch, not for the last time that day). Drills, stretching. I came back in for a little temperature warming in the tent and heard Deena (the same one, yes- now we’re on a first name basis 🙂 ask if there were still extra gloves. They were out, and I dug mine out and loaned her the pair I had grabbed and decided I wouldn’t use after all. Aw yeah! Spare gloves for the win. I can’t help it, she is amazing, she has had a long, full career of amazing feats and is a genuinely nice person. I’m in awe of her. Here is what happened post race on twitter:

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I’m not even embarrassed even though I probably should be. I’m just going to own it, fast runners impress me and leave me a little speechless.

6:34am- race officials asked us to check our bags and make our way to the start line. It was pretty chilly and gun time was 7:00am so I was worried about staying warm. For whatever reason, it wasn’t bad for me. I saw lots of other racers shivering, but my body must have been running hot. A couple more strides, the time was passing quickly.

7:00am- My very favorite part of any race is right after the gun goes off, and for the first couple of miles all I can hear is just the pounding of hundreds of feet, breathing, and shuffling for a spot. I saw a girl get tripped up and really felt the squeeze of the pack. “Don’t trip, don’t trip” kept going through my mind as we clipped along, tightly packed up at 5:20ish pace.

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The first mile seemed to last forever which surprised me. I kept thinking I should have seen a mile marker, or my watch would have “tapped” me. I finally glanced down at it and realized it had never started. My finger must have been too cold and not activated the touch screen. Bummer. I didn’t really know what pace we were at and that was a little concerning. I had clearly not noticed the first mile marker either so didn’t really have a good handle on where I was at. I focused on just settling in with the pack around me, it was still early and wouldn’t matter. I noticed the girl I had sat next to on the bus and had chatted with about race goals. We had similar intentions so I figured I was in a good spot.
I heard someone say “17:19 at the 5k”. That was thrilling to me and a little scary at the same time. First, that’s an unofficial 5k PR for me so the pace was obviously at the top of my game. Second though… I was feeling good and the point of this race was to push myself and see what I could do, so I was happy I was doing it (pushing myself) and still felt confident I could hold that pace or close to it until the finish.
Our little pack of about 8 women was rolling along together and working well. I love racing and working together with a group. It takes so much of the grind out of running and we cruised through the 10k in 34:44- another PR for me.
Mile 7- I got to see Ryan and the boys (he rented a bike and trailer to pull the boys around in). LOVE having them with me!
Mile 8- I started feeling some cramping coming on in my calves. Not horrible, just kind of my legs cautioning me that they were getting annoyed. From here to the end, I struggled quite a bit. My calves kept causing me trouble, I was definitely tired, I felt the marathon fatigue from 6 weeks ago creeping in. Our pack was breaking up now as well. I stayed with the main group, down to 4 now.
Mile 10- I reminded myself that I had done many workouts leading up to this and it would be unfair to my past self to give up now. I can do anything for 3.1 miles. I tried to speed up and it worked for awhile. “Fast and relaxed” I repeated in my head. “I can if I can” and “Define Yourself” (a mantra I had heard Deena Kastor mention on a podcast with Lindsey Hein and I saved for the last few miles of CIM back in December).

I came across the finish line in 1:14:30 and even though it was my ‘B’ goal, I am satisfied with my effort. I did my best, I carried myself through some tough miles, and a PR is a PR. I can be patient. 🙂

After crossing the finish line and being escorted into the post race area I learned that Molly Huddle had broken the American Record (previously held by Deena Kastor 1:07:41 since 2006) in 1:07:25 and placed 7th overall female. What an amazing race!

And now- off for more Galveston fun! So far we have taken a boat out (both boys’ first time), visited Moody Gardens, and plenty of beach time. Being near the ocean fills my soul. And dream up which race I’ll be doing next. 🙂

 

 

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Legendary Hustle

“May the wind always be at your back, and the sun always upon your face, and may the wings of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars” George Jung

I’m very grateful for the people I have in my life, whether I have known them for years and years, a short while, or if they have just passed through to never be seen again. Whether they know it or not, I think often of wisdom gained, good times had, and the impact they have had on me. So thank you to everyone who I have every crossed paths with, because I guarantee you hold special meaning to me.

That being said, I’ll be running for Shoes and Brews this year, a local running store owned and operated by close friends of ours. Read about them here and check out their website here. They have been in business for a few years now as a specialty running store/craft brewery and have started a race team. I’m excited and proud to be representing them in their first year of supporting a racing team!

2017 was a year that will be tough to follow. I remember sitting in this same spot, writing a blog about my goals for the year and literally being scared to even type out what I was thinking, much less click “publish”. I don’t think sharing goals holds me accountable, I think I would try just as hard either way. However, I want to remember these years in detail so I’m forcing myself to write out exactly what I’m thinking and feeling at the time it is happening so I can “bottle it up” to save for later.

In keeping with the same theme for 2018 I want to share my goals and find it just as hard! So here goes: I have a few main goals and some sub-dreams I would like to accomplish. First, as I’ve always said, I want to really maintain and work on the delicate balance of being present in my family, training, work, me time.

Second, I will be competing in at least two marathons this year, one of them being a World Major and I am training and racing to break 2:37 to get the ‘A’ standard for the Olympic Trials. It is so close, yet so far away. And dangit, while I’m at it I want to break the 5:00/min. mile in our local Mountain Ave. Mile race!

Third, I want to outwork everyone else. CIM was a dream race and if I could relive it over and over I would. I want that feeling but I also want more. I don’t feel like I trained as hard as I could have for CIM. I barely hit 80 miles/week for two weeks in a row before it was taper time. My body didn’t have that super tired feeling that comes from pushing to the limits before tapering and snapping into beast mode. I can train harder and I want to. I overheard many conversations from other athletes about their 100+ mile weeks and they deserved to beat me because they worked harder. So I want to beat them, and I want to deserve to beat them.

Fourth, I have been so inspired by people and I want to do the same for others. I don’t know how you feel about social media, but to me I’ve gained so much motivation from people (some are complete strangers, I just like the way they run so 🙂 posting about running, family, adventures, etc. I have a friend who sold their house and she and her husband are traveling around the world in a van. That’s amazing! I see runners have good days and it makes me feel exhilarated to get out the door and do my own workout. Athletes post about a bad day, and friends and strangers alike will post comments to lift them up and cheer them on.

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#IcanifIcan Cheers to everyone out there doing their best at what they do!

Race Recap- CIM, the Long-Story-Long, Version of Olympic Trials Qualifier

A delightful whirlwind would be an accurate description of CIM race weekend. I knew it would be, but it’s one thing to plan a crazy weekend and another to live it out.

My husband and I dropped the boys off with his mom on Friday night after work, spent the night, and headed to the airport at 4:44am Saturday morning. I got a photo from Nana with “Go Mommy!” pictures the boys drew for me. 🙂 Maybe only the kind a mother can love, haha!

After arriving in Sacramento around 1:30pm, I went straight for a shake-out run and felt terrible. My back hurt from sitting and traveling and I struggled at my 9:00min/mile pace. I don’t travel well and we had been driving, sitting, training, planing, and more driving for almost 9 hours.

After my run, I stopped by the expo for a quick hey to nuun and Alt Red. Nuun made this cool poster for all their runners which was super sweet of them.

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I met up with my friend Becky and talked race strategy. We have trained a bunch together and I was so excited to be running with her. She was battling a hip injury that cropped up in the final days of tapering but was optimistic about giving it a go.

My first real jitters came during the technical meeting when I looked around at the over 200 elite athletes competing in the USATF Marathon Championships. They were bored, they’ve been to meetings like this a hundred times. I was all ears- I still wasn’t totally sure how I was going to mix my bottles. I mean, I knew what I wanted in them, I just didn’t know the actual procedure and didn’t want to LOOK like I didn’t know what I was doing. After the meeting I successfully made my own bottles and felt pretty satisfied with my plan and being able to snag them while running by.

Pasta dinner in the hotel, a quick massage, and bedtime was my only agenda for the evening. I set out my Flat AnnMarie to make sure I had everything ready. Mine never look as fantastic as everyone else’s! Meh.

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Luckily I fell asleep fairly easy around 9pm after such an early morning. However, 1:45am wake up on race morning was my body’s way of telling me that it didn’t like what I had in store for it. I was prepared for this and not surprised, I really never sleep well the night before a big race. Nerves kill me, and the more important it is to me, the more nervous I get. I was also starving so I had a banana and bar, then tried to just lay down and visualize the race.

My race plan was to go out fast. Kidding! Really I wanted even, 6:16 splits. This would get me comfortably under 2:45 and qualify me for the Olympic Trials in 2020, something I’ve been dreaming about and working towards for years. As I laid there, the doubt crept in. It seems insane to run that fast for so long. My hip- would it hold up for that long? It seemed like so many people were confident I could do it but unfortunately, I can’t say I felt the same way. I gave myself really positive pep talks and remembered all the workouts that told me I could do it. In the end, it was all really helpful, but the bottom line was I still needed to prove it. I needed to run the race, and I needed to actually do it. Too many things can go wrong in a marathon, I wasn’t taking anything for granted.

Finally it was time to get up and get ready and I was so happy to have it almost be gun time.  As I was getting ready, Ryan surprised me with a super sweet video he had compiled of friends and family wishing Becky and me the best of luck. I was totally caught off guard and he catches me ugly crying on video. It was so inspirational and made me feel very loved and really determined.

Ryan dropped me at the buses and I got to the start of the race, checked into the elite tent and then shivered for awhile. Bathroom. Snacking. I found some girls from Boulder, CO and chatted with them until it was time to do a warmup. We found Becky and shuffled along for about 10 minutes, did a couple strides, stretched, bathroom, drills, nerves! I felt good. Not great. I couldn’t really get a read on how my body was feeling. I was bloated (sorry, TMI!) I was due to start my period any day and always feel like this is the worst time for me. I told myself I could only control certain things and everything that was out of my hands I had to also put out of my mind. It mostly worked. When anything tried to creep back in I quickly shoved it down and kicked it out of my mind space.

6:45am we all left the tent and heading to the start line. It really is the most amazing feeling! I love the anticipation of the start. It’s such a combination of “running sucks, why are we doing this” to “we’ve trained so hard, let’s DO this!”. Everyone is happy, hopes are high. The energy around is indescribable. They started the 10 second countdown and we were off. It was super crowded, I was about 5 seconds back from the start line which was a little unnerving. The first mile was a breeze, I barely remember it, so many feet and bodies. I got tripped up a little but nothing too serious. I was surprised by how crowded it was, I’m not usually boxed in and I couldn’t quite find a groove so did a bit of zigzagging trying to find my place. I lost Becky somehow and didn’t see her again during the whole race. Later, Ryan told me she was really close the whole time until mile 19 but I must have been zoning out.

Around mile 3 I learned that marathons are like babies. For no reason at all one can be fussy and the other is just a calm little human. L.A. for me was like a fussy baby. I never felt good in that race and it was mental battle the whole time. This race was rolling along and I felt great. I was going a little too fast but I was soaking in every and appreciating every second. There were moments of no talking when all I could hear was the pounding of thousands of feet around me, the sun peeking up and starting to light the way, the smell from the rain the night before. It was perfect. I want to remember every second of it.

The next few miles just rolled, hilly and challenging to keep a steady pace but I still felt good. I snagged my bottle at the 10k and should have probably had more of the gel I packed but didn’t want to hold it for that long. I regretted it right after I tossed it but brushed it off.

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At mile 8 it was still pretty crowded. A guy accidentally stepped in front of me and I had to sidestep into a pothole that made my heel drive down and hyperextend a bit. After a few steps the pain went away and in the time it took me to think about whether or not I was hurt we were passing mile 9 and I was fine. Yeah!

At mile 10 we were down to a little group of about 8 women and Matt, a runner who was pacing 2:45. It wasn’t crowded, the miles were rolling by and it was pretty uneventful. I started feeling the first twinges of pain in my hip, but nothing that made me worry excessively. We crossed the halfway point in 121:25- a little under pace. By now I had seen Ryan a few times and couldn’t believe how many spots he had made it to. He may or may not have been having a little too much fun in our sporty rental.

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Around mile 18 things started to get real. A couple of girls fell off and I heard teammates try to encourage them on. It’s hard to get that far with others who have similar dreams and see them not go on. At some point around mile 19 everyone who had been in my group had either surged ahead or fell off and I was alone. I slowed down a couple of seconds but still felt fine. I thought about the boys, how I want them to always stretch themselves and be the best version of themselves they can be. I feel like running is a way for me to show them to follow their dreams and do what makes them happy.

At mile 22 I was getting tired. Matt, the pacer came back up after trying to rally some of the other girls in our original group one last time. He said something like “stick yourself to me, let’s go” and speeded things up a bit. I stuck and followed him, letting my mind drift a little and just enjoyed the ease of following someone and not trying to keep track of time.

At mile 25 my body finally threw a fit. I went from feeling like I was flying, to really dragging myself through sand. It happened so quickly it took me by surprise. I really had to dig and find a new way to make my legs respond. I felt my head start to fall back- my running form falling apart from fatigue. Matt had gone ahead and I wondered if he had just sped up more or if I had fallen off. I tried to focus, but was woozy and a little black around the edges. Right then I heard Ryan yelling at me to dig in, and “Go Momma go!!” I only had a mile left. He yelled some other things that I can’t remember, but I already had what I needed. I picked my head back up and leaned forward and didn’t let my focus go again.

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All the pain and falling apart. The real deal.

I thought I was still way under pace but wasn’t looking at my watch at this point. I could put in nothing extra- just running at this point. I saw the last turn and the edges turned black again. I’ve never had this happen, it was surreal, like an initiation into real marathoning. My head felt like it was trying to drift off and go somewhere far away from me and my silly activities. I glanced up with about a 100 yards to go and for the first time realized I was dangerously close to missing the qualifying 2:45. I pushed harder and pretended I was winning but someone was closing in from behind. And I made it. I crossed the line in 244:51 for an 11 minute PR and the most amazing feeling of accomplishment. And right then, getting my medal and looking back to cheer for other girls crossing in under 2:45, I happy cried and realized I wanted to get faster. Back when I first started thinking about training for the Trials I thought I would be full-filled with just that. It seemed so far fetched anyway. I didn’t even care if I was dead last at the Trials as long as I got the chance to run there. In this moment, I was so happy and had just accomplished what I set out to do, but it turns out all it did was fuel the fire.

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I found Ryan and was touched by how proud and thrilled he was. He’s a pretty tough mountain man, the tears in his eyes melted me.

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Tired, sore, full of joy.

We went back to cheer Becky in and she didn’t come through. At some point we realized she must have had to bail. I was heartbroken for her and it definitely made the moment bittersweet. In all my visualizations of crossing the line, Becky was always right there with me and we hugged and cried and celebrated together. Instead, her hip had given out and she went to the ER for crutches and recovery. She’ll be back, that girl is a tough one with huge fire and spirit.

After gathering our things, Ryan and I got to stop by the post race party for a few minutes before heading back to the airport. I didn’t want the day to end so lucky for me we didn’t land in Denver until after 11:00pm. Kind of like this post, I guess. It’s hard to put an end to something that I’ve worked so long and hard for. I’m still celebrating and feel so full-filled but also incredibly inspired by the amazing performances of so many other runners. These are the moments and days that make life beautiful.

 

Anticipation Milestone: The One Month Countdown!

“My” marathon (CIM) is getting within tasting distance, it’s become tangible, the training cycle has gone beyond the halfway point and the final “lap” in training and tapering begins. One month to go until a big race has always been a huge mental benchmark for me. I’ve stayed healthy, fairly on track with workouts and such, and put in some good miles. I’m pretty sure I can get to the start line in good form, but of course, nothing is ever a guarantee. Months ago I said I wanted to hit a 100 mile week in prep for Cal Int. but that didn’t happen. I’m a little bummed about it, but I’m sure I’ll have another opportunity to test out that high mileage theory. I’ve stayed right around the 70mile/week mark with some quality work put in. Here’s a snap shot of October effort.

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A whole new set of challenges awaits me now: NOT getting sick. Every preschool and kindergarten pickup/drop off I’m leery of all the little germies.
I still have a few workouts that are going to challenge the system- one I’ve never done before: this Sunday I’m doing 1hr 45min at easy long run pace and then cranking it up to race pace on tired legs for the last 1hr.  I feel like this is going to be a great test of fitness and I honestly don’t know if I can do it. This is not the result of being negative, I just haven’t done it before and its a real challenge. I try not to count anything for certain, because so many variables play a part. If I seem like I’m defending myself, I am a little. Well meaning friends have been very encouraging and kind and even go so far as to say: “You will crush this. 2:44. Easy.” I know it’s meant to be upbeat and positive but that’s a lot of pressure to say I’ll crush my goal with such certainty. It’s come to mean such a great deal to me, and part of that is a result of just having worked so darn hard for it. It doesn’t come easy. One thing I am positive about: I’ve worked and will work as hard as I possibly can.

So I’ll just lay my goals out there: A) 2:44:30 and B)Finish and learn something to improve on. I have tried to get in the habit of making a A,B,C goals…. but this time that’s just not true.

Main difference this training cycle as opposed to the L.A. Marathon: WAY less treadmill miles (hooray!) My buildup for L.A. was hindered a bit because we had a super icy stretch of winter. My husband was also traveling a ton so I had a gym membership which was great, but I feel like the treadmill just doesn’t give me the same fitness the road can. I still had a few days running inside this time around, but I’ve had great family/friends (and school!) who have helped me watch the boys so I can run outside.

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One last thing! I like to know what other athletes do for workouts so here is my favorite one I’ve done this training cycle. It’s pretty simple, I’m sure it’s been done before, but since it’s my favorite I’ll just give it some credit. I kind of suck at technology and don’t have a good watch, so I carried my phone in my pocket and used Strava to time my splits. My warm up isn’t on here, but I did a 2 mile warm up with drills and strides and then started my 13.1 miles at 6:15 pace, then a 1.5 mile cool down. I sort of blew up at the end. Regardless, I felt good about it and it gave me a boost of confidence. My real test will be not going out too fast at the start of the marathon like I did on this workout.IMG_4053

WIIVV Wearables Product Review

Most of last year I suffered from the dreaded plantar fasciitis. I did plenty of things to try and relieve the pain but it was always there, especially stepping out of bed in the morning.

I heard about WIIVV wearables from my friend Becky at Mod Croft, a Boulder, CO based company that partners with brands and athletes to create lasting relationships and enhance their presence. I like to tell her about my aches and pains because she always has really great advice.

WIIVV wearables are insoles that are customized for your foot to help prevent injuries and relieve pain. The process is simple: you download the WIIVV app onto your smartphone and it walks you through measuring your foot from all angles. Foolproof really. Next, a custom insole is made and delivered right to your door. I chose a mountain scene insole, for obvious reasons.

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So now the real test. I received my beautiful new insoles at the end of April and put them in a retired pair of running shoes. I did really well wearing those shoes around, and at the end of a couple weeks felt like the pressure points the insoles were putting on my arches were really relieving PF pain. The problem was; sandal weather. By the time my heels were feeling better I wanted to wear sandals and flip flops and go barefoot. (They do actually have sandals, I’ll have to go that route next summer) So there was a bit of tug of war this summer as I sunk back into the PF pit of despair whenever I didn’t wear the insoles for awhile.

Fast forward to Fall, and I’ve been wearing them a ton and the feet are feeling great. I highly recommend giving them a try! Worth every penny if you can wake up and walk/run/get coffee first thing in the morning pain-free.

Putting Insanity on Hold

Is anyone else feeling emotionally wrung out? Over here in Colorado, USA I have it pretty easy. No hurricanes, earthquakes or flooding like the folks in FL, TX, Mexico, Cuba. I’m saddened by the loss of people’s homes, the millions of dollars in damage, deaths, injuries…. On the political front we’ve got all sorts of insanity as well. The DACA circumstances, the wall, racism, etc. etc. I had to explain this morning to the boys the significance of 9/11. Bah hum bug.

I don’t want talk to about all of this here though, there is enough news from other sources if you want to stay updated. My point is, I am feeling very overwhelmed by it all. And I should be, it sucks and I should do my part to try and help in any way I can. But at the same time, I need a mental break from the tragedy. Look how this little guy can shut off his mind anywhere. I want THAT.

Usually running is my mental break where I daydream, turn my brain off or make plans for my day. The past few months has been a huge struggle as I find myself arguing with people (in my head) about politics, outraged at the newest nonsense and the direction things are going. I finally “discovered” something that does the trick and thought I should definitely share!

Getting with the times here in 2017, podcasts have become my saving grace. Many of you probably already listen to and have favorites and I would love to hear what they are! Podcasts make me focus on the speaker and conversation in a way that music just can’t. I love music, I love it a lot, but I can go for 18 mile runs and not be able to tell you a single song I listened to lately.

My very first podcast I listened to was “The Final episode of The Rob Watson Show.” I picked that one because this Canadian runner holds a special place in our household as the first person we told about our first pregnancy. He came about this knowledge as a good friend, but also because I was embarrassed that we had gone for a run together and my newly pregnant body wasn’t coping. I could tell he thought I was a joke (although Rob was super polite about it) and it stung. So after telling my husband about the running debacle, we felt compelled to fill our visitor in on the exciting news. Actually, his trip can be read on his blog- Post#22 here. Rob ran with my husband in college and he’s a hilarious dude so it’s been fun following his professional career. I should have probably started the podcast from #1 but I’m listening to them backwards and that’s still really fun. Just in case YOU are looking for something new to listen to its a pretty perfect blend of running talk, satire, mild vulgarity, and comedy.

My brain feels better. There is hope and I AM making a difference!

 

Hey There, Comfort Zone Way Over There!

Like most people I have a comfort zone that is super… comfy. I like to be in it. But I’ve noticed that the more I get out of my comfort zone and stretch my limits the more I “feel” and therefore the more I enjoy and get out of life. Running for me started as something enjoyable to just get back into shape. I hadn’t run in over a decade but definitely had fond memories of running as a high schooler.  I did not have big dreams of any kind, it was just fun. (I should amend that and say that starting out there was definitely an adjusting phase where it hurt to run because I wasn’t in shape. Then after a month it was fun.) Since that point, there has been a constant transformation of what the new norm for my comfort zone has become and what I now consider “fun”.

Here’s a peek at what discomfort looks like circa 1999, ha! Someone should have told me to lose the tights and long sleeve.

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What has me WAY out of my ‘zone of zen’: On Labor Day I’ll be running the Fortitude 10k in the elite division. For a million reasons I’m super nervous about it. I’m horrified that I will have a flat race and not show up. I’m not totally confident in my current training as I’ve been adjusting to a nagging injury. I’ll be meeting a few of my favorite elite runners and hope I have something awesome to say when the time comes. My husband will be traveling and won’t be there to cheer me on.

However out of my element I might be in the next few days, I love it. I love the excitement, the purpose, and chasing down a goal that will be tough for me. I’m grateful that I am lucky enough to invest time in something that drives me and makes me whole.

When this race is complete I will have accomplished a new level of discomfort. In doing this, I feel like I will put myself in a spot to aim even higher. I think back to when I first did a workout of 20 min w/u, 10×400, 20min cool down. It seemed so hard and I had to really push mentally to make my body do it. Today if I was told to complete that, I would look at my coach (husband) and ask him to give me more of a challenge. My comfort zone has changed and I fully embrace that.

Life is a series of emotions and “feeling” the life you are living is a gift. I hope whatever your dreams are they make you feel invested and when you think about your goals your heart races a little faster.