Obstacles And Opportunities

overcoming obstacles

Have you ever noticed conversation is just better over coffee with a good friend? I had the opportunity recently to have coffee and conversation with one who is special to me and when we get together, well, our conversations last hours. We both have a passion for people and helping them be successful in fitness, health and wellness.  We compare notes and brainstorm ideas off of each other.

It’s a refreshing time to encourage one another in the callings we have.

At one point she told me how I was an encouragement to her. She knew I had been off running due to an injury and she also knew I had picked up other activities to keep me moving.

She was admiring the fact I hadn’t just quit  since I couldn’t run.

Honestly, at this point, I’m so used to some high level of activity it seems crazy to me to not have something to fall back on. Not to mention, I’d totally go crazy not doing anything.  I’m  used to having that physical movement in my life now.. it’s not only a habit, it’s an outlet, and a place that is just for me to go to.

And well… I don’t quit.

My friend had been dealing with an injury herself and was encouraged to try and find other outlets or activities she could pursue while she recovered.

I was thinking about our conversation later that day. Thinking how if I had become discouraged about not running and just did nothing, all I would’ve missed out on.

Before my injury, running was what I primarily did. Oh, I did structure in a few days strength training and I’d toss in an occasional day here and there on my little mountain bike to take the place of an easy run and to give my legs a break from running.

Running was my love. My passion. A place that made me feel strong and powerful.

I eventually started adding a little more cycling in to my routine, but again, nothing serious.

My injury made it a seamless move to more time on the bike. It gave me the mileage, time out on the road,  and being outdoors that I craved.  It filled that hunger in me.

Last year I “upgraded” to a cheap road bike from Walmart. I proceeded to ride the wheels off of it.  It was during this time I realized how much I was really enjoying this other sport, and not just as a supplement to my running.  I realized with the strength I had built running that I had the potential to be good at cycling.

Somehow the obstacles I had encountered actually brought about new opportunities for me.

Opportunities to experience new things, grow, and challenge myself to try things I hadn’t done before.

There’s a lot to learn about cycling! Therefore, I talk to those who are knowledgeable, I read, and most importantly, I’m just out there on my bike doing it.

I can hardly wait to find a race to challenge myself with.

Was my injury something I wanted? No. I can hardly wait to be out on the road really running again like I want to be.

Allowing myself to move in new directions has allowed me to grow more as an athlete, but also it lets me see that I can do anything I set my mind to.

But then I’ve kinda always approached obstacles in this way. I don’t let them stop me from where I’m going. I just look for ways to get around them to keep heading the direction I want to go.

Obstacles are limiting and I don’t want to be limited. Obstacles are simply new opportunities.

What about you? How do you view obstacles that come to you? Do you find ways to get over them to keep pressing on to your goals?

obstacle

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Those Days In Life

Yes, I’m still alive. Yes, it’s been one of those weeks.

Life, you know ?

Life can throw things at you left and right, good and bad. Tell me you relate? That you understand and get it too ?

Somehow in the mix of life these past few days I’ve been distracted in my writing which bothers me ’cause writing really is an outlet for me. Yet there have just been times I’m hard pressed to connect two words together.

When I launched my blog my primary intent was to talk health, sane fitness and weight loss, lifestyle changes and new habits, and of course, running. You know how much I love to run =)

But there are so many other things in life that make up who we are and so, I will have times that I will address those topics as well.

Family, kids, happiness, grief, maybe even some life questions in the mix, oh yeah, and humor ’cause I get amused by some random things 😉

Topics to write on abound and so I will continue to share my passions of health, fitness etc but also those things we all contend with at one time or another in our lives.

Now, on with the show…..

Last week I was a lil excited THRILLED to get my first ultra medal and official ultra shirt ( does the word “first” imply there will be a second ??) the shirt… I decided with the color I could stop traffic with it or get a job as a highway worker 😉

I’m stupid proud of this medal. It represents a ton of hard work and sacrifice, and I don’t mean just running the 50K distance either.

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That Ultra medal…. and ignore the fact I look like a lemon

Also, March was my most productive racing month…..ever… since I started running… I got some cool runners bling to prove it too 😉 2 half marathons and the 50K….

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That runners bling…..

Ugh, my mileage has reallllyyy come down and I hate it. I think I hate knowing I’ll have to rebuild to that all over again. In a smart way I also know and understand my body must have recovery time from such heavy mileage. I’ll be hitting my bike more, doing boxing and some more weights to strength train and a few days running for awhile. I do have a marathon goal for year end so I know I need to give myself some lower mileage before I ramp it up again in a few months.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll never be the fastest out there or be the most impressive, but I hope to show that being older isn’t a reason to not be strong and physically fit. I hope to consistently encourage others to get out and do something, to find their “thing” and be good at it, to be empowered by what they can achieve and accomplish.

Really? Is there anything better or more rewarding than setting a goal for yourself that seems huge and daunting, and then, doing it ?? Crushing it ?

So now you know my plan to take over the world……

In other life news, things that kinda derailed me this week. My otherwise, seemingly healthy dog, turned sick and basically after an emergent trip into the vet on Sunday to see if she was having a reaction to some meds or if she was dehydrated, they informed me that she had liver and kidney failure and did I want to put her to sleep…. now ?

To say I was shocked is putting it mildly. No, I couldn’t do it then… I couldn’t go back home with a dead dog and not give my kids a chance to say good bye… I needed that too.. but I also knew if I loved her I would need to act on it quickly. Her condition just rapidly got worse.

Stella was a golden husky mix. At one point my sons dog, she came to stay with us till “he got settled somewhere else” the rest is history on that. In my early days of fitness when I walked, she came with me, as I started running, she easily kept up. She was never on a leash and loved running in and out of the hill country where I lived. She plowed up hills with me like it was nothing. Whatever she was mixed with, she was made for endurance.

As I got stronger, and my mileage increased I worried about her going farther from home. I started to leave her. She cried and howled in the beginning. She didn’t want to be left.

It was fitting at the end, it was just the two of us. I won’t lie. I loved that dog. She was quiet and laid back, lady like when she laid down with her paws crossed at the ankles. She had such thick, thick fur. It filled her ears which I loved to play with and pet.

Watching her go was as much painful, as a blessing to know she wasn’t in pain anymore. Taking her home, burying her, I sobbed and petted those ears over and over trying to commit them to my memory… knowing I’d never stroke them again…or see her keen eyes watching me… or laugh at the way her tail always curled in a jaunting way over her back.

Agony. Pain. Heartbroken.

I finally made myself leave her… pick up the shovel and finish the process. Even now two days later writing this, the grief is welling up in my heart.

I looked for her this morning. I looked for her last night. I know better. But I miss her presence.

I know from experience it will become less painful… less agonizing to think of…. right now it’s still raw… mainly I think… ’cause it came out of nowhere.

So yeah, life. Stuff happens, good and bad. It’s where I’ve been this week. Moments of triumph cloaked in moments of agony and pain.

I hope to be able to continue to chat with you about not only my passion for people to find their way to health and fitness, but also those other real life things that define and shape us.

Have you had particular moments in life that you know have shaped and defined you more ?

I’m An Ultra Girl!

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My one token picture taken after I finished my run =) I’m still standing…..
Hey boys and girls…
Have ya missed me ? I’ve had a busy weekend…. and as you know… my Saturday was kinda hogged by my 50K run. Half the day running, the rest of it, dragging my carcass home, getting cleaned up ( I never thought the act of showering and washing my hair was an athletic event, but it felt like it)  and allowing my body some much need rest time. Oh yeah, and a lil food to replace the 4,037 calories my Nike+ watch told me I burned off.
You gotta drop 3500 calories to lose a pound of fat…. so… that’s interesting….did I accomplish that too ? Multi-tasking in a new way 😉
I was….so….very…. tired.

Wow… it’s not …usual…. for me to run a half marathon, a full, and an ultra distance all in one morning 😉

Holy mackerel Batman…… I’m now an Ultra Girl!

(So you know, if you don’t, anything over the full marathon distance of 26.2 miles is considered “ultra”) a 50K is 31.7 miles although by the time I got to my “finish” I was close to 32.

Yes, the weather was amazing, but that wind was a blessing and curse. I seemed to always be running into it, which dries out my head in the worst way, not to mention, it’s so hard to run into the wind! I am now however, sporting a really good start on my tan 🙂

The best way (for me) to tackle this distance, or any really long run, is not to focus on the miles in front of me, just take them one at a time, otherwise, I might run kicking and screaming the other way……..

All was well and good, miles were going by, overall feeling good. I had left the parking lot at Starbucks ( my turn around point to start going….back… the way I had just run) and a mile down was the big hill I had just run down.

My legs were begging for mercy. I was almost at full marathon distance at this point. By the time I crawled to the top my “support team” came zipping up.

I will be honest…. I wanted to get in. I begged hubby to tell me to keep going. I was hot. My quads were threatening to leave my body after the hill not to mention almost 26 miles on them.

I cried a little on the side of the car. 

 Those voices were talking. Those horrible, damn voices.
I know them. They’ve showed up when I’ve run both marathons about mile 21-23. Those voices talk to you and try and convince you that you can’t do it, maybe you should quit, give up, take the easy way out. You must use every bit of mental muscle to stomp them down….sometimes you have to stomp hard.

I had already given myself the pep talk that I was counting down single digits to finish. I wasn’t gonna quit. I don’t quit.

Besides… he locked the doors on me 😉

The other crazy thing? In both marathons, and today, I started craving a Coke in the….worst… kind of way. Crazy ’cause I never was a big soda drinker, and haven’t even had one in… I don’t know how long. That simple sugar your body runs on… when you’re in the midst of long distance running… you aren’t focused on being all healthy… you just need energy. During the marathon I have to let the feeling pass and when I’m done I don’t want it anymore. Today though… I sent my support team off to get one….

talk about a shot in the arm … it was…helpful 😉

Anyway, I was having to double back on my run route to get all my miles in and decided to run a side road which was a mile back and forth and off the main busy road. I knew I had a little over a mile back once I got on main road again.

I won’t lie… those last miles were brutal…. hard and brutal. Seriously, I was praying for strength to finish what I started. Those legs….. were seriously protesting further movement… I know I took them to a whole new level of exertion…

Oh, and this side road I was on, in the beginning, hills, and then running back down… the quads were crying…legs were starting to feel fully trashed.

Finally… my watch hit 30 miles… which seemed surreal ’cause I’ve never seen that before… I would’ve done a happy dance if I could’ve moved my legs better…. it was finally time to head to my finish line..my mind was pushing my body at this point….

Although, it wasn’t the “race” I had originally planned out and there weren’t the crowds, and spectators with signs, or a time chip on me, my body didn’t know that… it still ran/crawled haha almost 32 miles…

My 50K in the books. A huge personal goal for this year. My official virtual race form has been submitted to the race committee and in a few weeks I’ll get my ultra medal and t shirt =)

Will I do another next year ? I’m not sure. It’s hard to not always want to take things to the next level, know you could do it a little better.

The challenge of running…..

I will tell you… I got home…and crawled onto my bed in the fetal position, not sure if I had the energy to get in the shower.

I’ve never….been so tired….ever.

My son came in and offered to carry me to the shower… nice try kid… I’m a package to pack… 😉  I assured him I could crawl in on my own when he grabbed me and said…

“Why are you so white and gritty feeling??”

Salt. Dried salt all over me. Crazy. A human salt block.

So I’ve had some rest time, been good friends with my foam roller, made dinner ( actually movement really is good for recovery, you have to push back against the desire to do…absolutely…..  nothing  the rest of day :-P) and managed to get cleaned up without calling 911 to rescue me haha

I slept well…. can you imagine ? I think you could’ve moved the house from under me….

And now… I’m plotting and planning what’s next….but first… the body definitely gets a little down time to recover…. the hardest part for me. I read an article suggesting you take one day off for each mile of your race you ran.

Yikes… I don’t know about that….
Overall, a pretty productive running month with two half marathons and now this 50K under me. I know some down time is essential, but mentally, I will admit to struggling with it.
What about you? Do you like having time off ?  When you do a big run, is the recovery time easy ? or frustrating for you? What are some things you do to help the process along ?  Share with me.

Saturday, 50K Day!

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So this was my official kick off and count down to my 50K… it’s still going down in March… just not the 1st 😉

Why yes, yes I did recover from my owl eyed syndrome, thanks to those of you who asked me… ( I had my eyes dilated yesterday which always makes me feel owlish ) so if my typing tonight is crappy I have nothing to blame it on 😉

So I was cooking along on this cool new topic for you and realized…. Nooooo….. I gotta shelf this for a few days to do a quick post on this exciting  topic….

My virtual 50K is on Saturday!!

If you’ve followed me you will remember my scheduled “real” race on March 1 got cancelled ’cause parts of Texas wanted to go all North Pole looking…..

Anyway, the race event committee gave registered runners the option to do a virtual run, submit a witness form, and get your finishing goodies. I was down for that.

Let me say this… virtual run or not….. my body will still be running 31.7 miles!  Saturday in Texas land promises a low temp of 49 with highs reaching low 80’s….. yeah…. it’s gonna be a super warm run.

So tomorrow evening I’ll be zipping all along the route I’m running and will be tossing water and sports drink bottles into the bushes ( my own aid stations haha)

My plan is to be on road 530ish to get things rolling…

My mileage has really been cut down to not much in the past few weeks but maybe that isn’t a bad thing…. I’ve trained up to 28 miles before my scheduled race I just need to kick back and take it mile by mile.

I have no one I need to impress. I have no agenda other than to accomplish this distance and know I did it.

Oh yeah, and so I can officially add my new 50K sticker to my Expedition that I’ve been holding on to 😉

The only negative ? No medal at my “finish line” I’ll have to wait for that to show up in my mail….

Make sure you check back for my follow up on my first ever ultra run  =)

Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

When I kicked started my little blog a few short weeks ago, it was to hopefully, share, encourage and motivate those who stumbled across me in the vast cyber world of blogville.

It’s a big place out there boys and girls. And wow, ya’ll have been so…. nice……

I wanted to take my voice into the world to do what I’ve been doing in real life and through my Facebook page, motivating and encouraging people to pursue a lifestyle of health and fitness.

As you know, and as I’ve shared in other posts, I’m a runner and love running and will talk a lot about it ( as in, I have a half marathon this weekend, so spoiler alert, you know what’s coming 😉 however, there’s a lot more to me,  a person, and much more to our lives we deal with so I will also venture into other topics and ideas to share with you as we move along.

I think when people are setting out to do something as (big) as get on their health and fitness journey, they really need a cheerleader, a mentor, and someone who’s plowed the road in front of them to say “hey, I got through this, you can too!”

It can be hard…. frustrating… overwhelming. As one reader commented to me the other day on my post, they hadn’t “thrown in the towel yet”…..

That means a lot … if you can press on taking one day at a time and just focusing on it…. and not the rest of your life….or that you feel like you’ll be fat/out of shape/ unmotivated whatever… you WILL make progress.

Trust me.

There will be days you’ll look at yourself in the mirror in that self-loathing way (don’t… do … that… or I will…come beat you) and you think there’s no progress going on… but there is…. you must give your body time to adapt and adjust to what you are doing. Remember part of the process is knowing that there’s a lot of changes going on…. not just physically inside and out ……but mentally and emotionally as well….

Our bodies really are this cool science experiment.  Work them, feed them good foods, be consistent in that process and in this slow steady way…. stuff happens….

Honestly, I’ve been at this for 7 years now. I’ve kept my weight off, built muscle, gotten stronger, leaner,  have more energy and can physically do more than I did half my age ago. I realllllyy l that 😉

Did you notice something ?

 7….. years…..

I’ve made forward progress by being consistent and letting changes happen in the way they need to……over time.

Are my fitness goals different now, than when I started this process? You bet they are ( and that, boys and girls will be another post)

The important thing is this. I just lived my life each day…. purposefully and intentionally  with forward progress. This is not something you can manhandle out quickly. You’re living your life, settle back and enjoy  the journey.

I still have people who will see me and say “when did you get like that??” and my response is “I’ve just been working at it for awhile”.

May I offer some suggestions if you are thinking of starting your journey or maybe you’re on it and need encouragement.

Ready ? Take notes 😉

Be kind to yourself when you start the process. Firm, but kind.

Don’t tolerate excuses from yourself (you can read more on that in my “No Excuses” post)

Set reasonable goals.

Make a vision board of ideas or goals you want to achieve. My closet door is littered with ideas/quotes/goals.

If you’re serious… tell people! My Facebook page has been a place where I post what I will be doing and I know at least one person is going to ask about what I’m doing and if I did it. Not only that, you are also going to motivate someone else… win/win!

Educate yourself in what you are doing… read and learn.

Finally, make it fun! You are doing this as a “lifestyle” enjoy what you’re doing!

With consistent daily progress you will hit your goals.

But no matter what….. don’t you give up and throw in the towel. You will never reach your goals by doing that!

Have you thrown in the towel before? How many times before it “stuck”? What things  helped you ? Share =)

2007/2014 7 years into my journey
2007/2014 7 years into my journey

You Run What ??

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My view looking up the hill I was about to run….

Hills.

Is there anything that can make you cry like a baby tougher, stronger, and more of a beastly runner than running hills ?

I know a lot of runners shy away from them, hate them, or grudgingly do them. In the few years I’ve been running I’ve actually come to love hills.

In a practical way, they are speed work in disguise, but they also build strength and power in our legs like nothing else can.

In a  “I feel pretty freaking proud of myself”  kinda way I love that I can power up hills.. not walk or crawl… but let those powerful muscles I’ve built do that work. It’s especially nice in races to nail those suckers 😉

One of my neighbors once told me, “I see you running those hills and I don’t even think I could walk up them!” well at one point I couldn’t powerhouse up them either.

Training. Training gets a lot done.

When I tell people or post that my workout was hill repeats, they have this idea of a gentle sloping hill dancing in their heads.

Mine are literally mountains that have been paved over.  I don’t kid you.

The picture in this post is one that I run. It’s ironically called… Little Hill…. someone’s warped sense of humor?? It’s crazy steep, but running to the top, and down the spine of it into a cul de sac and back over again gives me an even half mile. So I often go to this place and do like… 4 miles… of repeats.

Can you say… butt kicking ?

Yesterday’s workout was hill repeats. I’m pretty much not pushing myself hard since I have a half marathon coming up in a couple weeks and then my 50K on the 28th.

If you read my other 50K posts, you know unfortunately, the race cancelled due to weather issues. I determined I was just going to run my own personal 50K.

Dang it I didn’t train so hard to not make it happen. I’m so stubborn and hard headed… the idea of coming so close… wasn’t something that set well with me …at. all.

Anyway, that being said, the race committee sent an email letting runners know that they could do a virtual race for what they signed up for and still get their runner goodies =) How nice.

So, March 28 it’s going down. Stick around and stay tuned for how all that plays out.

And as mentioned, I’m going to be running these next couple weeks but my training is done for all intents and purposes. It’s been carved out for months now. Long runs in the wee hours of the morning. Cold miles. Wet, cold miles. Hot, humid, sweat filled runs that left me drained. Strength training. Short runs. Slow. Fast.

I finally totaled my training miles…. roughly 995 from August till March 1! I feel like a machine.

After I wrap this month, it will be time to reduce the miles and give the body some rest time. I don’t mean doing nothing. Just less mileage in my week, then adding some biking and more strength training. My goal is to keep my long run base at 15 miles.

I’ve toyed with the idea of maybe doing a duathlon later this year. So definitely some brick training days too. And of course, I’ll have my sights set on a marathon at the end of the year =)

What goals do you have set for yourself in this upcoming year ?

Share with me.

Challenges, Obstacles, and Being an Overcomer

A 4ish mile run yesterday morning.

And you’re thinking….sooo… what’s new? you went for a run….

Thing is, it was my first run since I raced last Sunday. I haven’t gone that long not running in… I don’t even know when…… I traveled home Monday and my natural inclination (usually) would’ve been already plotting a run for Tuesday.

But disturbingly, this thought crossed my mind Monday evening,
“I don’t really care if I run anytime soon….”

It freaked me out. Like, where did that come from ??

True, I was tired.

Friday-Monday each day I had traveled about 4 hours at a time, I ran 13.1 miles Sunday ( literally…. ran them all… other than walking through water stations to get fluid in) and even though I mentally dismissed it as “only running 13 miles” fact is, it’s still a good distance to run.
Let’s not forget the complete and total… frustrating let down… of not getting to run the 50K….or that at race day I had logged (roughly) 990 training miles since August.

I guess it was a breeding ground for my “whatevah if I run again” crazy thinking…

I messaged a running friend who assured me I wasn’t a freak but to just allow myself a little down time. He told me I’d be back on my game again soon. Sometimes you just need someone to remind you that you’ve put yourself out there, given your all, worked hard and ….resting… is an ok thing.

So I did. I mean I wasn’t a total and complete sloth. I did do a few days of strength training in my week, but I never looked at my running shoes. ( I think I heard them crying at night 😉

Therefore, yesterday morning, when I knew I was ready to get out there it was totally with the intent to run easy…. and run wherever I wanted….. and however I wanted…. no agenda.

And you know what? It felt amazing. Those creepy feelings were gone. I was back out where I needed to be. I felt alive.

I’m refocused and moving forward and know what my new goals are.

You know those moments we go through where we feel laid low… are often the times where we… once again… redefine ourselves.

Challenges and obstacles define us. They can either take us down, defeat us, and make us want to quit….OR…. they can push us, shape us, and mold us into overcomers.

We just need to decide how we will respond.

How do challenges or obstacles help you move forward ? How do you deal with them ? Do they strengthen you ?