Five for Friday

There is a lot of stuff going on in my life, keeping me crazy busy, but none of it I’m ready to share yet. Hashtag vague blogging.

Here’s a list of random stuff I do want to share! It has been so long since I wrote up a post that WordPress went and changed on me, so rude.

1. I saw this article yesterday and I immediately shared it with my Saturday running buddy. I can relate to every one of those, so I was reading it and cracking up at my desk. I’m sure that was highly appreciated. 

2. Who knew swimming was so great? I’m not exactly ready to turn pro or anything, but I have a very new found love for lap swimming. I’m 100% horrible at it, but I love it in a way that I can’t even explain. It’s never going to replace my love for running, but I find myself wishing I could get to the pool more often. I’m sure once it’s winter and cold I might change my mind, but for now, I’m very excited about it.

3. This is my kind of triathlon. I could do that in one sitting, so it’s pretty much perfect for me.

4. Um, hello August! Where did your friend July go? This makes me sad for many reasons; soon school will start and that means busy schedules and packing lunches, and even worse we are inching closer to official marathon training. I’m so not ready.  I attempted to run ten miles last weekend after not being consistent with long runs. That was stupid for so many reasons, but hey, we learn from our mistakes, right?

5. I mentioned this on the twitters (so sorry for repeating information, but a girl’s only got so much randomness in a day), but July was a much better running month for me. June was bad, really, really bad as far as consistency and desire to run. You know when people say “things can only go up from here,” well my running in June is a prime example of that. I ran SIX TIMES more miles in July than I ran in June. That sentence looks strange, hopefully you get my point.  And July was still relatively lower than many of my “average” months. 

Now go and get your weekend on!

Five for Friday

1. Today is an early release day from work, which means I get to leave at 2:00 and don’t take a lunch. I really like getting to leave early, but it always seems like these days drag on and on; probably because there is the whole no eating lunch thing.  I do like lunch. Hopefully I can get my mind off of food long enough to write the rest of this post!

2. I may have been whining and complaining last night that the South Texas area wasn’t getting any of the cold weather that the northern part of the state was getting. I think the weather gods decided to punish me by giving me a giant storm around 2:00 in the morning, complete with flash flood warnings and alerts on my phone. Yippy! I do love a good rain storm, and I’ll be the first to line up on the porch to watch the lightening roll in.  But I do not like it in the middle of the night when I am trying to sleep. I really like sleep. I forced myself out of bed to set up our improvised water diversion system so that the playroom doesn’t flood, which it usually does anytime we get a few drops of rain. I stood outside with lightning crashing all around me hoping that if I did get struck it would be quick and painless. But considering I was drenched from head to toe, I think it probably would have hurt pretty badly.  I’m going to need extra coffee today. 

3. Last night’s run was pretty miserable, due to the unbearable pre-storm humidity and 98* day. Here’s a breakdown of my mental process:
Mile 1 – This isn’t too bad, lots of shade and, hey, is that a gentle breeze I feel? As long as I just take it nice and easy I can survive six miles of this.
Mile 2 – Why is it so hot? I wish it would rain, I know those are rain clouds over there. Was that a drop of rain? No, just my water bottle leaking. Oh, crap, my water bottle is leaking and now I have no water. Why does it smell like horse poop?
Mile 3- I wonder if I can run to the rain, it doesn’t seem like it’s that far away. But then I’d have to run back. I don’t want to do that. Oh good, the sun came out. Now I can melt and die of dehydration all at the same time.
Mile 4 – Why is the car so far away? I should just run one mile out and back routes from now on, that way the car is never so far away.
Mile 5- Five miles is almost like six, I could just walk back to the car. Whose dumb idea was it to run six miles, that’s just a stupid arbitrary number. If I stop and walk maybe I will get rained on, that would be great. But if I walk, then it will take me even longer in this oppressive humidity. Keep running, maybe the wind will come back.
Mile 6 – Why am I still not back at my car. I suck at math.

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Every time.

4. I’m not much for vague-blogging, usually if I have something to say I’m more than happy to share it. But this one is a little vague, but I feel like I need to share some parts of it, if only to hold myself accountable and follow through.  I’m looking to make some changes, professionally, and go in a completely different direction with my work life. Fortunately I have Justin’s support 100% and both kids are on board. I am not entirely convinced I’m going to be cut out for what might come from these changes, but it’s time to take control of my happiness. I’ve been pretty miserable during the 8:00-5:00 hours, and that’s seeping into my home life; I get home unhappy, I crankily make dinner while being short with the kids, and then I’m mentally exhausted so I sit on the couch and think about my miserableness. That’s not doing anyone any favors. Hopefully the promise of a better tomorrow will make me get through this challenge.

5. By now I’m sure you’ve heard about the Runner’s World  cover contest, and you probably have your favorite friend who you’re already planning to vote for every day. Just in case you haven’t chosen an entry to support, I’d like to point you in the direction of Edward Lychik.  I wish I could put into words what an inspiration Ed is, but I know I’ll fail miserably.  On his 21st birthday, while serving in Afghanistan, a rocket hit the vehicle he was travelling in. The resulting injury made him a hip disarticulation amputee (you may not want to click that link if you are squeamish). Doctors told Ed he’d never run, that it was simply impossible, and yet he has completed four marathons as well as Spartan races, mud runs, ultra trail runs as well has many road half marathons since his injury. When I think of Ed, I don’t see an amputee, I see someone who has embraced life and all of its challenges, someone who refuses to listen to the words no, can’t, fear or doubt. 

hip disarticulation amputee, Edward Lychik

Shamelessly stolen from Ed’s Instagram account. You know you want to go see more, this man is amazing.

 

I think I’m ready.

Things have been pretty quite here lately, I haven’t wanted to bring my negative headspace to the inerwebs, and there has been a lot of negative headspace. This is mostly a running blog (HAHAHA!) and I for a while there, I lost the love I had for running and while I complained plenty to my friends, I didn’t think I needed to bring all that drama here.

For most of the summer, and pretty much all of the spring, running and I have had a pretty rocky relationship. A lot of it was due to a jam packed schedule that left me tired and drained of my will to live run. Then came the heat of summer (which in Texas happens in May) and with summer running came the running hangover, which I still haven’t found a cure for and has left me afraid to attempt running too often in the heat.  So, we were kind of on a break…and sometimes it felt like we had broken up entirely.

After one particularly miserable hot and humid run with Julie, the first week of July, I commented that I had run more in just four of five days than I had in all of June. Slowly, VERY slowly, I’ve worked on my mental game and I think I have managed to tune out the negativity I was feeling. I’m still not in love with running like I was at this time last year, but I’m not completely miserable every time I lace up my shoes. I know a lot of the current hate has more to do with the heat of summer and less to do with where I am mentally. And summer’s only going to last for three more months.

I am finally ready to take my running seriously again, I’ve even gone so far as to start planning my training schedule for the Chevron Houston Marathon in January. That’s right, it’s almost marathon training season again! I am 95% sure I’ve blocked out all of the pain and suffering from last fall and only remembering the good things like post run coffee and crepes. I’m planning to use the Run Less Run Faster/FIRST method again, and hopefully decide on a challenging yet realistic goal time. I still have to figure that part out, because when I registered I was much more confident in my running than I am now, but I’ll fill you in when I get there.

Over the six weeks I’m going to be working on building my base up again and adding in more strength training. When I compare my running this summer to where I was a year ago, I’m already way behind, but I’m trying not to worry too much about that right now.  My running group is starting up their official weekend training runs, and I know I’ll be dragging along at the back of the pack, but I’m excited to be with my people again. 

 

Five for Friday

You don’t want to know  how long it too me to come up with five things to write about. I was going to type out five “interesting things” but I’m not sure these can even be considered interesting. And there aren’t even any pictures to jazz things up, because I’m so lazy. Sorry?

1. I mentioned last week that I was thinking about signing up for the free 80s 5K. Well before even I registered, the amazing Julie signed up for it, so that meant I am required to run it too. Anytime Julie takes her running off the trails and onto the roads, you can pretty much be sure to find me there also.  So I have that to look forward to, yay! Now time to find some sweet 80s outfits! I am not signing up for the competitive race, because lately the only thing I can be competitive in is probably guacamole making and couch racing.

2. It’s been pretty quiet at work lately (I mean, more so than usual considering I work in a library), so I’ve been spending a lot of time listening to Pandora, specifically the musicals and show-tunes station. Surprisingly Pandora usually knows exactly what I need to hear. Even if it’s a commercial. My zip code is still listed as being in Seattle, so I still get commercials from all my favorite places in the PNW. I’m never changing it! 

3. Sometimes my coworkers are kind of less than friendly but every once in a while I will be surprised by a small gesture of kindness. If you’ve been around for long, you may recall my mentioning that I have zero in common with most people I work with, I’m not usually included in lunches out, or really ANYTHING. For the most part that’s fine, I don’t need to be best friends with the people I work with in order to be polite, though it makes me miss the amazing coworkers I had in Seattle. Anyway. Out of the blue this morning, a kind sole gave me a coupon for a free coffee. That is the way to make a BFF for sure! It’s the little things in life that make me happy. And considering the typical day to day actions of everyone else, I was so appreciative of his kindness.

4. Tysen’s still going strong with the swim team thing, although last Friday I had to be “that” parent. The last couple of weeks have been devoted to stroke and skill development, and Friday was the backstroke. Which is rough for Tysen, considering the kids still can’t figure out how to float on his back (tips anyone?). And while he’s done a lot of swimming, rarely is any of it backstroke. Apparently it was all too much for him because he sat on the stops of the pool and sobbed about how hard it was and how he just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t take it anymore so I had to pull him aside and help calm him down. The coaches tried, they really did, and they were doing their best to be patient and explain that it was hard for all the little kids. But there are times when a 6 year old just needs a hug from mom, a pep talk and then to be told to get his little rear end back in the water. Eventually he did calm down and got back in the pool and tried as hard as he could and started having fun again. After much YouTube searching I think I’ve diagnosed his problem, but now they’re working on breaststroke and haven’t gone back to backstroke, so who knows if he’ll have an easier time.  

5. Let’s talk sunscreen! I need a new sunscreen for my face, that won’t cause me to break out. Right now I’m using Nuetrogena Clear Face Sunscreen, but it makes me break out something fierce! I guess I’d rather have pimples than skin cancer, so I keep using it, but if I can avoid both, that would be awesome. So what are you using? Also, I need a good sunscreen for Tysen in the pool. I know technically sunscreen can no longer be labeled “waterproof” so I don’t expect any great recommendations there. Right now I don’t even know what we’re using, but it’s not great for his face, just his body. His poor little face, under his eyes, seem to get the worst of the glare from the pool. Should I try a stick or something like that? HELP!!

Five for Friday

1.  I know it’s not much, but I managed TWO runs this week, and will likely join the group on Saturday for a run.  Baby steps are what I’m looking at right now even though I’m still not super thrilled to be trudging along. Because when you take a significant amount of time off, or scale back as much as I have, running gets a little bit harder. And I hate that. So I’m hoping this is a step in the direction of a change.

2.  And speaking of trying to be more proactive about the whole slump thing, the city of San Antonio is sponsoring a FREE 80’s 5K in a couple weeks and I think I will sign up to run it with Tysen. He has been asking to do a race for a long time now. And I’ve been hesitant because I wasn’t sure he’d be able to finish and just end up frustrated and crabby. But this seems like a great way to test that out! No financial commitment makes it a lot easier to say yes to this event.  I’m not really a big fan of themed races,but I am a big fan of free.

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3. For the last two weeks I’ve been spending my evenings at the pool. Not for me, I can’t figure out how to lap swim, but for Tysen. We signed him up for summer swim team at our neighborhood pool, and I’m hopeful it will be a good thing. Or at least wear him out so much that he doesn’t have time to cause trouble. He loves to swim, and the coaches are taking the time to teach them all of the proper strokes and breathing techniques. So, at the very least, he’s getting swim lessons while being part of a team, which costs half as much as actual lessons.

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Kaleena loves going to swim practice. She is a little confused about who is actually practicing though.

4. Clearly we never have any fun on the weekends and my children hate carousel rides.

Carouselling around

5. I’m still doing the gardening thing and I am definitely more obsessed with growing vegetables than is probably healthy. Tysen will proudly tell anyone who will listen that the tomato plant that he picked out is the largest and growing the best.  It’s probably around four feet tall, and showing no signs of slowing down. You’re free gardening tip for the day: if you notice birds or squirrels are stealing your veggies put out some toy snakes to deter them. I read this online somewhere, probably a gardening forum, but I can’t remember where exactly. We haven’t had any of our tomatoes (the only thing producing so far) stolen yet, and I’m hoping this continues to work.

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When the injury is mental

I’ve been trying to write this post for a while now, weeks and weeks really. I’m just not sure where to start; no one really wants to read the whining of an uninjured runner complaining about not wanting to run.  But maybe if I write about it, I can move on and somehow fix it.

For the past two-ish months (maybe 3?) my motivation to run has been at an all time low. Nothing is physically wrong with me, but mentally I’m just not loving the run. Almost every time I’m out there, I have had work hard to convince myself beforehand that I want to do it, or bribe myself to put on my running shoes and strap on my Garmin. 

I could list the ten thousand meaningless excuses that I’ve used, some of them valid but most of them are not. I’m not really any busier than I was in the fall, when I managed to run and cross train six days a week. Yes, there have been a lot of changes to the schedule, but I keep thinking that if I really wanted to run, I’d find a way to make it work. But that’s the problem, I guess. I don’t really want to run.

The wonderful Amy wrote a post a post last week that I can really relate to. In my comment I wrote

“my running lately has been a whole lot of want and very little of anything else. I want to go run in the mornings, I want to get back into racing shape, I want to revisit some of my favorite long run routes. But apparently I don’t want any of that enough because I haven’t been putting in the work. I love running, it’s part of my soul and it centers me, but right now I just can’t figure out why I’ve stopped making it important.”

That pretty much sums up the last two months for me. And now I have to figure out where I go from here. I’ve tried  running fewer days, fewer miles and simply NOT running in the hopes that the desire and drive will come back on it’s own. So far that hasn’t been too successful, so I think we can conclude that experiment a big fat failure. 

I ran with Julie on Monday and even though I am SO out of shape and could barely keep up, it reminded me of how much I do love sweating and working hard. We’ve managed to make our hectic schedules mesh for a few more runs in the coming weeks and I don’t want to be so out of shape and slow that Julie decides she can’t run with me anymore. So at least I have some motivation to get out there on my own.

Again, I’m reposting a comment I left on Amy’s post, it seems to be what I keep coming back to, in my mind:

“I’ve been through slumps before, never quite so long or frustrating. And I’ve found that the only way out is to let go of goals and the pressure of specific runs. So, even if I’m going out and running the slowest 3 miles of my life, I’m at least out there. And eventually that love will return, a little every day. I guess running is just like any kind of relationship, there will be lots of ups and probably even more downs, it takes constant work to keep it going and successful, sometimes I want to throw my hands in the air and say “F this, I just give up!”

But I don’t, because it’s important to me. Instead, I find a way to just keep going, a little at a time, no matter how much I struggle, how hard it is, and how much I’m not currently loving it. Because there are plenty of reasons why I started running, plenty of reasons why I keep running and keep loving it. And those will always outweigh the desire to give up and give in. Sometimes it just takes a long time to get through it all.”

I need to print those words out, and read them every day. The struggle is worth it, running is what keeps me calm and centered, I cannot give up on it. 

 

An iPod, a Garmin and a goldfish…

All working together to remind me I have zero control of my life these days.  I’m going to be honest here, lately It’s been pretty easy to find reasons to NOT run. I’m just not feeling it and I’m A-OK with that on most days. I have a long list of excuse; and that’s exactly what they are, not valid reasons, just excuses for why I haven’t been making working out or running a priority. I’ve had a lot of family commitments on the weekends, I haven’t been able to run at night because of conflicting schedules with Justin. I don’t want to get up early in the morning, because sleep rocks my face off. These are all true, but none of them are so great that I could not over come them, lately I’ve just chosen the path of least resistance. And that path happens to lead to my couch. 

Wednesday night though was going to be different. All day the weather was perfect, sunny but not too hot, and when the weather is perfect my motivation for running gets pretty high. My plan was to rush home, rush the kids through dinner, rush Kaleena to bed and then rush Tysen to choir practice all in the span of about 30 minutes and then run for an hour before picking Tysen up. Easy peasy! 

Things were off to a good start, I managed to get through traffic and get the kids in a reasonable amount of time. Dinner was started, my running clothes were clean and ready to go.  Things took a dark turn when I grabbed my iPod and found that it was dead. No big deal, I could charge it for ten minutes before we had to leave. And you know, I could always run without music. Granted being alone with my thoughts for an hour is usually pretty bad company, but I was determined.

The kids were playing outside and I happened to look over at Mr. Gold, the fish we somehow managed to bring home from Tysen’s school carnival last weekend.

Mr. Gold in happier times. I probably should have referenced this photo when getting his successor. Let’s just say Mr Gold had a bit of a growth spurt…

One minute he was swimming around like a happy little fish…and the next…kerplunk….right into the rocks.  And then no more swimming around. Being the master of good timing that he is, Tysen walked in and noticed. I was going to tell him that Mr. Gold had gone on to the big fish bowl in the sky, honesty and all that…but his little face crumpled when he asked if he had died and said he hoped he was just sleeping. I pounced on that faster than I can eat an ice cream cone after a long run in July.  Yep, that fish was sleeping! 

The new plan was to rush Tysen to choir, then rush to PetSmart and switcheroo the fish without either child being the wiser. THEN I would finally be able to get my run on. Even though I quickly discovered I had no clean running socks (how does that even happen?) I still figured I could fit in 30 minutes, which was better than zero.

So I’m putting on my not running socks, not even worried about my poor, overly sensitive feet and I remember I need to grab my Garmin. I can run without it, I have in the past, no big deal, but after not enough running I needed the instant validation that it so readily provides. Except, you know. It was dead. Like the fish. And the iPod. 

And then I just gave up. Changed out of my running clothes and ate a piece of cake. Yes, I could have made it work, I didn’t have to take it all as a sign that last night’s run was not meant to be. I could have, probably should have too. But there are just some days where it’s just easier to give in. And I’ve been giving in a lot lately, so it was really just another day in a week of nothingness.  

I’m running tonight with the group, and I’m looking forward to it almost as much as I was looking forward to yesterday’s run. I promise not to let any dead electronic set me back. And we’ve already decided not to go for Mr. Gold III. 

This story is definitely more entertaining to me than it is you, but that’s generally the case for the posts I write for you to read.