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happenings ’round these parts

21 Feb

While there hasn’t been a lot going on for me lately, there have been a few key big ticket items that packed a punch.  Without further ado, I shall elaborate:

1. I put my name in the lottery for the New York City Marathon!  Yay!  I’m beyond hopeful this becomes my reality.  I know it’s a long shot but the thought of it is too dreamy for words.  It’s on my bucket list of races, along with the Flying Pig Marathon.  I’ve talked about this one before because it’s so fantastic.  My optimistic plan is I will do the Flying Pig and then spend the week hanging out with my Michigan family and then wrap up the vaca with the Kalamazoo Marathon.  It will happen.

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please, oh please!

2. I decided I am going to do the 1/2 marathon of the North Olympic Discovery marathon weekend.  In a prior post I said I was going to do the full, but I haven’t started any kind of training yet.  While in the past this wouldn’t have stopped me from jumping in feet first (so to speak), however, after putting my poor knee through the wringer during the Detroit 26.2 I am going to play it smarter this time around.  I know, who am I?!  Not to mention, it’s even cutting it close to be starting a 1/2 marathon training plan.  I live on the edge.

3. I caught the plague (only slightly exaggerating here).  It was that nasty influenza that seems to be running rampant.  It hit our town – I swear, every other facebook post was about families being down and out with the flu.  I didn’t/couldn’t get off of the couch for 6 days.  I did have to make one trip to the post office for work and I came home and napped for a few hours, I was so exhausted.  And it’s still lingering a bit.  So, if at all possible, stay healthy!  A fellow LuLaRoe consultant in town and I were talking and her family caught it.  Her hubby walked around the house with a mask, haha!  I laughed, yet now I think he was brilliant as he didn’t get sick.

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my sweet baby niece – poor little sicky!  she is the one who passed along the illness.  this is also my “I don’t do mornings” face!

4. I turned 39.  I love aspects of my birthday; the numbers are sequential, I love being an Aquarius, I love having a winter birthday, and I don’t shy away from the attention.  I do have troubles with the aging piece.  It’s a surreal experience for me.  My niece and I were talking the week before and she said, “aren’t you going to be 40?”.  I paused and my heart skipped a beat.  Was I going to be 40?!!  For a moment, I wasn’t sure – did I mention at my doc visit before I moved back from MI I thought I was 37?  I told the nurse she was wrong when she was trying to confirm my 38 status.  Her response, “the computer does the math” when we were talking about what year I was born.  I felt like I lost a year of my life!  Then when my niece said 40, I panicked that I lost yet ANOTHER year!  I’m not ready to be 40.

5. Now, the Sunday before my birthday, I was babysitting my sweet baby niece (this was also the day of my contamination).  I walked into my sister’s kitchen and my feet went out from under me – their floor was like a freakin’ ice rink (and apparently walking is dangerous for me) and I went down.  HARD.  I was holding an unlit jar candle that came crashing down as well, (I think) crushing my pinky finger, and bouncing up to smack me in the face.  I laid on the floor for a moment, in shock.  Then I almost threw up and passed out.  I got up and moved to the couch where I spent about 10 minutes trying to stay conscious and vomit free.  My poor pinky turned purple immediately and blew up.  I was convinced it was broken.  I no longer think this, I think I smashed it.  It still messed up and have a feeling the healing will continue to be slow.

6. Did I mention I caught my bout of influenza the day before my birthday?  Instead of enjoying some festivities, I was on the couch.  Some perks were, my dad made me pancakes in the morning and then later brought me my favorite dinner from a local place, my sister dropped off two cupcakes, and my grandma made me a lemon pie-like dessert.  It was quite sweet of them.  I also started watching Justified.  I dig it.  What this does mean is the week leading up to my birthday (my poor hand was a disaster) and the 2 weeks after it were a rude beginning to this upcoming year.  I’ve decided it’s the universe’s way of purging the toxins from my life to ready me for an epic year ahead.  Probably starting around March 1st.

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a tall cool drink of water – perfect for those sick days!

Please agree with me with regards to the universe’s plan for me.  Much obliged.

 

sunburst 1/2 (kicked my booty, btw)

4 Jun

The Sunburst 1/2 was… difficult.

I could probably end the recap there but I wouldn’t be a very good blogger if I did so I shall spin my tale for y’all.

We had a bright and early wake up call at 4:15 am.  I was thrilled to be slumber party-ing it up with Meagan and her fam.  I adore her sweat pea of a little one and her hubby is entertaining.  Top off the good company with a yumo pizza dinner, some fro-yo and Meagan’s very cute puppy, I was set.  Oh, the puppy?  Her name is Sadie and she has the iconic patch over one eye.  She is cuddly and jumped up and was my spooning buddy in the middle of the night.  I’m not kidding, her head was resting next to mine on my pillow.  My heart melted a bit.

It took about an hour to get to the start and thankfully we found a spot in the (free) parking garage.  The race started RIGHT on time.  Starting out the weather was perfect and Meagan commented, “you know it could be a rough one when at 7:30 am it’s the perfect temperature.”  Foreshadowing at it’s finest.

I really wish I could tell you how despite odds being against us – neither one of us was exactly trained for 13.1, the weather was promising to be quite warm and some hesitant mental games, that we blew through the course.  Nope.  I was confident up until the 5th mile.  I pre-juiced with some Vega Sport pre-energizer at the start, which was why I made it that far!

I started losing it at what I thought was mile 6.  I told Meagan, “I don’t think I am going to make it.”  Meagan: “We are almost at mile 8, you WILL make it.”  I was grateful to hear we were almost to 8 but I was still doubting my mad running skillz.  Meagan said right as I was losing hope, she was feeling confident – this was perfect.  Meagan emotionally carried me for the rest of the race.

just another perk of running!

It was warm.  I’ve never done this race before and it was rerouted from previous years since we couldn’t end in the Notre Dame stadium.  The nice part was there was a lot of shade and the course was really pretty.  There were some rolling hills with a few steeper ones that we walked.  We did start to do some walk/running bouts.  Meagan would call out our stops and starts – essentially I didn’t have to think, just run.

The water stops were about every mile and half or so, with awesome volunteers, water and gatorade.  There was also GU at one of them – strawberry/banana (umm… no) and I grabbed it at mile 5.  Salted caramel came to the rescue at mile 10.  Mile 11 or so, I started feeling heat-strokey.  I started getting chills and wasn’t feeling well.  I let Meagan know.  This kept up for about a mile.  During this time, some of the neighborhoods had sprinklers out and I took full advantage.  This definitely helped but I knew I needed the med-tent when we crossed the finish line.

I'm smiling so hard because we are done

I’m smiling so hard because we are done

Yep, we made it.  Son of a triscuit, it was hard.  I wanted to quit oh so badly and was proud that I didn’t.  Meagan’s recap is here and while she says that she was hurting, she certainly didn’t let on, which is probably why we finished!  Right after the volunteers passed out the medals, there were folks passing out cold, wet towels – I started feeling better almost immediately.  We got our knees wrapped in ice, hit the after-race snacks, FRUIT CUPS!  This is the first time I’ve ever had this and there wasn’t even honey-dew filler!  I grabbed a popsicle (yeah!), guzzled a chocolate milk, and picked up a bagel and banana for the road.

it's blurry because my hands were shaking a bit!

it’s blurry because my hands were shaking a bit! still so pretty

I told you it was going to be a tale… A couple of things I took away from this race: 1) the gut check 2) running with someone is so much fun!  The last time I ran with anyone was a year ago – with Meagan in fact!  Yet another reason I decided run camp was a good idea.  Oh yeah, and 3) the nutty things I will do for a t-shirt and a medal.

***No picture of said medal and t-shirt because I was too tired lazy to get up off of the couch and take one… maybe another day.***

gut check

2 Jun

This weekend offered up a gut check… well a few of them.  It was a good thing.

Gut check #1:  Thanks for the words of encouragement with regards to run camp!  Those were all words I needed to hear.  Other friends also weighed in and there wasn’t one person who said I should simply train on my own.  Fairly certain this is a positive sign.

Result:  I signed up.  I’m still nervous.

suck it up buttercup

Gut check #2:  I talked with Meagan about run camp and FINALLY admitted one of the main reasons I was holding back.  “What if I do all of this training and go all in and I STILL don’t achieve my goal?”  Meagan:  “I don’t think that will happen but if it does then you are a really good 5 hour marathoner”.

Result:  Oh yeah, good point.  So I signed up – yep, I need to keep reminding myself of this!

Gut check #3:  I ran a half on Saturday with Meagan.  It was very difficult for me.  I almost had a DNF on my record simply because I was so exhausted and not ready to run 13.1.  I’ll have the recap up soon.

yep

Result:  I need to STOP doing this to my body.  And my confidence.  I’m pretty certain I left part of my left patella on the course, not to mention the whole wanting to quit after 5 miles.  I am setting myself up for failure and some serious injury by pulling these shenanigans.  Enough is enough.

Gut check #4:  One more reason I didn’t want to do run camp… the whole social anxiety piece of it.  I don’t currently know anyone else doing it and this freaks me out a bit.

Result:  I’ve become a bit of a hermit and I need to put myself out there a bit more.  Yes, I will probably have some minor panic attacks without someone I know right there with me but we WILL all have running in common.  And I can meet people – they will probably like me, right?  So, in case you missed it the first two times, I signed up.

this hits a bit close to home

Gut checking – check.  20 days until my next and last 1/2 of the summer.  It won’t be breeze but I will have more training under my belt and a better attitude.  Not to mention I’ll be running in one of the most beautiful places around – not to shabby!

make my big decision

29 May

Here’s the scoop… many moons ago I did my first half marathon.  I was super nervous!  I joined a local run camp that met every Saturday morning during the winter.  I did it with my friend (we alternated driving) and then I met two incredible people/running partners that helped me power through.  I always knew I needed and wanted to meet up with them.

1:2 with my medal

I finished in 2:04, which I was and still am, damn proud of.  It currently stands as my PR and as you can see by the goofy grin on my face I was overflowing with excitement.  Then I kind of fell off the quality training track.  Part of me was a bit burned out and the other part was the lack of structure.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed sleeping in on Saturdays again (we got up and running around 8 am if memory serves) but I also knew it helped me cross the finish line strong.

can I do this?

can I do this?

So, there is another training camp starting on June 21st.  It’s 18 weeks long and can either be 1/2 marathon training or the full 26.2.  Since I have the Detroit marathon on the docket I would use this as my training.  It’s $120 for the entire duration and offers Saturday runs, a weekly run if you want to and track sessions.  Training camp will end the week after my race so it’s perfect timing really.

What’s the problem?  Saturday runs START at 7 am.  Not to mention, I haven’t been very good with sticking with a training plan since that first 1/2.  My discipline is kind of in the toilet and I’m very good at putting off what I could do today until tomorrow (or the next day).  I’m worried I will lay down the cash and then drift by the wayside.

thomas jefferson doesn’t look too impressed

On the other hand, I want to do WELL in Detroit.  I’m eager to hit a time that starts with a 4 rather than a 5.  It may seem silly but I want to cross the finish line feeling like I did when I crossed the finish line of the Dopey – that I gave it my all.

dopey 1/2 bib/medal

By the way, did you know I sometimes wear my Dopey medal around when I’m at home?

I’m probably making a decision based on this post.  I’m just doubting my follow through.  I need encouragement.  I need accountability.  I need some confidence.  I need… something.  Clearly.  The first day of camp will be the weekend of my Charlevoix 1/2 marathon but I’m not too worried about this as I can jump in the next weekend.

One more thing.  I signed up for camp one other time in the past – probably two winters ago?  First time around I was in the 10 min pace group.  I certainly didn’t belong there the next time around and our first run I was huffing and puffing long behind the rest of the group.  So much so that one of the coaches was hanging back simply to make sure I didn’t get lost.  I was deeply embarrassed and felt like a failure.  At least when I train on my own, I’m the only one to witness those unfortunate running days.

a pretty accurate description of my those running days

What do you think after reading all of this?  Share your words of wisdom!  Make my decision!

vega sport = vrooom!

22 May

Okay, so why the wacky title? Because Vega Sport Energizer gives you the pep you need to GET.MOVING.

vega sport energizerDo I sound like an infomercial?  Or how about Billy May’s replacement? (have you ever seen the auditions for his job? very interesting).

As mentioned in previous posts, my epilepsy meds tend to make me quite sleepy and low on energy.  That coupled with a debilitating bout with depression last year, I’ve gotten in the habit of lots and lots of couch sitting.  I’ve tried numerous products to get myself moving, including some that probably weren’t the healthiest.  You know, the kind that are LOADED with ingredients that nature hasn’t ever heard of – yeah, those.  So, it appealed to me that this was a natural product and plant-based.  I also showed my office mate the package and he is completely natural.  He is/was very intrigued and is taking it with him on his epic bike trip in the next few days.

I first tried Vega Sport Energizer on a regular training run.  I run in the evenings and I didn’t exactly follow the directions on the amount of water to add to the powder.  This was a mistake as it certainly affected the taste.  I will completely admit, I was worried about the flavor.  It’s definitely an earthy flavor and I wasn’t sure this was for me.  For instance, while I like my supplements more natural, I drink my coffee very sweet so these counteracted each other a bit.

check out the ingredients!

check out the ingredients!

I drank it 20 mins prior to working out as instructed.  The boost was very real.  In fact, I could feel it’s effects long into my run, which I wasn’t expecting.  I really needed the energy and Vega Sport came through for me.  On a more recent training run, I decided to half the packet and it seemed to work out for an evening run.  If I could manage to get my booty out of bed in the morning, I think a full packet would be perfect. As it was, I had lots of energy!

I really did feel this way on my run

Next, I decided to try it out for the 25k.  A few years ago when I did the race, I took a gel at the beginning and then two more later in the race.  Gel-sickness set in and it wasn’t pretty.  This time around, I took Vega Sport and also followed the water mixing instructions.  Again, I was very impressed with the results.  Even though I learned my lesson, I still WANT to take a gel at the start of the race.  I’m just not a morning person and while I drink coffee before the race, this only partially helps (I only drink a half cup).  This time around, I had the energy I’ve craved at the start and could evenly space my gels at mile 5 and mile 10.

it's a flower... cause it's plant based!

it’s a flower… cause it’s plant based!

Vega Sport also has Sustain products that I would love to give a go.  I would like to feel more evenly fueled as opposed to certain bursts and then kind of falling with regular gels.  I also think this would really help my pacing.  There is recovery products/drink also that is on my radar but we all know, I am lousy at recovering properly so of course this is lower on my priority list <— please note some of the sarcasm here!

Again, I was really pleased with Vega Sport. I am looking forward to hearing what office mate has to say and unfortunately, I’m posting this before he returns.  So #FuelYourBetter and check it out – I think you will be impressed as well.  I know many people are looking for a different version of fueling and I like this option a lot.  I dig the whole proper prepping of my muscles for what I am about to inflict and ask of them.  Another BIG plus of this product is it doesn’t interfere with my epilepsy.  I’ve tried other things that have made me so wired that a) I could see sounds and b) it was too much for my brain.  With epilepsy, my brain is “easily agitated” so I need to be conscientious about fueling properly and safely. Vega Sport is a win in this category without the side effect of what I call “shaky energy”.

trust me, this is hard to find

Seriously, this is good stuff.  I was able to try out this product for freesies  but I asked to review it since I appreciated what the product contained and promised.  That’s my disclaimer folks…

25k race=15.5 miles of tough running

12 May

The 5/3 Riverbank 25k is the largest road race of its distance in the country.  As I mentioned yesterday, 7,000 people take to the streets of Grand Rapids, MI and there are runners from all over.

25k start line

I spent the night with friends who live about 25 minutes away from downtown GR.  Hanging out with friends the night before a race is a great way to ease any anxieties.  Pre-race fueling of pizza and a beer, playing with an adorable munchkin (who loved saying my name – it was adorable) and hitting the sack around 11:30 pm was the order of the night.  I woke up on time (and multiple times during the night) and despite my game plan to leave at 6:45 am I made it out the door at 7 am.

I ate a bit too much pizza the night before as I was too hungry by the time it arrived.  I mention this because on the drive to the start, I almost had to pull over and throw up.  Jostling around for the next few hours was not appetizing and I didn’t eat my peanut butter sandwich until I arrived.  I did manage to drink some coffee though – priorities.

deep cleansing breaths kept the vomit at bay…

I drank some Vega Sport Pre-Workout Enegizer 20 minutes before the start.  I will post a review of this product in the next few days and it’s quality.  I’ve now tried it with training along with a race and I’m impressed.  The race started right on time, 8:20 am and I made it over the start line at 8:29 and this was the 11 min pace group.  The race is efficient.

I felt good for the first 5 miles.  I was using my quads and kept my ipod in my pocket so I could be in the moment.  I got stuck behind one guy who was complaining up a storm because the shirts didn’t say 25k on them.  It was a universal shirt for the 5k, 10k and 25k.  You could pay extra for a tech shirt with 25k on it ($15) but he “certainly” wasn’t going to do that.  He also said how he was going to send a nasty email to the director later this week.  Now mind you, I paid $35 for this race.  CHEAP!  Suck it up dude…

the shirt mr. grumpy pants was complaining about

the shirt mr. grumpy pants was complaining about

At mile 5 I took a powergel – provided, and turned on my tunes.  The water stops started at about 1.5 miles and they were approximately every mile and half after this, sometimes two miles.  The volunteers were incredible.  There was water, Gatorade followed by oranges and more water and then ICE!  Oh my goodness, I have never been offered cups of ice in a race but it was magical.  It was probably around mile 7 when it started and I would take a cup at each one hereafter.  It was heavenly.

After mile 6 miles my quads started cramping a bit.  Mile 8 was my magic mile as I knew at this point there would be no question to me finishing.  This was also my first lovely embrace with some biofreeze.  I think mile 7 was the start of the hills.  Man oh man, the hills kept coming!  I had forgotten about them, conveniently I might add, but I took them in stride = I walked many of them.

While I was keeping 11 min miles in the beginning, this crept to 12 by the halfway point.  Mile 1o I took another gel.  I also kept focusing on what a cool experience this was and how lucky I was.  The last time I did this race, my mental attitude was already in the toilet at this point.

this is a great depiction of my previous meltdown

The last five and half miles were tough.  More hills, more quad cramping, one more biofreeze stop and lots of water.  It was a beautiful day with a breeze, which was lovely but I was seriously reaching my “I’m done” point.  The last mile and half took forever and horror of horrors you have to run UP a hill to the finish line.

25k finish line

this was at the top of a long hill

My leg muscles were melting at this point.  I kept saying, “c’mon legs” almost yelling at them as I wasn’t sure if I could stay standing.  It was so, so tough!  I had nothing left – heck, even the girl who was puking her guts out that I passed a few feet behind me managed to beat me.  I made it though.

at this point, I could barely stand up straight - I kept almost falling backwards

at this point, I could barely stand up straight – I kept almost falling backwards

Hard/enjoyable race and I ran my buns off.  I have some work to do before my next half (it’s in 3 weeks) and I’m keeping some of my newly employed racing strategies.  Good gel timing, starting my music later and a positive mental attitude – putting these into practice again!

25k… the aftermath

11 May

My race recap will be up in tomorrow but the following has been swirling around my brain:

1.  More/real training would have made those 15.5 miles much easier!

2.  I think my rebellious streak comes into play with regards to running.  Maybe a “let’s see what I can do without training!” attitude.  Is this rebellion?  I don’t know but it’s how I used to shoot myself in the foot with regards to my academics as well.  I will also say it’s part of the procrastinator’s creed – if you don’t give your all to the preparation then you don’t have to risk your best being a “failure”.

deep thoughts on the hour drive up to the race and then back

3.  My legs were absolute gelatin as I crossed the finish line.  I completely left it all out on the course!  I was proud of myself.

4.  I stretched after the race, which I rarely do.  Solid plan Amy.

5.  Today my legs are fairly fatigued and sore.  My quads are especially tender.  I see some serious squats in my immediate future.

6.  I have a lot more determination and heart than I give myself credit for.

but I didn’t quit!

7.   I ran with 7,000 other runners!  This is the largest 25k in the country.  We all love running!

8.  Biofreeze is my bestie.

I’m talking to you biofreeze

9.  I didn’t run with my thumb brace because I knew it would be difficult to grab water and other fuel.  Adrenaline got me through the race buuut it wasn’t a great idea later.

10.  I parked about 8 blocks away.  Wow – it was a long way back!  A woman with her two kids offered me a ride to my car and while I was tempted I’ve watched way to much Investigative Discovery to take her up on it.

More tomorrow… all smiles though.  I seriously thought about not running – I had a prime excuse!  A dislocated thumb?  Prime!  However, I needed to prove something to myself.  I’m a proud runner!

 

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