Tag Archives: life

Now

Oh hey! Remember when I used to do a blog thing? Well it seems that I forgot about it for a while.

But hey, I’m back!

There is a lot to catch up on (like a trip to Palo Duro canyon for my birthday and running the Mesquite Canyon half marathon in Phoenix with the hubs) and I couldn’t possibly do it all in one post but I wanted to share what’s been happening with me right now.

spring walk1

Mainly because it’s finally feeling like spring around here and I finally have something to share other than holy crap it’s cold and I want to die.

spring walk3

I’ve been running in the morning during the week and it’s wonderful. WONDERFUL. It’s cool and brisk, dark and quiet, just me and my feet. Along with the running, I’ve now integrated strength training as a regular part of my routine and I feel like it’s made a difference.

Work, which I know I never talk about, is going really well with a recent promotion. I already love the people work with but moving into a new role has been really fun and I’m grateful.

I’ve even been playing around with clothes a little bit, actually.

A non running selfie. I know right?

A non running selfie. I know right?

Another reason I think I’ve been quiet lately is that at the beginning of the year I wrote down some ideals for the year and I’ve been integrating them more into my life. It’s felt like a mostly quiet process thus far but as more good things take hold, I find myself wanting to talk about them.

So you may notice a different direction on the blog. As you can see from the header alone, my focus is expanding beyond just running in the dirt to include a renewed interest in creativity (yes, I might be sharing some art *gulp*) and the adventures of my life in general.

There’s more to share, in much more detail but I wanted to say hi there and that I missed this place. Good to be back. :)

New year, new trail

For several years I chose a word for the new year or made a list of goals or intentions or tied notes to balloons and set them free.

Last year I did none of that. This time last year, I was feeling worn a little thin, feeling stagnant in my job and in life. No real direction I wanted to go or goals I wanted to pursue. If you had told me that I would discover trail running and it would become a passion, a way of life, I probably would have strained an eyeball rolling them at you.

Fast forward to today and Jason and I found ourselves at a new trail with the sun on us. This is the life I want now and I intend for this day-exploring somewhere new with this guy I like a lot, eating good food and laughing at each other-to be an example of the year to come.

sansom1sansom3

sansom2

Sansom trail is close to Ft. Worth, a fairly short drive for us in light traffic, and is holy crap scabbly and hilly. Or as Jason put it, that trail is a BEAST.

The area is actually a system of single track trails barely dug into the hills that all seem to be interlocking and looping into each other. They aren’t well marked and we basically stumbled around a couple of them, cobbling together for about 3 miles before we called it quits.

While more trips out there would get us more familiar with the trails and where they go, these are not trails that I could ever relax on. Too hilly, too technical, too steep, too rocky. Which is awesome-that is just the kind of practice I need. :)

After that little excursion, we went to Chuys to eat.

sansom4

I feel sorry for people who don’t live near a Chuy’s, myself included. I fell in love with their awesome mexican food when we lived in Dallas and there was a location 10 minutes away from us. Now that we live in the burbs, there is not one anywhere close to us (and what would be close to an hour drive in normal traffic puts a damper on things) so we don’t get to eat there very often.

In fact, Jason convinced me to try this trail by saying we could eat there for lunch afterwards.

SOLD.

Unlike last year, I have plans and dreams and goals for this year-things I can’t wait to do, that I’m anxious to get started on. I did choose a word for this year as unlike last year, I don’t feel unmoored and uninterested. Consistency-more of what I love, a life full of it.

What about you? Dreams for this year?

How I ran, week of 12/16

Monday-Upper body and core. Usually, I like to do this with several sets of free weights that we have as I watch reruns of NCIS. Big Bang Theory also works.

Tuesday-Stairs, stairs, stairs. I don’t like running stairs but I feel strong after running stairs so I suck it up.

Wednesday-a comfortable 4.5 mile run in the mid 60′s around my neighborhood.

Wait, what? It was daylight when I started running? It's a christmas miracle!

Wait, what? It was daylight when I started running? It’s a christmas miracle!

I started feeling a little of that twinge in my arch that I initially felt at Rugged and Raw and has led to weeks of decreased/no mileage and started to freak out a little bit. And then I remembered that I wasn’t in a race and trying to hit a certain time so I could take a walk break and it went away. Any time I felt even a hint of the twinge again, I simply walked for a few steps and then started up again and that seemed to work.

Thursday-Because of the twingey-ness (that’s a word), I took the day off to give my foot a full day of rest.

Friday-a shorter (2.5 mile), chilly run once again around my neighborhood. It was in the mid 60′s at lunch time and had dropped 20 degrees by the time I pulled on my running tights after work. Winter in Texas-FUN.

For some reason, running in the woods in the dark felt uncomfortable to me this week. I don’t know why-I’ve never had an issue when I do but I decided to trust my gut and just stick to the streets this week.

It’s okay though because so many of the houses have their Christmas lights up and I just love to see all the decorations and color.

week of 12-16-2

 

We also watched Desert Runners, a documentary that just came out this week. Have you seen it? It was so wonderful to watch. Yes, the running feats are amazing but what I loved most was the personal stories and transformations of the runners. I would absolutely recommend watching it and it’s only $10 on iTunes.

Saturday-I woke to rain and it continued throughout the day so we stayed inside and cuddled with the dogs. We did manage to get out that evening though to watch The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. I liked it way more than the first Hobbit movie, which I thought drug on quite a bit. This movie is still over 2 1/2 hours so there are some draggy parts too, but over all, I thought the story really ramped up and the characters began to flesh out more.

Sunday (today)-I had planned on this being the one day I could get out on the trails this week but the incessant rain left the ground boggy still this morning so yet again, my run was done in my neighborhood. I haven’t done this much pavement running in I don’t know how long.

When I walked the dogs this morning, with temps in the mid/high 30′s, I saw a guy running in nothing but shorts and a jacket. I take a different approach to cold weather running:

week of 12-16-1

like approximately 14 layers of clothing

Five chilly, windy miles later, I felt sufficiently worn out and ready for the bliss of a hot shower.

I’ve started taking pre-emptive walk breaks and haven’t felt any of the twinges that I felt earlier in the week, thankfully. Keeping fingers crossed!

After the run and shower, I shoved as much food as I could down my pie-hole and took a nap. My favorite way to spend a Sunday. :)

How are you dealing with the cold temps? Favorite piece of cold weather gear? (no one ever answers my questions but I’m going to keep asking because I really would like to know).

How I ran, week of 12/09

Monday-Stairs. A lot of stairs. I’m still careful to wear shoes with arch support inserts but my foot no longer feels weak when I do this, and I couldn’t have said that a month ago. I’ll take it. I finished off the stair session with some lower body strengthening, as per doctor’s orders to improve overall biomechanics, not just my feet but ankles and hips as well.

Tuesday-35 minutes spent trying to give a crap about the treadmill. That probably equates to about 3.5 miles.

Wednesday-This was an unplanned rest day. I worked late, had several meetings, just didn’t get a chance to get a work out in. Oh well. I tell myself that I need these.

Thursday-a 3 mile run around the ‘hood, with a short rest break to say hi to Charlie and Goldie, two of my favorite neighborhood dogs, who were being walked by their mom, Becky. I’m that person.

sunset neighborhood

Friday-I spent most of friday afternoon at the office christmas party on the rock climbing wall or playing laser tag or shooting hoops (we went to a place called IT’Z-which has an arcade, bowling, pizza buffet, games, etc). Not an official workout but I had a nice little sweat going at one point so I’m claiming my time there as a cardio workout. ;)

Saturday-Deck the Trails, 3 mile off road race. I’ve been antsy to get back into racing, even if I can’t do some of the longer distances quite yet and convinced Jason to join me at the last minute.

The race was held at a nature park and to be honest, wasn’t really what I would consider a ‘trail’ race. Two-thirds of the race was either on soccer fields, cross country style, or on paved roads through the park. We only had about a mile on actual trails.

At the start line and smiling even though it's cold as balls

At the start line and smiling even though it’s cold as balls

For all my desire to get back to racing, I was a complete brat for most of this race. It was cold and windy and wet and I was not happy with the lack of trail I was actually running on.

The aftermath of running through wet, muddy soccer fields

The aftermath of running through wet, muddy soccer fields                                               

Plus I am realizing that 3miles/5K is a hard distance for me. I feel like I don’t have enough time or distance to get settled into a pace, which means I often push too hard out of the gate even though I know better and end up unable to maintain the pace later on, therefor completely negating any advance I had in the first mile.

So when I came around the last turn and saw the finish line clock at 30:something, I did a double take. I felt like I completely blew that race and ended up with a PR at 30:58. Go figure.

Sunday (today)-Sitting on the couch like it’s my job. Occasionally intervals spent in bed. The end.

The weather is finally getting a little warmer and sunnier so I’m hoping to get out more next week.

How are ya’ll faring? Warming up?

An ode to my yoga mat

day 1

 

Every morning at 5:15, my alarm goes off.

Shilo sticks his big shnoz head under my blanket and gives me kisses, saying good morning. I smile because as far as wake ups go, it’s a pretty good one.

hi there

Shilo says herro.

I get up and on most mornings throw on some running pants or sweats and stumble downstairs, four dogs lumbering behind me. Because of Iceapocalypse, lately I’ve also added a pair of leggings under neath the pants and a long sleeve shirt over a tee shirt but regardless, we all head downstairs where I don a hat, coat and gloves before letting the dogs outside.

Leashes come on. Walks are had. Keely resists getting the leash on because she is not a morning dog and would rather go back to bed. But walk they must so out into the cold we go. The streets in my neighborhood are dark except at corners where street lamps cast a circle of yellow on the pavement.

I get back, get them some water and myself some too. Then I go into the kitchen and grab my yoga mat. I have no fancy yoga room, no peaceful space with buddha statues to spread out in. My mat goes on the tile floor next to our kitchen table that is currently cluttered some plants we brought in doors for the winter and running crap-a bottle of Jason’s, a headlamp of mine.

I sit. I breathe. My body lifts into the movements that have become second nature for me.

I lift my head. Inhale. Fall forward. Exhale. Jump back and lower down. Then push up. Stretch in downdog and then look forward. Inhale. Move my feet up to meet my hands. Exhale.

Often I come to the mat cranky or still tired. Often I think about just going back to bed instead. But it’s the mat I go to, at least five days a week.

My heart rate increases and my muscles warm up. My body sinks into the poses I’ve done a million times, thanking me for doing them a million and one.

When the poses are finished with a reclining gentle twist (sidenote: this post helps with…uh…elimination, shall we say. You’re welcome), I sit up again, close my eyes and start to breathe. Just breathe. Silently, I say mantras to myself, whatever I happen to need at the moment. A couple more beats of silence. Then I open my eyes and the day tilts and settles.

It’s only ten or fifteen minutes. I don’t achieve nirvana. I don’t come up with answers. But those few minutes changes my world.

I can’t really explain what it is about yoga that is so transformative and really, I have stopped trying to. I think there should still be some mystery around this practice, something sacred.

All I know is that the person that gets off the mat is not the same one that sat down on it. As much as running has taken over my life, yoga is still the baseline for me. It is the foundation on which I can build anything else. My mat becomes another world, one where I am my most authentic. Yoga is me at my best and my worst. Yoga is the place of no judgement, just breath. Yoga is me open and vulnerable, it is also me at my strongest.

It is my sanctuary.

Do you do yoga? If you are a runner, do you find that it helps?

Lessons in running

honoring the old, welcoming the new

honoring the old, welcoming the new

Well, it’s finally time to retire my first pair of trail shoes (she sniffs, a little misty-eyed). Those shoes carried me down my first trail, they have been my mode of transportation as I fell in love with trail running. They SMELL.

As it’s time to hang them up and slide into a new pair, I find myself looking back at what I’ve learned about myself as a runner so far.

Here’s what I know:

1. I am always hungry. If you and I are talking, unless I am actively shoveling food into my mouth at the time, you can be fairly sure I’m thinking about my next meal instead of what you are saying to me. Sorry. I don’t think this would necessarily be the case if I was not actively adding mileage every week but as it stands, I can’t concentrate because tacos.

2. I am also always cold. I don’t know if it’s because I am out in the balmy Texas heat more so then I usually would be (Side note: for those of you that don’t get to experience the joy of a Texas summer and think that being out in the heat is the norm, you couldn’t be more wrong. We deal with the heat by running from our car to the door and spending as little time as possible out in it.) so by contrast, the usual air conditioned temperatures inside feel much cooler to me. But if I’m not eating, I tend to be shivering and in layers of clothing more suited for a brisk stroll in January. Sometimes I shiver while I eat.

Basically I’m a hobbit.

second breakfast

Elevensies? Luncheon? Dinner?

3. I spend a lot of time in the shower.

4. And washing load after load of truly gross, sweaty running clothes. I worry that I alone am responsible for water shortages in parts of the world.

5. I have lost all perspective. Ninety-five degrees means a ‘nice’ run. 5 miles is an ‘easy run’. I look forward to running at lunch so that I can ‘heat train’. This is so out of the norm for me that I assume the aliens will be coming back to remove their brain implant any day now. Please tell my mother I love her.

6. I never thought something that could be so hard, so challenging, so tiring could be something that I love so much. Something I’ll give up sleep for, something important enough that I’ll happily forego a night out or a glass of wine. Something that kicks my ass and gives me peace at the same time. Something that has me always trying to improve yet bolsters my confidence.

And I know this is just the start. I am a baby runner. I have so much more to learn, to uncover, explore.

But right now I have to go find some food.