2013 Wish List

2013 Wish List

  • Run for fun.
  • But also PR in  shorter distances.
  • Not let my husband beat me in a 5K. (One of his goals was to beat me…)
  • Do an unassisted pull-up…for real this year.
  • Eat more natural, less processed foods.
  • Try to learn to cook better…and with more variety. (Key word here is try…)
  • Do more yoga, even if it’s just in my living room. Try hot yoga…try zumba.
  • Make a better effort to write more. Revamp this little blog.
  • Read a few books for pleasure, not for school.
  • Rock my last year of nursing school and graduate with honors!
  • Make a difference…somewhere, somehow.
  • Stress way less (maybe this will solve the gray hair problem). Laugh way more.
  • Last, but most definitely not least, start expanding this little family.

ang

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You’ll Get There, I Promise

I think I’m in the habit of trying to do the impossible…

Or at the very least, what might seem impossible to me.

In the midst of training for Chicago I got an e-mail from The NorthFace Endurance Challenge. I have a soft spot for this race, you see, a weak-in-the-knees adoration for this endurance challenge.

It was my first marathon ever last year.

So, you know it pulled at my little heart strings until I officially registered for a second round. Only this time I decided to go for the even more impossible.

The mini-ultra.

The 50K.

I just added a few more weeks of training after finishing the Chicago Marathon. I was tired, wornout, overwhelmed, scared and nervous…but I was stoked to complete another new challenge.

Come beautiful Saturday morning on November 17th, I had all the same feelings. I was tired, but excited. Overwhelmed but prepared. Nervous but amped. And when the race started I was off again on cloud nine. My feet, one after another, doing what they know best, my eyes on the road ahead, my hot pink fingernails waiting to give me my superpowers when I needed them. I know my mom thought I was crazy when I stayed up late just to paint my nails on race eve, but there was method to my madness. Superpowers, duh.

And I definitely needed them.

There’s no play-by-play for this race recap, just as there wasn’t for Chicago. I think what is happening is that I’m becoming so overwhelmed by emotions that everything seems to happen in a blur. I am so humbled by my running experiences, grateful for my capabilities, and beyond thankful for all the support I’ve received. I remember the race in moments, and these are moments I hope to remember for the rest of my life…

…all the runners lined up at the start, nervously chattering about how it’s “just five more miles.” Me, standing there in the middle of it, smiling like a kid in a candy store.

…reliving all the sites of Kansas City and remembering running the same streets last year and how magnificent I felt when I finished my first marathon. The same hill, the same bridge, the same buildings…they all felt so nostalgic.

…my friends who were running the half marathon catching up with me and giving me words of encouragement. Then watching them as ran ahead, finishing a great race of their own.

…coming to the first aid station that offered sliced oranges. An orange has never been so delicious.

…the stairs. Four flights to be exact. At least they were going down.

…splitting away from the marathon runners and beginning the out and back route that added those no-big-deal five more miles.

…looking down at my pink fingernails and summoning them for some of those superpowers now.

…the smiles, waves, thumbs up, nods, and words of encouragement as the leader 50k-ers passed back along the out and back route. Those small gestures meant oh-so-much.

…seeing my dad at mile eighteen. I knew it was him from half a mile away…pride just beaming out of him.

…wanting to stop around mile twenty. I’ve never wanted to stop so bad. I decided to walk and eat another orange…then dug deep and found some way to keep going.

…seeing my sister. Her voice screeching as she cheered me on. Then seeing her again, driving in her car, yelling out her window. And again.

…coming to terms with the fact that I needed to walk again. So I did. And at the encouragement of one of the wonderful Kansas City Police Department officers, starting to run again.

…striking a conversation with another runner. Come to find out the only race he’d ever ran was a 5K, and here he was running a 50K right next to me. I told him he was doing great, and he admitted that it was only because he knew I’d been behind him for awhile and he didn’t want me to pass him.

…a mile later, passing him.

…walking for a third time up the longest and hardest and steepest hill, probably in the world.

…the feeling of knowing I only had two miles to go. I was actually going to finish this.

…the little girls who were cheering and told me that the finish line was so close.

…coming around the corner…the same corner that I rounded on August 27th, 2011…hearing my sister’s voice again…trying to hold the tears back and myself together long enough the make it a few more yards to the finish line…seeing my dad standing there…hearing the announcer call my name…

…and crossing the finish line after four hours, forty-seven minutes, and thirty-three seconds. Another seemingly impossible task…finished.

If there is one thing I can tell you, it’s that you can really do anything you want to in life.

My heart is so full of pride and gratitude and thankfulness. For everyone who has given me so much support through everything, I can’t thank you enough.

ang

On October Seventh…

…at 4:30 in the morning I jumped out of bed, put two long french braids in my hair, and applied two coats of waterproof mascara.

…at 5:30 in the morning my husband dropped me off somewhere in the middle of downtown Chicago and I nonchalantly followed a group of strangers in running shoes who looked like they knew where they were going. As I walked the sidewalks of Chicago I felt so small between the seemingly never-ending streets of skyscrapers. Butterflies filled my stomach, not because of what I was about to do, but because I was here in this big city for the first time in my life.

…at 7:10 in the morning I nervously waited in line with hundreds of other runners waiting to use the oh-so-delightful porta-potties.

…at 7:20 in the morning I made my way to my corral and held my head way up high for having the privilege to be in corral C. Everyone around me looked like pretty serious runners…and there I was…right there with them. And then I started to tear up (cue praises for waterproof mascara). I looked all around me at the people, the runners, the buildings, the skyscrapers. How lucky was I to get to be right there in the middle of Chicago about to run one of the biggest marathons in the world.

I quickly blinked those tears away. I needed to look serious. Focused. Hard-core. (Because hot pink nails, shorts, headband, and shoelaces emit hard-core, right?)

…at 7:30 in the morning I was off! I was running my third marathon in a beautiful city that I had never seen with my own two eyes before.

And this is where my minute-by-minute memory seems to fail me. It’s hard to put this race recap into coherent words in a time-wise sequence. The entire twenty-six point two miles were quite a blur of events, emotions, thoughts, and googly-eyed smiles.

What I do remember is the hundreds and hundreds of spectators screaming, ringing bells, snapping photos, and cheering us all on…from the very second the race started. At the one mile mark I saw one spectator holding a sign that read Only Twenty-Five More Miles To Go! I remember thinking that he must be a real mean guy. I also remember at one mile my Garmin ticking at eight minutes and five seconds. That’s when any strategy of going out slow, conserving energy, or running smart flew right out the window.

That morning when I was getting ready I had plastered the pace tattoo on my right forearm for a lofty finishing goal time of 3:45. I remember as each of those beginning miles passed coming in thirty seconds…one minute…two minutes under pace for that goal.

I remember crossing over each timing mat, thinking about my friends and family who were keeping track of me. I could picture my dad’s proud smile and my mom’s worried face. I wanted to push on to make them proud. And then I remember PRing my 10K time.

I remember running past Elvis singing on stage.

I remember the spectators that had a table set up with cups, orange juice, and champagne. They had a sign that said Stop For Mimosas. I remember really wanting a mimosa.

I remember beaming when I PRed my half marathon time.

I remember one spectator yelling, “Go braided hair girl!” I remember high fiving a row of little kids. I remember all the signs that read Run (insert name here) Run! and thinking that they were all intended for me. I remember running way too fast, but before I could convince myself to slow down I told myself that this could be my last marathon for awhile so I’d better not run with any regrets.

I remember passing the 3:45 pacing crew. Then, somewhere around mile twenty, I remember them passing me back up. Before I let any negative thoughts enter my mind, I reminded myself that I truly was giving it my all.

I remember my pace faltering, ever-so-slightly during those last five miles. But I also remember the energizing salsa music, the smell of deep-dish pizza, the band blaring Lady Gaga, and all the wonderful volunteers eagerly waiting to give me water. And I remember willing myself to continue on.

I remember thinking of my girlfriend who was also running the race. I remembered her telling me that she sings Little Nemo songs in her head as she runs. “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

Just keep running, just keep running

I remember counting down the last mile. Eight hundred meters. Four hundred meters. I remember that hill, the only hill as I rounded the corner with barely a quarter of a mile left. I remember thinking that it was pure evil. But then I remembered the crowd…the bleachers full of spectators…the fact the my husband was waiting somewhere in the runner meet up area for me.

And I pushed on.

I remember crossing that finish line. My third marathon finish line…on October 7th at 11:23 in the morning. A feeling indescribable. Unworthy of complete sentences.

…and at 11:35 in the morning a nice lady poured my a beer. She said, “Honey, you just ran a marathon and your mascara isn’t even messed up!”

Three hours, forty-eight minutes and thirty-four seconds of heart-filled, gosh darn hard work.

On October 7th, 2012, all the early morning wake-up calls, all the long runs, all the hot pink nail polish and waterproof mascara sure became worth the feeling of 3:48.54.

ang

So Shiny

It’s been over two months since I’ve sat down to write a blog post. My time seems to belong to other things these days…school, little volleyball players, work, my running shoes. However, with the amazing weekend I just had, I’m definitely going to have to make some time to write it all down.

However, right now my thoughts are still somewhere on cloud nine. A finish line has never felt so sweet, a medal has never given me so much pride, and a PR has never been so shiny!

But, you’ll probably have to wait until next week to hear all about it!

ang

I’m Back!

No, I haven’t left town or gone anywhere exciting, not yet at least.

I’m back to the pavement! After several weeks away from running, trying to give my pesky knee some time to heal, and working on increasing my strength (soon-to-come: unassisted pull-up), I’ve finally been able to officially start training for the Chicago Marathon!

I’m a week and a half in, and I’m absolutely loving living by my beautiful, colorful training calendar. Obviously having not run very much the past month, I’m starting out pretty slow with low mileage, but I hope to be working both (speed and miles) up in the very near future. I also want to keep focusing on strength training and incorporate a lot of speed training!

Last night the tall man (a.k.a. husband) and I hit up the track for some speed work. We did several 100 meter sprints, a few 200 meter sprints, then we split up and I continued with an 800 hundred sprint (um, can you call that a sprint?), and my fastest ever mile run…seven minutes and twenty-one seconds.

To some, that might not seem all that fast for just one mile, but when I pressed the lap button on my pretty little Garmin and saw 7:21 flash before my eyes, I was ecstatic! After watching the Olympic track trials on television, witnessing 200 meter times in the 20 second range, and then running my own huff-and-puff-tastic 200s in 43 slow and agonizing seconds, I thought I’d lost any resemblance of speed I might have once had. However, 7:21 is at least 15 seconds off my mile PR, so I guess somewhere in these quads of mine is some super-duper-fastness waiting to get out.

I have to give credit to my precious little dog Tia. We took her to the track with us so she could get some fresh air, and after Matt was finish with his workout he took Tia off her leash to play. I was halfway around the track into the first lap of my mile when I heard some cute little footsteps chasing behind me. After nose-diving in a hole in the grass and flipping three times, little Tia eventually passed me and stayed a few steps ahead of me the rest of the mile.

What a good little pacer she is. 🙂

And what a wonderful husband this guy is…

On Sunday he woke up at 5:00am (a huge accomplishment in itself), drove us an hour to downtown Kansas City, and ran the All Star Game 5K (third race ever) in the crazy midwest heat with me. #proudwife

I think I’m turning us into a cute little family of runners! Maybe. 🙂

 

Wanting and Wishing

My little sister has naturally curly hair. Beautiful curly hair. She has always had this curly hair…quite unruly at times, as evidenced by her third grade school photo in which my fifth grade self attempted to french braid it for the picture day.

She always wished for straight hair.

When I was little I had the straight hair, and wouldn’t you know it, I wished for it to be curly. My hair was long and boring, and all the cool kids had perms. Sure my mom fixed it beautifully everyday, curled bangs with a headache-inducing side ponytail, but I wanted more. This just goes to show that we all wish for the things we don’t have.

But, I’ve learned that it’s important to be careful what you wish for…now in my adult life I have this wavy/curly/straight/frizzy combo hair. Hair that doesn’t go out in public unless a blowdryer and straightener or curling iron has been put to it.

What I wouldn’t give to have my childhood hair back.

A few months ago, near the end of my spring marathon training, I told a friend of mine that I wished it was after my marathon and I could run shorter distances, less mileage, and strength train more. Long runs are hard and time consuming, and marathon training in general takes a toll on a person. I wished for the night I could drink a glass or two of wine and not worry about it hurting my long run the next morning.

And now that I can’t go on that long run…that’s all I want to do!

I vaguely scratched out a training plan for Chicago that started last week. By vaguely scratched out I just mean that I planned my long run schedule for each weekend. This past Saturday has an “8” written in the box.

I didn’t run eight miles. I didn’t run one mile. Girl, be careful what you wish for.

This morning I went out for a short “test” run, and fingers crossed, I think my knee is on the up-and-up. I made it a mile and a half, stopped for thirty minutes of a bootcamp workout in the parking lot with four other lovely ladies, then another mile and a half back home. All pain free.

The moral of the story friends? Be grateful for what you have going on right now. Today. I’m excited for my long training runs to come, but today I enjoyed running short, squatting low, and lunging forward.

And, I guess I’ll be grateful for this pile of frizz I have knotted on top of my head, too.

ang

Scatterbrained

I am pretty scatterbrained as of lately. I go through my day, come across something that sparks an interest, make a mental note to blog about it (or update my status, or tweet, or instagram about it), then I go on to the next thing and forget. I thought I’d have more time come summer, but so far it is proving the opposite.

So, since I don’t set aside enough time in the day to write a thoughtful, inspiring blog post, here goes a post of random things that have sparked my interest over the past few days.

First of all, did I say summertime? It’s summer! Summer is totally, without a doubt, my absolute favorite season…time for some sunshine and smiles. I love summer so much that I feel like I should have had a grand countdown to its arrival.

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I said that I didn’t set aside enough time to write thoughtful posts, but that wasn’t completely true. You see, I’ve reignited my addiction to pinterest, which means that my blog-writing time has turned into searching for pretty (or yummy) things that I want to make, but actually don’t have time to make.

I love pinterest and I love the creativity it opens up in me again, but like I said before, there is still a love/hate aspect to it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to stop repinning cute outfits, yummy looking treats, or ideas for my dream home someday. However, you will never see me repin a “workout for your love handles” or a picture of a skinny girl as inspiration. A place where people with common interests to share their ideas and what inspires them is a great invention! However, some of these pins are degrading and aimed at making you feel bad about yourself.

But, I did repin this little gem…

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Word.

Did you know that I love Demi Lovato? Even if you didn’t know that, you probably could assume I loved her based on my background in eating disorder recovery and what she stands for. What an amazing (and real, might I add) role model to have out their in celebrity-land. Her song Skyscraper…pretty sure I could listen to it over and over forever and not get sick of it.

So, that’s what I’m doing right now. 🙂

Did you see she was on the cover of Cosmo? Love that. You know what I didn’t love, though? As I waited in line to pay for my groceries, I picked up this magazine (because this is pretty much the only place where I get any reading done) to try to flip through to see her article. I had to flip quickly because it was almost my turn in line, and I opened the magazine right to the article How to Get a Bangin’ Body For Summer (or something along those lines).

You know I’m all about fitness. I love being active, I love running, and I love anything that will give me a good workout. I love endorphins. However, I don’t love all these things because I think it will give me a “bangin’ body.” I love these things because they make me feel empowered. Confident.

Come on world. Come on magazine peeps. Let’s write an article How to Love Your Already Bangin’ Body that God Gave You This Summer. If I saw that article advertised in the grocery checkout line…I think I’d actually buy the magazine. (Cosmo…if you need someone to freelance write that article for you…)

So speaking of fitness, after taking a week off I went for a run yesterday.

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But today, these shoes were made for walking instead. Yesterday I felt fine for about two miles…and that’s when I should have stopped. The ol’ knee started acting up during the last two miles. I think it’s getting better, but I need to stay off of it a little bit longer. Better be safe than sorry. I’ve been hitting the weights hard, though, and I’m absolutely loving how strong I feel. If I see you in person I will probably have to show your my new guns. 😉

Did you like that last photo? Yeah, I discovered instagram. Love it. Find me, follow me.

Hey guess what? Joplin called. The hubs and I are going to jumpstart our road trip vacation by volunteering with Rebuild Joplin in July! Totally stoked. I hope I get to make my daddy proud and wear a hard hat.

And on that note, I think I’ll go make another cup of delicious coconut mocha coffee.

ang

Because I Love To Run

Guess what I’m doing on this beautiful day…National Running Day?!

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…not running.

At first I was utterly disappointed about the fact that I am not running today. I love running, and not participating in this wonderful and challenging sport that I love on its own national holiday just doesn’t seem fair.

But yesterday, as the day went on, that little pain in my knee started to go away. This morning when I woke up there was absolutely no evidence of any knee pain.

And for Chicago’s sake (and successful marathon training’s sake and potential PR’s sake), I want to keep it that way!

So instead, I am going to celebrate National Running Day by spending some quality time with some weight machines and dumbbells…so that when it’s time I will be running better than ever!

Today I don’t run because I love to run.

ang

Time For Chicago…Kind Of

This week marks the start of training for marathon number three!

Chicago!

Well, kind of. I’ve printed out blanks calendars from now through October, but I’ve only filled in maybe one fourth of the days. It’s always a tricky little thing deciding how I want to go forward with training…do I want to incorporate hills (ummm…not really, but I should), speedwork (heck yes!), strength, cross training, intervals, yassos, and so on and so on…? And by the time I fill in all the days, I probably will change it around a million and a half more times before October seventh. And then I have to consider how I am going to train while I’m on vacation at the beach in July. Where will I run? Will I want to run (or will I want to happily nurse a Corona hangover every morning instead?!) Do I run on the beach? If so, do I run with shoes on or barefoot? What if I’m running and I step on a seashells and cut my foot?

So many things to consider. Clearly all logical.

And as excited as I am to run Chicago, it still feels like a long time away.   Which, at this point, might be a good thing considering that as soon as my right inner thigh finally stopped hurting (last week!), my right knee is now hurting. Is there a correlation here (the leg bone’s connected to the knee bone…the knee bone’s connected to the shin bone…)? So frustrating.

I’m getting old.

So on top of my obviously logical concerns above regarding a training plan, how do I get started? Do I rest a little longer and postpone training to try to get my knee to stop hurting? Do I push through it like I did last summer and hope the pain goes away like it did last summer? Do I make my husband give me leg massages daily until it heals up? Do I yoga more? Stretch more (duh)? Roll more?

Too many questions and choices and decisions to make. All I want to do is run…and start running faster. And strength train…and start getting stronger.

So for now, that’s what I’m going to try to do.

ang

Better Add Some Down Dog In There

I’ve redecorated my living room…

…with a yoga mat.

I’ve been wanting to get back into yoga for a long time now. However, my yoga mat has been sitting in the backseat of my car never being used for close to a year. Poor little thing. Finally, yesterday, I decided to let it’s pretty pinkness back into my life…in the middle of my living room nevertheless.

So far I’ve only stepped on it a couple of times, only for a few minutes each time…but when I do I choose a pose that I love (i.e. triangle pose!) and it feels so darn good to be doing it. However, since I’m in the pose while watching the blaring television at the same time, I’m not sure you can actually call it yoga.

I’m definitely not a yoga guru, although I pretty much wish I was. Let’s go ahead and add become a certified yoga instructor to the bucket list. I’ve only ever taken a few beginner yoga classes, but I’ve always loved the way yoga makes me feel. The problem is that there are no yoga classes in town (that I am aware of) and I just feel silly doing yoga by myself in my home. Sure I know a few poses and feel great about my technique, but I have no ability to come up with sequences, fluidity, or anything that makes sense. Warrior 1, okay good. Um, next? How about pigeon? Better add some down dog in there.

See. Silliness. No good. (Maybe I should rethink that bucket list thing…)

There are a few things that I do know about yoga, though. Yoga helped me become a runner. I was doing yoga consistently when I was training for my first half marathon. Yoga helped me learn how to control my breathing which helped prepare me for the long distance. Yoga is a good stretch. Obviously. And stretching helps prevent injury. Lastly, yoga is good for the mind and for the heart.

It’s time to go hit up my studio!

ang

P.S. Does anyone have any at-home yoga advice?! Please help!!!