Tuesday, January 28, 2014

So You're Thinking of Eloping...

I started this post a long time ago but never really got through it. So since there's little in the way of training to chat about, let's keep things real...but not too real. Keeping it real can go wrong says Dave Chapelle. Anyway.

I'm sure I mentioned it somewhere along the line but The Colonel and I basically eloped at the end of September. In November, we visited a cool event space where we will hold our one year anniversary party and the coordinator there was fascinated by our story and practically begged me to blog about it. I thought it was weird, but she explained that she comes across a lot of people who, after it's all said and done, tell her they wished they would've done something different. I think it's really sad that people let other people or expectations or norms decide how they live their lives and particularly how they celebrate great life moments.

Here's the deal, if you're thinking about eloping, make sure it's really what you want. A marriage ceremony isn't something you'll ever get back. If it means the world to you to have your family there but the wedding planning process has made them difficult to deal with, talk to them about it. Eloping isn't something you decide to do because you're mad or to punish those who wouldn't let you get your way. I don't know what your reasons are for not wanting a traditional ceremony but here are mine:
  •  I have never loved to be the center of attention.
  • I am not warm and fuzzy. I think it's somewhat clear from how (not) often I mention my married life on here that I'm not comfortable sharing romantic feelings with people. Bleh!
  • I like to do things my way. As soon as I got engaged I was confronted with an insane amount of questions and pressures from people both close to me and those who crawled out of bushes in hopes of getting a free meal. I don't like pressure or stress, I put enough of that on myself. The more people pressured me the quicker I crossed them off the guest list. All I really had to do was man up and say no but that was hard for me because this was such unfamiliar territory.
  • I consulted my soon to be spouse. Hey people, ASK the person you're about to marry what they really want. In my case it was a lot of The Colonel saying he didn't care and for me to do whatever I wanted. But when we got down to it, he hated the planning process because it made me crazy. It ruined the whole reason we were getting married and put too much pressure and stress (which we hate, remember?) on the situation.
  • I don't see getting married as a huge milestone. Staying married is what's worth celebrating to me.
I talked to one or two very close friends about what was going on and got the recommendation to check out a small company called My Tiny Wedding (I don't know how to link to their page from my iPad so just google them). They specialize in, you guessed it, tiny weddings. They were even able to provide witnesses if you really didn't want anyone other than each other there. For pennies of what a "real" wedding can cost we got married at Red River Gorge on an absolutely beautiful Friday evening (sped out there after work) and it was absolutely everything we wanted.

A lot of people asked why we didn't even have family there as witnesses. I'm extremely close to my sister and did consider having her there but there's an unfortunate domino effect that comes from that. She's my witness so then The Colonel needs one from his side right? Well he has 4 siblings. Which one to choose? How do you choose one over the others? And then what about my mom? Oh yeah and him and whoever have been friends since they were kids, he's like a brother. See where the problem comes in? By having no one we eliminated a lot of excess potential drama and managed to piss off everyone instead of just a few. (I kid...sort of)

I think the biggest fear people have when it comes to eloping is upsetting people. Nobody wants to make the people they love mad. But I can tell you this, I had plenty of people who were not happy with me and have a few who still aren't. The people who really love me don't care one bit. They know that I'm happy and when you love and care about someone that's all you should want for them. My mom was a tough sell at first but like any great mother she saw me happy and that's all she wanted. 

So, if you really are thinking about eloping, really really think about if it's what you want. You don't get tradition and that's hard for a lot of people to swallow. But keep in mind you can always do things your own way. We are doing a faux wedding/anniversary thing this September and the pressure is off because we've already gotten what we wanted. We requested no gifts but I've had plenty of people ask to give us stuff anyway. We declined, we really don't want anything but you can do whatever you'd like. Some people elope and send marriage announcements which can produce gifts. Do whatever you and your partner want to do and for once, be selfish and unapologetic. Don't be an asshole, but be confident and comfortable standing up for what you both want. When I got engaged people said it was my wedding and I quickly learned it had nothing to do with the bride and groom. That was my experience for several reasons, it very well may not be yours.

Whatever you decide to do, do it for the sake of you, your partner and your relationship. Don't regret what should be a great moment in your life.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Updates and Becoming a Minimalist


There's not much going on these days since I'm not training excessively for a monumental event but I've got to admit I'm really enjoying it. Since I only retired from racing, not running I went out with Autumn for about 6 miles on Sunday morning. It was stupid. Dark, cold, windy and snowy/icy. We called it a trail run since we had to do so much navigating over terrain to not totally face plant. In my attempt to become a minimalist I didn't wear my Garmin. I still wanted to know what I'd done after the fact so I synced it up and zipped it into a pocket where I couldn't see it. When we were done running, I pulled it out, hit stop, and didn't even jog in small circles for 2 minutes to get the mileage to a more even number.

That's a big deal guys!

As far as becoming a minimalist (and I use this term very loosely) I'm really just getting rid of a couple of things, and maybe not even entirely. First to go was the scale. It's been about a week now since I've weighed myself and because I'm apparently an addict it's surprisingly difficult to not run into the kitchen and hop on every few minutes. BUT I have been able to resist so far and if I just look at my pants and in mirrors I'm doing a much better job of recognizing progress. After my burger and fries Sunday night while watching football I was definitely "puffy" but I didn't let that send me into a tailspin. I used to have a bad habit of weighing myself before and sometimes during after meals to "assess the damage" which is completely insane and unreasonable but it usually had the intended effect for a few minutes of me hating myself and vowing never to eat (either a certain food or just in general) again. This time I ate because I wanted to and because it was delicious. Then I went home and was admittedly anxious like any addict who has their vice removed but I made it through the rest of the night off the scale and I think I may have broken a plateau. I'm not ready to completely throw the scale away, particularly because The Colonel has a boxing match coming up and actually needs to know his weight, but I'm to a point where I can look at it and not get on which is huge.

Next on the list is the Garmin. Like I said, I do still want to know what I did at the end of the day but I'm not going to stare at my watch and base the success of a run on milesplits and average paces. I'm trying to learn to truly listen to my body. Run based on how I feel, for as long as I feel like and ultimately get to a point where I don't need a watch at all and I can say, oh I ran for 2 hours so that was about 12 miles. (I wish I could run 12 in 2...) Not being able to see my watch took a lot of pressure off of the run and made it a lot more fun. I think it also helped me not to push my leg too hard. 6 miles is the longest I've run outside since October and 2 days later I'm still painfree (as far as the stress fracture). I think a big part of me remaining injury free over the next year will be learning to hear what my body is saying.

And finally, for now, I've ditched the training plan. What use is a training plan when there's no race, right? So this was an easy one to let go of. Included is also letting go somewhat of tracking my exercise. I like being able to do what I want. Sunday, I went for a kind of random run. Sunday night I ate a bad (health wise) dinner then came home and did some thrown together yoga while watching more football. Monday morning I went to my first TRX bootcamp (and paid dearly for aforementioned bad dinner) with the great Ami aka Fit With Flash and it was hard and amazing. I didn't worry about being too sore to complete some other mandatory workout. I didn't worry about how I would make time for another hour of exercise on top of the other 2 hours rigidly inserted into my day. I just did it. And it was great.

I'm on DailyMile as you know and I love keeping up with my friends on there, I just don't care to keep up with what I'm doing. I used to be driven by getting that email saying what a "stellar training week" I had and compiling my mileage and times into colorful little blurbs I could smile over. In addition to listening to my body, I'm trying to also become my own motivation. It's something I've struggled with my entire life. Being unable to see any worth in myself is what has led me and sometimes continues to lead me up and down my rollercoasters of depression, anxiety and eating problems. So maybe, just maybe, if I try to be more introspective I can at least extend the time between flare ups. I don't know that those things will ever go away or that I'll "recover" from my issues but if I can learn to cope and control my reactions to circumstances better I think everything will be better.

So that's what's going on around here. A lot of thinking. A lot of fru fru holistic craziness. Introspection, sage burning, essential oils, etc. etc. I'm still enjoying my job and my coworkers and still studying for what's going to be a much  more difficult certification exam than I was anticipating and things are going well.

And a note about the weather since apparently that's the trend these days. I think I'm the only person who isn't fussing over it. I've always liked winter unlike the rest of the world and I think this is the most normal winter Louisville's ever seen which would explain why the lifers don't quite like it. It's been cold since December and snows every couple of weeks. I'm pretty sure that's what winter does. Maybe being so cold and snowy will make me complain less when it's hot and humid in a few months?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I'm Retired

So it's official friends. I'm retiring from the great world of racing. Kind of. I mean, if I see a race I really want to do, I'll maybe do it. But for now even looking at races for next year is uninteresting to me. 

I spoke to some of my very trusted sources and they all agree - throw the deuce and do yo thang. They may or may not have used those exact words.

What is interesting is after I emailed my coach and the wonderful folks at Ironman I was really expecting to feel some hint of sadness. I also kind of wanted to ride my bike and watch Shahs of Sunset (the first show I ever watched on a bike trainer). But the reality was that I felt completely at peace. Some of my stress lifted and I just felt happy. Suddenly I could run or bike or swim or lift or yoga whenever I wanted. No calendar with little colors and fields to dictate what I have to do and when. And as a bonus, I don't have to eat quite so much quite so often. Hallelujah. 

You could probably call me a quitter if you wanted. I did technically quit. But that wouldn't be very nice of you, I also wouldn't care. If I've learned anything from losing weight, training and racing it's that if you don't want to do it, you won't do it and you damn sure won't do it well. The last 3 days I trained were garbage miles because I just didn't put anything into it. So why bother right?

A friend of mine from the Tri club has also been having some issues with injury so the two of us are going to get together for some strength and flexibility sessions so that when we one day train again we won't be all banged up for once.

I'm also well on my way to becoming a minimalist with my latest action, trashing the scale. More on that later.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Crossroads, Zen Running and Early Retirement

I'm at a big crossroads.

I've been debating writing about this because I tried to talk about it a few times and don't think I explained it well. Then I tried to post in a few Facebook groups I'm in and I still didn't feel like people got it. So I'm still not sure that I can get the words right to explain it, but why not pose the dilemma to the rest of the internet and of course, you guys since you all know me so well.

In the first Spirit of the Marathon movie (if you haven't seen it...I'm not sure we can be friends) Lori talks about the mystery of "zen runners" and how they can just run along with no watches, no paces or splits and just happily be at one with the world.

Years ago I started with a zen runner attitude. I wore gym shorts and cotton tshirts, ran on the treadmill, sometimes with my ipod and called it a day. It was fun, it was no pressure, I just did my thing when I felt like it and that still turned out to be at least 3 days a week. Then I got the idea to start racing and that was FUN. Racing gave me this surge of energy and adrenaline plus a tshirt and sometimes a medal! What's not to like?

First 5k...All cotton
Two things I think are obvious about me are that I'm goal oriented and I struggle with my self esteem. To combat my self esteem issues I set goals and reach them to make me feel better about myself. The downside of that is when I don't reach the goal or at least not in the way I arbitrarily decide the goal should be reached it destroys my self esteem. Being goal oriented is a good thing but not hitting one goal shouldn't eliminate past goals that had been reached.

Why do I say all of this?

I used to really need racing. If I have a race on the calendar, train for it and finish it then I am worth it. I'm good enough. My life is worth living. (Yes, it's been that serious for me) In all areas of my life, not just fitness, I've been a goal setter and unfortunately those personal and professional goals I'd set for myself either didn't happen or took a really long time to happen. Enter my racing obsession. I could distract myself from not needing to buy fancy business suits for important meetings by buying the highest quality shorts, tights and tech tees. I wasn't decorating my office so why not decorate my arm with a fancy, huge, wrist eating watch? I didn't get that great job I applied for but I managed to hold that 9:33 mile pace for much longer than I thought! I did really badly on that LSAT and may not get into law school...but I killed my first half marathon!

Point being, I needed racing to tell me I was good enough. But I don't need that external validation anymore and that is such a relief for me! I have a career I absolutely love and am pretty good at although there's still a lot to learn. I have a relationship that is reliable and everything I didn't even know I wanted. For once I'm not stressing about bills because I can pay for them. I got my tooth issue handled because I had insurance and didn't need to break the bank. I'm so happy with so many things that I'm ready to remove all the extra clutter from my life and go back to being zen. I hate using heart rate monitors, I actually run faster when I don't know my pace or distance but I don't miss my cotton tshirts.

All synthetic!
This is my crossroads. I've lost the need to do big races. I want to do many more marathons. I want to do an ultra. I want to do a half and full Ironman. But I don't know that I want those things right now. Training has become a chore, it's become work I don't particularly want to do. It has nothing to do with motivation because I still want to do yoga, weights, swim and run. I just want to do it all on my terms. It has nothing to do with how hard or inconvenient training is. It has to do with being happy and doing what I like and right now I'm not sure I like intense training. Looking at my bike kind of makes me cringe. Dressing up in a heart rate monitor seems excessive. I have some issues I still need to work out for myself. My caloric intake is improving but it's still way too low for the amount of exercise I'm doing and I see that gap only growing in the near future. My stress fracture is better but not entirely healed and I fear doing more damage to it. I'm studying for my personal training certification and have hardly been able to find the time to crack the book open.

Maybe it's time for me to focus on living a little and having exercise as a supplement. Or maybe I'm just having a bad day.


Sunday, January 12, 2014


Last night was an interesting one. I had dinner and was having a really hard time chewing because one of my teeth had been giving me trouble for a day or two.

Of course I was eating pizza so I went ahead and chewed anyway.

But then it kept hurting and I noticed it was sort of swollen too. So I got online and after ruling out the usual culprits of mouth cancer and the zombie gene I decided it was surely an abscess and infection had entered my bloodstream so I was close to death.

I called the dentist and after a few X-rays, some cash money and a brief panic attack I was in the chair about to get an impacted wisdom tooth pulled out.

The Colonel came back with me and I launched into these crazy nervous convulsions but managed to keep my head still somehow. No need to go into further gruesome detail.

So now I'm all drugged and toothless and I get to take all day today to lay around and recover.

The worst part? I'm not allowed to eat any raw veggies for a few days. 

I want carrots.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Beginnings

What a day!

I'm a creature of habit. Not sure if you know that. But as a creature of habit I try to avoid change entirely or at least make changes very slowly as not to get overwhelmed. Unfortunately that didn't quite work with the new job plus training for a new race.

I started full time at my new job on the 1st and so far it's been pretty great! There's a LOT to learn but I'm hanging in there and luckily since it's interesting I'm retaining info pretty well. The trouble is adjusting to the new schedule. For starters, I don't work the same hours everyday. I also don't have the two days in a row off over the weekend anymore and start my days much later than I'm used to. I'm definitely not complaining about being able to move 5am workouts to 7am but it does take some adjusting.

Speaking of workouts, I'm doing a lot of them. My new coach has got me going 6 days a week and the distances are a lot more than I've been used to. Over the past week I've completed my longest swim ever (2100 yards) and spent more time on my bike than I have since I've had it. (I kid...but it's still been a lot of time). I went a little too much too soon on my leg I think and it started talking to me. As not to break it again I'm once again confined to the pool for the aqua jogging Olympics until next month. It's really not so bad with just a few people around. My pool plays the radio and when I have some sprints thrown in it helps the time pass.

Ask me how I feel about aqua jogging after I do it for an hour tomorrow.

Otherwise, everything is going well. I'm just trying to adjust to a totally different schedule and work environment and balancing it with a not as intense as it will be training schedule. I'm also spending a lot of time preparing and situating food so that I don't find myself hangry. I'm already hungrier than normal and it'll just get worse. But this time I'll be prepared!

So what about you? How has 2014 treated you so far?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hangover Classic 5K Race Recap

Happy New Year!

I know I'm a bit behind but I feel like you can get away with a Happy New Year for at least a week. I worked my last day at my desk job on New Year's Eve then did a quick workout and was in bed by 10:30. My kinda night.

New Year's Day I ran the Hangover Classic 5k. I was dying to run the 10 miler and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed to be doing the 5k BUT a race is a race and after having not even run let alone race since the marathon in October I was just happy to be there. January also marked the start of Ironman 70.3 training and my coach specifically put in the notes for this workout to "take it easy!" He also told me I was wise to not do the 10 miler.

Autumn was volunteering with her friends from church who were the race organizers so I recruited her to look after my bag (since I had to change clothes for work after the race) and take pictures. It was a perfect day for a run and I was surprisingly nervous considering my last race was about 5 hours longer than this one would *hopefully* be. It wasn't a big race so I started towards the back instead of in the middle and recognized a lot of people there including one of my new coworkers.

I started off feeling great and saw I was at a 10:14. I eased off a bit but not too much because I was feeling good. The course was pretty and decently flat for the 5k so I was able to keep a really steady pace throughout. I also passed a fair number of people which always makes a gal feel good. I didn't use my interval method I used for the marathon so it was the first time in a long while I ran for 30 minutes straight aside from the few steps around a big sheet of ice. I felt great throughout and even had a little sprint left to pass 2 more people at the finish.

And ta-da! First race post-stress fracture and first race of the year in the books. I managed a 32:20 which isn't half bad for me and didn't have any pain in my leg at all! It's so exciting to be running again and I think 2014 is off to an amazing start!