Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Renegade Coyote

Last week was a pretty great training week. I hit all my workouts hard and I had a lot of fun.

The numbers:
Riding: 121 miles
Running: 32 miles
Weight Training: 5 hours

Plus some walking and stretching and foot exercises for 21+ hours. Whew, I'm tired just thinking about that. I need a nap!

I had to push my Thursday run to Friday because of some major DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) from Tuesday night's leg workout with Phil. It was a killer butt & leg workout but I really needed it. We've found that my left leg is a lot weaker than the right leg so we are working to balance the two. The plus side of killer leg workouts is less soreness after long runs, like Sunday's 14 miler. Score!

In other news...

Look...it's me running! LOL, not really. I don't run barefoot (though I should try to go more minimal again). No, I feel free because I shed even more toxic waste from my life. And I've gone renegade coyote. I'm on my own now. I thought I would feel sad about it but surprisingly, I'm not. I feel free and like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I was talking to a Twitter friend this weekend about training and stress and how it can affect us. When your mind is heavy, it affects all areas of your life - training, sleep, health, and eating (for me). Shed the toxicity if you can people! It's not always easy, but it is worth it. Your shoulders and your mind will thank you for it.

Oh...part of feeling lighter is because I lost another 4.6 pounds! Woo! I am now no longer Moderately Obese (per BMI). Now I'm just overweight. :-/ LOL. Still not good, eh? I am at 183.4 lbs and need to lose another 16ish lbs to be considered "normal". Normal is boring, right? Right.

BUT...being normal when it comes to weight is MUCH better than being overweight. Because overweight means your chances of cancer increase. I'm already at an increased risk for breast cancer because of having ovarian cancer. I don't need to up that risk and that's why I'm so determined and focused to lose the weight I gained the past year.

The side benefit is that I'm able to fit into my old clothes again! The size 10s are fitting again! Hello cute skirts (both running and work) and dresses! Oh, how I've missed you. :)

This week is another killer week and I'm running a 10K on Sunday but then I get a rest week. I'm really looking forward to it. Rest is good. I have to keep reminding myself of that.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 8, 2014

I Hate You...and Ovarian Cancer Too!

"I hate you!"

I never thought I would be happy to hear those words but they made me smile. Because they were said to me by a coworker and were immediately followed by:

"You've lost so much weight!"

Woo!

I haven't actually. I've lost 26 pounds since I started focusing on it. Which doesn't FEEL like a lot because I still have 38 that I want to lose. But I have lost inches and started to tone up thanks to Phil The Masochist. :) And people have been noticing, like my coworker and one of the girls at 24 HR and one of the girls at Fleet Feet. That makes me feel good and makes me want to work out even harder. I do much better with positive reinforcement like this.

So, let's see...last week's workouts:

Running - 30.3 miles (5 runs - 12, 5.3 (2 miles at tempo), 2.5, 6.2 (8x100s), and 4.3)
Riding - 122 miles (1 fun ride, 4 bike commutes, 1 fun trip to the gym).
Weights - 5 hours in the gym

I also did a little bit of walking. I try to take a 15-20 minute walk during lunch every day except Wednesday when I go to the gym at lunch.

I would say that training is going pretty well. I am still too slow for my liking on the run but am working on that. I am less sore and feel less tired after the long runs now. My foot is doing great and my legs have a lot less DOMS after the longer runs. I ran 13.1 yesterday and though the heat got to me at the end, I felt pretty good during it.

So now that the training stuff is out of the way...

Hey, did you know this month is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month? Friday was Wear Teal Day and I wore a shirt I bought and also made a headband to help control my crazy curly hair. :)

I have been doing a lot of thinking about this past year and how ironic it is that I found out I had ovarian cancer on Sept 30th last year. I knew nothing about ovarian cancer then. I guess I had my head stuck in the sand because I HAD the symptoms for it. I just didn't know that's what they were symptoms for. I think I kinda sorta maybe didn't want to know. But it is WAY better to catch ovarian cancer early. The survival rate is much better in the early stages. Ovarian cancer can be deadly when caught late.
I think the problem is that most of these symptoms happen to women throughout their lives. The key is that if you are having them at the same time and they are persistent for more than 2 weeks, they may indicate a problem and you should talk to your doctor about it. And it doesn't just strike older women either, though the majority of the women seem to be in their 60s and up. But I was 45 and I have talked to women in their 30s with it. And sadly, I have seen women in their teens and 20s who have gone through this on the message boards. So don't mess around! And please make sure all the women in your life are aware of it. The older generation especially.
 
Lastly, I would like to thank my friends Donna (@runslikephoebe), Josh (@bayou), Dallas (@smithbend), and M (@readeatwriterun) who wore teal on Friday to support me and all the other women affected by ovarian cancer. Oh, and my niece Maddie! You all rock!

Remember...TEAL - Take Early Action & Live! Let's do what we can to help defeat Ovarian Cancer's reign of badness on women! Cancer sucks!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Leading Ladies Half Marathon Recap

One year ago, I was having an ultrasound done to determine what the bump in my stomach was. I remember how scared I was about what the ultrasound would find. I had no clue then what the next year would have in store for me but let me tell you, the six weeks between that ultrasound and the surgery that removed what we found out was a cancerous ovarian tumor were hell. People would sometimes tell me that I looked terrified at the start of a race and sometimes I was a little - when I was about to race a new distance or a difficult trail race. But not anymore! Racing is easy compared to cancer. Never again will I be afraid to race. As a friend reminded me last month "It's just a race." Whatever happens, happens. If it doesn't go well, it's not the end of the world. So I was pretty relaxed for this weekend's adventures. Maybe too relaxed.

Yesterday, I ran the Leading Ladies Half Marathon. I'd originally signed up for the marathon but fatigue and foot issues derailed my training and I asked if I could drop to the Half. I'd run the marathon there a couple of years ago and thought it would be a good one to come back with. It's pretty small, only for women, and really beautiful. I also didn't get to see a lot the last time I was there so wanted to go back.

Because my kitten, Jenks, is still pretty young, I didn't take the long weekend I'd originally planned and just did a quick Saturday/Sunday trip. So I packed A LOT into Saturday. My flight arrived at noon on Saturday and I immediately headed over to the race expo to check in. Picked up the beautiful bib and cool shirt and the chip and then headed out to do some exploring.

First, I went to the Spirit of the Wild Sanctuary. It's an animal sanctuary for lions, tigers, bears, and other wild creatures who were in captivity or as pets but not able to be taken care of anymore. I took the tour which took about 2 hours and was pretty cool. I even saw a coyote cousin there. You should have heard one of the mountain lions screaming. Gave me chills. But then there was this cutie in a tree. Almost makes you want to hug him. Almost. 

After that, I drove to Devil's Tower National Monument. If you've seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind, you've seen Devil's Tower. It is amazing and weird! It's also pretty popular with climbers.

I did the short 1.3 mile hike that goes around the tower. It was beautiful and I got to watch some climbers for a while. I didn't see any aliens though. As I was driving out of the park, I stopped to take photos and one of the stops had a large field across from it filled with prairie dogs! They were cute and fun to watch.

Then I drove back to Spearfish to check into my hotel, stopping once to watch the sunset for a bit. I tried going to sleep but tossed and turned all night. I'm not sure why. I wasn't nervous.

I got up at 3 on Sunday and got ready to head over to the park to take the bus at 4:30. It was cool but not too cold. I got to talk to some women while we waited for the start and I met a woman who knew me from my blog. So wild! We were supposed to start at 6 but didn't start until about 6:25. I hadn't had breakfast except a Lara bar and then a gel about 15 minutes before the start.

Finally we were off! I tried to hold back because I was planning a 2:45 finish but felt good and ran a faster pace than I'd planned pretty much until mile 9. I only stopped once to take a pic of Bridal Veil Falls (which I missed the last time because you had to cross the road and go out on a deck). I tried taking pics as I ran but only 1 came out. I guess I need to practice that. Hmmm...

I had another gel with me but ended up not taking it because my stomach was unhappy starting about mile 9. I walked thru 2 aid stations to grab some pretzels to see if it would help and it did a little. I never really found my pace again so the brief glimpse I had of a 2:30 finish faded away. But besides those 2 aid stations, I didn't walk at all which I am very proud of. The unhappy stomach and my legs being sore were voting for walking and settling for 2:45 but I outvoted them! I distracted myself from them by trying to remember how many races I'd done that were a half marathon or longer (53 including this one) and just counting steps. I finished strong and was really happy to see I made it in before 2:35. :) They gave me my medal, a rose, and a warm, lemon scented towel and then I headed over to the pizza cookies which were just as yummy as I remembered.


Then I headed back to the hotel to shower and pack for my flight home. It was a SHORT but sweet trip!

I probably could have done a few things better. Like having a good dinner the night before and not doing all that walking with the running thru airports, tour, and hike. I could have also had a real breakfast. And remembered to bring salt pills. Oh, and I didn't taper. I really thought I would be doing some walking so hadn't done the usual pre-race rituals. Next time, I'll be better about it!

But maybe I wouldn't be better about it. I would hate to have missed the sanctuary or Devil's Tower. I mean, that's the whole reason I race...to see new places and explore this incredibly strange and wondrous planet we live on. So I wouldn't change that part. But the nutrition part and the tapering...yeah, that I have to work on.

One final thought...I definitely do need to lose more weight and get stronger all around because my legs and back were pretty sore after. If I'm going to run hard, I better make sure my body can handle it.

I still have a lot of work to do!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Rest is a 4 Letter Word

Last week was a really good week. I am not feeling exhausted from my work outs anymore though I still fall asleep early sometimes. Sadly, I didn't lose any weight but I feel like I lost inches. I guess I should measure that.

Last week's training:

Running - 24.4 miles
Cycling - 123 miles
Weights - 3.5 hours
Rowing/Walking - 1.75 hours
Total Hours - 19.75

I have my first half marathon in a year this Sunday. This should be a rest week but I'm not really resting that much. Oops. I should. I know. Maybe I will.

I should have taken it easy on Sunday too but I didn't. I ended up buying some Hoka One One Cliftons on Saturday and wanted to give them a good test run so I can wear them next week. I ended up running 11 miles in them. The best part was that I did it at 12:07 pace! That's 1:11 per mile faster than last weeks 10 miler. Woo!

I am less tired and sore after too. In fact, I ended up going to the gym after lunch with my family to do some rowing and then a leg workout. I did a pull workout on Saturday. Leg days and Pull days are fun. Push days...not so much! Ha! Phil tried to get me to do push ups on Thursday and it did not happen. I had to do wall push ups. But I will work up to doing real pushups!

So anyway, I'm going to South Dakota to do the Leading Ladies Half Marathon on Sunday. It's just a quick trip because I don't want to leave my little cat, Jenks, alone too long. For being so small he sure can get into trouble!
I did the Leading Ladies Marathon a couple of years ago. It's a pretty course and mostly downhill so it should be fun. I am looking forward to it. I'm not sure what time I will do for the Half but I am going to try for 2:45. I think I can do that. I hope.

The last half marathon I did was 1 year ago in Dove Canyon. I ran it in 3:15. I remember feeling so tired and hot and like I was pregnant but I did it. I didn't know at the time that I had a tumor the size of a basketball inside me! Or that I had cancer. I am really glad that wasn't my last Half. It was #26 and Sunday will be #27.

Wish me luck!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Running And Self Worth

"Self-worth comes from one thing - thinking that you are worthy." Wayne Dyer

My training last week:

Running - 21.1 miles (9, 4, 5, 3.1)
Riding - 112 miles
Gym - 4.25 hours
Walking - 1 hour
Training - 18.75 hours

Last week was good. It kind of kicked my butt because I fell asleep at 7:30 on Friday and slept through til 5 am on Saturday morning! I totally could have gone back to sleep but went for an easy 5K instead. That run and the ride to the gym were a little tough because I felt really tired. After the gym though, I felt fabulous.

I posted this on Instagram on Saturday:

The picture on the far left was taken a little over a month ago when I was in Tennessee and the pics on the right were taken on Saturday. I feel different and I'm noticing that my clothes are getting loose so I definitely feel like there has been progress in the 3 weeks I've been working with Phil.

I can also tell when I do medicine ball slams because those are getting easier.

Hey, did you know medicine ball slams are an excellent way of working out anger and frustrations?

Totally works. :) You should try it!

Another way I've been able to tell is running. Yesterday I ran 10 miles in the same time it took me to run 9 miles last week. And I didn't feel so beat up after. Woo! Leading Ladies Half is in 2 weeks and I finally feel like it's not going to be a slogfest. Oh, it's going to be slow. But I am thinking I might be able to do it in under 3 hours. Cross your fingers.

Sooo... one thing I've been thinking about lately is self worth and whether or not it's affected by running. That friend who thinks I'm clueless about ultras and not driven...he also told me he tried to give me self worth and that through running and his circle of friends, I became great and my self worth grew.

I disagreed but he insisted he was right.

You all know I love running, right?

I love being able to move my body. I love being able to get out in nature. I love traveling and seeing new places. I love being able to work out my frustrations through exercise. Running allows me to do all of that. It is my therapy and makes me happy but in no way does running give me self worth.

Period.

End of story.

I have confidence in what my body is capable of doing. Some of that comes from having run ultras and some of that comes from having done century rides as well. It's pretty darn cool to know that if you HAD to, you could run or ride where you need to go without worrying about a car or gas or traffic or whatever. Both running and riding have shown me that I am stubborn and determined and willing to be uncomfortable.

But I already knew those things about myself. They just reinforced it and gave me tangible rewards (medals) for them. I think they have increased my confidence but not my self worth.

Running or being part of a running group does not define me or make me feel worthy. I don't feel special or unique because I lace up running shoes or put on a bike helmet. Maybe I would if I were Shalane or Kara or Lauren? I wonder if they feel self worth because they are runners and have had success? Probably not.

Self worth isn't tied to what you do. It's about who you are and knowing that you are special and have something to offer the world. If, heaven forbid, I was never able to run again, I would be pretty darn cranky but I would not feel less self worth.

I think we forget that sometimes. That running is a hobby. It's not a cure for cancer (and don't I know it!). It's not going to stop war. If things go bad at your next race, it's not the end of the world. It's "just a race". It's just for fun. It doesn't mean you don't care about running and becoming better at it. It just means you have put it into perspective.

At least, that's what I think.

What do you think? Do you feel your self worth has grown because of running?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Time Is The Only True Unit Of Measure

Last week was a very good week. I am feeling much stronger and starting to have more fun on the run. Just 2 weeks with the trainer and I've already lost 10 pounds. I weighed 200.3 this morning. I am so relieved. I really though I wasn't going to be able to lose it. But all it took was more focus and little more work.

Totals for last week:
Running - 21 miles (8.5, 4, 4, 4.5)
Riding - 105 miles
Cross training (walking & rowing) - 1.75 hours
Weights - 3.25 hours
Total - 17.25 hours

I may not be doing that much more but I feel like I'm strong enough now that I can start pushing on the run and the bike. I am still really slow on the run but it's getting better. I also fall asleep sometimes around 8 or 8:30 on tough days. And I can tell when I'm tired because my bike commute is a struggle, especially the "hill". I am incorporating rest days into my week. I will still bike commute on those days but just an hourish round trip. Driving is not an option.

Oh...and weirdly...my eyelashes are falling out again. I may be a little paranoid about that but I am definitely losing them. It makes me wonder if I'm doing too much. I don't think so though. I feel better than I've felt in year. Thank goodness.

I made a Vision Board at Fleet Feet Rancho on Saturday. It was kind of funny because the others were all running related. Which you'd expect. But not mine. :)
 
I put the things on here that I want/need to remember and the goals I have for now: I want to be able to do a pull up. I want to improve my balance. I want to be able to do push ups. I want to learn how to rock climb. I want to be outside more. I need to remember that I have to keep fighting cancer and not let it win. That choosing to go back to a sedentary life would be giving it the ultimate victory. It would be so easy to do that but I'm not going to.


I made a decision to give up my contributions/duties to my running club - Run It Fast recently and I made the announcement over the weekend. I have struggled with this decision for a while but have decided to put myself first and shed some of the things that keep me behind a computer instead of out doing things. I am trying to manage my time better and to spend it on the things I need to do for my health and the things I want to do that make me happy.

The quote at the top is from Lucy, which I saw yesterday. (It was...interesting, I could have waited til it was out on dvd). It did have some interesting concepts/ideas in it. And some good quotes. Like the one above. If it's true, then that makes what we do with our time even more valuable.

Here's another quote from the movie:

"And this is the crucial part of our philosophical reflection we have today: can we therefore conclude that humans are more concerned with "having" than "being"?"

I, for one, would hope that I am more concerned with "being". Or at least I'm trying to get to that point. :)

Have a great week!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Clueless in So Cal

"I'm pretty sure you have no clue what it takes to do what I do and the focus, energy, and attention to detail it takes and consumes."
I had a pretty good first week with my trainer. I was pretty extremely sore some days but already feel stronger and one of my skirts was not so tight today. I weighed 206.4 this morning so I lost 3.6 lbs this past week. Woo!

This was my training last week (Sunday - Saturday):
Running: 16.4 miles (6.2, 3.1, 3.1, 4)
Riding: 116 miles
Cross training: 2 hours (walking & row machine)
Weights: 3.5 hours
Total hours: 17.5 hours

I had a cold this past week which mostly affected my running with a lack of energy but didn't bother the other stuff. And running wasn't too bad really. I was slow but got out there and even hit the trails again on Saturday. I ran my longest run post cancer/chemo on Sunday (8.5 miles - last 1.5 miles was a run/walk) too. I have a half marathon in one month that I'm trying desperately to get ready for. I had actually signed up for the full but asked them if I could drop to the half because I am not ready for prime time.

I don't want to just slog through races anymore like I did when/since I trained for JJ100. I want to race. So I've decided to stop signing up for marathons and ultras until I've regained my strength and speed and lost the weight I gained the past year. In fact, though I have the half next month and I've signed up for a couple others (Avengers and Star Wars Halfs!), I'm going to concentrate on 5Ks and 10Ks for a while and really work on my speed. I've never trained for 5Ks/10Ks before. The PRs I have for those were set during training for marathons. What could I do if I focused on them?

I told a friend I was going stick to running local 5Ks and 10Ks and they responded with "So quitting running?". I don't see the step back as quitting but I guess it might seem like that to some people. This person also said the quote at the top of this post which was in reference to training for ultras. I was pretty floored when I read it. I was like "Really?" But maybe they were right. I don't know.

I thought I knew what it meant to focus and pour all my energy and attention on something but maybe I don't.

I mean it took me more than a year and half to lose 150 pounds. I thought I was pretty focused on that.

I thought digging myself out of $40,000 in debt in 5 years showed a lot of focus and a lot of energy since I gave up owning a car for 3 years to do it and rode or walked every where.

I pretty much thought going thru chemo showed me what it takes to be focused. I certainly poured all my energy and attention into that so I could work and manage my health. EVERY detail of my life was affected and it took everything I had to continue working. My doctor wanted me to not work during chemo but I didn't have that choice. I had to work or I'd lose my job. So many days I wanted to just curl up in a ball and not deal with anything but I did what I needed to do. Of all that I've done, surviving chemo was the hardest.

Way harder than the longest run I've ever done - Javelina Jundred 100K (it was supposed to be my first 100 miler but I dropped to the 100K). Way harder then the training I did for that.

But I haven't done many ultras so maybe it's different when you do a lot of them. I've only done a few 50Ks, 12HRs, and 1 100K. I don't have a slew of 100 milers or more under my belt. Maybe they take more focus and determination than I have? Maybe I don't have what it takes?

Maybe I won't ever do an ultra again anyway. I don't know at this point. Does that make me a quitter? Does it make me less driven if I don't buy into the "you have to keep running longer and longer races or you are goalless" way of thinking? Am I giving up?

Like I said, I do still intend to run and race. And I definitely have hopes for a sub 4 marathon someday But I choose instead to focus on shorter distances for now. I need to get back to where I was in 2011 before I started training for ultras. That's when I set all the PRs for 5K, 10K, 13.1, and 26.2. 2011 was an awesome year. I want that kind of year again.

I think I'm being smart about my comeback now instead of having my head in the clouds like I did a few months ago. I still have 56ish lbs to lose. I still need to gain back the muscle I lost. I need to rebuild my core that was shredded from the surgery. I need to find my speed! I don't know how long that will take.

What I do KNOW is that I haven't given up and I haven't quit.

And anybody who thinks so can kiss my ass.

Signed,
Clueless In SoCal