Running, Vegan

And the four become one….

This morning was a very special morning for my Lifetime Run group.  Besides doing our group run at the beautiful Town Lake trail, we were joined by 3 other Lifetime Run Clubs;  Lifetime South Austin, San Antonio, and The Rim (also from San Antonio).  This “destination run” had been in the works for about a month and it was a great way to bring so many awesome runners together and enjoy what we do best!

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The big group before

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One of many little groups after!

Everyone who came had a choice of doing 3, 4, 5, 7, or 10 miles.  And even though fall has not quiet made its grand appearance yet, we didn’t let the muggy, warm weather get to us.  As each mileage group fell into place, all of a sudden we weren’t “Northies” or “Southies” anymore, we were just runners.  The little group of 5 mile people who I stayed with consisted of a mix of people from each location.  We all fell into step together and talked amongst ourselves like we had known each other for years.  Asking about who was training for what or expressing the joy of fall promising cooler weather.  Everyone had different goals and stories to share.  And even though we probably all had different abilities, no one was focused on pace.  It was just nice to have people to talk to while taking in what downtown Austin had to offer for us this morning.  It was so exciting making new connections with the leads from other clubs that I have talked to on and off all month.  It was great to finally put faces with Facebook profiles and sweaty hugs (or “air hugs” as one person put it) and pictures were shared by all who came.

This is why I love running with a group.  Inadvertently we all pick each other up and hold each other accountable.  I have not had a run yet, that I haven’t had to walk since coming back from my time off in the summer.  But this morning (pace set aside) I ran the whole 5 miles that I set out to do without stopping once.  I talked with old friends and made new ones along the way.  And at the end of the run, once again we were all united through our crazy love of a sport that only another runner could understand.  I highly recommend joining a running group in your hometown.  Lifetime Fitness offers a great running program (and you don’t have to be a member of the gym to run with us).  All paces and abilities are welcome and no one ever gets left behind!

5 mile run 77 degrees @ 7am

  • Overall time 53:31
  • Average pace 10:42
  • Splits 10:19, 10:19, 11:24, 10:53, 10:35
  • Average cadence 176

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Running, Vegan

Rookie moves

I don’t consider myself a rookie when it comes to running.  I have been running since 2007.  I ran in my very first, paid, chipped, 5k in December of 2007 with my best friend that had been running for many years prior to that.  She gave me some pointers like “don’t wear your bib on the back of your shirt” and “only rookies wear the race shirt during the race”.  I took that advice very seriously and have learned many other tricks of the trade over the years.  One being that, you should never wear anything new for the first time on race day.  I have pretty much always abided by that rule.  Always wearing the well-worn and broken in items to all my races.  No body wants surprises in the form of blisters or chafing on race day!  But there comes a time in everyone’s life when you have to bend the rules a little with the small glimmer of hope that by doing so you could stumble upon something amazing.  Something that you wished you would have done months, even years, ago.

Today I bought new shoes.

I have run in pretty much the same type of shoe (minimalist Vibram Five Fingers) for the past 5 years.  I swore by them.  I put many, many miles on them, ran many races in them.  Ran in the heat, the rain, on the “dreadmill” and even through the mud in them.  But I didn’t remain injury free with them.  I can’t say that it had anything to do with the shoes themselves but shoes really are the only piece of equipment a runner has, so I felt like it was time for a change.  I have been looking for an alternative for sometime now.  I have bought and returned a couple of pairs here and there.  None of them feeling quite right. Nothing to write home to mom about (or the chiropractor) but that all changed today.

In steps the Adidas Ultra Boost 2’s.  Rays of sunlight burst out of the box when I open it. Angelic music plays softly in the background as I lace them up.  And then it happens.  As soon as I take my first steps on these blissful, puffy, creamy, little personal clouds on my feet, I am in heaven!  I have never felt anything like them in my life!  I wasn’t even planning on trying them on in the first place.  I had a list of Brooks brand shoes in my hand that I was planning on interrogating when I set foot out of the house today.

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Women’s Adidas Ultra Boost

I persuaded my running buddy to skip yoga today and come with me to try on shoes.  We were heading off to REI and then from the parking lot we stumbled upon the Texas Running Company (I would link their page here, but it won’t open).  I said to her, “why don’t we go in there first, just for the heck of it?” and she agreed.  The inside looked like any other private running store I had been in.  A wall of running shorts and tops.  Men’s on one side, women’s on the other and on the back wall were the shoes.  I really didn’t have any intention of buying anything from them but as I walked over to the wall of shoes, there they were.  My destiny was staring me right in the face.  They had to be one of the coolest looking shoes on the wall and they passes my flexibility test as I curled back the toe box onto the rest of the shoe.  (A shoe must be super flexible before I will even consider tying it on.  I do not wish to strap stiff-ass pieces of plywood to my feet.)  They also had all three pairs of Brooks that I wanted to try on and plus they had Cindy.  Cindy was a super nice and knowledgeable sales person who helped us.  I explained to her that I had come looking to try on several pairs of Brooks and then had seen the Adidas shoes.  My friend then pointed out that Cindy also had the Adidas shoes on as well.  It was a sign.

Cindy asked me what size I would need (an 8 in running shoes) and then went into the back.  When she came back and informed me that all she had was a 8.5 I was a little disappointed and thought “well there’s a sign that it wasn’t meant to be”.  But since we were there and Cindy went and got them for me, I tried them on and I was sold the very next moment.  They fit like a glove….. for my foot.  The toe box was made of a durable mesh and all my piggies had plenty of room to stretch and wiggle.  They have a memory foam type lining going around the sock-like opening of the shoe and removable insoles as well.  I had come across these shoes online during my search, so I was well aware of the hefty price tag they held ($180) but still asked how much they were.  Cindy said they were more expensive than the Brooks I was looking at.  I low-balled and said “what like $160?” and she responded, “no even more”!  I was literally expecting her to say $200 since it was a local running store but she replied with the already assumed retail price of $180.

I proceeded to run in circle around the store with these magically little angels on my feet (although I felt they should have had some gold plating or something like intercoolers for the price they were).  I kept telling my running buddy how wonderful they felt and within a few minutes all three of us, had the same purple, cotton candy, shoes on our feet (I wished I would have taken a picture of all of our feet but I always think about that stuff later).  We both ran around trying them out while sharing small talk with Cindy.

We told her about the Lifetime Running group we were in and about the races we were signed up for.  Then we proceeded to tell her about how we both have gone to The Tri Doc for our chiropractic needs.  Cindy got all excited and said “wow, Dr. Tuggle is one of the cool guys out there in the field, oh and if you are patients of his, we offer a 10% medical discount for that” (another sign).  I threw my hands up in the air and said “SOLD!” because anytime I feel like I am getting a discount over someone else I know it must be a good deal.

Another little thing that Cindy surprised me with was that the Texas Running Company offers a 30 day “try out” warranty on their shoes.  (The whole reason I was going to go to REI was because of their 1 year “buy it and try it” guarantee.  It is so hard to commit to buying something when you don’t even really know if you will like it past the front doors of the store.)  Cindy explained that as long as you 1) keep the original box and 2) “act like an adult”, meaning don’t go around stomping in the mud, they will take back even worn shoes within 30 days.  Maybe it was the full moon but all the stars had just aligned for me at that moment.  So after being in the store for about an hour I was walking out with my new shoes under my arm.   (Just a FYI, I did try on all three pairs of Brooks but nothing compared to the pair of Adidas shoes.)

Now let’s get back to my intentionally, planned out, rookie move.

I absolutely CANNOT wait to run in my new shoes.  My group is not meeting tomorrow because we have a race on Sunday morning.  So Sunday morning shall be the day that I bless the running track of the Car 2 Go Marathon Relay with my new kicks.  I envision them propelling me forward and into a state of running bliss.  I am willing to take the chance and “break in” new shoes during a race.  It’s really not going to be that bad anyways.  I mean it is a relay and each runner only does a 4.3 mile track.  So even if I wasn’t doing a race, my first run in these shoes would still be between 3-4 miles anyways.  So what the hell!  There’s no time like the present!

I truly hope that these shoes will live up to the higher power in which I have bestowed upon them.  I know they will not make me a “better” runner, but I do hope that they will help to alleviate some of the little aches and pains I have been experiencing in the last couple months.  I can’t wait for the race and to get back to everyone about how everything went from head to toe!

 

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Books, Everyday

You are a Badass

You are a Badass:  How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life by Jen Sincero

  • Self help
  • © 2013
  • 254 pages
  • Personal rating 3.5/5 stars

To be honest I can’t remember where or how I found this book.  It might have been suggested to me based off of other books I had purchased or it may have been cited in another book I read.  I have read a lot of self-help books over the years.  Not because I am a hot mess, but let’s face it, we could all use a little help when it comes to growing into the best known version of ourselves.  Many of us walk around with fear and self-doubt, day in and day out.  Plus I have always been fascinated with the mind and psychology in general.

I think the thing that did grab me most about the book was the title itself.  It made me think, “well this Jen Sincero person talks like someone I could relate to”.  And Jen does a great job of being just that all throughout the book.  She takes the psychology out of self-help and talks to the reader at a level that they will respect, understand and sometimes laugh out loud at.  She refers to the Ego as the “Big Snooze or BS” and spirituality as the “Source Energy”.  Jen does refer to the “Universe” in away that reminds me of the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne but in a rough around the edges sort of way.

Basically we are all in control of our own lives and our own destinies but it is also up to us to get off our asses and get ahold of our subconscious mind because it’s what truly runs the show called our life.  She reminds the reader that we are all human and that as humans we all want to strive to be the best we can be and that what we have learned in our childhoods may not be who we really want to be.  Not that your parents and peers meant you any harm, but that they too were raised and experienced life with unrealistic thoughts full of fear, self-centeredness, and BS.

Jen has the book broken down into 5 parts and each one goes over very important roles and steps that need to take place in order to reach our full, badass, potential.  She explains how we became the way we currently are and how to deal with and defeat fear and self loathing thoughts and actions.  At the beginning of each chapter she has a line or two from a famous person, leader, or guru and she lists what they are known for and how she, herself, perceives them.

Jen provides steps and exercises to learn and practice in everyday life.  She also highlights some of the key ideas to grasp from each chapter.  Here is an example of one of the exercises I found assuming and very easy to grasp:

“Right now, look around wherever you are and count the number of things you see that are red.  Take about a minute and count them all.  Now stop, look back at this page without taking your eyes off of it, and try to think of everything around you that’s yellow.  There’s probably a ton of yellow, but you didn’t see it because you were looking for red.” page 136-137

Jen also reminds the reader, that above anything else that you could read or learn from her book is, to always love yourself.  She closes almost every chapter with that reminder and a little passage that relates back to the chapter you just finished.

I gave the book 3.5 stars because it was one of the better self-help books I have read, but it did go over a lot of the things that I have already read.  I would recommend it to a first time, self-help reader as oppose to someone who has taken any classes, been to any seminars or read a good deal about it before.  It would also be a good read for someone looking for guidance but not in a “fluffy bunny, it’s going to be a bright sunny day” way.

 

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Fitness, Running, Vegan

Not today my friend….

I’ve been up since 4:45am because on Thursday mornings I go to hot vinyasa yoga at the ass crack of dawn.  I don’t have to be at work until after 1pm so this is quite a stretch for me (no pun intended)!  But this class is the best that my gym offers.  They have yoga pretty much around the clock, all day, everyday, but the 5:30am class with yogi Jana, is the best and I deserve the best when it comes to my health and my body.  With that said, I normally go for a run within an hour or so after this class (FYI running after yoga is amazing).  I had every intention to do that today; even talked with my running buddy about it yesterday but sometimes the universe has other plans for us.

Instead of running this morning, I was (before I came to sit down and write this) sitting on my sofa, with a hoodie on and a blanket over my legs enjoying a hot cup of tea and pretending that it wasn’t the balmy 80 degrees it actually was outside.  Our AC goes down to 75 over night and it takes the house awhile to warm up again so I was taking advantage of being able to mentally take myself to a place of chilly bliss.  Now back to the reason that I decided not to run.

I ran on Tuesday night with my group; got in 4.75 miles.  Then on Wednesday I went and did barbell class (so many squats! my poor butt cheeks!).  Throughout the day I had started to notice that my right ankle had a little bit of a tweaky feeling to it but thought I would be ok in the morning.  When I got going this morning I still noticed a small amount of discomfort.  Normally that wouldn’t be to concerning, but I have my first race of the fall/winter season this Sunday and it is a relay with 5 other runners and 5 other groups!  So I made the choice to do something that I normal struggle with, I decided to put on my hoodie, call my friend and cancel our run.  I chose to listen to the universe and it told me to listen to my body.  It would be pointless to push myself through 3 miles today, only to be officially hurt by Sunday.  So instead I am going to take it easy, see how I feel tomorrow, and maybe then get in an easy 3 miles but if not, then I will hold off till Sunday and use what I have for the race.  After all the slogan at The Tri Doc is:  “Race Hard, we’ll fix you on Monday”!  I do plan on starting off the season giving it my all, but I will probably need some fixing shortly after!

I can’t really express how proud of myself I am for listening to my body this morning.  I can be very hard on myself at times (something I’m working on) and feel like a failure or that I am slipping behind if I am “weak” or need to rest.  I am learning that, that kind of negative self talk and fear based thinking will never help me to achieve anything in my life.  As long as I keep moving forward and always remember to put myself and my feelings  first, I will be able to reach any goal I set.

4.75 mile run 91 degrees @ 6pm

  • Overall time 50:51
  • Average pace 10:43
  • Splits 9:37, 10:02, 11:26, 11:31, 11:06
  • Average cadence 174

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Running, Vegan

A whole lot of running going on

I’ve been busy and I’ve been running.  Even though the weather isn’t quite yet where I would like it to be, I have given in and started getting in more and more miles each week.  I will be going on another run tonight with the Lifetime Fitness group (third run in 4 days).  And my best running buddy has been pushing me even though I gripe about it to her, I’m glad she is!  I mean honestly if she calls and wants to go for a run, well then I’m going to go for a run!

I’ve been feeling good hitting the pavement again.  Knock on wood, my body has been feeling pretty good too!  I have been doing a 28 day plank challenge with a group of other people and I think the extra core work has been a big game changer.  Core work is so important for running.  If you are weak there, your whole body can get thrown off track.  I’ve also been doing yoga at least twice a week (more core work).  Physically and mentally I’ve felt better from it.  Some of my best runs are after I do yoga!  On Thursday mornings I do hot vinyasa yoga at 5:30am and then head out for a run afterwards.  Those runs always feel the best.  I’m all warmed up and stretched out with my core active!

I also recently volunteered at a race with the Lifetime Run group.  It was about time that we gave back to the sport we enjoy so much.  There will be more about that soon in a different post!  And with the same group I am running a relay race this weekend.  We have 6 teams total and it should be a lot of fun!  I’m glad to be busy again.  It helps to keep me feeling normal!  And running has always been the best kind of medicine for anything!

Tri Doc fun run with Rouge Running 3.1 miles 75 degree @ 7am

  • Overall time 31:06
  • Average pace 10:01
  • Splits 10:30, 9:58, 9:41
  • Average cadence 178

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Brushy Creek 5 miles 81 degrees @ 9:40am

  • Overall time 51:25
  • Average pace 10:17
  • Splits 9:48, 9:46, 10:40, 10:29, 10:35
  • Average cadence 172

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Fitness, Running, Vegan

Vinyasa, Run, Yin

Thursday I went and did hot vinyasa yoga at 5:30am and then went for a 3 mile run afterwards.  Even at 7am it was still warm and muggy but running after doing yoga feels great and I really need to get my miles up (and my pace down) over the next couple of months.  Friday I went and did a Yin yoga class at 11:15am. Yin yoga is very restorative and meditative practice.  In Yin you start with a 5 minute mediation and then hold a range of poses for about 5 mins each and finish with final relaxation in savasana (or corpse pose).  Many of the poses are deep stretches that you “melt” into during the 5 mins you spend in them.  Being connected with your breath and how your body feels is very important.  You don’t want to get to the most extreme version of any pose too quickly because you will have to hold it for some time.  Slowly and mindfully is the best way to go.

It is a great class to get in after doing a lot of more strenuous activities throughout the week.  Like almost every yoga class I have been too, you end in savasana.  Savasana is said to be one of the hardest poses to connect with.  You literally are supposed to lay on your back with your hands at your side with palms up and your legs out with feet flopping open.  And then you just lay there.  You slow your breathing back to normal and you focus on not being focused on anything at all.  The key is to not think about anything or acknowledge anything.  If you have an itch?  Leave it.  You remember that you have an appointment later on?  Forget it.  Just be still and just be.

Normally I look forward to final relaxation.  I can almost fall asleep in savasana; but not this time.  This time I am twitchy and my leg is bothering me.  I have a very hard time not focusing on it.  Trying not to move but it feels like little jolts of electricity are streaming down my right leg.  It’s driving me nuts!  One, it is very physically uncomfortable when you want to move but shouldn’t and two, it’s very mentally uncomfortable when you want to move but shouldn’t!  It makes my whole practice feel like a waste and at the same time it makes me realize that something must be off in myself.  Your body speaks to you, if you listen.

I don’t feel like I have been stressed necessarily but I also haven’t felt like myself in a while.  Sometimes I think I know what the issue is, and sometimes I have no idea.  I can get very little sleep and of course be tired the next day.  Or I can get too much sleep and yet again feel tired the next day.  I don’t like to sound like a sad sap or Debbie Downer on my blog, but I wish I could figure out what the hell my issue is?!  I’m sure there are other’s of you that feel the same way.  Those who are looking for some type of answer so that you can then take the next step and try to fix whatever is wrong.  Sometimes I feel like I just need to step back, do what is good for me at the time (even if it doesn’t seem to make sense), and wait for the universe to tell me what I really need.  Not to over think every little thing to death and just breath.  Not to have fear; but wonder instead what is next for me?

I can’t wait until the day that I am writing to all of you about how my last half marathon went or how in a year I have discovered so many new things about myself.  But for right now, I just have to be human with you and share my very human experiences, even if they aren’t the most exciting and at times a little sad or anxious.  There has to be balance to everything in the world.  I know I haven’t lost my balance, I’m just on the other side of the scale right now.  Namaste´.

Almost forgot that I ran! 

3.1 miles 79 degrees @ 7am

  • Overall time 32:08
  • Average pace 10:22
  • Splits 10:24, 10:43, 10:06
  • Average cadence 172

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Running, Vegan

3.3 miles and 3M

I went out for a run last Tuesday morning with my best running buddy and our friend and her house guest that was visiting from England.  We were quit the group!  My running buddy just got back two days prior from running three legs in the Hood to Coast relay in Portland, OR.  Our friend hadn’t really run at all in a couple of months and her guest wasn’t used to the Texas morning warmth and humidity.  And to top all that off we went on a hilly route.  The hills were little, but even little hills, can be a big pain.

After our run, I told my running buddy about how our coach said I needed a goal.  Then I told her what my goal was (to run the 3M Half Marathon) and then I persuaded her and our friend to also sign up for 3M as well!  I’d say it was a win all around.

I am actually really excited about having a big goal to shoot for.  I plan on running 3M faster than I did my first half marathon (time for my first was 2:17:11).  I think a goal of 2 hours flat is a realistic one for this, mostly, downhill course.  Training won’t need to start until the end of October, but I am already looking forward to getting more and more miles under my belt.  And I am even more excited to be doing it with a great group of friends.

3.3 mile run 75 degrees @ 8am

  • Total distance 3.33 miles
  • Average pace 10:01
  • Splits 10:12, 9:51, 9:57, 9:27
  • Average cadence 176

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