Everyday

Turn turn turn

Fall, the autumn equinox.  The changing of the seasons.  I’ve had some major changes occur as I have watched a year of seasons go by. Sometimes change can be difficult to deal with.  Sometimes it can be a time to rejoice, but it is inevitable and no matter what we have to remember to keep moving forward.

Last winter marked a time of loss and of letting go for me.  I lost, what I thought was, my “dream job” and it was very devastating.  It made winter feel very sad, quiet, and depressing at times.  I mean what was I going to do now?  I had planned on making some changes in my life at the beginning of the year, but that was all under my own control.  With this happening the way it did, I felt a complete lack of control which became very hard to deal with.  This change, this ending of a season of my life, filled me with feelings of uncertainty, anger, fear, grief, and sadness.  It was hard for me to see any of the good that would come from it.

For the first time in my marriage I really had to let my husband take the wheel and be our sole provider.  We were not destitute by any means but I felt a little less value in myself because I was not giving back to our family.  He reassured me over and over that it would be fine and that all he wanted from me was to take some much-needed time off and to do the things that I loved.  That was hard at first.  I mean the things that I loved were not going to pay our bills or put food in our mouths.  I was very out of my comfort zone.  Plus there were days that I had a very hard time getting over the anger and sadness inside of me.

Winter changed to spring and spring brought a glimmer of new beginnings as I started to rediscover myself.  I have always enjoyed writing and recently had discovered a pull towards photography as well.  I have had this blog on and off for years but never really had the time to commit myself to it.  So I dove into writing almost immediately. I made sure to write almost every day.  I joined a “No Spend” challenge and had shared my progress, which helped to hold me accountable for writing something everyday.  I also found myself writing about my feelings and my running and my choice to be vegan.

When I opened myself up to the universe in this way, the universe gave back.  I had followers!  Actual people who wanted to read my blog.  I was putting something out there that in whatever way, shape, or form someone else found a use for.  That was very awesome feeling.  I also had all the time that I needed to sign up for and take 4 different photography sessions.  I learned the basics, the not so basics and about Abode Photoshop and Lightroom.  I love learning and I loved being creative.  I also loved connecting to a hobby that my father had the same interest in.  It felt like it was natural for me to have a connection to a camera because its presence was always there as I was growing up. Creativity was always a part of my life when I was younger as well.  Over the years I had forgotten that.  Life always had away of showing up and pushing creativity farther and farther away.  And when you start to disconnect from something like that, I think  you start to disconnect from your true self.

Summer came in shortly after and everything was just starting to get heated up.  I was starting to realize that what happened in the past was just that; the past.  I had started to learn to let go and really take in everything that I loved.  I went to the gym more.  I read more books then I had read in a long time.  I had forgotten the joy in that.  I had even found myself the perfect part time job within walking distance of my house.  I made greater connections with my friends and family.  And I shared a lot of it right here on my blog.  I really started to understand the force in allowing yourself to be yourself and not worry about what anyone else thought of you or your life style.  I am blessed to have a wonderful home, a husband and parents who love me for me, two fur babies that have been through everything the last 13 years has thrown at me, great friends, good health, a great new job and so much more to look forward to.

Winter changed to spring, spring into summer and now here I am, almost a full year later; entering into my favorite season of them all.  Fall.  For me fall is my time of rebirth.  I know that seems backwards but I have always lived in a hot climate so when the cooler nights and milder days start to roll in I feel sheer bliss.  It means the start of running season.  Pumpkins and fall festivals.  Hoodies and hot tea.  Everything that makes me feel warm and toasty and loved.

It also means that I have come full circle from last winter.  It’s amazing how true the statement “a year from now, this will seem like nothing” is.  When you are suffering within a hard time, it can feel like you are drowning.  Like nothing will ever be the same and the sadness will consume you.  But time literally does heal all wounds.  From time to time I still find myself annoyed with the past but not like I used to be.  I literally used to have bad dreams and ill thoughts that could spin me into a sad, dark, place.  I would let my anger consume me to the point of exhausting tears.  But I have come to terms with those circumstances.  The door that slammed shut allowed me to see down the hallway of new possibilities.  I no longer focus my energy on that closed door.  Instead I walk from (new open) door to door and allow myself to feel free.

 

 

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Fitness, Running, Vegan

Starting all over again is going to be rough…..

Short and sweet and right to the point!  I started running again about a month ago.  This morning I did my first group strength workout in about 3 months.  Little by little I want to get back to where I was this time last year.  I want to see my pace be closer to the 9 minute mark then the 10 it currently is.  I know in order to do that I have to commit to the long runs, the speed work and the strength training I used to do.  My body feels great; no aches and pains and no injuries (knock on wood).  I literally have no excuses to not give it my all and become a better me then the summer me.  I have a half marathon in January and I want to PR and run it in 2 hours.  I know that is going to require work and determination on my end and I am ready.  Let’s do this!

One hour group workout @ 6am

Warm up 1000m row in 5 mins

First set x4

  • 12 kg kettle bell front squat holds for 30 sec (x4, x4, x3, x2)
  • Partner plank holds tapping opposite hands for a minute
  • Alternating dead bug for a minute

Second set x5

  • Front squat with barbell (35 lbs x1, 55 lbs x4)
  • Squat jumps x10

Third set x3

  • Single leg dead lift to a row, using cable machine set at 25 lbs both legs x12
  • Single leg tap down both legs x12

Forth set x3

  • Deadlifts with dumbbells ( 17.5 lbs x2, 20 lbs x1) x12
  • Push ups x12

Cool down foam rolling

3.8 mile run 88 degrees @ 6pm (from yesterday)

  • Overall time 38:35
  • Average pace 10:09
  • Splits 9:46, 10:00, 10:25, 10:28
  • Average cadence 176

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Running, Vegan

Priceless practice

This morning my Lifetime Run group had a change of pace (pun intended) and we went out for a long run instead of doing our Saturday speed work.  I was thrilled with this.  The temperatures here in Central Texas are finally starting to cool off and feel like fall; like perfect running weather.  We met up at Brushy Creek Regional trail before the sun had even come up and the temperature on my Garmin said it was a chilly 59 degrees!  There were about 10 of us that made it out this morning and after introductions, distance goals, and when the sun started to make its grand appearance, we were off.

It felt really good to be out there this morning.  I ran with one of my running/work out buddies the whole time and we pushed each other through an awesome 5 miles that neither of us thought we would survive in the beginning.  I love being able to run with someone else that has a similar pace to my own.  I feel like I push myself harder to keep moving when I am running with someone, instead of behind someone.  Lately I have been a “back of the pack-er” and honestly I still was this morning, but today it just felt different.  I didn’t hit my 2.5 mile wall, my body felt good, I still love my new shoes and the temperature…. oh man did I already mention how great it felt outside?  Well either way it was wonderful!

When I got a little past the 4 mile point I picked up my pace a little and started to feel like I could have gone an extra mile.  Afterwards I wasn’t overly tired or sore and really felt like myself again.  Even though my pace isn’t where it was this time last year, I can defiantly see where over time it will get better.  And right now I’m pretty happy with just running and not looking to “beat” something.  Improvement is great but just feeling like yourself again is priceless.

5 miles 59 degrees @ 7am

  • Overall time 50:23
  • Average pace 9:52
  • Splits 9:56, 9:50, 10:13, 9:53, 9:29
  • Average cadence 176

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Books, Everyday

29 Gifts

29 Gifts:  How a Month of Giving can Change your Life by Cami Walker

  • Self help/Memoir
  • © 2009
  • 226 pages
  • Personal rating 4/5 stars
  • Website for 29 gifts challenge

Cami Walker’s book will make you want to get up and find someone to share a gift with.  This was the feeling I got when I was only on day 4 of the 29 days of giving.  I literally had tears in my eyes and my heart opened up to the idea of joining this wonderful challenge myself.

Cami starts off the book in a rather desperate state of mind.  Only in her mid-30s, she has been battling with MS for some time now and it has taken a turn for the worst.  She is in pain all the time.  She depends on her newly married husband for almost everything and is depressed that she doesn’t feel like a part of society any longer because she doesn’t have the strength to work like she used to.  But all that starts to change when she has a meeting with her spiritual guide Mbali Creazzo.  Mbali is originally from South Africa, moved to England when she was a child and now resides in Oakland, CA and works as a spiritual healer.  She was Cami’s next-door neighbor and wound up being her lifesaver.  When Mbali prescribed the 29 Gifts challenge (an African ritual) to Cami a whole new way of life opened up before her.

The 29 Gifts challenge was simply giving a gift, selflessly and effortlessly, for a 29 day span.  If you forgot a day or if you had to put too much thought into what to give or to whom, you had to start over at day 1.  The gifts did not have to be physical objects but did have to come from a place of love and kindness.  Also in order to deepen the connection, the giver is to journal about each day’s gifts and experiences.

Each chapter in the book covers a new day.  As more days of giving go by, Cami starts to understand why such a challenge was presented to her.  Things begin to change in her life.  Her health, her relationship with others and just her overall wellbeing begins to transform.

I really enjoyed this book and immediately wanted to learn more about the challenge through Cami’s website.  It’s contents make you look at life and the people you share everyday with (strangers or loved ones) in a different light.  And it goes a little deeper into the idea that the universe with provide for you if you open up to it and embrace it selflessly.  I highly recommend it to everyone and anyone.  Of course a person facing a difficult time in their life would seem like the ideal reader but honestly we all could learn something from simple, random acts of kindness.

 

 

 

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Running, Vegan

It has begun….

This morning marked the official start to my 2016-2017 running season.  The weather was amazing at just under 60 degrees.  I threw on my new running skirt and headed out the door to meet with the Lifetime Run group for the first speed work I have done in over 4 months.

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The “before” picture.  Gotta make it look good!

Oh what a difference temperature makes for a runner.  I had been in such a slump these last few months.  My pace was in the toilet at over the 10 minute mile mark.  It was really starting to get to me.  Everyday I would run I would have to give myself a pep talk to convince myself that pace didn’t matter when it was over 90 degrees outside with thick, sticky air.  But as a runner it is hard to look down at your watch after your run and see a pace that you haven’t seen since you were in your rookie stages.  I hadn’t run over a 10 minute mile in at least 4 years.  But with the hot summer and the rest needed to recover from spring injuries, it was what it was and it SUCKED!

But this mornings run offered a glimmer of hope that I hadn’t lost it.  I still had the ability to be better, it was just in a sort of reversed hibernation for the summer.  Starting with a two mile warm up, I felt pretty good.  My body felt great but I could tell I needed to work on getting my breathing back under control (nothing a little added spin class wouldn’t help).  Then it was on to 400m repeats.  Our coach wanted us to do 4-6 of them, but I settled for half and did three that were really strong.

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Some of my peps from Lifetime Run North Austin

I don’t want to do too much too soon.  This was only the beginning of a long season ahead.  I have several races that I have already signed up for from now until April, including, dare I say it, my second half marathon!  So a little at a time will be just fine for now.

2 mile warm up, 3×400, 1 mile cool down, 61 degrees @ 7am

  • 2 mile warm up average pace 9:35
  • 1 mile cool down pace 9:24
  • 3×400 @ 7:08, 6:59, 7:02
  • Average cadence between 178-194

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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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