Let Me Explain

"If a person's bodyweight is at least 20% higher than it should be, he or she is considered obese. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9 you are considered overweight. If your BMI is 30 or over you are considered obese." - Medical News Today

That is fact. It's not an opinion on the topic, but merely a definition. I don't believe you have to be skinny to be healthy. Would I like to lose weight? Absolutely. Have I lost weight? Sure have. But that's not what this is about. This is about running. Mostly running with a side of other fitnessy stuff... and a WHOLE lot of goofy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

After the After Party...

The marathon is now officially a thing of the past... kinda. I've put the 26.2 ornaments (yes, plural) on the tree. The sticker is on the car. Got the tank top to wear to the gym. I've said the word "marathon" enough that I'm sick of hearing it myself. LOL. Though, I have to admit, I still think how the hell did I survive that every time I see anything with 26.2 on it. But now that it's over, now that the training has come to an end, what do we do? What do we talk about?

A second marathon, of course....
You might be thinking man, that chick is nuts! Man, you might be right. As I worked out my new training schedule, I groaned at the long runs and all the insane things I had planned for this round of punishment. I got excited. Then I got tired (this just from looking at the schedule.) I told myself I was insane. I wondered what the hell I was thinking when I signed up for this thing at the Half last year. I know what it was. I was caught up in the excitement. Plus, I'd made a promise to a friend that we would do it together. Things changed. Plans changed. They do sometimes. Either way, here I am, entering ANOTHER round of marathon training, and without the requisite sitting on my ass and recovering from the last one. 

New calendars went up on the fridge, on the door between me and the ice cream and all the other frozen goodies that I'm trying to stay away from. Inspiration Station, I called it. There's a picture of my graduation 5k from 2015 and the time, my first half marathon and it's time (which I can beat by 30+ minutes now), and my first full marathon (which I intend to beat by a full hour next time around.) There's the 26.2 RNR sticker that will go on my car after the race. Most importantly though, and for mental prowess, is the note from my sweet friend Daniela. She'd left it on my car after I survived my first twenty mile training run, one which felt amazing and gave me confidence to see that journey through to the end. It's a great reminder that I can and I will. Failure is not an option. That being said, I'm a little burned out.

I thought the star system would be a great visual representation of how well I'm sticking to my training, and of course, perfect weeks get a reward, but right now I'm having a hard time getting motivated. I probably tried to jump back in it too fast. I probably should've given myself an entire week, but I got insecure and worried about my training. I didn't want to lose ground after six months of putting my body through hell. Well, I've had a serious conversation with myself about these fears. They're ridiculous. My body is trained, and after the first of the year, we'll get back on board with early, sweaty mornings and little aches that can't be explained. But for now, I'm going to enjoy the holidays and work at a pace that makes me love the lifestyle I've chosen. I hope to see you all in the new year. 

In the meantime...

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Marathon

Oooohhhh has it really been a month since I've talked to y'all? My bad. Maybe I can make up for it here...


You can train and train and train, do everything right, and still have the challenge of your life come race day, and that’s exactly what happened to me on Saturday. I’m trying to be as real about this as possible without being negative. I want everyone to know while this was probably the most god awful, physically demanding and draining things I’ve ever done in my life, not once was it a waste of time or effort, because what I walked away with was just as valuable.

I finished.
I puked. Twice. And I laughed about it because I was now a marathoner.

Finishing was SUPPOSED to be my only goal. I wanted to finish and not have a time in mind so I wasn’t disappointed with any part of the race. It didn’t work out that way. I was disappointed I didn’t finish in five hours. I was disappointed I didn’t run more. I was disappointed I didn’t finish faster. I was disappointed that I didn’t have the time of my life, that I was hateful as hell, and that I walked away saying I would never, ever, ever, in a million years do that distance again. I was disappointed with myself that I made beating someone else’s time my most motivating goal. I was disappointed with myself when people asked me how it went, that I couldn’t say “I had the time of my life and I want to do it again!” None of that was the memories I wanted to take away from the day.

I’m not going to write an entire dissertation on what happened throughout the race, but I’ll give you a breakdown of the key points--as I remember them. First, I love the cause but hate the course. The St. Jude half and full marathons are no joke. The hills in the city are sneaky. You don’t feel them until it’s too late. I’m not even kidding. You think they’re not there… but when you don’t get a break from them for like ten miles, it tends to wear you out. And, somewhere around the ten mile mark is where this course kills me. Every. Time. It happened last year. It happened this year. I’ll continue to be a hero and raise money, but until this Fat Girl can take a little more ass kicking, I’ll do the 10k or something shorter on this course… anything to keep me off North Parkway.

Second, and I think this is what actually killed me more than anything… I’ve been battling sinus problems for months. I went to the doctor, had everything all cleared up, or so it seemed, but a few days before the race things got bad again. More so, the fluid on my ear got worse and so did the popping. The morning of the race, I skipped the Flonase, because I’d gotten a couple nosebleeds and I didn’t want to be pulled off the course because of it, but I kept the Sudafed and the Allegra. The fluid on my ear wasn’t draining. The drugs drying me up gave me cottonmouth. I’m pretty sure I drank way too much. I’m not sure if it was the popping ear or the sloshing water, but one of the two kept making me nauseated. I’d be willing to bet it was my ear. Every time I tried to run and breathe, my ear filled up like it had a balloon in it and I would feel sick. So basically, for the next sixteen miles, I was fighting nausea, a popping ear, and an achy leg (from all the walking that wasn’t supposed to happen.)



I put that finish line video right in the middle of this post for a reason. While all of that sounded really stinking horrible, and it really freaking was, I still finished, and I finished strong. I adapted and overcame. I preserved. Add to that I had the love and support of my friends and my husband. While I might’ve bitched and moaned for almost 6 hours, what happened at the finish line was totally worth all of it--the months of training, the pains, the missed parties, the money spent on doctors, the eating of all the good for me foods rather than the good for my taste buds foods. It was worth hurling in a blue cup/bag and yelling at people who tried to sit my ass in a wheelchair, because at the end of the day I learned one hell of a lesson… I was never, not even for one second, alone on this journey.

It was really quite overwhelming, from start to finish, the amount of support I had out there on Saturday. From the time I stepped foot onto Union Avenue to right before race start--where I was met with people squealing my name and holding out arms to give me hugs--to the time I crossed the finish line to the same cheers and hugs, I never once felt alone. That’s quite a feeling for someone who struggles with feelings of loneliness from time to time. People were at the start. They were on the course. They were at the finish. They were across state lines in front of computer screens. They were glued to their apps, watching my pace speed and slow. They lost complete days just to keep up with my progress. I can honestly say I’ve never felt so supported, so encouraged and so absolutely the opposite of alone in all my life. And it didn’t stop there. People--including my cousin, her husband and children--were waiting at the top of the stairs when I left the finisher zone. It was probably the most overwhelming thing I’ve ever experienced.

When I finally got home and had a chance to look over the text messages, the timeline posts on Facebook and the comments when I’d posted at mile 10 and 17 about how over it I was, I was so moved that I finally ugly cried. See, I don’t like crying. I especially don’t like crying in front of people. Sometimes though, crying isn’t bad. Sometimes, we’re so overwhelmed with emotion we need to get it out. Funny thing was, it wasn’t my accomplishment that really made me boo-hoo like a baby, but the fact my beginner runner ladies set a goal to run the entire 5k without stopping and they did it. I was more proud of them than I was of myself, and that was totally okay because I had an entire community of people to be proud for me.

There are by far way way way too many names to list individually, but I hope everyone knows how special they made this day for me. If I saw you or spoke to you at all, you were a part of my day and I thank you for that. I would, however, like to take a moment to say a special thank you to the people who came from Mississippi to cheer me on even though none of them are particularly fans of running. They are my friends, no… my family, and they did this for me. I hope I showed them all just how much it meant to me.

I would also like to take a moment to thank the people who spent all that time helping me get through those long training runs--especially Kirsten who let me verbally abuse her for almost six hours. And those who talked me through moments of doubt or gave me sound advice when I maybe wasn’t being rational. They say I could’ve done this on my own, and maybe I could have, but I’ll tell you this journey is a hell of a lot better when you have a tribe.

An epically huge thank you to Julianne Tutko for getting my sweet hubby where he was supposed to be. Between her and her husband Rich, finish line magic happened for me.

Most importantly, I need to thank the love of my life, Joe Cassatta, for being the kind of prince every girl dreams about. (Yes, I’m tearing up right now.) We’ve always been supportive of each other’s crazy endeavors, but I never expected him to go above and beyond the way he has since all of this started back in June. He has gone out of his way to make sure I had carbs on the days I needed them, or light meals on slow days. He helped me prep my lunches, rubbed my butt when it hurt. He sat in doctor’s offices with me, suffered through my moodiness, and lost quality time with me so I could train. He never once complained about any of it. I mean, y’all, he even held my puke cup while I hurled. That’s love right there.

I think it’s safe to say I’m probably the luckiest girl in the world because through this process, I realized I very much have a tribe, and they all came together and kicked major ass just to make my first marathon a memorable experience. They did. In spades.


From the experience I had, one might doubt their training. Maybe. They might go back and look for all the things they did wrong, and I was really close to doing that myself, however I'm not going to. Why? Because I climbed LOTS of stairs after it was over and barely whimpered. I jogged downstairs. I danced and I partied. My legs and my body were conditioned for this. I trained well. I honestly believed what happened Saturday was beyond my control. I honestly believe it was because I was still sick.

From here…

I kept telling Kirsten that I wouldn’t do another marathon, that I wasn’t built for the distance, and yeah… no. I kept saying I wasn’t going to do New Orleans (The Rock-N-Roll Marathon in March that I’m already signed up for because JACKET.) I kept saying I would defer, or maybe just lose the money because marathons are stupid, but after a lengthy text conversation with a woman I’m hoping will become my Tri coach in 2018 (I haven’t had that conversation with y’all yet) I changed my mind about New Orleans. I’m going to do it. I’m going to give the distance another chance. New Orleans is a pretty flat course. It shouldn’t be too cold or too hot, shouldn’t be in the middle of cold and allergy season, so we’ll see. I’m already trained up. Might as well do it while I can, right? And if I still hate it, then now I know. I don’t have a problem trying to get my half marathon time down to 2 hours while working my way up to Triathlons.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 21 Wrap Up

Nov 5th-Nov 11th ~ 35.9 Miles

Day 140 ~ 6 Recovery Miles
Day XX ~ Rest
Day 141 ~ Boot Camp & 3.5 Miles
Day 142 ~ Run 8 Miles
Day 143 ~ REST
Day 144 ~ REST
Day 145 ~ 18 Mile Long Run

Meal prep this week - My Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl

I swear, I should just skip rest days so I can keep the numbers right. I'm kidding. I'm kidding.

So, Marathon training is FAST wrapping up. I had one more long run this week, which my chiropractor advised against. Not the ENTIRE run, but no more than twenty miles.That was after telling me no more dancing on pine cones, which of course made me laugh harder than it should have. See, I had a major panic after my long run Wednesday night. I kept having these super sharp, pretty painful spikes in the side of my knee, so much so it felt like my leg was going to buckle. It didn't happen a lot, but it happened frequently enough to cause concern.

When I finished running that night, got home and got settled, the muscles above and below my knee got super tight, and I still had that spike of pain every once in a while. I stretched. I slept it off. Everything felt like it was going to be fine on Thursday, then I had to walk up three steps at work. Let's just say I was on the phone with the doctor's office as soon as they opened Thursday morning.

Dr. Wonderful asked me everything I'd done as usual, then I told him about the pine cone during my last long run. I don't know if I shared the pine cone story, but... running UP Neshoba in the almost sunrise, my foot landed on a freaking huge pine cone. If it had been a snake, this might be a very different conversation. Anyway, my left foot rolled forward and to the left. I screamed like a banshee, nearly gave Yella a heart attack as she lunged for me. We laughed it off, and I kept running. Everything fine Saturday. As you can see, everything wasn't fine. Dr. Aaron informed me that I had a new injury, to which he taped for me, which gave me a fairly successful run on Saturday.

Since we're talking about Saturday--like my segue? Anyway, it was cold and early, and my heart really wasn't into doing two laps of eleven miles around the same dreary parts of downtown and midtown Memphis. I figured out where to cut a mile out of the loop, which would've given me the twenty, but ugh... LOOPS! There's nothing I hate more than running a loop. So boring. I'll do it, but I'd rather visit the dentist on no caffeine day. Yeah. No.

Kirsten, my brilliantly insane running buddy, told me she hated loops too. We commiserated while running in the cold, watching our breath, and charging through downtown on how we could get the miles without doing the loops. She was deep in thought, doing math while I happily plodded along to whatever dance club jam was coming out of my phone while she muttered numbers beside me.

Eventually, her plotting and mathing led us to changing the plan and going off course for one of the funnest, most epic adventures of my marathon training. We took off toward the river and ran cross state lines! We went from Midtown Memphis, to Downtown, to Arkansas, and back again. There's been so much good change in my city, change I'd never seen until now. Martyrs park was so freaking cool. It would've been a lot cooler if we'd been about 20 minutes later and the bathroom at the visitors center had been open...

The last few miles weren't fun for either of us, but I had an injury, and we were both cold and flu season hungover. We still made the best of it and laughed along the way. Two more long runs before the big day!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 20 Wrap Up

Oct 29th-Nov 4th ~ 23.1 Miles

Day 133 ~ 6 Recovery Miles
Day 134 ~ Dance
Day 135 ~ Boot Camp
Day 136 ~ Run 6 Miles
Day 137 ~ REST
Day 138 ~ REST
Day 139 ~ 11 Mile Long Run

Meal prep this week - Sooooo much fail. Luckily though, I'd made cucumber dill wraps to munch on after my long run Saturday and I didn't eat them all so I didn't have to eat out every day.

Man... it's been a rough week. I'm so far behind on everything. Let's see if I can remember the standout moments from last week.

Ooohhhh... I remember last week. CHOCOLATE!!!! Oh, and cold. Lots of cold.

Oh wait. Something did happen. But it wasn't last week. I just wasn't ready to talk about it last week. My feelings were a little hurt, and the only feeling I had about it was nastiness. So I just kept my mouth shut.

A friendship ended. Over rumors. Over training. Over... whatever. The reason doesn't matter. And I wasn't going to write about this, because it's not part of marathon training, but it kinda is. Emotions can seriously get in the way of training if you let them. I refused to let them. I'm not going to go into details, but I've learned a lesson about people... when they check out on you, don't take it personally. Its a decision they made. Not you. Also, people talk. People lie. Rumors happen. If you value someone in your life, ask them if the rumors are true before you believe them. Not the other way around. That's all the life/friendship advice I have right now.

As you've been told many times before, running is as much mental as it is physical. So after losing my friend, I wasn't in the greatest head space, but I persevered. I didn't make it obvious by boohooing about it, but yeah... it hurt a little. I also didn't have time to dwell. People will always come and go. Their departure should never, ever stop us. Goals are still goals and failure still isn't an option. Other's involvement doesn't determine my success. I do.

The previous week, while it sucked, ended on a 20 mile high note that left me feeling strong and confident.

Sunday I did my recovery miles--very gently--on a treadmill while watching a horror movie. It was epic and the six miles were done before I knew it. I chose the treadmill because I still hadn't warmed up from the previous day and the idea of getting cold again was about as vomit-inducing as the idea of my feet hitting MORE pavement. The dreadmill was a great alternative and got me through the miles with no problem.

My usual dance and boot camp followed, though I'd opted out of running Tuesday night because my legs felt really fatigued in boot camp that morning, and I was concerned about my left leg. Throughout my training, I've been dealing with some anterior tibialis and IT band issues that has me in a chiropractor every other week. When things start hurting, I ask myself "what would normal, stubborn and sometimes stupid Allison do" then I do the opposite. Normal Allison would've suffered through and probably been sidelined before the big day. We're trying really hard not to be stupid Allison.

Wednesday night, I learned that four legs are faster than two and sometimes dogs are better than GPS. I also learned that Sir, Issac Newton had it wrong. What goes up doesn't always come down. Like in Kirsten's neighborhood where you can go up 27 hills and only come down once and still make it back to the starting point. And I'm not talking about kiddie hills either. I'm talking about hills to make you say bad words. But we had fun. Well, I know I did. And hills only make you faster so we love them SOOOOOO much. That may or may not have been sarcasm. It really depends on the day.

The week ended with an eleven mile long run that the lovely and zany Yella joined me for. Oh. My. God. Soooooo cold. The run was wonderful and we had lots of laughs with our imaginary boyfriend Ryan from Boston who just wants to have beer and donuts with us, despite running in the kind of cold you felt in your bone marrow. I think I'm still trying to thaw out.

So now we're to a point where training is winding down and the big day is upon us. Well, after Saturday's long run, anyway. I've found my tolerance for bullshit is fading. I don't have time or patience for the things I used to. I'm trying to be smarter about my body, i.e. going to the doctor when something doesn't feel right... even if it's just a little sinus pressure. I've found the advice from experienced friends has been monumentally huge in the success of my training. I've surrounded myself with wonderful, positive people who uplift and encourage. I've found that any talk of kids with cancer gets to my core more than it ever had in the past. I've found confidence in myself where it seriously lacked before, and I think that's probably been the most rewarding part of this so far... I'm sure there will be a hell of a lot more to come.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 19 Wrap Up

Oct 22nd-Oct 28th ~ 32.8 Miles

Day 126 ~ REST
Day 127 ~ REST
Day 128 ~ Boot Camp and Run (4.5)
Day 129 ~ Run 5.25 Miles
Day 130 ~ 70 Min. Dance, 3 Mile Run
Day 131 ~ REST
Day 132 ~ 20 Mile Long Run

Meal prep this week - Greek Orzo Salad

When marathon training makes you feel like a freaking rock star...

Okay so, back in August, when I looked at the calendar for this training, I looked at the mileage and immediately started thinking about what kind of jewels I wanted on my urn and what kind of flowers I wanted at my memorial because there was no way in hell I would ever get through this without dying. The first, twelve mile run (though I had done more than a dozen half marathons) had thoroughly convinced me that I wasn't cut out for the marathon distance. Some people just weren't built that way. Another really bad long run almost made me call it quits and walk off the route. I think it was pure stubbornness that kept me going that day, but whatever it was, I'm grateful for it now.

Saturday, I ran the longest distance I've ever run in my life. Let me back up and say that I had been dreading this run since August. I'd had nightmares about failing out before hitting twenty miles. Those who know me know I don't commit to anything I don't feel like I'll succeed at. Not a great way to live life, but I'm not emotionally equipped to deal with being a failure. Not yet. That's a whole different kind of blog. We'll work on that eventually, but for now... I don't fail. Period. Like I said... stubbornness.

The night before the 20 miles I was stressed the hell out. You would've thought it was race day. I made a pile of clothes, checked and rechecked them. Moved them so they didn't fall in the cat's water bowl. Moved them again so they wouldn't fall in the tub. Moved them again so my socks couldn't roll off and get lost. I packed my CamelBak with Twizzlers and M&Ms and two Honey Stinger waffles... more water than I really needed and a frozen bottle of Tailwind. Everything was going to be fine. It was going to be great... even if it took me all damn day to get back to my car.

My bottle of Tailwind never unfroze, neither did my face and fingers. But the cold was no big thing... just motivation to get the miles done faster so I could thaw out in a hot bath. Right?

Daniela and I split at about twelve miles. Kirsten, like most people who live in Memphis this time of year was battling ear and sinus infections, and didn't need to risk being in the cold. I'll go ahead and tell you she still feels bad about that no matter how much I tell her it's okay. It's still very much okay with me. Kirsten, I still love your silly ass.

I was ready for my little 8 mile adventure back to my car. A-okay! Well, it was until I nearly slid my booty across an icy bridge. Losing your footing after running like 14 miles is an interesting jolt to the system... that's all I'm saying. Things tingled where things shouldn't tingle. My heart was in my throat. Scared the poo out of me (thankfully, not literally speaking.) I took that opportunity to fuel while my heart shoved itself back in my chest. And I still had to cross that bridge one more time...

I carried on my little adventure, finding the fatigue setting in real good around the 17th mile. My legs were over it and though I still ran every half mile interval, they were being shortened every time. I was starting to get grumpy, but still had myself in check pretty good. Then my phone died, taking with it the music that made me just happy enough to be out there without giving up. So now all I had was my thoughts.

Running is very much a mental sport, and at this point, my longest run ever had the potential to turn into my worst run ever. I still had about 2 and a half miles left to go, in silence, and... ANDDDDD I was going to run right past the trail exit that led back to my car. Do you know the temptation to stop and call it quits was SOOOOOOOO huge. I mean, it took a fair amount of willpower to keep going. I honestly believed I wasn't going to make it. I'd stopped to stretch, to re-focus and figure out a way to get through that last little bit without my music and without someone to talk to, when a man in a bright green shirt came jogging... errrrr running by me. He gave me an sympathetic smile and a soft good morning. Okay. Okay. Fine. Since he was being that way--all nice and junk--I could keep going. When I rounded the next corner, there he was... doing the same exact thing I had been doing a few seconds ago.

Of course, I had to ask, "how many miles?" To which he said seventeen. He started walking with me and I wasn't the least bit creeped out by this. He was one of my people. A runner. I learned in the next fifteen minutes or so that his name was Craig and he's 55. He'd only been running for a year and a half, and was also training for his first full marathon as was his wife, who was battling a cold and couldn't be out there with him. Thanks to random stranger found on trails, I got through the rest of my run with no problem. I was REALLY appreciative of my rebel spirit and breaking my parents' "don't talk to strangers" rule. LOL

While I'm on the subject of thanking people for their contribution to my training, I would be remiss if I didn't point out the people who have been there on those early, EARLY mornings... in the heat and in the cold...

The ones who have pulled me through some pretty miserable middle-of-the week long runs, while also being a part of the pretty incredible middle-of-the-week long runs.

The ones who have called me when it was obvious I needed a head check, the ones who have been there to get and give sweaty hugs.

Even as I sit here and type this, the list goes on and on, to the instructors at the gym who know it's cool to go all drill sergeant on me because now wasn't the time to slack, to the friends who promise to be there in whatever capacity I need on the big day. Most importantly, and I'll have more to say about him on game day, but thanks to the ONE who has been putting up with my moodiness and my cravings and (no, I'm not pregnant, but like another friend said... I'm birthing a marathon here) most importantly loving me no matter how much of a brat I'm being. I fully acknowledge this was a group effort, and I couldn't have gotten this far without these crazy, wonderful people.

"Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you even when you don't see it yourself."
~ Edmund Lee

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 18 Wrap Up

Oct 15th-Oct 21st ~ 41.8 Miles

Day 119 ~ Rock-n-Roll St. Louis Half Marathon (2:15:03 PR)
Day 120 ~ REST
Day 121 ~ Boot Camp and Run (3.1)
Day 122 ~ Run 9.25 Miles
Day 123 ~ 70 Min. Dance
Day 124 ~ REST
Day 125 ~ 12 Mile Long Run

Meal prep this week - Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl

Coming off my AMAZING weekend in St. Louis and a five hour drive home left me exhausted. My body needed sleep in its own bed. My belly needed food that was clean and in my normal diet. I needed time to chill and get my routine back. I wanted to take my extra day off catching up at home (i.e. cuddling the kitty and the hubby.) Soooo... I skipped my recovery miles and my Monday dance class. I love that class so much, but my legs were done.

Tuesday I did speed work, which I figured out later might've been a bad idea. Why? Because Wednesday evening, the day after Tuesday evening, I did nine miles that were a little harder than they should've been. Granted, it was a bit warm out and I had worked alllllll freaking day long, but my legs were the problem. They were tired, and they stayed tired, even through two more days of rest. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Wednesday's run immensely. But tired legs are tired legs. Achy muscles are achy muscles. As a result, I didn't run Thursday. I still did my dance class because movement keeps us from getting stiff and achy, but I took it easy. Friday, I stuffed my face with my favorite pizza and I went to bed early like a good girl.

When I texted my friend Kirsten about Saturday's run, I told her, "It's just twelve miles." Like that was easy or something. Truth? I was simply letting her off the hook for an early morning, but it struck me as funny, and quite insane, that I... the girl who never wanted to be a runner.. actually said twelve miles was easy. What the hell is happening to me?

At 4am on Saturday morning, I still firmly believed that the twelve miles wasn't going to be a thing, that this was easy stuff. I'd done that distance a million times. Well, not a million, but at least like twenty. The run wasn't perfect, but not bad. There were a few points when I got in my head. Something small would hurt or I would get tired, and I went to that I can't do this place. Then I would tell myself to suck it up and stop being a wimp. I passed landmarks that let me know I was getting close to the end. I went up and down hills. I was mentally over running up hill, but still physically able to do it. I probably should've slowed down some, but I didn't. I was fine. I was going to be okay. And I was. At the end of the day, the miles were done and I felt strong. Physically. I'm still trying to figure out the mental training part...

At this point, I'm on the fence about how Saturday is going to go. Just so you know, it'll be the first time I've crossed the twenty mile marker. It's a scary milestone. I mean... two years ago, I was excited to have finished a 10k without dying, and that race left me hurting so damn bad I took about six weeks off from running. Three years ago, no one would've ever convinced me I could run anything. I was doing good to walk two miles on a treadmill in under an hour. Today, I'm on the verge of becoming a bad ass. The body really is capable of amazing things.

"Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in."
~ Bill Bradley

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 17 Wrap Up

Oct 8th-Oct 14th ~ 18.8 Miles

Day 112 ~ Recovery Miles (4)
Day 113 ~ Dance
Day 114 ~ Boot Camp and Run (3.1)
Day 115 ~ Run (8.5)
Day 116 ~ REST
Day 117 ~ REST
Day 118 ~ Rock~n~Roll St. Louis 5k

Meal prep this week - Cold Spicy Thai Shrimp Bowl

Okay, so... I'm going to cheat a little, because I'm not supposed to talk about what happened this past Sunday on this post, but... well, I'm like a kid at Christmas. I just can't help myself.

My friend, Amber, and I traveled to St. Louis, Missouri this weekend for a fun girl's weekend of running. Yes, I said running and fun in the same sentence. Yes, I've lost my mind, and I'm totally cool with that. Anyway, I'm bursting at the seams right now. I finished my half marathon in 2:15:03!!! That's a seven minute PR (personal record.) My splits were insane. Somewhere around half the miles were run at a sub 10:00 minute/mile pace. For a half marathon!!! That's 13.1 miles!!! What the what??? And the 5k the day before was done in less than 31 minutes and I wasn't even really trying. I just didn't stop running. Seriously! What the what!?!

(As you can see, those aren't negative splits, which is what you really want, but I think that's hella consistent for the hills and the distance. Oh, and don't look at mile 7. First time in my life I had to take a potty break on a race course.)

"Trust the process. Your time is coming. Just do the work and the results will handle themselves."
~ Tony Gaskins

That quote. So. Much. Truth. Through the nagging of my much much wiser friends, I've learned a few lessons. One, and probably the most important one, was to SLOWWWW DOWNNNN during the training runs. I thought I was making myself faster, but I was only making myself hurt. So, I started slowing down, except for Tuesday, which is kinda sorta speed work day. Obviously, I'm not committed to that. Sometimes I get it done. Sometimes I don't. Either is okay with me because I do boot camp on Tuesday morning.

Another thing that people will tell you, and that I FIRMLY believe holds true, is do the cross training. Don't skip it. Even if you have to skip a shorter run day to make time for the cross training, do it. It helps. My first half marathon, little more than a year ago, I finished in 2:49 and some change. I couldn't walk for two days after. Sitting on the toiled made me cry. Everything hurt. Last weekend, I ran 16 miles and danced after. I'm just saying. 

If you learn nothing else from my mistakes, learn those two things: slow your roll, and don't hate on the squats, lunges, burpees, and planks. 

"Some women are lost in the fire. Some women are built from it."
~ Michelle K., Some. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 16 Wrap Up

Oct 1st-Oct 7th ~ 30.7 Miles

Day 105 ~ Recovery Miles (4)
Day 106 ~ Dance
Day 107 ~ Boot Camp
Day 108 ~ Run (6.4)
Day 109 ~ Dance & Run (4.1)
Day 110 ~ REST
Day 111 ~ Long Run (16)

MEAL PREP THIS WEEK - Chickpea, Carrot, and Dill Salad (Yummy!)

My brain is sooooo not online. I'm looking at the pictures from last week and it was a pretty damn good collection of seven days, if I say so myself. It was the first time I've broken 30 miles in a week. I'm not exhausted. My body doesn't hurt. All good signs.

I had family in town and she let me drag her to the gym with me (that's her in day 106.) She didn't die... and doesn't hate me. Life is good. I turned her on to Cari's dance class... which is on YouTube as FitnessFiveO. I provided the link to get you there.You can thank me later.

The best feeling yet came after the sixteen miles on Saturday. We'd just finished running, had walked it off/stretched it out. I had to take Kirsten back to her car. We did the same as last time. I let her sleep in and picked her up at mile 4. Anyway, once we finished, we were back in the car and Missy Elliot was playing. It was "Let Me Work It"--a favorite to run to. I was dancing before I got in the car, then dancing in my seat as we pulled away. She said to me, "you're on top of the world right now, aren't you?"

First instinct... grin like a loon. 

Yes, I was on top of the world. 

I had a major runner's high.

Runner's High: a feeling of euphoria that is experienced by some individuals engaged in strenuous running and that is held to be associated with the release of endorphins by the brain.
~ Merriam Webster

Yes, I've felt that feeling lots of times. Every time I conquered a new goal or achieved something I didn't think was possible, I got this all over excited feeling that made me want to cheer and dance and jump and scream... and sometimes run a little more. This time was different. It was a runner's high, mixed with realization, mixed with achievement, mixed with I CANNOT BE STOPPED!!!! I ran sixteen freaking miles... for the second time in my life. But this time, I wasn't murderous by the end of the fourteenth mile. I wasn't silently screaming for my friend to shut up. She knows I love her. I wasn't miserable at the end of my run. I wanted to celebrate!!!

So now is the time when I look at that last sixteen mile run and I do the mental hopscotch, bouncing back and forth from one emotion to the next. I get in my mood where I'm tell myself if I can do sixteen miles, I can do twenty-six-point-two. Then, alternatively, I tell myself that I didn't want to do anymore when I got to the end of the run Saturday. I was done. How the hell am I going to add ten more miles to that? Then I go back to well, I wasn't mentally prepared for more. I was mentally prepared for sixteen. 

Truth? I think I'm prepared to go twenty-plus miles. I know at least one of those long runs is going to be torture. I'm okay with that. I think I'm a lot stronger than a couple of numbers on a device. I know that I've committed to this and failure isn't an option. I have committed to something remarkable and I honest to gods plan to see it through. 

"What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable"
~ John Green

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 15 Wrap Up

Sept 24th-Sept 30th ~ 28.4 Miles

Day 98 ~ Rest
Day 99 ~ Recovery Run (4.0)
Day 100 ~ Boot Camp & Run (3.1)
Day 101 ~ Run (7.1)
Day 102 ~ Dance & Run (4.1)
Day 103 ~ REST
Day 104 ~ Long Run (10)

MEAL PREP THIS WEEK - Greek Pasta Salad

There's not a whole lot to report this week. My spirits were up. I've had a bunch of great runs this week. The body and mind were both in a really good place. Well, there's good to report. LOL

Sunday, my best friend in the entire world was still here and we were nursing some pretty healthy hangovers, so I didn't do anything but lay around and eat lots of foods. I didn't beat myself up over pushing the recovery miles back a day because my mind needed the day off as much as my body did. It ended up being totally worth it, and the break in seriousness for a moment did my soul wonders.

Monday, it was hot and gross, but I did my miles and got to wear a shirt that I'd been too uncomfortable to wear previously. It didn't flatter my figure and didn't hang low enough and exposed too much skin, but when I put it on Monday, it looked and felt great. I was proud.

My hundredth day of training landed on Tuesday, which I celebrated with 3 hilly miles through my neighborhood and fifty-five minutes of my normal morning boot camp. I was good and exhausted by the end of the day, the kind of exhausted that leads to a great night's sleep and a renewed day after.

Wednesdays with Daniela are becoming a new favorite of mine. It's a long mid-week run filled with laughter and general getting shit off our chests. I've said it before and I'll say it again--it's nice having people to run with who have done the full marathon, who have the experience to give good advice, and Yella is probably as real as they come about it, all while managing to not scare the crap out of me. Her zeal for hills matches my love for those wavy concrete mounds through suburban Memphis... and pushes me to keep going even when my heart feels like it's about to pound out of my chest. She's really great at making one suck it up.

That brings us to Thursday--my personal favorite day that ends in Y. Again, it was hot as Hades out, but that didn't stop me from running four miles around Germantown. I took it nice and gentle, simply because I didn't want to be too drained for my dance class. I mean... c'mon, it's dance class. Favorite night of the week.

Friday night, we practiced fueling at my absolute favorite pizza joint in the entire city. It's on rotation with three other restaurants. The point of this--for those who don't know--is to test my pre-race meals and see how my stomach is going to react each one prior to those long runs. My stomach LOVES Pyros. Just saying.

Saturday's long run began before the sun came up. I ran with a friend, Amy, who is trying to get back into her groove. The ten miles went fast for me. I'm not sure how much I pushed her because she didn't complain, whine, or yell at me. I'm incredibly vocal and will tell someone with colorful language to slow down before I die. She did none of that to me. Runkeeper went haywire on me, so we ended up walking more than I liked to, but the important thing was getting Amy close to her goal pace. I think she did great, and after it was over, we chilled on the patio at Starbucks with coffee and food. It was a great way to end the week, I think.

"Fit is not a destination. It's a way of life."

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 14 Wrap Up

Sept 17th-Sept 23rd ~ 29.1 Miles

Day 92 ~ Recovery Run (3.1)
Day X ~ REST
Day 93 ~ Boot Camp
Day 94 ~ Run (7 Miles)
Day 95 ~ Dance & Run (3.1)
Day 96 ~ REST
Day 97 ~ Long Run (16 Miles)

I apparently can't keep up with the number of days in this thing. I was doing pretty good there for a bit. Anyway, I guess the number of days isn't that important. It's all about the miles, right?

So, you guys know last week's long run did me in. Bad. I suffered. Hard. I did all the wrong things and paid for it. I beat myself up for it. Anyway, this week's long run went sooooo much better. It started off with appropriate rest and fueling the night before. Yes, rest and fueling makes a HUGE difference when you start getting up into the double digits. It's a serious thing. I had my beloved DGB burger from Red Robin and about six and a half hours of pretty decent sleep.

When I woke up bright and early the next morning--around 3:30am--my best friend in the entire world, my Pookie, was sitting in my garage with her husband, having a chat with my husband. She lives like 160 miles away, so we don't get to see each other much. But she knew I needed some time with her, and she came to Memphis to see me. I didn't say anything. I just hugged her whole entire head. I can't remember the last time I was so happy to see another human being.

The boys went to their respective beds. Pookie sat and chatted with me while I had a cup of coffee and something light to eat. We talked about lots of things, but the thing that really stayed with me was when she told me I could do this whole marathon madness, that she believed in me. I left for my long run with the biggest smile on my face and the best warmth in my heart. She's not a runner. But she gets it. That's all I needed. Did I mention I love her like whoa?

The first four miles I did by myself. That worked well for me. I had about an hour to get warmed up and get my head in the game. Almost like reading a book and having coffee to mentally prepare yourself before going to work. I enjoyed the sounds of my music without other gossiping and chatting around me. It was just me and the road, and I loved it. On Johnson Road, I picked up Kirsten and we finished the remaining twelve miles with mostly laughs and smiles. The last mile was a bit of a bear, but I sucked it up and got through it. Had lots of little sections of negative splits. That was nice. It looked like the longer miles that messed up those splits were fuel and hydrate breaks. Overall, I'm happy with the long run. It left me feeling like I could conquer the world if I wanted to.

Later that night, I celebrated my longest miles ever with my bestie, RockBand, rum and Fireball. Don't judge me. It's been a minute since I've been able to go crazy and have fun with my Pookie like that. The most awesome part of that evening was when I realized I was actually dancing... not twelve hours after running sixteen miles. HOLY SHIT! It was like a cartoonish AH-HA moment. I've conditioned myself enough to run sixteen miles then dance and jump around like a fool. All in the same freaking day!!! This time last year, after running my first half marathon, I could barely walk for two days. I had to let that sink in for a minute. That's the moment I realized I was a baddass. And I'm totally okay owning that.

"Never underestimate your own strength. You were born for a purpose and are blessed with the power to achieve it." ~ Leon Brown

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 13 Wrap Up

Sept 10th-Sept 16th ~ 29.1 Miles

Day 86 ~ Recovery Run (3.1)
Day 87 ~ REST
Day 88 ~ Boot Camp & Run (3 Miles)
Day 89 ~ Run (4.07)
Day 90 ~ Cooper Young 4 Miler
Day 91 ~ Long Run (15 miles)

(One of these days, I'll get the numbers right again. UGH.)

FOOD PREP MEAL -  Thai Quinoa Salad Bowl

There was a time, in the not too distant past, when I struggled sooooo hard to fit 20 miles into my training schedule every week without killing myself, burning out, or absolutely hating running. I won't be so bold as to say that time has past, because I'm sure it hasn't. I'm sure there will be weeks in the future where running at all will be a chore. That's real. But we're not going to talk about what the future MIGHT bring. We're going to talk about the fact I put up almost 30 miles last week and I didn't die. That last part... the not dying part... is important, because Saturday, I honestly thought my death was upon us. I'm going to go ahead and tell you everything I did wrong to make Saturday so hard.

First... it's important for you to know that 15 miles was my longest distance to date.

Second... it's even more important for you to know that I'm one of the most stubborn people you'll ever meet in your life, and if you doubt that, Kirsten - the crazy lady helping keep me in check - will gladly back me up on this.

So, Friday night I did the Cooper-Young 4 miler. It's a great race, known for the epic party throughout one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city. I signed up for it a LONG time back... so long ago my bib number was like 134 or something. Upwards of 2,000 people signed up for that race. Anyway, I told myself I was going to be a good girl and take it nice and steady. I honest to god thought I was, and at the half mile point RunKeeper told me I was running at about a nine and a half minute pace. C'mon, Allison, slow your ass down. Everyone knows this is a huge problem for me. Before the first mile ended, I'd had a shot of Fireball, and I swore I was slowing down.

The first mile was behind me and I'd managed to get myself to about a 10:00 pace. Awesome. But not good enough. I was going to pay for this tomorrow on my long run. I just knew it. 1.5 miles, 10:20 average pace. 2.0 miles, 10:17 average pace. Then I came up on another guy offering Fireball. What the hell, right? It worked a little. Why not try some more? I pretty much did intervals after that. Walk whenever. Run whenever. Just enjoy the party. And right before the last turn, maybe a quarter of a mile from the finish, someone was handing out Vodka gummies. After all I'd had, I couldn't turn down booze AND sugar.

I got home that night around the time I normally go to bed on Friday nights. I was wound up from running and my husband and a couple friends had just come in from throwing darts. They wanted to throw a few more rounds in the garage. I stayed up and talked to them. Before I knew it, it was 10:30.

Oh. My. God. So late!

All jokes aside, I slept like crap that night. I remember checking the clock at midnight, 2am, 3am, and then at 4am I just decided to stay up since it was about that time anyway.

And to make matters worse, I didn't properly fuel for Saturday because I had a race Friday night and didn't want to eat anything too heavy...

So as you can imagine, Saturday was pretty miserable for me. Wait. No. That's too broad of a statement. Saturday started out awesome. For eleven miles I felt like I could conquer the world. Then all the bad things started to happen. It started with my thighs burning on even the slightest incline. Then fatigue set in and my back started to hurt. My shoulders hurt. My head hurt. Then my stomach hurt. Every time I tried to run I felt like I was going to hurl. I spent four miles bitching, moaning, complaining, and making every excuse why I couldn't run anymore, to the point I told Kirsten if she would just leave me she could get on with her day. Stubborn cow stayed with me the whole time. <3

Moral of the story, don't deviate from your routine and expect a stellar performance, especially when you're adjusting to new distances or speeds, or even new routines. Your body will real fast teach you that you are not a.) the exception to the rule, or b.) half as bad ass as you think you are. I've definitely learned my lesson. Soooo... I guess I should strap on a Nun's habit for the duration of my training. HAHAHA!!!

Takeaway? 26.2 miles in like 5 or so hours doesn't sound so scary now that I've squeezed in 22 miles in less than 48 hours. It probably doesn't compare, but as of this moment, I believe I can do it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I Became Overweight Today... and I'm Thrilled About It!!!

I know you're probably thinking what is this crazy lady talking about. Who is happy about being overweight? Well... give me a moment to explain. I'm going to start with the word obese. It's not a very pretty sounding word, is it? In fact, Google's dictionary gives a grim and unappealing definition:
Gross. Bloated. Bulky. Paunchy. Corpulent?!?! Doesn't sound too pretty, huh?

**This isn't to fat shame or body shame anyone. I know people get super sensitive about words these days. I'm obviously sensitive about the word obese, otherwise we wouldn't be here right now. Right? Personally, I think if you're happy and in love with yourself, that's all that really matters in the end. I'm not the person who is happy and in love with myself because I know what I'm capable of and obesity isn't it. Not for me.**

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way...

When I started with my Fitbit on February 7th, 2014, I weighed 250 pounds. And that wasn't even the heaviest I'd ever been, but it was the most humiliating and damaging to my self esteem because I'd let myself get that way after working so hard to get the weight off. I'd lost 90 pounds in 9 months, only to have it come back with a vengeance after I'd gotten laid off from my previous job. I'd spent 2-3 months sitting on my butt, drinking coffee and eating comfort food because I was scared and sad. I was going to lose my house. I was up to my eyeballs in credit card debt because the state of Mississippi maxed out their unemployment at $217 a week back then and we still had to make ends meet while I was looking for a job. IT jobs weren't aplenty in that area.

I moved back to Memphis in 2012, and because of my living situation, I was eating a lot of fast food. I wasn't making good food choices and I damn sure wasn't exercising. I had books to finish writing, things I'd started when I was still unemployed. I had excuses... sooooo many excuses not to take care of myself.

In 2013, we were finally back on our feet enough to get our own place again, and every single morning I drove past an Anytime Fitness. It kept calling to me. "Allison, get off your fat ass and get in here. You know you're not happy." I wasn't. It took awhile, but eventually I joined. I bought a Fitbit because the company I work for has fitness incentives, not the least to mention was a fat deduction to the cost of my insurance. So basically, my gym membership paid for itself because of the discount on my insurance... because I went to the gym. Okay. Cool. I'm in. Lot's of other fitnessy things followed, but that makes this story SUPER long. Basically, I started walking for an hour a day, then I added dance twice a week, then came running, then came boot camp and cycling and... yeah, I've lost my mind.

When I bought my Fitbit in 2014, I was 250 pounds with a BMI of 41.6.

By this chart's logic, I was very severely obese.

What? No? You gotta be kidding me. I didn't look very severely obese. I mean... those are the people who can't get out of bed, right? Apparently not, and I HATE this chart and that word so much. Because had I seen this chart at that point in my life, I might've become the person who couldn't get out of bed, who couldn't tie their own shoes, who couldn't take care of themselves on the most basic level. I could've easily become so depressed it got worse. But I didn't...

This is where I am today.

I'm not sharing this to brag, though I will admit I'm going to celebrate the hell out of this. Might even get the cake my husband and I were craving so badly last night. I'm sharing this because the very real truth of weight loss and transformation is it doesn't happen overnight. It happens over hours, days, months, and years of dedication. It's not easy, but in the end it's rewarding. 

The expectation is always to see pounds fall off fast, and they will, but don't get discouraged when they stop falling off, when your body gets used to the new things you're doing and stops responding the way it had been. It'll happen. It's called a plateau and it sucks. In fact, when I plateaued, I got so discouraged I told my husband, "I might as well eat all the things since the weight isn't changing." I didn't stop running or working out, but I totally ate ALL THE THINGS I could get my hands on. The harder I trained the more I wanted to eat, and that's still a thing. I come in from working out soooooooo hungry and I want everything I'm not supposed to eat. The longer the miles get, the more I want to stuff all the sweet carbs in my face. Every Saturday is cheat day. I get one. I make it worth it. Prepping my lunches has helped get my weight loss going again. All I can do is stick with it and hope the pounds keep coming off. In the meantime, I'm perfectly content being overweight.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 12 Wrap Up

Sept 3rd-Sept 9th ~ 24.4 Miles

Day 79 ~ Recovery Run (3.1)
Day 80 ~ REST
Day 81 ~ Boot Camp & Run (3.1)
Day 82 ~ Run (6)
Day 83 ~ Dance & Run (3)
Day 84 ~ REST (Carb up!)
Day 85 ~ Long Run (9.1)

(I just realized my numbers are completely off this week. Sorry, y'all. I can only blame vacation brain.)

FOOD PREP MEAL -  None this week. We got back in town from camping on Monday and I took the day off Tuesday so we spoiled ourselves with Cheesecake Factory. Don't judge me. ;-)

I started this post with a rundown of all the stuff I'd done all week and blah, blah, blah about how it went and how I felt. Then, after pouring two paragraphs onto the page, I decided that wasn't the story I wanted to tell this week because something much bigger happened, something I needed, something that really reminded me that I'm a lot harder on myself than I should be. I don't know why, but I am. I keep trying to prove to everyone else I'm a good person, when really the only person who needs to know that is me. Well, Saturday, three very special ladies, someone calling me a "true success story," and an amazing co-coach made me really see the things I needed to see. And then my husband said, "See, I've been telling you this stuff the whole time." #blesshim

Let me back up, because this has the potential to be a really good story and I'll try to condense it as much as I can...

In 2015, a friend told me to come join this women's run/walk program with her. She wanted me to be a beginner runner. Ummmm... no. I didn't want any part of it. I was fine dancing two nights a week and WALKING on my treadmill for an hour every morning. I was losing weight and life was good. My friend, she persisted. She asked me two or three more times, and finally I gave in. I hated everything about it. It was too hot outside. I couldn't breathe. My stomach always hurt. Who the hell in their right mind ran... for the fun of it? I mean I liked walking my 5Ks just fine. I didn't need that to change. Obviously, it changed. I'm a sucker for good peer pressure.

After eight weeks of I hate this crap, we finally got to the morning of the graduation 5K. I was freaking pumped. Soooooo excited to be out there. I'd worked my butt off and now it was over. I went out hard and fast, and by the halfway point I hated life. Past the second mile I thought this would never end and I would die wayyyyyyy before the next mile marker. Then I came roaring across the finish line and I couldn't wait to do it again, but next time I wanted to be faster. That's when I knew the bug had really bitten. I freaking LOVED running.

In 2016 and 2017, I went back as a coach for the beginner runners because I wanted to pass on what I'd gained from the experience. It was important for these ladies to know it wasn't going to be easy, but it would damn sure be worth it. They needed to know it got easier if you did things right and trusted the process. I wanted them to learn from the mistakes I'd made.

This year was an exceptional year for me personally with this program. I honestly thought I was sort of useless as a coach because I'm super shy if I'm not familiar with you. I don't talk to strangers. I'm very much a back of the class kind of girl. I'd hoped that coaching would get me out of that, but thus far it hadn't. Then I met Bobbie and Shirley...

These ladies were tough and committed, and they pushed through the training and set goals for themselves, and week after week I watched them become stronger runners. They were so grateful to me for spending my time with them when I could've been doing something else--their words, not mine. Truth? I enjoyed every second of it. It didn't matter how fast or how slow we were going. I was doing exactly what I'd come back to the beginner runner program to do. I was helping someone love running the way I did. Both ladies set a 40 minute goal time. Both ladies finished right around 38 minutes. I couldn't have been more proud of them.

Then there was a third lady who I'd seen but hadn't really spoken to. Catherine was with Bobbie and Shirley, and a few other ladies when we started the race Saturday morning. Somewhere before mile two I heard someone call my name. It was Catherine. She said, "please don't leave me out here alone." I told her that I was going to pace the ladies like I promised, but I would come back for her. I kept watching for her, making sure she was close by. She was. Then she wasn't.

Well, luckily, Terri Clarke--another fine member of our wonderful running community--was also there and between her and Marley--another lady runner--they were able to pace everyone else to the finish line while I went to get Catherine. She wasn't that far behind. Close enough if I'd had my glasses on I would've seen her. The race wasn't easy for her, and though she wanted to give up, she didn't. And when she crossed that finish line, she did it in beast mode. She ran hard and fast with me yelling beside her to "run, girl! Run!"Again, I found myself incredibly proud of what these women were doing for themselves. Sappy, ain't it? Catherine cried and hugged and cried and hugged, and it was probably the sweetest thing I'd been a part of all day... until Bobbie handed me a thank you note that made my eyeballs leak. Then Julianne--you guys have seen her name a lot--gave me a high five and said "Good job, Coach" when I told her that Bobbie and Shirley made their goal.

There was a point to this, I promise. While people say "I hate running" or "running sucks," I can't help but disagree. I know it's a matter of perspective, but the perspective it gave me was seeing that even though I'm no one important, I can inspire. I can empower. I'm not rich and famous, but I too can be looked up to simply because of how I chose to treat other people. Am I perfect? Not by a long shot. Will I ever be perfect? Not even close. Can I see perfection in myself? Well, I'm certainly trying. I'm hoping at the end of this journey, when I cross the finish line after 26.2 miles and all these weeks of training, my eyes and heart will be more open to the possibility of me being this awesome, inspiring person everyone else sees.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." -Mother Teresa

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 11 Wrap Up

Aug 27th-Sept 2nd ~ 25.8 Miles

Day 72 ~ Recovery Run (3.4)
Day 73 ~ WRWM Coaching (3 miles)
Day 74 ~ Boot Camp
Day 75 ~ Base Miles (6.18)
Day 76 ~ Walked 3 miles (after packing the car)
Day 77 ~ Set up camp and ate camp food, then did planks by the river... on my rest day.
Day 78 ~ Long Run (Traded 14 pavement miles for 10.34 gravelly, hilly miles.)

FOOD PREP MEAL -  Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

Week eleven already seems so far away, that I had to go back and look at the pictures to remember everything I was feeling/enduring/or fighting to push through the previous week. I'm telling you, three days of quiet time on the river was everything the doctor ordered. Okay, maybe I could've done without the rum and the Fireball, but this girl had needs, and getting sloppy ass drunk was one of them. I'm such a lightweight, however, sloppy ass drunk is one rum and diet coke and a single shot of Fireball. Don't hate me because I'm a cheap date. LOL

It's pretty safe to say that each run felt pretty good. I think the only day I absolutely didn't want to do anything was Thursday, and that had everything to do with having to pack up the car and nothing at all to do with exhaustion from training. So massive bonus there. Boot camp Tuesday morning was even awesome. I had slight pain over my left knee, but Dr. Wonderful took care of that for me.

My long run wasn't 14 miles like it should've been. Mentally, I was there. I was ready to do it. I told myself that just because I wasn't at home didn't mean I couldn't do those miles. That was before I realized that getting out of camp was ALLLLLLL up hill, and I mean up long, tall, gravelly hills. So in reality, for the effort, I might've done 14 miles. I will say that it was a fun and somewhat frightening adventure. My love of horror movies made the adventure better than the run. I'm woman enough to admit that. There are more pictures on my Facebook and Instagram.

The Sunday recovery miles have yet to disappoint. I know its coming. I know that after running 16, 18 or 20 miles on Saturday there will be a Sunday when the thought of pounding pavement will reduce me to tears. Right now, I plan to enjoy the comfortable Sundays, while doing the cross-training needed to make this whole experience a lot less painful.

The best part of the week, however, wasn't the training or eating the bad foods, but the fact that my LARGE InkNBurn singlets finally fit me in a way that I'm not embarrassed to wear. I started out in an 2XLarge, so this is a huge deal for me.


I'm not one who typically likes to wallow in my self-pity. After an inspiring email from my best friend in the entire world, you guys know her as Pookie, I decided to stop making myself more miserable than I needed to be. Or at least try to. To start that process, I reached out to a running buddy who nearly made me puke all over my Mizunos last time I ran with her. In her defense, she was trying to get me to finish a 5k in 28 minutes, in the middle of summer and on a full stomach. We figured out real fast the three things don't constitute a working combination for me.

Anyway, Kirsten is funny as hell, crazy, and loves to talk, and from what I hear can keep me on pace pretty damn good. She has agreed to do the long runs with me, and since she's all like "I can do a 50k for breakfast" I figured she was just insane enough to get up before the sun and run lots of stupid miles with me. Sometimes training is also about regrouping and finding what's going to work for you. Just because things didn't start the way they were supposed to doesn't mean they can't finish with a stellar ending. In December, I expect to have my stellar ending. To quote Michael Jordan...

"You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them."

Monday, August 28, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 10 Wrap Up

Aug 20th-Aug 26th ~ 23.7 Miles

Day 65 ~ Breakaway Bardog 5k (3.1 - 10:00 pace)
Day 66 ~ WRWM Coaching (2.78)
Day 67 ~ Rest (Doc's Orders)
Day 68 ~ Base Miles (6 miles)
Day 69 ~ Rest
Day 70 ~ Rest (Red Robin DGB Burger with Fries and Onion Rings for Fuel)
Day 71 ~ Long Run (12 miles)

FOOD PREP MEAL -  Cold Spicy Thai Shrimp Bowl

After running really hard Sunday, then obligations that kept me from resting on Monday, I decided to skip the extra-curricular gym activities this week, and just let the anti-inflammatories do their job. I continued going to the chiropractor as ordered as well. So there's not much meat in the way of physical activity this week. I will say that thanks to the rest and actually listening to my body, I had a stellar run Saturday morning (after I got past the mental part of it, which I will talk about in a minute.)

I changed my strategy this weekend on my long run. In the past, I've done the long runs with a quarter mile run interval/one minute walk interval. I thought my running too hard during that quarter of a mile was the reason I was finding myself so exhausted, and I think that might've been part of it, but I'm also thinking it had more to do with all the stopping.

A co-coach of mine was telling the beginner women that slowing down to the point your heart-rate drops significantly essentially makes your body have to warm up all over again, and that will tire you fast. So I marinated in this thought for a little while and I adjusted my own run. It paid off. I didn't skip or shorten a single interval. I'm thinking next time I get on the pavement for a long run, I might even try one mile run/one minute walk. I know I'm capable. I've run nine miles without stopping before. But I also want to be smart and find whatever is going to work for me come game day. I. Must. Finish. Failure is not an option.

I've also found that I might have a little superstitious side when it comes to night before fueling. My best half marathon time ever (2:22) was fueled by Red Robin. I'm not even kidding. The first time I met my 2:30 half marathon goal (2:29 in Greenwood, MS.) I'd fueled with Red Robin. Call me crazy, but I see a trend. I'm laughing as I type this, by the way. I had zero stomach issues. Even Saturday I was 100% comfortable for 90% of the run. Sooo... what was up with the other 10%, you might ask? It was all mental.

So, I'm going to go ahead and put this out there, because talking about it face-to-face with people doesn't work. It makes me all watery-eyed and I HATE being all watery-eyed. But I am very lonely. Incredibly lonely. Not because I don't have awesome, supportive people in my life, but because I'm looking for something that I lost when I moved away from Mississippi. I have a best friend down there. She's the kind of best friend I have my own language with, one who can finish my sentences and relate to me on even the most unrelatable level. She's the one who I can absolutely share my space with and enjoy every second of it. She doesn't run. When I say I'm going to run, she's like "Okay, you do that, Pookie. I'll be right here." And that's totally okay with us because she knows I love running and she loves me and that's all that matters. I rely on her. I know I can rely on her. I know if I say "Pookie, I need you, get your ass up here," she'll do everything in her power to make that happen.

I didn't realize how badly I needed a running "Pookie" until Saturday. The 19th, I ended up running the last two miles fighting tears because I was alone. It made the entire run miserable. Saturday, I spent the first two miles of the run in that same headspace. I was ready to say screw the marathon, screw the training. I wasn't going to do it anymore. I was prepared to turn around, go back to my car, and never show my face in the running community ever again. Honest to God, had Rich and Julianne Tutko not been there with big, warm hugs when I came running up to the next turn, I would have marched my ass across the intersection and gone back to my car. Nothing sucks worse than trying not to cry while trying like hell to breathe. It's scary. I've never hyperventilated before, but I imagine it's just as scary.

I say all the time that I'm a solitary person, that I don't need people, and for the most part, I still consider it true, but it's hard to feel like you're on the outside of a "tribe" you're supposed to be a part of. I've been finding that when I'm out on these long runs, I feel very much like I'm an outsider trying to fit in. That's when I need my Pookie. I don't need a group of people who smile and ask "how're you doing?" just to make small talk. I need someone I can look over at and ask "am I going to fail" when I get in that bad headspace, and have them tell me "hell no, you're a beast." That's what I'm missing. Unfortunately, there's not too many people who want to get up before dawn on a Saturday and follow me for distances in the double digits just to tell my crazy ass I'll be okay.