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Monday, March 13, 2017

Getting Motivated For Spring Race Season!

I was recently asked to write an article for the Revel Race Series March newsletter. Here is the article I wrote:

 If you are like me, winter seems to take a toll on my running. While I don’t just sit around eating Bon Bon’s all winter, running in cold and icy conditions or running on the “dread”mill is just something that takes a lot of motivation to do.

Now that spring is right around the corner, how do we snap out of the winter doldrums and get back to work? Here are a few ideas that have got me out the door after a break in running:

1)    Prepare for your run. If you run in the morning or evening, lay your running clothes and gear for your run out the night before. Time spent looking for all your stuff when you are half awake, is not only a good way to lose motivation, but it’s time you could use to get and extra mile or two in on the road or trail. This is also a great idea the night before a race!

2)    Get up and get dressed! Well this is a given (I hope). If you follow tip #1, this tip will be much easier. On those mornings (or evenings) that you just don’t want to get out of bed or are tired after a long day at work, just change into your running clothes with no expectations. I have always found that no matter how tired I felt, just getting dressed for a run was enough motivation to actually run.

3)    Start slow and be easy on yourself. If you have not been running all winter, going out with guns blazing and expecting to have the fitness and speed you enjoyed in the warmer months when your training was on point, you will lose motivation. It is not realistic and it is a good way to get injured! It’s OK to start over. Go out with a plan to run one mile and see how you feel. For me, 9 times out of 10, I will warm up and do more. Just don’t do too much, too soon and with work, you will eventually get your fitness and speed back.

4)    Find a running group or running buddy. The power of accountability is strong! One of the strongest motivations I have found is knowing that my group or a friend was getting up and waiting on me. Plus, running with a friend that can motivate, push, and talk to you during the run just makes the run more fun. Even if you go to the gym to run, find a couple of treadmills next to each other and no matter what your pace, you can still run together!

5)    Sign up for a race! There is no greater motivation than putting a race on the calendar. Revel has four amazing races throughout the year to get excited about! The fact is, if we sign up for a race, we will be a lot more likely get out and train. Even after 119 marathons/ultras, this is still something that gets me out the door. Running a marathon or half can be daunting, but with proper training, it will hurt a lot less and be a lot of fun!

I know that if you follow these tips, it won’t take long to get your groove back and be out there killing it a races throughout the year!

Wishing you all a personal record (PR), Boston qualifier (BQ) or a fun finish! GOOD LUCK and I will see you on the course! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Why I Am Running For Team Challenge!

Check out my new video on why I am running the Chicago Marathon for Team Challenge!

If you would like to donate, click HERE!

THANK YOU!! 💗💗💗💗

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

#119- Starting Over At The Cowtown Marathon.

My friend Max Nazaire (owner of Fit2DMax Personal Training in Roswell, GA) has a motto: "Spiritually, Mentally and Physically Strong). I love this, but between a yucky Utah winter (I HATE winter), menopause (which has my hormones and weight going all over the place) and the worst heartbreak I have ever experienced, it is very safe to say that the last few months have been the worst of my life that I can remember and I am still struggling with all three of these (in what feels) like every second of the day.

I have had so many feelings and emotions going on all at once, I really feel like I am going crazy at times and what's worse, the one thing that got me through things like my divorce, cheating boyfriends, and even the death of my dear mother was not pulling me out of my sadness this time.

In the past when I felt like an ant in a bathtub, fighting to stay afloat as I am caught up in the swirling water and trying my best not to go down the drain, I would go for a run. I would get out in nature, get my endorphins moving, have a good think and a good cry and find the gratitude that I was even able to have such a healthy outlet. Running made me feel alive. It made me feel that I could get through whatever life threw at me. It motivated me to not sit in the yuck, but forced me to put on my big girl panties and get on with life. It gave me a way out. This time it was different. I just felt so sad, angry and unmotivated. I didn't only feel like giving up running, I felt like giving up on life. I have survived some pretty hard knocks in life, but this felt like Mike Tyson had hit me with a left hook out of nowhere and there was no coming back. I was down for the count.

I had not run more than 4 miles since my last 13.1 miles on Thanksgiving day. Thank goodness for good friends who have done all they can to help me find my way back and to the Marathon Maniacs. Without their help, I don't know what I would have done. When The "Big 3" (Tony, Steve and Chris) asked for my help with the Signature Race Series, it was just what I needed. I needed something to do. I needed to keep busy and give me something to look forward to. The first race in the series was at The Cowtown Marathon on February 26th and trained or not, I HAD to get back out there. I needed to feel useful and I needed to find my love for running again.

I got into Dallas on Friday evening and met my friend Liz for dinner at Bar Louie near her home in Wiley, about an hour from Fort Worth. We sat at the bar and ordered way too much food (which we shared with a couple of people sitting next to us), then headed back to her house for some sleep.

I wasn't sure I needed a rental car, but for $10 a day I thought it was a good idea. Thank goodness I did, because I found out that the expo opened at 6:00AM on Saturday! That's right folks 6:00AM! I sent a text to Garrett (the MM/HF Gear Guy) and asked him if he was getting there at 6:00am? He said he was, but told me that I didn't need to get there that early. I mean who is coming to the expo at 6:00AM?

My plan was to get there by 8:00AM (I had an hour drive), but when I got close to the expo, all the roads were closed and traffic was horrible. I couldn't get anywhere near where I wanted to be. I then realized that the 5K and 10K was Saturday morning and that's why they opened the expo so early, so people could pick up their 5K and 10K packets.

I drove around for almost an hour when I finally found the parking garage that was letting people park in for free. I lucked out and found a space pretty quick, then made my way into the expo. I found the Maniac booth and got to work checking people in and giving them the first SRS (Signature Race Series) medal  pin and VIP tent wristbands!

This pin is the first in the SRS and is a replica of the medal that will be shipped (or picked up)
by members who signed up in time to get it.
I also got to see some wonderful friends that I had not seen in a long time!

I was so happy to see Jenn and Patrick. They are both such wonderful people!

I can't believe I missed Kimi and Chris (RD's of the Route 66 Marathon) on Friday, but I was so glad to see the lovely Destiny!

Garrett and I holding down the fort at the Maniac Booth!

Steven, Chris, Tony, Garrett and I at the Maniac Booth.

When your booth is next to the Marines, you have to do chin ups!

This is the proper way NOT to do a chin up! LOL!

My pal Sean has been such a great friend over the years.

After the Expo, about ten of us got together for dinner at Taverna downtown. This little Italian place was great. I made a reservation, so even though it was super crowded, we got right in. The food was amazing and reasonably priced.

After the expo, instead of driving an hour back to Wiley, my sweet friend Mary from Sarasota offered to let me bunk in her room at the Embassy Suites, but first I had to remember where I parked the rental car! Mary walked with me for a while, but it was a little chilly so I told her to head back and I walked the streets looking for it. I remembered the street, so I finally found it and got to the room before Mary hit the hay.

To not keep Mary up, I closed the doors to the second room and got my stuff ready for race morning in there. I laid out my flat Angie and I started to cry. This was the first flat Angie I did alone in months. Maybe I was just tired and I know it sounds crazy, but I grieved a little looking at flat Angie all alone there. After a good cry, I went to sleep.

Flat Angie

Maniacs/Fanatics in front of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame! Yee Haw!

The all races (the half, marathon and ultra) started at 7:00AM, so I planned the Maniac/Fanatic photo for 6:30AM. After the picture, I headed the port-a-potty then got to my coral where I saw my friends Patti, Lorinda and Garrett.

Mary, Tony, Me and Jesse at the start.

Mary, Patti, Lorinda and I

My beautiful hostess and friend Liz!

MM/HF #2 Chris and I

The one thing I didn't realize about this race was how big it was! There were over 7,500 people between the half marathon, the marathon and the ultra (50k)!

The Cowtown had the coral thing down! LOL!

The race started with the National Anthem and we were off.

Approaching the start!

And we're off! (Photo Credit Hung Hoang)

Patti and Lorinda were trying to finish in around 4:15. Given my lack of training, I knew it would be a stretch for me to hit 4:15, but I thought 4:30 would be an easy goal to hit, but I was a lot less trained than I thought. 

The King and I

The course was my kind of course. Lots of short rolling hills and the weather was cool and overcast which was great for running! One of the cool parts of the course was running through the famous Fort Worth Stock Yard. It looked like we were running through an old west town.

I was feeling pretty good and staying on pace until about mile 10. That's when I wanted to kick myself for not changing down to the half on Saturday when I had the chance. My training ran out! I had to take a couple of walk breaks. I let Patti, Lorinda and Garrett take off and I hung pack, still hoping to at least run around 4:30.

Just before mile 10 where the half and full marathon split.

When I hit the half I was pretty much done. I just didn't feel like running anymore, but I knew that I had to keep moving. Quitting would just set me back even more. I just needed to get through this race. There was 7 1/2 hour time limit, so I could go as slow as I wanted, but the key was to just get to the finish.

All the cops in Fort Worth are good looking cowboys! 

Keep on truckin'!

Don't mess with Texas!

Cutest port-a-potties I have ever seen!

By mile 20, I was doing just as much walking as I was running. Just after the mile marker, I saw two people dressed in cow costumes in front of this house that was having a huge marathon party.

The party cows and I!

Cute party puppy! ❤

When I saw that even 4:30 was a stretch, I stopped at the party to pet a cute dog. A very nice lady holding a huge Boody Mary came up to me and offered me some water. I said "Are you kidding? I want one of those Bloody Marys you're holding!" Before I knew it I was running down the road with a much smaller Bloody Mary than she had (I'm not a drunkard) and it tasted so good!

I got quite a few laughs as I ran into the aid station with my little Bloody Mary!  

There can never be enough puppies to snuggle when I am not running for time!

The last few miles I walked a lot. My emotions were all over the place (as the usually are 20 miles in). One second I was laughing and talking and having fun, then I would be reminded of something and start crying. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. 

We ran along this beautiful path along the water.

The last three miles, I got a second wind and was doing OK. I was running at a good clip until about the last 1/4 mile. I saw the 26 mile marker and would usually just suck it up and finish strong, but the finish was on this uphill stretch of road and I could not see the finish line. Plus I started getting very emotional. 

I walked up the hill until I caught sight of the finish line, then ran in. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't fast, but I finished. I drug my tired, under-trained, heartbroken, unmotivated butt across that finish line and that was good enough for now.

No PR. No BQ, but I am still here! ❤✌ ;

The Maniacs and Fanatics had a VIP tent at the finish, but it wasn't marked very well and from what I heard a lot of people could not find it. I thought I would finish 45 minutes earlier, so I didn't even have time to look for it. I had to get back to the hotel to check out by 1:00PM, and after picking up my food, jacket, drop bag and finisher's shirt, I barely had time to catch the bus back to the hotel. I walked into the hotel at 1:00PM  on the dot. I asked the man at the front desk if I could have time to take a quick shower. He was cool and gave me an extra 45 minutes with no charge.

It was a good thing that I asked, because Mary's stuff was still in the room. She got back just as I was leaving. We said our goodbyes and I headed back to Liz's house in Wiley.

When I got to Liz's house, her awesome husband Don was watching NASCAR (he is a former NASCAR driver) while we caught a quick nap. When we woke up Liz and I headed to Dallas to eat at this awesome place called The Rustic.

The Bar at the Rustic had an American flag made out of beer cans. How Texas is that?

Liz's daughter Kelsey came over and we ordered Moscow Mules, brisket tacos, french fries and the best banana pudding I have ever had! It was so awesome!

The Moscow Mule was so good, it deserved a medal!

The brisket tacos were AMAZING!!

I mean really, do I have to explain the goodness of this banana pudding? Heaven on earth! 

This was in the ladies room. Need I say more?

After dinner we went back to Liz's and had a good night's sleep. The next morning we woke up, Liz made me some breakfast (complete with Kauai Coffee, which is so good, but made me miss Bart as it was all we drank when we were in Hawaii), and I headed out.

Liz was the hostess with the mostess! ❤❤❤

I had a couple hours to kill before I headed to the airport, so I decided to stop downtown to see where JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963. It was quite a moving place to be.

The JFK Monument

This was the old book depository where Lee Harvey Oswald took aim at JFK. He fired the shots from the corner window, second row from the top.

It was strange to stand here. I have seen this scene on film so much. This is where Abraham Zapruder shot the only known film of the assassination. 

The Grassy Knoll

This "X" marks where the first bullet struck JFK.

This "X" marks where the second bullet hit JFK, killing him.

It was really cool to get to see some important history before I left. The museum didn't open until 12:00PM, so I didn't get to see that, but I will do that on another trip.

I have a lot of people to thank for this race:

#1) "The Big 3" (Tony, Chris, and Steve), for giving the the opportunity to come out, help and run the race. This was big for me to get out again and I would not have been able to come without you giving me a job!. THANK YOU!

#2) Heidi Swartz and her staff at the Cowtown Marathon, for all their help on the first race of the SRS! THANK YOU!

#3) Liz and Don Roberts, for all their hospitality. Liz, you are so wonderful and I cannot thank you enough for giving me a place to sleep, feeding me like a queen, and listening to me cry and drone on about the same old stuff. I love you girl!!! THANK YOU! ❤❤❤ 

#4) Mary Lenari, for also letting me crash with you and being the most lovely friend to me. I love you too!! ❤❤❤ THANK YOU!

#5) My friend Sean Broadbent, who literally held me up with hugs and kind words when I fell apart. This was hard for me, but having friends around you that have your back makes things feel so much better.

And #6) To Amy, the sweet ultra runner that saw me crying on the course and stopped and talked with me a while. It was so kind and compassionate and it reminded me how wonderful the running community is. I hope you had a great race. 

Yes, I have struggled the last few months, but with such wonderful, caring people around me, in the immortal words of Gloria Gaynor, I will survive!