Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Forward: 5 Reasons to embrace Spring Running



Spring has officially sprung!  Why should you love spring running?

1. That fresh spring feeling and a fresh new wardrobe

Spring allows us to bring out those short-sleeve shirts and tanks, capris and shorts with fun socks. I’m a fan of shopping for new running clothes and shoes this season. Who doesn’t love the new bounce of color in their running wardrobe after a cold, dreary winter! I especially love the new Brooks Rock ‘n’ Roll Limited Edition shoes!

2. April showers bring May flowers and epic runs

Spring also brings warmer temperatures and rain. Although running in the rain can be challenging during a race, a rainy run every now and then is refreshing and relaxing. You can be a kid again and splash in puddles, dance in the rain, and allow your body to feel new. Get outside and wash away the coldness of the winter months. Besides, running in the rain can feel pretty hardcore. Embrace the uncomfortable conditions and take pride in running in them.

3. Longer days mean more rays and more runs

As we get further into the spring months heading towards summer, we gain more daylight hours. Depending on where you live in the world, you may have had a pretty dreary winter. Enjoy the daylight and embrace the sensation of the sun’s warmth on your skin! Get up early, see the sunrise, or go for a late evening run to catch the sunset. Either way, more daylight means you can get out the door for that run you might have avoided during the winter months.

4. A spring in your step and in your headphones

Tune your run to songs with energy and sunny vibes. Add some Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffet and songs such as “Walking on Sunshine”, “Uptown Funk,” and anything that will make you dance and jump for joy! Be courageous and bold in your playlists. If you want to see what fellow Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series participants listen to on their training runs, check out the community playlists on the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series channel on Spotify. As a RocknBlogger, the Rock ‘n’ Roll community is so eclectic. You’ll definitely be able to find some songs that fit your spring style.

5. Spring is beautiful – don’t forget to look up from the road

Look at the new beginnings on your journey. The trees are starting to bloom and the flowers are beginning to bud; new life is appearing everywhere! Maybe you will even see chicks, ducklings, or does on your paths. Breathe it all in; take long deep breaths and feel the new life as it fills your lungs with a sense of new beginnings. Spring running allows us to start new journeys, look forward to new races and a new race season, see old friends, and make new ones! Relish this journey, make it yours and begin anew!
Happy spring, happy running!  Till next time and remember my journey continues...If can you dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!  

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Why I've been away

I'm finally back!  You may have been wondering why I haven't been blogging or posting since November.

First, I started working as an academic librarian at the end of August.  My work schedule is Sunday-Thursday from 4 pm until 1 am in the morning.  At the time that I accepted my current job, I was working a temp job from 8 am until 3 pm.  So, I was working close to 80 a week until the second week of December.  I also returned to a temp job for the month of January.  It has only been a couple of weeks working only one job!

This has left me with little or no time to do anything except to sleep.

The biggest reason why I have been away is that I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease at the end of October.  Hashimoto's Disease is a disorder in which the immune system turns against its own body's tissues.   Initially, the doctors thought that my cancer was back and it was a relief to know that it wasn't cancer. 
  I've been struggling with sleep deprivation, depression, lack of energy in addition to gaining back the twenty pounds that I lost.  I felt lost and struggled with doctors to find a treatment to help me get back to myself.  It has been a journey to finally start to feel like my old self again.

This has been extremely hard for me as I'm used to having a lot of energy, staying focused and being positive.  The last four months have been rough and I have felt like a failure.  Both to myself and you!  I hesitated reaching out and posting about this due to the depression but mainly because I was ashamed. Being ashamed of putting the weight back on, not sticking to my running routines and training plans, not blogging or posting and being inspirational for myself and you.   I had also had a bad experience with online support in the past and it brought back some painful memories for me.  So, I opted to stay away and try to find a solution to this on my own.  

I now have a treatment plan and am still struggling with some issues but hope to feel more like myself in the next couple of weeks.  I'm learning how to live with an autoimmune disease, how to eat more healthy, how to overcome fatigue and depression. I'm working with a thyroid doctor who is trying some homeopathic remedies along with diet.   I'm starting back at square one again with my running and weight loss however I'm not giving up!

Life is a journey and it is what you make of your journey-who you have on that road, who helps and supports you, what decision you make as you come along to an intersection, etc.  I am used to figuring this out on my own and trying to get better about asking for help and assistance when I need it.  I'm much better about this now then in the past and learning to trust myself more.  This was also a journey in taking a rest from life when I needed to take care of myself.  In the past, I would have struggled through and then given up.  Running has taught me not to give up but rest when necessary, breathe and then start again!  

Thank you for all your support and not giving up on me!  I'm always a Gracious Warrior. Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If can you dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Savannah Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon

Disclosure: As a member of the 2017 #RockNBlog team, I was provided with a complimentary 2017 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series Global Tour Pass.  This provides me with entry to their race series, however no other compensation was provided and all travel and other expenditures are paid for by me.  As always, all thoughts are strictly my own.


I ran the Savannah RNR Half Marathon on November 4, 2017 for the first time.  I had never been to Savannah however I know from previous RNR races that they have the best expos along with being the best races to attend.  The top five reasons why Savannah RNR rocks are:

  1. Expo:  Savannah International Trade and Convention Center is located on Hutchinson’s Island across from Historic Downtown Savannah.  It is a beautiful location on the river and easily accessible by car and ferry.  The RNR expos are one of the best race expos-easy to navigate layout for packet pick-up along with vendors add up to tons of fun!  
I love all the picture opportunities available and the opportunity to visit the official RocknRoll partners.

2.  Food:  Savannah is known for its restaurants and food vendors.  A foodie heaven! One of the best things about the Savannah is the expo location allowing you to catch a ferry across the river to historic downtown Savannah. There are tons of restaurants along the riverfront and downtown.   I had dinner at Treylor Park Savannah trying their famous Peach Pit drink and Grilled Apple Pie Sandwich.  Can you say delish?  
And, no trip would be complete without visiting the famous Leopold's ice cream shoppe.  Their motto is “Good things to eat, good things to drink”.  There is always a line but don’t let that stop you from going there!  It is decorated as an old fashioned ice cream shop and with flavors like coconut, chocolate chewies and cream, tutti frutti and honey almond and cream (just to name a few)-you can’t go wrong!  I had the coconut ice cream with a sugar cone.  Amazing!

3.  Crowd Support/Bands/Pirates:  The Savannah RNR race starts downtown, crossing a bridge into an older neighborhood.  The crowd support was wonderful; seeing people out in the early morning cheering for runners.  While most races have good crowd support, I felt that Savannah neighborhoods were one of the best for runners.  The bands were amazing through the race-playing upbeat music with the neighborhood people dancing along to the beat.  This was wonderful to see while holding signs, cheering us and congratulating us for being there!
   

The Savannah RNR even hosts pirates!

But the best was Mile 11-BEER!  There was a beer tent for runners and after grabbing beer around the corner was an inflatable dragon.  
   

I have to admit that I loved Mile 12-it was the one mile house!  The people who lived there figure out that it was one mile to the finish line playing the theme song to Rocky and signs in their yard!

4.  Savannah beauty:  Savannah is a beautiful city with the architecture, gardens and parks, river and neighborhoods.  The race course takes you through Savannah to enjoy the city’s beauty.  Running past the parks, houses and sites such as the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist and the birthplace and childhood home of the Girl Scouts Founder, Juliette Gordon Home.  



5.   Forysyth Park:  The race ends in beautiful Forysyth Park.  It is the largest park in historic Savannah and boasts some 30 acres of park land.  Arranged with a beautiful fountain and monuments, the runners village added a welcome addition to the scenery.


The RNR runner’s village didn’t disappoint with beer, merchandise tents, the VIP area and of course, the headliner band,  Fitz and the Tantrums.  A beautiful setting with amazing RNR with a cold beer and medal-what could be better!  Life is tremendous in Forysyth Park!
RNR Savannah was a weekend of memories with amazing new friends, beautiful location and
fabulous food!  RNR Savannah is rockin’ life at its best!
   

This was such a fun race and I will definitely be racing next year in Savannah's RNR along with hoping to spend more time in the city.  Thank you to all the volunteers, first responders, others and the people of Savannah  who helped make this race so memorable for me!  

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Bull City Race Festival-Race Recap

This race intrigued me.  It was advertised as a race with a food truck rodeo.  Who doesn't want to go to a food truck rodeo?  Ok, so I was hooked. And it was the one year anniversary for my IRun4Michael buddy, Andrew giving me a great excuse to earn a medal for him.   I registered for the 5 miler because in all honesty, my training and running have gone downhill.  Since June, I really haven't been running and in a slump and depressed.  Then, starting in August, I've been working 75 hours a week between two full-time jobs.  Yes, I am that crazy but a girl has to do what a girl has to do.

Packet pick up was in Durham at the Convention Center.  Parking was a bit of a hassle since it was parking lots or on street parking only and it was crowded.  I finally managed a parking spot on street and walked several blocks to the Convention Center.  It was a beautiful sunny day and downtown Durham is quite nice.

 Outside the Convention Center, there was a small park with a bouncy house, a life-sized chess board, face painting and a local radio station playing music.


I liked how the expo was very kid friendly.   Once inside, the packet pick-up was very well organized, friendly volunteers along with having my IRun4Michael buddy packet attached to my bib.  Thank you for doing this for Andrew, my buddy!  This was a pleasant surprise!
The expo was small but well attended with various races to register including next year's Bull City Race Fest.  Of course, I registered for next year since the price was so low for the race.


 I saw "in the wild"  Balega silver socks noticing that Fleet Feet have their own special edition of these socks.

  I also took a picture of the race course for in the morning.

Saturday evening, I laid out my flat me and picked out my Bible verses for the race.


Sunday morning came way too early for this girl who only gets about 20 hours of sleep during the week.  But, I was excited about running again.  The race was to start at the American Tobacco Campus.

 One of the other reasons that I registered for this race was that I had heard about the ATC and was curious about it.  It is a campus filled with restaurants, shops and offices in Durham.  Parking was easy and the ATC was nice.  While walking to the start line, I received a text message from a friend who was running the one mile race with her work colleagues.  What a wonderful surprise as she didn't tell me and it was fabulous to see her!!

The start/finish line was next to a beautiful park with tents for the runners' village circled by about six food trucks.  Ahh, the food truck rodeo in its glory!


The race started  promptly and we were off.  We started with a uphill climb and this was tough after not running for several months.  The race itself was rolling hills through downtown Durham.  There was not a lot of race support but the people that were out were very supportive.  There was a small tuba band around mile one and then the course went into a beautiful Durham neighborhood with parks and Victorian homes.  Lovely!

Around mile 2.5, there was a bakery and they were handing out small donuts with water.  This was a beautiful gesture on their part and well received.  There was a water stop around mile 3 and off to the finish! The finish was tough, all uphill but I knew that since it was an out and back course.  Finishing was great as there were a lot of people cheering you up the hill!  The medal is fabulous with a huge bull on it!

I finished slower than I would have liked to finish but with decent time for not running for two months.  I walked around the village with my water and beer.  I looked at the food trucks but the lines were so long that I just decided to come home.




Overall, this was a great race but hilly!  Next year, I will now more about the race and how to train, the food truck rodeo and I think that I may try to stay at a hotel to enjoy more of the festivities for the weekend.


A huge thank you to all the volunteers, first responders and the people of Durham who cheered us on during the race!

Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Enough

This is enough.   I have enough stuff.  Enough said. Are you enough?  Enough!  You may be wondering why I chose this word.  I've been in a running slump since June.  It has been a tough summer with job searching, family situations, financial burdens, healthcare, etc.  I have had enough!  What exactly is enough?
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines enough as occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations.

Now, I have had a tough life and won't go into details.  At 53, enough means enough.  I have been thinking about this for the last week and half.  The reasons are multiple-the state of our country, my life and expectations and most recently an interview that I did for Experience Life magazine.  This interview which spotlights me and my fitness journey will be in the magazine next March.

As I was chronicling my journey with the writer, she asked me what I would tell someone who has been struggling with life.  Her reasoning was that my story would resonate with almost anyone.  A woman, a mom, someone who suffered from depression, a divorcee, someone with ADD, a student, a cancer survivor, someone with thyroid disease and finally a runner.  What were my words of wisdom?  What could I pass on to someone, anyone who is struggling?  All I could think of was ENOUGH.  I had written this on a piece on paper when I started running.  Why?

Maybe because I didn't feel I was enough.  I had been told for years that I was nothing.  I didn't feel as though I had accomplished anything in my life.  I had never been involved in sports and running was new to me.  I was overweight, depressed and in a bad marriage.  I was in school struggling with raising teenagers, working three part-time jobs and trying to hold my life together. I also have always struggled with my self-esteem.  Was I enough?  Had I had enough?
I still don't know.  I know that I will always struggle financially, physically and emotionally.  I know that I probably will not be the person that I would like to be.  I honestly don't know except that I won't give up. I realize now that I am a uniquely, flawed but beautiful human being.

Now, as I enter my fifth year as a blogger and runner, have I had enough?  The answer is NO!  I may not always be on target with my goals but I will never give up.  I set some pretty high goals at times and as I get older, I realize that maybe this is a mistake.  I'm not saying to set high goals but maybe not quite as many as I do.  Inevitably, I don't achieve many of these goals as I get easily overwhelmed due to my ADD and then get depressed when I don't achieve them.  I once had a college professor tell me that I was an overachiever (not that I think I am) but maybe he had a point.  My first year in running was glorious with races, meeting new friends and achieving goals.  From then on, it has been a tremendous journey and changed my life but I have been hard on myself.  I have let myself down, get down and continued to struggle.  I will never be a fast runner, have let myself get into slumps especially this year and probably never get back to where I was in June when I was training with an Army Ranger but it is ok.  Right now in the moment, I am going to do what I can, with what I have and what I know, from where I am and that's enough.

Now, what happened to that piece of paper with ENOUGH on it. I still have it and have added on to it.  I carry it with me during races sometimes and have it with my medals.
And what words of advice, would I give someone?   I would give them this.  "Sometimes, when you feel like you are nothing, look inside your heart and read what your soul wrote inside:  "I AM ENOUGH".


Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tired

This is a hard post for me.   I've been off social media with my blog for several months and my other social media for about a month now.  I've been struggling in many ways.  I'm not looking for sympathy but just trying to process life.

I had been running with an Army Ranger friend for about a month, possibly six weeks.   I had run races in the past with him and his unit (three years ago and had my best 5K ever; just shy of 30 minutes).  I reached out to him to help me with my training because I realized that running with the military seems to work for me.  I ran with the Marines the last three miles during the Avocado Half Marathon two years ago and had my best half time then.  So, between wanting to lose weight and get healthier again, I decided to try this route.  And it worked, I did get better with my time and pace.  However, I let mean girls get in my head and fill me with negative thoughts about myself and my ability.  My bad; my fault.  So I basically quit running and trying to lose weight.

Yes, I know that I shouldn't do that however I've always just wanted to fit in and be loved.  Part of my struggle is that I had and still have a lot of self doubt; always.  I moved to North Carolina after being convinced by family (I had stayed away from family for quite a few years-long story- just basically self destructive abusive people to me) with the hope of starting anew.  After my divorce and struggling financially while not being able to afford housing, this seemed like a good move.  I gave up a job that I loved after going to school in my forties (get a college degree, it will change your life) while working three part-time jobs and raising my sons to move so I could afford a roof over my head. I trusted that family would help only to be let down once again.  Now, I understand why I don't have relationships with my family.

I've been struggling since I can't get a job in my library field because everyone wants a Master's Degree in Library Science and the field that I worked in prior to my degree now considers me overqualified for work. My age and limited work experience don't help.  So, it is hard for me to stay motivated.  No job besides doing temp work which barely covers my expenses, no health insurance so my ADD and thyroid medications aren't available (NC health insurance won't cover me since I am working and can't afford anything else) and just tired.

 I know that I am a strong woman who has overcome so much in my life.  I'm just tired.  I'm tired of being a nice person who never gets ahead in this life no matter how hard I try.  I'm tired of seeing people take advantage of others, lie and cheat and use the system while getting ahead.  I'm tired; just too tired.

So, I'm going to be off social media for a while because I just don't have the energy to continue at this point.  I do apologize because I know that you look to me for inspiration but I don't have it in me to give at this point.  Between those negative mean girls in my head, the job and life struggles, I have no energy to give back into this universe at this time.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

2017 Raleigh Rock 'N' Roll Race Recap-Part II

Sunday morning came quickly for the Raleigh RNR half marathon.  We were up and on our way to the convention center by 5:30 am.  Parking was easy and we waited in the hotel lobby. I have never seen such a huge line for the Starbucks along with the bathrooms.
 About 30 minutes before race time, we met our friends from the social meet-up.  It was fun to see the girls again and everyone was psyched for the race!

I started about 7:45 am and was off.  First, I hadn't run through this part of Raleigh and it was lovely. The course was flat at this point so it was easy going.  I saw this fun yard about two and half miles into the race course.   What a laugh!
I can't imagine what their neighbors say about this.

At mile four, there was a group of older ladies baton twirling and having fun, cheering on the runners.  It was great to see this group who looked as though they were having more fun than the runners. 
The bands along the course were also fabulous.  I knew that between mile six and seven, there was a huge hill.  I came up on that hill and remembered it from the  City of Oaks 10k.  The top of that hill was the finish line for that 10k which was my first race in my new home state of North Carolina.

We started toward North Carolina State and a beautiful part of Raleigh.  I saw the outdoor theater and the rose gardens-beautiful.  I can only imagine what they look like when they are in bloom.  As I came around a corner heading toward the NC State Bell Tower,  I saw the Brooks guitar guy.

I started to jump up and down with excitement!  This wasn't up in Washington, DC due to high winds and I was disappointed so it was great to see it!  Again, the band and music were amazing.

Off to run through NC State and head back toward Dorothea Dix Parks.  Now, I know that I was in the home stretch.  I saw this great sign at mile 12 and had someone take my picture.  However, they dropped my phone and the screen is cracked.
Accidents happen. :(  I was a bit disappointed and it was hard for me to stay motivated.  I also knew looking at my Garmin Vivoactive that my time would be much better than two weeks earlier in DC.  That kept  my motivation knowing that I would PR by about 15-20 minutes!

As I came to the home stretch of the last 3/4 of a mile, I saw one of my running groups,  Raleigh Running Nutz photographers and she took my picture while cheering me on!
I felt exhilarated coming into the finish line because I knew that I had a huge PR...15 minutes!!  The smile on my face was amazing and I felt great! 

Afterwards, it was getting my medal for my I run for buddy, Andrew and wait for Joe.  The runners' village was wonderful with all the food (bananas, pretzels, water and Gatorade along with chips and granola bars) along with free beer.  I grabbed my beer while waiting for Joe. The band Cracker was playing and it was great plus having seats at the stadium was wonderful!
He finished his full marathon in just under 4 hours-AMAZING!  He helped me take some pictures with the Raleigh Acorn. 

And then we headed home because I had to get him to the airport.  After all, this weekend couldn't have been better.  Like I said in Part I, amazing friends, food, music-what more could I ask for in a running weekend!  I look forward to attending the Raleigh Rock 'N' Roll race weekend next year and I'll see if it can be better!


Till next time and remember, my journey continues...If you can dream it, you can do it as Walt Disney said!

Disclaimer:  As a Rock-N-Blogger, I received a complimentary global tour pass, which I used as entry for this race.  As always, the opinions are my own. 


Spring Forward: 5 Reasons to embrace Spring Running

Spring has officially sprung!  Why should you love spring running? 1. That fresh spring feeling and a fresh new wardrobe Spring allow...