"Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best." - Theodore I. Rubin

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Life is oh so good :)

Is it really only Wednesday? Today felt like a Saturday or Sunday filled with nothing but training, eating and a couple hot showers since it's ummm in the 40's and raining. all.day.long.and.tomorrow.all.day.long!!! At 6 am when my alarm went ring a ding ding in the dark, I did NOT want to get up. The cold weather outside and the fact I was about to do a 4 hour bike ride all around unknown hilly territory just kinda made me want to crawl back into bed and snooze away :) Nope, I turned the negative thoughts into positive real quick and before I knew I was flying on Mr. Specialized all the way down Bell Road and could see all the gorgeous city lights out in the distance.

Soon enough I met up with my friend Jo and we started our ride. I LOVED it. She took me on a big awesome loop through Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, Rio Verde and up "9 mile hill" until we dropped back into Scottsdale and made our way back. I really enjoyed it and riding with someone else just makes it sooo much more enjoyable. I gobbled up 3 Mint Chocolate GUs along the way, while daydreaming about what hot beverage I would enjoy the second I walked in the door....ummm Gingerbread coffee..duh ;)-

A nice hot shower awaited me next. The rain rolled right into the valley the last 10 miles of the ride..numbing me to the core by the time I got home! I made a yummy lunch, hot coffee, tea and relaxed in sweats until workout #2 and possibly #3 if I decided to swim in the evening. My run at 3 pm turned into a running ice bath, as my shirt, gloves, shorts, shoes, compression socks and arm warmers dripped water galore as I hobbled up the driveway. Last time I had a run like today was back at Duke when it was high 30's and pouring rain! The last 2 miles of my ice run I definitely decided--screw a swim workout in the dark cold rain!

Anyway, this week of training has been pretty special in many ways. It's forcing me to do things I haven't done in months (swim and bike) and to realize that life is oh so great when you take it one day at a time. Those who know me reallllly well, know that I think very far into the future, not only with athletic goals but also life goals, plans, hopes, dreams, etc., often paralyzing me in the here and now to just GO for it. I change my mind on certain ideas sometimes in a matter of 12 hours! (athletic ideas). Therefore I decided to start working with a coach who I have known for about a year now. We have discussed coaching options a few times the past year and for one reason or another (mostly my fear of failure and therefore changing my mind), I usually opted to just do my own thing.

After so much analyzing, hard-core stressing and almost downright depression, I decided that it's time I put most of the decisions and analyzing into someone else's hands, while I follow blindly and work my butt off. Within the first two days of working together, he had already sent me some awesome little uplifting emails that just got me excited, because when you have a coach who totally believes in you and wants you to accomplish ALL your goals, it really keeps you going when things get HARD. The coach I am working with is Adam Zucco, with Training Bible Coaching (no it's not a religious group, lol). www.trainingbible.com and his blog: http://adamzucco.blogspot.com

He is great so far and I am so excited to be working with someone who continues to have incredible success with ALL of his athletes! Improvement is a sure sign you are on your way to becoming a better athlete! I also love the fact that he races triathlons as well and is damn good! 9:16 at Kona this year?!?! Adam will be coaching me with my running and triathlon goals, while also listening to what tends to work for me with my running, since I have been doing it for so many years. His all around triathlon knowledge, coupled with some tidbits from me on my running history will undoubtedly be a surefire coach-athlete relationship for awesome success!! I have a great feeling about 2011...hopefully a year of many dreams come true :)

*Once again no pic, sorry not on my computer again.

Quote for today: "It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for. It doesn’t interest me how old you are, I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine and still shout at the edges of a lake, river or mountain yes! It doesn’t interest me where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done for someone you love. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and truly like the company you keep in the empty moments in your life. Live more than your neighbors, unleash yourself upon the world and go places. Understand that this is not a dress rehearsal, this is it, your life. Face your fears and live your dreams, take it all in, yes, every chance you get, come close; and yes, by all means what ever you do, get it on film." - John Blais

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Very Merry Week :) + "there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful"

Merry Christmas everyone and to those of you who don't celebrate Christmas I hope you all enjoy YOUR holidays you celebrate :) I have had a terrific week with good training, great friends, awesome family time and plenty of laughs! We had more dogs at our house today than people, HAHAHA..with the ones I am house sitting for and also our 4, it was a full house of love! The black lab kept getting in the pool which made my brother laugh so hard because the water is probably 50 degrees! I always love this holiday time of year and we only have one more night to celebrate, New Years! Then it's on to 2011 with plenty of new adventures, fun experiences and of course extremely hard work! I'm looking forward to a fresh new year that's for sure.

Training has been going pretty well. I have not added up my mileage for the week yet but tomorrow I'm doing my longest run in many months, 22 miles. I've had a little hamstring/butt issue going on that starts later in my runs so I'm hoping I feel ok tomorrow to get it done and practice with my water and GUs. I am going to try to do my next marathon with just water and GUs rather than the GU Brew electrolyte drink plus gels, because in New York it was just too much for me. I think in longer hotter races it's great, especially long distance triathlons or hot and humid weather marathons.

I started working for a company here in AZ that puts on athletic events around the state and so far it's great and totally something that fits my personality and interests. I can't wait to do the events and meet lots of great people. But wow, until now I never truly realized what goes on behind the scenes to put on an event and there is SO much to do! Triathlons are obviously more work since there are three different sports involved but even running or biking events are extremely intense. It makes me appreciate race directors and their entire team of workers. Not to mention the countless volunteers who do soooo much...I value my life as a professional runner even more since starting this job :) I feel very grateful and special to be able to do this in my life.

Anyway, I got a new Garmin from Triple Sports recently and I really like it because it has heart rate and it's the smaller version (Garmin 110). However I have to say, I prefer my Garmin Forerunner 405 much more. I really like how I can see individual mile splits, current and average pace, etc. It just has some additional features that I like. Triple Sports has plenty to choose from so I highly recommend getting one from them! You can also buy things online from them, sign up for their newsletter to get special coupons, etc. If you click on their logo on the side of my blog you will be directed to their site. I cannot wait to race my first triathlon of 2011 wearing their jersey! woo hoo! :)

A friend of mine recently said something to me that struck me pretty hard. We were talking about how so many people over-think decisions and they end up finding so many negative things about their idea, etc. and she calmly said "paralysis by analysis"...that's exactly what I do sometimes!! So my goal from here forward is to stop over thinking things and if I feel I want to do a certain race (or not) and work toward a certain goal, then I need to just DO it. There will always be good and bad days and days you question why you do something, but in the end you'll most likely be extremely happy you didn't give up on yourself when the going got tough.

Pic: Sorry no picture today..I'm not on my computer typing this :(

Quotes for today: "If you want to go somewhere you're never been before, you have to take a path you've never taken before....if you don't want the same results you've always gotten, quit doing the things you've always done."

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power." I LOVE THIS QUOTE SOOOOO MUCH!! It relates to so many aspects of life... :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

30k, Dog #4, New GU! and..... Then There Were 3...:)

This morning my sissy and I had a great time going out to Rio Vista Park in Peoria to do the Desert Classic 30k. She had never run more than 15 miles in her life and ran this race around 6:49 pace!! I am soooo extremely proud of her and VERYYYY pumped to coach her when she's done running in college. She is bound to be a marathoner and I'll get her qualified for the 2016 Marathon Olympic Trials :) The course was mostly on rolling and challenging bike paths yet there were basically no spectators except the people cheering for each other on the way back since it was an out and back course. I got excited for the turn around so I could see my friends racing and smile at everyone else! I ended up running slower than planned but with starting a new job recently, baking for friends, sponsors and family and trying to train...I've felt a bit tired. I ran alone and averaged 6:16's, which isn't bad. My friend Steve was 3rd overall and Sammy was 5th overall...so we got 1st, 3rd and 5th overall...pretty stellar for SSSStevo, SSSSammy and SSSSally, LOL

Next up in the Midnight Madness 3 mile race on New Year's Eve night and I am soooooo incredibly excited because my mom has been training and she will be running with my sister and I!! WOO HOO baby, that makes 3 of us together in ONE race for the first time ever. I trained my brother (natural runner) for the PF Chang's Half marathon in 2009 and he ran great; we still laugh about his hilarious stories of when he tried taking a GU ...man oh man fun times!...so now my mom is ready to run the 3 mile race and I am pumped. I get crazy excited and proud to see my family members accomplish running goals, more than anything I ever accomplish. Mom, Sam and I'll have to wear some fun matching outfit or something :)

Alsoooo, I have a 4th dog now and he is super adorable. A friend of mine could no longer care for her 2 year old Yorkie (Maxx) so I told her I could take him and bring him into our lil family :) So far, so good. Wilbur (mamma's boy) doesn't really like it when Maxx is near me and follows him wherever he goes to make sure he shows him who is boss. He has gotten much better about getting along with him and Barney and Winston have been good and love to play with him so I am happy. When you have 3 Terrier personalities to deal with, another one isn't much of a difference..just a bit more stubborn attitude to throw around ;)

Christmas is almost here and my shopping is DONE! yahhoooo..Sammy and I had fun driving around yesterday, blaring and singing to music, getting coffee, Baja Fresh and of course shopping for others turned into me also shopping for myself. Ooopsies ;) hence why I never go shopping just for the hell of it because you see so many things you want...thank goodness I had a ton of money in gift cards to spend on myself..good justification right?

I continue to take my training day by day and week by week. My planning for next year continues to remain in limbo, with me changing my mind every other day :) I know what I WANT for the year...now it's a matter of working backwards and planning it all out! I continue to run about 10-15 miles per day or so and that feels good. I rode Mr. Specialized with a friend of mine the other day. It was incredibly fun to be out riding and forget where I was and what I was doing because I had someone to talk to! I need to train more (esp on the bike and swim) with others, because it helps the time go faster.

GU has some new flavors coming out now and I am SUPER(*&^^% excited :)- I already received some Cherry Lime Roctane in the mail and they are yummmmmy. Another new item will be a new flavor of GU Chomps- Peach Tea! I LOVE LOVE LOVE sweet tea so I am hoping they are going to have that type of taste :) We will see..I'll keep you posted on what I think. All for now...another busy week coming up and finishing off with a great Christmas weekend!!

Pic: From XTERRA..(check out the ocean in the background!!)

Quote for today: "People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success."- Norman Vincent Peale

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Time To Race Like I Drive! :)

I absolutely love to drive my car. Freeways, road trips, anything that does not involve stopping much. High speeds are the most fun :) I hate driving slow and anything below 65 mph feels boring and I can feel myself tense up. Full throttle. Pedal to the metal is my favorite way to drive. Of course I slow down in neighborhoods, school zones, and anywhere the chance of a ticket is high. But put me on the freeway or open road and all I want to do is push my speedometer as far as I can without too much of a risk of seeing the red and blue lights pull up howling behind me. Two speeding tickets in 11 years of driving...not too bad ;) My dream car is a BMW M3, which will be my 30th b-day present to myself.. For now my Mini is incredibly fun, especially around turns without braking ;) Anyway,....

While driving the past few months I couldn't help but think about how pushing my limits while driving is something I need to do more in racing. I think racing has many similarities to driving over the speed limit. You can take the risk and get in the fast lane, typically joining those fellow drivers willing to risk a ticket going 10-20 over the speed limit. Or you could play it safe in the "other" lanes, going 5-9 over and most likely getting to your destination safely without a ticket, maybe only a minute or two later than those who risked a ticket in the fast lane. For me, driving in the fast lane, although riskier makes me enjoy driving so much more. It's thrilling to test myself, see if I have the guts to go with the FAST flow of drivers and of course it's more fun getting to my destination in record time.

Now when it comes to my training and racing, I've always enjoyed "red-lining it" so to speak, on tempo runs, long runs and certain speed workouts. In college my coach told me I was incredibly good at LOVING pain during a workout. Sometimes during the past year I found myself almost afraid to red-line my body, thinking I need to have something in the tank for the last mile or so. However I'm sick of doing that, teetering on the safe side...I need to get back in the faster, riskier lane of racing. When you least expect it, you have amazing races when you think you might blow up (speeding ticket while driving)...but most likely your body will hold up for you and you will finish just fine (no speeding ticket). During the XTERRA race last weekend I'm pretty sure my body was red-lining the last 12 miles, lol. But in the end I had a great day and I'm happy I continued to risk blowing up, saving the actual blow up until the finish line and in the med-tent, hahaha. Whenever I have had some incredibly memorable races in the past, it was when I was in that "fast" lane, risking everything and mentally a bit nervous if I could keep it up. In the end I usually did and had a fabulous finish. Now it's time to get back to training and racing gutsy, risky and FAST. After all, life is more fun in the fast lane, right? :)

Pic: My future baby

Quote for today: "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."- Goethe

Monday, December 6, 2010

XTERRA Trail Run World Champion!! :):)

Laying here on my big bed relaxing after the XTERRA after party, with the sliding glass door open and gorgeous breezy weather blowing in has me feeling pretty good. However my body hurts and I think my calves grew by an inch today after the crazy terrain we raced on! I have my unbelievably beautiful handmade flower wreath, leafy green boa and yummy smelling real flower lei, layed out on my bed ready to try and make the journey home to AZ tomorrow :) My huge awesome metal sculpture trophy is waiting to break my back in my backpack on the way home as well, lol. There will be a video made my XTERRA on their website soon but we got to see it tonight and me flying off the side of the cliff and down a ravine left everyone laughing and me sitting in my chair grinning and laughing so hard my eyes were watering. I can laugh about the race now, yet let me tell you in great detail about this race this morning...

The bus ride to Kualoa Ranch was stunning. The gorgeous green cliffs and the beautiful ocean on the other side made me smile on the inside and I felt so happy to be racing in such a pretty place! I almost moved here two years ago when I was accepted to Teach For America yet declined due to the quarantine rules for animals and the cost involved, yet seeing it now for the first time makes me wonder how my life would be if I had taken that path instead...I guess I'll never know :) Anyway, I hung out sitting on the grass and eventually did an easy 1.5 mile warm up and light stretch since the temps outside were pretty warm. Due to the large amount of people still coming into the ranch and registering they moved the start of the race back 15 minutes...so more waiting around as the temperature climbed.

Gun went off and everyone got going on the course. Almost immediately the hills welcomed our already burning quads. There were two loops and the first shorter loop was not horrible and the hills were tough but not killer. The turn to start the second loop greeted us with a strong headwind and lots of hard hills, steep downhills, muddy areas so slippery and steep they had big ropes to hold on to, etc. By mile 6 I seriously wanted to die!! My legs hurt so bad and I didn't think I'd finish the race. I had so many horrible things going through my head and I felt like I was going to pass out at any moment! Somehow I managed to stay on my feet despite wanting to cry, scream and sit down for-just-one-minute!!*#&*%&*$ My legs wondered what the hell I was doing to them and at the steepest hill on the course they would not go any more. I HAD to start power walking...it felt almost just as bad as running. I moved as fast as I could and ran after a couple minutes, in fear the women behind me would catch me if I slowed too much. At one point I kinda screamed when a huge wild boar ran right in front of me across the trail grunting a freaky noise. I also got a little nervous when I came up on a huge group of cattle and they took a look at me coming and took off running..WOW it was crazy and they are such beautiful animals close up :)

The wider more rolling hills went on for a little while and my body stopped feeling like I was going to be buried at the ranch! The second horrible hill hit us around mile 9 and went on FOREVER. Once again, after the ridiculously long switch backs, I hit the water stop at the top and tried to get in some Gatorade and water yet most of it got spilled as I continued running. We hit the last quarter mile of rooty, narrow single track switchbacks and once again my quads gave out and I had to walk a bit. I started running again at the top and made the sharp turn left and my right leg went sliding off the side of the cliff and I went flying! HAHAHAHAHA..at the time I thought I was going to die and never stop rolling yet now I can laugh about it. The XTERRA camera guy continued filming me as he gave me his hand and helped pull me back up. I had so much dirt on me and he said to me "Are you sure you are ok? I have a radio"...I nodded and continued running, shocked at what had happened and happy I didn't seriously injure myself, lol. Another super cool thing we saw was the future site for a Hollywood film, The Lost World of Atlantis. It's being built in the middle of the ranch and it'll be interesting to see it when the movie comes out!

Somehow I kept my legs under me to win the race and become a World Champion :) I collapsed at the line and had to be treated in the medical tent with an IV, ice, etc. My body temperature was ridiculously high so I had to stay until it went down to below 101. They took great care of me and then I was off to get some food, drink, meet some super nice people, do interviews and then go to the awesome award ceremony. I took the bus back, showered, got my suit on and headed to the beach for a nice walk. The after party tonight was really fun and the slide show and video they made turned out great. I met some more great people and had a fun time. Overall it's been a fabulous mini vacation and I'm happy I decided to do the race.

I am not sure what I am going to do after this. I had planned on racing the Club XC Championships in Charlotte, NC this coming weekend but I may just go and cheer for my friends racing, or I'll race yet do it more for fun. I truly feel like I need a mental break from everything for a little while to just run when I want, swim, bike, do yoga or pilates, etc. and not have the pressure to be "ready" for a certain race. I have some mental confidence issues I need to work on and other personal goals before I can truly compete at my best. I think right now could be a great time to focus on these things. We'll see what happens...my mind is always working on some new plan...;)

Pics: various pics from the weekend events and in Hawaii (Waikiki)

Quote: "If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got"-Lee Iacocca