Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Four Pics and My One Little Word...

I know I am really horrible about blogging on a regular basis...I tell myself that I'm going to strive to be more consistent and then, well, life intervenes and before I know it I'm back to just popping up every once in a great while. So be patient with me...I'm trying! :-)

So I'm bringing back today something that I really want to have be a regular feature: Four Pics and My One Little Word. The previous post can be found here and once I get enough I suppose I might even get all bloggy and create a tab for these! Hey, a girl can dream, right? So without further ado...let's take a look at the Four Pics.

I'm going to give the background on this one first. I'm watching the news with hubby last Friday morning and they are talking about an outbreak of Dengue fever in other parts of the world and they roll that beautiful bean footage and lo and behold - take a look at that Unibrow!!! Holy Furry Caterpillar, Batman!!! What's kind of funny is my hubs didn't even notice it because he was looking at the words at the bottom of the screen so when I basically gasped in amazement he had to rewind and he was just as amazed as I was! Seriously, my big questions are do you think he grooms it daily like you would with other facial hair? Do the other dudes in his village look at him and hold him in high esteem for what is clearly an AH-MAZING uni...I mean, come on, that has got to take some work, right?!?

I spent a lovely weekend in our little mountain community of Idyllwild this past weekend with just the oldest son and daughter-in-law. They rented a small cabin and invited us to join them and it was just absolutely perfect. It was super peaceful and relaxing...something we really don't get too much of these days. And the weather was perfectly crisp - pretty much sunny skies but still sweatshirt and jeans coolness. This pic was taken on Friday afternoon from the downtown shopping area and off in the distance, just to the right of the large pine tree you can see Tahquitz Peak, a large rock that is a popular place for mountain climbing (something I will absolutely never EVER do!).

I absolutely fell in LOVE with this gorgeous bear. It is handcrafted, carved from Alabaster stone as the base and then coated in porcelain. I think it kind of reminds me of the Mama Bear in Brave and I just love that movie and the message in it; but it is gorgeous to boot. I even knew exactly where it would go in the house. As soon as I showed my hubby the picture he even said that he would put it in the same place I already knew I wanted it. So, yep, it came home with us! And it looks fantastic in our home (I'll have to snap that picture later).

So they have these painted deer all over the place and they are apparently some type of fundraising thing because they have plaques with people's names on them nearby. They all have different designs and you just spot them all over the downtown area. And what's really funny is that they totally freaked my husband out!!! Like, seriously, borderline neurotic freaked him out. I teased him that I was going to go touch that one (darnit, they had signs saying No Touching!) and he was like "Don't touch it - that would be bad!" hahaha Seriously...hilarious. I decided I'm going to send him that picture later this week just to remind him how much he "treasured" those painted deer!

And here's another reminder of My One Little Word: Courage
I'm finding that I'm needing to channel courage a lot more as anytime I even think about marathon training I get that little flutter of butterflies in my belly. I'm scared. But with courage I can travel the road to who I can be. Right???? Please feel free to remind me that I can! LOL

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No Turning Back...

You know how some times you purchase something and immediately feel that buyer's remorse? Or other times, the remorse takes a little to settle in. You get it home, turn it upside down and backwards, move it into different areas and then finally just come to the realization that it isn't going to work. Or perhaps it is one of those times where you are actually thrilled you bought it; you love it; you cherish it...and then it goes and breaks well before it's lifespan should have ended?

Well, I have been seriously dealing with some buyer's remorse...but there is no turning back. It is done. Purchased, paid for, no returns.

I bought it and felt really, really good about it the whole first day! I was loving and cherishing it and then I went to sleep and the next morning I woke up with the thought "holy sh*t...what the hell have I done?!?!?"

Yep - no turning's official:

I've registered for my first full marathon!!! And I'm terrified, anxious, excited, nervous...there's a whole lot of adjectives I could plug in here. What it basically comes down to is that I am a swirl of emotions. I know this is something I said I wanted to do, and it took a TON of courage to actually hit submit on the registration form. But I felt really good about it. I went home and downloaded Train Like a Mother by Badass Mother Runners Sara Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell, I plugged all the workouts of the "Marathon - Finish It" plan into my Garmin and scheduled them on the calendar and then I realized...oh wait, that means I'm actually doing this. I'm going to run 26.2 miles. By myself. In a Marathon. With other people watching. Wearing a SunRype racing kit.

Who the hell do I think I am?!?!?

I think prior to that moment I had only really thought about TRAINING for a marathon, going to the marathon, having fun at the Expo, making it a fun weekend getaway with my hubby...I hadn't really thought all too much about RUNNING a marathon! HA!!!

Joke's on me, eh?

So I know that these next several months are going to be about not only preparing my body for the rigors of running 26 miles; but will also be preparing my BRAIN for the rigors of running 26 miles. Because, honestly folks, I think that's my bigger problem! Too often lately I've been allowing myself excuses and easy outs when I started this year off wanting to push harder, get faster, and get leaner. Instead the scale is moving in the opposite direction, my paces are getting longer instead of shorter, and my brain is giving my body a million and one willing excuses.

But there's no turning back...come September 7, 2014 I will be running the Ventura Beach Marathon even if it kills me. Okay, maybe not if it kills me...but you know what I mean. My goal - and I'm writing this as much for myself as I am for anyone reading - is to finish knowing that I put my best effort forward. I want to beat the battle of the brain and conquer my fears. I want to push when I want to quit and I want to go into it knowing that I can do hard things. And I WILL courageously cross the finish line with arms raised in victory!!

Let's get this party started!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring Is In The Air...

I'm an admitted Autumn temperatures, falling leaves, football, pumpkin and so much more. I truly come alive in the fall

But I have to tell you that *this* time of year - right now -  is definitely on the top of my list right behind Autumn!

I admittedly work at a really beautiful campus nestled along some foothills with lots of grass and trees. And coming to work these days (at least until I get tied to the desk hahaha) is a pleasure because the sun is just starting to peek above the mountaintops, the crops that grow along the expressway are usually in mid-watering, the trees have small sprigs of green just appearing and wispy white flowers covering only part of the branches.

Absolutely glorious, I tell ya!!!

I definitely feel Spring Fever coming on!

One of my favorite Primary songs when I was a kid was "the popcorn song" and the lyrics go like this (there are hand motions that go with it too!)

I looked out the window and what did I see?
Popcorn popping on the Apricot tree.
Spring has brought me such a nice surprise;
Popcorn popping right before my eyes.

I could take an arm full and make a treat;
A popcorn ball that would smell so sweet.

It wasn't really so
But it seemed to be

Popcorn popping on the Apricot tree!

Go ahead - sing along! :-)

Oh my gosh - I found a cheesy YouTube Video of it! Check it out!

What is your favorite season? 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Time for a Quickie...

I haven't done a whole lot of talking about my actual "running" lately...but after a bit of a rough spot last week, I am bound and determined to get back on task this week. And my training plan didn't disappoint this morning!

I knew I had intervals on the calendar this morning and that the Garmin was all programmed and ready to go, so outside of double-checking what paces I needed (since I was on the treadmill today I don't pre-program my paces into the watch since there is usually about .25 mile difference between the Garmin and the TM which means paces are way off) and hitting start. I think I had in my head that there were two sets of intervals of 7:00 threshold pace, 3:00 10k pace, 2:00 recovery...turns out there were THREE sets of those intervals.

I know when I was on the second set, doing the 10k pace I kept thinking "almost done, almost done, just get through this last tough interval and then you are in cool-down mode" when the watch prompted a change and I glanced down and saw another Run 7:00 instead of Cool Down Until Lap Press, I will admit I had a moment of internal temper tantrum. And then I mentally slapped myself upside the head and said "Get Over IT and Just Do It!!" And I did...

It was a tough workout and it challenged me mentally and physically. I worked up quite a sweat...but you know what? I feel pretty badass too!

And that's what a good training run is all about...just enough challenge and a mental boost for the day!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Putting It Out There...Vulnerability and Fear on Display

So let me give you just a little background first...where I work we have a day each year that is dedicated to professional development. We have a Senate that puts the day together for the rest of the staff and they usually have a keynote speaker, a theme, and then some workshops and stuff. It's a pretty great thing really and I'm very blessed to have a place to work that puts value on our personal and professional development at least once each year. Anyways, this year's Staff Development Day will be on March 26 and the theme is "Health and Wellness - Mind & Body". I'm not part of the group planning the event but I think they picked a really great theme. So many times we focus on the tangible professional development skills of using PowerPoint, organizing our Outlook inboxes, knowing what "color" we are (True Colors if you aren't familiar with the personality test concept), etc. But how we feel and take care of ourselves is important too! Sometimes even more so, right?

So the other day I get an email from one of the folks on the Senate, who also happens to be a friend, asking me to lead a workshop on running.

Freak-Out Gif photo 35518b95c77b884802b9499c4c310750-1.gif

Oh the HORROR!!!!!!!

Okay, I know...I love running and I love sharing my love and passion with others, right? I should be absolutely thrilled, right? Yeah...not so much!!!

You see, running is also a very personal thing for me. Sharing it here on the blog is one thing as I pretty much know that anyone reading it already knows I'm a totally crazy runner person. But other people in REAL LIFE...they may not quite "get it". And my co-workers?!?!? Sharing that piece of me with them is scary. At work I have a "persona", a professional other words, I'm kinda faking who I am at work. Running for me is like removing that outer layer and seeing the real me. The me that my loved ones and friends see. And I'm scared by opens up a level of vulnerability that I work hard at not opening up.

I'm not an expert. I'm not a certified coach. I'm not even someone that has had coaching. I won't win races probably ever. I avoided running like the plague when I was younger and "in shape". Now I'm just an overweight Nana-Mother-Putt-Putt-Runner that slogs along at a slower than breakneck pace. How am I supposed to lead a workshop on running?!?!?

And I pretty much said all of that in the reply to my friend.

And her response to me was something along the lines of "Those are all the reasons I WANT you to lead the workshop. I want to hear about running from someone that is a normal person that finds the time to do all these crazy things like run races and train in the middle of the night while juggling work and family and everything else. I don't want to hear about it from a coach or a professional, I can't relate to that."


And there it is. You see the last word in that quote? Yep...COURAGE. My One Little Word for 2014. *sigh*

Turns out that I kind of asked for this. So guess what I'll be doing on March 26? Leading a workshop titled something like "The Average Person's Guide to Running for Fitness" or perhaps I'll go silly with "How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse: Learn to Run". haha

And in the end, I know that my initial freakout was just fear talking. The fear of putting myself out there and risking rejection or humiliation. But you know what, if someone doesn't like what I have to say about it, who cares! All I can do is share my experiences and if they can't relate then oh well...but perhaps I just might inspire a person or two to find their own running journey? Or even if they never run a day in their life, maybe they will find a different journey to fitness...and that, my friends, is more important than my fear. Just remind me of that fact when I start to freakout again on March 25, mmmmkay?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

G.I.G.O - FFInspired

How many people are familiar with that acronym in the title? It is said "Gee-Go" and I first learned it back in an Introduction to Computers class at my local Community College as it is a term used by a lot of programmers, but it can be applied to fitness too, eh?

But can it also be applied to our Faith?

I am participating in a group called Faith & Fitness Inspired that I'm really excited about because, believe it or not, faith and fitness actually go really good together!! I find that some of the best times for me to spend time with God are when I'm out on a run...when I'm at peace in the world and enjoying His creation; I can turn it all off and leave my worries on the pavement. Words flow from a different place when I'm running because it is the base thoughts...I can't put together a structured prayer, but my heart can speak for me instead and that's prayer in its purest form, really. In my opinion anyways!

At any rate, I'll be doing some faith inspired posts so if you're not interested in reading it, go ahead and skip. I won't be offended. Promise! I'll include the FFInspired in the title so you can use that as your guide if you aren't interested.

But if you're interested in learning more, check out the Facebook page here.

So the question this month is "Does God care what I put in my body?" I've done a lot of thinking on this my entire life really because I've mentioned before that I was raised a Mormon, although I am no longer and consider myself simply a non-denominational Christian, and how you treat your body is a major component for Mormons. Many people are familiar with Mormons primarily because they don't drink alcohol, caffeine (supposedly anyway even though it seems like a majority now drink Coke and other caffeinated drinks), or smoke. Additionally, they wear modest clothes such as no tank tops, no bikinis, etc. So I grew up knowing that my body "is a temple" and when you think of it that way, I guess God would care what I put in it? Right?

So right there in the Bible it says that we are to honor God with our bodies and if we are filling it full of junk that really isn't honoring Him is it? But I also believe that there isn't so much a list of items you can't eat or drink or that if you have a candy bar that God is looking down and shaking His head at you. And seeing how Mormons are drinking Coke and Pepsi in droves and haven't been struck with lightning yet, I'm guessing it isn't one of the primary principles for getting into Heaven.

HOWEVER, here is where I think that it really starts to make a difference in what we put in our bodies. For me, there are two really big ways that what we put into our bodies makes a difference to God.

To Fill Holes

When we start using food or drink (or in some cases, drugs) to fill empty places instead of using God to fill those empty places we have a real big problem. I kind of picture this in my head: You build a temple as a place of worship for your community but then you fill it with so much furniture there isn't room for even a single worshiper to enter. You have used that furniture as a barrier instead of using your temple for its intended purpose. We are a society of emotional eaters, there isn't any way around this. Stressed? EAT! Happy? EAT! Frustrated? EAT! Sad? EAT! Sometimes when we have those feelings, especially the ones like stress, sadness, frustration, emptiness, instead of eating - even if it is the healthiest food in the world - what we really need to do is figure out what is making us feel hurt and empty and turn to God to fill that gap. Food is a temporary gap-filler, but God can give us a permanent one!

Eating Poor "Fuel"

For athletes, and as an endurance runner, I have had to truly learn what it means to fuel wisely. If you aren't replacing the carbs that you are burning through the effort of a long or hard run, you "hit the wall" or "bonk". For any non-runners, what that means is that you literally get to a place where your body just kind of shuts down or at a minimum, reduces the level of effort that it can sustain. So when I think about if I'm not fueling my life right by either eating "bad" foods, or not eating enough "good foods", then I may not have the ability to continue at the pace that is needed from God either. I may not be healthy enough to model Godly behavior for my kids and grandkids. I might not be healthy enough to be out in the world encountering others. If I am laying on the couch like a slug because I can't even muster the energy to go outside due to bad eating and unhealthy habits, then I might miss opportunities to share God's love with others. So in this case, keeping myself fueled and healthy allows me to have the energy and drive to be ready to work for God and do what he has called me to do. It is when we fill ourselves with so much bad stuff that we can't even answer the call if we wanted to that what we put in our bodies might matter to God.

So I may not abstain from caffeine or alcohol and there may not be many foods that are "off limits" in my Christian walk, but I do feel like I need to be aware of when I'm using food or drink as a barrier in my relationship with Him. And I do agree - you put garbage in and you're going to get garbage out. If I put garbage in to fill holes or to the point where I don't have the ability to do what is needed, then I truly am getting garbage out. So to honor myself and the temple I have been given, I strive to have a healthy relationship with food and that's what I think God cares about as far as what I'm putting in my body.

How about you, what are your thoughts on if God cares what you put into your body?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Best Friend Manifesto

As Best Friends, Besties, BFF's, etc., we agree to:

1. Never wear fugly shoes, especially not to work, and definitely not for the sole reason that they "are comfortable".

Exhibit A

Exhibit B
Exhibit C
2. Never, I repeat, NEVER have nasty old lady cleavage. As best friends, it is critical that we help each other to age gracefully and to know when it is time to let vanity go. Don't mistake this for being ugly or not caring about our appearance (see Item 1 above)...but I refuse for us to be 60 and still dressing like we're 20. Mmmkay? Sometimes them bad boys just need to be covered up!

Exhibit A
Random photo taken from the web that came up on Google Search using the term "old lady cleavage". And you know what? There were LOTS to choose from!! *shudders* (Bestie - let's discuss this later because I know we are going to get a good laugh out of it!)

3. We will always tell each other when we're being a beotch for no other reason than for being a beotch. We recognize that we'll have bad days when we don't like many people, but when we start treating others disrespectfully we have permission to bitch slap and tell the offending BFF to get over themselves.

4. We agree to tell each other when there's food in the teeth or bears in the cave (aka boogers in the nose). We also agree to make note if clothes are flashing the belly fat, if there are super visible panty lines, if a skirt is too short, if we're dressed inappropriately, if our hair looks like crap. Okay, let's just agree that we'll make sure we are always presentable. (See also Items 1 & 2 above and #5 below.)

5. We also agree to tell each other if there are any wayward hairs - things like black crazy hairs coming out of the chin, a gray hair sticking straight up, etc.

6. It's okay if we don't like the same people, and it's okay if we don't dislike the same people, but we agree that we will never stop each other from having those likes/dislikes that are different. Because when we don't like the same person, we both agree to laugh at all the stupid impressions and jokes and to send each other secret Pins.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

7. Speaking of, we agree that some jokes are not appropriate for others, so those will be sent as secret pins.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

8. We agree that no jokes, rants or raves are inappropriate in private; as long as they stay "in private".

9. We agree to tell each other when it is time to break out the pumice stone or go to the salon for a pedicure because no best friend will let their friend run around in sandles with nasty cracked feet.

Exhibit A

NASTY - and those weren't even the worst!!! Again, a Google search image...if you're brave just type in cracked feet and you'll find more than enough nasty feet pictures. *Shudder*

10. We agree to always listen, give a hug, a shoulder to cry on, or even just a text or email when either of us is having a rough time. We agree that our friendship is a precious treasure and we will treat it as such. I know a lot of the items above are silly and vain, but as best friends we will always hold each other in our hearts, whether we are close or far; whether we spend 5 minutes or 5 hours; whether we are happy or sad; whether we have time or not. And don't forget - we'll be platonic life partners when we're old and gray if our husbands kick the bucket before us! ;-)

To my Bestie - I love ya to the moon and back, girlie!! 
I'm so glad that God let us find each other!!!