The Road to Cottonwood- Weeks 1 & 2

Life is a journey, they say. Well, The road to Cottonwood is also a journey. Big Cottonwood is a race like no other that I have trained for. I will start at 9600 ft of elevation and the course drops to 4400 ft of elevation! That’s quite a downhill race! So, training for this race is a whole other animal. Not only is their the marathon preparedness factor that I need to gear up for, but it’s the downhill racing that’s important.  It’s not just finishing a race that I want out of it, it’s qualifying for Boston with greater than a 5 minute time!

What goes into downhill racing? Well, as it turns out, you need quads of steel! Yes, my legs are definitely my strongest asset, but they must be stronger. So strength traning is of the upmost importance. Needless to say, that includes deadlifting- which I have shared, is not my favorite. I have compromised to using the hex bar as dead-lifting rather than a straight bar. Honestly,, I can hex bar any day of the week and “enjoy it” where the straight bar just kills my hamstrings. So, twice a week I’m working on dead lifts. That, of course, is in addition to another 4-5 days a week of push-ups, planks, squats, bridges, etc that I am doing to build up my muscles. No, I’m not trying to get “jacked” for this race. Just building myself up to be the best version of me that I can possibly be. And the strongest version of course!

I have been training since Carmel, to rebuild my base, but in the last 2 weeks, more down-hill training has ensued, and the long runs have gotten longer. One of the reasons that this race was chosen, was because there is a large group of people from my running club, Hendersonville Running Club, who are running it: both the 1/2 and the full. There are 4 of us who are looking to BQ- qualify for Boston. So, needless to say, we are feeling a little bit more pressure.

My “team” includes Kim and Andrew- who are both much faster runners than I am. But, we have formed a pact that we are training all of our long runs together (in terms of route) to prepare for this race. Last week was our first go at it. I knew I would be behind them the whole way, but at least knowing that someone is out there makes the run more enjoyable, and safer of course. It was a 17 mile course- with the first portion hilly, the middle part shady, and the end part hilly with pure sunshine! In the middle of May, that means that the weather is hot and humid, just perfect for long runs! NOT!! We had put out water ahead of time so that we would not dehydrate during the run- only way to get through a long run.

I have to say that my friends are truly amazing. I may be the slowest of the 3 of us, but they never left me at any of the water stops! They waited however long it took me to get there and drink, before we were offf and running again. For the fastest, that could be as long as 5+ minutes. Let me just say that at first I felt really bad that the runs were going to take them so much longer, but they both told me that we were in this together when we committed to running the same race. TRUE FRIENDSHIP!!

The first 4-5 miles were tough- my legs were feeling tired and not ready to move, but then things evened out, especiallly after the 2nd water stop, because we were in a shaded area. That was definitely refreshing. Then we hit Big Station Camp— let’s just say that that is a very busy road with large trucks and it has several hills. It was tough having to constantly have to jump off the side of the road multiple times. The last stretch was a straight path- but the road was definitely not flat. And being another busy main road, there was plenty of traffic, even for 8AM. Besides the hills, the sun was just beating down on us. This sounds Negative, but it shouldn’t. All the things I’ve listed: the hills, the humidity, the heat…. all of these things make me stronger. Every last one of them make me dig deeper inside of me to finish, to complete the run. THAT is what you need in the marathon. If I just ran easy simple courses all of the time, then I wouldn’t be building this strength deep within me. It’s the courses that challenge you that make you a better runner.

WEEK 2

Today was mostly a solo run- 18 miler. My running partners were BOTH out of town this weekend so we all had essentially solo runs to take on, in different states. The one thing linking us was that we ran at basically the same times, just far away from one another. I was able to share the first 2 miles with another running friend, and then then next 1.5 miles with another. Those second 1.5 miles (I was actually 6 miles into my run at that point), was on a hilly road. I told him, “This is just stupid- I have  another 13 miles to go and I’m killing myself on hills. I’m turning around.” He agreed that that was the way to go, we high-fived, and off I ran, headed back the way we came. Yup, more hills!

The plan was, that I would reach my car at the 10 mile mark so I could hydrate back up with some Powerade and grab a gel. I planned it perfectly. What I didn’t realize, what that another group of runners would be done and chatting in the parking lot. When I got back to the car, we talked and they invited me to coffee. Boy did that sound inviting,  but no way with 8 more miles to go. And the hard stuff was just beginning.

Miles 10-14 were all intervals- speed work- 1/2 mile at sub-8 and then 1/2 mile jogging. I knew that I had to run in the flattest area possible, so I ran the entire thing in the park. I would head out, run the 1/2 mile fast, run and little further, and then cover many tracks backwards, and just start again. BORING!!! But, still effective. It helped me gauge every time where my 1/2 mile mark would be, so I knew I just had to push a little further with each one. And 4 didn’t seem all that bad. I was soaked to the bone with the high humidity. Also, I was grateful I brought a bandana this run to wipe the sweat off my face/head. It was also completely soaked. “Four more miles for the cool down ” was what I thought.

The last 4 miles felt almost like a death march, because I was totally spent by that point. We went straight from winter to summer, and my body just hasn’t acclimated yet. But I knew it had to be done. In my head, I was trying to convince myself to just run 17 and it would all be OK. But I knew in my heart that that wasn’t the way to go, that I HAD TO finish the full 18. So, what I did was to run a course where I wouldn’t get back to my car til 18 miles, so I had no choice. When I finished, Powerade never tasted so good! I rewarded myself with coffee after. Digging deep, is finding the strength to carry on when your body tells you to stop. it’s finding the power within you to keep going when all signs point to STOP!! Let’s just say that I had to dig deep to finish today.

These solo runs, although they are boring because I’m running by myself, they are also a learning experience for me. I learn from every run that I do. There are different things to learn with each run- fueling, hydration, nutrition pre/post run, pacing, strength, and power. You never know what you are going to learn from the experience until it is over. But these are the runs where I feel like I build the most inner strength. Yes, that sounds great, but I LOVE my group runs. I especially love my TEAM runs. NOTHING can replace the feeling of camaraderie.

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Boston Marathon Monday….

The day of the Boston Marathon is seriously one of my most favorite days of the year!!! To me, it’s like Christmas morning. You just never know what is going to be there and take place. This year, of course, was no different. I normally watch the marathon by myself, but I got to watch it with a running friend of mine this year, which was really cool.

I LOVE watching this race and following the elites. All eyes were truly on Shalane Flanagan in this race. What the American women did, was just incredible. Instead of being competitors, they worked together as a single team. The main goal, was to get a USA win for the Boston Marathon. How remarkable!! It’s very rare that you actually see something like that happen. The last time we saw it happen was with Shalane Flanagan and Amy Cragg during the Olympic Trials. But these women teamed up with one another for the benefit of the group rather than their own benefit. I’ve only been running for 6 years, and therefore following everything running since that point, but I don’t remember seeing this kind of comaraderie other than listed above. It really shows the importance of a team.

Watching Des take over the race leader, after helping Shalane get back to the race  wasn’t just incredible, it was outstanding! Helping Shalane, helped get Des back in the race, because she was ready to drop out! Can you imagine?? The entire element of the race would have changed! Then again, had the weather been different, been better, we may not have gotten the same results. Today,- 1 day later- Boston had ideal running weather, for most. But Des knew that she would be able to pull through if the weather sucked. She knew that it would give her the advantage. We can only change the things we can control, but the things we can’t, like weather- well, can’t stress over it because there is NOTHING that we can do to change it. Energy must be spent focusing on doing the very best with the circumstances you are given, no matter what they are, including 25mph winds with torrential rain for 26.2 miles!

One of things that I loved to see was that Des literally NEVER LOOKED BACK!! She solely focused on what was in front of her. During the course of the race, the other leaders were constantly looking back to see where their competitors were. But not Des. She just kept moving forward! To me, this was remarkable. It’s like, you can’t focus on what’s behind you, you can only focus on what’s ahead of you, because that is what is going to win you the race. Not only did she win, but she won in style. She showed grit, determination, and tenacity. Those are all features that I admire in her. I hope that I can develop that same grit and determination that Des showed during the Boston Marthon. She is definitely someone that I look up to, and a lot of running women look up to. She has worked hard, and it has paid off!

Until next year. I have qualified for Boston, but will try again to qualify with a better time. I am hoping to toe the line next year rather than watch it on TV, but we shall see. I will put forth my best effort. If I’m not running the race, I will be glued to my TV and aiming to run the race in 2020. But, I will continue to train hard to punch my card to the Boston Marathon.

It’s Been a While….

It’s been a while since I have written. In fact, I have been so busy with all of the hats that I wear, that I haven’t found or made the time to actually write. I was inspired by a friend (you know who you are) to start writing again. So, I decided it was time to just sit and write what’s on my mind.

Running and writing are two things that I am very passionate about. I have been given or obtained opportunities to pursue both of these in my life. I have been very blessed to be able to write regularly for the Your Sumner magazine every 2 months. I write about fitness and nutrition- things that are close to my heart.  I would LOVE to get to write regularly for other magazines, it just hasn’t fallen into my lap yet. Experience was needed first. Now that I have been a published magazine writer for a little over a year now, maybe I will be able to obtain some other magazines to write for.

In previous posts, I have talked about dreams and goals of mine. Well, I have accomplished another one of my goals 2 weeks ago. I wrote a race report and published it publicly, so I won’t bore everyone with the details, but I qualified for Boston!!! I want to scream it from the rooftops! I’m sure that I can find someone to do this with me!! I haven’t screamed and jumped up and down like I would like, but wow I am flying high! I started running 6 years ago last month. And I started running marathons 4 years ago. I started with a marathon time of 4:45 and now just ran a 3:43:15. It’s not because of luck that I cut down my marathon time by over an hour. It’s because of dedicating myself to training and nutrition, that over time, I have slowly knocked the number down. It’s been a long process, with countless hours of dedication to pounding the pavement and miles run, but worth every single second that I have dedicated to the sport. I also got into a better, or actually stuck with, a strength training program regimen that helped make me stronger and more badass as well.

It’s important to have goals. I, for one, know that goals can be ever-changing. In fact, 1 1/2 years ago, completing an IronMan 70.3 was high on my priority list. But, life changed, and that dream got put on hold- and not even something that I am considering to pursue at this point of my life now. Boston Qualifying wasn’t really on my mind on until this past November when I ran a 3:46:07 marathon time- which is only 1:07 above my Boston qualifying time! For several years, I’ve had friends tell me that one day I would achieve it, but honestly I never believed them. Qualifying for Boston and actually running Boston are two very different things, though. I have to run about 3 minutes faster to secure a spot to run the Boston Marathon. I am going to continue to work hard to achieve this next goal. I am dedicated to making this dream a reality.

I have other goals, too. I’ve been approached by a couple of people about coaching running. Since running is something that I am passionate about, this is DEFINITELY something that I would love to do. With all my hats, though, I don’t have the time to spend to get certified. But, as my reign ends at the end of the year as the president of Hendersonville Running Club, I am going to make the time to get certified. I think that it will be amazing to help other people achieve their goals and get to see the joy that they feel! I can only imagine at this point, the proud feeling that a coach has when his/her protege achieves and conquers their goal. It may be as simple as running a mile, or running their first marathon, or qualifying for Boston! I’m looking forward to pursuing this aspect of my life. Motivating and inspiring people is something that I absolutely LOVE to do. I try to be very positive for other people. In fact, Rob always makes fun of me telling me that I am just so positive all the time for other people. If I can make a difference in one person’s life by motivating them or inspiring them, then I feel accomplished. The feeling of another person achieving their goal that you helped inspire them to do, is unbelievable and I hope to have more opportunities to do that!

Until next time….

The Year I Turn 40- Mid-Life Crisis?

I’m turning 40 this year. No big deal honestly, especially since I still feel 28. I know that to a lot of people this is a really big deal. Not so sure it means as much to me. I do feel like I’m changing though. Evolving, maybe? I feel like a different person today than I was last year, and definitely a different person than I was 4 years ago! Is different, bad? I don’t think so, but maybe others would view it as such in their own lives.

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I have so many hats that I wear on a daily basis: mom, wife, doctor, runner, swimmer, writer, president of local running club, PTO member, etc, the list goes on. It’s prioritizing those things that sometimes gets hard. I always try to be mommy first because that is extremely important to me. But then the mommy guilt comes when you need to do something for yourself over your kids. I have found, though, over the last 5 years of running, a new found independence. One that I hadn’t felt in over 6 years prior- with the birth of my first son. At that point, EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERYTHING revolved around him. That continued with my second child, and even the first 18 mos. of my daughter’s life. Then my eyes were opened to the fact that it is ok to think about yourself and take time for me. Of course people told me that through the years, but I never listened. I thought they were crazy actually. How could MY time be more important than my child’s time?

Turning 40 seems to be causing me to think and re-evaluate some things. Sometimes I feel like I put myself first too much- is this selfish? No matter what schedules there are during the day (let’s just say that they are usually very hectic), I always take the time to snuggle my children before they go to bed. That time is precious to me. But do they think that they get enough sometimes? I don’t know. I need to run to keep my mind fresh, to have a more even temperament, to be a better mom. I have a training schedule and must follow it. Sometimes that means that I might miss a practice, or be unable to do the whole homework with them. But I think that this helps build THEIR independence- or that is at least what I tell myself. Lol. But at what point am I putting myself first too much? I do not have the answer to that question. Not sure anyone does though. I am at essentially EVERY game, EVERY major life event, and I am always there when they need me. I get the large majority of my runs/exercise complete while they are at school, or before they even wake up in the morning. I do not want to miss anything.

I am planning on getting a tattoo sometime in the very near future. In the year I’m turning 40, I find it very cliché. I’ve been planning on this for the last 2 years, and enough has happened over the last 2 years that has pushed me to decide that I’m doing it. It helps that a friend wants to get one too and we will go together. I think, though, that people will view this as a mid-life crisis. It doesn’t matter what others think though. As long as I am happy with my decision.

At this point of my life, I feel like a lot of mom’s may go through this, wearing so many hats, that it is difficult to prioritize all of the hats. I have to say that it is hard to be all those people every day. I do my best, but realize that I will fail at some of it. I multitask a lot to accomplish things, but when I run or swim- that is when my mind clears. I do write blogs and formulate articles in my head as I’m running- usually when it’s an easier run. But it is the time of the week where I can just clear my mind- to not have to stress about things that are weighing on my shoulders. That is a reason why I always put exercise toward the top of my priority list. It does make me wonder though, sometimes, what else I am sacrificing to get in my exercise.

At 39, for the first time this past fall, I went on a girls weekend, for a race. It was invigorating to do that. Nothing to worry about except the race for 4 days. It felt strange that I really only had to focus on one hat. But yet it was great. My husband survived the days with the kids and even told me that I could do that a couple times a year. What an amazing husband I have!

And then there’s sexuality. I think that this isn’t something, as an almost 40-year old, that people talk about much. Feeling good about yourself and your body is, I think, a very important part of our lives. Especially as we are getting older. I use the term “older” very lightly. I do not feel almost 40, so I do not think of myself as “old.” I feel like 40 is the new 30. It takes hard work to look good and feel good. I feel like I put a lot of work into feeling and looking this way. I run about 35 miles a week currently- will get it back up to 45 soon, swim twice a week, eat a vegan diet, and limit junk food. Yes I have my weaknesses, which lately has been wine, but I think that is human. I then question, if you feel younger than you are, is it OK to dress younger- without being promiscuous? If you have a good body, is there any reason that you shouldn’t wear clothes that flatter it, without being a sex symbol? My mentality on all this has changed recently, as sometimes things happen that make you feel better about yourself, make you feel more confident, more appealing, sexier. Confidence is key in feeling good about yourself. I think that a lot of women lack confidence, especially as we get older. As a mom, I feel like we get caught in this “mommy” look and feel stuck. There is no reason for us, as women, to get stuck in that. We can be beautiful both inside and out and showing our confidence will also show our beauty. Be empowered- that is something that I have started feeling more over the last couple of weeks. Be strong.

At the ripe age of 39, another way I have found myself evolving- my drink preference. By that, I do not mean my everyday drinking water. I mean, my social, enjoyable drinking. Whenever we went out, I was always a Corona kind of girl, and if options were limited, would end up with Dos Equis, but I just prefer Corona. Over the last couple of months, wine has definitely taken a new appeal. I found Riesling to be sweet and taste really good- this became mine new drink of choice for social settings. Over the last couple of weeks, a friend introduced me to Sauvignon Blanc. It also is delicious- sweet, yet a little more dry. It’s always good to be open to different options- and sometimes things get “sweeter with age!”

No time in the near future will I be buying a new 2-seater Audi or Mazaradi, so this rules out mid-life crisis to me! Lol. I will just keep juggling my hats, hoping that I have prioritized the right order, not sacrificing too much of any one thing. I will also make sure to keep building my confidence and strength to be a strong woman.
#neverquit #keepfightingthegoodfight #mommystrong

This Crazy Life

Yes, I live a crazy life. It has been WAY more than crazy over the last 11 weeks, that is for sure. I haven’t had the time to actually sit down and finish a blog over the last 2 months or so. I have started several of them- especially when I was feeling overwhelmed, but time got in the way and I was never able to finish them. They truly talk about how exhausted I had been feeling, and I plan on sharing them below. I feel like it’s important to be truthful about how I have been feeling over the last 11 weeks because there are people who feel that way, but try to hide it because they are afraid what other people might think about them if they share those feelings.
Today, I am taking the time to sit down and write. I don’t have a lot of time to do it, but it is important. 2017, marks a significant turning point in my life- one where I have chosen a leadership role, which is WAY outside my comfort zone. I NEVER in my life, thought of myself as a leader, but here, I find myself leading an amazing group of people, the Hendersonville RUnning Club. What an honor! This year, has been marked with tragedy, which has allowed me to not only lead a group of people, but to bring everyone together, to unify them. Tragedy, death, is a very difficult time in an intimate group of people. So, just being there for people seems small, but yet worth so much. I had the privilege of pulling together a run, for a beloved friend of ours, who was battling on the last legs of his life, with colon cancer. With reaching out to the running community, local community, and family, we gathered 90+ people! And that was only with 5 days notice! As the leader of the running club, and the organizer of the event, I had to speak. Well, public speaking is NOT my thing. I actually do anything to try to avoid it. But, there was no avoiding it. I wrote my speech the night before. There were several different variations of course. I wasn’t sure if Charlie would make it to the run, and honestly, I wasn’t sure that he would survive the night. I didn’t sleep much at all that night- I just kept thinking about Charlie, and the battle he was fighting. I was grateful to get to run 8 miles beforehand, which definitely helped to diminish my nerves. When I spoke, I didn’t feel nervous, I didn’t have hands that were shaking uncontrollably, I didn’t feel my heart pounding out of my chest. I just… spoke. I can honestly say, that was probably the first time in my life, that I had that kind of confidence. Of course I was a bit nervous looking into the crowd, but I did it.

Here are some of the partial blog posts that I had written over the last 2 months. You can see where my mentality was then, but as you read above, you can see where my mentality is now.

January 24, 2017
Overwhelmed

Ever feel like your world is closing in on you and you are stuck in the center? That is how I have felt over the last 4 weeks! It is so hard to imagine how things can be the “normal crazy” and then just become insane.
Being a caretaker is hard work!! People aren’t given enough credit when they help take care of others. I can tell you, that as a mom of 3 with an injured husband, it is INSANE!!! The workload doesn’t just double because your husband is injured- it seriously quadruples!! No joke. I didn’t realize how much Rob did and how much we did as a team, until he couldn’t do it anymore. It would be hard enough with just 2 of us, but then throw 3 very sports-active children in the mix and the walls come crumbling down!!
There were several nights that I cried myself to sleep. I felt like a failure. I couldn’t get everything done that needed to get done. It was impossible. Even staying up til 11-11:30pm just wasn’t enough. My house is constantly in disarray. It’s actually embarrassing.
It’s not only the house surrounding me. It’s watching my husband’s world collapse. Take a 60+ mile per week ultramarathoner, break them, and tell them to sit in a chair for a month. Not good! Both psychologically and physically. I have had to watch him suffer too and that just makes me so sad.

January 24, 2017
I listen to a podcast from Kerri Walsh Jennings today on Rich Roll. I felt so connected to her. She talked about how on the days when she works, she has a little bit of energy leftover for her kids, and then when they go to bed, she has no energy left for her husband. I have felt this way for a while, then multiply that by 100 over the last 6 weeks!
I am just exhausted ALL of the time! On my “days off”, it just doesn’t seem like there is any actual time off.

February 6, 2017
How are we doing?

This is a question that I get daily from friends and family. I am so grateful that everyone takes the time to check in on our after the collision that my family had 7 weeks ago. I don’t know how we would have made it this far without family and friends by our side. I try to
I look at time at this point as B.C. (Before Collision) and A.C. (After Collision). That day, has been a defining moment in our lives- NOT in a good way, unfortunately.
Before, we were able to live our lives “normally”, well, as normal as it was for us. We were lucky that we didn’t struggle on the day to day, but NOW, it’s a different story. We have spent the last 6 1/2 weeks as a single car family- very difficult, to say the least when you have kids in 3 different sports, going in different directions. But, we now have a car. With a car, comes more payments…. which is a HUGE source of stress for me. Finances weren’t an issue for us, B.C. In fact, we are savers. I always try to save for a rainy day. And thank goodness, because this has taken a lot out of our savings.
People ask are you ok. Well no, actually I’m not ok. I will keep putting on my fasad that I am so things can “feel” normal… but they aren’t. I couldn’t be more lost. I don’t sleep. I have crazy dreams. I’m exhausted all the time. I feel like I’m in psycho-bitch mode most of the time. To top it off, my 6y/o told me the other day that I am like Raven from Teen Titans because I yell all the time! Wow!! Eye-opening. And it was so innocently that she said it. That is not who I want to be. I just want to be me again I feel like that person has gotten lost in this AC time period.
So, my mental state has changed a bit. One and a half weeks ago, a switch was flipped in my brain by an event. I have a new mindset. I fee more CONFIDENT. I feel STRONGER. I feel EMPOWERED. I will NEVER QUIT. I am using these to change my mindset. I know that I can accomplish more things. I feel like my path in life is still being carved out. Yes, I am a mom, a runner, a doctor, a wife, a writer. But, I am so much more. I feel like there is a whole other aspect that hasn’t even been explored: with marketing, planning, leading. I am looking to explore all of these new aspects of my life. Maybe there is a future in those, and my life will take a different path than where it has been all these years. But, who knows? I never thought I would be on the path that I am on currently. But, I am glad that I am here being given new chances. New opportunities, new choices. It’s all opening up in front of me. I just have to keep my eyes open.

Out of My Comfort Zone…

There are certain places, people, and things that make you comfortable. I know that certainly applies to me! I am overall an introvert, but love to socialize with the people that I know and love. But, put me in a room with strangers, and I totally freak out!! We all have our “comfort zones” that we don’t like to leave. In fact, just the thought of leaving that comfy space can make our hair stand on end, and totally lose our mind. Yes, that would be me and how I normally feel. But, if we don’t take risks, then can we ever move forward in our lives?
I never thought of myself as a leader. I was always the kid that kept quiet during school, didn’t ask questions, and NEVER spoke in front of people- unless I was mandated by the teacher. It was just totally not my style. Never mind, giving speeches! I even joined the drama club in high school and participated in 2 plays to try and get over my stage fright. Instead, I spent the entire day of the play, sick to my stomach, butterflies, and ready to throw up! Afterwards, I was just so glad it was over. But, at least I tried. I had to give myself credit for that. I loved to dance, and that was one way that I was able to. But just being in front of all those people was extremely overwhelming to me. Having everyone look at me. Oh, my! Talk about freaking out. I have even had to made 2 commercials for work. Let’s say that I never felt like they went well. I was a nervous wreck beforehand. I even told the producers of the 2nd commercial how I felt- that I was nervous, sick to my stomach, and really did NOT want to be there. They didn’t seem to care, and just made me stick to the script. So, I have never been able to conquer this fear.

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Over the last year, I have been “forced”- by myself, to step outside of my normal comfort zone. And I think that it is great, and scary all at the same time! Here are some of things that I have done.
1. Blogging– writing was never my forte. In fact, I had to barter with my high school to let me in college level English (I was in honors all through high school)- which I did and got great grades. Fast forward to now: With so much going on in my brain, Rob encouraged me to start writing it down. I told him that I think the reason he had me do this, was so that he didn’t have to hear so many words coming out of my mouth! I do talk a lot to him- he feels that it is nonstop. Blogging has given me the opportunity to reach people that I don’t know, to inspire people that I may not have been able to before. And I find it invigorating to get my thoughts down on paper. It’s a release to me.
2. Writing for a magazine– Seriously, NO ONE ever would have thought that I would be writing, never mind for an actual magazine! In the fall, I decided to see if anyone could get me hooked up with a magazine so that I could write articles. I had no idea that one of my friends was THE editor to a local magazine. Within a week I wrote an article, and then found myself with a contributing spot monthly! How amazing!! I write for Your Sumner magazine- it is both in print and on-line. The thought that people are actually interested in reading what I have to say just blows my mind.
3. Training Plan– I had a friend ask me to write a training plan for running a half marathon. I was totally shocked and humbled that someone would want ME to write a running plan for them. I am still learning and asking advice of other people, but now, people are asking me advice and I am able to give some answers. It’s exciting!
4. At the end of the year, I got asked to be the president of our local running club. Again, not in my wildest dreams did I think that would happen. Last year at the Christmas party, Rob told me that I would be the president this coming year. I told him that he was insane! That I am not a leader, so that would never even be a consideration. Well, fast forward a year, and here I am. One of the things that I was totally freaked out about was giving the “acceptance speech” at the Christmas party. As things occurred, Rob’s MVC occurred 2 days before the party, so there was NO WAY that we would be able to attend. So instead, I wrote my speech (which I obsessed about for several weeks and rewrote it in my brain seriously a million times), and one of my friends read it at the party. I got out of that one, phew! I am hoping to never have to make a speech while leading this group. Yes, I have to start the group each week, but it is different in that situation. I feel like I am with “my people”, all together, ready to participate in the same activity, just linked together in a special camaraderie. It’s special.

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I love how the year has forced me out of my comfort zone. I never would be where I am today without taking a step outside my normal. Now, my normal is a whole different perspective. I am expecting to continue stepping outside my little bubble, even if it is a little bit at a time. But, without taking baby steps, there may not be any way to move forward.
Taking risks, doing something new, it’s all important so that we can progress in life. If we stay where we are, then we will be stagnant and never move forward in our lives. Some risks are bigger than others, but if we don’t take risks, then we will never know our true potential. What risks have you taken? Have you ever taken a step outside your comfort zone and found something that you truly love?

Volunteering… a Whole Different Race Experience

Instead of running a 50K today, I spent the morning volunteering at a local 5K/10K. Talk about a rewarding experience! Ive gotten to volunteer in a couple of races, but today was really special. I knew, when I couldn’t run MY race, that I needed to do something fulfilling, to give back. Our local running group (which I will be assuming the presidency tomorrow- OMG!!) hosts a table at the Frostbite 5K/10K race, which was the perfect place for me to be.

I met with one of my running friends before the race, got in 5 miles of running, got changed into warm clothes, and then volunteered at the 10K waterstop- the 1/2 way point. Its a great way to encourage the runners, especially on a cold, damp day. And I knew SOOOO many people! It was amazing to be able to call runners out by name, cheering them on. It’s not like I knew 2 or 3 runners… I knew a ton of them! At first, when the runners started to pass our water stop, we saw all these guys passing. I kept asking, “where’s our first girl?” And then, one of our HRC runners came bounding down the road- 1st girl! So exciting!! Runner after runner passed us, we gave them water, words of encouragement, cheered for them, trying to give them anything they needed mentally to them through the next 5K.

We manned our station til the last runner came through- well, he was walking. But, he was determined. He was wearing a Deadpool shirt, pants, and socks (that just stuck out in my mind)- and he was ready to walk to the finish of this race. After we cleaned up, I told Marcia (my friend)- “I don’t want him to walk in alone. When we get to him, you can drop me off and I will walk him in.” No one should be out there alone. He was brave to be walking this race. He should be proud of his accomplishment. I wanted to be there to encourage him, not to pity him. I was proud of him for making it happen. I don’t know his reasons for being out there, but I don’t need to know. All that I knew, was he was getting through this 10K and nothing was stopping him. But, as we approached him, another runner had stopped to wait for him, and they were walking in together. THAT is true running spirit! It made me happy to see that. I didn’t get to see him cross the finish line, I was inside and watched many of my friends stand on the podium as they placed overall and in their age groups. This day was a huge accomplishment for everyone that ran or walked this race.

Training for a race and running a race are really fun. But, volunteering for a race is a whole different type of fun. It’s really exciting and fulfilling to see the people that you know and love accomplish something, and to be able to be there for them and cheering them on is just… awesome! I think that if given the chance, anyone that knows a runner should try and volunteer at a race. Trust me, you will walk away with not just a race shirt for volunteering, but something special that you can’t get anywhere else.