30 March 2015

Spring has sprung - and so have the allergies

Any one else dealing with the constant runny nose and sinus congestion or is it just me? I am so excited that spring is finally here, with the time change and sunnier skies later in the day (I am a night owl in case you haven't figured that out). The warmer temperatures are great for breaking out the beautiful Ink n Burn that's been hiding in my closet all winter.

But the hayfever/cold/sinusitis/bronchitis WHATEVER this is that is driving me CRAZY has GOT to go. Last week I was working from home, and I swear I almost went through an entire box of Kleenex! Now - I'm a "real" runner, so snot rockets are no problem when I'm out on the run (sorry for the TMI). But inside, no way! Post-nasal drip becomes a part of my day, and then the coughing starts.

So I gave in and went to CVS. I swear I spent almost 10 minutes in the allergy aisle trying to figure out which product to bring home. At that point though, I was already in the throes of the season, and I had no time to wait for something to kick in, so I ended up with the Zyrtec quick-dissolve. Now, I want to say right here, this is NOT a sponsored post. And truth be told, I'm not sure these even really helped. I'm still dealing with the sinus pressure, the runny nose, the cough. It's no fun.

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But I can't let my training get sidelined by this junk. Last night when I mentioned I was going to go for a run, my roommate asked me, "how do you stay motivated?!" The truth is, some days are harder than others. But I have a goal on the horizon, and I'm not letting a little allergy flare up get in the way of that goal. I'm pushing right up to Cherry Blossom, and with peak blossom predicted for that weekend, I also need to be prepared to deal with the conditions that may be meeting me in DC!

So, what's your go-to allergy remedy?

09 March 2015

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

I am getting excited for my next upcoming goal race - the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler (CUCB) in Washington, DC next month. And after last week's announcement that peak bloom will (finally) happen during race weekend, I am SUPER excited for the explosion of color that is sure to greet us as we cross by the Tidal Basin.

This will be my third time running this race and my goal is to finish in under 90 minutes. A Twitter friend introduced me to Gipis, an app I'm using for my training as it is one of the first I've come across that has an actual 10 mile training plan. As my BRF Jason and I finished up our run yesterday, he commented that my runs have been shorter lately, and that is one of the thing I'm liking about this training plan. I'm running 4 days a week, and some runs are quick 15-20 minute speed sessions. While I haven't finished the race, and therefore am not 100% sure how effective these shorter speed sessions are, I am intrigued to see if they will help power me through the finish in my goal time. I also signed up for the virtual training plan from CUCB training partner New Balance, and while I'm not following that plan, it is quite interesting to see the differences in what is recommended there versus on Gipis. I'll let you know how things turn out come April 12!

Another thing I'm excited about it rocking my Ink n Burn Cherry Blossom again for this race. It was three years ago when I first ran this race that I also ran for the first time in Ink n Burn. I have to thank my #CorralG Captain Linz for introducing me to this amazing company. A "Made in the USA" company, local to Linz in SoCal, this company makes absolutely BEAUTIFUL artwork apparel. My first piece was my Cherry Blossom v-neck which I HAD to have to run my first CUCB in! Last year I rocked my Cherry Blossom skirt for the race (and somehow I didn't get a picture in it!). This year, I'm deciding which combination to rock - it may be back to my cherry blossom v-neck with my new to me Healing Mandala shorts!

Ink n Burn is GREAT for running or for whatever - I am even known to rock some of my great Black Friday sale items to work at least once a week. They make absolutely beautiful apparel, that is comfortable, cool (both literally and figuratively), and eye-catching! Everyone is always asking "where did you get that" when I'm wearing my Ink n Burn. I can't wait to see what comes out next - and remember, this year EVERY design is a LIMITED EDITION print - so if you fall in love with something, better snag it while you can.

Can't wait to check in with you in a few weeks and show you what I wore to ROCK my Cherry Blossom 10 miler PR!

02 March 2015

Year of the Sheep (Goat? Ram?)

Happy Chinese New Year! While, officially, Chinese New Year was last week, I read that it's a celebration that goes on for awhile. And since I'm just a plain, old American, my celebration of Chinese New Year is weak at best. However, when I started hearing that it was the Year of the Sheep, something rang a bell. I went on Google to confirm my suspicions - yes, I was born under the Sheep. So I've spent the last week or so thinking about how I can use this as an opportunity to start fresh.

I'm not just talking about your typical "new year's resolutions" gone bad six weeks into the new (calendar) year. I'm talking about a full recreation of what I want with life. If you don't know, a few years ago I lost my job doing what I really loved doing - faith and environment. It's the main reason I didn't want this blog to just focus on my running. That's part of who I am, sure, but it's not all I am. I wasn't sure at the time which direction I wanted to go with my life, but having worked for the local running store in a previous "tough time" I knew I would thoroughly enjoy coming back. And I've had great opportunities for growth over the last year while I've been back in Atlanta and working for them again. But there is a void... there is something missing.

I've been keeping an ear to the ground, listening to what's on the horizon and applying for various jobs, trying to find the right fit. But nothing stuck. I've been frustrated about it, I've been questioning what's this all for, trying to understand the direction I'm meant to go in. But still, I have felt lost over the last 18 months.

(Maybe I shouldn't be sharing all of this... but they know I'm looking because they know the finances of this position, for a person like me, aren't cutting it. But I'm going to keep sharing, because that's what I do.)

I've found THE job. It's exactly the arena I want to be in, in the place I've wanted to be for YEARS. And it gets me to a goal I stated to a friend 15 months ago when I came home. I'm not going to share any more details than that at this point, but I am working with close friends and people I value for support to put together a rocking application package so that I get this job. If you believe in such a thing, I would greatly appreciate prayers that this is where I'm meant to be and that things work out.

But there are also things besides figuring out my work life that I want to start focusing on. For one, I have a goal race coming up in April - Cherry Blossom 10 miler. Yes, 10 miler. For me, this is my FAVORITE distance, because you can really test yourself to push the limits of what you're capable of. My goal for this race is to finish in under 90 minutes. I have a "back-up" race two weeks later, one I've been wanting to do for a long time, the GW Pkwy Classic, another 10 miler where I can shoot for my goal if I don't make it at Cherry Blossom. I am working through a training plan right now - shout out to Gipis for actually offering a 10 mile training plan - with lots of tough speed work aiming to get me a finish time of 1:23 and change. And that's based on my own performance. The only hitch so far is that I got sick last week after DONNA. I HATE being sick, really anytime, but I really hate being sick when it messes with my training. Sure, the weather has been crappy, but I still want to run. So, hopefully whatever this is goes away soon so I can get back to it. I feel like I have a good base to build on, but if I don't get back to it soon...

I also am in the lottery for NYC, and hoping to get picked so I can check off my major for the year. I'm down to that as really my only option as I have made a MAJOR commitment this year -

I AM GOING TO DO MY FIRST HALF IRONMAN!

I am super excited but also REALLY nervous. I am comfortable with the bike and run distances of a half Ironman, but I am really uneasy about the swim. I am a sucky swimmer because for some reason I'm afraid of drowning. I have no idea where it comes from, but the last time I did a tri, I did the breast stroke for my swim because I feel like I can get a better breath that way. I've got a friend who is helping me put together a plan and give me advice on the swim... we'll see if I am able to really commit to freestyle for the race. I wanted to do Augusta because it's a straight, downstream swim, but the cost was a little out of my budget, especially for a first.

The reason this "locks" me in to NYC as my only option for a major this year (besides not getting picked for the Berlin lottery) is that it's the day before Chicago. In Georgia. So, fingers crossed they draw my name next week!

I've got a few other races in mind for the year, but those are my two main goals in the race arena for 2015. The other thing I'm focusing on is another go at Climate Ride! I'm pumped they brought back the northern California ride, so as long as I hit my fundraising goal of $2400 in time, I'll be heading out west in May to ride from the redwood forest, down Pacific Coast Highway, into San Francisco! It’s around 300 miles (depending on if I take the short option of 65 miles or the long option of 100 miles on day 3) over 5 days. It’s guaranteed to be EPIC!


Another thing I really focusing on this “new” year is getting back to a healthier weight. Between taking time off running, living a crazy life in the retail world, and just being plain lazy, my weight has crept up. So the other night I committed to Weight Watchers (again) with the goal of really getting down to my “goal” weight. I’m aiming for 135, which honestly means losing 25 lbs based on where my weight was the other night when I signed up. I haven’t been this heavy in awhile and it is mentally weighing me down. I want to be healthier – so while my goal number is 135, I’ve never paid attention to when I weighed that before, but if I get down to 140 or even 145 and feel healthy, I’ll call it quits. I will say when I went to the doctor last week, he told me when I was there in June, I was 143. I’d like to get down around that number again for sure. And it will make Climate Ride and the Ironman a little easier to not have to carry around so much weight. But more than weight, it’s about eating healthy, which has gone out the window over the last few months, so that’s mainly my focus, less on the scale. I know once I get my eating in check, the scale will reflect that. Which means no more Cheez-It binges – I managed to say no to the SALE at Publix last night – no more eating out multiple times during the week, and no more candy. And I don’t mean no as in never again, I just mean no as in this can no longer be the norm like it’s been for awhile. 

So, that’s my plan for this “new” year. It’s going to be the year of ME! I remember my cousin Allison talking about the time she declared the year of “Me” and amazing things came her way. I’ve had those thoughts almost every year since she told me this, but this time, I can feel it. I’m going to make things happen, because I’m done sitting on my rump waiting for things to come to me. I’m going out there and seizing MY moments!