So I have this race in VT in November with this really big 4 mile hill to open the 10 miles we must cover. Out of sight out of mind was great until Saturday. I have had this “can do” attitude about it so far because well I don’t have a choice other than walk or quit if I don’t just get it done. I’m all rah rah about it for weeks since we signed up. Well there’s this “hill” (using term lightly) that the girls in my group have been telling me about for practicing to get ready for VT. I haven’t gotten over there but Saturday I took my son and his friend with me and went to check it out. It’s in Fall River which is one of the absolute armpits of Mass. Not really a good place and the element that hangs there is sketchy. Now if you’re from there, of course you’ll say “oh it’s really not a bad area” but it’s just above the line of somewhere in NYC where stripped cars, grafiti all over everything and trash on the street and walking the street. It’s clearly above that line but not by a whole lot. Maybe that’s the country girl in me but I’m personally not comfortable there. I wouldnt go there by myself ever and the thought of leaving my car parked for a while makes me nervous but the girls seem fine with it and have been there in small groups and alone.
So back to the hill. If you are old enough to remember the TV show “The Streets of San Francisco” you’ll know what this hill looks like. One big giant uphill battle is what it is! My “can do” attitude came down a whole lot as I drove up this hill. Usually hills that are hard to run feel like nothing in a car. This hill felt hard in the truck! The picture I’ve attached is a picture of Presidents Ave. Now, this snapshot from Google does NOT do that hill justice. You can’t even tell how very steep it is but trust me, it’s super steep and reminds me of the horrible hill in the Lynchburg Half Marathon that I ran which had an elevation gain of 200 feet over a mile. If Presidents Ave continued on for 4 miles it would exactly mirror that hill. I thought one mile of that crap was hard let alone 4 in a row! Now I’m nervous not only about practicing on this hill but about our race. I will finish but it gives it a whole lot more perspective about what a hill is and how much mental fortitude I’m going to need to get my ass up that hill. We’re meeting on Sunday to run together and hopefully we get a few runs up that hill before race day just to at least get a basis for the impending struggle. We grow by challenging ourselves right? RIGHT! Let’s get this done!
Yesterday I said I was going to start lap swimming. The statement, although true, will have to wait until next week. The reason I did not lap swim yesterday was not because I didn’t want to swim. It wasn’t because I’d feel slow or awkward in my motions. No no no, the reason started right in my bedroom when I tried on the swimsuit I ordered on Amazon. This would make the second or third online bathing suit order that I’ve made and none of them have been right. I should know better especially with bathing suits that don’t really seem to have a definitive sizing chart. Oh they have sizes like NU- what the fuck is that anyway? NU… I had to Google it! Can’t you just say European cut or something that the English speaking citizen can understand? So this in my opinion is a complete Pin-the-tail on the Donkey kind of undertaking. I looked at the sizing chart and even measured my hips, waist and bust area to try and get it right. So much for that effort because my bust was one size, my waist was another and my hips fell into yet a third size. Now what was I supposed to do? Being a hippier person, which I have pretty much been my entire life I figured that it was best to not scare the kids in the pool and buy the size that fit my hips.
When I tried this suit on, I pretty much looked like a sausage busting out of its casing at the hips. I tried pulling the side seam up and that gave me a hip shelf. I tried pulling it down and that was no better. I looked rediculous! Kind of like Big Hero 6 over there. It wasn’t just me being hard on myself, it was me realizing that I probably would have been asked to leave by some mother waiting for her child to finish swim lessons or something. So instead of giving up the idea of swimming laps or never ordering a bathing suit online again, what did I do this morning? I ordered the next size up in a flashy red color instead of I’m dead black. I love red and I’ll have it in two days, Thank You Amazon Prime! Now I’m excited again to try my newer suit on and maybe finally get in the pool to work on another level of fitness. I’ll have to let you know how that goes. We never give up, we just switch gears!
Dear Bathroom scale…Fuck You!
- I hate you!
- You are a big liar!
- I’m very unhappy with our current discussions!
- Why can’t you lie in my favor?
- I think you need an adjustment!
Now that that is out of the way, I feel better. Welcome to the Bathroom scale bashing episode. Not really, it’s more like the “Take responsibility for your lack of self control asshole” episode. So, what happens when you get happier in your life? What happens when you find some complacency in rest days? What happens when you get lazy and go back to sampling everything, taking bites out of this and that and having buttered popcorn and ice cream or DQ often? You gain 7 lbs! That’s what! Ok, maybe it’s just more like 4 but it feels like 10. Not so long ago, before I began going on break with the ladies at work and when I was religiously faithful to a calorie count I was hovering around 163 / 162 for a long time and now I’m nearly 168 and not happy about it! If you think you can just count calories in your head accurately or keep portions to the right amount, perhaps you can but I sadly cannot.
So there will be some changes made immediately! First, I got my new Speedo, bathing cap and goggles so this fatty will be getting in the water asafp and doing laps until I feel like I’m going to die. Second, I need to stop effing snacking! I actually go on break with the ladies at work and we eat. There’s no need to eat on break other than I am just following the crowd. It’s not even like I’m just having one snack, OH NO! I’m eating 1.5 containers of yogurt with about 3x the servings of granola mixed in with a banana chaser. Something big like that with extra calories isn’t really called for especially when I need to lug my bag-full-of-rocks ass up a huge hill in November. Uuuggghhh! So there are those changes. I’m also trying to up my water intake and lower the coffee that I consume from two cups a day to one. Last night I was laying in bed and actually hungry at 10:30. I got up and got a handful of crackers which probably wasn’t ideal but it was an easy reach, easily digestible and did the trick. Crackers are another thing I’ve had far too much of lately. Bread, although it is my weakness, is my enemy too. Bread pounds find me like a kid finds the hidden chocolate. I’ve also stopped recording everything I eat in the My Fitness Pal app. That is where it all went wrong because if I am not held accountable for everything I’m shoving in my pie hole then how can I watch what I’m eating other than watching it go in?! I started logging again yesterday and I think that will help. Weigh ins on the same day every week and not every day will also be useful and keep me on the straight and narrow. The goal is to dump 10-15 lbs by November if possible and I’m going to do my damdest to make it so. All you need in this world is the “want to” and you can do it. So long story short is that I need to quit snacking, start logging and up the workout routine to include some new and different things outside of what I’m already doing. Here goes, stay tuned!
I took my sons (17 &19) to yesterday as the last fun mom & sons / brother & brother thing that we do this summer. I really wish it wasn’t that time because my heart is breaking knowing I only have Johnny for one more week. Part of life but one that I just am not adjusting to easily. I hate this time just as much as the first time last year that we left him. Anyway, I thought it would be a great way for me to do something super brave that they would be proud of and something that would give them a morning full of fun that they will talk about. That it will be. It also turned out to be a learning lesson for me as I found out my youngest son James is afraid of stuff in the air that wobbles. He’s my 225 lb gentle giant who has actually zip lined before. John and I surprised him with this because we thought he would love it. He didn’t. He liked the challenges but hated being high in the air on wobbly wires and wooden planks. He did one full course then decided it was more fun to cheer us on from solid ground. I really felt so bad because now it’s only “fun” for two of us and for me it wasn’t so much fun as a sense of accomplishment overcoming my fears to buck up and dig deep for bravery. I wanted the boys to see, and now especially with James on the ground, what it looks like to be so afraid of something and do it anyway. In fact, when we went up on the most challenging course at the end, I heard James say from the ground “if my mother can be brave, I can be brave”! WOW! Very proud of him for attempting another time by himself. He got half way and had to get down but he faced it on his own terms and tried again. Me, I’m just a stubborn Ukraninan but I did it! I Effing Did it!!! I was so scared, I cried at some points, I took deep breaths but I did it. I climbed vertical rope ladders with wooden round rungs that went straight up 5 feet / 10 feet to a platform that was 20 feet in the air. I ziplined 35 feet in the air (thank God for the canopy of trees below that lessened the look of how far up we were). I walked on wires, holding wires, across a span of 20 feet that was 30 feet in the air. I walked across a wire navigating my way around obstacles. It was a day of dusting off muscles in my head that I haven’t really used much…the ones for creative problem solving and concentration to do a challenge while not looking at it which required looking down which I couldn’t do. I sprained my finger on the last challenge because I wrapped my fingers in the nylon strapping that lowered us to the ground. Not a good idea since when it adjusts for your weight and snaps taught it yanked my finger and probably pulled some ligaments in there. That’s what happens when you’re scared. I couldn’t have done it without my sons. I pulled bravery up from somewhere in my gut to be a good life lesson for them. Johnny stayed with me and waited for me at EVERY obstacle. That’s us right there. In this selfie, the only selfie I could manage, we are about 15 or so feet in the air. If you look between us, there’s a wire. THAT was the kind of wires we were holding on to and ALL we had to hold on to most of the obstacles. No safety net, just two industrial hooks only one of which would lock at a time, strapped to your harness. I actually felt safe in the harness. I don’t look afraid here but I was. I just wasn’t looking down because I was distracted by a moment I needed to get for my memories. Johnny was amazing! He told me how every obstacle was designed, the best way to navigate it, how to stay steady and then went first so I could see it done. He’s not afraid. When he got to the other side He fastened himself then turned and encouraged me on. Just looking at him I felt ok. He just kept telling me that I was doing great and he coached me along what seemed like 1,000 yards to the other side of every obstacle. So grateful he helped me and waited for me with a kiss to the forehead and a “good job mama” when I finished each one. James was my safety net. Hearing him tell me that I was doing good, to keep going and that I was almost there was like having a blanket of courage wafting up from below me to help carry me to the other side. It was like a hug from below and it was the thing when I was at the highest point on the course that made me let go of the tree and try again. Yes, I was a tree hugger …literally! At the highest spots I had to hold the tree because the platform wasn’t super big and fear was poking at me big time. What I liked best about hearing James voice was that he knew how afraid I was…he lived it so his words were the words that someone so fearful, like me, neede to hear. He didn’t tell me not to be afraid because he knew I was and that those words wouldn’t help me move on. John didn’t say them either for the same reason. James didn’t say too much that would distract me, just enough for me to be reminded that I could do it. I am sort of happy that he decided the ground was the place for him because I had Johnny up top with me guiding me and helping me and James below me keeping me steady. God I love my sons so! I’m so lucky!!!
Today I am stiff in places that seem hard to believe have muscles, like across my ribs on my back. Not sure I really think about having muscles there but I clearly do and they are letting me know I irritated them with my little overachieving escapade. Many of my invisible muscles are whining today but it feels good when that happens because I worked another set of muscles to stay strong.
LOL this was supposed to post three days ago but somehow it got stuck in drafts. OH well!
So I think it’s time to take it up a notch in my workouts. I’ve done well over the last 9 months but I feel like I’m at a standstill. I need to do more double sessions, have a stricter diet and stay faithful to logging my meals / food every day. I need to drink more water and work harder on what goes in my body as well as having more self control. I’ve fallen off the bandwagon in terms of recording what I eat every day and I have found that I am snacking more and “testing” meals more often which don’t make it to the official eating record. Basically I’ve gotten lazy in the last few weeks. This month alone I’ve had 3 full days off which works out to about 1 per week but thats about 2 too many to stay on track. My weight training has suffered and I’ve only done that once in the last week, core work is lacking as well. Time to step it up! So for the next few months I’m going to work harder, eat smarter and organize / schedule calorie counts, goals and workouts on the calendar so I stay on track. With school starting it may be hard because of events and games that I have to attend but effort needs to be there nonetheless. I want to try harder than ever to hit my 150 lb goal and tighten everything up. To be fit is to sacrifice and if I want to look good I have to be determined to stay the course no matter what life throws in front of me. You have to make time not excuses plain and simple.
In my endeavor to improve not only my physical self but my eating habits and discipline as well, I have learned that there are some things you have to do sometimes. This week that something is to do single workouts daily instead of double sessions. I could use the excuse that I have my period and I’m tired, which I really am but I won’t. I am choosing to take this week to stay on track but to give my body a little respite from hard days. Body needs rest and while I’m working on the eating plan and the fitness plan I’ll make this an easy week. My brain doesn’t like it but hey that’s too damn bad. I know it will be good for me and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. So discipline and hard work are the name of the game for the next four months. I wish I had a goal that this plan supports but alas, it’s just a general plan. Going hard for several months may just come in handy next fall if I am brave enough to do it. I may have to recruit a friend of mine who I know is crazy enough to say yes to give me some accountability to not chicken out. We’ll see. I’m not there yet but I will be. So cups up to better fitness and more discipline for the Fall!
I ran Falmouth again this year. This is the second time I’ve run this one. I don’t run it for the medal because they don’t give medals usually as I learned the hard way last year. Come to find out they give medals at this race every 5 years. This year was the 45th running of this bucket list race so guess what I got! Yep a medal! It’s beautiful and so worth the 7 mile struggle over hills in the heat.
ANYWAY… Today was many things. It was definitely all about the bling and the experience. As those of you who know me well understand, I love me a good medal! The race itself is always a hot one which makes it harder than other races. IT took us 25 or so minutes to actually walk from where we hit the main drag TO the starting line because in this race they do a pulse start which just means we set of in groups of like 50 at a time then they wait a minute and send the next group. It spaces us out and helps keep things moving. Even this small detail is just one of the many things that make this my all time favorite race ever! I wasn’t sure my race would be a good one because of the time of month it was. I’m always slow just before the blessed event so I was expecting it to be hard, but went into it just wanting to have fun at the very least. That I did achieve with no problem whatsoever. I wanted to beat my 1:18:15 time from last year and amazingly I did!!! I finished unofficially at 1:15:51! I believe 100% that that accomplishment is directly attributed to all the core workouts I have been doing. It definitely paid off because the hills were a bitch, especially the one at the very end that made 7.1 miles feel like 13.1. Over the 7 .1 miles I was perpetually stuck in a large group of runners the entire way so it was nearly impossible to run swiftly when you’re crowded in. I was grateful that that I couldn’t “take off” because it forced me to run a better more controlled race. Probably why I finished two minutes faster than last year. The feeling of struggling for 7 hilly hot miles seems to fade away as you give that last and final ounce of energy to push up that last horrible hill. When you crest it you can see the gigantic American flag that is hoisted above the finish line by a crane just a hundred yards below. You somehow find strength as people are cheering and shouting and you see the Jumbotron with the life finish line stream for those waiting for their loved ones to cross. The air is electric with excitement and you run to that beautiful painted word on the street “FINISH” that sits under the banner just above that signals the end of your 7 mile journey marked by a stomp on the timing mat to seal your race time. You can’t explain how it feels, you have to experience it yourself.
The Falmouth Road Race organizers, volunteers & medics are outstanding! They should get their own medal for the perfected work of making this race such a smooth well oiled event! I’m not kidding you, it is so well organized, you don’t have to search for porto o potties because there are literally about a hundred in the waiting area. Medics were visible with clearly marked signs at several points along the way ready to help those who needed it,. The police rode bikes along the route to ensure things moved along nicely. The people of Falmouth and friends / family of runners literally just line the streets cheering for you, soaking you with their hoses, giving you oranges and ice and 5 bands set up along the route and played music for us as we passed. There weren’t just a few… there were people that in some places were several rows deep just watching us come through. Some gave high fives (the little kids are my favorites to high five. They are wonderful cheerers!) Many blasted the radio, some had cow bells and others had horns. There were so many this year, more than last I thought. Any time I thought I might do some walking beyond just stopping for water I just couldn’t do it because the excitement of being there was compelling. I just cannot say enough good things about this wonderful race.
When you use the word Chaos mostly you think of confusion and craziness that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The gathering spot after the race can only be described as chaos. I’ve never seen or experienced organized chaos until I ran Falmouth. So many people all in the same spot but it’s oddly and strangely organized. From the pick up letters at the back of the field where families go to meet runners to the guys handing out the Yasso bars by the way, is by far the best at the end of a hard race! The band and the tent volunteers handing out post race goodies somehow swiftly corral all those people through with no waiting line. The whole race was start to finish amazing and something that you should do if you want to see how a good race is run. I can’t wait for next year!!
One of my favorite parts of my experience lies outside the race itself. I run this race with my friend Barbara and we stay with our friends Gary and Gail who live in Falmouth. Staying with friends who give you a ride to the busses and fight the crowd to pick you up from the finish line, who feed you and give you a place to lay your head for free absolutely makes the experience just that much better. Running this race with my friend, even though we don’t run together, is the BEST! knowing that I’m sharing something amazing with her is special. Taking selfies and pictures throughout our days there are memories that I cherish. Having someone to share what will become a tall tale that I tell my grandchildren later in life is one of those things that money can’t buy! I really love my running friend(s). This part of the experience and not having to worry about crowded restaurants, overbooked hotels, driving to the start or finding parking or worrying about my belongings while I’m racing turns what could be a crazy stressful weekend into a wonderful weekend of memories instead!