The Truth Is…{December}

When I first started blogging bloggers wrote about what’s going on in their day-to-day lives. It was more like having a journal that anyone could read. People weren’t writing for anyone but themselves really….but not in a selfish way either. Since then so much has changed and more and more people leans towards giving advice or sharing the best recipes and workouts. As anyone can see, I’ve written my fair share of information based posts so I can’t throw stones. I believe  whether it’s old school or information based it all holds value. However, I blame the stalker in me (come on, everyone has an inner stalker….that’s why we love social media so much….we get to peek into other people’s live without being blatant) but I prefer old school blogging. This is probably why my site would be considered more of a ‘lifestyle blog’ than being part of a certain niche.

About a year or so ago I noticed Lynne of LGSmash “Currently….” posts. She writes them on a monthly basis and it’s a mix of old school blogging and allows us to catch up on her life within moments. I loved it so much that I actually did my own “Currently…”  post once. It was quick, easy, and allowed me to write about stuff that didn’t really call for an entire blog post. Why I didn’t keep up with it? I have no idea. Then this past week I read “The Truth Is…” post from Katie of Run This Amazing Day.  It’s somewhat the same idea of “Currently….” but a bit more of a confessional. It struck a cord. At this moment in time I have a lot of stuff going on. (who doesn’t?!) While I haven’t been keeping secrets I also haven’t written about some things that are happening in my world. This is mostly because they have no effect on anyone but me. But, because they do consume much of my thoughts anytime I sit down to write it’s almost as though I have a mental block. Kind of like avoiding the elephant in the room.

The Truth Is

So, bear with me as I go a little old school….

The truth is…while I’m not scared for my upcoming ultra I have to admit I do have some concerns. Sure, things are going as planned when it comes to the training I’m getting in, but is it enough? Although I don’t rely too much on what the ‘experts’ say, but more on what my body does, I do have to say this article at least gave me some reassurance that I’m not totally crazy in my idea of less is more .

The truth is…my biggest concern is knowing I’m running this with my friend Heather. Wait, shouldn’t that provide comfort? It does. However, it’s no secret that I’m a loner when it comes to running. I rarely run with groups because of the anxiety it brings. Am I going too slow? (likely) Am I going too fast? (unlikely) In fact, when it comes to races, specifically on trails, I allow myself to fall back off of the ‘pack’ just so I can be alone. While being alone on the trails may give people some anxiety and heighten their fear, I appreciate the alone time, being in my own thoughts, taking in my surroundings. With all of the being said, let me be clear (because I know she’s reading this too)…I REALLY want to run the race with Heather and have full intentions om doing so. Not only because I want to tackle this feat together, but I know ultrarunning is a different animal and chances are I’m going to need someone out there. Her and I have discussed in great detail where we stand in our training and goals but I can’t seem to shake off the idea that I’m going to be able to keep up with her the entire time.

The truth is…with the recent current events in the world, specifically the US, I find myself saying, “I can’t….” and walking away from the turmoil it’s causing. I know if I close my eyes and turn my back it’s not going to go away but I’m at a loss as to what I should or shouldn’t do…or say. It’s not so much that I take issue that my beliefs don’t align with someone else, but the way people are going about expressing their thoughts. True, change doesn’t happen by itself and sometimes waves need to be created in order to make a change, but there are better ways of going about taking action than some have chosen. I’m also over the idea that whatever someone believes they take as fact. I am all for having conviction but it’s just as important to remove the blinders and see all of the facets, not just the one we believe to be true.

The truth is…after being off of birth control for 5 years I have decided to make an appointment with my doctor to discuss starting again. No, DH and I haven’t been trying to have a baby for 5 years as each of us have had the appropriate procedures performed to avoid that from happening. When I made the decision to stop BC my doctor actually encouraged me to stay on it to keep my endometriosis at bay, but at the time I had it in check and I wanted to try me best to reduce my exposure to unnecessary chemicals and such.

Over time my endometriosis has progressively worsened.  The first year I stopped BC I’d go months without a cycle and had no idea when it’d hit.  At this point I’m still not ‘regular’and my flow can last up to 2 weeks.  The only way I know it’s coming is based on the cycle of pain which I experience approximately 3 out of 4 weeks each month. In addition, my discomfort is only increasing with intensity. After dealing with crippling cramps in my teens I have no desire to deal with this again. Couple the lack of regularity with increased discomfort and it can wreak havoc on any training or race plans. Trust me, it’s not pretty. (Hence, one more reason why I often wait until the week of to register for races).

To add insult to injury I’ve also gained a decent amount of weight since stopping as well. Of course there are a variety of factors that could have attributed to this but my history has shown that while most people gain weight when they get on birth control and lose when they get off it was the opposite for me. I’m not sure what the future holds when it comes to all of this but after a significant amount of internal debate over the past year, it’s time to step up and do something.

The truth is…DH has chosen to step away from pursuing a music career and I respect/support his decision. However, it’s not the end of the road for us and the music industry just yet. We’ve teamed up with some young local artists to provide guidance. Of course DH and I don’t know everything there is to know about the music industry but we’ve earned our stripes. Our goal is to provide direction so they can hopefully avoid mistakes that we’ve made in the past. While DH is focused on general management and some social media I have stepped in to assist as well with social media and building a brand new website for them. Essentially we’ve doubled our work load and any downtime I’ve had lately has been focused on their project, especially since I’ve had to stretch a new muscle as I build their site since it’s quite different than mind. I still have a long way to go but its awesome to see something take shape. While time consuming it is enjoyable and nice to have a project that we’re working on together.

So, what’s your “The truth is….”?

Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)

Reconnecting In Flagstaff

On Friday a coworker asked, “Well, you had 2 races last week.  What about this weekend?  What’s your mileage look like?”  My reply?  “No races and I have absolutely no idea what my plans are for mileage.”

On Friday night DH and I went to dinner and discussed what we had on tap for the weekend.  I was still hemming and hawing about my running plans when he said, “Why don’t we go to Flagstaff tomorrow?” It didn’t take me more than 2 seconds to say, “Sure!  Let’s do it.”

Why in my right mind would I decide to go to Flagstaff when most people would be knocking out mileage as they prepare to for their first ultra?  Several reasons.

I’ve already hashed out that after years of over-training and dealing with burn out I basically refuse to do that again.  I know my mind and body needs rest.  I think it’s important in this training cycle to run on tired legs but I also want to make sure I don’t injure myself either.  By Friday both piriformis (hip/bum area) muscles were still screaming. DH worked on messaging throughout the week but I knew a rest day wouldn’t hurt.

Due to our work schedules and conflicting extracurricular activities DH and I haven’t had a day off together in a few weeks.  I wanted to spend some time together and was looking forward to reconnecting.

DH has never really been to Flagstaff and I’ve only been up there once when I hiked Humphrey’s last year so we were well overdue for some exploration.  Not to mention, the cooler temperature and possibility of snow would be perfect with Christmas right around the corner.

So off we went!

While we started our morning around 55* degrees in Phoenix, as we drove north the temperature continued to drop.  By the time we made it to Flagstaff our themometer registered 32* and there was a light dusting of snow on the ground.

Flagstaff Snow

It sounds so cliche’ but Flagstaff is really like no other place I’ve ever been.  It’s got the small town feel but has every store/restaurant you can imagine or need, and has this down-to-earth, outdoorsy, athletic hippie-like vibe.  And I say that in the most complimentary way possible.  In other words, I totally dig it and could see DH and I living there. (Although the snow may be a deal-breaker….)

David and Heidi - Flagstaff

The day was spent driving around town exploring all there is to see.  While Humphreys towers over the city, unfortunately storm clouds hindered the view so DH never really got a great view of the mountain.  Either way, we decided to drive up a ways to the Humphreys trail head which also doubles as the Snow Bowl resort.  As the road climbed higher and higher, more and more snow became visible and the view became quite picturesque.

Flagstaff Snow

Once we arrived we jumped out for a few photos but only for a few moments before we jumped back into the Jeep and both said, “NOPE!”  We may be Ohio natives but we’ve acclimated quite well to being desert dwellers so that cold hits straight to the core.

As we drove down the mountain we could see a front moving in.  Within 30 minutes the skies had opened and snow was falling.

Flagstaff Snow

Before calling it a day I realized David Creech of Wilderness Dave posted something about heading north on his Instagram.  After a quick text we realized we were actually just miles apart. Although we both live in the valley it’s been months since we’ve seen each other so we decided a meet up was a must.  How perfect?!  It also gave us to meet, Mad Max, the most recent addition to their pack.  He’s a pretty rad fella.

Mad Max CreechCredit – David Creech

After we parted ways I realized I was a bad blogger and never grabbed a photo of all of us.  Eh well, sometimes that’s the trade off from being in the moment.  It was great catching up with him and his wife and yet another reminder that we need to make it happen more often.

Flagstaff Snow

While it was fun spending some time enjoying the cooler temperatures and watching the snow as it fell, it was time for us to head back to the valley. It was great to get away to explore a new area while not only reconnecting with each other but a couple friends too. A perfect addition to our holiday season.

 

Doubleheader Weekend

This past weekend was full o’ running.  Several weeks ago I only planned to run the Aravaipa event, but I knew I needed the mileage and the opportunity to mess around with my nutrition still, so why not? Not to mention, by running the Hot Chocolate 15K I got a good quality hoodie and a super rad medal!  And it fit my non-planned training plan where my hope is to run longish distances back to back instead of real long runs that usual plans call for.  There may have been a little peer pressure too….

So, on Saturday I got up bright and early to head east to run Aravaipa Running’s McDowell Mountain Frenzy 10 mile distance and on Sunday I did the same….but ran the Hot Chocolate 15K.  The closest thing I’ve ever come to running a doubleheader would be Ragnar Trail last year, but this was a first.  Yes, I know this weekend technically  wasn’t a doubleheader since they weren’t both in the same day, but what else am I supposed to call it?  It just works.

Bibs

The last time I ran at McDowell was Ragnar Trail and I walked away injured.  While this wasn’t necessarily a redemption run I was hoping to at least walk away unscathed.  The trails out here in Arizona can be pretty wicked and McDowell Mountain is no exception.  You get a little bit of everything.  The course started with rolling hills of packed dirt that my friends and I have previously dubbed the roller coaster trail.  It seriously goes up and down, up and down, repeatedly. It’s fun but you have to be careful not to go somersaulting down the hills.  It then eases into a flat terrain and slowly into more technical (read: rocky) terrain.  The rocks wreak havoc on my ankles, which in turn causes stress on the lateral aspects of my feet, and it does me in. Hence, why I was injured at Ragnar.  But I kept on, focusing on running the flats and downhills while I hiked the uphills.

Trail Running

While it was chilly at the start the temperature rose just enough during the race to be comfortable. I must say I was a bit surprised and worried when my tummy started churning only 3 miles in.  I debated my course of action but went ahead and downed a Go Go Squeez.  Within minutes I realized it was the perfect decision and I was back in my groove. I downed one just after 6 miles and then one at 9 miles.  This was unexpected but I’m happy know I was able to listen to my body and had enough with me.  It all worked out.

I also threw caution to the wind and tested out some new gear including my Dirty Girl Gaiters, new hat, and shoes.  I had no concerns with either of them causing issue so I figured I’d go ahead with it.  Thankfully I was right.  Not only did I not have any issues but I was thrilled at how well everything felt.

Sunday started out chillier that Saturday but I knew it was supposed to get warmer.  The traffic was a bit crazy but I was able to get to the venue with plenty of time to take care of business and meet up with fellow RunEatTweetAZ CROs Jeremy and Corine.  After a short time chatting and taking selfies it was time to get started.  We parted ways to our respective corrals and I was ready to go.

Hot Chocolate 15K

I’ve been running since 2007 and I have to say it wasn’t until we moved to AZ that I really started to enjoy and have decent long distances races.  Before I would find I had to run/walk all of my races but now I have no issues running non-stop.  Mind you, I’m still not speedy, but running is running.  (I’m also not opposed to retreating to the run/walk method should the need arise)  I attribute this to taking to training in moderation and not over-training, which has caused me burn out time and time again.

I kept with my established fueling pattern using the Go Go Squeez while listening to my body. Not only did I run non-stop but my tummy stayed settled and I had no potty stops.  Both firsts.  I don’t think I’d ever say, “I’ve figured out this fueling thing!” because there are so many factors that could change from run to run but it’s awesome to know I’m onto something.

Hot Chocolate 15K Medal

After finishing I collected my medal, passed on the finisher’s mug full o’ chocolate and marshmallows (since they aren’t vegan), and bee lined it to our RunEatTweetAZ social meetup.  As always it’s awesome to get to meet new people or those I’ve been following on social media for months.  Thanks for sharing your photos Jeremy!

RunEatTweetAZ - Hot Chocolate 15K

RunEatTweetAZ - Hot Chocolate 15K

RunEatTweetAZ - Hot Chocolate 15K

RunEatTweetAZ - Hot Chocolate 15K

Not only did I have fun this weekend but it was a boost of confidence knowing my ultra training is coming along.

Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)

#TrailTime: No Snow? No Problem!

Sierra Trading PostSeveral weeks ago I was contacted by Sierra Trading Post if I would like to write a post about winter. No, they aren’t crazy and they do realize I live in Arizona. So often outdoor winter activities are focused around snow.

Boulder Creek

But what about those of us that have snowless winters? Do we miss out? Are we bored in the winter? Heck no! Hop on over to the Sierra Trading Post Hub where I’m sharing The Joys of a Snowless Winter 

I’ll also be joining Sierra Trading Post on twitter to co-host their #trailtime chat this week. Stop on by!

#trailtimeKeep Smiling and Be Grateful =)