Friday, October 13, 2017

Lakeshore Marathon 2017 - F$ck the Tangents

State #7 complete.  For some reason I had it in my head that it was #9, conveniently forgetting the half marathons don't count.  Whoops!  On Oct 1, I ran the Northern Ohio marathon to finish off that state for my 50 state plus DC quest to see the country while racing.

Why this race?  It's 4 hours away.  It was $26 for the race.  And....it was the day before my birthday.  All wins.  Grandma agreed to watch the kids, so I even had a chauffeur.  And by luck of last  minute hotel cancellation and Air BnB searching, we ended up with an entire house right on the damn course for $45.  Right on picturesque Lake Erie in Mentor, OH (sense the half sarcasm).

My new Street in Mentor (lol)
Going into the race, I didn't have giant expectations - I had been running fast, but not far.  My long run was 15 miles, because....life, and I averaged about 40 mpw, which I know is enough, but not enough long runs to do damage.  I guesstimated about a 4:15, of course figuring if I felt awesome, I would re-adjust and do as I always do - go out too fast and then figure it out at mile 10.  Ahhh, I do these for fun, right??

Day before the race, we left for Mentor and arrived about 3pm.  Drove the course - flat except an unknown at mile 22-24 which was off road trail (how bad could it be?  BAD) and about 40 turns, which would haunt me later.  Drove back to air bnb (at mile 21!) and got a pizza, which seemed like a good idea at the time (it was not).  We then got the brilliant idea to drive to Cleveland, which was about 45 minutes away, where Greg used to live.  He showed me his old place, and haunts, and we drove back, where I ate another piece of pizza (is anyone keeping track of my bad decisions yet?) 7 hours in a car - check.  4 pieces of greasy pizza - check.  And then I discovered my race socks had a hole in them, so I got new ones...from the dollar store.

Really, this is my comic relief race report.  Spoiler alert - only 1 of these decisions was bad (it was the pizza).

Race morning dawned clear and cold at about 45 degrees.  I donned my new outfit (oh, did I mention my singlet was new, too?), ate my oats, took my Imodium (insurance!) and smeared chap stick on my hot spots (yep, forgot the body glide).  And off we went.  Arrived to race site an hour beforehand, froze my ass off with 400 other people, and we were off.

Miles 1-6 I averaged about an 8:20 pace, which of course is perfect for a half and way too freaking fast for a full.  Felt great.  I saw Greg on the course at mile 6 and waved, kept on my way.  Ate an applesauce pouch at mile 7, taking in Gatorade at every aid station - perfect.  The first 6 miles had a few rollers, nothing crazy.

Miles 7-11 slowed to about an 8:30, still felt great!  I ran for awhile with the 3:45 pacer, feeling pretty baller, until my stomach began to clench.  WTF.  I'll spare you the details, but the port o potty at mile 12 was my best friend - first time since 2013 I porto stopped in a race and prayed it wouldn't be like the "oikos half" where greek yogurt made me stop 4 times in 3 miles.  It wasn't.  Phew.  Still...immodium....YOU FAILED.

Hit mile 13.1 in 1:51, which probably wasn't good, as it's only a minute off my PR....I potty stopped...and had 13 miles to go.  Shit.  Oh well.  I lagged a bit the next 5k, took in a gu to get some sugar, shook out my arms, and got back with it.  I caught the pacer for 3:45 for a bit at mile 16, and even got to hold his sign while he shook off a layer.  I'm such a bad ass.  I was running with about 8-10 other guys at this point, when we had to cross the road ( a busy 4 lane road).  The cops monitoring the crossing waved us by, and we kept going to the end of the road.  Where...there was no one.  WHAT.  We looked left, nothing.  Looked right...runners!  So we turned right.  As we got closer, we realized that all the runners were coming out of a sub development which meant...we cut the course.  SHIT.  I realized this, yelled it out to the guys, and hightailed it back to the missed turn. 

I was the only one. 

Which pissed me off.  I let the cop know what happened (as I came running like a bat out of hell from the wrong direction!) , and he apologized and waved me back in.  My garmin clocked 16.6, and I had no clue where I was or how much I tacked on, but I kept going.  Mile 17.  but....not on the course.  Shit.  I finally hit mile 17 on the course at 17.7 on my garmin, which means I tacked on about 6 minutes and almost 3/4 of a mile...getting lost. 

So, f$ck the tangents.  HOW THE HELL DID I RUN OFF COURSE?? 

I was mad.  Mad at myself, though I reminded myself that there was a zillion turns on this course and It was unfamiliar.  Mad at the cops?  Nope.  It was my responsibility to know where I was going.  Mad at the other racers?  Hell yes.  get some integrity.  They all got about a half mile benefit.  Mad at the pacer?  UM, YES.  Know the course and the people you are leading.  Lame.  I will be honest here....for about .3 seconds I debated going straight and cutting.  But...I didn't come here to run 95% of a marathon, dammit. 

Way to pep talk, right?  I wish I could say it worked.  It didn't.  For the next 3 miles, I kept getting madder and madder as every gamin chime meant I had to run almost a mile more.  I hit "my" mile 20 in 2:55, which was plenty of fucking time to PR.  3:02 on the race course for mile 20.  Guess what?  Still could have.  But I threw a damn temper tantrum.  Met up with Greg at mile 21 where he was waiting outside the house and gave him a piece of my mind, which he nicely listened too and was appropriately consoling.  I'm sorry to say it went over like a man consoling a woman in labor.  Hell to the no.

Now, legitimately, I started to feel like crap at mile 22.  I was averaging about 10 minute miles here and looked down and realized....if I ran a 4:06 or better, but still came out over 4....I would be even madder at my mis direction.  So I decided not to.  I don't care about my time.  I hurt.

Yes, I agree.  I was acting like my 4 year old.  But it's the truth.

At mile 23, we turned out to the 2 mile stretch on the trail which was....on sand.  And rocks.  And all uphill. 

Lights up!
Well, that was the last straw.  My 10 minute miles became 12 minute miles.  Hit mile 24 in 3:52 (race mile 24, my garmin can just go to hell), and I half talked myself out of this mood.  I pulled it together and ran it in the park in 4:12 - respectable for my training and good enough for 5th place in my age group (out of 32), 37/162 for women, and 142/354 for the whole race.

I was pretty annoyed with my 'tude in the race, but it's fair to say that things get raw on the course and it was 100% a learning experience.  I grabbed my cool light up medal and we bounced, before I could see of those lame assed cheaters I ran with at mile 16.

Worth it?  You bet.  The shirt was cool, medal epic, and we crossed off another state.  I also learned that tangent running doesn't mean $hit if you...get lost on the course.  Which is sort of obvious but with the big deal of 26.2 never being achievable (its usually 26.3-4 depending on tangent running)...it means squat if you tack on extra course.  My run ended up being 27.1 miles, which....means I ran an ultra!  Right?  AMIRIGHT?

Greg and I drove home, a slightly painful 4.5 hours but also a great catch up time.  Then I got home to an early birthday gift from my team at work.....

Love these guys.  They are my people.

All in all, an interesting race, to say the least, and quite the wrap up to 2017!  Looking forward to a relaxed, no training approach to October, then it's time for 2018 planning!!  I CAN'T WAIT!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Finger Lakes Tri 2017: And the run stands alone!

Ambitious goal - write race post the day after race.  Realistic goal - write it that week.  Reality?  Same month.  Meh.  It happens.  I sort of debated not even writing one, but hey, I suppose a PR (spoiler alert) deserves a damn race report.  Plus, perhaps reading this will make me ride my damn bike to prep for 2018. 

I suppose I just gave it away, but hey, we will meddle with details....so I can ramble.  Ok?  Thanks :-)

Tri season 2017 ended (wait, it began?) with Finger Lakes Tri 2017.  Back in 2014 I PRed with a 2:54 on this course and was reasonably confident I could beat....at least my run time.  I think I've swam about 10 times this year and biked,,,maybe just a few more.  Wait, you have to do all 3 in a tri?  Dammit.

Well, we started out the right way.  I googled my race report from 2014.  Looked up my previous times to see if I could beat them.  Laughed.  Stalked last years race results to see what I needed to place in my AG (2:59-doable) 2:51 (meh).  Legit prep, people.  I also rode my bike around the block for the first time since June to check gears, cause clearly I can cycle through all of them in .30 miles, right?  Right.

Race morning dawned at 3:30 and it was...cold.  Like, hand warmer cold.  Like, those asshats dedicated athletes at Lake Placid would probably be doing their 70.3 swim leg by walking on water.  Brr.  Greg and I loaded up, debated sleeping in (Gramma took the kids) decided $200 was too much for a late morning, and were off.  We set up our crap (can do this in our sleep), peed a zillion times, and hung out with some friends until our wave starts - me at 7:19 and Greg an hour later.  Poor guy.

Swim:  32:xx - This was 2 minutes better than 2014, which I didn't deserve in the slightest.  The water was cold AF, I didn't warm up, and I wore goggles that I probably have had since 2015.  I should also mention that there is a 1/4 mile run on gravel to T2, so I'm feeling less and less pathetic as I go on with this.  Sighted like $hit, hyperventilated when I stuck my head in the water for the first time, floundered around like a fool, and still hit land in 30 minutes and change.  Score.

Bike:  1:25:xx ish ish.  I don't recall exact time except to say it was lame as hell and I need to get my ass on my new bike, who is much cooler than I deserve (only her second ride in a race and she is already much cooler than me!)  I never felt horrible, tried my best to stay focused, got pissy because I can't figure out tri mode on my garmin (did I practice? NO).  About the only good thing I can say is A) I didn't ride scared, and B) I put in full force Gatorade in my hydration system, which helped a ton with calories...yay for me Greg for making me buy it.  Thanks Babe.  Aside from a few cold miles, I felt pretty good off the bike, till I realized I couldn't feel my feet and spectacularly crashed as I dismounted.  WHAT A ROOKIE.  I like to pretend that cost me a good 5 minutes, but it's a lie and I racked into T2 2 minutes slower than in 2014.  Even. 

Me n my new pal 
Run:  I looked at my watch heading out and was at a 1:59, so I knew a 54 minute10k was possible - course is flat as flat.  But I squinted about 10 minutes in and couldn't read my watch again.  No mile markers.  How the hell fast am I going?  DAMMIT.  At the same time, my right arch started to throb.  I had been so worried about my left ankle, which was rocking a giant open wound (thanks, run shoes!) that I was pretty pissed that I now felt like there was a pebble in my right shoe, my good foot, right under my arch.  Stop?  NOPE NOPE NOPE.  About the time I was getting annoyed with myself, I ran by a guy who called out Hey, where's the fire?  Then trotted up to me and proceeded with one lame joke after another.  He looked to be in his early 50's, great spirits, and fun to run with.  So we connected, bad jokes and all (Thanks Doug!) He old me he was clocking 8:00-8:15 miles - perfect.  We spent the next 4 miles talking (mostly him), telling lame jokes at aid stations to volunteers (Who liked the skeletons new outfit?  NO-BODY!) and had a great time.  I had no idea what the clock was doing until we rounded the last 1/4 mile and I saw 2:47 in my watch...OHMYGOD I can beat 2:50!  I told Doug, he yelled he was gonna chase me, and it was on.  I passed about 4 people to run it in in 2:49:28, with a.....48:12 10k.  Seriously???  A new PR.   For Olympic and 10k.  YESSS!!!!

Overall, I ended up placing 7th woman (I think) out of 50, and I won my AG (35-39) which sounds super impressive until I tell you....I was the only one in it.  WHAT?  Now usually, my AG is super competitive, and there were 7 people in it last year.  I would have beat them all.  Of course, they probably knew I was coming, cause I am fearsome like that.  Or not.  But...more nut butter for me.

Also a big HOO-RAY to Greg, who won the Clydes division for the sprint tri (there were way more than 3 people in it) and to my friend Kim, who placed 3rd OA for the Olympic!   She and I have it worked out...Ill ctach a ride with her next time and give her a piggy back on the run.  Sounds about right to me.


Overall, a great end to tri season 2017 and a good intro to what's to come in 2018....I wonder what that could be?  (Wiggles eyebrows)


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Number two is TWO!

What a title.  I'm sorry, I just can't even.  I looked up and here it is, 8 days post Bizzle B day and I haven't posted - what is up with me?  (Besides tendonitis, a huge event for work, and a party for my kiddo).  Lame, Rae, lame.  So, per excuse 1, we gonna keep the words brief and the pics abundant.  Happy birthday, baby (not so baby girl!!)

One week old

One year old!

My big two year old!

Size - 27 pounds.  Baby girl, you eat ALL THE THINGS.  All of them.  Especially the meat, eggs and cheese.  You may be your mommy's girl in some respects, but that ain't it....

Likes: You adore giraffes.  Ice cream (AHH KEEM).  Your swing set.  Dancing.  Hanging out with Rob (and copying everything he does!)  Being a daredevil- nothing scares you (OMG Biz).  Watching the Babies (Word Party) and "Shiny" (just the song). Waking up at 4am (Bizzzzz)

Dislikes: Sleeping alone (I hear ya kid).  When Rob won't play with you (sometimes, you are a pain.  I won't lie). Having your hair washed or combed (did someone say tomboy??)

Sleep: Yeah.  We will just skip right over this one, babes.  You have a few good nights (they are all at Gramma's house) but it seems you know your parents are suckers.  At 10pm.  At midnight. At 3am.  At 4:30.  Elisabeth Jennifer, I have not SLEPT IN 5 YEARS.  But I love you.  It's a darn good thing I do.

Eating: All the things.  Every. Little. Thing.  COOOOOKIES, Ah KEEM, eggos, 'cakes (pancakes), cheese, apples, peanuts, pretzes, popkin, chicken, trees (broc)- you love it.  You are a human garbage disposal and I hope you keep it up!!!

Milestones/Firsts:
Running - you ran your first kids race and love it!  You are so cute when you run, arms a kimbo.
Big girl bed- we outted that crib a few months back.
Counting to 10 (people cannot believe you are only two)
Plane ride - to Kansas and Missouri!  You go girl!
Riding your trike - You love trying to catch Rob

Probably more, but those are the biggest :)

Best Moment: You everyday 'mooches.  You give the best hugs and smooches and are such a little love.  Aww Biz, I am so lucky to have such a wonderful kiddo.

Looking Forward to: Our family trip to Maine next month, Halloween, the best Christmas ever, and experiencing every little day with you and your brother - you two are are simply the best kids a mom could ever ask for and I love you!!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Oak Tree Half Marathon 2017 - Mud Party


So, the beauty of racing back to back weekends is....you actually finally get my damn race reports while they are still relevant!  And, as an added bonus, no crying into my cherrios over life woes in this post.  Double win.  How can you go wrong?

So, tomorrow, Greg and I are racing the Finger Lakes Tri as a season tri closer (can I even say that when we've only done two this year?  Maybe).  It's a lackluster multi sport year, but big things loom in 2018.  I'll leave that one right there for you to ponder.  More later.

As a last minute decision, I decided to race the Oak Tree Half in Geneseo last Sunday - my alma mater.  While I only ran to he keg back in '04 when I graduated, it's pretty cool to run through my college town and get nostalgic, all for a pretty decent price and a nice timing for a tune up for my fall marathon (Northern Ohio, October 1).  I last ran this race in 2011 as prep for Ironman Maryland (when it was still unbranded) and recalled it as a challenging, hilly race that was fun, but not fast. So, just for kicks, here is my 2011 report.  It's ironic.  We will get back to that one. I finished in 1:59 back in 2011, 9 minutes off my PR of 1:50:09, a time that still irks me to this day because who can't find 10 friggin seconds to go under 1:50?  This girl.

Moving on.

Race day dawned bright and early at the ungodly hour of 2:30am.  No, my alarm didn't wake me.  The un shut uppable 2 year old did.  Thanks, Biz.  While she wasn't grumpy, she was wide awake and ready to go, so I started my pre race ritual of coffee and bathroom....3 hours early.  And, to add some fun to the mix, the 95% chance of rain did not disappoint - there was a fine shower starting outside that didn't let up until 11 or so (race time - 8am).  The course....8 miles of dirt, rocks and mud.  Yesss. Albeit a rocky start, Greg and I set off at 6am, did one potty stop, and managed to grab our gear and line up at 7:55 for the 8am start.

Garmining up, waiting for the RD and ....with no fanfare, a big horn blast...holy crap, we are off!

Miles 1-3 were all raod, with some rollers, and a tour through town (dancing bear still intact!)  I maintained a 7:45-7:55 pace, which was way to fricking fast, but about par.  I felt pretty damn good.  At mile 4, we pulled off the road and the mud slog began.  Mile 4 featured a sharp descent, about 3/4 a mile long (which, spoiler alert, was mile 11....coming back up).  It wasn't too wet yet but you needed to run a fine line to keep traction and off the rocks.

Miles 5-7 were also rollers, but hard to keep any decent pace since it started to get pretty muddy.  I was holding anywhere from a 8:10-8:40 pace, depending on how far I veered and how well I could actually keep from slipping (we got a tough mudder and didn't even pay for it!)

At mile 7 we got a half mile reprieve for pavement, then turned back onto the trail, which was mostly downhill, a nice change, but still hard to find a good path.  I teamed up with a guy and we leap frogged back and forth for a bit - also chatted with an awesome woman who told me I had a beautiful stride - always nice to hear!  Hit mile 10 in 1:22- I knew for sure I could do a 28:00 5k but....as I said before...mile 11.  What goes down, goes back up....

We turned back on the return to town to a few minor rollers and then....up.  Of course, at this point it was pouring and climbing this beast was a giant pain in the ass.  I stopped to walk for 30 seconds, figuring with the grade (9% I think?) walking was actually more efficient.  Mile 11 - 10:15  Yowtch.  I picked up the pace, figuring....less than 20 minutes of death - you so can do this, Rae!

Mercifully, we hit pavement again shortly before mile 12.  The last mile of the course is of fucking course uphill, but it least it was on a damn road.  Mile 12 - 1:41:30.  Shit.  I'm not gonna make this.  Now, I should mention (and had the foresight to mention in 2011) this is NOT a PR course.  So I had no business doing the mental math I was doing, but dammit, I oftem do things I have no business doing, so I didn't care.  Can I hold a 7:45 pace?  Let's give it a shot!

I took off, passing people and thinking...this is it.  You can die later.  You don't get this back (at least until the next race, but come on.  10 seconds, baby).  1:45.....6 to go.

The course ends on a track, which is cool but cruel at the same time.  You are almost there.  But you still have 400 meters to go.  I hot the track in 1:48:30 and knew, I could not do a 6:30 mile.  But I tried.  And crested the finish line....in 1:50:03.

Are you damned kidding me.  What do I do with that???  4. freaking. seconds.  But stop.  I PRed.  By...6 seconds.  But who gives a shit.  I ran the course in the rain, on 3 hours of sleep, beat my last time running it by 9 damn minutes.

And that.  I'll take.  Along with a sackful of Chinese food and a diet coke.  Because....when do I actually do anything that makes sense??

Watch out Oak tree.  Next year....I'll find those 4 seconds.  Or, you know, pick a course that isn't 3/4 dirt and rocks with 300 feet elevation gain in mile 11 alone.  Because....wait, why would I do that??

:-)  Run on, friends.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Maintenance

The least glamorous part, right?  Keeping it up.  The hard work.  The daily grind.  Who ever posts about such things?

Me.

Last month, alive and shiny, I started my posts with the forecast of beautiful, happy things to come.  Some I have shared, some not (no, I am not pregnant).  Then, as life does from time to time, my world came crashing down.  I won't linger, because it's private, but August pretty much has been the worst month of my life.  And so, in the interest of not clogging the inter webs up with more of my melancholy (and because, lets face it, I was too immersed in either eating Chunky Monkey or running off the stress)I didn't have the bandwidth to blog.

But (I hope) I'm back.  Somewhat tattered, but here.  And focused on maintenance.  See, here's the thing I forgot in the last few years.  You can't, in fact, have it all.  Not one little bit.  You might be at the peak of your athletic fitness, but if you aren't mommin' well, those littles are gonna grow up in a hot second.  You might be the best mom and wife in the world, but at the same time, your company is doing layoffs.  You might, in fact, have a kick ass career and a steamin' hot marriage, but those damn gourmet dinners out make it so your Seven for all mankinds well....are more like an Eleven for all mankind.

Fact.

For the last year (or 3) I've tried to have it all.  And the one piece I thought I never had a problem with...came apart.  Neglect?  Well, yeah, probably.  Because if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

No way.

Love yourself.  Love your significant other.  Love your kids.  Love your family.  Love your friends.  Enjoy your life, and don't worry too much about the small shit.  Work....well, that's gonna be there, and there's no sense killing yourself over it.

And whatever happens....pick yourself up, try not to linger on past mistakes, and go forward the best you know the hell how.

And remember the basic art of maintenance. Regular (but not every day) runs.  Time for cuddles and snuggles.  Calling a long distance friend...or meeting one for a nice long walk and talk.  Date night with your hunny.   Or a long overdue dinner with the woman that raised you.  All of this stuff we "don't have time for".....we do.  We really, really do.

Tomorrow begins fall racing season....Greg and I will be heading to Geneseo, NY to run the Oak Tree Half at my alma mater.  I can't wait.  To run through the streets and farmland where I spent a great, mostly carefree four years.  To enjoy the fact that even though adulting ain't easy, I am here.  And I have so much to be grateful for.  And to forget, for (hopefully under) two hours, any stress except the physical stress I'll remedy with a slice and a garlic knot.

And if Harvey makes an entrance?  Well, who let's a challenge get in their way?  Pretty fitting, since my chem teacher freshman year had that moniker and spent a semester trying to break me.

Nice try, Harvey.  I am woman.  Hear me roar.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Whatever it Takes

OK, so clearly, I'm a little obsessed with the new Imagine Dragons CD.  There are worse things.  Greg actually turned me on to this song first, which is truly a perfect running song, then it all sort of fell in place from there.  It's not often I take to a whole CD, so good job, Dan Reynolds.
Much respect.

It's about time to do the whole shit sandwich compliment shtick, so hang on to your handbags, ladies.  Pre CFC, I used to work at a battered women's shelter, straight out of college.  It was touchy feely, burn out work, with little pay and many returns.  I'm not sorry I left, for many reasons, but it really laid a foundation for the work that I do now and in some ways how I live my life.  First of all, I've never appreciated my life full of first world problems until I worked with the women in the shelter.  Heart breaking.  Second, I've never appreciated the men in my life quite so much.  Third, and oddly enough, I picked up on quite a few work etiquette and supervisory lessons while there, which is only odd because the woman that supervised me, quite frankly, hated anyone not African American or with anything higher then a high school education.  And no, that was not in my head.  She did teach me two things though, that I carry to this day - 1. Don't ever bring a problem to someone that you haven't at least considered a feasible solution to (something I torment my employees with to this day) and 2. If you're gonna hand someone a shit sandwich, at least use good bread.  In other words, may sure you buffer that shit with something edible.

So here's my edible.  And I am remiss in the fact that I didn't start with this post, so sorry Carolyn, wherever you are!

While I was busy poo pooing my sad little circumstances (see what I did there?) I neglected to even mention the good.  And there IS quite a bit of good.  Sometimes you just have to dust off the crap (fine, I'll stop) to really see it.  Sometimes it's just harder to recognize.

Truth.
It's always easy to react to toxic people. To internalize their negativity and let it affect you.

But how often do we really, truly believe those that build us up?  Almost never.  And it's really easy for me to brush off the kind words of the people that do believe in me.  I have the best husband, who listens to my tales of woe and tells me to either get the eff over it, or to get the eff over them (after hugging me and handing me chocolate, of course).  I have a pretty stellar circle of friends that also listen to my BS and help walk me through the problem, in general reminding me that haters gonna hate (in PC terms).  I have a pretty excellent family that also bends over backwards to surround me with love. I also have an awesome team of co-workers, that, even though far away, know how to make me laugh and get through the day.  All wonderful people.

So why is it so easy to listen to the negative?  I don't know.  But I'm done with letting salty people get to me, as much as I can, at the very least.  Baz Lurhmann, childhood icon for pithy phrases, said it best "Remember compliments you receive.  Forget the insults.  If you succeed in doing this, tell me how". Well, probably someone said it before he did.  But back in 1999, we all thought he was a genius song writer that said everything that every world wise seventeen year old needed to hear.  And I guess it somehow, someway, it stuck, right?


So, it's time to move on, folks,  Just do it.  Whatever it takes.  To climb out of that hole and "take me to the top".  Gotta love song inspo. ( I know you just you tubed the song.  You're welcome.)

And, as my buddy Dan might have intended, that song really is a runner's love.  I burned it on my running play list Friday night for the Walworth 5k, a little race Greg and I run every year that coincided with his birthday this year. Yesterday, on a humid as mofo morning, of course.  I'm not going to bore anyone with a full race report, but I managed to shave 30 seconds off my time for a respectable 24:12 on a hilly as hell course, 3rd OA woman and a nice age group win.  GOOD THINGS.  Remember the good things.

Then I came home and promptly signed up for a marathon.  Because, adrenaline.  I'll be racing the Northern Ohio Marathon on October 1, a tribute to saying adios to my early thirties and the 30-34 age group the day before my birthday.  It'll be epic.  Can i break 4 again?  Stay tuned.  The pressure is on,  To train.  And ya know, actually write about it :-P

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Walking the Wire

Life.  It's such a  balancing act, isn't it? Imagine Dragons said it best.

 I remember being sixteen years old, when life stood before me, unabashedly making plans for how I was going to take over the world.  Mind you, in my naive teenage mind, that consisted of besting my parents, getting my own way, telling my teachers to take a number, and doing what I wanted to.  Finally.

Eighteen years later, I realize that this whole "adulting" thing has larger ramifications than choosing to eat pop tarts and diet coke for breakfast (which are delicious, but you pay for it later).  And so it goes.  All of those wonderful things that were going to be mine for the taking...they have consequences.  And not exactly in the way I had thought it might.

For those wonderful friends that have followed me with any sense of regularity (what's that Rae, you never blog), you know I've been struggling lately.  Which, to be frank, has baffled me.  When I look back at my sixteen year old self, I see a teenager that took life by the horns.  That didn't give a shit what anyone thought.  That loved a boy with all her heart (even if he didn't know who she was).  Who had the best gang of six buddies who not only totally got her, but would beat the shit out of any guy that messed with her (all my "older brothers", if you will).  Who knew who she was, without reservation.

Who also dreamed of big things.  A great career, a beautiful family, two kids, a white picket fence, a funny, handsome and loving husband.  And undoubtedly a famous thespian or dancer.

Things change.  But not too much.  As I hit my mid thirties, I realize that I have everything I want right now, swapping out marathon for dance, triathlon for theatre.  I have such beautiful kids.  And my husband is undoubtedly the most perfect man for me.  I have a great career. A wonderful family.  Friends. And a basement full of Age Group medals that confirm that I am an athletic success - healthy, happy, and successful.  Everything but that picket fence.

So what's wrong?  Why am I mechanically attending to things?  Checking it off my list?  Missing the passion that I know my teenage self would be horrified to find missing?  I wanted to find out.  With the last few months a hectic and frustrating mish mosh of increasing stress at work, holding down the fort while Greg worked two jobs, and some health issues that are probably due to the first two, I have found myself becoming more and more annoyed with everything around me.  I am not a happy person to be around.  I've dusted off my resume and considered strongly the possibility of leaving a job I've loved for the last ten years.  I've even sat down and reconsidered base things that I am passionate about that don't seem to be so amazing any more.

With that, I knew I needed a reset.  I took the week off from work, and have re-connected.  With my kids.  With my husband.  And mostly, with myself.  Through some long, forgiving runs, a few naps, a pedicure, and even (gasp) retail therapy (yes, I went shopping for things other than running shoes.  If nothing else shocks you in this post, this should).  And I have thought.  And thought.  And thought some more.

And I've realized quite a bit.  Put simply, I've managed to let other people affect me way too much lately.  Energy vampires, if you will.  And I'm disgusted with myself for it.  I've listened when people criticize the way I parent. The way I work. The way I eat. The way I run.  The way I write.  And, no, I am not kidding, the way I send emails.  What in the actual eff is that all about?  I know.  I've sat there and taken a bunch of crap from people that are 100% pot calling the kettle black, and I've stewed in my own juices about it until I have emerged a bitter, resentful person.  Who not only took in their unnecessary, and not helpful words, but allowed them to define me.  And that's just sad.

When I was a kid, the famous phrase quite a few authority figures used on me was "Do as I say, not as I do".  Which we all know is just a shitty way to let an adult explain away bad behavior without feeling any of the consequences because, ya know, adulting, man.  When I became a parent and a boss, I swore I would never project that image to anyone that answered to me.  It creates an environment that fosters forced discipline, but never will foster respect or a good relationship.  Ever.

I managed to walk away from those "do as I say"  people for so long.  And now I find myself seeing it almost on a daily basis, either at work or in certain social circles.  And, much like a kid going through adolescence, it's set me back into a world of uncertainty, of faint dissatisfaction that festers, and lingers.

It's easy to point a finger.  To place the blame on someone else.  To let their insecurities and bad nature leech onto you and define you.  But I'm done with that.

The way I have been has been...safe.  Full of defined, easy actions that have been set forth by society and deemed appropriate.  Pay your bills.  Put in your forty hours. Do the laundry. Give the kids a bath.  Run for exactly the 60 minutes to fulfill your "10,000 steps".  Yada yada yada.  They are also boring.  And my sixteen year old self shakes her head at me.  So does my twenty five year old self, who stared at Mirror Lake in 2010, the morning her her first ironman, 3000 people strong, facing 140.6 miles of uncertainty and....jumped in.

Know what happened in 2010?  I crashed.  Yep.  Crashed my bike at mile 42.6.  I cried for 2 minutes, stood up, took inventory of body and bike parts, and rode the last 80 miles of that course with a bent frame.  And then ran the 26.2 mile marathon dirt streaked and bloody.  And I fucking finished with a smile on my face, having taken my own world by storm.

Take risks.  Be alive.  Be uncomfortable. Just DO IT.

This is my new mantra.  (With some help from Nike).

So look out down below!