vibram

Immortal Shoes?

“I like Cinderella, I really do. She has a good work ethic. I appreciate a good, hard-working gal. And she likes shoes. The fairy tale is all about the shoe at the end, and I’m a big shoe girl.”
Amy Adams

Not sure where I found this on Facebook, but it totally cracked me up.

I Just Did Something Crazy…

“Do just once what others say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.”

James Cook

Ladies and Gentle,

I have done something completely insane, but before I get into details I figured I catch you up on my most current fitness failings. ūüėČ

BUILDING SUSPENSE PEOPLE!!!

So lately my left knee has been bugging me a bit. ¬†It’s always the same spot- where I twisted it snowboarding a few years back. ¬†I’ve had an MRI which was normal and got the green light to go balls-to-the-wall with my fitness craziness. ¬†Anyway, I think with all the extra time and intervals on the new month of Insanity that there’s a good possibility I’m doing something to irritate it when I’m bouncing all fatigued (it’s more like thundering when I’m tired actually- case in point).

Given the knee issue, I have really been trying to back off the Insanity a little this week. That’s why I was really excited to do some upper body lifting this weekend. ¬†Last night I ended up meeting the guys at the gym for some “light lifting”. ¬†I don’t remember much of what we did other than the pull-ups. ¬†Since I am still pull-up challenged at the moment, I had G-dawg as an assist. He had me do 3 sets of 3 while he spotted. ¬†On the second set my shoulder popped and was feeling weak, but I managed to finish. ¬†G-dawg insisted he was barely even touching me, and that I had improved dramatically from the last time we did them. ¬†Since my shoulder was acting up though, we did the last set with a rope so my elbows were close together. ¬†It definitely seemed a bit easier, but I didn’t appreciate having to come up twice each time to the right and left. lol

Unfortunately, my minimal assistance pull-up victory was short lived because this morning when we lifted again I totally flaked at bench. ¬†My shoulder wasn’t feeling right and I just couldn’t get anywhere with my left arm. ¬†Instead of using to two 10 lb plates on each side, I was down to 10 lb on each and struggling. ¬†It was a little frustrating, but I was still able to get some decent lifting in by using lighter weights and changing my grip. ¬†Adam and G-Dawg told me that I need to learn to focus more on my chest muscles when benching and stop relying on my shoulders, but it’s a little hard to do when your chest is female and not ripped with pecs- just saying. It’s a work in progress. ūüėČ

Dead lifting makes me feel like a bad ass!

Although I love them both, working out with two former marines is not always great for my ego. ¬†Today it definitely got to me a little that they make it look so easy and effortless while I was injured and feeling like a total wimp. ¬†When I lift (with the exception dead lift) my arms and weights seem to go everywhere and everything feels awkward (I’m sure it’s worse in my head than it actually looks, and the boys assure me it’s normal when you’re starting out). lol ¬†Then I look at the two of them and they are blasting out their reps with WAY HEAVIER weight (duh! I know, they’re boys).

It just sucks that I have spent the past year busting my ass while they both slacked and now they make the slightest effort and completely leave me in the dust. ¬†I get that they have muscle memory in their favor and I’m building from scratch, but SERIOUSLY- they could struggle a little just for my sanity? ¬†(Or add back extensions to every workout so I can at least demolish them at something, that’s a fair compromise- right?)

Anyway, at least I’m am getting somewhere with my pull-ups! Plus, taking a break from Insanity will give me a chance to get some running in- which I really need to be doing with another half marathon and Tough Mudder coming up in a month! ¬†The vibrams should definitely help build my stabilizers in my legs, and I really need to get used to running in them again now that the weather is nicer.

As for the craziness- first, I don’t think I officially announced that I signed up for the Pike’s Peak Ascent– 13.1 miles of STRAIGHT UP- AT ALTITUDE. ¬†Should be a good time! Adam and G-Dawg will be there, so at least I won’t be suffering alone. ¬†Of course, the best part is the excuse to vacation in Colorado (one of my favorite places on earth!). ¬†Interesting Factoid- the color for the race is purple because it was the first marathon officially run by a woman. How could I not do it knowing that !?! Girl power! (Plus I made a deal with myself that I would do it if I qualified, and I’ve qualified with 3 separate races times now.)

Second- and even more crazy– I sent my “running resume” to the officials of the Spartan Race to apply for a spot in the Spartan Ultra Beast. ¬†For anyone living under a rock who is unfamilar with the Spartan Races- it’s a series of varying length of obstacle races ranging from roughly 5K to the Death Race which spans up to 48hrs. ¬†Unlike the Tough Mudder, there are penalties for failing to complete the obstacles (lots of burpees!) and it’s designed to be as mentally demanding as physical. ¬†The Ultra Beast is the first marathon length race- YES MARATHON, YES I HAVE LOST MY MIND.

Here’s the thing though- I have only been back at running a little over a year, and I’ve only been doing boot camp since October. ¬†In that span of time I have become SO MUCH STRONGER physically and mentally than I ever thought possible. ¬†I seriously doubted whether I could finish the Tough Mudder and the Marathon, but I finished both. ¬†I used to doubt I’d be able to finish pretty much EVERY boot camp workout- now it’s never even a thought. ¬†If you had told me a year ago that I would manage even one of the races or workouts I finished- I would have never believed it. ¬†If I could go from a 10K to a marathon in 6 months, then there’s no reason I can’t go from running a marathon and 13 mile Tough Mudder at altitude to a marathon length obstacle course. ¬†I’m stronger, I’m tougher, and I have a better training program and support system. ¬†I know in my heart I can do it! (so of course I’m scared to death!)

What have you done to scare yourself lately? Step out of your comfort zone!

As an added bonus- when I do run it (if I don’t make it, I’ll do the Spartan Beast which is half the distance) I am totally getting their Spartan Chicked Gear! ¬†What would a woman not do in the name of awesome fashion? ¬†It will also be pretty awesome to possibly meet some of the other amazing women I’ve been reading about (even before I ever thought I could complete an obstacle race) that are a part of their “chicked” movement. ūüėČ

Earning my orange…

To do anything truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can.
-Og Mandino

That’s right! I made it!¬† Through mud, freezing water, electric shock (I didn’t actually¬†get shocked, but I did run the risk of it!), rough terrain, under barbed wire, literally up and down a mountain for over 11 miles (probably over 12).¬† There were times when I was terrified, hyperventilating, and completely frozen- in the shivering, teeth chattering sense-, but I made it through!¬†¬†¬† Adam was right there with me the whole¬†way.¬† He helped me over the tall Berlin walls and up the ropes.¬† He also made sure I didn’t drown after I jumped 15 ft into freezing water, and it literally knocked the air out of me.¬† He even offered to pull me to the other side of the water, but I told him I could manage. I think I may have worried him a little.¬† lol¬† Casualties included my “Say Yes to Endorphins” shirt ūüė¶ and black hair band, which got caught in the barbed wire on an early obstacle.

The views were spectacular!¬† I wish I could have taken pictures from the top!¬† It was completely breathtaking-¬†both in the sense of being awe inspiring¬†and the altitude literally making it difficult to breathe.¬† If nothing else, the trip and race were worth the scenery alone.¬† ūüôā We saw lots of crazy costumes, some¬†awesome stunts, and great signs posted by the Tough Mudder¬†Staff.¬† My favorites included the Warrior Dash¬†finish¬†marker with the reminder that you still had a hell of a way to go, and smaller signs reading things like “Remember you signed a death waiver” and¬†“Chuck Norris never ran a Tough Mudder”.

There was also a lot of camaraderie.¬† Well, that is at least until we hit the last couple miles and things came to a grinding halt.¬† The course narrowed dramatically and it caused a lot of standing around and waiting-¬†not exactly a fun time when you are tired, starving, soaked, and freezing.¬† The sun was already fading, and the wind on the mountain made the temperature seem incredibly cold.¬† I¬†imagine waiting in long lines with the finish line¬†in sight was not exactly what people expected.¬† There was a lot of vocal complaining and heckling going on.¬† People were getting down right nasty, but I guess not everyone handles general discomfort the same.¬†¬†By the time it was all over with,¬†we were all¬† a happy Mudder¬†tribe again…it may have had¬†to do with the free beer and snacks.¬† ¬†Overall, I think the course was fun, but might have been improved¬†if the paths were wide enough to get around the people who insisted on walking (incredibly slowly, the entire way- I still give them props by the way).

All that being said, I didn’t let any of the temporary grumpiness or physical discomfort¬†drag me down!¬† Normally, I tell people my three criteria for happiness are to be¬†warm, dry, and well fed; by the end of the race I was none, but I was still upbeat and enjoying Adam’s company-¬†even if I was too cold to feel my legs.¬† I was proud of myself for still having energy at the end of the race to sail down the hill, while many other people were dropping out and complaining about fatigue and pain.¬† I set out to do something I knew would be challenging and followed through- despite my better, self-preserving judgement.¬† I also raised over $70 for the Wounded Warrior Project¬†just in bottle and can donations (Thank you to my awesome¬†co-workers and family for all your help!!!).¬† While I may not be¬†in a hurry to rush out an sign¬†up for my next one, I would definitely do another obstacle race in the future.¬† In the meantime, I have realized that what I truly enjoy most is just running on the trails-¬†no crowds, no obstacles, no pavement-¬†just me and nature, and the¬†wide¬†open path.¬† ūüôā¬† The whole time I was running (mostly hiking-¬†the attitude made it difficult on the way up, and crowding did the same on the way down)¬†the race I kept thinking of how much more fun it would be if I could just run the course without all the interruptions -including¬†the obstacles-¬†which were fun, but not quite as much fun for me as just running.

I would strongly encourage¬†anyone to try an obstacle race, especially if you find just running boring.¬† They start as short as 5 K, which is completely doable-¬†even if you walk the whole way.¬† It’s a great opportunity to get dirty, exercise, and meet some new people.

Tonight at Boot Camp I will proudly be sporting my orange Tough Mudder sweatband and T-shirt!  Go Mudders!

I am very happy to have completed my first big challege¬†this fall.¬† The Diva Half Marahton¬†is in just 2 wks¬†and the Hartfod¬†Marathon in 4 wks!¬† I can’t believe how quickly this is all happening!¬† Thank you everyone for your support and well wishes!

On being a smarter optimist

“And maybe I’m a little smarter now than I was before for all the stupid things I’ve done. “
Herb Brooks

Before I met my abuser, I was a happy, upbeat free-spirit.¬† I looked at the positive in every situation, and over-looked other people’s flaws and chose to recognize their good points instead.¬† I was always smiling and cheerful.

After the abuse, I felt my optimism had betrayed me.¬† It helped me¬† fail to recognize cruel and self-interested behavior in people I had cared about. I had minimized their faults in favor of focusing on their better qualities.¬† Perhaps that is why it’s been so difficult for me to get back to my happy self.¬† I am afraid of overlooking the negative.¬† If I shrug off insults or bullying without standing up for myself then I will remain a doormat.

However, there is no reason I can’t be a happy and optimistic person and stand up for myself.¬† Setting boundaries doesn’t make me mean or unapproachable.¬† It has taken a conscious effort to accept that being optimistic may make me more vulnerable to unjust attacks, but it is the only way I’d choose to live my life.¬† I will not live in fear any longer.¬† I am breaking out of the confines of self-doubt and taking on the world (with my rosie colored glasses).¬† I am the only person capable of holding myself back, and I am not going to do it anymore.

I am going to finish the Tough Mudder- water tunnels, electric shock, and all.¬† I will finish that marathon.¬† I will not only finish, but will do it all with a smile on my face- because that’s just how I roll.¬† I will also do it with the knowledge that I am raising money for a worthy cause and inspiring other victims to move on from the confined existence of abuse.

Thanks for reading!¬† These posts are going to come in a flood now that I am back home with a computer.¬† Sorry for anyone whose inbox is about to be flooded!¬† As always, comments and questions are always welcome and appreciated. ūüôā

Biting off more than I can chew?

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face

… we must do that which we think we cannot.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Yesterday I survived another round of Boot Camp- push-ups and all!¬† I was actually excited to go.¬† I guess that makes me a glutton for punishment.¬† lol Each time the drill instructor gave us a challenge, I wanted to yell “bring it on!”¬† Every time I was tired and wanted to quit, I reminded myself that marathon runners don’t quit, Tough Mudders don’t quit, Spartans don’t quit, and I certainly don’t quit.¬† When I was told to push, I pushed as hard as I could.

That being said, I woke up this morning incredibly sore.¬† I wanted to stay in bed, but it was the only chance I’d have this week to get in a long run.¬† I truly regretted not doing a better job stretching before and after our class.¬† In the theme of not being a quitter, I dragged myself over to the Bridle Trail and started my 17 mile run.¬† My legs were heavy and my body was fighting me at first, but eventually I settled, and it felt like less of an effort.¬† By the time I hit nine miles, I was still feeling strong and really thought I was going to get through the run unscathed.¬† I knocked out my first 10 miles in just over 2 hrs, which was pretty good for me given I had on my vibrams and a weighted pack.

By the next mile, I was not feeling so hot.¬† Another mile in,¬† my IT bands were SCREAMING.¬† I panicked for a minute, but kept pushing.¬† Then my body came to a grinding halt.¬† I tried to force myself to run, but the pain was searing up my legs.¬† I couldn’t get back into a rhythm.¬† I couldn’t even walk straight.¬† I still had over 5 miles to go- a very long distance to walk.¬† I figured I would walk a bit and see if it got better- no luck.¬† Then I got the brilliant idea to pull my compression sleeves over my knees, which worked like a charm!¬† Then next five miles weren’t easy, but at least were doable.

By the time I got to the end of the trail, the GPS was whining flashing that it’s battery was low.¬† I thought it was very nervy for it to be complaining when I was doing all the work and still had to keep going. ūüėȬ† At the same time, I was a little proud of myself for outlasting it.¬† In the aftermath, I have to admit I am having a bit of trouble moving- especially up and down stairs.¬† Adam has been getting quite a chuckle watching me limp around.¬† He assures me this is normal.¬† I was hoping to make-up tomorrow evening’s Boot Camp class in the morning, but now I’m not sure 1) if I’ll be able to move by then, and 2) if it’s even a good idea.¬† I have not really been good with taking rest days, and now I’m paying for it.¬† Another lesson learned!

17.19 miles in 3:45!

Getting muddy...again! And sporting my awesome hot pink compression sleeves!

Just in case anyone needs a laugh, I read this post a while back from a HILARIOUS blogger- the Bloggess.¬† It’s about a metal chicken.¬† It made me literally laugh out loud because I could absolutely see my mom and myself doing this.¬† Then yesterday my mom and I were at the Home Goods store, and look what I found!¬† I immediately took a photo (see below) with my iPhone and sent it to my sister with the following message “Look, it’s even on sale!!! Lol I think mom needs one!”¬† She replied “No, I don’t think so,” but I’m sure my mom would have loved it and totally appreciated the humor in the situation.

That’s all for now!¬† Tomorrow we are California bound. ūüôā¬† My next post will likely be the race recap, so everyone have a wonderful weekend!!!

On the Edge

“We all have a comfort zone where everything feels safe and familiar. We tend to not want to venture beyond it, however if we allow ourselves to stay there we will not be challenged, experience personal growth, or learn new and exciting things. In other words, we would stagnate.”

It’s taken me a little while to get to posting.¬† Besides the usual being super busy, I just wasn’t sure what to write about.¬† I have been really on-edge lately, and that has really been bugging me.¬† Wednesday we leave for California and my first Tough Mudder.¬† As excited as I am about getting away and finishing my first obstacle race, I am also equally stressed.¬†¬† I have been pushing myself way outside my comfort zone recently, and this will be another HUGE step.¬† I know I can finish, but I am terrified of a few of the obstacles- specifically the electric shock and under water tunnels.¬† Being underwater makes me claustrophobic.¬† I even hyper-ventilate when I snorkel.¬† I am a little worried that going into a dark tunnel, underwater is going to give me a panic attack.¬† On the bright side, I know that Adam will be there to look out for me; and that is a huge relief!¬† Just knowing he’s there gives me that little boost to push myself a little firther than I would have otherwise.

It is so easy for me to get frustrated with myself for being worn out and stressed, while completely overlooking all the progress I have made recently.¬† I have been more social- spending time not only with my own friends, but with Adam’s.¬† I have let my guard down and really enjoyed the company of new people in my life.¬† I also have tried knee boarding for the first time, and even picked it up quickly!¬† I didn’t think about falling or hurting myself; I just went for it.¬† Adam and his friends were all impressed- they told told me I looked like a professional. lol¬† I think that was a little gracious.¬† They were also all very supportive of my marathon training. It meant a lot to me, since a few of them are marathon and obstacle race veterans!

Tonight I have Boot Camp Session #3, and tomorrow the plan is for a 17 mile run (GPS watch permitting).¬† I have my new hot pink compression sleeves to try out.¬† ūüôā¬† I am hoping to squeeze in a morning Boot Camp Session before we fly out Wednesday too!¬† Saturday will be the first of the three big races milestones (Tough Mudder, Diva Half Marathon, and Hartford Marathon) I have planned for the fall.¬† I feel like everything is starting to happen so quickly now!!!¬† I am looking forward to getting through all of it and taking a much need break. lol

As far as my missing tapeworm post- it was about how all this training has turned me into the “hungry catepillar” (complete with picture!) and what a chore eating all day has become.¬† I am always hungry!¬† If I don’t eat every 2 hours, I get light-headed and my stomach growls loudly like it has a mind of its own.¬† Training and eating have taken over my life!!! I don’t even want to look at food anymore.¬† There’s no fun in eating. ¬† It’s become a challenge to shovel in protein wherever I can get it, as frequently as possible; because despite stuffing my face all day everyday, I still seem to be losing weight.¬† lol

Anyway, there are far worse things I could be plagued with than binge eating and still losing pounds.¬† I hope everyone takes a step outside his/her comfort zone this week!!!¬† Thank you for reading!¬† Questions and comments are always welcome. ūüôā

Here's the proof!

Chafing is no fun…

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.
Wayne Dyer

Or you could run enough miles to eat the whole package of cookies and still not feel guilty- then throw in some boot camp for good measure. ūüėČ

I debated whether to name this post “I make mud look good” or “Chafing is no fun”… and the title went to the one I felt more strongly about.

Today I went for a 3 hour run.¬† My initial goal was 15 miles, but I couldn’t figure out how to work Adam’s GPS watch and figured 3 hours would be close enough.¬† That is exactly how long I made it before my gait started to resemble a drunken sailor, and I called Adam to come rescue me.¬† I stopped at a gas station less than 2 miles from home.¬† I knew I could push myself the rest of the way, but it would be at the expense of over-doing it (again).¬† I didn’t want to risk another sideline, especially when my joints were already screaming from running on the pavement- and I knew I still had a boot camp class to make.¬† To reward him for the effort of dragging himself out of bed to get me, I bought Adam a pint of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream (his favorite flavor) while I waited.¬† I also purchased a package of Vienna Fingers (no not the little one- the big one!), which I promptly dug into while the patrons pumping gas looked on with bewildered expressions (largely, I’m sure, owing to the fact that I was soaked and covered in mud).

I had just enough time in between my run and my evening torture session to grab some lunch with Adam.  I made it a point not to stuff myself with the hopes of decreasing the amount of workout related nausea ahead of me.  Overall the second class went well.  I only got light headed a couple times and barely had any nausea.  The work out was tough, but totally rewarding- I was especially proud to have managed the entire 60 push-ups scattered throughout the hour.  Adam was there to cheer me on and coach me through many of them, which I immensely appreciated.

So today I give myself a gold star for motivation!¬† My calves feel like jello, but my hot pink compression sleeves are due to arrive tomorrow, and I’m hoping they will help!¬† I am also hoping to get one more long run in before we leave for Cali and the NorCal Tough Mudder.

The downside of my ambitious workout- I have so much chafing on my back and chest from carrying my weighted down hydration pack that I am pretty much covered in itchy, raised, pink blotches.¬† I have scars on my collar bones from where the straps cut in; and scars, scrapes, and bruises all over my legs from all the debris and branches I get tangled in when I’m on the trails.¬† It’s all pretty sexy. ūüėČ

Not visible- my calves completely caked in mud

Thanks for reading!!! Comments and questions are always welcome.  Have a terrific evening everyone!