Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Joy

joy
joi/
noun
1a :  the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires :  delight
 b :  the expression or exhibition of such emotion :  gaiety 
2:  a state of happiness or felicity :  bliss 
3 :  a source or cause of delight
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/joy

My orthopedic doctor, when she explained to me that I should refrain from high intensity or overhead movements or workouts (like running and CrossFit), offered that she hoped she wasn't taking away my joy by saying that. I said that she wasn't, that I needed someone to tell me to stop because I would keep trying otherwise. Later, I realized, it also didn't matter because I'd already stopped (and started, and stopped, and started) enough times to have long lost my joy in those things. At some point, it started to feel like work. Over time, it became something I wasn't good at anymore (before realizing I was actually injured). Then it became difficult and painful. And now, I can't do any of it.

There was a point where I thought I just wasn't working hard enough. Or I was not consistent enough or not hydrated enough or not focused enough or not determined enough or... It is hard to let that all go when it has been the one thing holding me all together, making me who I am. But, when you have to remake your world because nothing is the same anymore (and for a middle child that is very difficult) maybe letting it go is what is necessary. At any rate, it was necessary to let it go because I couldn't do it anymore.


Now who am I?


My true joy, for the past 21 years, has been My Love. Love of my life. Joy of my days. It is how we greet each other nearly every day. And those little ones bring me lots of joy as well. I am a very lucky woman indeed! But, creating my own joy is also important. Motorcycling is joyful, sometimes stressful but mostly joyful. Work, it is also a joy to be able to do what I love and know that it matters. And I'm pretty good at it so, that helps. Being an athlete also brings me joy. And I'm good at it. I need that in my life. I do. It is a part of who I am.

I have a PT appointment on Friday. I made an appointment with a new massage therapist for next month. It is hopefully a step on the road to recovery and rejuvenation. And discovery. This is a new journey for me. A new challenge to rebuild. It certainly won't be easy. I'm feeling my age for sure. A new challenge to rediscover myself.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Run the Year 2017

Apparently, some time ago, I registered for the Resolute Runner 5K which was this morning. I've run this 5K twice before. It's actually my PR race. It's one I really like. It's close to home. It's on the bike path. It's flat. But, this morning, I was not ready to run. I haven't been ready to run in a very long time. I toyed with the idea of walking it but I've been trying to be more mindful of how I actually feel. My hips, both of them, still hurt. Bursitis. I've walked on the treadmill last week for about 20 minutes each time. That's less than a mile usually. I need to pay attention to myself and do what's best to rebuild and come back stronger. It is very hard to do that. But this morning I did. I didn't push it and I decided to do my 1 mile walk on the treadmill. I even did some stretching after.

Ndank, ndank.

I am registered for this Run the Year 2017 challenge. Run or walk 2,017 miles, either solo or as a team of up to 4. My stepdaughter asked me to do it with her and we invited my sister. Maybe this team will keep me focused. I hope to start out slow and ramp up to a half marathon by the end of the year. Or maybe just a bunch of shorter races.

I am also registered for the winter 6-pack series. I'm doing the progressive races, starting at 1 mile and finishing at a 10K. The first race is on the 7th. Again, I'll likely be walking it. Start out slow and then ease up. Nadank, ndank.

Can she do it? Stay tuned.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Remember

I remember the exact moment I gave up. It was after my dad's funeral at the repast. I don't remember much about that day but I know there was lots of food. That's how we roll in New Orleans. Someone brought a pan of Popeye's biscuits. That's when I knew. I was letting go. That's when I gave up. Nothing really mattered anymore and I didn't care.

Being focused on healthy eating is exhausting when you first start doing it. It's rewarding for sure and that reward drives you to stick with it. But, at that moment, I had nothing left. No energy for myself or anyone or anything else. I lost my focus. And it didn't matter. I needed what little energy and focus that I did have to get through every day, to go back to work, to learn my new job, to manage my staff. I did it poorly I'm sure. I really don't remember any of it.

The end of February will make three years for me at the Gardens. Three years. I've gained nearly 30 pounds in that time. Lost all of the gains I'd built. I'm heavier than when I first started CrossFit. I've heavier than I've ever been. And the least healthy I've ever been. It's been...sad.

So, starting, not over, but again. Starting again. It's very hard. It must be done. The road I am on is not one I every thought I'd be traveling down. I'm 48 years old. The older we get the harder it is to do the work. But, I have the gift of experience to guide me and to encourage me. I've done it before. I can do it again. Patience. Trust. Remember.

It's hard.

Do the work.

Stick with it.

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 becomes 2015

Many plans and goals went unfulfilled this year due to many challenging events. Getting through this year was exhausting, emotionally and physically. And, I'm certain we are not through it all simply because I've hung a new calendar on the fridge. No. Life doesn't really work that way. But, it does carry on, which is what we shall try to do, as best we can. Life changing events make you into a new person. Not necessarily better or worse, just different. It's best to accept that truth and move on. You can't go back. You can't change the past, no matter how much you want to beg for it or cry about it. You can and should cry as much as you want. That's ok. But, here we remain, in the present, and in a way, less than we were before. We will always miss the ones we love.

I joined CrossFit Verve in March 2014. I didn't bring any goals or expectations with me at first. I was learning about my new job at the Denver Botanic Gardens and that seemed like enough to worry about at the time. I'd made some goals at my old box, CrossFit Roots. Those were in the back of my mind but I wasn't too worried about them. I just wanted to start a new routine and try to be consistent. Early morning WODs were something I never thought I would be able to do. I'm not a morning person at all. But, eventually, it felt comfortable and more doable. It did take a while to get there though.

And then the world as we knew it began to change. My sister-in-law's husband, Dave, was diagnosed with leukemia. He needed to come to Denver for treatment so, without hesitation, they moved in with us. At about the same time, my dad was fighting lung cancer in Houston. The roller coaster that we couldn't get off began. Lots of ups and downs, good news, bad news, no news, highs and lows, came at us every day. Road trips that we didn't want to make were made. Conversations we didn't want to have were had.

My dad died on July 15th, five and a half months ago. Dave died on December 19th, two weeks ago.

It is a crushing unbelievable sadness.

I have no words of encouragement or motivational quips about cancer or loss. None of that matters. Right now we just try to endure. I am very fortunate to have positive healthy family and in-law relationships. We lean on each other. We hold each other up. We try to always have kleenex handy. We hug or not as needed. We go on.

One bright spot has been my new job. I could be at work and have some sort of control over the tasks I had to do and be successful. I could ask questions and get answers. I could set tasks and enact change. Even when small disasters struck (water leak in the serials storage room), I could manage the clean up and lead a team successfully. It was a much needed sense of security, something I had very little of at my last job. I will be forever grateful that I was head librarian at the botanic gardens at this time in my life.

It's been difficult to try to think of new resolutions for crossfit and running. I somehow managed to achieve one of the goals I'd set for myself before leaving Roots. I managed to make it to the top of the rope and back down again. That was pretty cool. I also ran a bucket list half marathon, the Indy Mini. That was very cool. And me and my sister ran the Rock and Roll Denver Half Marathon Relay as well. My 2:30 half marathon time goal is still out there. And improving my mobility for crossfit is also still out there. I don't think I'll dwell on either just yet. I think I'll just try to enjoy my fitness day-to-day and see what happens.

Or maybe I'll shoot for a sub 30 minute 5K this year.... :-)

And now, some photos of my feet. :-)

Work

CrossFit

Running
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

That's the thing about the WOD

That's the thing about the WOD or running long slow distance. It's a mental and physical test. The mental means you have to be present in that moment, to keep your body moving forward, to complete the challenge. That's the thing. It's the reason I love it. I can't think of anything else but that motion or movement or whatever you are asking your body to do. Be present. Embrace the suck as they say. That suck is fleeting. An hour. 15 minutes. Three hours. Whatever it is, you know there is an end. So you focus on that end and get through it. 

It's a great way for me to have a moment of peace and clarity. But it's only a moment. When it's over, there is still reality and all the things you are trying to forget. Those things are still there. Waiting. Reality. It sucks sometimes. 

I want to live in the CrossFit moment. Just for a little while. Maybe a week. It would be a nice vacation. 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

CrossFittin'

So, things have been a bit out of whack lately, to say the least. After a tumultuous month of July, I am still struggling to get back into the groove of things. Lack of sleep has kept me from the morning WODs. Stress and lack of sleep kept me from several days of WODS altogether. But, last week and this week I've made it to the evening Skilz class and one early morning WOD. (Thanks workout buddy!) I feel like I've fallen behind but I don't really care. I'm pretty glad just to make it to class.

Today we lifted. Front squats. 5 sets of 5 reps building to a heavy set of 5. The first three were paused, meaning slowly squat (a three count) then hold for a three count before standing. That's really hard. The last two were supposed to be heavy and at a normal pace. My heaviest set was 85lbs. It felt good to lift heavy things.

I've lost track of what my PRs are or what I was lifting at Roots before I came to Verve. That used to bother me a lot and I felt like I was going backward. But, it's a new gym, with new coaches, and also with different coaches every day. So, they notice different little things that I need to work on which keeps me lifting pretty light weight while I make those little corrections. Today I decided it didn't matter anymore what the weight was. It only matters that I show up. It doesn't matter if I do the Skilz class or the main WOD. It only matters that I show up.

I started at Verve in March or April. I think I'll feel comfortable setting goals for 2015. For now, I just need to continue to show up. And not stress about it.

Sigh. Sometimes it's just hard.

There's been a lot of emotional shit to deal with this year. Lots of changes, some of it good, like the new job. But my whole life seems to be out of whack at times. I feel very out of balance. Showing up is a good goal. That probably works for outside of CrossFit too. Show up and be present.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Indy Mini Marathon Race Report

Well hello!! It's been a while since I've blogged, eh?

This weekend I was in Indianapolis for the Indy Mini Marathon which is the largest half marathon in the country. 30,000 runners this time around. (28,935 per the official results page.)

When I registered for this one, my intention was to train in order to finish under 2 hours and 30 minutes. That's always been a goal of mine. (I came close in 2012 when I ran the New Orleans Rock and Roll half, finishing in 02:32:15. That was a fun race. I had family cheering for me along the route. The out and back part passed in front of my aunt's apartment. Very cool!) Soon after I registered, I started a new job and changed CrossFit gyms. It was just enough of an upheaval to throw off my training. Lots of that was my own lack of mental fortitude to get the miles in. No matter. I didn't get the miles in. In fact, my longest training run was only 6 miles and I didn't even run at all for about 3 weeks before the race. Crazy! I just knew I'd be hurting for the entire race. But, I also knew that I'd recover well. CrossFit has trained my body to recover from tough workouts. It has also trained me to suffer through tough workouts. This would be my 7th half marathon. I also knew exactly what I was in for with 6 races already completed.

My race plan was to start out slow and then ease up. No, really, that was my plan. Haha! Stop to enjoy it. Take lots of photos and just soak it all in.
Entering the Expo

Ready to go! New running kilt!

Waiting for the start

Approaching the start

This race was on my half marathon bucket list. Runners do a lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!! My plan went back and forth about how much walking I'd do. Do I walk to the track so I have enough in the tank to run around it? Do I run to it and walk around it to have enough left to run to the finish? Walk a mile, run a mile? Walk 3, run 3, etc.? The biggest problem was that I had no idea how I was really going to feel once it started.

And then I remembered why I run half marathons. I really like them. :-)

The emotions of the event came forth when I arrived at the expo. Everyone is so friendly, wishing you good luck, asking where you are from, how many races you've done. Maybe this is the first time I really felt like one of them. I remember my first half in Las Vegas and being at the expo was so intimidating. This time, I felt more relaxed. It was just fun. No stress, no expectations. Just fun.

My hotel was very close to the start. I was able to sleep in and prep without worrying about getting lost or being late. Breakfast was a problem though. Since going mostly paleo with my diet, it's been more difficult to find food that I want to eat that won't upset my stomach. Eating those food items every now and then is ok but I didn't want to run on an upset stomach for 13 miles. I had a sort of plan but when the morning came, I had one of my leftover chicken peanut wrap things and some nuts and called it good. I also packed some Justin's nut butter packets to eat in place of the gels that they hand out.

I found my corral and settled in before deciding I should hit the port a potty. That didn't take very long, maybe 10 minutes but, by the time I got back to my corral it was so full people were queued up on the outside. Weird. I couldn't really tell if it was the right corral at that point but I queued up as well. Once the wave started moving it was fine and we all headed collectively to the start. I ate one of the nut butters as we walked to the start. I had my water bottles but hadn't filled them with water. I don't know why. :-/ I felt really unprepared. (By the way, I'd also hadn't run long enough to need food when I trained. So I had no idea if the nut butter was a good idea.)

Once the race started, I settled in at a 12:30 or so pace and it felt pretty good. There was music the entire race route. (The Rock and Roll series could really take lessons from the Mini.) It was great. All of these local musicians and dancers and DJs were cheering us on. Folks were sitting on their porches and hanging in their yards cheering us on. It was fantastic. I had a big smile on my face the whole time.

The pace felt comfortable so I decided to keep at it until I felt tired. The closer we got to the Speedway the more energy I seemed to gain. I love coming to this place. It is the embodiment of so many things I love - sport, history, tradition, competition, endurance. It also reminds me of New Orleans because of the family celebrations and traditions surrounding it for the locals. People hang signs on their houses welcoming race fans, letting them park in their yards, selling them waters. Just like Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras. I love it!

My brother and I have been to 5(?) Indy 500s. I am fairly familiar with the area. I knew how far away we were as we approached the Speedway. Here's some footage as we made the turn to the entrance. I was so excited!!


I couldn't believe I was actually doing this race and was about to run a lap at INDY! So awesome!

Just outside the Speedway
A friendly volunteer took this photo.
I still felt pretty strong at this point. But, I was about to hit a wall of sorts. As we started our lap, I slowed to take pictures and shoot some video. At turn 4, I started to walk and just soak it all in. My legs wouldn't run. I just wanted to soak it all in. It wasn't a physical wall but an emotional one.

Looking towards turn 3.
Entering turn 3 or is this approaching turn 4?
Exiting turn 4.
 
Selfie with the pagoda
Amazing to be here!

The pagoda
We've always sat between turns 4 and 1 for the 500. So, this bit of the track is familiar with lots of memories of the races we've attended. We witnessed the [edit: second] closest finish in Indy history. That was our first ever 500. (I really wanted Marco to win that one!) And this year, we aren't going to the 500. It will be the final race for Jim Nabors and I am quite sad to be missing it. Walking past the Pagoda was amazing. I wish we were going this year.

The bricks. I wasn't sure how to approach them. Lots of folks stop here to take selfies or have their friends take their picture kissing the bricks. Of course, I kissed them but I didn't get anyone to take my photo for me. There were official photographers set up there so I hope one of their photos comes out. I did take this one:
Selfie with the bricks!
I walked the rest of the track route, taking more pictures along the way and just soaking it all in.
Looking back, not wanting to leave just yet.
We left the track at just past the 8 mile mark. Less than 5 miles to go. I ate another nut butter, drank some water and gatorade (I filled my bottles at one of the aid stations) and took some deep breaths as I prepared to pick up the pace to the finish. Then, somewhere around mile 10 my knee and hip started hurting. I realized I was running to the left of the road which was crowned so I moved to the center, running on the double yellow. The pains went away. As long as I stayed in the center I felt fine. But, being a crowded race, there were lots of folks to dodge. I thought for sure I'd be closer to 14 miles with all the dodging I was doing.

I did have to stop to walk one more time in that last mile. It was the longest mile ever. It was a straight but I couldn't see the finish line for what felt like forever. When I finally saw it, I started to run again. Slow and steady. Just before the finish, there was a PA system playing Indy 500 finishes. As I approached they were playing the Marco Andretti and Sam Hornish finish, the [edit: second] closest in Indy history, the one we witnessed at our first Indy 500, the one my brother text to me for inspiration as I entered the Speedway. I love this place!

02:55:40 was my official time. Not anywhere close to my original goal. But, that goal was dropped well before I flew to Indy. The only goal I had was to have fun, take lots of photos, and finish. Mission accomplished! My Garmin tells me I had 10 full minutes of stoppage time. That included a potty break, photos on the way, slowing to text my brother and sister, stopping to fill my water bottles, and lots of time at the bricks. At the Speedway I had a 15 minute mile! It was great.

Thinking back on how I physically felt during the race, I could have easily run the whole thing at that 12+ minute mile pace and been comfortable. And if the attraction of the track wasn't so strong, there would have been less stopping. But, that's not what this race was about. It was the most fun I've had for sure. I smiled just about the whole way. I even shed a few tears after getting my medal. I feel very very fortunate and privileged to have my health when so many that I know and love do not. I feel very fortunate and privileged that I can make these trips, take time off from work to relax and celebrate all that is good in my life.

I can't wait to go back and do it again!
Best medal ever!!