Lessons Learned

It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to write a blog. So, as I sit here brainstorming about which event over the last week and a half is “blog-worthy”, I find myself feeling a little ADD, hopping from one thing to the next, unable to decide what to share. It’s exhausting 😉  As a solution, I have decided to tell a few short stories…

Let me just preface these by saying that my marathon training is getting to be a big, huge pain in my butt and suck the small amount of social life time I had, completely out of existence to be very challenging. Motivation has been a daily struggle!

Story #1

Because of my recent decrease in motivation, I have been making an extra effort to find running buddies whenever possible. It’s a great way to keep me accountable for sticking to my planned runs. Last Monday, I decided to try and find a friend to run with for Tuesday’s run. I sent a text to my friend Julie, but she couldn’t make it. So, I made a desperate Facebook plea. No luck. 

Tuesday morning, I concluded that I would still pack my running clothes, and hopefully I’d be able to muster enough energy to hit the 6 mile loop at Stony before grabbing the kids from daycare. But I really wasn’t feeling it. And then, at 8:00 AM Julie text and said her plans had changed and she’d be there to meet me! Which meant I HAD to go. Which was fantastic because I could have easily stood myself up for that running date, but I would never stand up a friend!

After work, as I changed into my clothes for the chilly run, I made the horrible realization that I’d forgotten to pack a sports bra. EEEeeeek. Had I not been meeting anyone, that would have been a definite indicator that this run wasn’t meant to be. But, as I said, I don’t stand up friends for run dates. So…what I learned was that BUFFS actually have one more purpose than the 268 listed on their tags. Yup. On that Tuesday, this girl sacrificed her ear BUFF to use as a sports bra. Which meant, I was left to use a decorative scarf as an ear buff. It. Wasn’t. Pretty. 

But the run was pretty awesome and flew by. 

Lessons: 1.) Friends make running more fun. 2.) BUFFS are possibly the most amazing and useful accessory in the entire world. 

Story #2

Friday night, my husband and I had a small wedding celebration/reception to attend. I was excited because lately I feel like the most thrilling things I do involve stories about having to wear BUFFS as sports bras! HA! I was pretty excited to get dressed up in something other than spandex running tights for the night. 

And of course, I was bound and determined that I wasn’t going to allow the 17 mile run I had scheduled the next morning to ruin my fun. Which for me, meant I would drink wine. Not A LOT, but enough. 

I bet you’re wondering how that went for me?  

Well, when I woke up at 3:00 AM and had a headache, I definitely freaked out. I went downstairs, chugged a glass of water, and crawled back in bed cursing myself for being a terrible decision maker.

When the alarm went off at 6:45, I still had a lingering headache. After I ate my bagel, I took some IbuProfen, filled up my Camelback with lifesaving hydration, and determined that I was going to crush these 17 miles…mind over matter, right!?

Once again, I had scheduled this run with a running buddy. Actually, it was our first run together, which was just one more reason I needed to not mess it up! It’s not easy to find fun chicks who run 17 miles at 8:00 AM on Saturday mornings when the windchill is 7 degrees and the ground is covered with snow. 

Long story short, we finished our run (17.5 miles for me, 20 miles for Heather!) with ease, even though our hydration bottles/Camelback froze and made it nearly impossible to access the lifesaving hydration!

Lesson: Sometimes it’s okay to have fermented grapes for dinner. The night before a 17 mile run is not the best time to do that.

Story #3

The day after my 17.5 mile run, I had to do an 8 mile pace run. Unfortunately for me, my body thought it had just run a marathon and was putting on the full guilt trip. Sore knees, aching foot, total exhaustion, full body wobble. The. Worst.

So, as anyone would do, I put this run off alllllll day, until finally, it came to the point where I had to do it, or not do it.

If you know me at all, you know that I would beat myself up for skipping it, so I went into it with the attitude of “I’ll run at pace for as long as I can…and then I’ll slow down if I need to.”

Once I hit the 5 mile mark, I was mentally prepared to finish the whole run at pace. Telling myself I only had a 5K left, got me through the mental block of it being a long run. But, at mile 5.2, my legs literally started to have a mind of their own. They weren’t simply moving how they were supposed to, and I had to consciously THINK about making them move how they should. It was the longest and most physically challenging 3 miles that I think I have ever run. But mentally, it was a huge victory for me.

Lesson: It really is true, when your legs won’t run anymore, run with your heart…or your mind…or something like that.

Sparkle.Pounce.Keep on learning, and growing.


Comfortably Uncomfortable

Friday night I hopped in bed after a wonderful girls’ night out to dinner, set my alarm for 6:50 am, and drifted off to sleep. I was exhausted. 

The next thing I know, I’m awoken by a nightmare and frantically checking the time on my phone. 4:30. Phew. You see, my dream was that I had overslept and completely missed my run. And I hadn’t just overslept a little. Somehow, (in my dream) I managed to sleep until 11:00 am which we all know hasn’t happened since I was pulling all nighters in college. When I woke up (still in my dream), I was very confused. Once I realized that I overslept I became somewhat hysterical. I was sobbing uncontrollably and saying over and over, “I missed my run. I missed my workout. How could I have overslept?”

In real life, I don’t think that I would have been sobbing, had I overslept. But, I definitely would have been frustrated with myself. I had plans to meet “The Boston Girls”, otherwise known as the super fast girls that I’m terrified to run with, for the first time that morning, which apparently had me worried enough to have a “nightmare.” Luckily, I didn’t oversleep and I made my 8:00 am meeting time.

The plan was to run a 2 mile warm up, then 8 miles at race pace, then a 2 mile cool down. I had never done that type of run before, but when you’re running with three girls who have all run Boston (and one is married to a professional distance runner), you pretty much just assume that their way is the way speed gets accomplished. So, I was game. 

During the warm up we were chatting about the run, and I decided I should get specifics on the pace we were going to maintain for our 8 miles “at race pace.” I knew all of these girls were running the same marathon as me, with the hopes to qualify for Boston, like me, but I wasn’t sure what their exact goal pace was. Mine is 8:13 per mile. So, when I heard that two of them were going to be running at a 7:45 pace, and the other was going to be even faster than that, I had a moment of self-doubt. What in the heck did I just get myself into? I cannot run 8 miles at a 7:45 pace….

But, being the upbeat, hard working, determined girl that I am, I decided it was better to stick with my plan, than try someone else’s and totally bomb. So, I let the girls know that I’d be running at my pace, and I’d see them for the cool down. 

I’m not sure why that was so hard for me, but it kind of was. I wanted to run with the fast girls. I wanted to stick with them. But, I really thought that if I tried to, and then couldn’t, it would crush my confidence. And there was no part of me that had any intentions of holding them back. 

So, I ran my 8 “race pace” miles on my own. I could see them ahead of me for a good chunk of the time, and I ended up running all of my miles, except for 1, under an 8:09. That felt pretty stinkin’ good. And throughout my miles I thought about how I was “chasing” them, but not really. What I was really chasing was my own dream, and my own pace. I wanted so badly to get into a groove that I thought I could hold for 26.2 miles. I wanted to get to a point where that pace felt comfortable. But, on that day, it only felt comfortably uncomfortable. And now I’m left to question if that is the best it will ever feel. And if that is the best it will ever feel, how in the world will I maintain that for 26.2 miles?!

Ok. Deep breathes. As soon as we slowed it down for the last 2 miles, everything was right in the world again. And I felt like I could have easily sped it back up. And my legs were tired from the week’s workouts, and I had stayed up too late the night before… And so many other reasons why I wasn’t ready to run 26.2 miles at that pace yet. I still have 10 weeks left to train!!!  I totally got this. Right?!

For now, I’m going to hold on to the fact that I was brave enough to run with the fast girls. And I was brave enough to do my own thing. And I know that being comfortably uncomfortable is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s the only way to get better at anything!

Mission accomplished.

Sparkle.Pounce.Get Uncomfortable.


Find Your Happy

In my world, last week was one of the worst stinkin’ weeks I have ever had miserable. Each person in my family was struck with the stomach “bug” that is going around, and it left me feeling awful for about five horrible days.

During those five, long days, nothing seemed right. Even managing to smile back at coworkers felt like a chore. My usual 7:00 am car karaoke sessions did not happen. I didn’t even want to listen to music. My typical sparkly Facebook posts greatly diminished and I even posted something dreadfully whiny like, “I’m the crabbiest person in the world…” It. Was. Rough. 

Thankfully, this week I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER and I have found my happy place. 

It started with some warm weather and sunshine over the weekend, that motivated me to slip on my Salomons and go for my first trail run in a long time. 

And that, my friends, is where I found my happy. It. Was. Perfect. I really can’t even express how happy my heart was while me feet made their way through the slushy, icy, sunshine soaked trails. The text I sent to my husband after finishing up the first part of my run read, “Just finished 6 miles on the trails. It was slow and hard, but glorious.”

And it was. I felt like I was FLYING, my heart was racing, and I was definitely panting, but only managed to average an 11:50 mile. CRAZINESS! 

I had to get in 14 miles that day, so I decided to finish up the rest of the run on the paved path. That was nice too, but the entire time I think I was still on a bit of a high from spending some much needed time in the woods. That’s where I always find my happy.

Sparkle.Pounce.Be Happy.


Dear Spring, We Need You

“Mom! Did you hear that it’s supposed to be like 45 degrees next week?! That’s almost swimming weather, right?” – Liam, age 9

Every March, I am pretty sure that I have never been SO ready for winter to be over. This year is no different. The cold temperatures have left me trapped in the house with my face pressed against the window, longing to enjoy the sunshine without freezing my face off. 

I cannot wait for spring weather and everything that comes with it. So, in an effort to mope less, and wait excitedly for spring, I have decided to take a look at all of the things I am looking forward to!

Dear Spring, I need you because….

Could I be wearing anymore clothes!?

I will lose approximately 10 pounds, just by not having to wear sweaters and boots every day!

THIS bridge, on a trail, through the woods, is almost as excited to see me as I am to see it! My feet and my mountain bike will take turns flying over it as I breath in the warm air that doesn’t hurt my face.

Bonfires aren’t just for summer at my house. As long as there isn’t snow on the ground, we like to enjoy a warm fire by the pond.

There isn’t much that beats sitting on the deck, with my feet up, enjoying a glass of wine. Ahhhh…

Spontaneous day trips with the girls of Sparkle.Pounce. don’t happen when the air is so cold that it hurts your face. BUT…with spring comes the excitement of road trips and adventure!

And finally….RACES!!! More specifically…trail races!!! Hot cocoa races can be fun, but they don’t even compare to runs where I have to wear sunscreen and don’t have to thaw out my toes and hands when I’m done.

Those are just a few of the reasons why I need spring…STAT.

Sparkle.Pounce.Wait Excitedly!