What Inspired You to Begin?

I get a little emotional the second Sunday in December. That’s the date of the Dallas Marathon, my hometown race.

I have lived in the neighborhood that the course runs through since I moved to Dallas. Oh, how it would piss me off to see my streets blocked on a random Sunday morning, making brunch plans impossible. To say I wasn’t a runner was an understatement.

In 2011, I topped out at 75+ pounds overweight. I was miserable. I was sedentary. I was on blood pressure medication and cholesterol medication. I was headed down the same damn path that so many take. It was my primary care doctor that just made an off-hand comment about how “this is as good as it gets” and “it’s all downhill from here.” I hated him at that moment. But a few weeks later, sitting on my hotel bed watching tv after a long day at work in another city, room service carnage all around me, something snapped. I literally, out loud, said “GET UP!”

I walked over to my laptop and joined Weight Watchers. I found a meeting at a location nearby and walked out of the hotel room. I stopped by the concierge desk and instructed them to remove the television from my room before I returned. They looked at me like I had three heads, but they said they would get it done. I sheepishly slinked into that first meeting to figure out if they could help me take control of my life. I was overwhelmed, but there was this insane drive to just make the change. I stopped by the Sports Authority that I saw on the way and bought a pair of workout pants and a pair of clearance shoes that I now know were nowhere near the right size. But the beauty of buying a pair on clearance was that no one had to help me, which meant I could remain as invisible as a fat middle-aged woman could be in a store she never thought she would be in. When I got back, I put those Nikes on told myself that if I was going to watch tv, it would be while walking on a treadmill.

But I digress… this is about the MARATHON!

So, fast forward a few months and it’s an insane, cold, stormy December morning in 2011. The family slept in, as usual, and we went out for a lazy Sunday meal. We went north, to Panera at North Park Mall, rather than our usual spots south of us because of the street shut downs. As I unapologetically ate that macaroni and cheese (side note: that stuff is amazing! All 950 calories of it!), the door opened. In walked a guy all bundled up and a woman who had just run the race. She was drenched, shivering, wrapped in a heat blanket and wore a medal.

She seriously looked like hell. Most would feel sorry for her, because seriously, it was COLD and WET that day! But all I saw on her face was exhausted confidence. She finished! She had an air that said she could conquer anything.

I turned back around and looked Sean right in the eyes and said, “I’m going to do that race!” His eyes widened and the concerned look came over his face.

“You know what race she just ran, right? I mean, do you even know how LONG the marathon is??”

“I don’t know, but I know I want to do that race. I want to know what that feeling is like. She looks like she can do anything!”

I hadn’t run a single step, but at that moment, I became a runner. I spent the next year tackling 5Ks and 10Ks and registered for the Half Marathon. I eventually ran the Dallas Marathon a couple of years later. Now, it’s a permanent spot on my calendar, either running or volunteering. I love this race and I love the people in it.

But the weekend always brings back that sense of nostalgia. I have no idea who that girl was. I don’t know if she ran the full, the half or even the relay. Maybe she was a “one and done-er.” But every year, I am reminded that the power of one person can profoundly change your entire life’s trajectory. So, my annual “thank you” goes out to her. Thank you for bringing me a confidence that I never had before. Thank you for helping me turn my entire family into a family of runners. Thank you for the amazing people that have been brought into my life. Thank you for showing me how awesome running and friendship could be. Thank you.

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Simple Kale and Quinoa Salad

I adapted this recipe from one I found online at nourishmovelove.com. The original recipe was delicious, but I found it a little one dimensional and needed something. What it needed was meat and a higher fat content. 😉

Also, this recipe was converted to make a really enormous amount of salad because I was meal prepping.

Mix all of this in a large bowl:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 cups broccoli kale salad (I bought bagged salad from Super Target!)
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup avocado, diced

Combine:

  • 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Toss the salad with the dressing. Top with 3 ounces of grilled chicken or tuna fish and a handful of sliced almonds.

This literally took only a few minutes to prepare once the quinoa had been made the night before.

Medal Monday: Cane Field Classic 2017

OK, it’s not exactly Monday, but it’s close enough, right? So, let’s jump right in.

I had a planned trip this past weekend to sherpa for my son at Ironman 70.3 New Orleans, so when I saw that the Cane Field Classic was the day before his race, I kind of jumped on the registration. You see, last year my friends, Susan, Erika and Kim, did this race and had such a great time, they insisted that I put this on my list for consideration in the future.

I believe it was kismet that the races were on the same weekend.

So what is the Cane Field Classic? It’s actually three races. The first is called the Sugar Mile and it’s a one mile race on a dirt path. The second race is a four mile race on trail, a little more technical and really pretty through tall sugar cane stalks. A little more technical, but nothing bad. The third, and final, race is called the Rows of Hell and is two miles through very tight, shoulder-high sugar canes. The sugar cane stalks are sharp and the dirt between the rows are rutted out and only wide enough to put one foot directly in front of the other, otherwise, your ankles are rolling in the whole time. When you complete all three races, you earn a machete!img_6906-1

Packet pickup was pretty standard. A bib and a shirt. The shirt was a super soft cotton that came in a variety of colors. I chose the blue shirt and Sean chose a red one. The car dealership gave out reusable water bottles and made sure there was plenty of water for all of the runners each time we went through the start/finish line.

img_6834Because they are three back-to-back races, I was worried about maintaining a pace that would allow me to finish in time to start the next race. I was assured it wouldn’t be a problem. Come to find out, the group didn’t start the next race until the last finisher came in from the previous race! It was such a great experience to see all of the runners, including the fasties, cheering on every single finisher. This was truly more of party than a competitive race, which was evidenced by the fact that the kegs were tapped before the first race began. LOL We received a dog tag at the finish line of the last race, and then turned in our wristband for the customized machete.

img_6830The post-race party was a blast! They had jambalaya being made while we ran, so there was delicious food to be washed down by the beer. The weather was actually really good Saturday morning and didn’t rain, as had been predicted a few days earlier. I understood why they recommend a pair of long pants for the last race. My legs were torn up a little bit and stung like crazy. Note to self: seriously, wear pants. On the plus side, I did put on a pair of knee-high compression socks that morning. Despite the fact that I thought I looked a little dorky, they were a godsend out there because the tall grass squick me out. 

Verdict: I had a great time! The Rows of Hell was truly the hardest 15 minute miles I have ever run, but it’s hard not to laugh and sing the whole way with the rest of the runners. I would totally do this race again if I find myself in Baton Rouge on race weekend. I met some great people out there and decided that I *might* need to buy a pair of trail shoes soon. Uh oh! I hear some dirt calling!img_6844

 

 

Find the friends that pause your Garmin…

I love my little “Time Hop” app. I take a bunch of photos (most of which don’t show up anywhere but my phone) and I love to be able to see a glimpse of where I was a year ago or longer. It’s my way of celebrating life every single day. But I noticed over the last several days that I had NO photos pop up from a year ago. Sure, I had them from further back, but it was crazy that I had none from this week last year.

Then this one came up this morning…

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And it all came rushing back. I was in the hospital again, fighting. I was praying that I could just get back to my usual daily level of pain. I was, frankly, a little worried about my family because it was the first time that I felt like maybe this kidney wasn’t playing games. An infection had free reign to cause all sorts of havoc and not one of my internal organs had the strength to fight anymore. It traveled through my blood, making a pit stop in my heart and lungs, which was my ticket to an all-inclusive stay at Baylor Hospital, where I can assure you, the food doesn’t taste like it does on the beaches of Mexico.

img_6570I don’t talk a lot about this particular incident because it’s the closest I’ve come to completely shutting down. When even the infectious disease doctors are telling you they are throwing everything at it and your body isn’t responding, and they are talking about ICU and days not years, you know crap’s about to get real. Clearly, the smart doctors were able to synthesize an IV-cocktail of nuclear bomb proportions, because a year later, I get to tell this little story, so silver lining and all…

 

But this is probably one of my favorite photos of two friends that wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and came to see me and cheer me up. They stuck by me before and after this photo. They paused my Garmin when I collapsed on a training run (seriously, only the best of friends remember to do that!). They helped me joke with the nurses that they were there to help spring me from the joint so I could go for a run (apparently they took that seriously, because they had a nurse stationed outside my door 24/7 after that). They cried with me when my marathon six weeks later fell apart and I had to walk the final 14 miles after again, blacking out mid-run, because I didn’t want my daughter to see me as a quitter. We don’t talk about the fact that I *might* not have been cleared to do this race. And we don’t talk about the fact that I know, looking back, that I should not have run.

But looking back at all of this, this photo represents something even bigger for me. It has been an entire year since I have been in the hospital!!! After this last brush with a bright light, my kidney doctor played around with my medication and we have found something that has been able to generally keep it from doing anything nutty. I’m not quite sure what to do with all that money I’m not spending in deductibles this year. Maybe new sunglasses? LOL

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Find the friends that pause your garmin when you fall…

 

What Does it Mean to be #epic?

It started out harmlessly as a phrase – the “epic fail.”

img_6514Somehow, it really morphed into my little mantra, my hashtag, a few years ago. But really, what does it mean?

For me, epic is the act of throwing it out there and living life as it was meant to be lived. Sure, it could result in an “epic fail.” But it could also be amazing. To be epic is to step out of comfort zones to try new things, meet new friends, choosing joy over all else.

To be scared, but to do it anyway. Yeah, it’s probably very public, too. LOL

img_0720I have what will be my last marathon coming up in a few short months. Yep, I said it – final. I’m truly petrified that it will be a crash and burn. Why not – the last one sure was. It’s been a heck of a ride, but my health challenges have caught up to me and I made a promise to my doctors that I would dial it back really soon. They promised to keep me patched together with duct tape if necessary, for a few bucket list items I really want to do, so 2018 is planned out to be a big blow out with a half Ironman and one ultra marathon in one of my most favorite places. In other words – EPIC.

It’s all good, I can’t wait to see how much I can improve on the short distance stuff. Even better? Less training and more FUN! 😉

So the biggest question is – are you waking up every day, deciding that it will be EPIC? Jump right on out of that comfort zone and dream really BIG! Join a new group, take up a new skill, enroll in a class, do something that absolutely terrifies you, take the risk, and JUMP! Sure, it might not be perfect. Life rarely is. But man, what a ride.

xoxo

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When Running Isn’t Going to Fix It

I am completely wrecked. It’s been a hell of a week for a mom. I skipped my run Thursday so I could hold tight to my little girl since I couldn’t hold on to my son. But we are lucky, because we can hold him tight in just a few short weeks. Today, there is a mother that can’t.

This emotional roller coaster I’m on began Saturday night when we got “the phone call” at 12:30 at night. An ambulance had been called. Alex was heading to the emergency room.

More specifically, my college-aged son was heading to the emergency room after passing out after the LSU football game. But before assumptions are made, I will skip to the end of this part of the story, he had picked up a stomach virus and had been in the heat all day, in a band uniform, performing until midnight and he had thrown up all night in the stands and gotten so dehydrated that he passed out at the end of the game.

It’s easy to jump to conclusions because we have all heard the stories and many of us went to college and “might” remember what it was like.

Being far away from him and having so little information on how he was doing was the worst feeling ever. We are forever grateful for the band friends that stayed in the hospital with him ALL NIGHT and then took him back to their apartment when he was released just to keep an eye on him so he wouldn’t be alone. It was hell to race Sunday morning when sick with worry. I remember yelling out to Sean when I went out for the run, asking if he had gotten a phone call from Alex. He hadn’t. I spent three very long miles dreaming up every manner of scenario, none of them good. By the time I finished the race, however, Alex had called and actually talked to Sean and said he was ok, just very sick.

So I hid all the crazy, because nobody needs to see that.

But I worry all of the time. I worry when he is out on his long bike rides if he will get hit by someone who doesn’t care about his life and how amazing it is and will be. I worry about whether I did all that I could to help him make good choices and have a solid moral compass. I worry about whether I raised him to have enough confidence in himself to be able to say “no” when he isn’t comfortable with something.

And then Thursday happened.

It began so harmlessly as a message posted on the parent’s facebook group page – “Has anyone heard what is going on with the Phi Delta house? There are police everywhere.” Well, you’re dog gone right that very first thing I did was call my son. He texted back – “how did you know about that?”

It was like the stories you read from “other schools.” An 18-year-old fraternity boy dies Wednesday night in an alleged hazing incident. I’ll be honest, it rocked me hard. I can’t even imagine receiving that phone call. And I can’t imagine being a parent that receives the phone call that her son’s actions caused the death of someone else. But there I was, in the middle of a conference, and I was numb. It wouldn’t be ok until I heard my son’s voice and reinforced the same statement, ‘I hope I raised you to have the self-confidence to say no or walk away from a situation you’re not comfortable with.’ So, I couldn’t help but put myself in that poor mother’s shoes. The last post she made personally in the parent’s page was a photo of her hugging her son so tight a month ago, right after she moved him in. It’s the same smile that I had a month ago, that smile of “I’m so proud of you and can’t wait to see all the great things you do.” But there is always that air of sadness in mom’s eyes of allowing them to leave the nest. The worry that we didn’t do enough. I’m sad and I’m angry. I’m so stunned. There is a mother that didn’t imagine yesterday when she woke up that she would be driving to Louisiana one final time. The plans they made are forever changed. And I just can’t seem to reconcile it in my head.

So, I skipped my run, because no amount of running would take my mind off the fact that I have five more weeks before I can go hug my Tiger again. And poor Emma got the brunt of it. I held her so tight I’m sure she thought I was smothering her. I couldn’t hug Alex, so I hugged her enough for both of them. And we sat in bed and watched cartoons, without a shred of guilt for missing that run.

Friday Favorites: Lip Color

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OK, this is totally girly and high maintenance, but there is something about having lip color on. I don’t wear makeup pretty much ever (unless it’s a special occasion or some big business meeting that I need to attend). I’m really just a brush my hair and go kind of girl, because I like sleep and training too much to care.

img_1366But yeah, the lip color. I’ve always had to have some sort of color on my lips, even when I’m out there running. I used the Cover Girl lip stain for years because it generally would hold up for most of the workout. But as I was standing in line waiting to swim at my first triathlon this year, a girl standing next to me noticed my lip stain and asked if it was LipSense and what color it was.

I gave her this really puzzled look because I had never heard of that stuff before, but like most things I don’t know about, I just smiled and made a note to look it up later. Flash forward to the end of the race and of course I couldn’t remember a stinking thing. Whatever…

But at a road race a few months later, there was a lady at a tent selling this stuff! It was like it was karma telling me I needed this lipstick. I blindly handed over my credit card after being told it wouldn’t ever come off until I wanted it to come off. Well, we’ll see.

img_6245She was right! I am completely hooked on this stuff and have eight different colors for all of my moods. AND THE GLOSS! I have PINK.GLITTER.GLOSS. The key is to use it exactly as the directions state. One coat, wait til it dries, another coat, wait til it dries, then a third coat and wait til it dries. Then go crazy with the gloss from the same company because it locks it in.

I have worn it for open water swims of an hour and it still looks like I just put it on. I have worn it for three hour long runs and all the water stops and eating that goes along with it, and it still looks like I just put it on. I have women make comments at the end of triathlons at the finish line about how I MUST have put lipstick on before I crossed the finish line and where the heck did I carry it.

I don’t sell this stuff, and you could likely find someone local for you, but if you want a really sweet gal who is a public school teacher looking to make a little extra cash, send me a message and I’ll introduce her to you!