Every year around this time, I start thinking of what I want to do better for the next year. Even though the new year is in imaginary line where you start over, it's a good time to reflect on what we've done all year and try to find places for improvement. The first three and a half months of 2017 were filled with painful times that I still work towards putting behind me. In April, I celebrated a "new year" (turning 35) and celebrated it like I was saying goodbye to 2017, and hello to 2018. Things didnt really start to turn around until May, and then late July was very challenging as I battled with what to do with my career as a teacher. In August, I discovered Buddhism and started listening to podcasts and reading books to learn more about it. Without going into too much detail about it (I'll talk about it in another update) the discovery alone has given me clarity and a new way of looking at the world.
On November 11th, I was walking through Uwharrie National Forest with my dog, Haro, and I started thinking about all the things I want to accomplish in the upcoming year. It was then that I decided it wasnt necessary to wait another 7 weeks to start making the changes, but that I could instead start at that moment. So without further delay, here are my plans for the next 365 days...
I have had several parks in mind that I have wanted to visit, but there is always a reason why I am not able to get out of town to travel across the state. In 2018, I plan to make this dream a reality. I'm counting National Forests and State Parks in this quest! North Carolina is a beautiful state with so many places to visit that are mindblowingly (not a word) gorgeous! One park that has been on my list for the last four years is Craggy Gardens. This WILL happen in the next 365 days!!
Keeping up with trying to max out at 6 times in a year was very challenging, so I'm going to give myself a bit of a break from this past year. Also, with only going 5 times instead of 6, I dont have to worry about planning it around Hinson Lake Ultra which will give me more energy to do the race and recover. When you donate blood you lose red blood cells which carry oxygen. Lower red blood cell counts can make you tire more quickly. At first I thought I was being selfish by cutting back to 5 times instead of 6, and then I remembered that most people have never even donated once. I think I'll be okay :-)
I started running in 2008. My very first 5k was the Cary Road Race in Cary, North Carolina. I cant believe this is something I have been doing for 10 years and how much it has changed my life in small ways and big ways. I think about the people I have met through running, the places it has taken me, the confidence it has given me, and it's place in the whole Ironman picture. Completing Ironman started with taking the first step in running.
Reading makes me tired. Plain and simple. Because of this, reading is not my favorite activity. As a kid I was a slow reader. Today I take my time reading and because of this my mind tends to wander as I read and I get to the end of a page and have forgotten what I read about. By the time I read a few pages, I start to get sleepy. Thanks to Audible.com I can listen to books while I wash dishes, go for a run, or while I am cleaning the house. With one credit a month, I get one free book, which I can "return" at any time if I decide I dont like what I'm "reading". With a monthly account, users also get discounts on additional books. Click HERE to check out how to create an account! I know reading makes you a better well rounded person,(right??) so my plan of a book a month is a huge step, considering I only read 1 book this year (Born a Crime by Trevor Noah) I started a bunch of other books, but never finished them. (Sigh....)
My boyfriend and I discovered a place in town called Purple Blossom Yoga Studio a couple months ago and have enjoyed taking yoga and meditation classes. As a step towards furthering our understanding of Buddhism and mindfulness, these classes have been an excellent foundation, as well as have allowed us to meet other people on the same spiritual path.
My last half marathon was right after Ironman Maryland in 2016. I ran it just to prove I could do it after an Ironman (I think it was my 5th or 6th half marathon) but this is something I would like to improve my time on. My goal is to go 2:15 in my next race, which will take some work, but I think I can do it. After Hinson Lake, I found myself feeling a big aimless in what to do next. I need a goal because things like "Look good in a swimsuit" or "To fit into my skinny jeans" are not goals that motivate me to work out. I need a concrete goal of long distance running to get me to put my shoes on each day. Now I just have to pick out a race and sign up!
Yes, I'm going to try it again in 2018. Being less than 7 miles from my goal this year, I have found places where I could have improved my training. The main thing I need to work on is more time on my feet for longer distances. Sounds easy enough, but when life happens, I need to learn how to better plan around obstacles. Also, having the advantage of this being the second time racing this event, I have a better idea of what to expect along the way. Adam and I have already been planning how to have a more comfortable tent set-up next year. I can't wait!
I am attending a meeting in early January to learn about a 26.5 mile hike that benefits Make-a-Wish foundation. I'm looking forward to this because I have two friends who are leading the group on hikes throughout the year to train for this all day hike. This also will help me to meet the goal of visiting new parks in the upcoming year. This hike will involve a bit of fundraising as well. I'll know more about this later and will be sure to blog about it!
In February of 2017 I became a consultant for the company Norwex. It is a business that promotes the use of biodegradable products and microfiber for cleaning around the house. I have tried other at home businesses like Beachbody, and have had very little success. Norwex has been a life changer for me and has help me to make money on the side of my daytime job as a 3rd grade teacher. My plan in 2018 is to recruit team members and promote to Team Coordinator. One step at a time... If you're interested in checking out the business, click here to see my business page! Also, leave a comment below if you want to learn how to join my team. Norwex has been such a blessing, and I'm not sure I could have made it to the end of the year without it. I've been able to pay many bills, (including Haro's expensive vet surgery) thanks to Norwex!
So the year ahead is going to be a busy one, but I am determined to make 2018 an incredible year and one to remember for all the good that will happen.
I did it... And it took me until NOW to tell you about it!
My total number of miles completed was 43.5928. The goal was 50 miles, but my body reminded me that I probably could have worked harder. My mind started to play tricks on me at 33 miles and at one point I started to cry for no reason. Okay, maybe it happened more than once. But then I picked myself up and put one foot in front of the other and kept on moving. Here's how it all went down...
September 30th, 2017
Adam and I arrived at Hinson Lake late Friday night. The race would begin the next morning at 8am. We found a place to set up the tent near the water and went to sleep soon after setting everything up. People were walking around for a few hours after and we heard all of them since we were camped right off the path. We woke up the next morning to the most beautiful sunrise over the lake. After getting dressed and eating a cold bagel, we headed to the start line. Adam gave me a kiss and I began to run my first lap around the lake. Each lap was about 1.5 miles so it was a perfect distance to run and not have to carry hydration the whole way. I would pass the support tent and my own tent every lap so if I forgot something, it wouldn't be long before I had access to it again. This proved very beneficial when I realized very early on I was starting to get a blister. I had made a poster for Adam to hold for me each time I passed the tent. Each block represented a lap and what mile I was on. I had taken advise from my friend Clay, who said that you need a way to measure progress during an ultra or else you will start to feel like you're not making any forward movement and your mind will really start to play tricks on you. I made notes for when I needed to take salt (every lap) and when to eat food (every 3rd lap) I knew I would reach a point where I would need to be reminded about the little things.
I was doing really well for the first couple rows of boxes. Each time I passed Adam, he would hold the sign up so I could see how my progress was. As the laps passed, I began to walk more than I was running. I had certain time goals to reach certain sports on my "map" and at one point I was pretty far ahead of where I needed to be. I let myself take a little bit of a break because I had to keep remembering that this race was 24 hours long and I needed to stay consistent. Adam walked a few laps with me here and there which was a huge help for my overall moral. He helped with crowd moral by bringing his guitar and he played along as people ran by. At one point a man say down and asked Adam if he could use the guitar to play a song. He played a funny song about running a marathon that had us all laughing. This is a moment in the race that I will not forget!
Before I knew it, the sun was beginning to set, and I was starting to fall off my projected times. I tried to not let it bother me, but my body was starting to break down with foot and hip pain. I was completing a lap in 30 minutes which meant that my overall pace had dropped to a 20 minute mile. Sometime around 9 or 10pm, I finished a lap and when I saw Adam and my friend Sherry, I just started crying. I started talking about how much pain I was in and that I was mentally starting to check out. My feet hurt and I wanted to keep going but I was hurting so bad. Adam assured me that it was okay to stop and call it a day.
"But I told everyone I was going to do 50, so I have to keep going." I told him.
"You dont owe anybody anything. It's okay!" He replied. "You have to think about your health."
"F%#k my health! I don't care! I have to keep going." I snapped back.
I can't believe I said that to him. I knew that he didn't know how to respond to that and the tears just kept coming. I was frustrated that my feet were hurting as bad as they were. I thought about all those late nights I was out running and all those hot and humid days where I went for a run when I didnt want to. I even thought about the runs I skipped when I was feeling lazy. But I didnt go through all that to quit now.
About 30 minutes later I wiped my tears away, stood up, and kept going. The trail was lit with glow sticks and there were not many people still running or walking. I began to feel lonely out there. As I reached the lap counter, I saw my name climb the leader board and I was feeling better. I completed two more laps in the pitch dark. I decided to lay down in the tent for 30 minutes and then reassess. As I laid in the tent, feeling ready to quit and just sleep, I decided that maybe it just wasn't in the cards to reach 50 this time. "You can always sign up again for next year and do better" is what I told myself. I told myself that I could reach 42 miles and I would be happy about coming within 8 miles of my goal. Adam woke up when I started to put my shoes on.
"Going at in again baby?" He asked me.
"I told myself I can stop at 42 miles and then I can try this again next years." I replied.
"Good luck baby, I love you." He said as I stepped outside and zipped up the tent.
"One foot in front of the other" was the name of the game. I tried thinking about other things to distract me from my foot pain. I started thinking about meditation, and my new interest in Buddhism. I tried to reflect on the things I have learned about positive self talk and such. Before long, I was back to the tent. I laid down, still feeling a bit disappointed that I wouldn't reach my goal, but proud that I had at least done what I could. At the pace I was moving, I would barley make the 50 mile cut off by 8am. "Next year...next year..." I set my alarm for 6am and went to sleep.
All night long I listened to the feet of runners and walkers as they passed by my tent. "I wonder what their training plan was like. I wonder if they skipped any workouts like I did. I wonder if this is their first time doing this."
At 6am I woke up and tried to reassess my body. Did I think I could do another lap? It's only 1.5 miles around.... Nah, I decided, 42 miles was still okay. At 7am I woke up again and decided that I had another lap in me. I quickly started to get my shoes on and Adam woke up.
"What are you doing?" He asked me .
"I'm going out for another lap. The race ends at 8am, I can get in one more lap..."
I felt better, but my foot was still hurting me a bit. I finished the lap and then the volunteers handed me a banana with my number written on it. This race is unique because they have what is known as "The Banana Lap" where you get a banana and walk it as far as you can before quitting the race. When the horn goes off at 8am they shout, "THREE! TWO! ONE! DROP THE BANANA!!!!" Then the race director goes out with a measuring wheel and measures the point to each banana and writes it down. and that distance is then added to your laps. This way you get partial credit for your last lap even if you dont make it to the "finish" line.
When I finished, my total distance was measured at 43.5928. Damn.... had I walked just a few more steps I would have been at 43.6....
As I walked back to my tent, Adam congratulated me on finishing the race and continuing on after the mental and physical breakdowns. I smiled at him and said, "I'll be back again next year in order to get my 50." I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm crazy.
Registration opens at 12:00am on January 1st, 2018 and my goal is to be the first one to sign up. I might even be able to get Adam to be the second one on the list! One thing is for sure: Next year there will be a "50" after my name. Count on it!
To see the pictures, click on each one to see it full size and the caption.
Next years race is on September 29-30th. Who's coming with me?!?
In November of 2016 I received an email from Base Performance telling me that I was selected to be on the 2017 Base Performance Race Team. This was the first time I was ever invited to be part of a team and I was super excited about the opportunity that was presented. I also found joy in this accomplishment after last summer some athletes in a local tri group were suggesting that Base Salt (the product the company is known for) wasn't anything special. Instead of following the uninformed crowd, I did more of my own research and discovered that others were having pretty good results with the salt, so I decided to take a chance. Base Salt made a huge difference with my training from the start! Cramping is not my issue, but rather it's swelling. I start to notice it in my hands first. Base Salt is taken from the very beginning of the workout and helps to prevent swelling, cramping, and all that jazz. In North Carolina heat and humidity, this is a real concern for me.
When I went to Maryland last year to race Ironman Maryland, I met Matt Miller, who basically runs the company ( I actually had no idea that's who I was even talking to). A couple weeks after Ironman, I got an email from Base Performance inviting me to fill out an application to join the race team. In November I got an email congratulating me on making the cut. This was the first time I had ever had such an honor in triathlon so I was absolutely floored! I now have all kinds of race gear and nutrition products to try out. This is a small team under a company that is growing by the minute, so as athletes we have a unique opportunity to give our input on new products that are being designed. Matt will post in the group page about ideas they have for expanding the company, and the athletes give opinions on what we like and don't like (we hate artificial colors, so we told Matt to not put them in the new sports drinks!) The team is encouraging and supportive and we have all become better athletes because of each other.
If you have any questions about the products, you can leave a comment below and I can help you out! You can purchase products by clicking HERE. Please know that this is not an affiliate link, so I am not make any money by promoting the products. I am just an athlete telling the world what works for me!
It's official! I am now an official runner in the 2017 Lake Hinson 24 Hour Ultra race that will be held September 30-October 1st, 2017. After Ironman, the question I had for myself was, "What's next?" My first thought was another Ironman but this wasn't something I was exactly jumping to start training for again. Ironman was a long and hard six months of training. In the last 6 weeks I almost quit because I was feeling burnt out with the early morning and late night workouts. Looking back, some of those training sessions were some of my best memories in the whole process. Once I decided that signing up for another Ironman (at least immediately) wasn't what I wanted to do, I began looking for other challenges. Spartan race? No. 5k with obstacles? Naa, doesn't seem challenging enough. The problem was that once I did Ironman, nothing seemed to be enough of a challenge. Some people suggested that I try to drop time of my 5k or marathon. I definitely have room for improvement there, but that doesn't sound like the least bit fun. As I scrolled through Facebook, I kept seeing where some friends were signing up for a 24 hour race and I kept scrolling. A few days later it kept coming up in my feed so I thought maybe it deserved another look. I went to the website and here is what I found....
The cost was only $35.00 and Richmond County Animal Advocates was listed as the beneficiary of this race. Seemed like a no brainer. The only problem was that I waited too long and registration was closed by the time I made the decision to pull the trigger on this crazy idea. "No problem!" my friend Tim said. "Contact the director and he will put you on the waiting list." Sure enough, I was number one on the waiting list. I just had to wait until 50 people dropped out and then registration would be offered to me. Last week, I got the email:
"Well then....." was my first thought. "So this is really happening" was my next thought. Honestly, I waited a few days before I actually signed up. My original goal for this race was to run/walk 100k (62 miles) in 24 hours. Since then, my goal is shifted slightly. My goal for this race is to complete 50 miles. If I complete more than that, wonderful. So training continues.... I'm excited about late night training with my friend Kristie, who is also on the waiting list. I am a night runner by nature, and my friends are used to my late night Facebook posts at 10pm saying "getting ready for a run!" Which are usually met by "That's crazy! Go to bed! Why don't you run in the morning with everyone else? Aren't you afraid of the people who are out late at night?" So let's break this down and answer some of the questions I most frequently get about my late night running habits....
Why don't you run in the morning?
Easy answer: I am not a morning person. I never have been. If my alarm is set for anything before 8am, I'm not in a great mood. As a kid, I was not a morning person. I've been told that if I just make myself get up at the same time every day my body will adjust. NOT TRUE! I've tried this (remember Ironman training and 4am workouts?) Yeah, I'm just simply not built for mornings. However, I thrive at night when others are getting ready for bed.
Why don't you run with other people?
I have always been a loner when it comes to exercise. I very rarely workout with other people. I think some of it is that I don't run the same pace as most people (I'm slow and steady) Groups are either too fast or too slow and I haven't quite found the "just right" pace group. When I do occasionally run with those people, they are morning runners, and that's just not my thing. So there I am, at 9:45pm running the streets alone, at my own pace. I often enjoy this time alone to get in my head and workout things that are bothering me. It's not always easy to do that in a crowd. I find peace in running/cycling alone.
Why do you run at night?
There are a few reasons why. One: I'm not a morning person. Plain and simple! The second reason, and maybe even more importantly, is because of harassment. Anyone who runs knows what I am talking about. The sun is out, and you're running down the road and passing cars feel that their opinion of your body is somehow your business. I have heard it all, trust me. I live by the philosophy "What you think about me is none of my business." I often listen to music when I run so that when people yell something out of their car window I can't quite make out what it is. I just smile and think they probably said, 'You're amazing! You're such a badass for running in the rain! How do you run when it's 100 degrees?" But, I know what is said is not ALWAYS positive, and it is rarely something I want to hear, so ignorance is bliss. My music is not loud enough to drown out everything, but it's loud enough to muffle what is being said. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that you can't get a sunburn at night! Yep! UV levels running at night are ZERO, and when you're as pale as I am, you burn! But no one has ever been burned by the light of the moon.
Aren't you afraid of the other people who are out at night?
Haha, not really! In many cases, the people I come across at 11:30pm are the same people my friends come across at 5:15am. If anything, drivers are more alert at night than they are at 5:15am when they are fighting off fatigue and their first cup of coffee hasn't kicked in yet. People who are walking late at night are often surprised to see someone running that late and can't figure out what to make of it. A few nights ago I was running up Cotanche Street and someone saw me and all he could thing to do was smile and give me a thumbs up. Harmless.... I often think that someone who wants to cause harm isn't likely to go after a runner because most people don't enjoy running for fun, and it seems like too much work. Make yourself appear to be too much work for the pay off and you're good.
So there you have it. This is why I do what I do and why I do what I do when I do. (Read that a few times and it makes sense!) For Hinson Lake, I plan to do most of my running at night, just like I train! I'm looking forward to the challenge this brings and look forward to the possibility of meeting some really cool people along the way.
Say hello to one of my favorite meals! I am a huge fan of Pinterest (click here to follow me) and last year I started working on a collection of vegan foods. I like experimenting in the kitchen and this recipe seemed like something worth trying, especially with my love for basil. This year, I have several basil plants growing in my garden so it seemed like a perfect time to cook this up again. It makes a lot, but that's okay because I recently started dating a man who is more than happy to try my cooking! (He loved this by the way!) The best thing about this recipe is that it is LOADED with spinach (hello IRON and other vitamins) but you really can't even taste it. If you like basil, this is for you!
Here is a quick list of all the ingredients you will need to make magic happen. It is color coded by what you need for each section of cooking!
1/2 cup raw cashews
6 cups loosely packed spinach leaves (6 oz.)
1 small bunch basil (0.75 oz.) thick stems removed
1/4 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
8 oz pasta (I recommend shells)
1/2 cup of left over pasta water
1/2 of an onion
1-2 cloves of garlic
1-2 tsp of olive oil
Start by making the pesto first. You will need the first set of ingredients... That would be the ones above in RED.
Add the cashews to your food processor and pulse a few times until crumbled. I personally use my Ninja Blender because my food processor is too small for all the things that are about to get blended.
Add the spinach, basil, nondairy milk, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and continue to pulse, stopping to stir and scrape the sides if needed, until the spinach and basil are finely chopped.
Add more lemon juice to taste if desired, and set aside.
This particular time, I just poured it into mason jar and put in the fridge because we were planning to eat together the following evening.
Next, get your water boiling and pour in about 8 oz of pasta. I'm terrible at estimating 8 oz, so just use what you want... Using more isn't going to hurt anything. I like to use shells because it is able to hold onto the pesto! Once the pasta is done cooking, drain it (don't rinse!) and reserve a 1/2 cup of the water to use at the end of this recipe.
While the water is boiling and the pasta is doing it's thing you will start working on your ingredients in blue. Heat up a teaspoon or so of olive oil. Chop up 1/2 of an onion (any kind you like) and drop it in the skillet and sprinkle it with salt. Stir it up occasionally until the onion is soft and starting to brown. Then, mince up a couple cloves of garlic (or be lazy like me and crush it through a garlic press. Click here to see the one I use!) Let that cook for about 60 seconds.
Add the cooked pasta, reserved water, and pesto sauce and fold it all together. Reduce the heat and stir it up until the sauce starts to thicken. Serve it warm, but honestly, I will eat this stuff cold the next day! It holds together well for about 3 days in the refrigerator, but I seriously doubt it will even last that long because it is so darn delicious.
If you have any questions about this recipe, please post in the comment section below! Cheers to good health!
***Disclaimer*** No animals were harmed in the making of this meal. It contains NO animal products what-so-ever!
This year, one of my goals is eliminating dairy. Last year I found some really cool recipes to try, and I want to introduce you to one of my absolute favorites!
I have made it a couple times and have had several people try it and everyone likes it. The first person who tried it kept asking me what kind of cheese was in it, to which I just started talking about everything else that was in it (because there wasn't any cheese) and avoided spilling the secret. If I don't know what all is in something, I will avoid trying things. This dip is that kind of stuff that you just have to let people try it and then tell them later what is in it. Or in this case, what is NOT in it. As a side note, this dip gets better with age! On the first day, I personally can taste the cashews (maybe because I know they are in there) but the next day the dip is golden! The day after that? Even better. Click HERE for the recipe. No cholesterol, high in fiber, high in vitamins!! Win-win-win! Thank you Pinterest for this awesome find!
It's the most wonderful time of the year! No, it's not Christmas.. It's summer vacation! The time when all teachers yell, "Hey, Parents! TAG!!! YOU'RE IT!!!!!" Ahh, the feeling of relief as the students board the buses and take off down the road. Nothing can match the feeling of knowing you did everything you could for those kids and your mind and body hit that wall. Oh yeah, and now you have to pack up your whole classroom! This is why teachers need two months off. We need to recover from all the BS we put up with for ten months. So now it's time to start working on my TO-DO list for the summer.
Ironman Raleigh 70.3
Allow me to backtrack for a moment... June 2-4
Volunteering at this race is my favorite thing to do all year. I started by going to the Athlete Briefing before my volunteer shift so that I could answer all the questions athletes would be asking when they came by to pick up their packet. Yea, I'm THAT volunteer! Having done the race before, I know the stress that goes into that weekend and if I can help make someone's race experience one to remember, then I have done my job. The thing I enjoyed the most was talking athletes through the packet pickup line and then seeing them at the aid station on Sunday, and then some I even saw cross the finish line. After this experience, I thought about how cool it would be to work for Ironman. If I didn't have pets, I would seriously consider applying to work for Ironman. I sure could travel to some great places! Maybe one day I can be a professional volunteer.
1. Sign up for a marathon/50k for the summer. This will give my pre-training a purpose. Although, really, everything I'm doing even now is all pre-training for the 100k. Hard to believe the race is in 108 days! When I need motivation, I watch the video of myself crossing the finish line at Ironman Maryland and it brings tears to my eyes. I remind myself that I am worth it and that I am capable of the training that it takes.
2. Keep my blog updated. Good Grief, I have been a huge slacker in this area of life. I don't know why I keep forgetting to update things. The crazy thing is that my statistics for web traffic are still high even when I don't post for two months. This is motivation for exactly why I should be updating more often. You never know who's watching. My goal will be to update two days each week. Perhaps a little more frequently at first until I get everything caught up!
3. Become a morning person. Who am I kidding? I am a night runner. Mornings just are not for me. My friend Kristie and I are looking to plan some late night runs this summer in preparation for the 100k in October. This reminds me of our 4am bike rides in the middle of nowhere, being chased by barking dogs that we couldn't even see. I guess we may need to run with a phone in case something crazy happens. I can only imagine a driver seeing us running at 2am wondering what the hell is wrong with us.
4. Get a grip on nutrition. This is something I have been working on for the last two years. It started by eliminating meat from my diet. Then it turned to eliminating milk which I am proud to say that I have not drank a glass of milk in well over a year. I have trouble with saying no to whipped cream at Starbucks, but 90% of the time I tell them no thanks, which is always a miniature win in my head. The next step is turning down cream and flavored creamers in my coffee. I find this to be the most challenging thing right now. Also, cheese can be a challenge to turn down, especially since I love a good cheese quesadilla. Fortunately, my mentality is "solve your problem" so I pre-ordered Julie Piatt's book called This Cheese is Nuts which is a book on how to make vegan cheese. It arrived today and I am looking to start the cooking this week! I will be sure to post pictures of this process! Who knew you could make cheese with cashews as a base? (I did, but I'm just saying!!)
That seems like a good list to start with! As I mentioned before, my goal is to update twice a week for the summer. It's possible the first week or two will be three times a week until I am caught up with all my drafts. I can't wait to share what I have been doing, along with all the progress I have made as I crush this new set of goals!
There really is no excuse for not blogging in many months. I can't say that it's because I have had a crazy hard training schedule because I haven't. In fact, if anything, I feel a little bit like I lack direction. I was supposed to train for another half Ironman distance event that would have been last weekend, but I realized too late that I hadn't yet started a training plan and I was overwhelmed from the very beginning. I tried to get into it but then thought, "I'm just tired and not ready to commit to this." So I began to think about what I wanted. What I decided was that I needed a challenge of something I have never attempted before. That would get me excited! In the end, I have decided to run a 24 hour race at the end of September. The goal is to complete 100k (62 miles) in 24 hours. So, you could say I have set a pretty big goal!
My training has yet to really get started, so I have been base building in the meantime. I was inspired by my favorite vlogger, Monica Church, when she started climbing stairs while she trained for the Big Climb Seattle, where she raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Many of her followers were inspired to run stairs, myself included! This helped to jump start my training and get me excited about working out!
Life has been a little up and down lately and I have a lot of things to consider for the future. Many of my plans I can't exactly make public just yet, but I promise that I will surprise you with what I have planned for the year ahead. In the meantime, here is a new tattoo that I got to help inspire myself to work hard and to remember that even though I have fought many battles, I am a warrior, and nothing can get me down!
Some goals I can make public:
1. Apply for a passport
2. Race a marathon in Africa (The Big Five Marathon in Entabeni Game Reserve - South Africa) This is a goal for the summer of 2019
3. 100k in September
4. Grow my Norwex business!
Highlights so far this year
North Carolina has this funny way of confusing its residents into believing that there is no such thing as four distinct seasons in a year. We move a little faster than that, so instead, we often experience all four seasons in a week... Sometimes even in just one day. In the last week, we have experienced bitter cold, ice, and snowy conditions and then four days later it was 70 degrees. I often feel like living in North Carolina is like living in a dream. Just when you think you are having a dream about ice skating on the street and building a snowman, you suddenly wake up and you’re wearing shorts and a tank top. We did not have school on Monday and Tuesday of this past week because of snow and ice on the roads. In typical southern fashion, the roads were basically left to melt on their own. The city sprayed salt brine on the roads, knowing that an inch of rain was forecasted ahead of the snow and ice. So basically, they sprayed the road with tax payer money and mother-nature washed it away. The real solution is to drop rock salt and sand and then as drivers move it spreads out the salt and sand and creates roads that are much less hazardous. It’s frustrating in many ways because the excuse is, “Well we don’t have winter weather very often, so we just don’t know how to deal with it.” I call BS here, because in the twenty-two years I have lived in North Carolina, I can recall maybe two years that we did not have any winter weather, so this is hardly a unique situation. Years ago, they discovered that salt brine worked one time so they insist on using it every time and it rarely if ever works. Heaven forbid they take some advice from northern states that deal with this more frequently. But, in the end there is no sense in even venting about this because nothing will ever change.
This year, one of the things I am enjoying each night is taking the dogs for their mile-long walk. It didn’t take long to get them into a routine that every night we go for a walk before bed. The only thing not consistent is WHEN we go. After working all day, I come home and unpack, try to unwind, then it’s off to a workout, then I come home, try to eat something, then get the dogs out, pack my lunch, shower, and go to bed. Sometimes they get walked at 7pm, 9pm, even 10pm. I have always been a creature of the night, so 10pm walks (or later on the weekend) are nothing new. With getting back into triathlon training, my schedule is often all over the place so I just fit things in when and where I can. I will sometimes take work home from school, knowing there is little chance I will get to it. I often trade grading papers for time with my pups. The papers can wait until I take them back to school the next day. Life is short. Get outside!
On Wednesday, I left school at 3:00 and headed to the gym. This week more classes are getting underway in the pool so I knew I would have to be there early or else I risked not getting a lane to swim in. Also, I had to be back to school around 5, as the Ellen Show was at our school to do a live feed when the show was taping. Allow me to explain… I have a coworker, Michael Bonner, who has taught his 2nd grade students how to write rap songs about what they are learning in school. They have learned how to record and edit their videos. Mr. Bonner uploaded one of their videos to YouTube and from there it was shared with thousands of people. A local TV station picked it up as a story, and from there it gained the attention of the Ellen Show. They flew Mr. Bonner out to Los Angeles this week and interviewed him on the show. While they talked to him, they went to a live shot of us at school cheering and waving. The kids got to perform their rap for the audience and the crowd went wild! Ellen also gave Mr. Bonner equipment for the class to keep making more videos. They received TVs, drones, iPads, and Beats headphones (which have phenomenal sound by the way…. I’m wearing them now while I write) She also presented a check in the amount of $25,000 to the school. Not only that, but she created a GoFundMe.com page for the school, and at the present moment, it has raised just over $44,000 for the school. This spotlight on our school will make a difference for these students for many years to come.
So back to the workout… What I attempted was the same workout I tried last Friday night, only this time I did much better. It is amazing how quickly you can come back into a sport after not working out for almost three months. My last swim was a warmup swim at Ironman Maryland on October 1st. The first swim back was a reality check. I kept thinking, “I was able to swim 2.4 miles nonstop a few months ago, and today I can barely swim 300 yards without feeling like death!” This workout was better, but I knew I still had a lot of room for improvement. I finished the workout at 1650 yards. A mile is 1760 yards, so I know that I can do that in an upcoming workout. A half ironman distance is 2112 yards, so I feel like it won’t be long before I could knock that out. I reflect on how just a few months ago, I was swimming sometimes two hours at a time to train. That’s so crazy….
On Thursday night, I went out for a three-mile run and felt like I am finally making improvements in that area again. A couple weeks ago, I felt like I was falling apart and slowing down. Sometimes it just takes getting back out there a few times to start feeling like you’re getting it back. I have been running basically the same course at night and I have made a lot of progress running up 14th street by East Carolina University. That hill used to be a bear to climb, but now I find myself saying, “What hill??” Signing up for a race is another way of getting motivated, so Demetrius and I are going to sign up for a race in February. My goal is to be able to keep up with him so I will need to start doing some speed training for that to happen. I might also have to ask him to slow down just a few seconds per mile! He has made significant improvements in a short amount of time and I am so proud of him!
Friday afternoon I was back in the pool again. I left school at 2:50 and I was at the gym at 3:02! Knowing that classes would start at 4:30, I was pressed for time to get in my workout with few people bothering me. I did the same workout from Wednesday, only I skipped the sprint set. I could tell that the training is starting to catch up to my legs and it was at this point where my feet and lower legs were getting to the point of fatigue, and that is the time where my legs cramp in the pool which is extremely painful. I have been trying to find products, supplements, and stretching exercises to limit the cramping, but I have not found anything yet that can help me. In just a few weeks I will be receiving my athlete box from Base Performance and I am sure there will be something in there that will help me!
The weather this weekend will be chilly (highs in the 40s) but the upcoming week is forecasted to be back in the upper 60s and even 70s again. There is an expression commonly heard in North Carolina: “Don’t like the weather? Wait a minute!” So who knows what the week will hold. For now, it’s time to drive back home to pick up the dogs and hit the park. You never know when the weather will change, so take advantage of the moments while you can. Get outside and enjoy the sun and wind.
“One day you won’t be able to do this. Today is NOT that day.”
This week marks the beginning of training. For what, you ask? My friend Kristie and I are training for a Half Ironman distance triathlon. It's in 16 weeks, and I lost track of time. My plan was to do a 20-week plan, but somehow the time got away from me, so on Monday I was counting the weeks and got a nice little surprise. I would be starting on week 5 of my training plan!
On Wednesday, I found myself meeting Kristie at the pool. I haven't swam since Ironman in October, so I had NO idea what this swim was going to look like. As predicted, it was terrible. I swam a total of 1300 yards and my legs cramped up so bad I had to stop. I have always suffered from leg cramps, mostly in my right leg due to a foot surgery from almost 10 years ago. With shortened ligaments and tendons, the lack of flexibility has a significant impact on my foot, causing it to cramp for seemingly no reason.
I left the pool, feeling somewhat defeated. I thought about how three months ago I could swim 2.4 miles with no problem. I had just finished only 3/4 of a mile and it about killed me. At the same time, I thought about how if I could do that before, I could certainly do it again. Ironman training taught me that nothing is impossible and that the only limits you have are the ones you create for yourself. Ironman teaches you that you are stronger than you once thought and that if you work hard, anything is possible. Now that I think of it, my Ironman swim cap says "IRONMAN Anything Is Possible." So true...
On Thursday, I went out for a run. The plan was to run 4 miles from the same place I always start my runs. While I was driving to Elm Street, I called my mom to ask her what I needed to do to winterproof the house before the “snow storm” that was predicted. I looked ahead and saw red flashing lights ahead. “DAMNIT!!! A train!!!!” Greenville is known for the ridiculous amount of train traffic that constantly disrupts the city. As I waited, I put my car in park. Something told me this was going to be a long wait. Then, I noticed the train started to slow down….slower….slower….and….stop. “Are you kidding me????” I started thinking about where I could go if I turned around. The train was so long that I knew it would be blocking many other roads. After a couple minutes, I decided that I would just park at the business that was right next to me and I would just run from there. I contemplated seeing if I could climb up the steps of one of the tankers and then jump to the other side of the road. I thought about crawling under a tanker too. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that I would likely end up on the news for getting hurt or something. So instead, I just ran through traffic and took off away from the train. I ran the fastest mile I have ran in some time! I felt like a badass for improvising my run. Nothing was going to stop me. Not even a train! As I ran, I heard “BOOM!!!!” and thought, “Ohhhh, that can’t be good!” I’m not sure exactly what was going on with the train and why it had to stop, or what sounded like an explosion, but those miles weren’t just going to run themselves! I turned around at Arlington Blvd and turned back towards the train. Eventually it started moving and by the time I made it back to the railroad crossing, it was gone and I continued my run. It ended up being kind of nice having to run somewhere different. Variety is the spice of life, after all….Right?
Tonight, I headed back to the pool. I had to make up for that terrible swim from Wednesday! The pool was not busy at all, as most people are probably getting their bread and milk from the grocery store before the whole state closes for the weekend. I love swimming on Friday nights because it’s usually the least busy night of the whole week. I get to enjoy a lane to myself and I don’t feel rushed that someone is waiting for my lane. I am not a fast swimmer, and I am even slower than normal now that I am getting back into training again. By the end of the workout, I comfortably completed 1500 yards. No cramps, just success! I finally felt like, “Yeah, I got this!!” It is amazing to see how much progress can be made in a short amount of time. I finally feel like I can announce that I am officially training for my next Half Ironman distance triathlon! After doing Ironman Maryland, a half seems like a piece of cake. I will have to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56, and then run 13.1. I remember when that seemed like a daunting task. Now? I have confidence that I can do that with no problem.
Oh, and one more thing. Remember my blogs about Speedo man? He has returned to the pool as well. If he doesn’t wear the thong speedo, I think we will be okay. Yep, that’s right I said it. Enjoy that visual if you can. For me, I nearly choke on water when I see it. I mean…. “Bless his heart!”
My name is Jamie and I am an Ironman athlete! I completed my first super sprint triathlon in 2008. I am proud to be a member of the Base Performance Race Team in 2017!
My Support Team
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43.59 Miles - 24 hours
50K - 6:54:59
Half Marathon 2:10:58
10 Miler - 1:45:42
10K - 1:00:24
8K - 47:21
5 Miler - 52:41
5K - 27:27
1 mile - 8:33
103.48 miles - 6:42:11
2.42 miles - 1:47
Half Iron 8:17:12
Full Iron* 13:19:27
Note: some distances have only been raced once! I know I could crush a couple of these now!