Wednesday, December 31, 2014

See Ya Later 2014

What a year 2014 has been! I was suppose to have ran my first marathon but an injury saw an end to that goal. I was completely bummed about it but have now come to the conclusion that it was the best thing to happen to me. Yes, I am saying the injury was a blessing. Even though I didn't get to run the list of races I had wanted to do, I am still pleased with the accomplishments I did do.  I ran one half marathon, the Viola Valley in 2:39 a new PR. I finished the USO Ten Miler at Ft. Campbell, that race is one of my favorites and it was even better that my friend Jessica did the race as well. Peer Pressure can be a pain can't it. ;)

I also finally got to run a race on my birthday and set a new PR with it. It was only a 5k and my goal was to run the race non stop but my legs had other plans. But the biggest race was the Running of the Turkeys 10k. This race was right after being injured and I was completely nervous about it. But it ended up being my best race yet. I ran the whole thing without stopping. Woot Woot!!!

I organized my first race, The Chase for Chaz to help in raising funds for his handicap accessible home. I learned alot for doing this race. And I have a new respect for those who put them on. We raised $6,000 for them. And soon, he will be moving into his home. The roof is in the process of being put on at this moment. Eep!

So 2014 wasn't that steller but I am still pleased with the results. I am super pumped about what 2015 has to bring. I'm already training for my first race of the year, the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February. Jess and I are doing the Glass Slipper Challenge, its a 10k on Saturday and the half is on Sunday. It's her first half and I am super excited to be joining her. And just 5 weeks after that race will be the Oak Barrel Half. I am quite excited about this race and quite nervous. There is a monster of a hill. Hills don't really bother much anymore but I hear this one is a beast. It even has its on Facebook page its so fierce. :0)

Marathon training will kick up soon after this race and I can't wait for this journey to begin. I am so excited to run the Marine Corps Marathon in October. Just the other day I was watching videos of the race. I'm now all pumped up about it.

I am hoping the new year brings faster finish times for my races. I would love to finally run a half in 2 hours. Not to mention a faster 5k and 10k race as well.

My goals for 2015 are:

*weekly hill repeats, speed work & track workouts
*more yoga and spin classes
*run a faster mile and keep it consistant. My fastest was a 9 min.
*finish a 10k in under an hour
*finish a 5k in under 30 min
*lift heavier in the gym
*faster 5k & 10k
*half in 2 hours

And the 2015 miles in 2015. Its a big stretch and I know this but its still a goal I would like to attain if possible. Everyone needs a goal to push you to be your best at what you love to do.

So here is to 2015!! May we all be healthy, prosperous and the best we can be to others. May your feet be fast and the wind always be at your back. ;)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Two Races in One | Running of the Turkeys & The Chase for Chaz 10k

I'm back........

I am still on that runners high from today's race. Literally, just floating along. First race since I sprained my ankle at the end of May. Note...don't wait 6 weeks before going to the doctor like I did. Because then you've just wasted valuable healing time. ;) Since I was injured, I didn't get to run the race I held for my buddy Chaz. I just kept telling myself I would run it once I healed. And today was the day....

On a whim, I signed up for the Running of the Turkeys 10k after asking my running buddy Miranda if she would want to do it as well. Her first marathon is next weekend so I knew she was already tapering. And its been such a long while since we have ran a race together. It was so much fun having her there and cheering me at the finish. I have been building up my mileage again but the furthest I have been is 4.5 miles. Until last weekend when I did my first 5 miler and I did pretty good with it. As soon as I signed up, I felt like puking. The night before and day of the race I wasn't any better. But as soon as the race started that all went away.

Our pre-race selfie. Instead of listening to the race director, we strike a pose. ;)
This is my "I'm trying not to puke face." 

I felt so good running, my legs felt great. My goal was to run the whole course.  Something that I have tried at each race I have ever done but my mind always tells me "stop and walk, its too much." Training runs, I have no problem running without walking. Its the racing that gets me. Since being injured, I've literally to told my mind to shut it that we are doing this. So far this trick is working. A few times, I thought I was going to stop and walk but I didn't. Instead I would slow my pace just a bit and then pick it back up. At mile 4.5, my legs were screaming to walk. But I kept going. And it paid off... I FINALLY ran a race without pausing to walk. Coming around the last part of the race, I kinda got teary eyed that I had finally accomplished this. Whoo Hoo!!! I ended up finishing in 1:05 a new PR. I shaved 6 minutes off from the last time I ran this race. And got 3rd in my age group. I'd say it ended up being the perfect race. :)

I also made this race for the Chase for Chaz as well. I was the race director for it so I didn't get to run with everyone else on that day. But I did register to do the virtual race at a later time. I just didn't think it would be 6 months later to the date. I guess its better late than never.

Thanks for being my paparazzi Miranda 

Both of us got PRs!
Miranda 52:35 & 1st age group
Woot Woot!!

It feels so good being back better than I was before. Sometimes, I am kinda thankful for the injury. It has helped me push to be where I am now. Where I wanted to be before I stepped off the carport trying to kill myself. ;) I can not wait to see what next year holds. Bring it! 

Run Happy!! :)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Journey on Whole 30

Where to begin with this journey... Since I have been injured, I've tried to eat as healthy as possible but I have a sweet tooth and when it hits (which is usually 24/7). I tend to pig out. I totally wanted to just hit the reset button and take a step back on all the crap. I have done a 21 day detox that was given to me by my chiropractor. It was rough although I did drop 20 pounds from it but it was brutal. No meats until Day 15 and that was it. No eggs, etc. But with running and hitting the gym, I knew I couldn't do that one again. The first time it was fine because I was just then starting my running habit. ;)

I had no clue what Whole 30 until a sweet girl I follow on Instagram posted about doing it. If you are on IG, I urge you to follow Molly Runs For Life. She is so stinking cute. I just adore her posts about her running, clean eating and her journey to a healthy lifestyle. So thank you Molly for being one motivational person and sharing your journey. I probably would have never done this if I hadn't seen your posts of the delicious food you ate. ;) 

So, what is Whole 30?! What can you have?! Can I modify it?! Is it hard?! 

Whole 30 is quite simple...seriously. Its the best plan that I have ever seen. You can have meats, veggies and eggs. You can totally eat your heart out on eggs. I wasn't an egg fan much but during this I have consumed more eggs in 30 days than I have all year long. I figured I would get burned out on them but that wasn't the case at all. Whole 30 stops and makes you look at labels and see what is actually going into the product. The rules are simple... no sugar, processed foods, no dairy, grains, etc. No alcohol, even with cooking foods. No weighing yourself during the 30 days. I weighed the morning of Day 1 but that was the only time I stepped on a scale. Modifing is out....sorry folks but it just is. And why would you want to modify something that is geared to help you end those bad habits and get healthy?! Kinda defeats the purpose of it. Honestly, it isn't hard. After you get passed the first 3 days its easy. Day 2 of my journey, I literally took a 15 minute nap in my truck at lunch at work. Yep, that tired. But after that, I was good to go with energy. Running and hitting the gym was rough the first few days as well because I couldn't have any pre-workout. But after day 3, I was just fine. :) You can read more on how to start your new journey here

There are tons of recipes out there that are Whole 30 approved. A few of my favorite links for yummy deliciousness are:

and my favorite that I had a few times was a slow cooker chicken rotisserie. Oh my! It was so yummy. Ray even loved it and requested I make it again. You can find it here

This is the rotisserie chicken. Ah-mazing!!

Does this not look yummy?! You can find this on
Whole 30 Recipes

As mentioned above, about the first 3 days are the hardest. But once you get past that point, you totally got this. There were days I lost track of what day I was actually on. When I started, I weighed 139. Which really isn't bad considering I am pretty active. I really didn't do this for the weight loss factor. I did it because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Literally I needed, heck I wanted a reset. My 30 days ended on Tuesday, Novemeber 25. I just today weighed myself. And I am so stinking giddy over my results. 

Photo on the right is from August 2014 & on the left is from today.
You don't have to share your progress photos, but I urge you to take them.

The Stats:

Start Weight: 139
Waist: 33 1/2"

End Weight: 125
Waist: 29

There really isn't an easy pill to take and "poof" you are instantly healthly or lost weight. It just doesn't happen. Now, yes it would be amazing if that were possible but honestly it all starts with food. And good food not junk or foods full of things you can't even pronounce. Since being on the whole 30, my sugar cravings went away. I really didn't have many cravings while on this. I think I craved Starbucks twice and I ate an orange which totally ended it. The hardest was eating at my favorite italian restaurant on Day 27. Luckily, I know the chef and sent him a message to see what he could fix that was Whole 30 compliant. However, the true test came when the meal was over and it was time for dessert. Massimo makes the best cheesecake. It's made from scratch and it is the best thing to touch your lips. Ray even loves it and he isn't a dessert person at all. Earlier that day, Ray said our friends wanted to go there. I simply said "I can't. It's my favorite place and it will be too hard to stick to it." He said "do a Whole 27, it's just 3 days." I simply said "nope, I am not cheating this close to the end." And I didn't. My plate was empty during the appitizers and it was again when dessert came out.  I did take a Larabar just in case I wanted some "dessert." I was so excited that I didn't have a piece of that cheesecake. That was huge. My goal is to still stick with the whole 30 but allow indulgances. I still watch what I put on my foods and I honestly believe that I can keep this going. There will definitely be more good food than crap.

So are you thinking about starting your journey?! You just have to ask bad do you want it?! Dig deep and find the courage to commit to it. Because I know that YOU CAN do this. It's one month but can totally end up being the best thing you do. :)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

On Your Mark, Get Set.......

"Go" did not come next for me for the Women's Half Marathon today. I did not get to particpate in the race like I had hoped. I didn't get the pre race gitters, chat with other runners or get the feeling that I was about to hurl my breakfast. No, instead I followed doctors orders and skipped on the race. Even walking it as I planned to do, I was told I could still quite possibly do more damage to my ankle. That was something I really did not want. Even though everyone that I asked for their opinion said "don't do it." It took the doctor telling me "no" for it to sink in. I guess you could say it was the final nail going into the coffin of no running.

I missed going to pick up my packet, stroll around the expo and just the atmosphere in general. This is by far my favorite race to run. I guess because it was my first half and I love the course. Even with the hills Nashville provides. It's amazing.  I'm sad I didn't receive that 3rd medal, even though this years looked way to much like last years. (Really, can we not come up with anything different?) But still I'll miss it. Also, I'll miss out on receiving another medal/charm for doing the race 3 years in a row. Kinda bummed about that too. I guess the 3rd time wasn't my charm. I just have to remember that God has other plans. And if I am honest with myself, I feel it was for the best.

3rd time is not always a charm

I know there will always be races but it kinda stings a little even when you can't do them. But as my running buddy Miranda said she would rather me be able to run all the races instead of just walk one. (something along those lines, I couldn't find the post on Facebook). ;) Which is so true. My next race is the Disney Princess Glass Slipper Challenge in February. So for now, I'm going to focus on getting back into my running slowly and continue to hit the gym. (Pss...if you are a runner, I highly suggest going to the gym as well. Even with the few runs I've did I can already tell I'm not getting as tired as I did before the injury).

Today, I went for a run and the goal was 1.5 miles but I ended up doing 2 miles in 27 minutes. I'm not stressing too much on pace right now. My goal is to just run with no pain and to be able to work on running without taking breaks. At the moment, I am stopping to walk a bit but I do it after reaching my goal which right now is a mile. So far I've been able to do that each time. I think my next goal will be running 1.5 without stopping. Since I'm starting completely over, I want to be a much stronger runner now. Hopefully in a few weeks, I can work on hitting the pace faster. I think right now I'm still holding back because I don't want to overdo with the ankle.

So onward with getting back into running like I so love to do. I have really missed it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

And So I Ran

Yesterday was the big day...I finally got to test out the ankle and go for a run. I was so excited all day at work and couldn't wait until it was time to clock out. I texted my running buddies to see if anyone was running. And let's be honest, it felt kinda weird texting them. Kinda like the odd girl left out and trying to get into the cool group. ;) I believe I felt this way, well because I hadn't ran with any of them since May. Luckily, two of them were planning to run 3 miles. I was even more excited then.

Until I got to our meeting place.....

I was the first to arrive and while I stretched and stretched (which I never really did before) I felt like I was about to puke. The whole drive into town, I was a nervous wreck. I believe it was worse than I usually am on race day. I chugged my pre-workout down (well duh, still gotta workout) and as I did each time I felt worse and worse. Miranda pulls up and it only gets worse by then. Because this was really about to happen...running. I honestly did not feel ready at all. I kept second guessing myself. Alot. My mind kept telling me "you aren't ready for this." Or "you need more time." "What if you step on a rock?!" Seriously, I had to tell myself to just try it and to shut up. ;) Miranda wanted to snap a photo before we started. She was pretty excited to have me back I guess. ;) ha

Here I was trying to hold back the sickness. ;)
I still look cute right?!

Sherry asked what was the plan. And I really had no idea. I mainly wanted to shoot for 15 minutes without stopping and see how it went. I figured with me starting all over, that would be about a mile. She suggested running to Hardees to see how I felt. And so...we started. 

I ended up running the full mile without stopping and seriously felt like I could have kept going. Well, I kinda did. Instead of doing just the mile, ended up doing 3.3 miles. It just felt so good to be back out there running. The ankle held up really well. No pain while running. I did notice that I would my landing was different at times. But still no pain. When I would stop to walk a bit, even though I felt I could have kept running, if I started back to running my ankle would be a little stiff and sore but after a bit it would stop. I actually felt really strong. Usually my upper body feels so drained by the time I finish a run. But this time, I felt amazing. 

I really have to credit hitting the gym everyday for this. Even though my lower body lost all the muscle I had before the injury, I feel so much stronger now. I can't wait to get back to my regular running schedule. So, my advice is if you are injured still hit the gym if your doctor gives the ok. Because its true, to excel in running you really need a strong upper body. And right after stretching from running, I hopped in the car and took off to the gym to do some upper body workouts. I was super exhausted but went anyway. 

Not to shabby considering its my first real run in 4 months!

I decided today needed to be a rest day. No more running for the remainder of the week. And when I do go for a run next time, I still to do just 15 minutes. I really don't want to over do it or cause another injury. No matter how much my inner Forrest Gump tries to come out. I'll have to remind myself baby steps. But I do feel pretty strong about my upcoming half this month. But I think I may bow out of the half coming up 2 weeks after it. It seems like its too much too soon for that many miles so close together. 

It's good to be back!!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Two More Weeks


Yes, the boot came off on Tuesday and let me tell you it felt so weird walking in a shoe. I carried my shoe into the doctor office and told her that I hoped I wasn't jinxing myself. ;) I wasn't!!! I got the ok to toss it. Woot Woot!! She gave me a list of exercises to do and I got the ok to walk my upcoming half. She said I can jog it some if I feel up to it. But not to overdo it. Which I never intended to do for that race. Since Tuesday, I've been busting out all of the exercises she told me to do. I even went to the gym that afternoon. However, I felt so lost. Even though I've been hitting the gym daily since I was injured. I just haven't done any lower body.

I mentally feel so prepared to run but I know that I must take baby steps. As my chiropractor mentioned, I already have it between my ears that I will be running. And I really believe that I do. I just feel like I am going to kill my runs now. It's like before my injury, something was missing. I never worked out. I only ran. I knew if I wanted to become a better runner, I needed to cross train. But the gym intimated me. I always had the feeling that someone was watching me. It took having an injury to make me realize that everyone in the gym is doing their own thing. Really not even paying attention to you.

Welcome Back

I really wanted to hit the gym this afternoon, but thought my ankle needed some rest. Yesterday at the gym, I walked on the treadmill for 6 minutes and then I rode the bike for 15 minutes. Totally did not intend to ride 3.4 miles but I did. Oops! My legs felt like jello and wondered what the heck just happened when I got off the bike. I can't wait to see what running will be like. I'm sure I'll feel like I am dying. Or wonder why I ever enjoyed it before the injury. ;) A few more weeks of the bike and I should totally be able to ride while my running buddy, Miranda runs. She's training for her first marathon in Decemeber. And I totally feel bummed that I'm not able to train with her. I kinda pushed her into registering since she would most likely be training with me for my marathon. So hopefully by rinding my bike, I can keep her company on those looooong runs so she isn't solo.

Pedal Pedal Pedal

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Operation Training for Life....Say what?!

Lately, I've had quite a few people to ask me where my motivation is coming from since I am hitting the gym alot now. To be honest, I am really not sure how to answer.  Something just lit inside me and I've been going strong ever since. Maybe it's because I want to be a much stronger runner once I start back. And a strong core & upper body helps with that. I hit the gym 5 days a week (M-Th & Sat), I work out anywhere between 30 minutes to 1.5 hr. I pretty much do core and upper body only since I have this boot on I was told no lower body. I will do a few leg lifts but not many. I mean that boot is enough weight. I probably do 10-15 minutes total with the legs and it's bare minimal. I'm constantly looking for new material just to switch up a bit and not get bored. So far it seems to be working.

I did get quite a few stares in the gym, but now people just go on about their workout. Or they will say "look, she worked out so hard she hurt her foot." ;)  And much of the time I am the only female in there. Now, the old me would have totally ran out of the room. Or would have needed someone there with me. But nope, I'm in there lifting right along with them. Or I should say some of them. There are quite a few that do more walking back & forth than they do lifting. I am getting braver and trying new machines out and after a bit I'll head off to one of the empty rooms where there is more room to do core work. During yesterday's workout, I ended up holding the longest plank that I have yet to do.
Say what?!!

A friend then commented and said soon I'll be doing them with a medicine ball. Soooo..I tired it. It was akward with the boot but I held it for about 20 seconds. Another goal is for my running, since there will be no MCM this year that means I have longer to train. I'm shooting for being able to run without any walking breaks. This is something I have struggled with since I began running. The just didin't want to shut up. I'm hoping since I am so motivated with my lifting and pushing "one more rep" that maybe, just maybe I'll be able to tell my mind "one more mile" and keep saying that till I cross the finish line. It probably sounds completely crazy, but I just feel like when I start back running that I am going to kill it. 

If you are planning on starting your fitness journey, I urge you to take before photos!!!! Take measurements, document it all. You don't have to show anyone the images. I did not take before shots and I really wish I had. I am getting some muscle but not super pumped up, so I'll take some while not flexing. ;) And I have photos from before just not when I started training. I go off by feel and not by the scale (you know the boot thingy).  Like for instance... 

Yeah...they are a little big.

Don't be afraid of the gym either. Everyone who is there started somewhere. Walking in that door is the biggest step. Plug in your music and go lift. You may not be lifting what they are but if you keep at'll be there in no time at all. I get the biggest smile on my face when I move up in weights.

And list goals. It could be anything from lifting 25 pounds within a month. But list something so it motivates you to reach that goal. My goals are to be able to do pushups and not the girly ones either. I can almost do it, but not quite there just yet. I'd also like to be able to do pull ups too. And this week I am hoping to hit 2-a day workouts. I suck at getting up earlier than I do for work. But this week I'm hoping to be able to get in a light workout before getting ready for work. We shall see how it goes. 

I never would have thought I would be on this fitness journey, but since I'm injured I am totally digging this course. I hope to continue to motivate others who still might be iffy about hitting the gym. Go do it!! You can totally do it. There really isn't an excuse. Dig deep down and release that inner you who is screaming to get out. ;) YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Coming to a Decision

I finally made a decision about my marathon.... No Marine Corps Marathon Medal or salute from our heroes this year. No, instead it will have to be put on hold until next year.

You know how sometimes your body keeps trying to tell you something, yet your mind keeps saying "we can do it?!"  Well, I've been stuggling with this for awhile, basically since my injury. And I think it mainly was because I knew I needed to stay positive. To hang onto the hope of getting to train soon. However, this past weekend I made the decision not to run my first marathon this year at the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC. I'm in this boot at least another 5 weeks and even if I can get out of it sooner, I can't pick up right where I left off at. I am basically starting all over with running.  This race is on October 26 and I just don't think its enough time to properly train. I want to be healthy.

However, I do get to defer until next year so I still have my spot. Woot Woot!! Now, since I have practically another year to train I've been hitting the gym alot. What else am I gonna do with this super boot on?! ;) It's starting to become my newest addiction now. And I am really excited about it. I've always wanted to hit the gym and work out but would always quit after a bit. I really couldn't make it a habit. I'm very happy that I am sticking to it like I am. Now instead of trying to schedule in a long run on the weekend, I'm trying to schedule in a workout. (Don't worry, the long runs will be back soon...)

Who knows, maybe this whole injury was just what I needed to give me the push to help me be a stronger, faster runner. Since I'll be starting completely over from scratch with running, I'm really looking forward to it. I now know what all I need to do to prepare to be a better and stronger runner. I just have this feeling this is gonna be worth it in the end. 

I'm still undecided on my last two big races of the year, the Middle Half and the Women's Half. I'm still holding out hope that I can atleast attempt to do them. I'm totally cool with having to walk it all if I must.
I really do miss running and miss running with my buddies. But I must continue to be patient until I get the ok to lace up BOTH running shoes. ;) Until then it will be hitting the gym and keeping occupied with getting stronger.

Until next year....

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

10 Reasons This Doesn't Suck

If you remember my last post, I mentioned dealing with a sprained ankle and not getting to run like I love to do. Well, I finally went to the doctor to have it checked out. An MRI was done to reveal there was severe brusing to the bone and the ligaments were a little damaged. I was then told the news no runner wants to here... "you need to come in for a walking boot!" Deep down, I knew I was going to need one. I just didn't want to admit it. I hoped my gut would be wrong. I pouted after hearing that news and stuffed my face with junk food. Mainly because I was already going on 6 weeks since the injury and normally you wear a boot for 6 weeks. I should have went sooner. And I think that is where I am the most upset. I might have been back to training for my races by now.

I allowed myself to have a pity party on Sunday. And it may have carried over a little bit to Monday morning on the way to get fitted for it. However, I started listing reasons as to why this doesn't suck!!!!!!!

 Here it goes...

- Only one sock is needed. I can wear the other one the next day, as long as they aren't labeled L or R. Hey, saves on laundry right?!

- One shoe is all that is needed. I think I might but all the right ones in a box until I get this off.  ;)

- Shorts at work. Whooo Hooo!!

- Since I'm not running, I can read more. There is quite the list.

- My house stays clean...running all the time makes it hard. ;)

- One foot won't get cold.

- Black shoes go with everything...almost

- I have an awesome weapon if I need it. ;)

- I get to try out my pimp walk. I kid you not, one of the doctors said that's how I would need to walk. That it would eventually happen before I get it off and he said "you might as well go ahead and start now." bahaha

- This is for a short time!!!!

I think the last one is most important. And something I'll have to remember quite often. Yes, being in this boot sucks. Yes, I need to be training for my marathon and upcoming half marathons. But if there is one thing I have learned from being around the wounded. It would be appreciate your limbs. Something that I do. Some of the heroes I know have been in walking boots much longer than the normal 6-8 weeks. Wounded hero Eric Hunter was injured when he stepped on an IED resulting in the loss of his right knee and limb salvage to his left. He's been in a walking boot since September... 10 months. I bet he's mastered that pimp walk by now. ;) I'm still struggling. Haha!

Or another wounded hero, Franz Walkup who was injured when he was shot by the ANA forces his unit was training. His right leg isn't always in a walking boot, but he does have some issues walking with it. However, that didn't stop him from competing in the Tribal Quest race this past weekend. There are many more heroes, but these two came to my mind first. So, my little adventure with this boot really is small potatoes compared to these heroes.

I seriously did not let this boot keep me down. I'm still in training mode for the half marathons and for my first marathon and therefore I am totally kicking butt in the gym. I just hope I don't end up looking like one of the memes with the guy skipping leg day. ;) I had to beg the dr to give me the green light to still work out. I may not be able to run any of my races that is on my schedule this year. But that will be ok. I can defer for the Marine Corps Marathon to next year and I can sell my spot for the Middle Half. The Women's Half is the only race that I can not transfer, sell or derfer. Which sucks but if I get the ok to walk, you better believe I'll be there. The time will totally suck but there will always be next year. I just have to keep telling myself this. I am trying my best to stay positive that I will get to run my races. Who knows, maybe this boot will give me super powers and I'll heal super fast. And then run super fast.

This was the same day I got my new accessory.
At least I look cute right?!

All I am saying is.... be strong, be fierce, be tough and suck it up. When you think you can't go anymore, just think back to those who are learning to walk all over again. They are killing it everyday in rehab. Have that little pitty party, then suck it up and go lift some weights. And yes, I have to tell myself to "suck it up." If I don't then Ray is right there to tell me so.

If you would like to follow the heroes I listed above you can do so by clicking the links. :)

Franz Walkup

Eric Hunter

Monday, June 30, 2014

Lacking Patience

I have never had patience, even as a kid I could never sit quietly and wait. If I knew something was being planned or coming up, I simply could not wait. That still holds true today! I guess you could say it's my krytonite. I can see why Superman hated it so much. It sucks. ;)

Today I should be starting Week 2 of my marathon training. But instead I haven't ran in 4 weeks since I had my ankle sprain in May. I'm over it! Completely O-V-E-R IT!!! I tried last week just to see if I could go and nope! I felt a pulling on the inside of my ankle and the more I tried to go the more it hurt. I still haven't ran the virtual 10k from Chaz's race! To say I miss running is an understament.

I miss having sweat stinging my eyes, or trying to get in a few more miles before calling it a day. I miss the long runs and having to get up at 4:30am on my day off to beat the heat that will be rolling in that day. I miss seeing the sunrise and thinking to myself how lucky am I to see this. I miss yelling at drivers who don't see us, knowing they can totally hear every word I say as they drive on down the road. ;) I miss setting out water before the start of long runs and hoping no one steals it. I miss my running buddies and all the laughs we share along the way. I miss GU, I even have some of the new flavors and I have yet to try them. I miss hill repeats (did I really just say that?!). I miss the sprints. I miss having that one power song on and it pushing me to run the last mile or that huge hill and still keep going. And I miss being the runner that other people saw while driving. I miss scheduling my weekend around long runs just so I can get it finished. I miss two-a-days.  I miss accidently cranking out a long run by accident and still feel like I could have done more. And I miss the crazy tan lines from compression socks or racerback shirts. I just miss it all.

I have races to be training for and I feel like I will not be prepared for any of them. I am basically starting over from scratch. I have the Women's Half Marathon on September 27 and The Middle Half on October 11. And my biggest race of the year, the Marine Corps Marathon on October 26. This will be my first marathon and I have such a goal with it. Yet, I feel like I will not make that goal. Much less be prepared for tany of those races. I am trying to keep up with the cross training, focusing mainly on upper body and keeping the legs to a minimal. Especially since I am not sure the extent of the injury just yet. But it's hard, very hard. Fingers crossed maybe I'll need just a few more weeks off and then I can start back running with no issues. And come back even stronger than before.

Here's to trying to be patient a little longer..................

Friday, June 13, 2014

Chasing Chaz

Where do I even begin with this blog post?!?! There is so much to say and I have no clue where to even begin. I've had this post started for awhile and I keep coming back to it a little each day. I guess I should start with who Chaz please bear with me as this might be a long one. ;)

I met Chaz in 2010 when his wife (and one of my childhood friends), Jessica asked me to come photograph her family before Chaz deployed off to the "sandbox". I was so excited to see her again that I didn't even care that it was over a 2 hour drive to get to their home in Clarksville. I honestly had no idea it was so far away until someone pointed out "you are at exit 111 and you are going to exit 1" did it put it in real time how far it was. I was so honored to come out and photograph them and give my thanks to Chaz for his service that I didn't even care if it was 2 hours away. When I arrived at their house, Chaz was (you guessed it) playing his game on his computer. And I'll admit, first meeting him I was kinda intimated just a smidge. ;) But that quickly went away. We were suppose to go to a park for their session, but Chaz wanted to chill at home so we did them in the back yard.  Here are a few shots from that day...(please excuse the editing, this was when I first started).

As you can see Chaz hasn't changed a bit since his injury. Really, he hasn't. I've been asked many times if he has changed any since his injury and every time I tell them "no, he still has the same attitude that he did when I first met him. He is hilarious to be around." 

Soon after our session, Chaz shipped out to the sandbox and then on January 22, 2011 he made one step that changed their world. I remember the day when I saw Jessica's Facebook post saying he was injured and for everyone not to call just keep praying for him. I had no idea what to do or say. I could only think back to our session and prayed everything would be alright. I remember shooting her a text saying if she needs me to call and that she didn't need to respond to my message. Soon he would be stateside and rocking his way in rehab. I offered to help Jess in any way that I could, whatever she needed. Soon, she was posting daily updates on Chaz's progress and receiving so many new friend requests that I suggested making a Facebook page. This way the guys in his unit, who were still overseas could be updated whenever they could get access to the internet. And so...Team Allen began. (If you haven't checked them out yet, you can do so HERE). 

Now, lets fast forward a bit..Since Ray and I have been on this journey with them we see first hand what Chaz goes through. We've seen him scoot up the stairs, fall down and this is just to name a few. We tend to fight right along with them on the things Chaz needs. Like a home fitted for his needs. We "leg walkers" really have it made. We can go up steps, move around really not even thinking about it. Can you imagine scooting on your hiney every day just to reach your bedroom?! Or even not be able to use your right arm to his full capabilities?! I've always said that anyone who wants to help our wounded should first put themselves in their "shoes". Literally, no use of your legs. And then, just maybe you'll grasp their need a little more. 

I am a runner. It's what I do. Our wounded heroes is my motivation to keep running, to keep pushing my limits. Seeing them learn to walk all over again is such a push to make you want to run. I got to witness Chaz "grow" and it was the best experience I have yet to witness. We really take the smallest things for granted. I wanted to do a race to help in raising funds to help our hero with his home he needs. Now, I have never directed a race much less two courses at the same time before and man it is a lot to do. I got frustrated often and had one person to tell me that I am so passionate about this, that I want it to be perfect. And yes, that was true. The Allen's are pretty special to us and not only to us but to everyone else who has met them. So for this race, I wanted something longer than a 5k because Chaz wanted to ride his bike. But 5ks are so popular, so I decided to do both. And since so many follow their journey, I added in a virtual run. We even had a guy, David from Team Overwatch to sign up and tell us he was going to run the 10k in a bomb suit!!!!! He even rallied a few more runners even sponsoring four enteries and raised $773 for the Allen's.   

On race day, we had 126 runners to attend the race! The total from both attending and the virtual runners was 181. My mind is still blown by that number...181. This is my first time ever doing a race and I never imagined having that many. The total funds raised so far are $7,005!!! I say so far, because funds still keep rolling in from the race. I am so excited about this. I got teary eyed the day I closed the account out and took the check to their bank. (I was even scared to death that I would lose the check in the 10 miles). People are just simply amazing. Thank you again to everyone who came out to support our friends. I would like to thank our sponsors for their help. Ben Lomand Connect, Vanessa's Place, Scott's Portable Toliets, Fastenal, Security Federal Savings Bank, Dr. Pepper, The Cumberland Clinic of Chiropractic, Regions, Barrett's, Kidd Ford, Miller Photography, Denise Lobodinski, It Works with Mandie Muller and Sox Box. Our awesome volunteers, Ft. Campbell, National Guard, the City of McMinnville, Patriot Guard Riders, McMinnville Police Dept, Kelly Walker and Bryan Denton. And especially thank you to our friends Franz and Shannon Walkup for driving in from Maryland so Franz could bike the race with Chaz. Franz is also a wounded hero from Woodbury and it was such an honor to finally meet them. 

The race did have a few hiccups and a few not so nice comments overheard. I know where the issues were and those will be corrected for next year. And as for the comments, well....I won't lie, it did hurt my feelings when I was told them. But then Jessica said something to me that made me realize those comments meant nothing. She said "the only opinion that matters is Chaz's because the was about and for him!" I realized that person ran the race for the wrong reason. And that's ok. Sometimes people tend to have tunnel vision and miss out on what is most important. We are all guilty of that at times. 

Thanks again to Miller Photography for their shooting skills. And a very special thank you to Superior Walls for the use of their America Flag. The flag the runners ran under carries alot of history. It belonged to a POW from WWII. And now for some of my fav shots... 

David running the virtual 10k

I can not express my thanks enough for everyone that came out and continue to support this hero and his family. Thank you!! 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Running of Viola Valley Half

I actually kinda like running this race. Mainly because its nearly right out my back door. I am about 15 miles from the start line. Which means sleeping a little longer or so I had hoped. Recently I have been doing spin class and then going for a 3 mile run after hitting the weights for a bit. It seems every time I do this, I literally kill my run. Pace is spot on, I run the whole distance. Legs feel amazing! I think it has alot to do with the spinning. Maybe that is my warm up. I don't really do alot of stretching before a race, I've tried it both ways and it seems to be better if I just do a little. So, I decided before this race I would get up earlier and go for a little bike ride. Not a 15 mile ride like we do in spin, more of a 1-2 miles. I ended up doing about a half mile maybe but I felt warmed up. And off to the start line we went.

This year the weather was perfect!!!! It did the same thing it did last year...rain! But the rain held off long enough for Miranda and I to finish our run. Woot Woot!!!  It was a little chilly, last year was a little bit warm. But the colder the better I always say. I do think I'll start spinning more before a race, just enough to loosen up the muscles.  I felt really good right up until hitting mile 7.5, at that moment my ankle starting to hurt pretty bad. Not sure what happened, but it hurt for the rest of the race.
Here we are at the start of the race!

Haha At my face!

And Viola Valley Finishers!!!! 
And my biggest fan

Until the next race...make sure your laces are tight and go for a run. :) 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Birthday Run

I believe this has been the first time since I began running that a race was on my birthday!! I wanted to run my first marathon on it but really hadn't had enough time to train properly for it. So I ran a local 5k race here in McMinnville. The Autism 5k.

To make my birthday special... I ordered some socks from The Sox Box. I urge you to check them out at The Sox Box and pick you up some cool socks. Especially if you have a love for CrossFit. A bonus..they donate 20% of each sale to the Independence Fund!!! So go help them help our wounded heroes!!

My goal for this race was to run the whole thing but starting out too fast I ended up stopping once. Boo! But I did set a new PR!! There's always the next race to tackle at not stopping. I finished this race in 34:18.
Here are the adorable socks.