Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Trying something new

Sorta sad, but I’ve made peace with it.

For those who are new to the blog, I love boxing. Have been boxing on and off for the past 20 months. In fact, boxing is what got me off of my (then) fat ass! I lost some weight without really trying (other than not be a lazy bum) and fell in love with the results. I started eating right, then about 6 months after that started running and training for my first race (Austin 2009 Half Marathon).

Anyways…getting to the point. At this stage of my life, I cannot really afford (money or time) to devote to boxing. My boxing gym* is the same amount whether I train 30 days a month or 1 day a month. So at this point, I'm officially putting boxing on hold...don't worry, I'll be back!

*It’s a boxing gym. No treadmill. No weights really. Nothing else, so it’s not like I can do all my training there.

Believe me, this is sort of sad, but it’s ok, this means I will probably be more diligent to cross training like I need to be. I have a free regular gym membership where I live, so I can do elliptical, stationary bike, weights, even pool there for free on my cross training days.

I’m hoping this will help get my booty in gear to lose those last 30 lbs that seem to love my body so much…don’t they get it? I don’t like them…I want them GONE!

So starting next week, I’m adding elliptical or stationary bike, weights, and core to my training twice a week.

Below is my training until my next half marathon.



Hope you all have a wonderful New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Pasadena bound...

Imagine...

You're a complete sports nut.

Freak.

Eat, sleep, drink sports.

You decline on social events with your girlfriends to watch a game. You prefer to drink beer and cheer obnoxiously than go shopping or get a pedicure. You literally bleed the colors of your team. Your Christmas tree is decorated in your teams' colors. You ask for tickets or sports gear for birthday presents. Your first date was a sporting event and your (now bf) was impressed with your passion, knowledge, and enthusiasm for the game. You know more about sports/teams/players/specific moments in sporting history than most men you know.

Ok...so now you have a GLIMPSE of how I am about sports...

I have a few teams (but I watch all sports): Phoenix Suns, Texas Longhorns, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Football Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, the list goes on...

Any of you recognize a name in that bunch? Living in ATX I've become obsessed with the Longhorns...season ticket holder right here!

Well, for those living under a rock or who don't care about College Football (it's ok, we can still be friends...) the Longhorns are going to the National Championship game this year. And guess who has tickets?

That's right friends, I'm going!

This lucky chickadee scored tickets to the National Championship Game, at the Rose Bowl...



You only live once.

We may never get another opportunity to see our team in the National Championship game. So...we're going!

I can hardly stand it!!!


Burnt Orange Roses...


HOOK 'EM!!!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The running code...

The running code…

We all abide by it, whether you know it or not.

It’s when you’re out on the road. It’s below 40 degrees, you're running uphill with the wind blowing against you. You want to stop…so badly, but then you see another runner...running the opposite direction, looking just as cold, just as tired, just as worn out, and you give each other that half wave and smile as if you were saying “Yeah, this kinda sucks, but you’re doing awesome, keep going!

I love being a runner, and following the running code!

And runner girl in the pink long sleeve shirt that had that very same exchange with me yesterday, thanks! I didn’t feel quite as alone out there in the bitter cold!

So…

Hills!

Oh you wonderful, wonderful, AWFUL hills…

I ran 2.5 miles of 100% hills yesterday. Not all up hill (of course) but seriously, not a flat part on the course I ran yesterday. I took a little 2.5 mile loop from my upcoming half marathon. It’s the same 2.5 mile stretch of course that made me want to die when I ran it last year.

With a very hilly half marathon coming up in February… (first 3 miles all up hill, second 3 miles all down hill, last 7 miles of rolling hills) I need to be ready! No more flat runs for this chicka-dee!

Ok – I need your advice, thoughts, input…

I was planning (seriously planning) on doing the San Francisco Full Marathon (my first full!) in July 2010. I’m now having second thoughts. It’s not because I’m afraid of 26.2 or I’m afraid I won’t be prepared, it’s because the love of my life won’t be able to be there. He will be on day 2 of the Bar and the test won’t be in California. Now if it were my second, third, fourth full marathon I would say “eh, not the end of the world, you’ll catch the next one.” But it’s my first. Seeing his face at the finish line is so awesome, and I really want to share my first full marathon finish with him.

So – do you have any suggestions of great full marathons between June and August? What are your favorites?

I leave you with this…another reason to bring the iPhone on a run…


The photo does not come close to give the colors the justice they deserve.


Friday, December 11, 2009

The Sauceome Duo Debut

So, here it is. I hope you all are sitting down, because your minds will be blown at the pure epic awesomeness that you’re about to witness!

So, it started a few months back when BFF and I decided to do a race together. Living in 2 different states, we thought “What race will be do and where?” Seeing how we both have ties in Arizona, we decided to travel to AZ to do the Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon on December 6, 2009!

Well disaster struck!

Our perfect running worlds were shattered…

Just a few short weeks before our first racing debut…we got sick. Both of us…sick enough to miss out on significant training.

Stressing out about our worlds crashing to an end (naturally!) we decided, who cares, we’ve both done them enough, that we’ll be fine. We were still going to do that race. Well, we were sicker than we thought and missed a lot of training, like weeks of training. Blogging about it earlier, a dear running/blogging buddy known as my favorite red-headed runner, suggested I not take it so damn seriously and dress-up in tutus.

BEST IDEA EVAR!

Quickly, I text BFF…she was SO in! But, it didn’t stop there…



+



+



=


The Saucesome Duo!

Seriously, some epic awesomeness was about to ensue…

We showed up race day morning, looking like this…



The comments were unbelievable. People loved us. Cops were stopping us to take pictures of us on the course! Seriously, we were a hit!

The course itself was nice. Very flat (something I’ve never experienced in a race). It is somewhat unfortunate that I couldn’t take advantage of this “fast course” because I was so out of half marathon shape.*

* Disclaimer - I do not recommend running a half marathon un-prepared. Both BFF and I have quite a few miles under our belts and went on the course knowing to take it easy. “Treat it as a long run not a race” we kept saying. I had a half marathon about 7 weeks before this race. The longest I ran between the two was 6 miles…not healthy if you’re looking to PR. So honestly, we took it easy and walked when needed. Injury was the last thing on our list of things to do. I cannot stress it enough, do NOT push yourself into injury if you are not fully prepared.

Moving on…

I really enjoyed the course because it went through my old neck of the woods, a neat little stroll down memory lane.

The best part about the race though, hands down, starting it and finishing it with BFF!!! Seriously, I love this girl, and we had a blast! Running and jamming out to our tunes, then walking and talking until we felt well enough to run again!


We took a photo on the course…



Her bf was there to take photos at the finish… High-fiving I think?



I swore the finish line was being pushed back…



Then, all the high school volunteers that were volunteering at the start of the course, and were done when we finished asked to take a photo with us…


If you’re interested in purchasing your own custom tutu, I HIGHLY recommend Abby’s Tutu Factory. She made these custom for us with very short notice! Not only that, they are very reasonably priced and well made. Heck, they survived us running in them for 13.1 miles, and still in perfect condition!

I’d lie if I said it was easy. It was actually the hardest 13.1 miles I’ve ever run. I am definitely looking forward to a more prepared half marathon in February!

The great part about all of this? BFF and I have decided to make this a tradition. Every year, we’re going to get together for a race. I can’t wait to see what 2010 will hold for this saucesome duo!


Seriously, ask yourself: why would you run a half marathon with your BFF when you could run a half marathon with your BFF while wearing matching green and pink tutus?



Up next...

My next adventure will be the Austin Half Marathon again! It's on Valentine's Day (my favorite holiday!). I'm very excited about this because my first race ever was the Austin Half Marathon in 2009! It will be my 4th half marathon in a year, my 6th race total in a year, and the last half marathon I do before my full marathon debut in July! I'm so looking forward to this race!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just a quickie...

I'm alive.

I finished the Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon on Sunday.

I'll try to catch up on my google reader this week.

I'm slammed at work and home (just that time of year).

Stay tuned for some epic awesomeness to ensue when I deliver my full race report!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

GOALS

I don't call them New Year Resolutions... They aren't things I want to accomplish in the new year just to quickly fail and ignore; I hope to accomplish and build on as time goes by. Whether it's a month, 6 months, a year, or 5 years, they are things I will use to keep me accountable. Things I will use to track my progress, benchmark amazing accomplishments.

I don't call them New Year Resolutions, I call them goals.

In my opinion, everyone needs them...

I wrote down my goals for 2009 on January 3, 2009. They read (exactly as I wrote them):
  • Complete my first half marathon in February (been training since Oct)
  • Complete another half marathon (don't know which one yet)
  • Lose 20 pounds(which should happen if I keep training)
  • Start boxing again (I've stopped the past month with training for the HM and traveling)
Ya know what's totally cool? I accomplished all 4 of them!

The fourth, I've blogged about a few times and is obviously something I have some difficulties with, but boxing is a love of mine, and I'm convinced to make it work!

So, since these are not New Year Resolutions, they are goals, here they are...on December 1 instead of January 1.

My goals for Dec 1, 2009 through Dec 1, 2010

  • Finish half marathons 3 and 4 (already planned)
  • Complete my first full marathon in July 2010 (already planned)
  • Lose those last 30 lbs
  • Do a 5th half marathon and/or 2nd full marathon
  • Continue to box becuase I do love it so!
So, as the new year approaches, what goals have you reached? What goals are you setting out for yourself? I'd love to hear about them!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My, Oh, My!

So, here's the story...

Thursday I was actually able to run.

Run!

Me, I got to run! I was able to run without dying! AWESOME!

I ran 2 very slow, very ugly, very difficult miles, but it was nothing short of perfect bliss!

Saturday, I was able to crank out another 5 miles. Still a little rough, but it felt oh so good!

I'm hoping for 3 or 4 on Monday and 6 on Tuesday. I think I may take a break on Wednesday and Turkey Day since my family is coming to visit. Then crank out another few on Friday and maybe 8 or 9 on Saturday...maybe, just a thought. All I know is that I am a happy camper! :)

So...Turkey Day...

This is the first time I've cooked a Thanksgiving Dinner in my own home! My mom and little brother are coming to visit. It's going to be a nice, chill Thanksgiving just the 5 of us...mom, brother, bf, myself, and of course the pupster!


the pupster (Winston)

My menu will consist of...
  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Salad
  • Corn
  • Zucchini & Yellow squash
  • Carrots
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce (courtesy of my mom)
  • Biscuits
  • Pumpkin Pie or Cheesecake

if you haven't already...take your turkey out of the freezer and put it in the fridge!

I'm very excited...should be awesome!

So...since I got the swine, haven't been able to run, and ate a lot of comfort foods while sick (aka - high carb and processed foods) my weight loss situation has been MIA. So...in order to jump start myself back into training shape to lose more weight, I've come up with a new plan...

While looking for Once a Runner, the book I talked about last post, I found Boxing Shadows by W. K. Stratton with Anissa "The Assassin" Zammarron. I saw the photo on the cover, saw it was written by "The Assassin"...light bulb went on...starting jumping up and down (yes in the middle of Barnes and Nobles)...with a huge hasp blurted out "OMG! Do you know who this is? Do you KNOW who this IS?" To which the bf replied... "No, but I'm guessing you do?" "OMG this is the 2 time woman's world champion that fights at my gym...this is about THE Assassin, from my gym, the girl that fights at my gym, the GYM I BOX AT! OMG OMG, this is so freaking cool...MUST BUY!"



I was so super excited if you couldn't tell. I didn't even know she was working on a book, but I flipped out, then calmed down to stop the stares, and marched my happy butt up to the checkout line!

I've started reading it and LOVE it!!!!!

In the first chapter (which is why I got on this tangent) she writes about her diet. She explained that different from her male counter parts, she hates playing the "weight game" for fights. Most male boxers struggle to get down to their fighting weight and end up starving themselves or going through crazy regimes to lose that extra few pounds before a prizefight. Instead, she keeps herself at her fighting weight as much as possible. Her diet (which I am adopting) consists of: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats. She stayed away from fried food, sweets, and soda. She also allowed herself 1 beer a day, which she feels helped her sleep (boxers need more sleep to recover) and helped her body recover.

Since my 3rd half marathon is 2 weeks from today, my 4th is about 11 weeks away, and my 1st full marathon is shortly after that, I need to get seriously serious about my diet along WITH my exercise.

I can't wait to start boxing again. It's on my schedule for Tuesday, December 8 (the Tuesday after my next half marathon).

So, there it is folks...I hope you all are doing well!

PS - I will probably be sharing the epic awesomeness my bff and I have conjured up after the race...still waiting on a few things to be finalized! :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

the plan of attack

Forgive me if the title offends you...both my parents are former Marines. I was raised on cadences, Marine alphabet (Alpha, Beta, Charlie, etc), military time, and have these little sayings like "plan of attack" and "zero dark thirty" in my vocab like it's second nature...

So, since I'm in a funk and can't really run, I've decided to do something I can do...read about running! I bought Runner's World Complete Book of Women's Running months ago, and have used it as a "guide" or "reference" but haven't actually read it from start to finish, so I'm go it! I am also going to head to the book store tomorrow and purchase Once a Runner by John L. Parker. I've heard it's a great book for competitive runners of all levels.

Also - to help me have fun and relax for my next half marathon, my bff and I are conjuring up some epic awesomeness that I will fill you all in on soon! We are quite the saucesome duo, so you can expect something fierce from us! Details to follow once everything is finalized! Hint - my favorite Redheaded Runner gave me an idea and I went with it...

Gonna try for a treadmill run tomorrow. If that doesn't work, I'm going to go with my 2 favorite Mels' ideas... Tall Mom and 2nd Chances suggested I try the lifecycle!

PS - since I'm just going crazy with my bloggy shoutout...thanks so much to the ladies mentioned above and to Lisa and Busy Running Mama for your encouragement! It means a lot and made me smile! :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

15 days, and unfortunately, counting...

It's been 15 days since my last run, and unfortunately, counting...

I feel like a part of me is missing.

I set out to run today after work. My cough has mellowed out a little bit, my body doesn't ache anymore, and all around, I was feeling about a 90%. I kept thinking "Finally, finally I'll be able to get back out there. I'm itching to run. I can't wait to feel that pavement under my running shoes. Can't wait to get in the rhythm of the music, and just run!"

I got out there, did a brisk walk for a warm up, then cranked the tunes, and went for it. I started a pretty slow but steady pace. I was in absolutely no rush and had no time goal whatsoever. I was just hoping to run/walk 3 miles (5 if I felt up to it). I made it across the bridge of my trail just fine (only about .2 miles, but still!).

Wow, this is awesome. I feel pretty good, I love the wind in my hair, sun on my face, dirt scuff up around me. Ahhhhh....perfect! I'm back!

Until... *cough* *cough* *cough* -- so bad I had to come to a walk. The cough got worse, and I couldn't breathe. I had to stop all together just to let my lungs gasp for the air that they were so violently forcing out! (In case you missed it, I had the swine flu and now I'm dealing with the aftermath.)

That was it, .33 miles.

It made me sad. It made me feel like a failure.

I wanted to cry. Honestly, the reason why I didn't is because I knew I'd look like the weird girl crying on the running trail...

I just wanted so badly to get out there are run. Not run fast, just run. Just complete one run.

I know if I push myself too hard, it'll take me even longer to get better.

I'm getting worried about my race. It's less than 3 weeks away. I know I'll be ok, I know I'll finish it. Originally, I was thinking this race would be my PR (it's a flat, fast course with great weather). All hopes for a PR went out the door...and that's ok, I have my whole life for a PR. I'm just worried I'll get out there and be dead by mile 8. Luckily (I've said it before) but I'll be running it with my bff who is flying in from Chicago. She too has been sick and unable to train, so I think we'll just go out there, try our best, and finish when we finish.

The truth is, I feel horrible. It's amazing how much of a "runner" I've actually become.

I miss it.

I need it.

I'm going crazy without it.

Me not being able to run is driving me crazy. It's setting me back on my weight goal. Setting me back on my training, and I'm not thrilled!

I'm also stressed that I am getting out of shape. I have another half marathon (a really tough one) in February and I'm worried I'll have a major setback...

Have any of you had to be forced to take a break before? What did you do to keep yourself from going crazy? Was it difficult to make a full and healthy comeback?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tecate = Boxing ... do the math!

First - I'm alive...still have a nasty, lingering cough, but I am alive and getting better...thank goodness!

Second - I suck!

To understand my utter adoration, love, and all around passion for boxing, you can read these prior posts I've turned my back on boxing for far too long... and Reminded today just how in love I am.... I've done it again...again! I've stopped boxing and it's killing me.

Tonight I was out with the love of my life. We went to our new favorite pub/lounge/bar. They had the Tecate promotional girls there promoting Tecate Light (it's a beer for those who live under a rock, don't pay attention to martial arts sports, or are over 35 and have a more refined taste for beer..). Anyways, Tecate ALWAYS sponsors the boxing events that my coach puts on, so naturally, I hear/see Tecate, I think boxing. Here's my math...follow along...

Tecate = Boxing
Boxing = A passion of mine
Boxing + me at the boxing gym = Very happy Jen
Boxing - me at the boxing gym = I suck!



It's very simple math...when I box I am happy, when I don't, I am sad and feel like I suck.

So why is it so damn hard?

Here's the thing. Because I'm always training for a race now, I work full time, and volunteer about 10 hours a week, I only have time to box on Tuesday and Thursday. My gym membership is the same if I go every day of the month, or 1 day of the month. If I know I am leaving town for work, going on vacation, family coming to town, race week (which are easier than other weeks), etc. I tend to "take a break" from the gym to save some money and then get something like the damn swine flu with a lingering cough and can't go back yet. GRRRR!

So, what's the plan you say? (You had to know that I, miss-plan-my-entire-life, had to have a plan...right?) The plan of attack (as my Marine Corps parents would say) is that no matter what on the __ of each month I pay my boxing gym membership, no matter what!

Once I'm done hacking up my lungs I will take my happy ass down to the gym, apologize to my coach AGAIN, and start boxing again! I say once I'm DONE hacking up my lungs, because people tend to look at you strange when you sound like you have a highly contagious and deadly disease...yeah, don't know what THAT'S all about!

So friends, I leave you with this...so totally freaking badass, I know!

It's a Tecate speed bag key chain and I love it!

Alright kids, it's late here, and I need my rest. Going to attempt my first run back tomorrow since I got the swine...


Saturday, November 7, 2009

The swine got me!

Ok seriously, who would have thought that after I posted this on Tuesday: I was supposed to go running today but since my body feels like someone took a sledge hammer to it then ran me over with a truck, and my lungs feel like a cat scratching-post, I'm thinking an evening off would be best. So, with that said, you guys can expect some comments from me tonight (unless I fall asleep at 5pm!). that I would have missed a week of running and 3 days or work?!

I am not pleased. I don't get sick. Seriously, I don't. But I ended up with the swine flu...are you kidding me??? Damn pigs! I think today, finally I'm feeling a little better, I think. I'm hoping I'm back by Monday.

I thank her for starting the swine flu...

My next half marathon is only 28 days away, and I haven't run in 6 days. Not only have I not run in 6 days, but my longest run since my half marathon last month was only 4 miles...OMG! I'm stressin, seriously, stressin!

I want to get back out there and start running, but I know I can't. I need to make sure I'm healthy before I run again otherwise I'll never get better.

I'll focus on getting better and create a plan to come back strong for my next half marathon. Here are a few things I'm looking forward to for my Fiesta Bowl Half Marathon:
  • Not only will my dad be cheering me on, but while I was back home last weekend, I mentioned it to the lil' bro and he too said he wanted to be there cheering me on!
  • While I was back home I had the fastest, most fun runs in the dry crisp weather, and flat roads...will make for a fun race for sure!
  • It's another excuse to head back home of course
  • My bff, Jenn, is flying in from Chicago to run it with me. We promised to run it together no matter what. Whether it takes us 2 hours or 3.5 hours, we are running it together!
Soooo - I owe you guys a little vacay-recap...

  • Flew home (to Phoenix, AZ) last Thursday.
  • Friday, lil' bro (who just turned 21) came over to the house, we drank, played wii golf and bowling, and the 3 of us (bf, bro, and I) went to the Phoenix Suns Home Opener! Suns won!
  • Saturday, bf and I went to our Alma Mater Homecoming Game. (We both went to Arizona State University for undergrad, that's where we met...awwww - haha). ASU lost, but it was still fun to be there a support the Sun Devils.


  • Saturday night (Halloween) one of my top 5 favorite athletes ever came to the front door with his son, trick or treating. Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals...we both got to meet him. Very nice, and much bigger in person than on TV! Go Cards! (no- I did not get a picture or autograph, he's their neighbor and I wanted to play it cool...until I've met him a few more times at least!)
  • Sunday we went shooting up in the mountains (we only shot targets, I would never ever shoot an animal!) it was a lot of fun!



proof that I hit my targets...
  • Took a lot of fun pics...Arizona really is so beautiful!






So, that's that in a nutshell I guess. I'm trying to keep up with your blogs, I've just been sleeping...A LOT!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Am I alive...I think yes!

Hi guys and hello new followers...sweet!

So - it's been a while, I know. I've been out of town (on vacation instead of work for once!) and now I'm sick...see what I get for taking a break? Haha, only kidding.

Anyways, I haven't even looked at my google reader in about a week and am a little afraid to.

I was supposed to go running today but since my body feels like someone took a sledge hammer to it then ran me over with a truck, and my lungs feel like a cat scratching-post, I'm thinking an evening off would be best. So, with that said, you guys can expect some comments from me tonight (unless I fall asleep at 5pm!).

I hope you all are doing well, at least doing better than I at the moment!

Catch up with you all soon; I'll tell you all about my trip. Teaser: I took lots o' pics, it involved my alma mater homecoming game, a NBA home opener, and I met a famous person...


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Weight Loss Update (sorry not a clever title)

Just an update. If you're new to the blog, or haven't read How it All Begin or Photo Journal and are interested on how I went from: 80 pounds overweight to running half marathons, I suggest you take a look! :)

For those who have been staying updated, thank you! I love all your support and comments. It really is so very helpful hearing your stories, suggestions, ideas, encouragement...everything, it's wonderful!

So - it's pretty short, but I posted a new update on the Photo Journal (just scroll all the way down). You'll notice I did miss a weight goal by 4 pounds earlier this month. However; for the first time in a long, long time, I feel amazing. I feel thin, fit, healthy, and I'm loving every minute of it.

I'm still going for my goal to reach 140lbs (I'm 5'8") by my 25th birthday (June 1, 2010) so I'll need to stay on track.

Thanks again for all your support and encouragement. Seriously bloggy buddies - you guys rock!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Moving Comfort

So, a few months ago I bragged and boasted about my new Moving Comfort sports bra. I started running over a year ago, doubling up sports bras. I call myself "blessed" and even 2 sports bras (one of them 1 size too small) wasn't giving me the support I needed. Not only that, but because the bottom bra was 1 size too small, it was crushing my ribs and making it VERY difficult to breathe. Try running a half marathon with your ribs feeling like they were being crushed...not fun!

I had almost settled for having to double up on sports bras, being uncomfortable, and on the verge of suffocation while running, until I came across Moving Comfort.

I went into a woman's sporting goods store Betty Sport and they helped me tremendously! They gave my numerous sports bras made for "blessed" runners such as myself and were designed for high impact. I ended up with the Calli Bra and love it!



Well, after about 10 washes, the underwire started poking through the bra. I stopped machine washing and drying it, but running alone made the underwire poke through more and more until eventually the underwire came out completely on both cups 2 days before my last half marathon.

I didn't want to return it because the thought of going back to doubling up made cringe!

Anyways, I emailed the customer service department and let them know about my problem to see if they could do anything about it. I found out that they had this problem with this bra with the larger cup sizes and that it's since been fixed.

SWEET!

So, I sent my bra to them. Since the problem had been fixed I bought a new one. They looked at my old bra and replaced it with a brand new one. Just got it in the mail today! Now I have two...yeah!

Ladies - if you're looking for a new, more supportive bra, I highly recommend the Moving Comfort Calli Bra. Their excellent customer service is reason enough to try them out!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chocolate is good for your soul!

I’ve said this for as long as I can remember, it’s cheesy, I know, but it’s true: Chocolate is good for your soul.



For reasons I can’t really get into too much detail about at the moment, I’ve been having a rough couple of months. The past week has been especially bad. I’ve been contemplating the future a lot. The bf is in his third year of law school (which is the final year!) and things are getting stressful. I’m sure you’ve all been paying attention to the news, and I’m sure it’s directly affected some of you, but the job market SUCKS!

I am a planner…P-L-A-N-N-E-R! I like planning. I like knowing what the future holds. I like having a plan B and HATE deferring to that plan B…even more, I hate plans C or D!

Yes, I realize that often times life doesn’t go according to plans, but guess what, I STILL LIKE PLANS!

I sucks not knowing what the future holds. It sucks not knowing what the options are. It sucks not knowing where to even begin.

I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but life has been SERIOUSLY NOT GOING ACCORDING TO ANY OF MY PLANS LATELY! Not just with the bf’s school but with other life things.

I think this is just a time in my life that I’m being challenged to see how well I can “go with the flow”…I’m not doing so hot at that right now and know that I need to work on it. Believe me, I’m trying! I’m trying so hard to just relax and roll with the punches, but it’s hard for someone like me!

Anyways – back to the whole “chocolate is good for your soul” thing…

I bought a bag of Dove chocolates to keep at work for those I-just-don’t-care-and-need-chocolate moments (if you haven’t noticed, I’ve seen those moments much more often lately!).



On the inside of each Dove chocolate there is a saying or quote. In the past few days I’ve come across these quotes that have really hit home for me and felt that I should share. I’m big on picking up “signs” or trying to be intuitive, so I really liked these…

  • You cannot discover new oceans unless you have courage to lose sight of the shore.
  • Life may change us but we start and end with family.
  • Count your blessings not your worries.

I don’t write this for pity, I’m going to be A-OK and I know it. Luckily my bf (man of my dreams and absolutely perfect for me in every way) is so supportive and is the PERFECT balance to my I-need-to-plan-our-next-twenty-years-out-now personality!

I just thought maybe one of you might be struggling with some of the same things and that the little quotes in my chocolate might help!


Monday, October 19, 2009

I might be crazy...

As the bf would say "you've been crazy, but that's why I love you!" Yes, it's true, I'm crazy. But if I'm crazy, then most of you are too...

Sunday (yes just 1 week since HELL - I mean since my last half marathon) I decided that I'm ready to run with the big kids.

I already have my third and fourth half marathons planned in December and February. Well, I'm ready to give it a try...the big one...the FULL MARATHON.

OMG - I canNOT believe I just said that.

One of the reasons the bf said I'm crazy is because the first words I uttered out of my mouth after I crossed the finish of my last half was "There is no F*^&ING way I'm doing a full marathon!" I had been contemplating WHEN I'd do it since my first half back in February...

So, July 25, 2010 (if everything goes according to plans) I will be taking my little booty to San Francisco to punish myself - I mean run the FULL San Francisco Marathon.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Running!

October marks somewhat of a milestone for me. October, 2009 marks my one year anniversary with running and what a year it has been.

~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Running,

Thank you! Thank you for all you've done. I know I haven't always been nice, haven't always been fare, and you and I both know I've been pissed off at you more times than I can count. Thanks to you, I have seen amazing transformations in my life.

Since I found you nearly 1 year ago, I'm convinced that you saved my life. I was on the losing end of a weight battle, that I knew I couldn't successfully (and healthfully) win without help from you! Thanks to you (and some pretty good eating habits) I've lost 50 pounds and am on track to successfully lose 30 more by June!

You've turned my legs into long, muscular yet lean, beautiful creatures that I love showing off every chance I get!

Thanks to you I've lowered my blood pressure. It wasn't an immediate problem, but higher than normal blood pressure for someone in her 20's couldn't be a good sign...it's normal now, thanks!

Also, you've helped me enjoy life more. Not only have you given me more self confidence but you've given me something I enjoy. Something I can go outside and do. Something I can take with me where ever I go and just enjoy. I even take you on vacation...that's how much I love you!

I can't forget to thank you for the wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Seriously, just one year ago I would look at people who run and think "No way could I ever do that...". Well guess what, I did do that. Do you have any idea what it feels like to finish something you knew -- knew for a fact -- that you would NEVER finish!? Let me tell you, it's amazing! Not just did I finish a half marathon, I did it again, and am planning for more. You've changed the impossible for me. Ya, that's because of you, running!

Thank you for giving me a new look on life. Thanks for giving me a second chance on life. I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for us - hint: it's going to involve at least 2 more half marathons and probably our first full marathon!

Cheers to you, running!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Strays, Bucks, the Devil's Course, and a Surprise!

AKA my Run Austin Run Half Marathon Race Report

Note: If you don't like race reports, you can scroll down to the bottom for Cliff Notes and a Conclusion, if you do enjoy race reports like I do, please enjoy!


So, today, if you didn't get the memo (aka - me shouting it from the rooftops) I had another half marathon today. I ran the Run Austin Run racing series put on by USA Productions. Now, I was slightly nervous about this one because it was my second. My first, is an automatic PR, just finishing was the biggest accomplishment of my life. The second, to me, was almost like you're not quite a veteran, but you're not a novice, so you better get out there and prove yourself. You wanna be a long distance runner? Go out there an own this race! So, that friends, is what was going through my mind.

5:00 am rolled around, alarm went off, and man did I feel rested! I actually got to sleep and slept well last night which is so rare before long runs and race days for me. Turned to the bf and had to double check the scores from last night's games. He stayed up, I crashed at 9! Good news, Texas won! Hopped in the shower to loosen up.

5:30 I crammed the much loathed fruit down my throat. The most vile fruit ever created. The banana. Blehk, I don't like them, but knew I needed to eat something. Bf and I are out the door!

6:00 we hit the starting line area. Hmmm, is this the right place? Today is the race, right? Why are we the only ones here? I cannot possibly be the only one that doesn't like to be rushed and stressed in the morning with road closures to want to get here early...am I? Oh wait, there are a few others. Ok, good! Strange, but good!

6:30 text from a good friend confirming she's on her way and bringing her dog, yay! It was so great hanging out with the bf and friend before the race, although I was kinda in the zone! Freezing cold at 55 degrees (you have to understand it was 90 on Friday...I think the entire country got a cold front - better than running 13.1 mi in 90...right??)

6:45 ok, enough with the chit-chat, I need to head to the start (this is the planner in me!). Of course the race didn't start on time (they never do) but this one was about 20 minutes late. 20 minutes...come on! Just shoot the gun already and let me run!



7:20 tunes are in and I hear the glorious riffs of the electric guitar playing in my ears. This sound always gets me jack up; in fact I start every race to this:
She's got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I stared too long
I'd probably break down and cry
Sing it with me now: Ohhhhh oh, sweet child o' mine!

This is it folks, here I go. Garmin timer...go!

I was cruising pretty well, but kept my pace. I tend to get so excited that I could easily sprint the first 3 miles, but know I can't do that if I actually want to finish the race. I was doing alright, getting a little warm, then it hit me at about mile 1.5...side cramps! DAMMIT! Are you F*@!ING KIDDING ME? I seriously had to check myself: chill Jen, just slow down a bit, try to stretch, and keep going, you'll be fine. I was, eventually.

Miles 2 and 3 were predictable. Cold, hilly, but ok.

Sweet! Mile 2ish I saw another girl wearing her Race for Strays team shirt...rock on!

Mile 3.5 something amazingly awesome happened. I'm not gonna lie though, I did fear for my life for a brief moment. While running through one of the neighborhoods (not too woodsy) I turned the corner to find myself within 10 yards of a buck. Yes, a buck. Not a cute, tiny, little deer. A buck. My height, with antlers. BIG antlers. He was running! Running, towards me! OMG, I don't want to die. Apparently, he was more afraid of me running towards him than I was of him running towards me so he darted into the yard as I passed him. Oh thank you Lord! Seriously, I was praying out loud, I'm not using His name in vein, I was actually praying out loud!

Miles 4 and 5 came around and I wanted to murder the person that that mapped the course. Honestly, either they didn't run this course, or they are sick and demented. I'm used to hills, in Austin, it's difficult to run outside without running into hills, but this was not a hill, it was a mini mountain of death followed by another mini mountain of death, and another. Um, why do I run these? My thought was distracted... Wait, what? Was that a drop of rain? There are no rain clouds, nah, it wasn't. Half mile later, no, that was a drop of rain...nope, no it wasn't. Phew! That would seriously suck!

I remember thinking hmmm, I keep having all these crazing uphills (mini mountains of death), where are the downhills? I start and finish in the same place, so eventually I have to run downhill, right? Is my logic completely FUBAR at this point? I'm pretty sure I'm right!

I spoke (er, thought) too soon! These downhills made me wish the race was all uphill. My knees felt like they were going to give in at any moment. Honestly, it may have been a health hazard having a running course through hills like this.

I'm pretty sure the volunteer thought I was kidding when I asked for beer at the Mile 6 water station, little does he know, I was dead serious!

Mile 7 rolled around and I wanted to die. For some reason my body wasn't into the whole running thing at the moment. My legs ached. My knees where throbbing. My hips hurt. My back was tight. Oh man, seriously, worse race ever. Couldn't get worse. I'm too far from the finish to feel like this.

Oh, what do you know, I spoke too soon, yet again! Rain! Rain! Rain! I didn't say mist, I didn't say drizzle, I definitely used that awful 4-letter word! DAMMIT! By about mile 7.5 I looked and felt like I just went swimming in the Pacific Ocean in January. I was freezing, shivering, and drenched from head to toe. Seriously...sopping wet! Surprise! The weatherman was VERY wrong, yet again. Today was supposed to be the only day with no rain this week...jerk!

Miles 7.5 through 12.5 were such a blur. A rainy, cold, windy blur.

Everything in my body, everything in my mind was saying just stop. There is no shame in NOT running 13.1 miles when it's 55 degrees, pouring rain, and windy outside. It's ok, you can always finish the next one. Honestly, no one will blame you.


It's true, most people would completely 100% understand me not finishing the race. But guess what, I didn't run hundreds of miles, spend hours upon hours training, miss weekends out on the town to not finish. That's not my style, that's not what I came here to do. I did however come to peace with not PRing...I cried when I realized I wouldn't PR, but then I remembered that it's not about the time, it's about finishing something you started, and completing something that just 1 year ago you thought was impossible for you to do!

I turn the corner for the .5 mile stretch to see my bf and friend standing there in the rain, yelling my name, jumping up and down...oh, that was SO awesome! That's when I put on the jets (well as much of the jets I could put on with the amount of fuel I had left!). I finished in 3:09:56 and honestly, all things considered, I couldn't be happier.

I will say, for anyone thinking about running an USA Productions race, I highly advise against it. I realize that the weather was a factor, but here are a few things I was very disappointed in:
  • there were only 7 stations for water, they said there would be 12 stations
  • in my opinion, the course was not well planned out well at all. I've done a half marathon in Austin that was challenging but was NOTHING like this. I felt that some of the hills were not meant for running, it could seriously injure someone.
  • when I crossed the finish, they had run out of half marathon finisher's medals (the course was open for 4 hours, I finished in 3, there had to be at least 200-300 more runners out there). Supposedly my medal will be mailed to me.
  • they also ran out of half marathon finisher's shirts, they didn't mention anything about having that mailed to me...
  • all the volunteers pack up and left by the time I crossed the finish. There was no water left, no power aid or GU2O left. There were no bagels.
  • Part of the race was "Come for the Race, Stay for the Party." They were to have live music, beer, pizza, burritos, fruit, drinks, bagels, and massages for the runners. When I crossed the finish line, the only thing left was the band.



Conclusion: I've had better days, but in a way all things considered, I think this finish even though it wasn't a PR was more impressive than my first half marathon. I'm very glad I finished. I'm very thankful I had supporters cheering me on at the finish. I am very much looking forward to a flat, nice weathered half marathon in Scottsdale in December!

Cliff Notes: I ran a half marathon. I was charged by bucks. I climbed a few mountains during the race. It started pouring rain at mile 7 and didn't stop the rest of the 13.1. -- you should read the full report. ;)

Stats: 13.22 miles, 3:09:56, 14:22 min/mile average, 1443 calories burned

Tomorrow, I will be enjoying a massage and pedicure!