Tag Archives: distance

Postpartum Expectations from a Runner Girl – Reclaiming My Body Through the Onset of Emotions

26 Jul

Hello lovelies!!!

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Happy Weekend! Yay!!!

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Today I am 73 days postpartum. I was given the green light to start running, I mean training, for a fall marathon by my OB on July 11. It took a whole 8 weeks to be cleared to run after our baby girl debuted. But as you know I’m stubborn and determined so I began running the week-ish prior (hey, my doctor was on vacation and my appointment was delayed!)

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After having been patient for close to 40 weeks to meet my little rosebud, how on earth did doctors expect me to hold off from running for 2 whole months? I ran my entire pregnancy and then they put a moratorium on it?! Not okay.

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Anyway, I took it easy with doctor approved light cardio. I engaged in walking, the elliptical and mini weights beginning at the 4 week postpartum mark. I started running again around 7 weeks (I may be a liar). But I’m not lying about taking it easy. It wasn’t until July 11th that I started to run farther and faster. 

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I wanted to run farther and faster because shoot, I have had my eyes set on a fall marathon. But I also wanted to run farther (not faster) to engage my fat burning furnace to melt the lingering pounds that made themselves home to my thighs, hips, stomach and back. Maybe in my breasts, too, who am I kidding. I definitely don’t need the weight there. If I had a say in its allocations I’d rather see that weight in my boot-tay. Am I right!?! (Squats all day don’t do me any favors…I’m just saying.)

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But because I’m not on an episode of Botched I can’t have anyone rearrange my ASSets how I see fit. I’ve been working hard reclaiming my assets through sweat. Today, more than ever before, I have been focused unremittingly on my core. I have not only engaged in core circuit training, but also legs and booty circuit training, and now, marathon training!!!!!!!

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I’ve been feeling ah-mazing! I feel like I can come back and come back stronger and faster.

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But before feeling ah-mazing I was feeling really discouraged. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying – my having a baby girl has been the greatest gift ever, but being forced to “recover” and recover longer than normal because of a c-section really shook me. That on top of the imminent (and grave emotional) loss of our mother. My little family was paralyzed by pain and forced to accept the bitter dichotomy of life – birth and death. Anyway, that’s another matter… What I’m saying is I was active my entire pregnancy and then boom – no sweat sessions were prescribed for 6-8 weeks. I had to handle my emotions, both postpartum and grief, without running. That was brand new territory for me.

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Speaking of new, I was also a brand new mom who was losing a mother (my fiancé’s). The wave of emotions felt like oil and vinegar – how could one be so blissfully happy with grief and despair rising in the horizon. They didn’t mix well. The onset of emotion overtook me (us). We found ourselves faced with the highs and lows of the reality we were in. We felt guilty for being happy then guilty for being enveloped with grief.

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We traveled by plane 7 days postpartum to visit Andy’s mom before she passed. We had begged for time to spare us so that she could meet her newest granddaughter. I traveled back home, alone, only 10 days postpartum. I was a wreck. I bravely accepted the fate of our mother on my journey home while dodging insults of having such a new baby on a flight, let alone in an airport. I was shuffling between whether or not to spew my circumstance with strangers or smile and embrace the mommy shaming. I did the latter. The judgement only amplified my emotions.

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We lost mom shortly after I returned home. I had emotions storming through me. My mind was in a turbulent capricious state. All I wanted to do was run it out but my body ached in ways that I cannot describe. My cesarean cut pulsated. My heart was heavy. My heart was light. And it was full of love. In the deep of love. My reaction to life was that love surely does cut you. I was a vat of vehemence smiling through all the pain and smiling through all the joys. 

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But rewind…

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On top of all my emotions, my vanity also played and integral part in my hormonal hurdle to find harmony. To find peace. Sanity. Normalcy.

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Rewind again. When I finally got home from the hospital, I wanted so badly to hop on the scale to witness the miraculous weight loss from this “having a baby” diet.

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And.

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Dun. Dun. Dun.

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The weight I gained during pregnancy was still there. Every. Single. Pound. Yes. Every single pound was accounted for.

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I cried on the inside. 

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These are the things they don’t prepare you for postpartum, especially post-cesarean. The fervent of emotions. The inability to easily pick up your baby from their bassinet because your cut is new and wretchedly deep. The pain. The fear of being a new mother. The weight. Oh my goodness the water weight. But I stress – the emotions. Emotions because as new mom I can tell you expectations are too high. Emotions because I almost had vaginal birth but my baby couldn’t handle the contractions and her heart rate kept falling dangerously low. Emotions because I felt like every single person was overwhelmed with joy over my little miracle and all they wanted to do was meet her but they discarded me. No one (most) thought a cesarean was a big deal. Not many asked how I was. And because notifications of vagina jokes kept coming across my iPhone because… “Hey, it’s still intact!” What the fuck ever people!!!  Hello, I’m in pain!!! Everyone forgot I was the star of the show. But with the birth of my little angel I suddenly became the supporting actress. My glowing beauty transformed to that of a rag doll beat up and ran over by an 18-wheeler that reversed. I looked like 50 shades of SHIT with breasts as solid as boulders that doubled as my serving platter because I could eat dinner off them. Emotions because I was pining for the day I didn’t feel like a dairy cow. Emotions because despite it all, I wouldn’t trade my old self for my new self. Emotions because I thought I was crazy for loving this new role.

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Emotions because of my new body. 

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I remember I stripped off my clothes and looked in the mirror. I stood there for a long time. I poked my stomach. It was soft. I was amazed that the elasticity and muscle memory were not activating!!! Then I saw my thighs. My calves. My legs. I cried hard. Vulgar Tears. I felt disgusting in my skin. How could I have felt like a champion of pregnancy up until birth and return home looking like a foreigner in my skin? I truly didn’t recognize myself. There was no bump but those weren’t my thighs.

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Why hadn’t the doctors sent me home with a “What to expect after you have a baby – cesarean edition” pamphlet that outlines the litany of normal concerns for new mothers (and fathers) who courageously try to navigate through an emotional, sleep deprived battlefield of heightened senses? Mind you it should also detail realistic expectations of what you should anticipate from your body that asserts, “Relax! You don’t have a fever. And no, you did not wet the bed. You are experiencing  hot flashes and night sweats – that is your body’s natural way to flush out all the excess water from pregnancy and delivery.” I had NO pamphlet. I had to resort to Google for this wealth of information to learn that the pregnancy glow alters to a new form…a foreshadowing tale of what I have to look forward to – menopause. WTF.

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I was also patiently awaiting my new form sans baby bump. But I weighed the exact same after having had my 6 pound 5 oz baby girl from the day I was admitted. How was that even plausible even after being forced to fast, too? I drank nothing but water and coffee for days. I made liars of their cleansing characteristics because they surely didn’t act like any kind of diuretic. I was still feeling very pregnant. I was mortified. 

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The pamphlet idea would have been notably helpful at that mile marker. I didn’t know about all the water weight I would gain due to the IVs. I didn’t know my cut would burn, tingle, feel oddly numb but sense pressure for days, weeks, months. I didn’t know about breastfeeding and prolactin.

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I wore long dresses for days to hide my legs but they didn’t cover my newly augmented breasts by milk. People would speculate all my weight went there, and while it made me laugh, I was beyond uncomfortable. I was annoyed and embarrassed by my blossoming bosoms.

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I felt awkward. That’s it in a word. But I was also the happiest I had ever been. It was the strangest thing.

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But now that my little family and I are two months in, I’ve grown fond of my new body and its abilities. I had high expectations of rebounding and I didn’t meet the mark. But I know I will. That’s who I am. I do acknowledge that I’ve snapped back relatively quick but I wanted breastfeeding to be some miraculous cure-all of soft curves and a soft tummy. Newsflash: it isn’t. It’s an old wives tale.

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I am currently working hard at marathon training again and I believe I will get back to where I was before I was pregnant. Perhaps all these months off from intense training have alleviated my hip issues! (Praying!!!)

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Speaking of running, I have been doing speed work, fartleks, tempo runs, easy runs and I’m slowly gaining back my ability to cover distance. I completed my longest distance of 8 miles strong last week! While I’m so fortunate to be logging miles again to gain speed, endurance, and to soon cover distance to chase Boston, I’m finding that despite it all – my running, leg, booty, and killer core workouts – I’m still unable to activate that fat burning furnace I spoke of earlier to shed the last 3 postpartum pounds. .


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I know I sound obnoxious because it may not sound like much weight, but for me, as a runner, each pound adds time to my pace. My inner voice screamed and continues to scream, “WHAT gives!?!?” 

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I told you before, where I once had abs I am soft. Now I assure you I’m not bitching terribly much – I know I’m fortunate to have been able to shed most of the weight I gained without any effort, but these last few pounds have been troubling me, especially with my incessant desire to workout in an effort to reclaim my body! My gosh, I had rented it out for 39 weeks and even provided an eviction notice…can I have it back yet? Please?

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Through all my attempts guess what I discovered?!? Keep reading…This is only another example of the type of content the pamphlet should cover…

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Despite my efforts, mothers who breastfeed, regardless of the old wives tale that breastfeeding helps melt the fat, retain approximately 5-10 pounds of fat to ensure that in the event of famine, we can nourish our littles (so I guess I’m doing well!). The reason is due to the hormone prolactin – the evil but necessary culprit! Prolactin remains incredibly high in your body for up to 6 months postpartum making weight loss a challenge! It is a challenge because it reduces the body’s ability to metabolize fat. BAM! Repeat. BAM!!! It acts like a safeguard to protect a baby’s milk supply. Hey hospital, put that in a pamphlet to help new mothers ward off fatuous expectations! 

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So here I am, I’ve been sweating it out like the badass motherrunner that I am, and I can’t shake all the weight despite clean eating and exercise. I didn’t get it. I was so frustrated! But now knowing that when I decide to stop breastfeeding the weight should come off effortlessly makes me one happy runnergirl. Oh, that on top of the fact that I won’t be carrying melons around that fluctuate in weight every 2-3 hours. That’s right, I’ve been racing against my milk coming in! Maybe that’s making me faster (I can dream). But until I decide I can no longer continue nursing my little rosebud, I will cherish the moments of feeding her while also being proud that my milk is helping her get those adorable little rolls on her legs! That’s right, I’m the reason for my little chubbina (chubby signorina)!

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Thanks for stopping by and reading about my journey – from chasing Boston to chasing baby – motherhood and running – and my life between all those miles.

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XO

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Valgal

Running and Life

20 Jul

Hello lovelies!!!.

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.My days are numbered being at home with my little babe. The longest I’ve been away from her has been during my runs which is about 1-2.5 hours. So with Monday on the horizon, my heart is sinking. How am I supposed to go back to work? How can I juggle work, be a mother, a wife in training, and a runner? .


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During my mini sweat session today (I ran based on how I felt – hello sub 7:00!!! – ran a 7:50 warmup and speedy miles thereafter! I love the way a 6:00 min pace feels- it’s been too long! 🙌🏼) I was thinking about how running is a true euphemism for life – more so today than ever before. What I’m saying is that it takes enormous spiritual strength for me to embrace training for a marathon after 39 weeks of untraining my mind to go hard and push through the pain because of pregnancy. Now I’m trying to build back that grit. But honestly, it takes even more spiritual strength to leave my little on Monday for the first time ever for my workday.

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I’m freaking out that I’m going to miss her more than words. Her little coos, her smiles, the way she cuddles on my chest and grips my hand so tightly. How am I supposed to be away for 9-12 hours without her when she has been all I’ve ever known. “It’s impossible to miss anything before she came into the world.”

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I’m so thankful for running. It has allowed me to run out my emotions. It helps. But I’m still deep in resentment that I can’t have a few more weeks. At least I know what I’m in for. My work day will feel like a bloody marathon – trudging through the pain of her absence – but coming home will feel like crossing the finish line – the reward of embracing my rosebud will be worth it. .

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Shout out to all you badass mother runners, and mamas who must leave the house for work, (because let’s be honest, being a mother alone is WORK), “The world does not benefit from you hiding your bad-assery” so make sure you make it known!  You inspire me!!! XO #badass #motherrunner #runnergirl #sweat #sweatsession

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PS- thanks @nuunhydration for hydrating me!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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XO

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Valgal


A New Affair 

19 Jul

Hello lovelies,

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Notice anything different?!.

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Other than me not having a baby bump?!?

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The shoes!!! Meet Brooks Launch 3!!!

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That’s right friends, #badass #motherrunner was running on clouds today. Clouds of comfort! I literally had an extra spring to my step for push-off and it gave me amazing energy return! For real though!!! Plus, their ultra light and perfect for me (I’m a neutral runner). I’m in love. .

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Newton, we’ve covered a lot of distance over our 4 year courtship, but your discount code for me has since expired and your 5 lugs just don’t comfort me like the 4. You will be my first love, and I will continue to be a fan, and even wear you for feelings of wild-eyed marathon training nostalgia of the past (I have quite the collection)…But let it be known you’ve got some fierce competition these days! And I’m thinking it’s time for a new affair…#runnergirl

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Today marked my marathon training’s request of an easy 3 mile run – which was totally hard to do because I wanted to rocket through my run with these new badass kicks!!! But hey, I’m following protocol – and that’s a first!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

First Week of Marathon Training Postpartum

16 Jul

Hello lovelies!!!

Happy Saturday – woot woot! Today marked my longest run postpartum – 8 miles at an easy pace – averaging 7:52/min. My lungs and legs felt fresh. Granted, I could have definitely welcomed speed, but for first time ever, I’m following a marathon training schedule and it told me to go easy. Yup! This mama is ready to BQ!!! And with training I hope to shed the baby weight too. ..

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The hardest part of marathon training post baby so far has been to be patient with miles and time because let’s face it, during pregnancy we’re told not to: run for too long, not to elevate our heart rate, not to exert too much energy etc…Therefore, running for long periods of time is new again – my mental training to tackle distance is lacking. The second challenge is running in between feeding sessions – I’m always racing against my milk coming in 😂. .

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Anyway, I really wanted to go faster and/or longer today but I took a step back and told myself that I am committed to embracing the marathon program that promises speed. If I could run a Mary before (or 3), then I can definitely run one again 🙌🏼!!! I mean shoot, I only missed Boston by 4 minutes before while having bronchitis – perhaps I’m closer after baby? Either way I’m loving the journey! First week of 12 ✔️ done and done! .

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Hello, #Boston! I’m coming for you!!! 💙💛 #bq

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Thanks for stopping by! XO.

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Valgal 


Intro – Running for Two: From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby

4 Nov

Hello lovelies!

Welcome to the newest addition to my blog – Running for Two: From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby!

Woweee!!! Here I am closing in on the last week of my first trimester. I am 12 weeks and 2 days pregnant with 194 days to go until we get to meet our little macaroon! We are officially due May 15, 2016! I am amazed. Thrilled. Entirely enraptured by the uncertainty of it all!

Upon discovery of being pregnant I scoured through literature about running and pregnancy. I found your typical books with your typical advice: keep your heart rate below 140 (crock of poo poos); go slow; reduce mileage; reduce intensity; etc. [Insert big yawn]

I wanted literature from veteran runners who have been at this very crossroad I am faced with.

Talk about cravings. I was craving literature that wasn’t written and influenced by an aged wrinkly man who hasn’t seen a woman’s anatomy since 1973 unless he google’d the free videos on his phone [cough cough] I mean mega iPad and watched it magnified at the bagillionth degree possible. No. I wanted literature written by, co-written by or edited by elite women runners who understand hormones, fatigue and their own body and how it plays an active or not so active role in their workout regimes during pregnancy – especially for the particular energy-annihilating, ruthless and impetuous hormones that rule over my morning sickness and desire to sleep that is the first trimester.

I was searching for honesty about the sport from women to women. I wasn’t looking for the retro housewife tales of daily housekeeping that dictate I should be a “wife”, cook, laundress, cleaner, dishwasher, nurse and hostess but most definitely not an athlete.

Newsflash: I’m pregnant. I’m in the magical misery of the first trimester where admission for two is wrecking havoc on all of my cognitive functions. How ever does current literature expect me to be a wife, cook, laundress, cleaner, dishwasher, nurse and hostess on top of also being a full-time employee (in a career I’m captivated by), a master’s student and an athlete? Something has got to give and I tell you what – it isn’t the latter three.

Anyway, I found NO substantial literature. Zilch. It all felt outdated and lacking charisma. I am not interested in jogging to keep fit – I’m interested in running to Boston qualify (BQ). Now that I’m pregnant I’m interested in maintaining a routine that will afford me the agility to bounce back to BQ training post-pregnancy. I don’t want a book about “how-to” perform a casual light jogging stroll through the park while (get this) maintaining a low heart rate. Shit!!!! Do you know me? Tell me fro-yo is on the menu somewhere today and I’ll get giddy over adorning my ménage of flavors with sprinkles and gummy bears – that alone will spike my heart rate to 140+! And you want me to take it easy doing a light stroll? Riiiight.  Call me a running snob – a nickname given to me by a good friend but a light stroll doesn’t cut it. I need to sweat from the sport that is running. I’m cognizant that I am pregnant and my body must slow down. I want to ensure I’m being safe with my goals and that’s why I searched for books that broach the topic. I even poured through running blogs and stumbled upon a few I enjoyed which has brought me to write my own.

FRO-YO yummy!

FRO-YO yummy!

So there it is, the long and short of it. I will be blogging about my experiences Running for Two: From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby. Please note that I am not an expert (no way no how), I am not a dietitian, a nutritionist, a coach etc. I am simply a first-time pregnant 30 year-old woman who wants to share this journey with you in the event you’re as lost as I am. This is simply the truth of my experiences that I am sharing with you. I hope you find that it is amusing, inspiring, relatable, elemental, and conventional. Most importantly, I hope you find this as a source of comfort and unification in knowing that you are not alone in this uncomfortable, awkward, exciting, beautiful, interesting, uncertain transformational experience. I’m right here with ya!

So here we are…we’re pregnant! Congratulations!!!!!!!

Stay tuned for the trials of the first trimester!

Thanks for stopping by!!!

XO

Valgal and little macaroon

From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby

31 Oct

Hello lovelies!

Typical me, I’ve been silent. Very. Very. Quiet. But that’s only because I have big news. BIG. NEWS.

As of late I’ve been struggling with my running goals and all the aches and pains that are a part of the package. As you know I’ve been chasing Boston. I was only 4 minutes off from Boston Qualifying last October at the Marine Corps Marathon and that was ONLY, stress ONLY, because I had bronchitis. I finished feeling bad to the A double S. I mean seriously, I was badass having had just run 26.2 miles sicker than sick. Talk about a needed rest day starting once I crossed the finish line.

Fast forward to March 2015 when chasing Boston was going to become a reality. The rain was pouring. My training partner, my Newton Distance Elite shoes weighing all of 6.2 ounces, felt like cement blocks as they sloshed through the puddles and absorbed all the water. My clothes added additional weight to my light frame. Having trained in nearly nothing as far as running attire didn’t fare well. I was suddenly carrying extra weight from the wet clothes and my body was working harder than ever exerting extra energy to try to keep me warm from the feeling of the arctic cold. Regardless of the waves of heavy rain and sweat I was flying. Nothing would stop me from chasing Boston and getting that BQ. I marveled at my madness. I was badass. Then I met mile 17. Mile 17 was the mile marker that crushed my dreams for the Boston Marathon in 2016. The crushing sensation of my right hip paralyzed me. I couldn’t hobble. I couldn’t walk. I was at a dead stop. I stood there panicked and frozen. The rain wasn’t a baptism for enlightenment, it was a revelation that chasing Boston would go on a temporary hold. What kind of redemption is that? I didn’t feel renewed or rejoiced. I felt old. Decrepit. Unworthy of Boston because I couldn’t push through the pain. I felt like a loser. My dreams were only 9.2 miles away – chump change really.

After facing the reality that Boston was out of sight I had to face another reality – that my right hip needed some serious TLC from all my neglect. I scheduled physical therapy. It didn’t work. I always heard and felt the crushing sensation and the pop, pop, pop. Surgery was the only remedy if I wanted to chase Boston.  The other alternative was to give up running. Hmmm. No chance. I signed the dotted line obliging to surgery and all the post-surgery recovery shenanigans that promised me a long 6-9 month recovery before I could legitimately run again. Not jog. I mean run. Oy!

I was mentally preparing for the surgery to ensure Boston would be in my future. I was thinking a BQ in 2016 for the 2017 slot was manageable. Sure it’s a lofty goal but if anyone could do it it was me. I am 100% unyielding to hit any benchmark I set for myself. I shortened my distance and revved up my pace. I was running no more than 13.1 miles on the weekend and averaging 6 miles Monday-Friday. The speed came fast. The quicker my speed the more efficient my form which lessened the agonizing pain in the right hip. I felt like a rockstar.

Labor Day weekend arrived reminding me I only had a few weeks left of running prior to the daunting surgery that I often posted about. My partner and I visited my folks in Chicago for this holiday weekend to celebrate my 30th and my dad’s 20th something 30th. After a host of what could go wrong going wrong, our last minute road trip of 12 plus hours through the night had us arrive at their doorstep at 7am. Instead of shaking the fatigue with a nap, I fought the exhaustion by hitting the gym. Hard. I ran 6 miles  at 6:54 average pace. Hot diggity dog!!!

I felt revitalized. I had no pangs of pain. I started stressing that these runs would be few and far between and that all my training efforts would wither away. But I pressed forward maintaining a state of denial that surgery was someday not in 2 short weeks.

Newsflash: 30 and hip surgery … how old am I?

This particular holiday weekend I indulged in martinis, champagne, chardonnay, tequila, oysters, sushi, and everything I love (in moderation). We celebrated my dad’s birthday with mine the only way we know how, with a bang! We even enjoyed a jazz band at a local spot named Andy’s Jazz Club and Restaurant. The coincidence. The energy in the rhythm and blues was exceptional! It was surreal. I buzzed around with a glow all weekend long.

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I was buzzing from a few fast runs, great company, delicious food and a little or a lot of bubbly.

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But was the glow was more than that? After a few indirect jokes that I was pregnant, I decided to find out for myself.

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And what would you know…I was pregnant indeed! GLOWING!!! The test said to wait 3 minutes for results but that positive sign lit up like Rockefeller Center’s Christmas Tree Lighting. It took only a matter of seconds. I was 100% pregnant.

I had and continue to have irrepressible pleasure in knowing that I am going to be a mother. And better yet, a mother to a child with the man who has chosen to forgive me my past and me his, while we breeze forward in the currents of our renewed love. I already felt in the moment of the raw unexpectedness of it all that I was (am) connected to something bigger and better than myself.

I’m trying to put it all into words but I can’t explain how I was feeling. My emotions were high and low.

I was high from the reality of being pregnant with the man that I fell for some 15 years prior. Our journey is one for the books if you haven’t figured it out.

I was low because I just partook in everything you’re not supposed to eat and drink when you’re pregnant. I couldn’t fight the crocodile tears when I shrieked to my mother, “Mooooom, I ate sushi and oysters and oh my gosh I had chardonnay last night!!! Mom, what did I do! Oh no, I even ran, ran too fast for baby…” All kinds of irrational thoughts polluted my mind.

But with a maternal bear hug from my mother who’s eyes-filled with delight, hope, life, love and light, I knew I’d be okay. She calmed my nerves and helped me celebrate again about the miracle that was happening – reminding me of the miracle of life and our journey through it.

To save you from reading on about the emotional bandwagon that I experienced and continue to experience, let’s just say, surgery is postponed for a while (reason for the silent updates on how it went).

I went from chasing Boston to what we now call chasing baby. I might not BQ these next few years but clearly God thinks I’m mama qualified.

It’s funny how we have dreams for plans but we put a cap on them. Bigger dreams unbeknown to us by a greater power trump what we thought was all we could expect from ourselves. I may not be chasing Boston today, but chasing baby sure does sound a whole lot sweeter and gratifying.

So that’s that big news!!!

I plan on blogging my way through what’s it’s like and what it’s been like running for two. Here’s a hint: the first trimester is no joke. Exhaustion X Exhaustion. 20 hours of sleep isn’t enough. Crying crocodile tears because you can’t sing although you knew this your whole 30 years but suddenly having the revelation that you’re as bad, if not worse than Sofia Vergara’s singing a lullaby puts you in tailspain. Vomiting. More vomiting. New development of motion sickness. 9p bedtimes. 8:30p bedtimes.

Aside from all that, let me introduce you to our growing family.

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Our little athlete will debut May 2016.

Our Little Athlete Debuts May 2016

Our Little Athlete Debuts May 2016

Stay tuned for what it’s like running for two!

Thank gosh the first trimester is one week shy of being finito!!! Amen.

Thanks for stopping by.

XO

Valgal and the little Macaroon

The C Word – Commitment 

19 Sep

Hello lovelies.

I‘ve yet again fallen silent due to the circumstances that be – but I’m breaking the silence regardless of the impeding D not being finalized.


Ahhh. Rest assured for those of you who troll my social media outlets to see what I make of you, your sordid homage to my past and what I am doing today…keep scrolling…


With that, let me provoke you to think of the C word – commitment.


What comes to mind? A nauseated wave of fear or excitement?!


I hover over the edge of both.


However, when it comes to me I’m all in. Always. I am 100% vested in my commitment to myself.

Don’t misconstrue this as selfish. It just means I always bet on myself. I know my goals, what I love, and what I can and cannot tolerate to name a few. I’m committed to self-acceptance, forgiveness, and growth. I’m committed to healing and to loving wholly. I’m committed to leaving the ghosts of my past in the past for that ghost ship has long sailed. May it drift toward their own destinies of happiness without causing an undercurrent in mine.

 

When it comes to running, I am committed to doing my personal best. Shiny finisher medals are fabulous but I don’t need them to keep me on track. They are merely a collection of the trials of mental grit that I’ve pushed through. They are reminders that I can commit to difficult things.


What does influence me? My commitment for A PR (personal record) baby!!! I continue to focus on becoming the best version of myself on the track by pushing myself outside the boundaries of my comfort zone. Sometimes I am mortified by my inability. Sometimes I’m stoked by just that.

 

Every individual perceives they are capable of only so much when “so much” is so little. Stop underestimating your abilities! You have to realize you can outperform all obstacles. You have to divorce negative thoughts to get through the barriers and get that PR on and off the course. It takes vigilant effort. Every. Single. Day.

 

Failure happens. A bruised ego and time only makes you better. It takes falling on your ass and a little self-pity. Then you dry your eyes and buckle down. Smile when the shitstorm hits hard. Pillage through the fallout and find meaning in the destruction. Refuse to play victim. Create a mantra “So what [I] failed at meeting [my] lofty PR. So what [I] failed at [my] marriage.”

Consider failure as a right of passage. Success often ensues after the chaos.

 

Reject the notion that hardships and disappointments harden you. They don’t. They make you someone of substance. Humility should help you aspire for more. Welcome your bruises. Find beauty in your scars. They are reminders of how far you’ve traveled.

 

And I have traveled. 2400 miles from home to the unknown. 26.2 miles on foot x 2 plus training. I have a commitment to running and to outperform my own self in all things. I will crush the wall that stands before me. I am committed to that.

 

Back to a finisher’s medal…what does it symbolize?

The finisher’s medal is delayed gratification. It represents the commitment of hours you spent training and investing in the race. The finisher’s medal symbolizes personal triumph to finish a preposterous goal! It is the ultimate reward for the sweat, tears, and perspiration for the countless hours of logging miles, the long days, the restless nights, the gruesome aches, the blistered feet, the abominable ice baths, mental fatigue, self-doubt, etc. The finisher’s medal is an adornment that highlights your commitment to be badass. It meets you with incessant compassion reminding you that you can commit to hard things.


Hard things. Hard things like marriage…

 

On the topic, what the does a ring symbolize in marriage? In some cases, repeat some, the ring is instant gratification for delayed discontentment – the stark contrast of a finisher’s medal. It meets a partner with incessant excitement until the newness and shine fade. Note:  Only for some individuals is this true.


Does the ring really mean commitment? Or is it a premature gesture that silently foreshadows that you are now committed to the aforementioned in running: countless hours of [insert here (e.g. annoying reality t.v., YouTube clips, sports center, horrible grade D movies, soap operas, American idol, complaining, loneliness, etc.)], restless nights, gruesome aches, blistered feet, ice baths (you kinky thang), mental fatigue, self-doubt etc.?


No one tells you that the ring is a premature promise to put in the work that goes into a marriage.


Imagine getting a finisher’s medal at the starting line of a race just like you get a ring at the beginning of becoming a Mr. And Mrs. Are you imagining? Does it not dilute the effort you’d put in for a PR? Does the ring do the same thing? Does it not dilute the effort you’d ordinarily put into the relationship because well now, you “got em on lockdown!!!”? Note: I know not all people think this way – I don’t.


Don’t get me wrong, the commitment of marriage and the sanctity of a ring is indeed beautiful. But the ring shouldn’t be a reward because you think you earned it. It shouldn’t mean that just because you invested time and energy into the relationship that it is owed to you. That makes it lose the dazzle and compassion of commitment before the journey even begins. The excitement should be the journey – not the brilliant shine of your carat(s).


It doesn’t mean that you’re free to engage in poor behavior either. It doesn’t mean you now have an easy pass to let yourself go. The ring should symbolize your commitment to work at your marriage every day. You don’t stop working at it just because you say “I do.” You work through every day by putting your best foot forward while accepting that at times your best foot forward has you performing at your worst.


“Worst” is objective. A ring should not be a commitment to stay by your partner’s side if their worst performance makes you feel trapped in a horrible rendition of Groundhog’s Day. Freelancing with anger and refusing personal accountability for actions is unacceptable.


Commitment is more than accepting someone’s worst. It’s recognizing you also deserve the best. It’s knowing how to distinguish the difference.


You have to be committed to yourself. Undress your mind of the boilerplate bullshit. The status quo is too ordinary. You’re not ordinary. Commit to loving yourself. If you break a commitment and you start looking for that decree, own it. Don’t muddle it up with excuses. Practice humility. Breathe. Accept it.


No one intentionally breaks commitments because they want to. Just like you don’t run a race looking to perform half-assed. Stay committed to run your own race. Own your detours. The race that is your dream for plans belongs to you. Zig and zag to dodge the unnecessary. It may take you longer to get to your destiny but you will get there. You might unintentionally break a few hearts along the way. Note: This doesn’t make you a bad person. But don’t break your own heart by committing to something you feel and know is inherently wrong. Commit yourself to your own happiness! You might break a few commitments along the way but so long as you didn’t break the commitment to yourself to be true, you are living authentically.


Don’t let the race cause you discomfort. This is your story.


My story is littered with failure. I’m comfortable with it. I accept that I fail on the track. Miserably. I can put my best foot forward but at times it renders me sub-par. Sub-freaking par!!! I beat myself up over it. I know it’s part of the training but it still hurts. The sheer disappointment glaring at me on my Garmin. Ugh. I want to tell it to go to hell for mocking me. But it’s part of growth. It’s part of self-acceptance. You can’t always be on your A-game.

Off the course, in something called marriage, I’ll admit I was always sub-par. A-game? I didn’t even know what that looked like. No kidding. I tried to put my best foot forward but it left me bruised. I was clumsy with my needs. My wants. My expectations. I hadn’t constructed any of this. I was blind. Not always by any fault other than my own. Other times by no fault of my own.


I hear muddled truths married with blatant lies about what went badly amiss in my commitment to my nuptials. But they were my nuptials. I know went happened. 


Newsflash: I admit to failure. This is self-acceptance. I’m brave enough to accept the folklore.

 

To counter the nonsense, I commit to fall deaf to wicked tongues. I do this because I am committed to credibility. You must consider the source. Sing that song by Big Sean, “I don’t fuck with you”. Let it resonate. Repeat.

 

I’m looking for a commitment that is long-term. Do you know what that looks like? It means I’m betting on myself.



Until then I’ll continue to race past the finish lines for the bright jewel that is a finisher’s medal. It always meets me with equal compassion. The finisher’s medal holds no expectations of me and doesn’t whisper empty promises. Instead it consoles me and my spirit while gloating about how badass I am. I had the diamond ring. It didn’t do any of that.

 

I’m committed to my own happily ever after.

 

Until next time…

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Happy running!

 

Love the life you live. It’s your race.

 

Valgal

 

XO

Hit It

18 Jul

Hello lovelies!

I hope you’re all doing well! 

As you know I’ve been struggling with a right hip labral tear. It nearly broke my spirit during my third marathon when I was paralyzed by the pain at mile 17. Well here I am, after taking a month off of running in April, I have been running – hard and fast.  I’ve been balancing both its pleasure and its pain. I’ve been going against the doctor’s order as I gave in to my drug – running…inhaling its intoxicating sensation that clears my mind. 

I’ve been experiencing the glorious high on the daily. It’s vapors envelope me. It frees my mind of the clutter-all the crap that tries to kill my vibe. It’s a major buzzkill when I worry about those who speculate my actions. That’s why I turn to running-injured and all. I strike my Newtons on the rubber of the asphalt and burn the pages of their empty threats that haunt my mind and smoke it. This is a running high intensified by another high-the high of self-awareness, self-actualization, freedom and release of negativity.

Does it make since that some people want to rationalize someone else’s actions? My actions at that? Newsflash: My actions are my own. Like running, I don’t follow the status quo. I’m not conventional. And I don’t accept convenient truths. Convenient truths threaten abilities, stagnate growth, limit opportunities, and confine you to the barriers you build in your mind as a result of the cautious and/or sour tongues of others. Perhaps they need to take a hit, stand back, and watch you defy them.

The convenient truths that fall off the tongues of doctors urging me to quit running altogether are cautious words of advice (one day I may kick myself in the rear for ignoring them)! Other convenient truths tell me to work on a failed marriage. It’s all smoke and mirrors. I’d like to roll it up and light it-slowly inhaling the air of freedom that is finally upon me and exhale the vapors of persecution, hypocrisy, lies, jealousy, limitations and barriers.

Some truths are hard to inhale. The smoke is heavy and equally toxic. The truth could burn you if don’t build a tolerance to accept it let alone acknowledge it. Some people should aim to self-reflect daily. It’s a simple task. Look in the mirror and ask yourself to be honest. The revelations might feel heavy-like breathing in thick smoke or quicksand. Take it all in. Breathe in. Exhale. Slowly. Feel completely paralyzed by the pain. The pain like I had. (My pain is twofold-my hip and the truth that is untold.) Your high should reveal that I never concealed my needs, wants, and vexation. I never used arcane language. I was clear. Transparent. True. I smoked that serum and hit it hard every day.

My disappointment isn’t in the failure, it’s in the convenient truth which is the bullshit cloud cover obscuring what lies beneath – the whole truth. 

My disappointment in my hip is in the convenient truth as well. There are no other angles to this bottom line. The convenient truth happens to be the inconvenient truth. There’s no obscurity. The surgery well help me forge ahead. I will get that BQ. Que sera sera. 

Pain is pain. Pain in the heart, pain in the hip, a pain in your ass…the pain eventually dissipates like the vapors. It’s one in the same. Smoke it and let it penetrate you. Feel it. Embrace it. Accept it. And then exhale the bullshit. My spirit is not broken. I am not paralyzed anymore by the pain to the degree I was. I want to be honest with things. Honesty is not a common drug – shit, it’s not even recreational these days…but it should be. I suggest you hit it. Be happy. Live your truth. Be absorbed by your experiences and grow from the pain. It’s only an injury. Be it the heart, the hip, your disappointment…go forward. 

And this is me going forward. Monday I have an appointment with my surgeon…ahhhh!!!

Happy weekend and happy running you fabulous people!

Now, because I don’t smoke, I’m going to go hit that tequila. One shot will do!

Remember, “Suffering is an extraordinary teacher!” -Ryan Hall 

    
   
Thanks for stopping by.

XO

Valgal 

Happiness & Pain

9 May

Hello lovelies and goooooood morning!!!

I continue to go against the doctors orders and I’ve been running.

I put in a good 20 minutes on the elliptical but found myself bored with little perspiration. The music blasting through my earbuds was reminiscent of my marathon training tempo and with one glance at the treadmill I was lured. 

No words and no pleasantries were exchanged. It was a mutual understanding that the intimacy was back on.

With one stride on the moving belt I was swooned. I was right back to where I was.

The hour was late and I still had my master’s homework to tend to as well as pack. I was limited and rushed with time. My legs were fresh and I was hurried! I began at a pace I tend to flirt with outside but tend to fall back to a 7:10-8:00 considering the long-term goal. But I had no restraint. I was clocking 6:40s and 4:30 400 repeats. 

Holy hot diggity are you kidding me?

How could so much time off allow for me to have this much speed?

After 3 miles of a 6:40 pace and 4 x 400 repeats I called it a night. I was covered in sweat. My lungs were burning. My core felt engaged and tight. My legs felt fresh. My hip only stung slightly. I never felt better.

The affair was back on. 

Like so many things in my life I find it easy to fall back to the things that I inherently love. Running is one of them.

But I question at times, am I addicted to the things that aren’t good for me? Will I always have pangs of sharp pain when we part? Is this affair going to steamroll me with its past entries while tempting me with promises of what I pray is not fleeting happiness disguised as speed and flowery lyrics from my earbuds? 

Is this a surreptitious romance? Will it always be so I can’t get knocked down by the criticism of others? Is the proverbial treadmill both my addiction for happiness and pain?

And therein is lies the question-can something you have wanted so bad be the cause of both your happiness and your pain? Can happiness with my relationship exist without the pain from its very past? How do I learn to trust its patient and equally intolerable history when promiscuity runs rampant? I don’t have to see other runners pounding away on the very equipment that shapes my training and commitment to BQ, but the mere fact that I know of them because of the trails they leave behind crush me. Why is it that it must be so reticent and omit that I am not the only one?

In fairness relationships are hard. But all this time I thought there was a commitment. A mutual understanding that if you do right to me I’ll do right to you. Absorb my mid-foot strike and allow for me to have my wings out and heads up-let me fly gliding on your belt and help me focus on my form to keep it looking effortless.

It looks effortless but my training and the rekindling of this flame is peppered with anxiety. 

And there you have it…In one run and in one moment I learned the reality of this relationship-while it makes me incredibly happy it has the capacity to destroy me and all my dreams for plans. 

Happiness and pain…in my affair with running I recognize it is also symbolic of life-the inexplicable connectedness of the two…

I don’t know what to do. But I’ll be here until I run…(hopefully without pain)

Thanks for stopping by!!!

Now go enjoy your weekend! What does your training plan look like? Any long runs planned for this weekend?

XO

Valgal  

    

Rehab

4 May

Hello lovelies!!!

And how are you today?

Sunday met me with fatigue. I slept in beyond the sun rising and although my body needed it I woke up with guilt. I hate wasting the day. 

I shuffled around my city apartment eager to prep for a run. That’s right—a run! 

The doctors tell me NO running but over the course of the past few weeks I’ve logged miles and sweat that rehabbed me just like Hawaii did. Am I always predisposed to opposition, especially from doctors—yes…but perhaps all I needed was a the salty elixir of the beach, too many glasses of chardonnay and tequila, fresh sushi and a place that reminded me how vast this Earth is. 

I believe all I needed was a break from the strict regimen that I created. Hawaii was an excuse for a mental rehab, a healthy diet without counting calories while indulging in a little more than moderate alcohol consumption. Was this the cure for my hip? Did I need to exercise some bad habits because I was too prudent before with my exercise routine? Yes. I was walking a tightrope and I desperately needed to fall. The safety net was the sand, hiking, and water. 

I speculated that I was living before in the walls I confined myself to. Then I found myself on an island where I captured endless panoramas of the sky and the sun kissing the water’s horizon.

 I wasn’t confined to any space at all, anymore. I had an infatuated and romantic spirit romanticizing every scene discovering new memories and treasures. I didn’t worry about my lack of miles journaled. It was outrageous! This was the first time I traveled without working out. I lived in the moment. I Inhaled the thick air and allowed it to be my compass to new maps and new chance meetings. I treaded the map without caution. No barriers. 

Talking about barriers, I was recently confined to the small space known as an MRI. Oh man that machine can double as a familiar nightmare. It was one hour of awkward positioning, feet strapped in unnaturally like I was in a psych ward sending sharp pain to my right hip, and loud noises that sounded like an alien-invasion—but no worries, while the alien invasion noises echoed I was acquainted with the backdrop of classic rock and roll promising me all was right and normal in the world [insert obnoxious alien sounds here 🎶]…What a clever way to haunt a patient while blinding them of the reality of what is really going on.  

What really went on was that these aliens, aka Doctors, diagnosed me thereafter and warned me that I can’t run anymore without surgery. I was indeed blind-sighted. Not running is not an option. 

A month has gone by since the MRI and I have been healed through the salt of my tears and sea; tears for several inexplicable reasons and tears for reasons that you know. So today, Sunday, I decided to run the tears out. 

It was a late start but I started nonetheless. My recent experiences, a divorce, going to Hawaii, being united with my loved ones, they have all been powerful and equally fundamental agents in my healing. The experiences have been my compass and like the thick air of Hawaii, they gave a pulse to my veins and a pulse for my run.

So I ran. I ran only 6 miles today and all the miles were euphoric. I’ve been to a lot of places and I ran this stretch of course before, but it was unlike my other runs. Was it my new breath that changed its scene? Or was it my new compass and the direction of my dreams? Today’s run didn’t have that voice in my head lambasting me with my foul ups of the past. My voice was encouraging me and promising me that the damage I had done was done. There was NO war-zone. It was a peaceful run for the most part—but an equally difficult one as I rummaged through my recent memories that had me transported home with family and friends where unconditional love, kindness and support thrive. I wanted to cry but for ALL the right reasons. 

I didn’t cry. I just ran. I started slow to make certain I didn’t aggravate my hip; however, keeping a pace of 7:40-8:00 for a 6 mile run was torture. I needed speed. I picked up my pace, drove my knees forward, tightened my stomach and kept turning over my feet until my lungs felt challenged. I found the familiar rhythm of my steps. Oh thank goodness. A month off of regimented running and I still had speed—even after an indulgent vacation! I call this REASSURANCE!  

And so I ended my run with an attitude of gratitude. I was (still am) grateful for the hiccups, the blessings, the past, the memories, the present and the future. I’m grateful I was able to run without pain. I am grateful that I am making my way for a comeback.  

Today’s run reminds me that the only walls I want to ever be confined to are those of an MRI. Hawaii was good for me. The open space, the majestic and powerful water, diverse panoramas, laughter and the endless chardonnay were my healing agents. Sometimes the best cure for an inherit body quirk is time off from routine. 

Salute to taking your running shoes off and letting your feet glide over the cool sand while you slow dance to the harmonious symphony any of the waves crashing upon the shore under the night sky. 

This has been my rehab.

 “Making a comeback is one of the most difficult things to do with dignity [on and off the course]” – Greg Lake.

What has your running rehab been? How do you take time off that feels rewarding?

Thanks for stopping by and happy running and happy living! 

 XO

Valgal

   

   

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