Tag Archives: hellobetter

What’s Up with Some Women

26 Sep

Good evening, lovelies –

My life between the miles has surely kept me busy. My little lovebug is all of 16 months old and let me tell you that we have a future runner girl in the making. She speeds through every adventure. Just running around, laughing, giggling, and playing. Her disposition is incredibly infectious. She is and will always be a reminder to live life with childlike enthusiasm. She silences the peripheral noise and aggravations of difficult people. These days are gold. 

I’ve been running. Repeat. I have been running. I’m logging 25ish miles a week. Pre-mom Valerie would scoff at that number. Mom-Valerie is like…that’s kind of badass. But just kind of. The trouble is me. I can’t commit to waking up at 4a every day to run. If I did I could squeeze in an extra 6-8 miles per alarm buzz. But that snooze button gets me if I didn’t sell myself on the maybe sweat sesh the night before. I don’t often run after work because of the hour and my incessant desire to spend quality time with Oriana before it’s “night night time.” I am all about being present with my family and I have only 2 hours each evening with my little babe to coordinate/make dinner, enjoy bath time, have a mini playtime session, go for a walk, read a book, and then put her down. When 8:30p rolls around I tease myself with the notion to run. But I’m quickly reminded that late night runs put me in an energizer bunny state, so I opt for a glass of Chardonnay. Not always. But more often than I’d like.

While I have some guilt I am finding peace with the balance I have created. Andy and I have no family out here to help us with the day-to-day and considering, we are rocking this parenthood thing! Can I just pick up an go run the next marathon? No. After my recent 17 miler I was reminded I have FAI. I’m 32 but feel like a geriatric post such long distance. This will be cured when I finally have needed surgery (After baby #2. No. I’m not pregnant.). At any time can I go run a half marathon? Damn skippy – yes! There you have it, that’s my balance. I’m always primed to race 13.1 miles. That is me winning at this motherhood thing!!! I may not PR but I can easily run the distance that once upon a time was a challenge.

Speaking of challenge, let’s talk about people. I often get lost in my mind while running. I work out problems and the idiosyncrasies of individuals. This is how I cope. And it’s often a way I manage stress mid-day by exchanging lunch for a run = runch. It helps to dissolve any conflict or ugly emotion. It resets me. 

But back to challenging people…

Why are some women hell-bent on dishonoring our own gender? I am tired of being exposed to this unavoidable casualty. Wake up ladies, there is a code of ethics amongst women and it appears there is a significant need for a reintroduction. I’ve grown tired of callous comments and negativity by which I don’t understand how I’m on the receiving end. Why can’t we mindfully and/or lovingly disagree? I wish there was a way to change this proclivity of female divide that keeps widening. Some women need continuing education on feminism. I want to throw the book at them (in the most kind way). I want to preach “Read it. Breathe it. Reflect. Turn a new page and stand united.” I want to observe women empowering women. 

What really ruffles me is that I am a mother to a daughter. A beautiful little girl who might be disliked by other girls for being uniquely different and alluring because of her ethnic mix plus her aptitude. What’s more aggravating is the ugly truth that beauty and brains is a lethal combination. And because of this truth I know girls will try to hurt her and cut her down out of envy and admiration. It’s ridiculous. Why does admiration have to come at the cost of jealousy? Why are women compelled to break each other down? Why is there reprisal for being different, intelligent, beautiful in both a conventional and unconventional way? I don’t want my daughter to grow up being chastised for being herself. I want to teach her that women are alliances. Emphasis on alliances. We need to enrich these relationships rather than create conflict. Conflict serves no purpose in this context. 

So here I am. I am facing an opportunity dead set at trying to resolve discord. Discord I assure you as it relates to me being me. I know more than I let on. That’s my superpower. I am quirky but for good graces that doesn’t mean I am dense. Because of my role as woman who is now a mother I am responsible to lead by example more than ever before. I have a mini shadow. If Oriana was older and could understand or witness my conversations and interaction how would I act differently? How could I gain favor? 

There is something inherently wrong when women disrespect women. I can’t run this emotion out of my mind. I have a heightened awareness and sensitivity on this topic because of my daughter. We can break the perpetual fallacy that women are superficial and catty but I can’t do it alone. I’ll raise my daughter to know better, to refrain from repressing the feminist movement and to advocate for women with fervor! 

We need to practice decorum. We should learn and teach this from the very beginning of our lives. We must show love and be nurturing. We are all surrounded by extraordinary women who teach us about quiet strength and dignity. Let’s break the narrative that women tear each other down. I promote that we have an obligation to help one another. How do we get the naysayers on our same sheet of music? 

If there’s one thing I can do right it will be to raise my daughter to be kind, respectful, grateful, warm, generous and mindful… If for any reason she is compelled to be anything otherwise antonymous I will encourage her to take it out on the asphalt. To pound the pavement. 

We women run the world (pun intended). Let’s be each others cheerleaders on the same track (of empowerment) and remind ourselves we are running our own unique race. There’s room for civility on every course. We are an exclusive community – we are a brand. 

To my daughter: One day you may read this and if you do I hope I have lead by example. You inspire me daily to be a better person. To practice compassion. To remain present. I love you.

To women (past and present) and those reading this: You teach me daily how to wear all the colors of our multifaceted roles. I respect you. 

Thanks for stopping by,

XO

Valgal

Advertisements

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

The Pressure

8 Apr

Hello friends!!!

I hope Monday greeted you with a warm hug and cup of piping hot coffee instead of my alternative…a 4:00a wake up call for a 4:30a boarding time, an empty stomach taunted by the fresh aroma of coffee, blueberry scones, toasted bagels, butter, and eggs all begging me to indulge in just one bite (I was fasting), and a cold MRI machine hours later…(blog to follow). The adventures of my Monday wrapped up with the disappointing loss for Wisconsin. Who wants Duke? Ever? Really? I gladly threw in the towel to meet my dreams. 

I woke up thinking Tuesday ought to be better, right? Until I looked at my phone displaying a number of text alerts. Some legit. Some ok. Some from my tribe of girls. Some casual hellos. Some of which had my mind spin in a tizzy. The pressure to remain calm overwhelmed me. I had to remember I can’t change anyone’s opinion of me. It is out of my control. 

Then I started thinking of other things out of my control. Things like death and taxes. But seriously, things like the health of my family members and friends and my being so far away. All the the things that break my heart. All the things I can’t control. I want to take everyone’s pain away. I don’t want anyone to suffer, ever. I feel I’m better equipped to handle pain, heartache, discomfort, grief, etc. I would gladly take it all from you because you don’t deserve it, whether we are strained friends, lovers, or what have you, I believe in forgiveness and acceptance and you still and always will matter to me. So let me handle your pressures and I’ll run it out (when this injury is healed).

Anyway, I became emotionally numb to my text messages this morning. Messages with twisted and contorted truths hijacking my happiness. It put me in an awkward state of frozen discomfort all day, emotionally and physically. I was drowning. Paralyzed. Then there’s my hip also paralyzed from the arthrogram yesterday. Ugh.

I was frozen in pain overthinking all my realities. 

I decided early on I needed tunes to warm my heart and my hip…

And there you have it, this song was the backdrop of my mood today.

 

Particularly:

 “…But it’s really out of my control. The way you feel is not my problem…”

“…Have you seen my f**ks to give? I have none, I cannot live with…”

“…The pressure. The pressure you know I feel. The pressure. The pressure to keep it real. Pay attention to the signs. Stay and listen, you will find. Everything, ain’t rocket science. Every gem is not a diamond.”

Sorry to be so forward about the lyrics, have you seen my f**ks to give; however, it was a very necessary line that helped me pull out from the undercurrent. Why do I care about people who are committed to misunderstanding me and who don’t care about me? I shouldn’t give a F!

The pressure to wear a smile when heartache and tears overtake me for what feels like an infinite number of reasons consumed me today. Tears were streaming down my face and I was drowning in the salty reality that things, all things, come to an end. 

My lips caught each tear and with each taste I gave it a breath of prayer. Prayers for so many things. Prayers for the strength to accept that your perspective of me is none of my business (small potatoes); prayers for my grandparents health; prayers that we find a cure for cancer (fuck cancer) (stand up to cancer!) (big potatoes); prayers that people learn how to forgive so they don’t grapple with grief when it’s too late; prayers for understanding, acceptance, compassion; prayers for the health and safety of my family-blood and those I choose as blood; and so much more. 

With each tear the integrity of my mascara was tested. I couldn’t let on that something was wrong-that and my vanity got the best of me, so I took refuge in the bathroom to ensure I had no raccoon eyes and tried to pull myself together.  

I looked in the mirror and with my mirror-face I gestured silently to myself, “Stay strong, woman! You got this.” I reminded myself everything is a fight and counted my blessings. I splashed cold water on my cheeks, twisted and secured my hair with the use of a pencil , painted my lips coral and put my big girl game face on. 

I couldn’t compromise my feelings today. I couldn’t negotiate and let them spill over. Ok, maybe I did for a minute but I handled it. The pressure pulled me under but I caught my breath soon after. Sure it was a doggy-paddle but I made it up for air. I am accepting the ebb and flow of life. 

Salty words camouflaged as sweet gave new meanings to my state of reality today. Recent other realities gave me other new meanings to life, love, friendships and the true meaning of wealth. It is in those realities I have found that life gets harder but only because we get stronger…

I’d like to give kudos to fate, too. Fate brings us together when we need each other the most. Fate has helped me to celebrate the change of seasons with those I love so deeply. Looking back, the best portions of my realities have been the small, nameless moments that will forever be memories imprinted on my soul. Memories spent smiling, crying and laughing, all of which are acts that leave me in tears, with those who have warmed my heart. If it weren’t for the pressures of life, I would be void of experience and therefore, without my salty elixir.

Therefore, I thank life for pressure-it doesn’t diminish my gratitude, it adds to it.

Thank you for stopping by and reading a blurb about my life between the miles!!!

I’m so grateful for you! 

How do you handle pressure?

XO

Valgal 

 

 

Running High

2 Jan

Hello friends!!! And Happpppppy New Year!!!

As I reflect on the blessings and tough luck that was 2014, I approach 2015 hopeful. There were moments in 2014 I found myself tongue-tied and twisted. It continues to be a trickery issue. The issue of ambition and happiness. Can you have both?

A friend of mine shared a thought-provoking article a few days back that touched on a similar subject. Replace ambition with love. No, no, no…I’m not saying, “Love and happiness…Can you have both”. Keep reading.

The article was about self-identity. Let me explain and circle it back to my endeavors and exhausting commitment to running. The article states that love is emotional and compatibility is logical.

Hmmm. Okay…[thinking oil and vinegar…]

I’m clearly emotionally involved with running but my commitment to run for hours upon hours and abuse my body to the point of dehydration renders me delusional, high and happy and is likely NOT logical. The question is, do the two really blend together, or are they like oil and vinegar? Can you have love without compatibility? Can you have compatibility without love?

I have evaluated this topic and I am left puzzled.

This whole time I have been preaching to you that running is where I have found myself. Running is my identity. I was wrong. (That tastes like vinegar but I’m fortunate that I have acquired the taste)

Running is my love and we are compatible. It is a graceful tango with emotion and logic! (I wish everything were so easy.)

Running leaves me empty at times but also fills me with euphoria. Running gives me a sense of happiness and thwarts any feelings I may have of dissatisfaction, anxiety and depression (temporarily). Running and I get along, pretty dang well. When we argue, we argue fair. We have a mutual understanding that when I’m being a pain in the ass (quite more often I’m sure than I would like to admit) it will call me out and drive me to dig deep and push harder until I break through the barriers I have created. It peels away at my layers exposing me to vulnerability. It allows me to be transparent in this forum in which I express my life between the miles. It is the ultimate relationship as it challenges me and keeps me striving for more. Our dance through emotions gets me intoxicatingly high. Who wouldn’t want this?

But as I said minutes ago, I was wrong when I exclaimed that I found my identity through running. Running is NOT my identity. Running supplements me. As should any relationship. Running makes me whole but does NOT define me. I say again, as should any relationship.

So here I am again reflecting on 2014 and trying to project 2015. I said project, not plan. I will NOT plan anything (we all know how that went in 2013); however, I will commit to goals.

I am told I cannot sit still and I don’t know how to relax. True. It is because I have been drugged by the arrival fallacy and honey, I am severely addicted. If you’re not familiar with the arrival fallacy it is the belief that when you attain your goal, you will be happy. The trouble with addicts, like myself, is that once you taste the sweet nectar of success, you want more. Attaining one goal often reveals another goal or peripheral goals that you want to aspire towards. My running endeavors are a fine example. I ran a half-marathon and immediately after crossing the finish line, I was as high as Seth Rogan and James Franco in Pineapple Express (but with adrenaline and endorphins). I thought it would be a good idea to commit to a training plan for a marathon. Someone should have puff puff passed ME but my lungs were burning with the euphoric shock of finishing a race and I was highly vulnerable to the vapors of the arrival fallacy. And now, with two marathons in the books, and several half-marathon training runs completed, my goals shifted from completing marathons to Boston Qualify. For real this time. I will BQ in 2015. I think I’m still high.

That is my runnerlution in 2015. I have no other resolutions. I have no plans. The trouble with the BQ is that the commitment to training is exhausting, oh but the inebriation…

I had a lot of failures in 2014. Some related to my marriage with running. What relationship isn’t flawed? Commitment to anything is exhausting. The give and the take. The difference in opinions. The way love and compatibility don’t line up as often as you would like.

Love and compatibility weren’t fully aligned during my first marathon in 2014. I ran it just to see how I would do. I had a lot of fuel left in my reserves when I finished and I carried some resentment about it. Nonetheless, I was on cloud 9 and couldn’t come down. I ran my second marathon high on Mucinex while trying to fight bronchitis. Love and compatibility were in line this round but my health wasn’t. I flirted with a BQ. I missed the mark by four minutes. My ego wasn’t bruised but my lungs were. I came up short but I was damn happy for even showing up and racing at all. That’s the perk of the post-marathon glow of high spirits.

I ask you this, what happens when you try and you give it your all and you come up short? Time and again (in life and all of your relationships and endeavors?). Do you keep moving towards the original end-goal? Or does your goal manifest into something else? Do you change your direction to meet new unanticipated peripheral goals? When do you realign your goals to meet your needs and desires? Does love and compatibility drive your ambitions?

I recognize that I am perpetually creating goals. It doesn’t make me unsettled. It makes me thirsty. I am the arrival fallacy. That is life! I am running my life (pun intended) with what I hope is the perfect blend of love (emotion) and compatibility (logic). So far it has been the secret to my healthy affair with running. It keeps me high, baby! Stay high!

Happy New Year Friends!!! May 2015 greet you with a healthy glow, love, happiness, success, and inspiration!!! Stay high on life…get high on the run. Commit to love and compatibility and allow yourself to have both!

What are your runnerlutions?

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

Aka Valarina ***(Thanks, Dad! He has requested I remove Valgal and use the nickname he gave me since yay high…oh you don’t see me showing you yay high…newsflash, I haven’t grown. Be it 2 or 29, I’m still yay high but not “high” – if you read the blog)

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/694/48788107/files/2015/01/img_1266-0.jpg

Pain Is Insignificant: A Commitment to Honor

11 Nov

Hello friends!

First and foremost, let me begin this blog with a shout out to our veterans! My heart is full of love and admiration for those who wear or have worn the uniform in their unwavering efforts to protect us and our country. I want to take the time and honor those who served and are serving. Their bravery, courage, and service to our country is truly an act of selflessness—I am honored and privileged to write these words. I am humbled everyday by your sacrifice and feel overwhelmed with pride and honor serving you. May God bless over you, your families, and all of your loved ones. XO

It was inspirational to watch Vice President Biden speak today paying tribute to our nation’s veterans. He was speaking with charged passion and the crowd was listening in affected silence. He was literally an arm’s length away from me today, no joke. Okay, maybe ten. Regardless, he was close. And I was moved.

Talking about being moved, let’s get to running…

I completed my first run post-marathon on Monday. It was brutal. I took two weeks off after the Marine Corps Marathon hosted on October 26, 2014. I expected to kiss the asphalt with my feet with a light, easy, and relaxed feeling considering the tender, loving, care I gave to my body.

I only ran three miles. Three fast miles. The speed felt great. I ran light. My breathing was easy. But I felt nothing near relaxed. The ball-and-socket joint of my right hip felt as if with each movement there was a crushing sensation. It felt like every time the bones met each other they were sanding each other down. Then add the feeling as if my hip caught onto something. It would pop then pop again. Really?

I ran a solid three miles and called it quits. I didn’t want to welcome an injury, especially not post-marathon. I couldn’t help but think, what gives? How does one get an injury post-ANYTHING? I’m without a logical explanation.

I wrapped up my workout with an ab session. I felt defeated. I came up to the apartment and met my shower with affectionate arms—I mean hips. I hoped my hip would respond to the hot water therapy but it didn’t do much… other than leave my body temporarily stained a few shades of red.

I tended to my emotional disruption of a possible injury by indulging in a glass of wine and my master’s homework. Best thing to do at that point was ignore the pain. After all, pain happens. This pain was not significant. I told myself to get over it.

The following day I was walking around and I still noticed discomfort. I continued to try to ignore it. Discomfort is an enemy of my sheer will and determination to push through obstacles. An obstacle disguised as right hip pain paled in comparison to just having ran a marathon with acute bronchitis, while losing a contact, with my calf muscles on fire. Therein lies the truth that I can push through difficult things. Right hip pain didn’t have anything on me!

Naturally, I wanted to shake the feeling of discomfort by running seven miles. Wouldn’t you? I wanted to push through the “pain”. I was longing to be absorbed in a good, long run because I was tired of being so compulsively worried about my right hip and the reality of an injury. I didn’t want anything more than to focus on the moment and the mile I was in. I longed to be connected and fully vigilant of my breathing, turnover, cadence, pace, heartbeat, and movement because it had been so long.

But it was too difficult. Each mile my right hip felt like it snagged onto something. I grimaced one time or fifteen. I wear my emotions on my face plain as day. Anyone could have seen, with my squinted eyes, tight lips, and a raised eyebrow my silent vulgar cries. “OooOoow what the [bad word] was that? Did my hip just seriously [bad word*ing] pop? What the H.E. double hockey stick is going on? WHAT is going on!!!!?”

I was fretting because the pain was unfamiliar and a major nuisance. I forgot to mention I have another race this Sunday that I stand a chance in placing, thus supporting my deposition that this is a real and very major nuisance.

What do I do?

With that said, I decided to take today off from running. It makes me anxious with trepidation because I should be training for the race and a PR.

But what kind of anxiousness is mine in comparison if we circle back to our selfless service men and women, and veterans? The thought reminds me that running is privilege and I ought not to fuss over the insignificance of my “pain.” Pain presents itself in endless forms. And today, I was deeply moved by the Veterans Day Ceremony held at Arlington National Cemetery honoring our veterans and the sacrifices they have made. I pay tribute to their unwavering commitment, bravery, and service while recognizing the myriad of emotions, to include pain, that is entwined within their creed.   God bless.

Thanks for reading!!!

Honoring Those Who Serve(d), Veterans Day 2014.

Happy Running.

XO

Valgal

IMG_6799.JPG

IMG_6793.JPG

IMG_6781.JPG

IMG_6535.JPG

Marine Corps Marathon Ooh Rah Recap: Hot Dammmm

6 Nov

Hi friends! Here I am with MARATHON NUMERO DOS under my belt!!! Hot dammmm.

I never knew that screaming hot dammmm could be both a good and bad thing! Let me explain.

Pre-race: good thing.

Mid-race: good thing.

Last 3.2 miles: bad thing x bad thing x bad thing. It was hot dammmm! Seriously! When is this isht going to be effing over? My Garmin was flashing 26.2 miles and I was NOT done. Where was the finish line? Was that the finish line? I couldn’t see. Hot dammmm[it]!!!

Let me define hot dammmm by breaking it down.

Hot [good]: I refined my training for this marathon. I got this! Feeling good! Feeling light. Feeling flight. Wind under my legs. I got this!

Hot [bad]: My calves were on fire. My calf muscles felt like they were falling off my bones with every strike on the pavement. Ouuuuuchhhiessssss. Then there was my anxiety. My anxiety was running hot. It had a fever. A bad one because I couldn’t see. I couldn’t see because I lost my left contact at mile 9, (my left eye requires the strongest prescription) lucky me.

So there I was with a fever of anxiousness and a crowd cheering “You’re almost there!” They were relentless with their excitement to include clapping, whistling, shouting, cowbelling…I might have had a fever but the only prescription was finding the finish line, not more cowbell!!!

Dammmm [good]:I got this! I trained. Hot diggity dog, I might BQ!!! Wooohooo I’m flying.

Dammmm [bad]: It felt like I was sprinting when the reality was I shifted into granny gear!!! Talk about a Sunday joy ride. It was Sunday and I belonged in a walker at that point to carry my weight.

The Real Recap

The morning of the marathon was unlike any other. I hopped on the metro and was greeted with a swarm of runners (civilians, Marines, and other service members), volunteers, bands, and spectators. We were all crammed on the blue line heading to the Pentagon. The metro ride was a concert of songs, Ooh Rahs, and praise. The acoustics were unlike the normal route into the city. The clamor was a stark contrast from the Monday-Friday commute when most are plugged in to their phones being disconnected from the very person who’s sharing their personal space. These people were all up in each other’s personal space and they were welcome there! It was really something.

Fast Forward.

It’s race time. Hot Dammmm [good]. There were no “real” corrals. If you think you’ll finish with a 3 hour time, 4 hour time, 5 hour time, etc., you were to go park your feet near the designated sign. Oh I hate that kind of pressure. I wanted a 3:35 time because that is a Boston Qualifier (BQ). But I hesitated because I was suffering from acute bronchitis and didn’t know whether or not I would run fast or if my breathing would be exhaustively labored. I took one look at the crowd, the 20,000+ people (talk about sharing personal space), and recalled how much effort it took to weave in and out of the crowds of runners in my last race. So I deliberately parked at the 3:35 sign until the gun went off.

Gun went off.

Welp, I was wrong. What’s new? I am wrong a lot. The 3:35 sign did me no favors. I was stuck behind crowds of runners. I was shuffling my feet.

Thank gosh I stand 5’2” tall because I darted through people and any open space given the right opportunity. It took a lot of effort but none from my legs or lungs. I had to watch the people in front of me to gauge the motion and timing of their stride and elbows. Who said you don’t use physics and math in real life? I had to strategically and deliberately plan my attack to squeeze through limbs, spit, and other runners like me trying to dart ahead, while not colliding with one another. I was gauging speed and velocity at 8am, with the intent to BQ, while maintaining steady breathing, with a focus on my stride, fuel intake, etc. Are you kidding me? This isht gets difficult. I managed not to collide with anyone other than a fellow shrimpette, who like me, was planning her breakaway and taking full advantage of her 62 inches or less. We barely touched but shared a chuckle. We exchanged an excited “Sorry!” and kept moving forward. If you know me, you know how I say this!!! [“Sa-weewww-thank you cab driver!]

Mile 3 people were stopping. I remember thinking “It’s mile 3. How are you going to line up at 3:35 and stop here!?!” I mean seriously, it’s kind of dangerous when you’ve got me and shrimpette number 2 darting around. I mean flying around. Especially dangerous because it was a decline. Declines are FREE SPEED and I was all about that high velocity. I wanted more!

The FREE SPEED lasted a while. I took full advantage of it. Hot dammmm [good]. I loved that I didn’t have to return any favors either. Each decline and incline over the course was a silent declaration of what was to come. I paid close attention to its subtle hints (how often do those get overlooked girls?) and adjusted my body to its forewarning.

I leaned into the road. I was one with the road.

I was one with the road until mile 9. I had a gnarly cough paired with its obligatory accessory-phlegm. It was radiant in shades of green. OooOoo green! My favorite color! And neon green to boot! Thanks acute bronchitis! I digress. Anyway, I had just ate a GU so everything in my mouth felt sticky. Plus my cough was deep and my phlegm was thick. That’s the time when my left contact developed a film so thick I could no longer see. I stopped to make an effort to clean it. I had no other choice. I had to. I had to because it was more uncomfortable not being able to see than hacking said lungs. I can’t see 2 feet in front of me without contacts but this was worse. So I took my contact out and planned to spit on it to clean it. (As if you haven’t before. Spare me!) But my spit was thick with Jetberry GU residue and phlegm. I couldn’t do it. Sanitary purposes. I had to draw a line.

I ended up putting my contact back in my eye. Unclean and all. And with one intentional blink to make it fall in place that sucker fell off my eye and was gone. Shit!

I glanced at my Garmin. No I didn’t. I squinted. I couldn’t see very well at all so I placed the Garmin right in front of my right eye. That’s when I realized I had lost approximately one to two minutes of precious BQ time. Hot dammmm[it] [bad].

I ran the rest of my race, 17.2 miles, with one contact. I was blind. I was uncomfortable. And I couldn’t see the spectacular air show above. I couldn’t read the funny marathon signs. It sucked. 😦

As sucky as I felt I found pleasure in how great my legs felt. I just crested the course. I relied on my other senses to elevate me. I breathed in the remarkable, and inspirational cries from the crowd. I maintained focus. I repeated the mantra, Pain Only Hurts. Flight. Glide. Fly. Easy. Light. Smooth. It worked. I was clocking 7:40 miles give or take a few seconds. I even clocked a 6 minute mile somewhere in the mix. HOT diggity DAMMMM [good]. I fell back to a mid-8 minute a few times. Even losing a contact! Insert Hot dammmm  [good] one more time! Yes!!! My potential to BQ was still real.

But the pain began to set in at mile 18. Hot dammmm [bad].

The pain got so bad in my chest that I had to stop and cough for thirty seconds at least. My BQ fell further from reality. Hot dammmm [bad].

My legs were still fresh and agile. But my chest hurt. I was hacking. I dug deep. Pain Only Hurts. Pain Only Hurts. Pain Only Hurts. Pain is Temporary. Pain is Temporary. Pain is Temporary. When, OWWWWwwwweeeeee happened. The discomfort of being blind coupled with my heavy chest was one thing. But by mile 23, with 3.2 left to go, my calves felt as if they were on fire. That was the other thing; the ugly thing.

Each time my foot touched the pavement my calves ached with excruciating pain. I tried to ignore it. I tried to ignore the ugly pain by telling myself that if the whole race goes to shit in a hand basket at this very moment, and I fall back to 10 minute mile pace, I would still, at the least, PR. So that was a good thing. 🙂

But I would resent myself if I did. I knew I was a tough runner and could endure pain. I knew I could endure even more pain. So pain, I taunted with, summoning it to BRING IT ON. I double dog dared it!!!

That was the pain I had been begging for during my last marathon. Pain is the telltale sign that you’ve pushed your limits. (For me at least.) There it was staring at me at mile marker 23. I was tickled with excitement that it finally came to meet me. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was that same feeling you get when you massage a bruise. (Right?)

I wanted nothing less than to be seduced by it. I wanted it to take all of me.

But I played hard to get. I wasn’t quite ready to give up. My effort was twinged but at I still had some.

For the last three miles pain and I danced around the course. It seduced me with water stops, orange slice stops, Gatorade, etc. I wanted to give in. The temptations were hydrating. The allure had me salivating.

However, I knew relief was only three short miles ahead. And in three miles I would be greeted with a medal and a beer!!! Mmm beer! Please! And it was only three short miles away. Three short miles away after having already covered 23.2 miles!!! Why do I do this to myself? I’m crazy!

I begged my body for merciful forgiveness as I repeated: Only Three More Miles. Only Three More Miles. You Got This. You Got This. Easy. Light. Smooth. Glide. Fly. Flight. Run For Those Who Can’t. Pain Is Temporary. Beer. Beer in Thirty Minutes or Less! Fly.

I convinced myself that not all pain is significant. I focused on the finish and not my legs.

I started to fly.

Or so I thought…

With less than a mile to go I started to focus on my will rather than my physical strength. I was running on empty and enveloped in pain. I wanted to walk so bad! I squinted at my Garmin to see how much more distance I had to cover before I would finish. I was p.o.’d. The Garmin told me I had already run the distance of a marathon. Ugh!

I recall thinking that I must be close. The trouble was I couldn’t see ahead. I saw two or three massive displays of orange balloons. One of them promised to be the finish but I could not decipher which one.

I had a fear of sprinting too early, granny sprints or not, so I maintained my pace.

When I could finally see the finish line I realized I should have started sprinting a quarter-mile before. Hot dammm [bad].

I dug deep, shifted gears, and I ran as hard as I could to the finish. Granny kicked ass! I think.

I crossed that finish line. Hot Dammmm [good].

I was in pain. I was exhausted. I couldn’t walk. Hot Dammmm [bad].

I was overwhelmed with emotion. I PR’d! Stopping to breathe, contact issues , and all! Hot Dammmm [good].

I finished in 3:39:35. An 8:22 pace per mile!!! Hot diggity Dammmm [good].

I missed Boston by 4 minutes and 35 seconds. Had I run 10 seconds faster per mile I would have BQ’d. But I accepted the circumstances. Had I been 100% healthy, I bet I could have celebrated a BQ. Regardless, I PR’d by 11 minutes. That’s something I’m proud of, sick and all!

This was the first race where I finally met pain. I finally met exhaustion. I finally met the wall. They all stink, literally: Pain. Exhaustion. Wall. = PEW. Hot Dammmm [bad]. But I can’t wait to meet them again and crush them. Hot Dammmm [good] J

Thanks for stopping by!!!

Happy Running!!! Happy BQ’ing. Happy Cowbelling, he he he. Happy whatever makes you happy! Just be true to you!

XO

ValgalIMG_6030.JPG

IMG_6021.JPG

IMG_6022.JPG

IMG_6032.JPG

IMG_6020-2.JPG

Image

No, I’m Not A Vegan & Running Army Ten Miler

13 Oct

Hello friends!!!

And happy Monday!

I’m sitting here at my kitchen table going over the past few weeks in my mind. I’m thinking about quite a bit—relationships, to include family and friends, diet, exercise, lifestyle, and work. The list goes on but I’m not interested in boring you with my trivial quandaries. I’m interested in sharing with you the silly dilemmas that I encounter day-to-day, with my running shoes on or off.

New revelation…no, I’m not a vegan

Here’s my newest revelation. There are far more than one, but let’s keep this short. I recently picked up the running novel, Eat & Run, written by Scott Jurek and wow…I love his writing style. Jurek is a literary genius for both the everyday and serious elite runner. No chapter is exempt from his unconventional and idiosyncratic wit. The book evaluates Jurek’s life by virtue of circumstance and reveals the peculiar way that he fell into running—running and veganism. The book illustrates how both running, oh that’s too illusive…I mean ultramarathoning, while also being a vegan can be coupled together in a tale that is motivating, inspirational, and droll.

And there you have it. My big revelation. No. No, I am not a vegan nor would I ever consider it. I like butter, eggs, and cheese! However, I have always leaned more towards being a pescetarian. I like steak, don’t love it. I like chicken but I’m bored of it. I LOVE prosciutto. But if that’s all I LOVE (when it comes to meat), it’d be easy to give it up. I have always had my qualms with poultry and red meat but enjoyed it nonetheless. Now I’m beginning to understand my objection more clearly. First and foremost, (I’m getting a little honest here) it’s difficult for me to digest. It sits in my stomach like a brick. Talk about discomfort! Secondly, the factory farming and animal cruelty our main entrees are subject to is repulsive. When I look at my plate with the deliberately placed garnish and sauce drizzled over the meat and sides I have conflicting thoughts. First, is that the presentation looks delectable and on-point. Mmm. Mmm. Then my conscious seeps in and I question, is this meat from a factory farm? The factory farming industry strives to maximize output while minimizing costs and always at the animals’ expense. My moral conscious goes into a tailspin.

There you have it. I can’t digest the meat easily and I have a moral conscious. Animals shouldn’t be subject to the most unethical and inhumane of practices to assure that business profits remain high. Another truth that we place profits above doing what is right. Sounds like the insurance business…they provide drugs for treatment but drag their heels in the sand over the notion of investing in finding a cure. Why? Perhaps because they fear their profits would cripple. Seriously? Their motto is profits over life/quality of life..?What’s wrong with the world today? Riches shouldn’t be measured by monetary balances at the cost of health. Cancer is far too prominent these days. So riddle me this, why is there still no cure? F*CK Cancer! Find a cure! Could some of the cancers be linked to meat and dairy products? I won’t even get into the discussion of the injection of growth hormones and steroids into our meat and dairy products and its repercussions on our health…ahhhh shoot, to echo Bill Maher’s antics, I just stumbled upon a new new revelation, I love cheese and cheese is dairy. Dang it! How do I protect myself from said hormones and steroids?

Anywho, back to my original new revelation…I have been steering clear of chicken and I have been feeling a lot better and a lot healthier. I have only eaten red meat maybe twice in the past year therefore I don’t have to make a deliberate effort to avoid it…Any GI troubles I have had have been recently minimized. I am finding that I have always favored eating fruit and vegetables over chicken on any given night. My day-to-day staples are pretzels, oatmeal, Quest bars, vegan protein shakes, hummus, tomatoes, avocados, cheese (fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, ricotta, and Havarti), and salmon, salmon, salmon. I could live off salmon, sushi, and halibut.

How my new lifestyle harmonizes with my running…

I raced in the Army Ten Miler yesterday, October 12, 2014. I did freaking awesome! I credit my speed and endurance to my newly refined lifestyle. I felt like I was flying during my run. I had no brick in my stomach and I was light on my feet, gliding forward.

I got a bit tired at mile 7 but fought through it. I found my mojo, if you will, at mile 8 when I picked up my speed again. I didn’t dig deep enough when I needed to but like I mentioned above, I am happy with my end result! I fell in love with the participants and the energy of the crowd. I found myself running with an infectiously charismatic group of people that pushed me. I was running with several wounded warriors. Some were wearing one prosthetic leg while others were wearing two. It was reminiscent of Nike ads for Oscar Pistorius. But what was radically different to witness was their courage, discipline, and motivation to do hard things after having done hard things—serving to protect and defend our freedom. It was an inspiring site to see and reminded me to run hard and to run for those that can’t. Because of them, I am humbled.

Waves of exhaustion and excitement carried me across the finish line. I was overjoyed to have run with patrons of the service and been given the opportunity to thank them for serving. The Army Ten Miler, #atm2014, awarded its participants a commemorative coin symbolic of the Army Commemorative Coin Program. However, I was awarded so much more than the coin and a PR finish—I was awarded an opportunity to endure the most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship between me and running. Let me rephrase, me and running this city. The streets and its affectionate solicitude made me fall more in love with each curve, straight away, incline, rolling hill, participant and spectator. I love the run. Yes. But I’m also addicted to the exquisite pain in my lungs and calves. My new diet/lifestyle helped to alleviate a lot of the pain I believe I would have felt otherwise, especially GI… not to mention, I believe it has also helped with my recovery post-race. (without much effort I ran a solid 7 miles todays without any aches or pains)

Scott Jurek says, pain only hurts. And pain, well pain through a means of running makes me feel alive. Living here also makes me feel alive—proof we can do hard things. I am blessed to call this place home for almost one year now.

Are you a #vegan, #vegetarian, #pescetarian? Do tell! How do you fuel your runs?

Thanks for reading!!!

Happy running!

XO

Valgal

IMG_5193.JPG

IMG_5214.JPG

IMG_5206-0.JPG

40 Miles Strong!

19 Jul

Hello friends!

Whoa weeeee! I’m beginning to feel the fatigue from my day.

I woke up bright and early to make the hubs a delicious breakfast so he could go straight to work and not hassle with it. You see, this weekend he’s working ungodly hours. He wrapped up last night at midnight and is planning on doing the same the thing today.

This occasion has called for me to polish up on my domesticated skills. I love playing into this role. I love the traditional role of a housewife/woman—I’m not saying I buy in to its entire orientation. I’m not a “typical” housewife, or even a housewife at that. I’m a wife with several hats. After all, the traditional role and expectations of a wife are too antiquated for my taste. I do more than cook, clean, and bear children (I haven’t quite crossed this one off the list yet). My point is, there exists a dichotomy between old school traditional roles and new school traditional roles. I like it because each day brings on a new set of circumstances and I get to choose which role I assume in an effort to be a good wife and keep a good home. I’m not good at it all the time. I won’t lie. But I try.

As far as today goes, I have assumed both roles at different times. I have waited on my husband as much as I can because the poor man can’t break away from the computer. And that’s okay. I’m here to support him.

Just like I want to support him, he wants to support me. And support me he did. He encouraged me to get out of the house and enjoy my long training run or bike ride. I hesitated because I didn’t want to be selfish and leave him home while I was out exploring the paths and getting my sweat on. I felt guilty because I knew he wished he could join me and I also felt guilty because I had already accepted the old school traditional role of a woman but I was eagerly trying to cash-in for the alternative! He was asking me to shift gears and focus on me. I wanted to. But I felt guilty because I easily obliged. There’s the proof that I’m not so good at the traditional role…

I shifted the gears back on me.

I pumped air in my tires and off I went! I covered 40 miles on my bike!!! It was the longest ride I’ve had to date of consecutive miles. I was so inspired and felt immense happiness and confidence that I was out there alone. The breeze from my speed felt cold against my sweat. The tree canopy over one of the trails was brilliant in colors of green. The sun was hidden behind the overcast of the clouds and what was left of the light was dimmed by the foliage. I maintained a very comfortable temperature allowing for me to press harder and faster. I was able to maintain a faster speed than normal until I hit a 10 mile slight incline. My speed began to slow but each time I noticed I was fading, I tried to press harder. I began to wonder how different my performance might be when I ride with my clips. I’m confident that they will help me with my speed and endurance to cover more distance. Or maybe I’m overconfident and there won’t be any difference at all! I’m a novice. I don’t know anything about this sport yet! Being new to this bicycling thing (a new addiction) I have to remind myself that it’s okay to be not-so-good. Not-so-good, oh my gosh the idea of being no-so-good causes me distress! I have great expectations and I want to meet and exceed them—now! I’m cognizant that the only way I can be better is if I continue to practice, press forward, and challenge myself—just like I do with running.

I finished my laborious 40 mile ride in 2 hours 47 minutes and 56 seconds (2:47:56). My average speed was 14.3 mph—that dang incline!!! (I’m full of excuses!) I just need to get stronger! My maximum speed was 21.3 mph. Not too shabby!

Here’s to hoping that I can continue to get stronger and faster. Now that I’m mixing running with cycling I can’t wait to see how my performance for both sports improves. J I’m thinking a duathlon is in my future, that and a tri, either a sprint or Olympic! I have to hit the water soon if that’s going to happen. That’s a whole new saga of embarrassing! But that’s okay, I like laughing at myself and welcome you to join me!

As for right now, I’m shifting gears again so that I can go back to being a good housewife. It’s time to prepare dinner.

An article posted from the 1950s warns me that if don’t assume this role, and if I don’t cook a good dinner, my husband will leave me. No kidding…read for yourself. I hope it’s a joke.

“Woman, you have no idea how lucky you are to have landed a man. But as the literature of the mid-century’s greatest matrimonial minds tells us, he’s one wrinkled shirt away from leaving you. Housekeeping accomplishments and cooking ability are, of course, positive essentials in any true home, and every wife should take a reasonable pride in her skill. Happiness does not flourish in an atmosphere of dyspepsia. Bad cooking is responsible for dyspepsia, dyspepsia is responsible for grouchiness and irritability, grouchiness and irritability lead to quarrels and squabbles. And bad cooking, which is the usual thing in the average American home, has been responsible as much as any other factor for driving the husband to the saloon, and to other places. And when she does cook, she should cook, and not be, as somebody said, a mere can opener.”

http://mentalfloss.com/article/52108/7-tips-keeping-your-man-1950s

I’m so lucky to have landed a man! Yes! My life is complete with full satisfaction! OooooKkkkkAaaaaaYyyy…

I think it’s safe to speculate working 20 straight hours contributes to grouchiness and irritability. No? I hope my husband doesn’t mind me cracking open a can of spaghetti-os for his dinner. j/k

Happy Saturday!

Thanks for stopping by and reading!

Happy running and happy riding!

Valgal

XO

20140719-194247-70967996.jpg

20140719-194248-70968390.jpg

My Definition of Beauty: Sweat

29 Jun

Hello friends!

Happy Sunday funday! I hope you guys are all doing well!

Today my husband and I went out for a ride. We ended up exploring the trails for a total of 32 miles. It was glorious! The sun was beating on our backs and there was a light breeze. The combination mixed with our sweat helped us keep cool as we raced through the underpasses and the trees.

My husband was always ahead of me. I want him to be ahead of me. I don’t want him to have to wait for me just because I’m slower than him. After all, we set out for a ride with the intention to work out and to get our heart rates up. We wanted to feel the pain in our lungs and the hurt in our legs by pushing our limits. If he stayed at my pace, I’d be robbing him of his “work out.” Fortunately, every 8ish miles I found him waiting for me to make certain I was safe. I thought that was rather cute!

But what I have learned from this bike ride, and what I learn from my solo runs, is that people offer comments when they are not invited. Before I get to the specifics, let me explain a little bit about myself.

My name is Valerie and I have struggled with more things than you know. Those struggles have given me substance, character, and experience. They have helped to define who I am. With my struggles I have seen the darkest of days and the brightest of days. I choose to live in the brightest of every day, every moment I can. I have been near death because of my own addiction to anorexia. One cannot be anorexic—you cannot be an eating disorder! But one can suffer anorexia. And I have suffered with it since I was 13 years old. I’m sharing this because it’s time I get real. It’s a self-inflicted affair between me and myself. My anorexia stemmed from my days as a gymnast, and being a cross-country rat. I was a “heavy-spot” and my coach recommended I drop some weight. Per pound I dropped resulted in me being an easier spot and a faster runner. My mile times kept getting faster and faster. It was easy to correlate being thin to being fast. And so I lost more and more. I was down to eating an apple a day. My food journal was pathetic! My beautiful friends around me were developing curves I would never have because of my anorexia, and as much as I wanted to be like them, and have curves, I couldn’t face food. I starved.

Food was the ultimate enemy. My struggle with anorexia is intimate. I know what it is really all about. I have learned that food was never the issue—it’s an issue of control. Fast forward only a few years after my initial struggle and I found myself in a treatment center. I was 5 foot 2 inches, like I stand today, and 78 pounds soaking wet. I thought I was fat. I was robbed of my chance to compete in gymnastics because I might faint or have a heart attack, same reasons why I wasn’t allowed to run competitively anymore. I wasn’t allowed to do anything I wanted. I wasn’t allowed to do anything but EAT! It was tragic!!!! Anorexics, like most teenagers, just aren’t human! They aren’t in the right mind frame. They’re so narcissistic. I thought that everyone would know if I ate more than an apple because they would see it on my thighs!!!

I’ll spare you all the details of my struggle. But I share with you this, I have struggled. I have talked to God and begged Him to help me. But I was so afraid of His help because I didn’t want to really get better. I only kind of wanted to get better. I didn’t want to gain weight. I didn’t want to look different. I wanted to maintain my frame and eat only when people were watching—because in my mind, that was getting better. I wanted the best of both worlds. I wanted to get better to appease my family. I wanted to make them proud. And with each bite, I succeeded. Too bad I couldn’t perfect my already perfect grades to impress them. Instead I was faced with eating every course presented to me on family Sunday gatherings. It was torture for me. The feeling of being full equated to death. I wanted to literally roll over and die because I felt like I could roll over. The feeling of being full, to this day, makes me so uncomfortable I can’t breathe. It’s something I am learning to cope with, but it will never go away.

Let’s fast-forward 15 years to today! Anorexia is still prevalent in my day-to-day routine. For those of you who are my friends, don’t act like you’re not surprised…I control it. What my family and friends fear is that I’m back to competitive running and have a passion for endurance sports. But they need not worry. I’m okay. I just wish I didn’t wait so long to return to the sport.

But let’s talk about something…let’s talk about this idea of beauty. When I was 13 I knew my curvaceous friends were beautiful. I knew I was a beanpole and I knew that being a beanpole was not attractive. But I couldn’t do anything about it. I was under the spell of anorexia. I knew I was different. And I didn’t care. Feeling empty inside from food made me feel beautiful. Today, well today feeling empty inside still makes me feel beautiful, but I only want to feel empty inside after hours of a long workout. I feel beautiful when I have my headband on and my Newton’s on ready to run. I feel beautiful when I have no makeup on and the sweat drips down my face and I taste its salt. I feel beautiful when the sweat from my ponytail drips down my back and onto my calf. I love how my skin glistens after being kissed from the morning or afternoon sun during a run or a bike ride. I feel more beautiful any day of the week when I’m in my athletic gear rather than my casual or professional attire. I mean, I love me my stilettos and pairing them with my newest dress from Ann Taylor, but the promise of sweat and a caloric deficit that my Newton’s offer me makes me much happier. And happiness is a beautiful thing to witness.

But with my happiness comes critics. And this is really what today’s blog is about today. My husband and I rode 32 miles today throughout the District. When I tell you I feel beautiful in my athletic attire, it’s not only because I like how I might look in it, it’s also because I like what it promises me—a work out=sweat. I wear what I wear because it makes me feel strong and pretty. Two words that should bleed together more often!

What I wore today, many girls wear. But today, like other days, I was barked at, catcalled, stared at, and was told “nice rack” one too many times. You might think that’s what I get for getting an augmentation. Ok, I don’t disagree entirely—although I did it for me, not for attention…and I had to do it twice because my first doctor royally messed up. I did it for me because hey, remember when I told you I was anorexic? Couple that with running and I lost all that I was barely given. I’m not shameful when I tell you I got them done. I did it because by being anorexic I deprived my body of what could have been. It was a very difficult decision to make because I didn’t want to come across as if I were narcissistic. Then I was faced with having to do the procedure again because of complications, at which point I wanted them out entirely!!! I hated them. And I hated how I felt about myself because I felt guilty for wanting them, fixing them, and then again for having them.

What I am here to say is, I have breasts. I’m not showcasing them as if I’m on the Las Vegas Strip! I’m not in a padded bra that emphasizes them to be 3x larger in a dress where they are so close to my chin I could eat them for dinner. I’m wearing a freaking sports bra, like every other girl out there, with a tank top. Yes, my athletic clothes might hug my body tightly (like everyone else) and it might make my curves look a little more voluptuous. It’s not intentional and I don’t wear my clothes for unsolicited comments.

My breasts just so happen to be so firmly squished together (so they don’t bounce) giving this illusion of cleavage that apparently makes a gentleman become a complete asshole. I didn’t know seeing cleavage gave men the right to say whatever they want. I am sooooo happy my husband was in front of me when these crude comments were made today.

What troubles me is that there’s this absurd fascination with sex—it’s ridiculous. A beautiful woman walking down the street is subject to insensitive, crude, and demeaning comments because she is beautiful. A woman sweating her ass off at the gym or outside is subject to these same remarks because she has cleavage, or nice legs, or her arms are too sexy. I just don’ get it! A woman can’t win. If she carries herself with confidence, confidence she gains from working out, she’s considered self-centered. You see, I don’t view my body as an instrument of sex. I view it as an instrument of strength!!!

If a man or a woman judges me (or any other woman out there getting her sweat on—I see you, I know who you are and you ROCK!!!) when I’m (she’s) outside pushing my (her) limits, sweating, and pleading with my (her) legs to keep going, because they think of sex when they see a little bit of cleavage, arms, and legs, I think the problem is theirs.

My definition of beauty for myself is not measured by my cleavage. It’s not measured by my sex appeal. It’s comprised of hard work, sweat, and pushing my limits both personally and professionally. For some of my friends, they think it’s being adorned with the newest trends and brand names, getting Botox, collagen, and eyelash extensions, and having perfect hair, makeup and nails. Granted my friends don’t need any of this, they’re beautiful without it, I respect them for doing what makes them happy and not apologizing for it. To each their own! Who am I to judge? I know I’ll never have perfect hair. I know I’ll never have the picture perfect makeup on to look flawless in person and in pictures. I’m okay with this because the hours it takes to do all that, I’d rather be sweating. If I spent that kind of time getting ready, I’m sure I could look glam, too! But I’d rather look like a Boston Qualified Marathoner (when I stand up next to my girlies in pictures)!!!

Here’s the thing ladies, despite what we do for our beauty regime and how different it is, our beauty regime is for us—we do it for ourselves, not for a man! So why do we allow for a man (mean girls, too) to strip of us of our confidence by making inappropriate remarks. I didn’t put my sports bra on today to invite tasteless comments—I put it on to embark on a serious sweat session, to live in the beauty of today, and relish in another victorious day against anorexia.

I read something the other day by a woman I admire and it reminds me of what I experienced today. And it goes like this:

“I truly think nothing bonds people more than sweating together. I am not a let’s get drinks kind of woman [unless it’s after a race, training run, or bike ride J], or a talk on the phone kind of woman. I’m a come and sweat with me and we will be fast friends kind of woman. It shows you what a person is made of.”

-So come on and sweat with me!

Happy Sunday!

Happy Running!!!

 

XO

Valgal

20140629-190803-68883306.jpg

20140629-190802-68882859.jpg

20140629-190803-68883027.jpg

Let’s Get Real

14 Jun

Hello friends!

I don’t know what happened here. I failed. Miserably. I blogged last night and when I hovered my mouse over publish, my post was gone. Fortunately this isn’t too tragic. I wrote a post about the ebb and flow of life. I wrote it because I wanted to write a little more about my life between the miles.

I’m thinking by the powers that be, that I was meant to write my emotions out but this one, this post wasn’t to be shared. It was a little too intimate. Not regarding me but regarding close friends and loved ones. It was about how grossly inappropriate some people are. It was a look at how some people can veer so far off from moral standards and still sleep at night.

That was last night. Now it’s Saturday morning! The pup pups are walked. There is no threat of rain and the sun is out. The trees are rich with colors of green I have not grown accustomed to seeing yet and they are bathing in the sun’s light. It’s a spectacular landscape. There is so much beauty in the most elementary of elements. This scene helps me maintain an attitude of gratitude. Perhaps this is why I find so much pleasure in what I love—running.

Running affords me the opportunity to revel in the luxury of nature and allows me to speak my mind without prejudice. It’s an intimate affair—running and me. There’s a give and a take. A comfort in knowing the familiar path and the incitement of the discovery of something new.

Today I turn to running to help me shake off (run off) the feelings of futility, anger, vengeance, and gloom. I am a happy person. I am a thankful person. I am a grateful person. I just happen to have these feelings because something happened to those I know very well that don’t deserve their current circumstance. The kicker is, it’s probably a miracle. It’s probably the man upstairs pillaging through their plans because their plans would never come to fruition. The miracle is that there is something better after the chaos settles.

I know every single one of you have experienced something that was undeserving. I don’t want to take away from you your experience by casually writing about my less than favorable situations or that of my loved ones. Your experience is authentic to you. I treasure that. That’s what makes us all unique.

I write in this forum about running and my life between the miles to share things—intentionally ambiguous at times to respect the privacy of others, because it makes me feel genuinely real. You and I may share common interests with running, Garmins, Ragnar Relays, and other relatable things. That’s why you read my blog. We share a camaraderie. I may sometimes appear as if I have it all together. I don’t. We seem to always be inclined to lie to each other—white lies. The polite, “I’m well, how are you?” kind of nonsense. Would we listen if someone replied with something other? We would think they were strange and socially awkward. That’s why I’m here. To tell you that sometimes the smiles in my pictures elude to this element of happiness that isn’t always there. I just want to get real with you. I want to be authentic.

So thanks for stopping by! I’m about to have a session with the road. This affair is still running hot! Wooooowwweeeee!

~Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it. —Robert Fulghum

Happy Running!!!

XO

Valgal

%d bloggers like this: