Tag Archives: love the run

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

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The Pitch – My Relentless Pursuit to Run 13.1 Miles for Two

30 Mar

Hello lovelies!!!

 

Happy Badabump [insert Hump if you’re not lucky enough to endure unprecedented weight gain despite workout efforts, heartburn (from water), hunger pangs at 5a that are only satisfied with a slice of toast with a light spread of natural peanut butter and drizzle of honey, kicks and jabs from within that wake you up but melt your heart, the insatiable appetite for an entire bottle of wine – Chardonnay, Prosecco, or Malbec – because close to 9 months of sobriety is a bitch and I’m jonesing for a buzz, oh yeah, and upper/lower back pain] Day to you all!!!

 

Anyway… Let’s get to the content.

 

Well holy guacamole runner friends – this mama-to-be ran a half-marathon pregnant! Yes. Pregnant. All of 31 weeks of me and my little macaroon hit the pavement running. If you’re reading this and you follow me on IG and/or Facebook I’m certain you saw my photo spam that documented this incredible journey. Anyway, I’m here to give you a little glimpse into how I convinced my man to let me run 13.1 miles for two to mark the most epic and total experience ever.

 

A little disclaimer: The Rock n’ Roll DC Marathon Series is significant to me. I ran the Rock n’ Roll DC Marathon Series in March 2014 and it marked my first ever participation in the full 26.2-mile trek to the finish line. I trained for months on the unforgiving apparatus – the treadmill – during my first winter in the District classified as “snowmageden.” Despite running on the treadmill with an even incline, I finished the race and with far too much energy left in the tank – after the hills and all. The energy stores left in the reserve triggered my affair to find perfection. I would go on to run more marathons as the ultimate test of my running ability. Fast forward to the Rock n’ Roll DC Marathon Series in March 2015 – this would be the third marathon I would complete. Having just come off the residual high of missing a BQ by 4 minutes (I ran the Marine Corps Marathon October 2014 with bronchitis and stopped several times to hack a lung or two) I was more than ready to race and secure my spot on the Boston Marathon starting line. I was certain I’d qualify and at the very same race only one-year prior that ignited this passion. My legs were light. My body told me I found the balance between training and rest days. I was at my perfect race weight. I was alert. I had no fear that I wouldn’t give 100%. I hadn’t exhausted my limits. I would BQ. I was flying. “Light. Easy. Fly.” was written on my hand for support during the moments when the fun of running manifests itself into drudgery. But BQ I didn’t. The significance of this race was the mounting wave of pain that overtook my right hip . After a failed BQ attempt, an arthrogram (painful) and x-rays I was told surgery would be the placeholder for a BQ (at least for a while) to repair the FAI and large labral tear. I didn’t know what was worse. The constant state of excruciating pain felt on my right hip or the fact that I’d be forced to be immobile for 6-9 months post-surgery. That reality led me down a rabbit hole of emotions and what-ifs. Thoughts of losing all athletic ability, losing muscle and form, endurance capabilities, maximal aerobic capacity/peak VO2, etc. I was devastated. Ugh!!! I was told by the doctors that surgery would help me – it’s the setback for the ultimate comeback. But I didn’t care. I wouldn’t be running. And life without running is not life – at least not for me.  Then through Immaculate Conception (wink wink) my body decided to carry a life – and voila – I found myself 31 weeks pregnant and flirting with my third Rock n’ Roll DC Marathon Series  – but this time I’d only tackle the half-marathon – that is, if everyone cleared me to run because of baby girl and my hip. Talk about the significance of this particular race. Each one marked a pivotal moment for me in my exploration of mind, body, spirit and ability.

 Note: I’ve been running with FAI and a labral tear since diagnosis. The pain is not terribly significant since distance has been minimized. It’s there. But tolerable.

But let’s talk about this third Rock n’ Roll DC race, my being in the third trimester and the arduous pitching I had to conduct to make the sale. Because I was a runner before being pregnant and maintained my activity during pregnancy I was cleared outright by my doctors to participate in the half-marathon. The only convincing, pleading, marketing, selling, and solicitation I had to do was with Andy – the father of our unborn child. His concerns were that of my health (especially my hip) and baby girl. Granted he knows I would never jeopardize the health of our baby he had his worries, despite what the doctors said. Naturally, I petitioned him. Every. Single. Day. 

 

Because his obstinate stance opposing my participation running a half-marathon was met with my obstinate stance for participating, we missed each coupon code and price reduction incentivizing runners to join.

 

Then shit got real. 

 

The last-call for registration was during the Health Expo for package pickup. Hello, this was two days prior to the race. My sales pitch obviously lacking. Andy wasn’t budging. Couple my plea to run with a higher cost to race – I didn’t see a favorable outcome. This wouldn’t be an entry fee paid for in the race with my unrestrained willingness to push myself to collapse and PR. No. This is an entry fee I want to pay so that I could run effortlessly with a moderate heart rate to feed ego and pride – to say I did it. To say I ran for two. (But don’t I most days of the week on the treadmill for $29.99/month?)

 

I channeled my inner teenager. I flooded him with texts. Message after message pinged his phone as if we time traveled back to when we were teenagers and he pulled some dumb shit (okay, me too) and I was appealing his requests.

 

I explained why I had to run. And I am sharing my mini dissertation with you so you can get a glimpse of my conjunction of life and running.

 

“…my being pregnant is really a marvel to me. I haven’t lost the lust to run and it is who I am. I don’t want to be like the norm because of the lack of perfection (my being pregnant, not a race weight, etc.) as a reason not to participate. I have the intuitive and instinctive nature to care for my daughter – unborn or not – and me. If I need to walk I walk. It’s not about racing. It’s about being a part of a community and a tribe that is unlike anything else. It’s about me being out there – moving – slowly – and with the grace of God and my will behind me. It’s about showcasing that you can be fit and active and pregnant at any size and at any stage. It’s my play time. Where I can be interacting freely in an environment that I love – and outside with nature – in my element. It’s liberating. It’s euphoric. And I miss it terribly. It’s so much more than running. It’s my lifestyle. And I know you came back in my world when I was prepping for a surgery – but you don’t know who I am and how liberating and free it makes me. I found myself through running and it’s because of running I’ve found confidence and self-acceptance. It’s gives me so much joy. It fulfills me.”

 

And there you have it. Like an overdramatic 16-year old girl I was committed to convincing the man I love to accept me.

 

So what did he do? He went ghost on me. The sound of silence was loud. Unbearable.  Each passing 45 minutes I glanced at my phone. Nothing. Not even the little dots to indicate he was typing. I was convinced I wouldn’t be running. He won. My determination to run was no match to his contrarious petition.

 

Then I got the call.

 

The call of calls. My florid of texts worked. He granted my request!

 

I was in shock. Giddy. Childlike enthusiasm came over me. You couldn’t wipe the grin from off my face. I was smiling ear to ear. Big. Wide. Showing all my teeth! I giggled. I shrieked. I jumped up and down. No kidding. I was time warped  back to being 16 when he asked me to prom – I couldn’t wait to announce the news but more importantly, dress for the occasion! Except this time I wouldn’t need long preparation, a fancy dress, my hair all done up, or makeup – only the essentials – colorful compression socks, a matching headband, sunglasses, my Garmin (I’m eyeballing the new Garmin Fenix Sapphire 3  but it’s totally unnecessary as I’m 8 1/2 months pregnant), iPod, a hair tie and my Newtons.

Fenix Sapphire 3

 

So there you have it. I signed up…

 

Not to race. Not to smash a PR. But to simply run.

 

And run I did.

Thanks for stopping by!!!

 

XO

 

Valgal

 

PS – My experience running for two covering the distance of a half marathon at 31 weeks pregnant will be posted shortly. I’ve had the case of pregnant brain and speaking let alone writing complete sentences has presented me with a great challenge – that and maintaining a focus without being distracted “Squirrel!” Ha.

The Waiting Room 

20 Jul

Good morning Lovelies and happy Monday! 

I woke up this morning anxious because today is the day I meet with my surgeon for a consultation. A one hour drive to commute 27 miles away added to my anxiety. (I was recently in an accident and a sea of brake lights produce intense fear in me-sorry for those that drive with me in the passenger seat – that’s when it intensifies.) 

Anyway, here I am sitting down at the Ortho. There are 13 other patients waiting to be seen. The kiddo in front of me has an American flag cast on. His mother is taking a “before” picture of him saying this could be the day you get your cast off! The little boy’s eyes radiate as he giggles with exuberance “cheeeeeeeese!” The poor little guy is 5 years old with a cast on during the summer. He fell off a slide at the playground and was met with a gnarly compound fracture. Oww! He’s been in a non-waterproof cast for 8 weeks – talk about anxiousness. He’s ready to get that sucker off and play in the water, climb the monkey bars and do what 5 year olds do! 

There are other people here who’s faces appear fixed in pain. Pain is an amazing thing – it has incredible depth both physically and emotionally. It decorates our facial expressions by contorting our features. I know the looks – the tight lips, twitch or tightening of the muscles around the eye, the furrowing between the eyebrows, maybe a nose wrinkle…this place should be an exhibit for studying human behavior and pain. I hope they all get to feeling better soon. I want their eyes to sparkle with good news and relief like that of the daredevil getting his cast off today.

In my case, I’m in pain, yes, but it’s dull. I’m actually eager to hear what my options are. I recognize I may be uncomfortable today, and extremely uncomfortable post-surgery if it is a must, but it’s a step toward healing. Being told that I can’t run is not an option.

Healing – it seems to be the theme of 2015.

How can something I love fill me with so much suffering, anguish and heartache? It sounds parallel to life doesn’t it? I’m learning that what you love isn’t always good for you. Is pain an accomplice disguised as a hobby, a friend, a lover…etc.? Is this a wake-up call and I keep hitting snooze?

The doctor’s walking in…A sense of familiar and unwanted anxiety is filling my chest.How do you handle pain? Are you as stubborn and relentless as me and run through it? Or do you listen to your body and let it heal? Do tell! I’m searching for the balance.

Stay tuned!

XO

Valgal

   

 

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 

Forever is a Slow Dance

6 Jun

For me running is a fire no one can tame…the storm is currently disguised as an injury and the undercurrent is strong.. It’s a slow dance. A doggy-paddle to get back to shore.

Hmmm…Forever is a slow dance.

The commonality between running and life. Sheesh!

The waves of pain and setbacks sweep over me and there’s no need to fight the current anymore. I’ve learned that you’ll always end up right where you belong. You can’t fight the current-you must weather the storm.

Being in this predicament is actually neutral territory. I’ve got your number. Oh darling, I know the game. The whole course. The curve of each bend. The pull of each undercurrent strengthened by the storms. We have been here before. But I remind myself not to get too comfortable just because it feels and looks familiar. Truth is the weather can’t truly be forecasted-it can get moody. The course may be the same but I’ve changed how I run it. Doggy paddle and all. I’m equipped to make it to shore this round…with you BQ!

This is about my struggles with my love affairs (running, BQ, you). The ebb and flow of the course of life, or is it discourse, is remarkable. It takes us to new destinations and heightens our senses. The waves of emotion take over. The similarities of my love for running and with you capsize me. Each time. This really has been a slow dance towards forever. A doggy-paddle. 

The simple life looks so good on paper. But who wants that? It’s dull. I want to be swept away by the current and forecast of life, running and love. This dance, or doggy-paddle has given me faith in the journey. The weather has challenged me but I’m always swept away by waves of enthusiasm that we will make it to land. 

Running and my love for you-it isn’t an ordinary love or grubby kind of affair, it’s a slow dance to forever once you make it to shore. I have a fresh pleasing wave of disbelief that we weathered the storms (bum hip and all). I believe we will find ourselves dancing to the promise of tomorrows with the subtle sounds of the waves crashing on shore-proof that we finally made it out.

What are you swept away by?

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

No Need to Exercise Trepidation

6 Jun

Hello friends! 

I hope you have all have a colorful weekend!!!

I stumbled upon an email yesterday that reminded me that I have a race this Sunday!

Oh my, it’s been since March 15th since I last raced!!! This no running prescription peppered with a skimmed running routine has me elated but equally reserved. 

Will I go out there Sunday morning with speed? Or will I go out there haunted by the possibility of pain? 

The synonymous perpetuity of running and life is extraordinarily. I find my current predicament to be an interesting one…

With my current running endeavors being placed on a temporary hold, I have found that I am overwhelmed with anxiety that I will not have the speed and agility I have worked so tirelessly for. Equally so, I am grappling over the inertia of other variables in my life that have finally gained traction. In one catalytic event my tomorrows could be forever changed (hip surgery and more).

I’m challenged because I feel like I’m dancing on a tightrope where both sides, should I fall, would have me landing on familiar but unwanted ground. I have planted my feet firmly on that patch of earth and it took years to acclimate myself to its difficult misleading terrain. Like a chameleon I managed the difficult seasons and adopted to the crowds all without being true to myself. I found myself when I started to run. Running gave me the freedom to break the banal mold. And now, well now I am restricted to engage in my love for running until I meet pure exhaustion. Oddly enough, I am also exorbitantly happy, probably more so than what I deserve. I am between a happy place and a funk but I’d rather glide on the tightrope and make it to the other side of the unknown than fall onto familiar territory. Been there. Done that.

This is why I have a current pang of tension in my heart. Tension comprised of both my athletic and personal affairs. The tension comes from my fear to disappoint myself in my running abilities and tension from my fear to move forward with others. But like running our only option is to move forward.

In running and in life our only options to get to the finish line, to get to the other side of the tightrope, is moving forward. You can’t look down and you can’t look back without threatening your future-the future that is finally within sight! 
I must exchange an apology…an apology to you and myself…the concerns I fret over are my own and I should not greet you with them. I don’t want to haunt my history. I may suddenly feel inadequate in my aspirations because I feel humiliated and unsure of my abilities because of the threat of surgery, life, what ifs and recovery…but I believe in progress. 

Each setback is an opportunity for a comeback…and with that, I will take on this race in Sunday and own it! I will give 110% and although I may not have my best performance, it will be my best performance with my current condition. There is no need to exercise trepidation!!! 

What have you found that motivates you through your day-to-day conditions? How to you run through it to get to your future?

Thanks for stopping by!!!

XO

Valgal 

Insecurity and Trust Issues 

26 May

Hey lovelies!

I hope you had a lovely Memorial weekend!!! 

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” 

Thank you to all who serve and who have served for our Country-you and your families are beyond selfless and we are beyond indebted to you. May god bless and watch over you and your families. 

Today I ran for you: 5.27 miles strong at a 7:05/mile!!!

Wohoo!!!!

Anyway, I write this with shaky breath as I reflect on recent events. 

You see I recognize I’m a pain in the ass. I have the capacity to love intensely both everything and anyone I put my interest in. Running is one of those things. But running doesn’t criticize and belittle me making me feel less whole. Running gives me a different pain-a beautiful pain. It elevates my spirit with its capacity to fully break and bruise my ego while promising me it won’t. 

Running promises me that there will be a struggle each time I set out. It’s strengthens me for the race! It helps prepare my mind for crossing that finish line. I know that the race, in all its exhaustive breaths, will be worth finishing despite the obstacles peppered throughout. However, it is that last leg when you’re presented with the hardest challenge. It’s that last sprint when the finish line is in sight and your lungs are burning, pleading you to stop and you flirt with the idea because now, despite it all, all you want is to throw in the towel…because you’re suddenly overcome with insecurities and trust issues littering your mind with thoughts that you can’t carry yourself anymore…the weight of it all, the pressure of it all, while knowing this is the very goal that has been all you ever wanted now feels too heavy and burdensome…but you keep moving forward…praying your hip doesn’t give out and hoping the finish line greets you with equal input of pushing through the barriers.

Is this the same kind of love I’m seeking off the course? Am I seeking love that has the capacity to break me? Or can it promise me to break the barriers-some of which I created myself?

This love has its own story. 

The shaky breath that leaves my lungs begs for its next to give me life. But the breaths have become shallow and distant leaving me asthmatic and shaky. The very breath also gives me a nauseated wave of disbelief. Disbelief that I am broken-my hip among other things. 

Am I broken with insecurity or is it trust? Is it both?

Am I too insecure to take it to the next level? Or to insecure to let myself heal (surgery)? Or am I lacking in trust that I can’t take it to the next level? And lacking in trust that I can’t be as good as I once was?

I have recently been swept away with enthusiasm over my recently clocked speed and the familiar passion of my love affair with running-especially after time off!!! But I’m equally swept away with fear that it could be fleeting. 

Again, what is this? Insecurity, trust, or both? Can I do the distance? Does everything good have to be fleeting? 

Regardless, I want to keep smiling through the pain. The pangs of pain that shoot through my hip and the pain that stabs at my heart…they are equal.

The two pains are different while being alarmingly similar.

My great loves are those that I love intensely. They are the loves with whispers of faith and promises that I’m dependent upon. They breathe hope and make promises for plans and BQs!!! I pray that they don’t leave me in those fleeting moments where I don’t perform in its best interest or capacity. However, we can’t alway be on can we? Who can perform at 100 100% of the time, right?

I know with running I have great days followed by the mediocre days. I have days where my performance is top-notch and days where I disappoint myself and perhaps you. That’s when I ask for amnesty. That’s when I embark in self-reflection and challenge my perspective of reality. I’m not perfect. I flirt with insecurities and trust issues but I don’t commit to them. My body tells me when to run through those sour invitations and breakthrough it. After all, in life, what you really want will never come easy.

Here’s to the breakthrough! Here’s to the comeback!!! Here’s to the comeback of my great love while I shake off, or run off insecurity and trust issues! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Happy running! 

XO

Valgal 

 

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 

 

 

The Pot Finally Boiled Over

28 Mar

Hello friends,

I went ghost on you for a myriad of reasons. But I’m baaaaaack!

I’m back but I’m not quite back.

Running and my life between the miles have both put me on a journey I wasn’t expecting.

March 14, 2015 was the day I greeted my third marathon. I put the training miles and sweat in but I knew I wasn’t likely to BQ. I had several distractions that I had to tend to. Although I have always made time to train, with the events I was juggling there was no reason to put my body or mind through any other strain. Had I trained as I have in the past it would have been permissible to put the stamp that reads SELFISH on my forehead. I didn’t want that.

I was already struggling with what selfish meant. I knew what it meant to me but what it means to others takes on a very different meaning. Everyone has their own definition shaped by their experiences, hobbies, interests, or lack of the aforementioned.

Needless to say, I put the miles and sweat in and I was going to run my third mary despite the bull I was facing head on. Or bulls. I wanted to get lost in the peripheral magic of the marathon. I wanted to take in the spectators, the energy, and the music while I organized my thoughts and ran through the pain.

March 14th was a gloomy, wet, and cold day. I didn’t care. I showed up with alacrity to run all 26.2 miles in the rain because I wanted that stamp of authenticity and BADASS RUNNER on my forehead-anything to dimmer the flashing selfish reminder…

The rain fell. The Newton Women’s Ironman Elite racer shoes weighing all of 6.2 ounces were heavy as I ran, or really footslogged through the course. They must have been double their weight. (Attention Non-Runners: This is a big deal. Extra weight adds stress and slows your cadence.) Fellow runners were averting puddles and continued to weave in and out of the crowds to avoid them. I didn’t understand. How does one avoid puddles when it’s raining? I ran straight through them with childlike enthusiasm. I was already wet. Running through each puddle made me feel badass but also like a kid. I giggled. I wore a grin because I was taken aback to a simpler time. A time when mom would come pick me up from softball practice or gymnastics. A time when sports, friends, family, and Friday night dates with my grandparents were all I worried about. A time when you could jump in a puddle and relish in the splash for the simple reason that you wanted to!

While thoroughly enjoying the inclement weather, my iPod died five songs in. Water damage.

There I was. Running. Running without tunes. I never run without tunes. I had 24 miles left. I told myself I would let the energy of the race and crowd carry me.

What crowd? There was no crowd. The rain and cold weather had friends and families of loved runners nestled up in their cozy homes drinking coffee or sipping mimosas. They were warm. They were dry. They were the smart ones.

Running. Running. Running. I was running to the songs I was singing in my head. I know about a quarter of each song on my playlist and I put shuffle on. However, the last song I heard before I got to the race was Ella Henderson, Ghost and it was stuck on repeat.

I keep going to the river to pray

‘Cause I need something that can wash all the pain

And at most I’m sleeping all these demons away

But your ghost, the ghost of you

It keeps me awake

When I could finally toggle to the next song, I was singing A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar, F*in Problems. I’m sorry. I meant this white girl was whiting up Kendrick Lamar’s rap verse.

Uh, yeah ho, this the finale

My pep talk turn into a pep rally

Say she from the hood but she live inside in the valley now

Vaca’d in Atlanta, then she going back to Cali, mmm

Got your girl on my line, world on my line

The irony, I eff’ em at the same damn time

She eyeing me like a man don’t exist

Girl, I know you want this D…

And I would giggle. I giggled like a child because it was so inappropriate. But I kept singing it. Over and over. Just that last line. Then I thought of its semblance to the movie Wonderlust when Paul Rudd talks to himself in the mirror. Classic. More giggling. My thoughts were all over the place!

I eventually went back to the songs I knew in my head. Ella and Kendrick were always featured but I sprinkled in some Eric freaking Church and other varieties. The variation of songs and genres put me back in the game.

I fared quite well considering. Mile 12 came and I was at a crossroads. It said, LEFT LANE HALF MARATHON/RIGHT LANE FULL MARATHON. I suddenly felt the pang of decision-making. I already made several big-girl decisions over the course of the past few months, I didn’t want to make anymore. I mean, my life between the miles was all about big decisions as of late. Running the actual miles shouldn’t have been. I flirted with going left. I knew I hadn’t trained properly and that would have been the safest choice.

I looked down to my Garmin hoping it would return an answer and tell me what to do. It surprised me as it displayed I was on track for a negative split! My heart, lungs, and legs all felt great other that the discomfort of my right hip. I thought, Oh Snap!!! I may actually BQ! And in this weather! Hello BADASS runner! That stamp was going to be real! I told myself if I go left my half marathon time would be dismal.

I went right.

All was good. Negative splitting, baby!

Then the pot finally boiled over.

Mile 17 met me with devastation. I was paralyzed by pain. I could not put one foot in front of the other. In one stride my right hip screamed game effing over, Val! Game over indeed. I stopped. Panicked. The pain was excruciating. Between the rain and the hurt, I didn’t know if the salt I was tasting was from my sweat or tears. I knew I needed immediate attention and help, STAT!

The pain was sharp. I could not engage my muscles to move my leg forward. I was at a dead stop. No music. No phone. No metro card. Wet. Cold. Freezing.

After being still for a few minutes I tried to hobble my way forward to complete the race. Nope.

I was done.

With no aid station around and minimal spectators I felt alone and worried I couldn’t get to the finish line. I asked a gentleman if I could use his phone for a taxi. He said “Better yet, my wife just ran by and me and my in-laws are headed to the finish line now to watch her cross. Why don’t you join us?”

I gladly accepted. After brief discussion I learned that his wife’s name is also Valerie and she was trying to BQ as well. I learned that he’s a runner and is going to do his first 50-mile race soon. I was in good company! I was actually in the company of 4, his in-laws and I’m guessing his brother-in-law. Where would I sit in the taxi?

The taxi arrived. I’m blessed by their willingness to help me out while I recognized I was equally blessed to be standing 5’2” and 105 pounds soaking wet, literally, because I could make fitting five people in a taxi with a driver work. I sat on the brother-in-law’s lap. I’m pretty sure I made his day. I giggled.

After the taxi ride and slogging through the finisher’s area Scott received a called. The call was from Valerie advising him that she too got injured at mile 22. What’s the irony? Seriously!? Two Valeries and both are injured! I couldn’t wait to meet my twin and caption a picture, “Twinsies!”

The story continues and is peppered with more comedy. However, I’ll wrap it up.

Looking back, there were so many signs that were trying to lead me to what was the right direction-turning left. But I refused. Instead of wearing SELFISH on my forehead I should wear STUBBORN. I took the difficult path. Reflecting on this now, it appears I often take the difficult path with my personal affairs.

The race was one for the books. The pot needed to boil over otherwise I would continue to do more damage to my hip and perhaps never be able to run again.

The race, in all of its glory, through all of the rain and discomfort, baptized me. Cleansed me. Everything unfolded as it should to set me up for new beginnings.

I may have made some wrong choices in my life but they have led me to the company of great people. Those who rescue me at a race or those rays of sunshine I am lucky enough to call my friends, our own quirky tribe of DC Blossoms! I may perplex the shit out of you, but this is my journey. I am in awe of how every little thing when added up has brought me somewhere wonderful. I am grateful and blessed for the things that didn’t work out the way I once wanted them to. I might not have BQ’d March 14, 2015 but I’m on a road to recovery. My setback is a setup for a comeback! As for my other affairs, I trust in the process and I repeat, my setback is a setup for a comeback! 🙂

I am reminded that you have to be brave with your life.

Just like a marathon, any race, or really life, our journey leads us to the same destination; it’s just some paths have more obstacles.

I’m waiting to see what’s next for me. I’m embracing the journey, the unknown, the good, the bad, the fair, the unfair, the highs and the lows, and all the love in between. But this round, I’m going to practice patience and repeat the mantra, over-planning kills the magic. I’ll let life unfold organically. Hopefully I get to wear BQ on my forehead the next round. Until then, I’ll live in the magic of today and just love and make mistakes!

Thanks for stopping by!

Happy running and gee, happy recovery for those of you who are in my current shoes!

Talking about shoes, time to change into some to go out and watch the Wildcats make it to the final four!! #BTFD

XO

Valgal

Be Brave With Your Life

UofA Keep Calm BTFDMarathon

Lost Puppy

17 Feb

Hi friends!!!

Oh wow. The thing with puppies is they are so darn cute. Well at least most of the time. They have these big eyes that have the ability to melt your heart. They are always begging for attention and they are extremely needy of your time. If they are not given proper love and attention, they lash out. They may pee on your favorite pair of Newtons (that has never happened) or they may develop a unique taste for baseboards.

Sometimes these puppies are people. Granted I would abstain from those who freely chose to pee on my Newtons or have an appetite for baseboards, but sometimes they show up at your doorstep and you’re left to counsel. What I am saying is some people lash out when their opinions are uninvited. Some people are like lost puppies because they are looking for a cage to rattle.

I have had the fine encounter of meeting a lost puppy recently. I checked my Facebook account to notice I had a few messages pending in the ‘other’ inbox. I read them out.

I was flattered that someone I don’t know reads my blog but I was momentarily put off by his raucous comment, or should I say bark?

It reads as follows:

I read your Blog. You write well albeit a remarkable number of I’s which gives hints of being a kind of loving Narcissist… -bad puppy

The ellipsis … ending the note staring at me, trying to razz me.

Dot. Dot. Dot.

I thought to myself…

It took me a few moments to realize that this lost, bad puppy is half blind by the potent obvious…this blog is about my Running [Affair] and My Life Between the Miles. I am the main character. Who else? Of course there will be the use of I!

Albeit his comment struck me, I’m pleased he reads my blog or at least read one of my posts. His bark is an attention seeking behavior similar to that of a lost, bad puppy. The common reasons for barking are due to lack of physical activity, boredom, and/or nervousness.

This puppy is bored!

My apologies that my physical activity makes you feel inferior. l recognize your behavior as a plea for attention and some love. Perhaps a little training and some obedience will serve you well. Go take a walk around the block, smell the fresh-cut grass, and mark your territory without engaging in poor behavior. In my experience we can correct bad behavior by replacing the action of reviling others with praise. If you find that these techniques don’t work, I recommend you contact a professional dog trainer…they work wonders on lost puppies and bad puppies alike, given age and maturity, and provide tons of cages to rattle until pure exhaustion. What are you waiting for? Woof woof!

Thanks for stopping by!

By the way, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. What you see from me is only the half of it! Next time, if you have the cajones, I implore you to bark on this forum, not a private Facebook message…just saying! Unless of course you’ve been neutered…makes sense. 😉

It’s time for a run!

Happy running! XO

Valgal

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