Tag Archives: Love To Run

Running (Sleeping) in the First Trimester – 

11 Dec

Good morning, lovelies –

I’m over here feeling fabulous – FINALLY! The trials of the first trimester are past me. I’m currently 17 weeks and 5 days pregnant and *gasp* feeling like my energy has come back, at least in the morning. Come 8pm it’s time for shuteye. The bed always wins. The bed + Netflix. (Who am I!?)

Anyway, I told you I was going to blog about running for two. I wanted to document my experience “From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby.” I was adamant that I’d be maintaining my pre-pregnant running schedule but that goal made a liar out of me. Let me give you the details of the challenge “Coming home from work: Newtons v. Big Comfy Bed.”

Note: I’m going to be honest about my experience here with pregnancy. I’ve noticed there is a tendency to shut out the details that aren’t synonymous to the pregnancy glow. People are too afraid to talk about the downside to this fairytalesque miracle. Yes, it’s a miracle but holy heck there are bouts of misery. There are countless bouts of vomiting, nausea, anxiety, hormonal dragonesque fiery outbursts followed by waves of crying over the most idiosyncratic concerns. There are high and there are lows that are inexplicable.

To begin, I’d like to give myself a SHOUTOUT…I graduated with a Master in Public Administration December 2nd, 2015! Upon finding out I was pregnant I was beginning my last class with this program. The class was arduous. It took all of my concentration at a time when my body was crafting the fetus. This is the most crucial development! I wasn’t showing but my body and all of its major body organs and systems for the fetus were forming wiping me out. I’m someone who functions with 4 or 5 hours of sleep and suddenly I needed 8+ hours and ironically I could barely keep my eyes open come 2 o’clock. I was working, wrapping up school writing endless tedious papers on case studies on Regulations and Policy, making a baby, all while thinking I would have the energy to run 50+ miles a week.

Let’s get real.



I managed to do it all minus the running distance. My schoolwork took a considerable amount of my free time leaving me anxious to fit in running as well as mentally drained. I was feeling selfish because I had to run. If you want me around being all jolly and happy, you let me run…Plus the added bonus of running is that it is healthy for me and baby.

But if I wanted to fit in running it meant I would have to cut out any time I tried to carve out for social gatherings and date nights with my main squeeze. The main squeeze was flexible. Shoot, I conjure that he liked my busy schedule because that only meant more NFL, NBA and hitting the courts himself – uninterrupted from my incessant online searches of nursery ideas, cute onesies, baby essentials and the countless “isn’t this super cute!” Poor guy. What a trooper. It helped us maintain the peace and coincidently helped him dodge my emotional breakdowns. Case in point: The first time I heard the song ‘Hello’ from Adele. ‘Hello’ waterworks. I left him a voicemail about it laughing and crying, if you could distinguish the difference, saying it was a good thing he was playing ball because he’s missing an epic meltdown without warning. It’s quiet hilarious now that I’m sober from the hormones…  

So with that being my schedule – running was bound to take a backseat. Newtons 0. Big Comfy Bed 1. I couldn’t let my grades slip and hey, I have to go to work – Mama’s got to make that cash!!! But because running is an indispensable part of my life I fought the fatigue demons when I could and hit the treadmill. Newtons 1. Big Comfy Bed 3 (pretty accurate ratio). I always felt so esteemed afterwards. I would think those damn little demons were illusions and deceptive little devils casting spells of trickery. I wasn’t as tired as I thought…until the next day and the day after that.

That was really the case of running in my first trimester. When I felt well enough to run, I ran. I ran middle distance at a moderate pace. I monitored my heart and my breathing never felt labored. I didn’t “feel” pregnant. Only my mind was. I could run 10 miles on a Monday at a 7:45 pace followed by 6 miles on Wednesday at a 7:40 pace. The every other day routine was working for me when I wasn’t faced with incendiary fatigue or homework. The running was sporadic but I ran nonetheless.

Running/Working Out in the First Trimester:

Running: Weekly average 25 miles a week – A significant deviation from pre-pregnancy running.

Stairmaster: Aside from running I would hit the Stairmaster. If I ran prior to the Stairmaster I would do the Stairmaster for 15-20 minutes at level 7 – A nice moderate pace. If running wasn’t in the cards I would do 30-60 minutes on the Stairmaster at level 7.

Pushups: Approximately 3 x week 3 sets of 10.

Running Recap: I was told to run at a pace that the baby would allow. Baby allowed me to run as far as I could at a pace that was fast enough to keep my form tight and efficient. If I were to go any slower my hips would get a little loose and my right femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) and labral tear would threaten to immobilize me with perpetual pain. It felt refreshing to finish up a run while being pregnant! I would feel slightly challenged but ultimately badass because I was running with my little partner. Having always been a stubborn runner, intentionally dehydrated at times to ensure I was able to train in tough conditions to make race days more effective, running on empty, running with an injury (still am) I’m suddenly intentionally conscientious of this little marvel inside me growing. I’m no longer running to qualify for Boston tomorrow, or to burn off that delectable sugar cookie laden with butter and topped with sprinkles! No. Running for two has me in a new frame of mind and a much deeper place of understanding, acceptance and intimacy with myself. I’m running for the health of my unborn baby and me. I’m running to work towards peace and calm in the midst of the all-present unknowns of pregnancy and its affiliated imminent distractions and annoyances like fatigue, nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, need for sleep, ravenous hunger followed by violent vomiting…etc. This is no easy feat. But I’m doing it. And I’m doing it as best I can.

Stayed tuned for Running in the Second Trimester – HOLY HECK!!! What a difference!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my adventure “From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby!”

 

XO

Valgal & baby macaroon

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From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby

31 Oct

Hello lovelies!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So that’s that big news!!!

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

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

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Our little athlete will debut May 2016.

Our Little Athlete Debuts May 2016

Our Little Athlete Debuts May 2016

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

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

Thanks for stopping by.

XO

Valgal and the little Macaroon

D for Destination

29 Sep

Hello lovelies!!!

 

Wishing you all a tantalizing Tuesday!

 

A Quick Recap of My Life Between the Miles

 

I’m currently riding the metro into work and the commute is burdened with delays. I’m totally fine with it because it means more time my eyes can be buried in a book, scoping out my best move with Words with Friends, reading the news or  blogging  of course!

 

The delay got me thinking about final destinations. I know I’ll eventually end up at the metro stop where the cinematic sounds of ordinary appliances play a melody of music. I always look forward to it enrapturing me. It puts a permanent smile on my face that is fixed there for the duration of the day, despite any blunders. I know that I will get there. Soon.

 

My point is delays, a euphemism for obstacles in life in general, often only interrupt the arrival time to your final destination.

 

Who says you have to be punctual to get to where you’re destined to go…you’ll eventually get there!

 

Case and Point

 

I received a notice on September 21st that September 17th marked the date of my divorce. This is a cause for celebration! It means that both he and I are legally free to embark on the separate paths towards our final destination without feelings of malice (I have none).  In my belief my final destination is predetermined and I’m one step (one divorce – ooohhh that’s heartburn) closer to getting there.

 

Blip

 

My marriage was a blip on the roadmap to my destination. I was operating with an atlas in my mind without a properly tuned compass. The compass (i.e. my heart) urged me to take another route but I am incessantly stubborn. Others who warned me to take a different path themselves got lost in their own potted and sheepish journey to numb reality. A few were also blinded by obstinate presumptions.

 

Truth is I think we were all half-blinded by disappointment.

 

Fortunately this was all temporary. Repeat: temporary!

 

Today

 

Believe it or not, my divorce doesn’t symbolize anything negative. It was a journey that repaired my vision. I see clearly for the first time in years what I need and expect from myself and from others. I look at my divorce as a right of passage that helps me accept my current destination. It personifies my ability to take a few bumps and bruises to my ego, to take the smear of my name and move forward with my head up.

 

D for Destination

 

Life is a series of capricious events. Just because you take a detour (a big one) doesn’t mean you won’t end up exactly where you belong. “An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place and circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle. But it will never break.” Ancient Chinese Proverb.

 

And where I belong is exactly where I am! 

 

D may stand for divorce but divorce is also a part of the destination.

 

Life is but an incandescent journey. The colors of the ebb and flow: mistakes, blemishes, soiled reputations, misgivings, love, compassion, empathy, peace, acceptance, passion, fondness, ardor, and love affairs that last through the barrage of it all it’s one inexplicable masterpiece. A masterpiece tousled with some opaque colors married with the rouge of fate.

 

With that, I propose that you own your story. Paint with unabashed freedom! After all, the monotony of drab circumstances help to illuminate the artistry of life, love and its longevity.

 

Enjoy your unprecedented journey to your destination!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Valgal

 

XO

 

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Grief Doesn’t Have a Face

3 Apr

Hello lovelies!!! Happy Thursday! 

Here I am experiencing delays at good ol’ DCA…the original plans had me missing my connecting flight and after several phone calls, I landed a new flight but had to act fast! I had 60 minutes to get to the airport and through security [in heels]! Hot damn! 

I made it! I ran (first time in weeks) through security and to the gate when…

Dunnn. Dunnn. Dunnn. The gate met me with another delay! Convenience is only a dream.

To occupy my time I’ve been re-reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and several other books related to the art of Legal Writing in Plain English. Ha…there’s more comedy, will I ever be able to perform such duties?

I gravitated to Wild instead of the latter. I got lost again. Lost with no need to be found. 

Considering my current life events, I couldn’t help but to feel moved by the following, so much so I wrote it in my journal to remind myself…

“…But you seemed so happy was all they could say. And it was true: we had seemed that way. Just as if I seemed to be doing okay after my mom died. Grief doesn’t have a face.” 

First off, my incredibly selfless mother is ok. She blesses me and all those around her with her immanent radiance outpouring unconditional love, nonjudgment, unyielding support, comfort, fervor for life, and more. 

Secondly, this quote, in and of itself spoke to me. The words are branded in my brain. I repeated the quote. Perhaps it’s a new mantra to pull me out from under when I need it most.

I’m told I have a magnanimous demeanor which warms my heart! But friends and family, oh my, seriously, I have dark moments. Gloom hits me and sometimes hard. I try to sweat it out but it doesn’t always do the trick. The magic is finding a healthy place for grief. I still haven’t discovered this place outside the trails and paths where I find myself running (or not running). 

What I am trying to tell you is grief is grief. We all accessorize it differently. I wear red on my lips and 5″ heels on my feetsies when I’m not flying in Newtons. I do my best to try to make it look good. Well really, I do this regardless of grief or not, but grief has me try a little harder. With grief my efforts are more deliberate. I may go that darker shade of red and line my eyes with a black sultry wing on these days. It helps me rise above the littered inconvienent truths and consequential lies between the miles.

Miles don’t lie. A mile will always be 1600 meters. It assures you that your mood after running it (x 10 miles +) will be altered. Whether the endorphins work for or against you is up to your mood. 

My mood as of late has been positive considering my lack of running; however, it has been peppered with some dark spots. Thank goodness I love pepper! A little spice never hurt anyone! I’m just asking that we tone it down a little. My tastebuds are growing numb. I want to continue to taste the exquisite pleasure and pain that is now that reminds me I am alive. You can’t celebrate happiness without sorrow. You can’t say “happiness without saying penis!” You can’t enjoy comedy without tragedy. 

Lately my life through the miles has assured me that the false dream of convenience is just that, a dream. 

I ask, who wants convenience? 

I don’t.

I want inconvienent and all-consuming love in the friendships/relationships I forge. 

I’m not in the business to walk anyone else’s tightrope anymore. I will continue to bet on myself and I’m positive I’ll make it to the other side. I may fall a few times. (Friends and family should chuckle knowing this only happens when I wear flats when I’m not running). I hope you follow me on my journey! 

Until next time, thanks for stopping by! 

Grief may not have a face but I will continue to aspire to look pretty in pain!

Here’s to recovery!!!

️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

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

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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

My First Marathon!!!

16 Apr

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A month ago to date I ran my first marathon! I began writing my blog about it but my computer in the midst of writing went black. It went all black. All the excitement I had in my beautifully scripted blog compliments of my endorphins, my adrenaline from crossing the finish line after 26.2 miles, and the beer I consumed was evident. But after a screen flashed black a few times and the lights fell dim, then to non-existent, to what appeared as a shutdown mode, or so I hoped, my blog was gone. Ha ha “Shut-down” mode – I call that wishful thinking. The dimming lights were just a tease that the battery might be low. Nope. I realized shortly after it wasn’t a shutdown mode experience, it was my computer died kind of experience. That’s right. D-I-E-D. I felt like my whole life, okay, a part of my life (still significant) that was on that computer was gone; therefore, a part of me was gone!!!! And it was gone­-GONE without warning! My husband asked, did you back it up? What!!! Okay, this is reminiscent of a Sex and the City episode. No. No, I didn’t back it up.  Thanks for the afterthought!

So there you have it. I lost my gusto must-tell-all marathon experience blog post that was riddled with excitement and euphemisms thanks to my  intoxicated state of crossing the finish-line, the endorphins, the adrenaline, and the beer, oh-and the, holy shit I did it!!!! attitude.

As Carrie Bradshaw would say, “After all, computers crash, people die, relationships fall apart. The best we can do is breathe and reboot.” Here I am, breathing and rebooting.

Let me recapture my experience:

Let me tell you about my marathon! Hot damn was it a breeze. Seriously. I don’t mean to sound like a narcissist. I just ran on through it. I was far too conservative with my energy. My first half was at a 1:58:31 and I finished at 3:50:31. My average pace was 8:48. I’m hung up on the very fact that when I was picking up speed to cross the finish line, it was easy. And when I crossed, I wasn’t fatigued, there were no aches, and I didn’t hit a wall. In all honestly, I was waiting for the wall. I was ready to meet the beast at mile 20. But he made no appearance. At mile 21 I was greeted by my incredible husband (he met me at a few mile markes-yippppppieeeee)-his height may resemble that of a beast, but no beast is he. Mile 22, mile 23 and so forth, there was no fictional beast. There was no leg-shattering, I can’t continue beast that beckoned me to quit. No part of my mind, lungs, or legs begged me to quit! For this, I was grateful!!! For other runners, they may not have been grateful-at least not grateful that I was passing them and that I was all sunshine, smiles, and affirmations, applauding them and rooting them on to keep it going!!! At mile 25 so many people were walking that I couldn’t help but to encourage them that they were so close to the finish line. I couldn’t fathom why they would run all that way to stop so close to the finish-line. For me, having been hit with some kind of ailment that forced me to stop, or had the beast won while being so damn close to the finish line would have felt like a Draconian forfeit. Despicable. I wanted everyone to finish and finish strong! I mean I was flying on cloud 9. I wanted everyone to meet me there and not give up!

Hindsight:  What I learned was that when I was wrestling with the idea to maintain the 7:48 pace my Garmin flashed I was pacing, whether I should have maintained it or slowed down, I should have maintained it. Instead I pulled back to an 8:30-9:00 range because I feared the presence of the “beast” at mile 20ish. I didn’t know if I was prepared to handle the beast. You see, the beast and I never met. So I laid low. Too low. I was cruising like a geriatric in an Oldsmobile on a lazy Sunday after church. Or so I felt. Please don’t take any offense to that. If you are comfortable at that pace or a slower pace, or even if that pace is a struggle for you, you’re a winner!!! As for me, I trained to go faster, so that’s why I was disappointed. I don’t want to rob you of your feat!!! I congratulate you! Whether you are a 3 hour, 4 hour, 5 hour, or 6 hour marathoner, you rock!!! You rock no less than those who finish sub 3! 🙂 .

Regardless, I felt a hedonic pleasure when I crossed that finish line!!! That I can’t lie about! I crossed under 4 hours which is a feat for most runners. For me, the ruthlessness of time stung: 3:50:31 to be exact. It was a stinging reminder that I could’ve gone harder and faster. Just how much faster I will have to wait and see until my next marathon. I’d like to know exactly how far off I am from qualifying for Boston which is a 3:35 time for my age group. I won’t know until I cross the finish-line completely and utterly fatigued and on empty. But I digress and remind myself, it was my first marathon, and having completed a marathon is incredible-I need to let up. I will continue to speed down this endless road to the destination of success which is equivalent to a Boston qualification time. In the interim, I can’t wait to discover the runner I will become!

 

Thanks for reading!!!

Happy Running Lovelies!!!Image

Valgal XOImageImage

Running: You Give Me Fever

6 Feb

I’ve been hitting it hard lately. Running. Running. Running. Did I mention aside from running all the things that take my time away from running? Things such as working, studying, not sleeping well, and a session of Crossfit (new addiction) to name a few.

Sometimes when fatigue hits me and boy when it does it hits hard, I question if I should rest. But resting is for woosies. Right?

Wrong.

But when I do give into rest days, I feel like a big baby and I’m guilt-ridden.

You see, when I am in desperate need of a rest day I battle my logic, my heart, and my training plan-the dreaded marathon training plan in which I do not follow, at all. But it’s there on my counter, glaring at me with tons of unspoken suggestions. When I finally make eye contact it tries to prescribe a 6-10 mile run. So what I do is a quick self-assessment to determine what my prescription ought to be amped up to because I have a fever and it’s running hot (You like that? You see what I did there? Pun intended!). I run 12,15, or 20 miles on my long runs because I can, not 10. A 10 mile run is sprinkled in somewhere during my Monday-Friday routine. Perhaps I’m delirious but that’s what fevers do. 10 miles just doesn’t cut it for a long run. After all, I have my base miles down and I really need to work off those gummy bears I devoured at lunch. But then again, I’m friggin tired.

It is during these moments when I realize I need to question my sanity. Delirium and fevers aside, why wouldn’t I rest when I feel like my breathing is labored from pure exhaustion, when my body aches, and when I’m showing tell-tale signs of a suppressed immune system that is trying to ward off the flu and other bugs I’m certain I caught from public transit? Why did I sign up for a full marathon, again? Holy shit! I am a nut. I signed up for a marathon! I need to be institutionalized. The reality of running 26.2 miles is finally setting in. I mean, can I really run 26.2 treacherous miles, consecutively? I’ve only managed 20.1 miles to date and didn’t know how on Earth another 6.1 miles could be feasible. But when I’m running, I develop this fever for running, this addiction, this euphoric feeling that anything is possible. You see, the fever eliminates any pain and gives me a false sense of security. I call this delirium. Because the moment I’m done with a run I become fully aware that I signed up for a marathon-thinking I could really do it. That’s what’s funny. When I’m running I think I can finish a marathon. But during rest days and moments when I’m not running, the notion of running 26.2 miles exhausts me and I question my abilities. I’m just not too sure anymore if I’m capable of this labor unless I’m in an altered state of mind- running.

This marathon commitment requires me to log miles, miles, and more miles while I simultaneously beg my mind to give in to a rest day so that I may curl up in my bed under all the covers and get some shut eye, promising to savor every second of it.

And as the reality of this marathon thing sets in, so do other things. Things like the exhaustion. The exhaustion of my day leaving my mind numb and my limbs tired, heavy and begging for mercy.

I took a day off from running recently. I wrestled with the idea for hours. To guarantee my half-ass (I lost my full-ass—long distance runner problems) didn’t hit the treadmill I poured myself a glass of Malbec. I sipped my tasty red wine, sat back with my feet propped on my coffee table, and relaxed (or tried to). I still had a hot fever for running but forced myself to enjoy the solitude. I acknowledged I could tame my fever the following day and resolved that my prescription would be doubled. (2 runs in one).

The following day arrived and guilt hit me hard. Not only guilt for not logging the necessary miles the day prior to prep for my marathon (only 5 weeks away), I felt GUILT because I felt as if I retained all the water, the wine, and light dinner from the night before. My waistline felt 5 inches thicker and I felt as if I was a whopping 5 pounds heavier. At that very moment my fever began to blister!!! Screw the double dose prescription, this would be cured only if I tripled the dose (thank gosh I’m not really talking about drugs here).

I realized I wasn’t be rational so I got over the triple dose methodology to cure my fever and settled on the double dose. I continued my morning and as I perused the March 2014 Runner’s World while sitting on the metro I couldn’t help but laugh. I recall laughing at my madness and the madness of other runners. It appears most of us runners run a little hot and we are all a little neurotic… or a lot a bit neurotic.

Here’s what got me laughing.
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March 2014 Runner’s Word, Screw Up–Like a Pro!
With a little stubbornness and stupidity, you can injure yourself the way elites do. Written by: Lauren Fleshman
Rest days are for babies:

I like to run, and I want to get better, so why wouldn’t I take a day off? The hard-core don’t take days off, do they? I bet Shalane worked out twice today. What will I do on my day off, anyway? Think about working out while my mitochondria evaporate? In one day my jeans feel tighter. There is no way this is from being hydrated for the first time in a week. It is fatness as a direct result in laziness. It’s only 9:30 p.m….still time to get in a quick four-miler.
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It appears we are all addicted to the run and we all experience guilt. This article and I experience guilt and feel it on our waistline… And as our fevers blister, the only lovely way to burn is to run…

Takeaways

A rest day doesn’t mean you’re a woose or a baby, it means you’re tired and you’re body is begging you to slow down.

You can’t gain 5 inches in a day.

You can’t gain 5 pounds in a day. If you did, I assure you it’s just hydration and you will be 5 pounds lighter in no time.

Your jeans aren’t tighter because you took a rest day. You’re delirious and those jeans are just as tight as they were after you ran your last long run.

It’s okay to rest.

It’s okay to rest. (Intentionally duplicated)

Stop being guilt-ridden and enjoy your rest days.

Do one thing that scares you every month. (For me, it’s running a marathon)

Love the run.

Make pain a friend and you’ll never be alone.

Stop feeling guilty for eating gummy bears (Okay, that’s me…it’s my blog I can write what I want) 🙂

Keep running your race.

Have faith.

Enjoy being neurotic.

Thanks for reading and stopping by!

XOXO

Valerie
Runnergirl

Michael Kors versus Garmin

2 Feb

Today I joined my friends for a crossfit session and there after we partook in a shopping binge at Ft. Myer’s Class 6 and Commissary in our efforts to stock up our pantries for personal gain as well as to prep for the Super Bowl. What began as a quick trip to the Class 6 for some discounted alcohol (hello Tequila and Firefly) resulted in my grand idea to hit the exchange because I was jonesing for a Michael Kors purse…and what better place to purchase one? A Michael Kors purse at a discounted price and no tax? Yes Please!

So there we were, my girlfriend Kaisha and I, in a sea of colorful, gorgeous, we must own, purses, wallets, satchels, and clutches to name a few. We were in the middle of all this glam and we definitely belonged there. The men that we were with us saw our proclivities to stay put in the Michael Kors section. Having good taste and lusting for attractive things is innate in both Kaisha and I. We knew just how to adorn our shoulders with gorgeous bags and we loved every minute of it. Kaisha and I rationalized prices and relished in the idea that buyer’s remorse wouldn’t even seep in if we purchased a purse, a matching wallet and perhaps an additional accessory. We even went so far to say screw the accessories, let’s purchase two purses. We figured, heck, it’s discounted and there’s no tax, why not!? Ask yourself the same question. What would you think?

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My heart was happy when I realized I could easily see myself with my new bag and wallet that I had in tote. The bag, the wallet, both stunning and affordable, and did I say elegant and striking? Yes, that’s right; I was ready to commit to the purchase. I was so happy. I was almost as happy as my heart is when I decorate my feet with new Newton running shoes. Yup, I went there-running! I thought of running the moment I thought of purchasing a Michael Kors purse and wallet. Then I thought of Crossfit.

Yup. Crossfit. My mind went from Michael Kors to running plus Crossfit. I thought of running and its costs and then I thought of my new addiction of Crossfit compliments of my friend, Kaisha’s husband, Jason. My mind spiraled down this cost analysis nonsense. I know I need to become a member of Crossfit because after today, I’m captivated by it. It is the perfect cross training for a runner like me. Oh no. Then I thought of Paul. Crossfit x 2 people. Cha-ching. Wait, wait, it doesn’t stop there. I need a new road bike so that I can start training for a tri…Cha-ching. We need 2. Cha-ching. Cha-ching. $$$ $$$. Where does Michael Kors fall in line here?

Here’s the trouble. I don’t blink twice when I purchase Newton running shoes. They typically cost $175.00. Add a discount code for 20% off and one pair is approximately $140.00 plus tax. And if you know me you know I don’t purchase just one pair at a time, I purchase two. So there you have it, I spend at least $280.00 plus tax on a given running shoe purchase without exercising any caution. But there I was about to commit to what would be a hugely discounted Michael Kors purchase of only $350.00. $350.00 compared to the normal price of $650.00 plus tax in a typical scenario if I hadn’t been at the exchange, and yet my stomach turned in knots. What gives!

Then this voice in my head said, you don’t buy purses. You buy atheletic gear and equipment.

My stomach was knotted and I had instant buyer’s remorse even though I didn’t swipe my MasterCard yet. I rationalized my purchase for a minute. I even sent a picture to Paul with me donning my so-called purchases with the tag line, “I saved SO much. No taxes and discounted!!!” Paul didn’t respond immediately to object the purchase which led me to rationalize a little more.

I figured that I shouldn’t purchase the purse or the wallet even though I wanted to. Again, if you know me, you know I’m not into name brands unless we are talking about running brands. #hellobetter. Newton! I am just not that girl. I barely get my nails done because it’s a pain in the ass and an expense I don’t care for. Compared to my running addiction getting my nails done is such a nominal cost (I’m so pathetic!). Don’t get me wrong, I love how my nails look when they are done but my gripe is that it takes too long and I’d rather save the money. I suppose I have no issue spending the money on my nails but it’s really just not worth my time. Time is money! I have better uses of my time —> TRAINING! I can’t believe I’m still blonde for the same reason. I despise getting my hair done because the time it takes and the stylist always wants to talk to me. Newsflash, I’m not interested in telling you my life story. Tell me yours and I’m happy to charge you for the therapy session I can provide you. How I see it I owe you nothing…my fee washes your fee…just kidding? (That’s at least how I feel in the D.C. area. I miss my stylist in Scottsdale)! Moving on… I don’t find any of the maintenance (nails and/or hair) to be leisurely. I am a low maintenance kind of gal behind the stilettos when I’m not running in Newton’s who also loves high class at the right price. I am sure I come across as a tough nut to crack sometimes but truly, I am not into name brands at full price and I scoff at those who think name brands brand their identity. I’m just not that girl. I like name brands but don’t need them to define me.

And this is when Paul responded to my text and gave me the green light to purchase the Kors. His text was, “If it’s a great deal go for it! It’s not like you have to ask for permission, Val.”

And then I shed a tear because I was no longer at the Exchange. I text back, “So you’re cool with the Kors and the Garmin? Rock on!”

Paul called me and responded, “Whatever you want, babe. Go for it.” Oh wait, I dreamt that. He didn’t call.

And that is how I separate myself from the masses of females out there. I didn’t swipe my MasterCard. Truth is, I could afford the Michael Kors purse and wallet no problem. The trouble is, I want a Garmin 620, too. That’s right. I turned down the gorgeous Michael Kors purchases for the promise to myself to buy a running gadget. I could buy both Kors products as well as the Garmin but then I’d feel selfish. I know, I know, I want so much!!! But truthfully, it’s all about the Garmin 620. Right?!? I’d get more use out of it. It retails for $399.99. That is approximately $50 plus tax more than my sought after Michael Kors. One would think I’d buy the Michael Kors because it’s a better and cheaper deal. I’d be getting two Kors items at a discounted price with no tax versus one thing, a Garmin, with tax.

But…

I chose the promise of the Garmin 620 over the sensational, drool worthy Michael Kors. Why? I don’t know.

WHAT’S MY PROBLEM?!! Michael Kors versus Garmin. Seriously. Only I would find myself in this quandary.

Here’s my rationale… The Garmin 620 is an advance running watch with a recovery advisor. To name a few, the Garmin 620 overview is as follows:

• Touchscreen GPS running watch with high-resolution color display that tracks distance, pace and heart rate¹
• Calculates your recovery time and VO2 max estimate when used with heart rate
• HRM-Run™ monitor¹ adds data for cadence, ground contact time and vertical oscillation
• Connected features²: automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, live tracking, social media sharing
• Compatible with free training plans from Garmin Connect

garmin 620

The Michael Kors purse and wallet doesn’t confer those perks! What’s a girl to do?

Granted the Michael Kors might make people think I’m a class act (I am!) and add a little more esteem to my wardrobe but it really doesn’t matter. You see, you are more likely to see me adorned in running gear and Newton’s versus my going out, classy attire on any given day. And if you see me in my bright ass running tights by Nike, Lululemon, or Under Armour, and my Lululemon bangbuster headbands, you’d know I’ve got a colorful personality paired with style. You would also see that beauty of a watch I’ll be wearing on right wrist soon that would be none other than the Garmin 620. If you don’t recognize the Newton’s on my feet or the Garmin on my wrist, well then your judgment towards me not owning the Michael Kors (or any other fancy purse with an exorbitant price tag) doesn’t matter.

People judge all day long based on the things we wear and the labels we rock. But the labels I love more than Michael Kors are Garmin, Newton’s, Nike, Under Armour, and Lululemon. In the running world the aforementioned are considerably equivalent, if not have more prestige than Michael Kors and all that other bullshit that we love, all day long.

There you have it. You know me a little better now.

I am that girl. I put down the Michael Kors and promised myself the Garmin 620.

By the way, when Paul did call me I advised him the Kors could be a gift from him later in the year and the Garmin 620 is a go today, or in the near future. He laughed and said sure thing babe…I think he likes that I am nutty enough to choose running possessions over luxury ones. Ugh!

XO

Valgal aka Runnergirl

Keep running. Love the run. Love the burn.

Make the pain a friend and you’ll never be alone.

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