Tag Archives: lovetherun

Friction

25 Jul

Hello Lovelies!!!

And how are all of you fabulous people doing today?

The sun is out, the weather is warm but not too warm, the humidity is low and I got my run on today…I got it in!!! Today is a good day. And last night I had a good evening, too. I shared my evening with the lovely beauties I’m grateful to call my friends. My relationships with them are so powerful and with little friction. We sipped on wine and shared laughter over topics of relationships, travel, engagements, injuries, and wildly inappropriate subject matters. The dialogue nurtured me as I have missed these women immensely. I swear these friends of mine eat sunshine. We can discuss terrible and beautiful things that have happened to us and to others. We can also discuss world events that are equally terrible and beautiful, and we do so in such a manner of grace and patience with sober awareness paired with frivolity. These women help me explore the depths of myself I wouldn’t otherwise know. They help me see a world through a different lens and I want to give them a shout out and say thank you.

I want to say thank you to these beauties for a myriad of reasons. One of which is kind of my mantra and I’ll get to that. But to travel somewhere 2,200+ miles away from home and to luck into a group of women who not only speak my mantra, but live it…are you shitting me? This is not common practice. I believe most people peacock 24/7 and I’m not trying to sound pessimistic there…more like I’m finally a realist. More often than not people speak words crafted by their bitter tongues that speak boilerplate bullshit…But these women, nah…they’re real.

I always find that when I’m with these women we find ourselves in a natural rhythm of conversation. Their passion and excitement flows from their tongues like the wine we pour in our glasses. Their eyes sparkle and radiate when they divulge new news! I love these women unconditionally because they don’t encourage whining. They don’t suggest that you have to explain yourself and what you’re doing with your life. Instead, they propose solutions; they suggest that you throw yourself in unknown territory without a predetermined plan. They encourage strength, independence, and freedom from the insecurities that we tend to build in our heads. If there’s friction they want to help you sand it down. They speak Valerie. They defy the status quo and don’t explain why. They just do it. They are genuinely themselves. They are authentic. And they don’t apologize. Helllllooo, can you tell why I love them?

One of our topics in the middle of our wildly inappropriate conversations was about my hip. My good ol’ right hip. They encouraged me to accept my fate and have surgery. So let’s discuss the deets.

Granted, I ran today…but oh man the hurt. It felt like someone was stabbing a steak knife in my hip in an attempt to get it lodged in there to stay put while I was running. War games were playing in my head. My rational self begged me to stop while my stubborn self told myself to push through the pain. PAIN IS TEMPORARY. Pain is Temporary. Pain is temporary.

This is when I recognized that the conversation I had with my doctor the other day was not hogwash. I had originally thought that the doctor wanted to err on the side of surgery because that’s profit in his pocket…and although he showed me evidence of why it was needed, I couldn’t believe it.

So let’s backtrack…

Monday I went to a specialist who would perform my right hip labral tear surgery. I visited with him to discuss the results in greater detail, determine the necessity of it and if required, schedule the date of surgery. When I met with Dr. P he promptly asked me if I knew my results. I assured him I did. He said okay, tell me what you know. I explained the tear in quick breath. He advised me that I was misinformed. He followed it up and instructed me to lie down on my back because he wanted to contort my body to feel how my hip would react. 

Okay. I felt friction.

After a few awkward leg placements and my right hip popping disturbingly he sat me up. The friction dulled to intermittent blunt pain. He inquired if the positions hurt. I said to a degree but it was tolerable and felt more like my hip was catching onto something. He appeared to be in disbelief and said I have a high pain tolerance.

He had me take a seat next to him by the computer. Images of my hip flashed on the screen. I recall thinking, “Great. What good is this shit…I can’t read it. It’s my hip. Woo freaking hoo. What’s atypical about it?”
That’s when Dr. P starts explaining my condition.

Guess what…

I don’t have a right hip labral tear from running…NOPE. That’s the secondary condition from running. The primary condition is severe Femoracetabular Impingement (FAI) or better known as hip impingement with a number of bone cysts coupled with a large labral tear. Ouchies!

To explain I’d like to compare it to relationships. When something is good for you it shouldn’t hurt, right? But like most relationships friction arises. How do you get past the friction—especially when the relationship works for the most part?

This is my conundrum.

Running, parallel to me and my relationships with people have become old faithful to each other. SO why is it turning on me? Is it bored with my antics, my conversation, my very essence? Have I nagged about the pain and discomfort for too long? Have we become like security blankets devoid of true companionship?

I have exercised integrity with running. I have even applied the attraction principle—a little bit of distance and silence… I thought that should have done the trick (back in April). Running post-discovery of the labral tear robbed me of my confidence but reassured me when I picked it back up that distance and silence were golden gifts—the catalysts that helped me find my speed. A BQ was SOOOOO in my future, like tomorrow!!! So where did I go wrong? Did I even go wrong? Why are we breaking up?

My running relationship akin to that of real relationships has caused literal friction. My hip impingement basically means that the pain I’be felt since I was about 3 years old in gymnastics and forward was due to my ball (femoral head) and socket (acetabulum) rubbing abnormally creating damage to my hip joint. Apparently, compliments of my genetic makeup, my femoral head is too big for the socket (that’s what she said – I had too…sorry!). All my complaints of the rubbing, crushing, clicking, catching, sanding and popping sensations in my hip have a real physiology — for that I am relieved.

I’m suffering with the reality of my diagnosis because I’m used to getting what I put in on and off the path. I like to gain what I’ve earned. I recognize obstacles come up and trust me I know them well. I overcome them. I am happy to run through them with all my might — my whole 5’2” stature. But now I won’t be able to run through this one. Did I earn this discomfort because I was putting in the miles and speed to earn a BQ?

The surgery is going to require Dr. P to complete an arthroscopic procedure. He will shave my femoral head down to a size that accommodates the socket. During the arthroscopy he will repair and clean out the damage to the labrum and articular cartilage as well as shave off the cysts. Ugh!

Dr. P told me because of my 5’2” frame and being moderately thin that it is highly likely I will have a difficult recovery because my body won’t be able to compensate for the excessive swelling. Oh boy. He’s telling me to expect a 6-9 month recovery.

WHAT!?

I asked him immediately when I can start running…he laughed. He told me I might be able to jog sooner but he can’t give me a definitive timeline. I’m troubled because I don’t know what jogging is.  

My point is the friction is real. I can choose to either work through the friction to find a resolution (surgery) or wash my hands of it. Some relationships are best ended. Truth. Not this one. If you’re like me and chose to work through the friction I hope you reap the rewards of fighting through the discomfort because you want it so madly!

Relationships are unpredictable (have you met running?). Some are safe. Some are monotonous. Some have explosive sparks (hello wildly inappropriate girl talk). Some are bound by magnetism. Some are boring, abusive, codependent, selfish and proprietary. Whatever relationship you find yourself in, running, platonic, romantic, I urge you to see the opportunities disguised as friction. 

I believe there is an opportunity to BQ despite the diagnosis…just not as soon…

The BQ qualifying door may be shut for 2015 but I recognize that although I have been rejected from what I wanted, I’m being re-directed to something better. Find comfort in friction. Make it a friend. After all, to date it’s been a long-lasting friend helping me to discover that it all isn’t really that random — you can fuck up entirely along the way, you can play the wrong sport and not get that D1 scholarship, date the wrong people, marry the wrong person, invest in the wrong stock, train too hard and get injured…but you end up exactly where you need to be.

Cheers to friction. May it continue to unfold in all your relationships and may you find its remarkably uncanny backdrop in crises to be the driver of your greatest revelations.

How do you handle friction? What have your experiences been with sports/running injuries and how have you rehabilitated?

Thanks for stopping by!!!

X0

Valgal

     

 

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It’s easy to go hard. It’s hard to go smart. 

24 Jul

Today’s Run Recap: I set out to do a #halfmarathon #halfmary but at mile 6 my right hip was throbbing w/pain. I told myself to finish the hour sweat sesh and wrap it up-13.1 was not happening. My lungs, legs, & core all felt fresh & able but I had to do the hardest thing & STOP. Listening to my body is not my strong suit but I’m getting better. It’s easy to go hard. It’s hard to go smart. Today’s pace was 7:15 & I was planning on maintaining it the next 5 miles. Maybe next time…maybe post-surgery…Highlight was sipping on the yummy goodness from @cranksports!    
   

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

I’m Sorry. I’ve Been So Busy.

21 Jan

Hello friends!

I hope you’re all doing fantabulous!!! Wohoo to fantabulous!

You know what is fantabulous? The moment you realize people are full of shit but you discreetly smile and nod.

Here’s one of my biggest gripes.

Keep reading.

This one will getcha!

When someone says, “I’m sorry. I’ve been so busy!”

I immediately question their intent and contemplate in silence “Oh, you’ve been so busy? Really? Hmmm. Reeeeeeaaalllly?”

My mind wanders.

I question their authenticity.

I mean shiiiiiiiiit…they’ve been so busy…

This leads me to believe their downright negligence to maintain, at the very least, mediocre communication through all means possible, is due to some grand selfless act! It gives me reason to speculate that they must be stationed in Uganda researching the cause and effect of the country’s confirmed case of Marburg or they must be curing cancer!

In the event they have methods of communication, while being sensitive to the fact that the time zone is a bitch to deal with, one would hypothesize that while they are on the John they would attempt to send a text, “Hi, I’m on the shitter in Uganda and the stars are so bright. Thinking of you!!” – that would do, might be weird and offhandedly romantic? But it would do. Or at the very least, muster up enough courage to play a word via Words With Friends…unsure if you’re about to open up a sought after tile and be crushed-to receive a notification hours later that I went in for the kill with the triple word score!

However, when my emotions subside I see clear as day. And day tells me this…Gee…Visiting a third world country to fight famine, poverty, and disease to name a few is a hell of a lot more selfless than my own objectives. I mean so and so is out there curing cancer and I’m over here training for a marathon. Ha. That ain’t shit! I only have to suffer for three and a half hours on a course with conveniently placed port-a-potty’s for said shit (just in case) while you have to suffer on a makeshift John in the middle of the dark Uganda terrain until the dangerous wildabeasts get some shuteye.

Who am I to judge that, “[You’re] sorry. [You’ve] been so busy?” You’re saving lives! I get it! You’re also trying to shit in peace! I totally get it. You’re the brave one!

I’m only here working, learning, finishing my masters program, and training for a marathon to name a few. I’m only relatively busy. But you, you’re so busy. I could send you some two-ply toilet paper. That’s my peace offering.

Too much?

I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

I’m sorry that when I hear, “I’m sorry. I’ve been so busy” I hear, Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Truth is, everyone is busy. When you try to make it an excuse for a lack of communication, it comes off negative.

I don’t do negative.

Let me reiterate, everyone is freakin busy.

Kara Goucher, my idol, NOW she is busy. An Olympic long distance runner, marathoner, mother, wife, sponsored by Oiselle…yea, she’s busy…

But you’re curing…[fill in blank space].

That makes it better?

Nah.

You’re probably curing a comatose state.

My philosophy goes-you matter to me; therefore, I make time for you by carving time out of my schedule for you. I try. I do. *How does a late lunch sound after my three-hour training session? I have to shower and clean up so I don’t arrive a stinky, sweaty monster. But yes, I want to see you. I’ll accommodate the best I can. Do you understand? I try.

Your philosophy goes-I care about myself, and when you’re convenient I will show you I care, but really, you don’t matter enough to me to make this routine; therefore, I won’t and I don’t plan to go out of my way to make time for you, unless it benefits me.

But that’s okay. You’re in Uganda and you’re curing cancer! I’m so privileged and blessed to know you!

You’re fantabulous!

I’ll raise money during my next marathon to support your mission!

Isn’t that fantabulous?

If you don’t recognize this as a comedic satire, “I’m sorry. I’ve been so busy.” I’ve been so busy trying to deliberately write this brief blog while trying to make sense of your true motives.

Now that’s freaking fantabulous.

Your authenticity is weak and I don’t give a shiiiiiiiit. I’ve already supplied you with enough stock in toilet paper to tend to your own.

In the meantime, I’ll keep being too busy, but not busy enough to make excuses.

And therein lies my point…people are busy but people use it as a crutch to explain their lack of communication or distance. In my heart of hearts, I believe people should exercise candor and perhaps say, “I’m sorry. I’ve been so busy. I know you are busy as well. But right now I need to decompress.” This would be okay in my book. I recognize we all need time for ourselves. We all need to decompress and be restored. It’s healthy. It’s not selfish. It is only selfish when the behavior is habitual, giving off the impression that being busy means you’re only partially proficient in time management. Aye! I can’t expect people to act or think like me, so when I hear the excuse, I smile and nod…

Thanks for stopping by friends! I think it’s fantabulous you weren’t too busy to read this! You rock!

Happy running!

Don’t let anyone steal your time away from your goals! Stay true to you. What I have witnessed is that people are unwavering in their own commitments that you shouldn’t sway your own to meet theirs…unless of course you want to.

Because of you I blog! I blog about running and my life between the miles. I am honored and blessed that you stopped by today. :)))

Thank you!

XO

Valgal

Pain Is Insignificant: A Commitment to Honor

11 Nov

Hello friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do I do?

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

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

Thanks for reading!!!

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

Happy Running.

XO

Valgal

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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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Running Thoughts…and More

8 May

I find myself enthralled in all things running. Obviously – I mean I blog about it!

The other day I was captivated by an article in Runner’s World. I couldn’t help but smirk and laugh at the author’s hilarious one-liners. If anyone on the metro was paying attention to me, they would have thought I had a screw loose. Who laughs out loud while reading in public? Me. A few minutes later I rolled up the magazine, placed it in my ginormous purse (which also serves as my lunch bag, shoe storage for my stilettos that I wear in the office once I am done commuting via foot), and I exited the train.

Hmmm. I glanced up and realized that I was standing in the McPherson Square metro. Oops. This wasn’t right. I missed my exit because I was reading and marveling over my magazine! Dang it!!!

The point of the story is that I find that I am easily distracted by anything running…and I love it! Even if it throws a wrench in my commute.

My distraction got me thinking about why I love running so emphatically. My addiction for running grows each time I speak, think, and write about running. Each training run and race feeds my addiction. I can’t help but to speak of it with spirited ardor!

So here it is, here is why I love running. It’s so elementary as well as equally perplexing.

I LOVE running because…

1) I love the challenge.
2) I love the burn in my legs.
3) I love the burn in my lungs.
4) I want to see how far my spirit will carry me when my legs want to quit – mental fortitude.
5) I love the caloric deficit.
6) I love feeling completely empty after a long run.
7) I love to sweat.
8) I love my beast-mode.
9) I love wearing bright-ass running gear.
10) I love wearing matching bright-ass headbands, ankle socks, compression socks, and Newton running shoes.
11) I love running for fun.
12) I love running to compete against myself.
13) I love running when I’m sad, mad, upset, and angry (I get angry sometimes) because when I’m done with the run, I’m happy!
14) I love discovering what I’m made of and who I am.
15) I love running because it clears my mind.
16) …I get to eat gummy bears.
17) I have no guilt when I drink a beer or two.
18) It alleviates some of the guilt I have from eating that cookie from Au Bon Pain.
19) I make friends with fellow runners.
20) I get to participate in Ragnar Relays with other nutty runners!
21) I like to eat and drink (I already said that).
22) I love the pain and the pleasure of the run.
23) I love pushing through it when the run gets tough.
24) after the first mile, the miles get easier.
25) I love the spectators
26) I love feeling that if you want something bad enough you can make it happen.
27) running is not for pansies.
28) I love the adrenaline.
29) the feeling of accomplishment!
30) running gives me joy.
31) it forces me to hold myself accountable.
32) I love to challenge my limits. I will not be limited by the challenge.
33) I love the euphoric feeling of crossing the finish line!
34) I run for those who can’t.
35) the experience gives me a stamp of authenticity.

36-1000 and so on…because I love the self-discovery running gives me. It’s me versus me.

Every runner has their reason.

Sometimes I don’t run. Sometimes I don’t run despite the reasons I love to run because of my work schedule, because of my master’s program, because I’m just plain tired, or because I just don’t want to. Yes, I have days I just don’t want to. The days I don’t run, I find myself famished with an insatiable appetite. How is it that I could be so dang hungry when I didn’t partake in any aerobic activity? These are the days I am cranky because I want to eat everything but I decline everything being offered up. I crave the carbonation of a beer, a Stella Artois, but won’t give in. Or maybe I do. Yea, I typically do. I take the beer.

Then this likely happens: I sip it while I am burdened with the irrational guilt from drinking the beer plus that cookie from Au Bon Pain I probably ravenously devoured at lunch. Then I would count the calories. Oh no!!!! I didn’t “run” it off. I probably become illogical and think the yummy goodness will go straight to my hips! I would then plead that the sugar, butter, and carbs go to my arse. Ugh! I could seriously cry. Not alligator tears, just guilt tears.
#runnerproblems

And this my friends, this is why I love to run. Because runners, we are all a little irrational, nutty, and idiosyncratic.

We love to torture ourselves by racing absurd miles until our body is beat into submission. When we cross that finish line we feel victorious. Yet, in opposition, the reality of drinking a beer, or two, and a cookie on a day without a run renders us in catatonic state – or at least me. I told you we are irrational!

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Dang You Easter Bunny!

5 May

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Hello friends!

Happy Sunday! As luck would have it, I was able to wear my contacts today without experiencing excruciating pain. Naturally, this meant that I would have a full schedule of outdoor activities. The agenda: a long run, a long bike ride, maybe a stroll through Eastern Market, and then some random explorations – and not in any particular order.

The morning started off and I advised the husband that if he would rather ride in the a.m. instead of the afternoon I was down. I prefaced the morning like this because I knew if I ventured off for a run I might be gone for an hour or two and I didn’t want to take up his valuable time by him waiting for my return. Sometimes I can get lost in my run and what might feel like an hour in reality might be two or two and a half hours. I’m not counting –seriously.  I am doing my best trying to be cognizant of my time (which is hard when I’m engaged in the things I enjoy) and his.  The husband recognized my efforts to put his interests before mine. Granted I like riding, but my first love is running.

The morning begins. I make the Mr. a great breakfast. Think egg McMuffin but better! Three fluffy eggs on a toasted English muffin smeared with baby Swiss cheese, a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper, with turkey bacon, and a healthy serving of sliced avocado. That paired with coffee with a little something, something, Emmets Irish Cream (it’s Sunday!) and who could complain? We throw our gear on, pump up our bikes and try to head out the door.

DETOUR!!!

My rear tire is flat. We just pumped air in it to 115 psi and it went down to 40 psi. It should be between 100 and 120, not 40. Come on! We do it again. Seconds later it is flat. Okay, so we drive to our local bike shop (we should be riding at this time) and arrive to fix the flat. This is supposed to be a quick stop. An hour later we leave with a new tube, a couple of gadgets, and a CycleOps Fluid 2 Bike Trainer. Really? We were there to fix a $6 part and we left close to $400 poorer. Ugh! Why does my/our athleticism rob me of our cash? At the end of the day, take a look at all the running gadgets (#Garmin) and the running shoes (#Newton, #Hellobetter, #newtonrunning), the road bikes, the cycling attire (Pearl Izumi), the list goes on that I/we own. Add it all up. Please. Add it all up!!! I could easily own several Michael Kors purses as well as Jimmy Choo shoes and Christian Louboutins. What I’m telling you is I’ve got great taste but something is happening to me. Rather than dropping the dough to adorn me in the dress code for the Scottsdale club scene, yes that is/was a version of me, I’d rather drop the money on all things that make me sweat off the dance floor. I’m transforming into an athletic stylista fashionista who would rather frolic around in colorful Newton running shoes, a neon bright Lululemon Tata Tata Tamer sports bra, Lululemon Speed Shorts that match my bra, and the matching headband. What’s funny is you’ll see me wearing less running than at the club. Because the running paths have no rules about taking your shirt off. What, I’m hot! My humps are still covered.

Anyways, back to today. We dropped some mullah. I had a mini-heart attack because I can’t flash what we bought around my shoulder…Just kidding. I just had a mini-heart attack because believe it or not, I’m conservative with cash and hate spending money. However, I must brag that we bought the trainer because it was on sale and it was a hell of a deal.

Back to today. We came back from the bike shop with a tire full of air. Put that sucker on my bike and headed out. We ventured to a store first a few miles away to buy gear we need for our upcoming Ragnar Relay Race in Cape Cod. Approximately a 5 mile trek toward Clarendon and there we were. We bought a headlight and some reflective gear. On our way back home to drop the stuff off to finally head out for a long ride, winds picked up 25+ miles per hour. Getting home was torturous: the wind; the traffic; the hills; and the downhills. Holy crap I HATE riding downhill. The speed freaks me out. It’s unlike snowboarding because when you pick up speed snowboarding you can fall on snow which causes little pain and the likeliness of skid marks…well, it’s unlikely. Going down Walter Reed road had my stomach in knots. Halfway down and I hopped off my bike and walked down. Yup! I’m a pansy. Paul just cruised on down picking up pace every second. Me, I was a chicken shit and met him at the bottom of the hill a few minutes later.

When we arrived back to our place our intent was to drop off the goodies we bought for Ragnar. But with the wind being intolerable we opted to save our long ride for another day. There you have it, there was NO long ride. There was no long ride, no run, and no random adventures. I could not tolerate this. I was totally bummed out. Sunday was supposed to be our day full of activity!

There we were in our apartment with only 10 miles worth of a bike ride. I asked if Paul was interested in a shot of tequila with me to lessen the sting of not putting in 20+ miles but he wasn’t.  So I grabbed a beer and sipped on it while I grazed on a few pretzels dipped in hummus (if you know me, this is quintessential of me). Then, well then I had hunger pangs for chocolate. Ugh!  Thank you Easter Bunny for leaving me with several REESE’S Fast Breaks. That’s right, I devoured the REESE’S peanut butter and soft nougat covered in deliciously rich milk chocolate candy bar. The 260 calories of goodness left me feeling  guilty that my bike ride wasn’t longer and that I hadn’t run yet. Oh wait, 260 calories of chocolatey goodness and half a beer – shoot, I just consumed close to 400 calories of yummy goodness that I didn’t deserve.

Thank you, Easter Bunny. Because of the Easter Bunny, I stuck to my Sunday agenda. Although the bike ride was cut short due to the flat and the wind, the chocolate and beer mandated that I lace up. And lace up I did.

I put my Newton’s on, gave the Mr. a kiss, gave the puppies a little squishy squishy, and I headed out the door. I walked outside and let the satellites sync with my Garmin. I hit the button “Run” and run I did. I intended to go out for a slow run; a slow 8:30-9:00 minute pace per mile. Instead, every time I glanced down at my Garmin it read 7:15, or 7:45. From time to time it flashed 8:13, or 8:45 on hill. I didn’t care. I was just out there to burn off that damn candy bar (thanks, Easter bunny), and to prep for my Ragnar Relay Race in Cape Cod. As I was running, I stayed focused on my form and my cadence. I bent my knees, I kicked up, I drove forward,  and I breathed through my stomach.

 I couldn’t help but to think, and think a lot. I always think when I run. I think of my past, my present, and my future. I work out all my problems and find solutions. I couldn’t believe just how much I was thinking about during this run in particular. You ask, what was I thinking about?  I was thinking about love; life; where I am at personally and professionally; what will come of my decision to change my Master’s (if I go through with it); will I qualify for Boston; can I qualify for Boston racing a half marathon; I need to run a flat and fast marathon for Boston;  I can totally do Boston – I got this, I just need to struggle a bit more; oh geez, family – the grandparents moved this weekend into their new place, I wonder how they like it; I miss my grandparents; I miss their pasta and desserts; damn those desserts; damn you REESE’S;  I miss Phoenix/Scottsdale;  dang it’s kind of hot right now;  I think I’m actually getting burnt;  ooooow, he’s got his shirt off – hello Spring, hello summer;  Paul would like that girl’s ass, look at it, it’s so round;  maybe I should start doing more squats; I have no ass;  Paul’s a trooper man – he’s going to run Ragnar; how much longer until I’m done; geez –beer me already…etc. The list continues.

And then I stopped. I stopped 10 miles later and I can’t really tell you the answers to my problems but I assure you I came across them and attacked them during my 7:30 pace! Yup, that’s right, 10 miles with an average pace of 7:30/mile. I managed to work through my problems/concerns with no room for difficulty.  I managed to let them all roll off my shoulder. I also managed to burn off the REESES’s candy bar, the half beer, and fall more in love with the new city that I’m in. Even though I cursed the Easter bunny earlier for leaving chocolate candy at my disposal and me not having the willpower not to eat it, I’m blessed at the least that the Easter bunny dropped by a few weeks back and in an indirect way, motivated me today to get out and sweat while I explored the city.

So yes, because I was able to wear my contacts today without experiencing excruciating pain, I was able to fulfill most of the obligations on my schedule today. Maybe not all of them, but most, and it was glorious!!!

Thanks for reading!!!  

Happy Sunday!  

 

XO

 

Valgal

 

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Hello Spring!

3 May

Good morning friends!

I woke up this morning ecstatic to lace up and run through the lush foliage that is all around me. Can someone say, Hello spring!

The spring weather and the scenery to date has been captivating. The tulips are blooming after their long refuge under the snow soaked soil. Just walking outside there’s this view of evolving life that is a source of satisfaction for me. The budding radiant flowers compete for my attention. This is why I love running in this city. The color palette is unlike that of Phoenix. And that is why my friends I couldn’t wait to be captivated by the scenery that is the backdrop of my run this morning — but I didn’t run.

I didn’t run because I can’t put my contacts in! My right eye is scratched and it is ridiculously sensitive to light. I can’t run with my eye glasses on because they bounce with each stride, making my focus intolerable, and in addition, I can’t run when my right eye won’t stay open. I literally struggle to keep it open! The pain is throbbing.

Ugh!

So there you have it. No run for me today. But that’s okay because I’m distracted over the fact I’ve got my first Ragnar Relay Race in Cape Cod coming up May 9—10! Woooohoooo! 200 mile relay here I come! And I’m runner 10 with my first leg being 12.8 miles, my second leg is 3.7 miles, and my third and final leg is 3.6 miles! I cannot wait to experience the thrill and the pain of this race while I take in all the beautiful scenery of Cape Cod — another different backdrop to soak on in! I am loving this! Who new running could offer so many memorable rewards and experiences aside from the health benefits?

Perhaps I’ll be able to get a nice 10-15 miles in tomorrow to prep for Cape Cod. Here’s to hoping my eye heals in the next 24 hours!

Happy Running!

XO

Valgal

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