Tag Archives: lug it out

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 

 

 

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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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The Running Funk

1 Aug

I Don't Want To

This is me. No, really. This is me.

This is my inner child. My inner child is almost always springy, vibrant and doing the happy dance because: I just crushed my running goals, played with the puppies and Silas made turkey gobble gobble sounds that put me in gut-wrenching hysterics, or because I have gummy bears and sprinkles on my froyo.

As you can see, I’m not springy, vibrant or doing the happy dance. I’m having a temper-tantrum. I’m completely and utterly unmotivated to lace up and go run. I tried to run yesterday but after one brief mile I threw my hands up and said better luck manana. Today is manana and I still don’t want to get out there. What is going on with me?

My hamstrings are tight. My shoulders hurt. My back hurts. I feel like the kiddo from Pixar’s film, Up.

Russell: [Whining] I’m tired! My knee hurts!

Carl Fredricksen: Which knee?

Russell: …My elbow hurts!

Am I having phantom pains to excuse my lack of commitment to run? Or am I just whining?

Uh oh. Is this The Running Funk?

I’ve been driven to crush my goals and measure my progress by racing; however, this time of year there aren’t many races that cater to my wants. I can do fun runs, 5ks, Ragnar Relays etc. They are all great and fun but they don’t satiate my hunger for endurance and self-discipline. They don’t test my limits or my spirit. That’s where I get my thrill.

What’s the alternative to gauge my progress? All my goals are months out. I run. I train. I cross-train. When I do partake in these activities, I do so with intensity.  But I lack a formal training plan right now and I think this is the reason for my running funk. I think this is where my objection to go running stems from. I need structure. I need deadlines. I need a race that makes me feel inferior so that when I cross the finish line my inner child sticks out her tongue and says “nanna, nanna, nanna!”

But theses races are months away.

How do I fight the running funk that is now?

It’s not a performance plateau running funk. It’s not an injury endorsed running funk. It’s a mental running funk.

Suggestions are welcomed!

Until then, my inner child and I are going to go out for a run (even though she doesn’t want to). The notion is making her unpleasant and her behavior is very disruptive. I will defend the need for a run by telling her we need to get the BQ marathon monkey off our back. Ooooh, monkeys! The gentle distraction from running to monkeys puts a sparkle in her eyes and has altered her frustration to that of amusement! That and the promise of some froyo with gummy bears disguised by a layer of colorful sprinkles.

Oh inner child…let’s run. Let’s run this funk out.

Happy Running!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

But I’m Tired & I’m Sore

27 Jul

After waking up with sore muscles I struggled with the idea of working out. To get my mind off of it, I got lost in Sunday morning. I made my husband a yummy breakfast since he was working and I was delighted to receive his approval with a five star rating! I then spent the next hour sipping my coffee as I blogged about the Spartan race. After blogging about the race, I mustered up the energy to change into my athletic attire and head to the downstairs gym.

I got as far as changing. I was getting ready to put my shoes on when I decided I to prep dinner. I took two steaks out of the freezer from Omaha Steaks to thaw (just a small fraction of the generous assortment of goodies we received from our mom-thank you, Jan!). Then I decided to fold the laundry. I kept looking around for more tasks to complete other than my school assignment to avoid the gym.

What has gotten into me? I love the gym…But I kept thinking, I’m tired and I’m sore.

It came down to gym or homework. I opted for the gym.

Today’s sweat session was different from my normal running routine. I gave my legs a bit of rest while I killed it on the elliptical! A good hour on that baby had me soaked in sweat. Ahhh, the sweat life. How I love thee!!! I couldn’t believe I was going to give in to a rest day. Why would I ever willingly trade a training day of sorts for a rest day? I love the feeling of accomplishment. I love feeling cleansed and empty! I love knowing I have a glass of Silk chocolate milk waiting for me! (Or a beer).

After a quick hour I parted from the elliptical, my trusted backup plan if I’m not running or on the bike. I headed over to the yoga studio to work on my abs. I dread doing abs. It’s the bane of my existence. Ok, not really. I just hate them. I know having a strong core is necessary, especially in all that I want to accomplish fitness wise but I hate them. I get into really good routines incorporating them in, then I fall off. Some days it looks like I have nice definition and other days, there’s no definition-evidence of Spartan race pictures. Today I reminded myself that abs were necessary. So I forced myself to complete a few sets of plank and pike among others. Ugh. I think this is how some people feel towards running. I get it…

After my ab sesh, I returned home feeling revived and the soreness from the morning dissipated. I enjoyed my Silk chocolate milk and proceeded with my household chores until a wonderful girlfriend invited me for coffee.

I warned her of my current sweaty state but she didn’t mind. I put a leash on Silas (our boxer pup) and walked down the street to visit with her. That’s the great thing about where we live-the community cultivates an environment that is car-free, walkable, and dog-friendly. As we sipped on iced coffee (I indulged-there goes my ab workout, hehe) and chatted, Silas met new friends (humans and other fur buddies) and slurped water from one of many water bowls.

When it was time to go, I couldn’t help but to feel even more refreshed and accomplished. My lazy Sunday has been nothing but lazy. It has however, been very relaxed in the sense that I have had no itinerary.

I achieved a lot today (except for my homework). Most importantly, I have enjoyed everything around me. Today is a gift and I am blessed to have been able to risen and care for the ones I love, including puppies, and been able to sweat. It’s the little things.

I hope you’ve had a blessed day and been given an opportunity to do what you love to recharge for the next work week, all while loving unconditionally all those around you. Take a minute to be thankful. Breathe in the beauty of the day.

Thanks for stopping by!

Happy Sunday!

XO

Valgal

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Du a Duathlon?

25 Jul

Hello friends!!!

Happy Friday! We made it!!! 🙂

Here’s a quick update about me and my life between the miles…

I just wrapped up my 4th class in my pursuit of my MPA. I’ve got 6 classes left to go! This feels good. Very good. But not as good as the feeling I have after a painstakingly long and exhausting run and/or bike ride. That’s right, that kind of pain in my legs and the build up of lactic acid hurts so good! Needless to say, my focus on academia this week interrupted my BQ training efforts. Interruption of my training regime never feels good…

Let me share with you something that I think will make me feel good!

I stumbled upon a sprint duathlon competition next Sunday, August 3rd and I am seduced by the idea of competing in it. I’m hesitant to register though. I keep hovering the mouse over the register here button.

You see, I have not done a run/bike/run before. I have, however, run a marathon (currently training for my next one), several half marathons (racing and training), 17ks, 12ks etc. I have also trained with 20, 30 and 40 mile bike rides with a relatively decent average for speed considering my novice status. So why couldn’t I do a duathlon that incorporates both running and riding? This duathlon is comprised of a 2 mile run, a 13 mile bike ride, followed by another 2 mile run. I think I can handle it. I think. That’s why I’m provoked and almost obsessing over this.

I have covered these distances before. I know I have the stamina for this kind of endurance but the idea of a duathlon is daunting. This is outside my normal. It’s unfamiliar. It’s unchartered waters (I know this is not a Tri) and it drowns me with instant panic and anxiety for fear of failure.

Do I have the grit? Should I du this Duathlon?

I’m thinking I need a thrill. I’m thinking I need a new kind of race to spice up my training!

I’m thinking I’ll click, register here. I’m thinking yes!

So there you have it. That’s what’s new in my life between the miles-I’ll be covering the miles in a whole new forum next week!

Wohoo!!!

Happy weekend! Happy running! Happy riding!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

My Definition of Beauty: Sweat

29 Jun

Hello friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-So come on and sweat with me!

Happy Sunday!

Happy Running!!!

 

XO

Valgal

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I’m All Jacked Up on Ragnar!!!

8 May

Hello friends!!! Good evening!

You read right. I am packing for Ragnar! This is the first time I’m participating in the Ragnar Relay series (Cape Cod) and I am
thrilled about it! I mean, I am really jacked up with adrenaline right now! Wohoo!!! I can’t stop reading about everything Ragnar.

Each day goes by with both co-workers and friends warning me to tread cautiously because I won’t get any sleep, delirium will overtake me, and that they hope I’m paired with a fun group of Ragnarians because if I’m not, I’m told it could threaten the experience and it just might suck!

I need all the advice I can get (good and bad) since I’m the rookie this go around. I’m the rookie of Ragnar! It is kind of exhilarating to go into something without having expectations. I am told I will love the experience as well as hate it during the running legs, but when we cross the finish, I’ll be so doped up on the experience I’ll be fixing for more.

I am guessing that the experience is euphoric. It plays on emotions and fatigue – enhancing said emotions! Ahhhh!

I am not too concerned about the balance between the love or the hate of the race. I recall training for my last marathon. The training was the part I hated (kind of); the racing was the part I loved – a representation of our duality!

Anyway, I’m trying to calm down to catch some shut eye so pardon my brevity. I need all the sleep I can get if I’m going to race for 48 hours with limited rest.

Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned!!!

Happy running!!!

XO

Valgal

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