“There is nothing wrong with loving the crap out of everything. Negative people find their walls. So never apologize for your enthusiasm. Never. Never. Never. “
“There is nothing wrong with loving the crap out of everything. Negative people find their walls. So never apologize for your enthusiasm. Never. Never. Never. “
The highlight run of the past week was the Sunday run(s). For some reason, I FELT like running on the treadmill for the longer run. I think I actually just wanted to switch it up…switch up the route and because Petaluma is not very big, I have already run all over the place here. Anyways, I ran on the treadmill. Luckily, Sunday Football was on and I watched the 49er game. I thought I would go 10, but ended up running 12. Happily. For my nutrition needs, I had 1 PowerBar Gel, a few CLIF BLOKS, water and some diluted Gatorade. All was good. Since I’ve been experimenting with the Gatorade, at least I now know I can drink some during race and not have any stomach issues. Huge lesson here is not to try anything DURING a race you have not already done in training.
Post-run — just came home and ate, rested. Felt like I had it in me to go more miles later in the early evening, so i did. Just a short 3.25 in the neighborhood. At the end of the night, felt really good. Stretched & ate well. So, for the day a solid 15.25. Also, did some shorter runs during the week and a good 3 mile hilly hike at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland on Saturday with friends.
After hike, we went to Fenton’s and I had no problem finishing this long awaited Black & Tan Sundae! Toasted Almond & creamy vanilla ice cream, handmade caramel & chocolate fudge, toasted almonds, whipped cream & cherry! OMG! SO Freaking GOOD!
Race day is now less than 14 days away. I was looking back into my running journal from 2009 when I ran this race before. My longest run for that training block was only 16 miles (same as this block). My finish time that day was 4 hours, 21 minutes. If I can be in that ballpark on 10/14/12, I will be more than satisfied.
I know I’ve said before that for THIS RACE, I am not concerned with my finish time because I have not had enough time to train like I should/need to…BUT, it’s also the MARATHON and I know that deep down, I DO CARE. I can’t help it. It’s just my nature.
I bought a new pair of K-Swiss Shoes for my birthday present. They have not arrived yet. Fedex is trying to deliver, but need a signature. UGH. I got home today and JUST missed the driver…so i then got in my car to go see if i could see fedex truck somewhere in neighborhood. I drove about 1 mile and saw truck. No driver inside. I waited. Fedex guy walks towards truck. I then realize, my fedex sticker is for GROUND DELIVERY and his truck is EXPRESS. No luck. I drove back home, kept a watch for FEDEX GROUND. Came home. Deflated. Who knew I was such a stalker. What? You didn’t KNOW how much I love my running shoes???? Where have you been….
Run Strong and Stand Tall.
Sitting in the oversized chair in this quaint, cozy asian-style inspired decorated room…I look out one of the windows and my eyes are dancing at the sight….
The mountain just over yonder is caked with snow. The Ashland, Oregon area was blessed with snow last night. Not a lot, but enough to make the mountain beautiful, to soften the sounds and to add an element of reflection.
I need this. This time to just be. This moment. Who are we without reflection?
I need this wintry weather to help ground and still me. The me inside. To help dim the inner chatter and truly SEE and GET this significant time of my life. (but, isn’t it all significant?!)
I see that I have been brave and will continue to need to be to pursue my dreams. I see that I took big leaps of faith in myself. I GET that this time can also be a scary one. Scary > Exciting > Scary > Exciting > Two sides of the same coin.
I left a nest where I was challenged, but perhaps more protected than challenged. I allowed myself to be held back…and held back I was. Sometimes, we need protection in order to grow. We need a big warm coat to keep us warm before we get comfortable enough to shed the cloth, feel a bit of a chill, and keep moving forward.
With so many situations in our lives, there comes a point where the situation, the relationship, etc…NO LONGER SERVES YOU. These are the crucial moments in ones life, I think. To pay attention to those signals, those signs…that give you that gut feeling that the time has come. Time for you to “go”. Time to be bigger. Time for change. Sometimes, it might be radical change. Radical Change > Radical Growth. If you miss those opportunities and stay in situations that no longer serve you, I believe that is the most damage to ones SELF can occur. Ones soul and spirit might suffer dramatically if one stays beyond the time “limit.” And I think we know that inside, don’t we… When we stay too long? Inside, we know. Even then, it’s so important not to judge ourselves, but to approach ourselves with compassion, gentleness, love. We all have those moments.
I have been on some skinny branches and I think I might be venturing out onto some even skinner branches….YIKES! But, I am ready. It doesn’t mean I am not scared…because I AM SCARED. But, my drive and my desire is stronger than my fear.
And when I was being protected, I felt like I had to claw, scratch and scream sometimes to be heard. Even then, it was sometimes not enough. I don’t want that experience anymore. I don’t need to fight so hard to be heard. My independence will give me that…
We are all on our own road…with all the potholes, smoothness, wide and narrow stretches. We are all driving at different speeds, with different levels of comfort as we try to get to where we are going. Compassion.
And yet, some things are universal to us all. Life sometimes asks things of you. Your soul & spirit will ask, often DEMAND, things of you. And we have all these things inside us. We just need to step up.
When the time is needed, I hope we all can be
Brave, driven, dedicated, visionary, courageous, humble, gracious and determined.
Your strength lies within you. Believe it.
Everything is familiar. Everything is new. I am new. I am not the same. I am the same. Same in my core. ANGIE. I am the same. I am different. I grew. I grew up. I got big.
On Wednesday, February 1st, I made my final cross country drive into the SF Bay Area. I passed town after town and recalled some memories of the places I had passed. I noticed how some places hadn’t changed at all and others, drastically so. Some needed, some not. Needed.
I knew when I woke up where I wanted to go first. Where I NEEDED to go. First.
I had to go see a couple of crazy ladies and say hello.
Mom and grandma. I hadn’t been to see them in quite a while. Grandma died in 2000, but I was not able to get her name on the stone for a long time, so this was my first time seeing the stone with her name added. I walked around, found their spot, stood there, and smiled while tears welled in my eyes.
I instinctively raised my arms wide and said these words: “I’m back. I grew up. I got big. I got bigger.”
The sun was shining on my cheeks and I felt comforted. In the sea of the departed, beauty surrounded and engulfed me. I felt tall. Taller.
I smiled and squated so I could lean over and try to clear some debris from the headstone. My fingers brushing on and over the perfect etchings of their names, dates of birth. Death. Every letter so perfectly aligned. Neat. Tidy. Exact. So un-like life. Ironic.
I sat with the wonderful quiet that falls over Holy Sepulchure and gazed in silence. Then, I stood up and looked at my loved ones. “I want you to know I have people in my life who love and care about me. And I am ok. I think you would be proud of me. The person I have become.”
I left a piece of me, for them, and slowy walked away. Feeling full.
Not sure why or how, but lately it sure seems I am experiencing a running renaissance. This may come as a surprise to some of you. So, let’s look at what renaissance means: A renewal of life, vigor, interest.
As you might recall, I had such a tough summer of training. No need to go into any further details since it has all been already documented here.
The Fall rolled around and I felt I barely made it to SF for the half marathon on my birthday in Sept. Then, I thought….I am going to rest. Just chill and take a break from the running for a while. Well, what is “awhile”?
In my mind, I thought I would try to not run at all for about a month. Well, that didn’t happen. I just couldn’t sit still. Plus, the Fall is such an awesome time to be outside. The temperatures cool, the humidity falls away and becomes nonexistent. How could I not want to be running in this weather?? And, I feel that FALL running sorta adds it’s own natural/organic inspiration. The scenery, the environment completely changes and it’s such a natural time of reflection and contemplation. The air seems fresher, cleaner and like I can breathe deeper. So, I’ve been taking deeper breaths as I am rounding the corners and crunching on leaves and feeling the Fall air on my arms, face, fingers.
I feel my legs moving more swiftly as I tackle the hills of the Atlanta neighborhoods. My legs feel lighter, my entire body feels lighter, even weightless at times. I face the hills and I am running up them with a quickness that has surprised me. I am getting to the tops with less effort than I remember from the past. Most of my runs have all beeen with negative splits, which feels awesome! Where has all this come from?
I’m sure part of it is the volume has come way down! Today, for the first time ever, I thought back to the summer training and do believe I ran a bunch of junk miles. JUNK MILES = miles just to get in miles thinking I needed more when in fact I didn’t. An important lesson.
I didnt know it then, but I can recognize it now and apply this to my future training.
Perhaps part of this “renaissance” I am experiencing is also due to the break in a specific goal or a specific race in mind. I think I needed the break from that kind of self inflicted pressure. Looking back to the first 6 months of the year as I tried to break 2 hours in the half marathon distance….I put a lot of pressure on myself to accomplish it. Came close, but failed. Then, immediately afterwards, signed up for the full marathon and summer training. More pressure. In the midst of all this self inflicted pressure was also dramatic changes in my work life that came with real external pressure. I think it all just got to me. Now, for the record, let me clarify: I actually like pressure. Like the challenge of it. However, like everything in life, there is a limit and I definitely bumped up against mine. And obviously, I like goals and setting them, etc…. I just needed a break from them since I had a specific running goal for about 9 months.
So, since my last race in Sept, I have been running, but without any specific goal. As of today, there is no race on my calendar. In the last month or so, I have not gone any distance over 6 miles. The coolest part about all this is that I am running FASTER without much extra effort. In fact, I feel like I have NOT focused on effort much at all. Just going out running…I have felt loose, free, light and my mind feels quieter while on the roads.
So… even though I have not written about running lately, I have been. Running, that is.
Of course, I am always changing my mind when it comes to training and the level of training. Before my last race and while I was in the midst of feeling so much physical difficulty, I said I would back off after my birthday run and really give my body a chance to rest. HA.
As you recall, if you have been a reader of this blog, I had a disappointing (understatement) marathon training segment this past summer. Several factors played into what happened to me physically and mentally, but at the end of the day, it was just flat out disappointing. I felt slow, exhausted, never good enough, and wasn’t really having any fun. I was also on a vegetarian nutrition plan and went quite a while with no alcohol or sweets. I felt consumed with training and yet, I was not getting the results I wanted and again, I really wasn’t having any fun. I now also realize I was completely discounting how much some other things in my life were affecting my training. Work had been extremely stressful and some personal stuff was also difficult this summer. So… i had a perfect cocktail recipe for a tough time with no balance and we know that a life out of balance is a perfect recipe for disaster. Physically, i felt like a disaster and of course, I hated that feeling. I like to feel fit, healthy and “ready to go”. I’m only now realizing all the things that played into the “disaster” and how it all got created.
Making that decision back in September to drop from Marathon to Half Marathon felt excruciatingly difficult…as if my life depended on it…Of course, it didn’t, and some people may even wonder what the big deal is. Like anything else, when something is important to you, perhaps only you truly understand your decision making process and the feelings associated with it. Of course, it was not the end of the world. Life went on and I went on to run a respectable half-marathon.
Since that race, I have definitely cut back on the amount of training. I am only running 2-4 days a week and I have not focused much at all on the number of miles. I have mostly focused on speed and I have felt better than I have in a LOOOONG time. I have been having some of my best runs in terms of TIME/PACE and most importantly, I have been thoroughly enjoying myself. I have been pushing my pace and been loving it. It’s been so awesome to feel my legs turning over faster, my arms pumping faster and my breathing deeper. My lungs have been burning and my quads have been aching from my faster paces. I have been running hilly routes and not losing my stride. I have been pushing through and then zooming on the downhill sections. SO FREAKING FUN. Fun like I am cycling down a fast, fast hill and I am flying down it. I feel free.
And today’s run was kinda a snapshot of the ones I have experienced lately.
I went out thinking I would go 5 or 6 with only a few very moderate incline/declines along the way.
I had run a “fast” 3 miles last night at 5pm, and today’s run would be done less than 24 hours after that so i wasn’t sure how my legs would respond.
I parked in Virginia-Highlands, slipped on my iPod, and off I went on a crisp late morning in Atlanta.
The instrumental version to “Empire State of Mind” by Katy Perry was the 1st song that played and I was in my moment. AAHHHHHHH —
I ran on and found my stride. By 2nd mile, i could feel my legs getting a little tired. I took some water and trucked on up the hill and was super focused. I ran through Inman Park and into The Old 4th Ward. Mile 3 passed. Flat stretch and a little downhill now. Just hoping to hit the green lights and I did. Faster, faster. 4 miles done. Realized I was only gonna run 5. Dug in and stepped it up. Found a deeper gear. Mile 5 done.
5 miles at 8:56 pace per mile. Faster than I have run in a few years, at least. Felt fucking awesome!
I’m so looking forward to my 10k race next Saturday.
It’s worth noting that during this time of faster results in training and feeling more joy in the process, I have not been nearly as “focused” or as much of a stickler on my nutrition…i.e.. i am eating red meat once a week to help with iron levels, i am taking a multivitamin, i am drinking when I feel like it and i am enjoying my cookie cravings.
When I completed my run, I had to walk about half mile up the hill to where my car was parked. Alicia Keys’ version of “Empire State of Mind” came on the pod and I was singing loudly as I walked up the street. Then, I kept throwing my little water bottle up in the air and catching it and then throwing it and running to catch it…a la football. It was pure joy, I tell you. PURE. I wish I could have seen my face or taken a video clip of this true, simple, and joyful moment. I was so full.
Running… one of my life-lines.
During my 20′s, while I lived in California, I did some workshops that were all geared toward learning about oneself and how to deepen the relationship with yourself and others. One of the workshops was a 3.5 day event from morning until evening. It was held in Mill Valley and was super intense from an emotional perspective. My experience that weekend is still very fresh in my mind and I feel I am still learning from the teachings and the subsequent teachings with that particular group.
One of the scenarios/exercises we did has come into my memory recently and I remember it with a bittersweet feeling. Here’s what happened…
The large group of about 75 people were led on a guided meditation with a story. We had to imagine we were all on a plane and our plane had crashed. There was a small raft that could fit 10 people and those were the people who would able to escape the crash and save themselves. Each one of us had to decide if we wanted to be one of the 10 voted onto the raft or if we would be willing to give up our seat for someone else in the group. After the meditation, each one of us had to stand up in front of the group and in 30 seconds explain your choice. If you wanted a seat on raft, you had to explain why you felt you were worthy of it. You had to state your case as to why you should be one of the 10 chosen. And conversely, if you did not want a seat, if you were willing to give it up for someone else, you had to explain your reasoning.
Well, I was about the 10th individual to go and state my case. Basically everyone before me had said they didn’t want a spot…that they had lived a full life and it was ok for them to be off the raft…or they said they didn’t feel they were any more worthy than next person, so they basically opted out. I sat in my seat absolutely stunned that these people were basically killing themselves, unwilling to fight for their lives. Even though I was terrified to stand up and speak in front of 75 people, I was also bursting at the seams to jump out of my seat and explain to the group that HELL YES, I wanted a seat on the raft. I wanted to live!
And, so I did just that. I had 30 seconds and I only used about 10. I think I said something about being young and passionate about life And YES, I WANT TO BE ON THE BOAT. My voice was loud, steady and my words were said with conviction. When I was done talking, I just stood there for the remainder of my 30 seconds and then sat down. The rest of the group proceeded and more people gave up their seat rather than fight for it, although there were others who made strong cases for being on the raft. I continued to be baffled though by the sheer number of people who were sheepish and who were giving up so easily.
Next came decision time. Each person had to vote on paper the 10 people they felt were worthy of the seat on raft. Who would the survivors be? Who would be voted on to go and live and be a good parent, a good citizen, etc…
The voting was finalized and the names were announced. As each person was announced, they were to go stand at front of the room.
I was not chosen. I was not voted on the raft.
I was truly shocked and a bit angry and upset. I mean, crap, I was actually one of the few people who said they wanted to live and I wasn’t voted on? What hell?
We were then given an opportunity to hear feedback from the group and the leaders of workshop if we wanted. You could ask for feedback on why or why you were not chosen.
I asked for feedback. The person whose comments continue to stand out for me were those of one of the workshop leaders.
“Angie…yeah, you know, I DID vote for you to be on the raft. In addition to being one of the only people who didn’t kill themselves, in liked your presence up there and I GOT that you truly wanted a seat, that you really wanted to live. I wanted you on the boat with me. I got it, but there’s a way that your peers did not GET it…and that is where your work is.”
There was and is no right answer to being on the raft. The exercise was used as a way to really see yourself. A mirror. A tool. Pretty damn powerful. Even still…
Caught myself in one of life’s precious moments earlier today. I didn’t start my run until about 11:00am, which of course meant it was a wonderful sauna outside. 88 degrees, 65 percent humidity. I struggled thru 6 miles and just allowed myself to walk quite a bit after running the first 2. My head felt so hot, my heart was beating rapidly, and yet my pace was slooooow. Just a typical day of running in the south, eh? Ok…so…I ran thru the Celebration, Florida neighborhood where seriously everything looks so perfect….perfect grass, perfect sidewalks, everything so clean and crisp. A very quiet, cute community about 12 miles from Disney.
About 30 minutes into run, I was able to stop in a a building and soak my bandana in cold water and refill my water bottle. I wrapped the cold, wet bandana around my neck and proceeded with the run. Er…run..walk…run…walk…
Whole body was feeling some fatigue after yesterday’s run plus the 7 (fun) hours of walking around Magic Kingdom! Ok….so…I finished up the 6 miles and went straight to the pool to meet up with my pals who were exercising their option for pool time instead of run time. I rinsed off at the cold outdoor pool shower and then hopped in to join them. After probably 15 minutes, we saw some infamous Southern rain clouds coming in and made our move out of pool. They had brought their towels, of course, but since I had come from running, I did not. I decided to just go ahead and walk back to condo in the rain. What did it matter, I was all wet anyways? As I began walking, the drops and speed of rain became more intense and we were in full on thunderstorm. I was outside of the pool gate area and stopped and waited for my friends to see me. I did one of my “open arms” poses where I held my arms open as wide as I could and tilted my head back. The large, warm Florida drops washed over me, poured down over my head, over my glasses and all over my body! I felt like I didn’t have a care in the world. I kept walking back to condo and then started running barefoot, in the middle of the street with the rain falling all around. I was smiling big. This is life, baby! Tasting life…