Monthly Archives: June 2014

A Mash-Up of Thoughts on my Slump…and Climb Back!

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I was in a weird slump—As you are aware, Dan and I did the two weeks of the Clean Eating Challenge. We were suppose to feel fantastic! Well, really, I started feeling empty. I was losing too much weight and didn’t have enough carbs in my system. My body has ran on carbs, literally, since my first years’ in middle school track. I am not gluten intolerant, so in moderation I really don’t see this as an issue. My normal eating habits already consisted of whole wheat pasta, and as much as possible scratch-made sauce, so the lacking of that staple, especially during training, hit me. (Wow, that was a lot of commas in a sentence.)

Then the challenge ended. Horray! Eat what I want! Sorta. There were things I wanted to keep with me, like the healthier breakfasts and snacks, and I even realized I should limit my cheese intake (total Wisconsin girl horror!). I also was pumped to get my training back in gear. Thing is, I was headed out to Albuquerque for an International Baccalaureate training. Let me say this-I am SO GLAD I don’t travel regularly for work. Holy crap, it takes a lot out of you. You eat even more different than at home (opposite end of the clean eating challenge) and your normal workout schedule could go haywire.

When I crafted my Edmonton Marathon training plan, I kept in mind my summer vacations. I kept in mind this very week of “school” training in the States. I made sure the runs planned during those times were feasible. Coming off my two challenging weeks of training all while feeling empty, it was harder than I planned getting back into the game…especially while in dry, hot, arid, desert filled New Mexico.

I ended up moving my training days around, struggling to get the miles in. With training going from 8-4 each day, and me not being a morning runner unless it’s a race, getting my ass out training in the afternoon was next to impossible. I went on a ten-miler one day at 4:15 PM…but it was 95 degrees…and I’m a northerner…so I made it 2.5 out and turned around laughing at my rookie mistake. I had to do just 2.5 back, which was a struggle, but I did it. This 5 miler counted for a run later that week. But I needed to do that damn ten-miler sometime.

I got the ten-miler in on Wednesday evening, two days after it was originally planned. And it got done in the Marriott treadmill. Erin, my cousin and motivator for this training, yelled at me via text to get with it and get at it. Well, that I did. I had the luxury of watching my own personal tv during the run, focusing on HGTV, but that wouldn’t be enough. I had to push it to make it worth it.

For each mile, I increased my speed 0.1 mph. I started at 6.0 mph, all the way to 6.8 mph. Then, for the last mile, I increased my speed 0.1 mph for every tenth of a mile. It was the best run I had done in two and a half weeksand it was done on a treadmill. Go figure.

I got back home from the trip, ready to get back into the swing of things. It didn’t come immediately, because then all the traveling back took something out of me. Plus the end-of-school-year party may have too. But the past two days I made huge gains in the right direction. Yesterday, I did a solid 6 miles with a 9:01 average pace, and my fastest mile being the final mile in 8:36. Today, I rocked a speed workout of Yasso 800s. I did not do it on the shale track, but over on the bike path at Nicholas Sheran Park near my house. I ran a mile warmup in 8:46. Then, I did my 800 meter repeats…8 of them to be exact. I wrote about my first experience with Yasso 800s here: YASSO 800s For the WIN!

I was faster than my goal 3:30 pace for every 800 except the 7th one. And I’m not making excuses, but this had a lot to do with the inconsiderate woman taking up the bike path with her three dogs, two of them off-leash…(one of my pet peeves! This is not an off leash park!). I ran 3:27, 3:13, 3:19, 3:17, 3:24, 3:19, 3:43 (ouch! See!?) and 3:12. Each had a 2:45-3:00 minute power walk break. I rounded the workout out with an easy mile home in 9:27.

Tomorrow I have my alarm set for 7 am. After my morning rituals and preparations, I plan on heading out of the house by 9:00 am for my 16 miler. This is a mentally tough distance for me, because during Calgary I hit my decline at 13 miles, and had completely fallen apart at 17. I have a route on the west side mapped out in my head. Then, a decline down Bridge Drive into the river bottom, up the steep Lynx trail, where I’ll prowl through the south side neighborhoods. I’ll head back over the river valley on Whoop Up and hit home. And trust meTomorrow is Canada Day. I am done with the Clean Eating a Challenge, and I will have just run 16 miles. I’m having a carb-filled beer! Cheers!

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Clean Eating Challenge—COMPLETED!

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Well. It’s done. It’s over. It’s completed. And we survived. Barely.

The “Clean Eating Challenge” was taken on by my husband and I two weeks ago. I found it online here: Crazy-Ass Challenge
This seemed manageable and actually realistic, since it contained actually meals, not just liquid. We also made a deal that if one of us bailed, we owed the other $100 for each week we didn’t complete. That, and the fact we spent a ton on groceries, kept me in line. But, let me be honest—this was fucking HARD!

We went into this not because we wanted to lose weight, but because we wanted to clean out our systems of some unhealthy habits. Both Dan and I are pretty addicted to beer. Ok, addicted sounds bad, but it is a known fact that we love our craft beer. We usually have at least one beer a day. For two weeks, we had no beer. I crave my salty snacks, especially my Mrs. Renfros green salsa and tortilla chips. Dan craves ice cream and candy. We gave that up for two weeks of clean eating.

How much did this cost? Well, we estimate we spent $600 for the two weeks of food. Yes….that’s a lot of cash. Especially up front. But yesterday, we sort of ran the numbers, and it seemed alright….so, $300 a person for two weeks of meals. $300 divided by 14 days is $21.43 a day. We also have some leftover food. Some of the perishables will have to be composted, but the frozen fish is fine. Also, since we did not eat out at all, that makes this $600 ok for us. Dan and I go out usually once a week, and after all is said and done with meals and drinks, we usually drop $100 each time. Easy.

The one killer about this diet is on the site it claims you will FEEL GREAT! Have SO MUCH ENERGY! Yeah. About that. LIES. Dan and I were exhausted every damn night. I went to bed around 9 pm almost every night the second week. This diet did not take into account our activity level, so we were definitely malnourished. Some would say we were starving ourselves. Dan does intense labour as a landscaper and arborist during the day. I had just started my marathon training and did 30 miles and 35 miles each week, respectively. In that first week I did the Millarville Half Marathon and was so lethargic. Yesterday I did a 14 mile training run and I wanted to curl into fetal position. My body cannot wait to start consuming gluten again. It needs it.

My mind is starting to thaw after this brainwashing two weeks, so my thoughts are a bit scattered today. Here’s a list, in no particular order, of things Dan and I liked, hated, enjoyed, dreaded, etc about the last two weeks. (we made this last last night while we enjoyed our “last supper.” I admit, we drank a beer with it. We deserved it.)

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-Tamari, Hummus and veggies and Baked fish were great additions to our cooking and diet that we will include. We also will try to make more of our own dressings.
-Dan says “Olive oil is the bomb. Your omelets are so much better”
-We buy free range meat (chicken, beef, turkey) and it’s expensive, but I caved for the first time in about three years and bought some shitty chicken breasts by the package at Safeway. I immediately felt guilty.
-Hardest time for Dan was rain days when he was laying on the couch staring at the kitchen. Mine was 4:00 pm. I wanted Cheetos.
-Thought we would be gassier. We weren’t! Yay!
-Vegetarian chili was “fucking terrible”
-I Still don’t care for kale-can handle it in smoothies
-Got better with cooking and multitasking. We had to cook every damn meal in the kitchen and by us tag-teaming the meals, we pumped them out fast.
-With that in mind, this challenge did bring us together more as a couple during mealtimes and immediately after.
-Andrea became a royal bitch by 9 pm. Dan was “touchy with his feelings” but he said I got more out of line

Final number results? Well, it’s no surprise we lost weight. Dan weighed 155.6 pounds when we started. I weighed in at 131. Neither of us had an issue with our weight. But we knew with the limited calories in the diet we would lose some. Just didn’t know how much. Yesterday, Dan weighed in a final time at 147.3 pounds. I was laughing my ass off on the couch because he couldn’t believe he was under 150. A total weight loss of 8.3 pounds. I weighed in at 125.9 pounds-a weight loss of 5.1 pounds. I even put on my wedding dress last night, solely because I could zip it up again!

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I can definitely say this is crazy and unsafe, as losing that much weight that fast is never a good idea. Cutting pasta and beer and cheese out of my diet will do that I guess. Cutting the pasta and beer and cheese out ruined me for my races and training runs, as my system was out of whack and I felt like proverbial crap. Literally. Yeah, take that as you think.

I am now enroute to Albuquerque for a conference, and I think I am gaining that weight back as I type this at the crappy airport bar in Great falls, Montana, while I enjoy my Bloody Mary.

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We both laugh though because as we bitched for two weeks about being hungry, Dan always finished with a sarcastic “…but we look so good!” He also said yesterday he should start taking mirror selfies stat because it’s the best he will ever look. And now I look back at a post I did last year, and me writing this post today is almost ironic and counter productive. I want everyone to still know that I stand by what I said here last year. A lot of you haven’t read this, because you didn’t read my blog until recently, so here’s what I am talking about: My thighs will always touch

And with that. I leave you this picture from my bachelorette party in the Bahamas. Yes. I am wearing a mumu. And yes, that drink is an impossibly blue color. But that cheese sauce…I could have a whole boat of that right about now. Cheers!

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Father’s Day

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Last week, I avoided doing school work during my prep by choosing to clean my classroom shelves. I still had binders from my classes at UW-La Crosse! I had emptied many in the past and dumped them, but the few that remained in the bottom corner must be ones I thought I may use??…well, I still had some of my “methods” classes down there. Language Arts binder, Reading Methods 432…yeah, don’t need these anymore. The binders were in great condition, so I emptied the contents into the recycling bin and was going to call it a day.

Until I found my journal entries in the back of my RDG432 binder.

This RDG 432 course I remember clearly. It was fall of my senior year, and we met once a week on Monday. The class was 3 hours long. I initially dreaded it, because I really had no interest in teaching reading or language arts, but I came to enjoy it. Part of it was the professor, Michelle Boge. She was very humorous, approachable, and realistic. The journal entry activity was something she did with us at the start of a few of our classes, as it was something we could do in a classroom of our own. She wasn’t going to read them, but they were meant to get us to reflect on a broad topic for 5-8 minutes and write. Michelle would write a statement on the board for us to copy down, and then we had to write whatever came to mind. One entry I did was on chocolate chip cookies, one was on my first job of being a caddy. And the one below was on my dad.

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Was this a happy day I wanted to relive? Not really at all. But it is still a day engrained in my mind. Is there anything I can do about it, now 10 years later? Not really. Except not beat myself up over it. I have matured and I have come to better terms with the situation. I have handled the loss of my father by running for him, using that time during my races to reflect on our family and the times we spent together. I am still not 100%, nor will I ever be, but I can say I am in a better place than I was in October 2006.

It’s never too late to say “I Love You.” I love you Dad—Happy Father’s Day.

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Millarville Run to the Farmers’ Market 2014—Race Report

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Today was the 3rd Annual Millarville Run to the Farmer’s Market Half Marathon. Last year, I ran this event, and you can find the recap here: Millarville 2013

I had such a positive experience at this event last year, that I decided to run it again! Two things were different though: I didn’t go up the night before, and the weather was cool and had a slight drizzle!

My alarm was scheduled for 3:45 AM today, but I woke up naturally at 3:43 AM. How does that happen? Anyway, if you read earlier this week, the husband and I are on this “Clean Eating Cleanse” diet for two weeks. This morning was breakfast number 7. I knew this “diet” could play into how my race would go, but I was using this race as a scheduled speed training workout, not necessarily a personal best. That being said, I had green tea, black coffee, steamed asparagus and two poached eggs as breakfast…not my normal race-morning breakfast. I got dressed, packed a bag to check, and hit the road at 4:50 AM.

I made it to Black Diamond Oilfields Arena at around 6:40 am. I was able to park close the the start line, went in for my morning-of packet pickup, and got myself situated. Packet pickup was smooth, and the shirts are great. Same logo as last year, but different size, orientation, and shirt color.

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The bag check was located right behind the start line, and I was able to drop my bag about 10 minutes before the 7:30 am Half Marathon gun. One thing to note about this event—they have a half marathon, a half marathon relay, an 8 miler, and new this year was the 8-Mile “Bun Run”, where participants had to consume a homemade cinnamon roll from a local bakery at (I think) two different locations during the race before proceeding! The half marathon also offered a 7:00 AM early start for walkers, where I say about 20 people took part.

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I started off the race feeling very solid! The weather was in my favour, and I pumped out a 7:26, 7:51, 7:27, 7:35, and 7:29 for the first five miles. I will note, though, that the first portion of the course had little to no incline, and was mostly flat, or rolling country roads. So what goes down…must eventually go up.

After the relay exchange point was where we hit the first substantial hill. I made mile six in 8:04. No biggie, I still had a great average pace. If I wanted to beat my 1:38:40 personal best from March it could still happen. My legs got a little tight from the climb, but started to loosen during mile seven and eight, where i ran 8:00 and 7:55.

Then came the rural highway from hell.

If you look at this overview map from my NikePlus app, you can see that long, long straightaway, which I would like to nickname “The Mindfuck.” It isn’t just a straight shot for nearly 4 miles, but it’s a straight shot that then keeps rolling upwards, going flat, then climbing up again. During mile 9 and 10 is when I started to feel the tightness in my quads and hip flexors. While I kept telling myself to go for a 7:45 for both these miles, my legs just couldn’t. I ran an 8:35 and 8:11.

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After the climb that wouldn’t end, I looked at my watch around 10.33 miles. I looked at the average pace (which was around 7:49/7:50 a mile) and I quickly assessed my pain level. I also thought about the training I had all summer ahead of me, and most importantly the big Boston Qualifying race I have in Edmonton in August. At that point, I quickly decided to run smart and run slower, coasting into the finish line. I did not quit—I just weighed my options and realized since a PB wasn’t going to happen, it wasn’t worth killing it to just run somewhere in the 1:40s. So mile 11-13 were 8:40, 9:04, and 8:15, which brought me in at 1:44.32.

After walking off the soreness in my leg, I received my sweet handmade bling, and then I broke our cleanse rule and devoured a quarter of a cheese bagel. Sorry Dan! And I also downed a bottle of water. I also immediately felt at ease with how I did! Last year, I ran this same event in a 1:52.10….I ran almost 8 minutes faster! Sure, I was 6 minutes off my personal best, but the improvement I have had over the past year and a half of doing all these races makes it all fine! I finished 36/331 overall runners, 12/213 females, and 8/47 in the 20-29 female category. You can’t have a personal best every race, and sometimes running smarter and safer is key, so that the “Big Show” goes as planned!

How did I feel after? Legs were sore, my knee was fine….but my stomach was beating me up. Did not hurt till after the race. I wanted to keel over into fetal position during the shuttle ride back to the start line, and while I drove back to Lethbridge, I had to stop at a Wayside before Claresholm. This is when I laid in the back seat on Snoopy’s blanket, wincing in pain, and napped for one hour. I did eventually make it back to Lethbridge, and now 10 hours post race, my stomach seems to have settled. Lesson learned—-don’t expect to feel like a rock star after a half marathon when you are on some whack job clean eating cleanse! Next half marathon is the Stampede Road Race in Calgary on Sunday, July 6th. I WILL NOT be on a weird diet then!

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Clean Eating Challenge

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See the picture below:

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That is our fridge yesterday, after returning from a shopping extravaganza at Safeway. What did we buy? Below is a link to the “Clean Eating Challenge” we have undertook. The grocery lists and recipes are located on the page also.

The Challenge

When I initially saw this post online, I admired the fact that it wasn’t some crazy “drink only water with lemon and cayenne pepper for three days” cleanse. I recognized it as a feasible challenge. I printed out the booklets, the shopping lists, the menus, and set a date to begin. I purposely planned on doing it starting this Sunday, June 8th…one week after my marathon. I figured that after all that hell i put my body through, then taking a week off to recoup, a healthy eating challenge would be good for my insides.

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After showing my husband it, he decided he would do it too. I am now so grateful he did, because two nights into it, we both realize how tough it would have been if one person was doing it and another wasn’t. The food prep is tedious, and having both of us working on it is a huge help. Tonight I just cooked a pile of chicken breasts for the rest of the week, pre-made our lunches and snacks, and Dan is washing a ton of pots. If we had tried to do this during a busy time of the school year, we would have quit by this morning.

I run a ton, and I am sure you are all aware of that by now. I consider myself to be in pretty stellar shape. Dan is in decent shape too—he landscapes all day long. We both usually eat relatively healthy—-cereal in the morning, coffee, a packed lunch of fruit, veggies, sandwich….some type of dinner….but where the problem lies for both of us are snacks and booze.

I tend to gravitate towards tortilla chips with my green salsa and sour cream. And i definitely eat way over the recommended amount. I also love, love, love Triscuits and cheese. Dan isn’t a salty snack person necessarily, but when he opens a bag of chips or pistachios, the bag is gone in a sitting. We also love our beer. (Do not fret—-I am not giving up beer for the rest of my life). But you know how when you’re at the doctor and they ask you the number of alcoholic beverages you consume in a week? And you lie? Yeah, that’s Dan and I.

Our initial thoughts so far are as follows (they are rambling and a run on paragraph, because that’s how my mind is at the moment):

Holy shit, the portion sizes are huge! Well…when the lunch is made up of kale, quinoa, and chickpeas for a salad I guess you can be allowed a ton. Can any normal person eat this much kale on a normal basis? Dan thinks he will lose 5 pounds, I will lose 3. I miss mass amounts of cheese. Dinner tomorrow night looks like a letdown. If we had kids we don’t know how we would have the time and energy to make all these random meals and clean up after them. I think I may be crabby come Wednesday. Damnit—this better make me feel good in the end!

Initial Post-Race Thoughts From Calgary 2014

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photo 1So it’s been about 24 hours since I finished the Calgary Full Marathon. I went in with the lofty goal of achieving not only a Boston Qualifying time, but a 3:30:00. All my training and experience pointed towards this being possible. I even did the Red Deer Half Marathon on May Long to practice the 8:00 minute mile pace I wanted to achieve and I nailed a 7:59 average pace. And I felt great after!

 

Yesterday, unfortunately, did not go as planned. I woke up so nervous, but figured it would pass. I gave myself plenty of time to eat my standard race-day breakfast and let it settle. We walked to the start line. I got situated comfortably in the corral and was set. I was fired up and ready to get it!

 

I started off fine, but was having trouble comfortably maintaining the needed pace. I ran an 8:04, 7:58, 8:11, 7:59, 8:08, 8:06, 7:58, 8:23, 8:11, 8:13, 8:19, 8:29, and 8:13 for the first 13 miles. My half marathon time was approximately a 1:46:50.  This was abotu 3 minutes slower than I was two weeks prior at Red Deer Half Marathon, and I didn’t feel as strong as I did at that time.  I could still get a BQ if I maintained an 8:15 minute mile pace for every mile after, or faster. At this point in the game, though, my meniscus had been flaring up a tad. This was what I have been going to massage therapy for the last month or so, and it had helped a ton. I did not have this pain in Red Deer. I also had cramps like none other—women cramps—the worst kind. I tried to mentally get myself back in the game—miles 14, 15, and 16 were an 8:17, 8:14, and 8:07. Still on track, albeit I would need to keep at it. It was at mile 17 it all deterred. I slowed down to around 9:00 minute miles for each mile after. I finished with a personal best of 3:46:22. Yes, it is a personal best, and I am proud of that. But it’s not what I went out to do.

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I’m actually surprised I didn’t cry afterwards or even today because I am honestly sad. I really wanted this. And maybe some of you will think “Well, if you wanted it, why didn’t you run harder?” 26.2 miles is a different story. The last time I ran 26.2 was in Disney, and the surroundings of Disney really helped keep me going. That course was also very flat and the elevation level was nothing. While I felt more prepared going into this race, maybe I just got myself too nervous and put too much pressure on it. Maybe I needed to not rely on myself this race, but try to work with the pace group instead. Maybe I did need the moral support of either my husband or my cousin on the course seeing me at different check points. Maybe, maybe, maybe…..

 

Now it’s a game of “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda.” I know I can’t go back and change how yesterday played out.  I can’t let that play in my mind, because I am going to be a wreck over it. What I can do is not give up. While it may not be the best decision to register for a full marathon that is occurring in August, in approximately 12 weeks, but I am. The Edmonton Full Marathon is on August 24th. I have ran the half here twice, and the course is FLAT. The elevation in Edmonton is 2,116 ft. Lethbridge, where I live, is 2,990 feet, and Calgary is 3,428 feet. These are all positives weighing in my direction. However, do I enjoy running long distances in the heat of the summer? No, but I will. I will get up at 5:30 am on long run mornings to get the distance in. My mileage base is up so high right now that it would be a shame to give it all up. The weather is the biggest factor in this race, and I can’t control that. But I can control what I do so I am prepared to tackle it the best I can. I know I said Calgary was my one shot at the BQ this year, but everyone needs a second chance. Edmonton 2014, I’m coming to get you.

 

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How a Swimmer Became a Runner—in Ali’s Words

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The following post was written by my best friend, Ali Isham. She wanted to write a guest post, and I told her she could write whatever she wanted. Below is what she sent me today:

Andrea and I have been friends forever, and since neither of us have any siblings she is basically my sister; growing up in each others homes, more often mine since we had a pool and my parents were more likely to turn on the AC in the muggy Wisconsin summers. While we were often inseparable we are both terribly different. Anyone reading this obviously knows Andrea is big into running along with other “land” sports such as dancing/poms. I am a swimmer. And I say it that way because it never really leaves you. I was naturally good with anything water based from wakeboarding to skiing and spent the majority of my time in the pool swimming year round. I was not as gifted at land sports. I took gymnastics three times and could not pass out of level 1 because of my inability to do a cartwheel. This is where Andrea and I met when she was in 1st grade and I was in 2nd.

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I was a pool fiend. I swam with a club team year round from about 5th grade on, swam varsity all four years of high school and swam a year and a half at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse before a torn labrum in my shoulder forced me to quit. Throughout my swimming career there was this other part to training; dryland. Dryland is exactly what it sounds like, exercises for swimmers on land. I actually currently work as a swim coach for both a club team and a high school team at Peninsula High School in Palos Verdes, California. And I put a ton of effort on dryland, making my swimmers do all the things I struggled with. I was a firm believer that you are either a water person or land person. We were big on weights, box jumps and running for our dryland. I was amazing at the weights, however always struggled with running. I dreaded mile day in high school during fitness testing. DREADED. I could swim miles in a pool at a fast pace but could not run an entire mile without stopping. It was just not my thing.

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After my injury I moved back to Milwaukee for my last two years of college. I actually put in a honest effort to become a “runner”, running around the block, willing my slow sad legs to just push to that next stop sign. I quit after a few weeks and found myself back in the pool and weight room. After undergrad I moved to LA to attend grad school at USC. Again I found myself at the beautiful USC track attempting to run. The next day I was in the pool swimming butterfly and loving every second. As grad school went on and finished and real life began I stop putting such an emphasis on exercise, making excuses of not having time and resigned myself to unhappiness in that part of my life. I talked about wanting to swim this Pier to Pier race each summer with my swimmer kids, never accomplishing it. And despite the best efforts of my amazing supportive boyfriend Kevin to get me into the gym, walking on the beach, anything, the battles eventually wound up not being worth it until July 2013.

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Lets go back a bit to 2004. I remember the day like it was yesterday, and it’s still painful. My mom called to tell me Andrea’s dad had just died after a run. I was in shock. I walked like a zombie over to her dorm attempting to figure out what to say to her. Turns out there is nothing to say in that moment. I am fortunate enough to still have both of my fantastic parents alive and cannot imagine how I would feel or react to hear the news if one them had died. I definitely cannot imagine how I would have reacted as an immature teenager.

Andrea handled her anger and pain in her own way. We grew apart, me moving to LA probably was a big part but I always felt like something had changed in her after that day. The spark that she had once had was gone, or at least diminished. I didn’t know what to say or do or how help her other that to be supportive in whatever it was she was doing. I had no way to relate.

Coming back to 2012/2013 I began to notice an increase of posts on Andrea’s Facebook page. Nights of crazy college drinking parties and booze were replaced with NikeRun info about mileage. Pictures started rolling in of finisher medals and her in adorable running attire with her hair fro’d out. It was awesome. Suddenly I wanted to be winning medals, posting cool things other than collecting another pint glass. But wait, I wasn’t a runner.

2012 I switched jobs and moved from one swim team to another right after my grandpa had passed away. I was in an environment where I wasn’t happy and made a difficult choice to move teams where I would have a lot more responsibility and be expected to up my knowledge. It was worth it to not go home miserable each day. That began my change.

July of 2013 a roommate wanted to check out a Crossfit place nearby. I was intrigued having seen some of the Crossfit Games on TV and said sure I’ll try it. The first intro session was brutal. After learning some basic movements I was dead on the floor after just a mere 8 minutes or so, but I was hooked. However, this newfound love came with a stipulation; I would have to embrace running. The enthusiastic and supportive coach Kris was amazing, however he would not back down on my learning to run. I would not have to like it, but he promised me I would be able to do it. I agreed to give it my best shot. From July until January I slowly worked on my running during warmups and WODs, still not liking it but able to go from 150m, to 200, to 400 and eventually 800. I remember thinking after completing my first 800 “holy crap, that’s half a mile”. And I know for most people running 800 meters is not a big deal, but for me it was the accomplishment of the year.

January was also when Andrea competed in her Disney World running expedition of whatever insane races they were. Her pictures were awesome. I remember calling her after she got back to ask how it went and she told me all these funny stories. I mentioned I remember seeing people at Disneyland with these cool Coast to Coast medals and asked her about them. She explained how you got them. I asked if she was ever going to run in a Disneyland race…

Two days later we are on the phone again. Turns out she can make the Dumbo Dare challenge happen this year in August, and I should run the 10k with her…I agree.

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A few weeks later we are signed up. And now I’m freaking out. I somehow have to manage 6.2 something miles, and I can’t slowly stroll the whole thing. And also in this madness I’ve agreed to a 5k Spartan race in Calgary in the middle of August while visiting Andrea. I don’t run!

One day at Crossfit I tell Kris what I just agreed to. As predicted he is beyond happy and supportive, and agrees to help me train because the idea of peeling myself off the couch and just randomly running 3 miles doesn’t seem plausible to me. He assures me it can be done, and I won’t have to run 3 miles… yet.

It starts slow, 200 sprints with lots of rest, 400 sprints with lots of rest, an 800 here, rowing and stairs every now and then and splits for everything. However a few weeks after I begin running, there is this day that says “1 Mile Time Trial”. It lurks ever closer. I decide to do as much training as possible at the track at the pool I work it. It’s a nice track with pretty views and I can usually run before or after practice. At the 1 mile for time day my one goal is just finish the mile without stopping. I do it, finishing 11:39, no stopping. A few weeks later there is 2 miles for time. I do that at Crossfit and stop a few times but I do it.
On Monday, Memorial Day I ran 3 miles, I walked maybe 200 yards of it. On Thursday I did another mile, fast, and dropped 40 seconds finishing at 11:00. I know 11 minute miles are not fast compared to the rest of the world but its fast for me, an out of shape swimmer, and I couldn’t be happier. I also shaved time off my 800 and 400.

This morning a crossfit friend Lauren ran a few 400s with me, pushing me, and when I thought my legs could not go any faster I got a PR by 9 seconds in my 400, going 2:10. I know I can manage the 5k Spartan race and am confident and I will be ready for our 10k. Andrea assures me there are lots of breaks to take pictures with characters, but I want to tackle that thing with the vengeance I used to have at swim meets.

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In just two short months running is still hard for me, but I actually look forward to it. The idea that I have to run a mile isn’t a dreaded task. And sometimes I would rather be running then doing some of the things we do in Crossfit. A huge thank you to Kevin, Kris, my swimmers/families who ask how the running is going, and my own family for the continued support. I can now call myself a swimmer, Crossfitter, and runner. My goal is to be able to hold 10 minute miles during our 10k that we are going to run together. Andrea runs because she has to to stay sane & because she loves it; I run because I need to, and now I want to.

And I will compete in that Pier to Pier swim race. Perhaps Andrea should do it with me.