The week that was - feb 2-8

I realized I missed these weekly recap posts. They keep me attentive to taking photos. And they are also super fun to look back on.  

I am loving 10K training. I feel accomplished. I am tired at the end of each interval, but I am recovering very well. I feel like I could keep running more intervals. Super fun. Also? I can't read a schedule and I'm a month ahead of where I need to be. Part of me is excited about the cushion to miss runs, but a bigger part of me is excited that I'll be even more prepared.

Processed with VSCOcam with t2 preset

I didn't spend as much time on my mat as I wanted to this week. I wasn't avoiding, I was just distracted. Studying. Spending time with friends. Working on a new website. (!!!) Coaching work. Just distracted. I miss this. I want to be better this week.

Processed with VSCOcam with t2 preset

Nothing has changed with my stress level. I have no answers. But I've got peace. I don't know how to explain it. Except I know everything will be okay.

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

I am in the middle of this lovely piece of work. I'm presenting a workshop at a local library in April about personal transformation as inspired by Wild. I'm looking forward to speaking about how we can search for - and find - transformation right in our lives as we are living them. I'm super excited.

IMG_1762

Did I mention that I've been studying a ton? I love my flashcards, but some of my illustrations are terrible. Eagle is beautiful compared to chair and happy baby. I'm not showing those. They look obscene.

IMG_1905

I don't know if you can find these, but I'm loving these snacks. LOVING.

IMG_1876

I know the picture is grainy, but pubs are dark. I adore my husband, and especially when he is in his element. I never thought I'd be married to an Irish Step Dancer.

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

I hadn't straightened my hair in months, so I had no idea what was going on with the length. I'm well on my way to my goal of having a kick-ass braid by 40. I may even be there by 38.

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

We have decided to start purging stuff. There is just too much. I started with the spare bedroom because I am going to move my office up here. This is what came out of the closet. Not pictured is the contents of a desk and cleaning the linen closet. Herschel Cat was a great supervisor.

IMG_2045

We spent Saturday night at an amazing party with the dancing crew. Including a dance around a bonfire. Super fun. To see a stop-motion progression of the dance, click here.

IMG_2063

I hope you all had a great week!

what I've been up to

Geez. I have been absent from here, haven't I? It isn't for lack of focus, my friends. I have just been very, very busy. Here's a snapshot of my life right now. First, I got these in the mail today. I couldn't be any happier. This makes me feel super duper legit. A huge thanks to Cassie for creating something so beautiful for me.

I spent the last week on vacation. I was there to cheer as my sweetheart came across the finish line at a marathon. I ran 2 completely pain-free 7-mile runs. I did lots of yoga on the deck of a beach house. I worked a lot, but I also spent some serious quality time with some crayons and a Christmas coloring book. I totally fell in love with the Niece all over again. Seriously, this kid has my heart. (And this was the only day we weren't in sweatshirts - we got lucky the first day.)

So talk about "busy" and "work" on vacation? Yup. I worked really hard on this:

I'm running a challenge over on my coaching website to help us stay focused on ourselves and our health over the holidays. I am so excited to see what comes out of this challenge. It isn't free, but the winner of the challenge will win the registration fee back, and it will double if 3 more people register. I'm excited to have done this over my vacation - and that Cassie designed the printable as well! Registration is open through Tuesday, so check it out!

I'm not that excited to go back to work, but I am very excited about where things are going for me in general right now. Very excited.

Thank you for coming along with me!

Bourbon Chase Race Review

I reached out to you several times to support my fundraising for the Bourbon Chase. I ran the relay over the weekend. Before I start with what I gleaned from the experience, I want to thank you. For everything. For donating to Hospice. For cheering me on virtually and in person. It was an experience that I will never forget, and I honestly don’t know that I’ll repeat. That may just be the lack of sleep still talking though. I wrote a play-by-play recap over on LexRunLadies. What I’m going to do here is more reflective in nature. But you may need to read the other recap to get it. So go do that. Go read this. I’ll still be here when you get back.

I think the most important thing I learned from the Bourbon Chase is that I need to respect my body and its needs. By design of the relay, I was sleep deprived. And I was very disheveled emotionally. Physically. Just not myself. I didn’t call Nathan the entire time. I became uncharacteristically anxious. I lost the ability to pick up on any physical cues. I didn’t know when I should eat, drink, or sleep. I don’t know if I wasn’t picking up those signals or if my body stopped sending them. I’m 3 days out and still struggling with that.

I had 3 legs of the relay. My first leg was pretty uneventful. It was humid, but it was beautiful. I ran a little fast, but it was okay. It was early enough in the relay that I really wasn’t dealing with any discombobulation.

My second leg was very odd. I started at 12:34am. I had been awake for 19 hours. It was very dark. Dense fog. Deserted, hilly country roads past graveyards. 8+ miles. And I was freaked out. Dinner was half a chicken sandwich and a baked potato 7 hours earlier. It wasn’t the ideal situation for a run. After the run, I told my van that the one thing I learned was that I had always sold myself short. Even when I have no sleep, no food, and am physically exhausted, I am still able to crank out 8 miles at a pace quicker than I’m used to. So I now feel better about approaching The Wall in my marathon next month.

I kinda freaked out in the middle of this run. I got really scared for about half a mile. I was alone. I was exhausted but too scared to walk up the hill. I couldn’t see anything around me because the fog was so thick. For most of the run, I could see blinking red lights ahead of me or headlamps behind me in the fog. But from 5.5 to 6ish, I was completely alone. And terrified. As I fought tears, I tried to figure out what the lesson was in that moment. I was actually thinking, “How am I going to blog about this? What am I learning?” But I had nothing. Nothing. Just fear and exhaustion. I remember thinking that I wish I had brought a Gu or something else to eat with me. I was so irritated that I was so hungry I could actually hear my stomach growling and couldn’t believe I had been so irresponsible to go on a run that long and not carry food. The strange thing? I was wearing my fuel belt. I was stocked with Gu, water, and Gatorade. I remember drinking often, but I never ate. Even though I wanted to. My brain just stopped working. It just stopped working.

But I still ran. I just kept thinking of Forest Gump. I was just running. That’s all. I have never been so happy to see a yellow tape stretched between orange cones so much in my life. All I wanted was to sleep. And I got about 2 hours of blissful sleep.

And then it started again. Drop of runner. Drive to next transition. Switch runners. Walk back to van. Drive. Switch runners. Freak out because I can’t find my Garmin. Drive. Switch runners. Do the math to figure out when it is a safe time to eat digestion-wise. Realize digestion is way off kilter anyway. (Did I eat anything other than half a bagel and that Stinger Waffle before 9pm dinner all day Saturday? I don’t think so.)

I seriously felt like I was in a different reality. I don’t know how to explain it. I was never more than 90 minutes from my house, but I had no idea where I was. I saw Faith and Lydia on my final leg and I can’t even explain what that meant to me. I had familiar faces out there running the relay with me – both on my team and on other teams that I kept running into at transitions – but seeing familiar faces that weren’t a part of the relay was a nice grounding experience for me. I don’t know how many times I hugged Faith (sorry, friend) as I waited to start my final leg. I was standing in a town I kinda know about 40 minutes from my house. On a street that I used to drive down once a week and I had no idea where I was. There was no sense of reality. Except for Faith.

I started my final leg feeling a bizarre mix of defeated and hopeful. I knew the elevation profile was significantly downhill and I kept reminding myself of that. A lot of the run was in full sun. And my legs had nothing at all left in them. But I wanted to be done. About 4 miles in, I saw Lydia on the side of the road. I gave her a huge hug and smile and just kept running. I was afraid I was going to break down after that. I have so many people supporting me. I know that. And that is what kept me going. I was just floored by how far my friends had come to support me. Although logically I knew it was less than an hour (probably much less), it felt like I was so far away from home. The geographical confusion just compounded everything.

I finished my leg significantly ahead of my projected time. Our last runner took off. And then we went inactive for the final time. I had an amazing ham and cheese scone at a distillery. I finally saw lots of my friends that I hadn’t seen until then. It was interesting to be the encourager to my friends who still had runs to go when I felt so exhausted myself. It would be worth it, I kept telling them. Although I wasn’t quite sure.

And I'm still not.

I am sure of several things, though.

• Running 18 miles over 30 hours is much more difficult than running 18 miles at once. • There is really no way to prepare for a relay experience. • I don’t like being without Nathan. He keeps me grounded and keeps things in perspective. And I really don’t like that I was so off that I didn’t even reach out to him. Maybe I just didn’t want to worry him. Who knows. • Some of the things I tweeted I don’t remember. I don’t know that I want to be that out-of-sorts ever again. • I can channel Forest Gump pretty well. • I want to be involved in this race in the future, but I don’t know if I’ll ever run it again. • I had an awesome team. I really didn’t know any of them very well before we started, but I am so glad I had this experience with them. They stepped up when I got a little crazy. They ate my muffins. They are good people. So there. I don’t know how to wrap this up. Just like the whole experience, I don’t have a nice bow to put on the package. It was what it was.

That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

20121002-102457.jpg

Asheville!

Yesterday: Miami. Today: Asheville. It sounds like I’m quite the traveler, doesn’t it? I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

But my story starts a little before Asheville.

We were scheduled to leave on Friday morning. I’m cooking dinner on Wednesday evening and I get a little text from my little E: “How long are you in Asheville?”

And the next thing I know, she’s bought plane tickets to land in Lexington in less than 24 hours. So I got a surprise run in with this girl:

The senior portraits we took are hilarious. She makes me smile so big that my face hurts.

We left Erin snoozing in our guest room Friday morning and headed to Asheville. We were going to meet Ashley and Dustin there.

I’ve been internet buddies with Ashley forever, but we’d never met. And I knew absolutely nothing about that adorable husband of hers. That just seems ridiculous to me now. Just ridiculous.

From the moment we exchanged hellos at the picnic tables at the White Duck Taco Stand, I knew they are our kind of people. Fun people. Nerdy people. Laughing people. Foodie people.

Shanghai Shrimp tacos and Duck tacos.

From there, we headed to the expo to pick up our packets. I think I squealed “HOW FUN ARE THEY?!?” to Nathan about a million times as we led the 2-car caravan. The expo was just big enough to be fun. The shirts were awesome. Our numbers worked. All was well.

We drove up to the bed and breakfast to check in. Yes, all four of us. Not only was I going to be running with Ashley, she was going to be sleeping right downstairs. It was like a slumber party! Nathan and I have stayed at the Crooked Oak Mountain Inn at least once a year for the last 8 years, so the innkeepers are like another set of parents for us. I missed Patti (she is in Italy), but that just means we have to go back soon.

We headed back downtown for the first trip to Malaprop’s (and the coffee shop) and to shop around a little. We ended up at Asheville Pizza and Brewery for dinner. Runners gotta carb-load, right? (And almonds on a veggie pizza? BRILLIANT.)

I don’t know what time we made it to bed. We spent a long time in the lounge at the B&B talking about ghosts and who knows what else. It was a great time.

Saturday morning started out pretty uneventful. We made it downtown in great time. Parking was easy. It was great. But the race? Whoa. (You can read my recap here.) Just let me tell you that it was really really hard and I think Ashley summoned the great Miranda as she approached the finish line with both middle fingers flying and “I hate you both for making me do this!” It was a great time.

And then Dustin bought us all coffee and pastries at Malaprop’s and life was good again.

After showers and naps all around, we headed downtown for dinner. (PSA: Don’t plan on wearing heels the evening of a half-marathon.) Curate was just absolutely amazing. This a second visit for the Bentleys. It won’t be our last. The food was just crazy amazing. Tapas just come out as they are ready. And we ate lots and lots. Everyone off everyone’s plates. And from everyone’s glasses.

Crazy good gin and tonic

chorizo and potato chips

my favorite dish anywhere: watermelon and tomato salad (with melted cheese on the bottom)

The boys supported us tipsy girls down to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge where Nate and I shared this crazy Chocolate Stout Cake. It is the stuff that dreams are made of.

Sunday, I found myself in a beautifully lit room.

And breakfast was craaaazy good.

more shopping (and my third salted caramel latte in three days). I bought some artwork for my cubicle (that will eventually be moved into my home office). Ashley got surprised by some jewelry. It was a great morning.

And then lunch started with Moonshine.

As always, Salsa’s was amazing. There are no words for this sweet potato concoction smothered with mole sauce. Just no words.

The sad thing about lunch? Nathan and I had to head home right after. Saying goodbye to Ashley and Dustin kinda stunk. But I know it is only a matter of time before we meet up in Asheville again. And just a matter of time until we are neighbors down in the River Arts District.

Ahhh, Asheville.

RRCA in Miami!

I wasn’t even going to write about Miami since it happened so long ago, but since someone asked in the comments the other day…I loved my little whirlwind trip to Miami. As a refresher, I was truly supposed to be there. The stars aligned just perfectly to make it happen. I was meant to be there. That’s all there is to it.

First, I was so excited to spend the weekend with my best girl, E. She totally took care of me. She was my chauffer, my chef, my bed and breakfast. I just loved seeing her. She’s my girl.

I wasn’t sure what to expect for the RRCA training. I was excited, but I had read reviews of previous training sessions. I just didn’t know how it would go. I went in with a list of things I wanted to make sure I had answers to when I left. I wanted to make sure that

I got what I needed out of the training.

I wasn’t disappointed. (By the training, anyway. The food was very disappointing. High school cafeteria food. Lots of white. Not a lot of veggies. Lots of sugar. Just disappointing. Especially since it was a training for running coaches.)

The course did an amazing job covering the basics. We talked a lot about the different needs of different types of runners. We talked about training individuals and groups. C25Kers and competitive racers. I learned basics about nutrition, sports injuries, and running form. We talked a lot about sports psychology too – helping injured and discouraged runners. There were great conversations about where running fits into Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for different runners. I just loved it.

I feel confident that with practice I’ll be able to develop strong training plans and lead runners in speed work. I loved learning about different types of workouts and how to schedule them within a training program. I know how to create a plan based on different effort levels for different days of the week. I know when and why to tell myself it is okay to push or that I need to back off.

All of this was great. But I must admit that I was most pleasantly surprised that we discussed the business of coaching. We talked some about setting up a business, how to find clients, and a lot about liability. I came out of that part of the session feeling both terrified and knowing how to protect myself.

Mostly, though, I learned how much I don’t know. I feel like it was my intro to theories class from counseling. I learned just enough about lots of different things to know where I want to focus. I got a feeling about what running gurus I want to really learn from. I’ve bought several books already. I’m ready to learn. This training was my springboard. But I’m just now starting to be able to dive in.

The test totally stressed me out. Totally. I could tell that some of the questions were trying to confuse me, so that made me suspect of the questions that I thought were obvious. I went through the 100-question exam 4 different times before Nathan finally made me push “submit” on the darn thing.

And I passed!

After that, I completed my CPR/First Aid on a very rainy Saturday back here in Lexington. My dummy, Sharon, was old and creaky. I didn’t like her. She crackled when I breathed in and wheezed when she breathed out. Reminded me too much of Zombies, RUN! And I was sorta unnerved. But I accomplished what I needed.

I emailed my CPR cards to the certification guy. And I got this in the mail earlier this week.

I’m bonafide, my friends.

I’m spending lots of time on my coaching website (I’m hoping to unveil by next weekend). I’m ordering business cards tonight. I’m hoping to be able to purchase liability insurance within the next week. I’m really close to being able to officially open my doors, even though I’ve been unofficially opened to a few that have sought me out for a few weeks now. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how I want to structure the additional services I’ll offer, but that’s something that I can work out on a case-by-case basis and nail it down as I go along.

I am doing this, friends.

It is exciting and scary. But I’m doing this.