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I Did It!

26 Jan

I Did It!

My finishing medal at the Disney World Half Marathon, January 12, 2013.

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Crossing the Finish Line

26 Jan

Crossing the Finish Line

Crossing the finish line at the Disney World Half Marathon, January 12, 2013. Finishing time: 3:40:43

The Comeback Kid

26 Jan

Dear readers,

After an extremely long hiatus of nearly 8 months, the Skinny Pink Ninja has returned. It’s been a super rough time on my end, and I have to admit I just shut down for a while. The love of my life is James Bond. No really, he is. He has a secret government job that sends him away on long assignments with very little to no contact with me. 

I’ve always considered myself fiercely strong and able to overcome just about anything, but my guy is my Kryptonite, my Achilles heel. Living without him and only getting a 3 line email every 2 months was agony. I tried to keep going, but I was definitely in a depressed funk. My fitness level dropped tremendously during that time and I was just focusing on getting out of bed and trying to live my life. I also got mono during that time and was sick for about 2.5 months. Then there was family drama with my dad having emergency back surgery and some other health issues. 

So between all of that, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I gained almost 10 pounds and was barely keeping my toes in the water at the gym. I still ran and worked out, but it was only about 2 days a week instead of my former 4 – 5. I didn’t really care about keeping track of my food intake or anything, because that was my comfort during a hard time. I was mad at myself for giving into the sadness, but I just couldn’t help it. Worrying about someone you love, who is halfway around the world and in extreme danger is a full time job. 

He was supposed to be home permanently this month, but sadly the government took him from him again for another 2 – 3 months. Luckily he came back for a visit last week and we had a great talk that helped alleviate some of my fears and neuroses. The bad news is he’s got to do this another few months and then he has to move to Washington, DC. The good news is his contract is up in December and he is quitting. He is done and tired of being James Bond. He plans to move to Colorado after his contract is up so we can attempt a normal life. So in the meantime, once he’s back from other continents, we have to travel back and forth to see each other, but after all we’ve been through that seems so easy. 

I felt better after our talk and have decided to pick myself back up again. I can’t let the PInk Ninja get down. I’ve gone back to writing down my food and making smarter choices about what I eat. I started a new workout regiment this week with a new trainer and actually got 3 solid days in. I’m going to start distance running again tomorrow. I’m signing up for the Denver Colfax Half Marathon in May. 

I did manage to complete my third half marathon two weeks ago. When my guy left in May, I signed up for the Disney World Full Marathon. Unfortunately, thanks to mono taking me out for about 3 months, I had to downgrade my registration to a half marathon. I had a lot of trouble training due to the fatigue that held on from mono and my overall depression. Nevertheless, I finished the race. The conditions were fierce—85 degrees and 75% humidity. It was brutal and I barely finished in a tragic 3:40:43. But, in all honesty, I was most proud of finishing this race than my other halves. It took everything I had to overcome the heat, the mono, the sadness, the stress in my life and pull out that finish. 

Completing the race helped me a lot. I feel like my fighting self again. I know I’ll get the 10 pounds off and I know I can finish my next half marathon. Not only is my goal to finish, but I want to PR and finish under 2:57:03, which is my best finishing time. I’m still scared to death about my love’s safety and it’s going to be a long 2 – 3 months waiting for him. But we’ve overcome the worst and have made it through. Now it’s up to me to pick myself back up again and return to my former self. 

It’s a long road to the next finish line, but I have done much harder before, I know I can do this. 

The Marathon of Life

24 Jun

Well, I’m about a month into marathon training and have yet to do a super long run other than my first 6 miler. The state of Colorado is on fire and our air quality is so bad due to the smoke that county health officials are advising against outdoor exercise and activity. We’ve also been having record heat with high temps around 100 degrees and it already hitting 70 degrees at 5:00am. I’m doing speed and hill work on the treadmill and bulking up on strength training. Hopefully this is going to let up, and I can get outdoors soon. Luckily I have time before I really need to get hard core into training, but I don’t want to lose my half marathon base.

This past month has been extremely rough. My boyfriend, who has something do with special ops/CIA/top secret stuff was deployed on his mission, and I’ve been missing him horribly. I never know when I’ll hear from him and it’s been extremely scary on a day to day basis. I’m a control freak and obsessive planner, so this entire experience has been way beyond my comfort zone or realm of knowing what to do. Yesterday, I got an email from him and for the first time, he alluded that he was afraid and feeling hopeless. I didn’t know what to do.

I am trying to use my experience with the marathon to get through this. Granted I’m training again, but I’m really using my experience of the first race I went through to try to deal. I keep thinking that this is mile 20 when I’m hitting the wall and ready to die. I felt so hopeless and out of control at that point and didn’t think I could finish. I’m trying to use the energy and determination I channeled during that time now. I’m sending emails of encouragement and love to my boyfriend, never alluding to the fact that I’m terrified too. I’m trying to tell myself that if I can run 26 miles on a bad foot, I can help him get the strength to get through this and get through this myself. I’m trying to look at it as the next 7 months before he gets home are the last 6 miles of the race where you have to give it everything you’ve got and push through the pain to the sweet moment of victory.

I’ve said on several occasions that the marathon experience changed my life. It gave me a confidence I never knew I had and the ability to overcome a lot of obstacles in personal and professional life. Once again I am drawing on it to get through one of the most difficult things I’ve had to endure. I am trying to focus on my training for the Disney World Marathon in January, though Mother Nature isn’t completely cooperating. However, I know if I didn’t have running in my life right now, I wouldn’t be getting through this at all. When I’m scared and upset, I use it to push through. I use it to send him good vibes of love and safety so far away. And I’m using it to keep myself sane. Without running, I’d be eating up a storm and shopping until my credit card was maxed out.

When this is all over in January and he’s back home safe, and I’ve gotten another full marathon under my belt, I will once again be grateful to those 26.2 miles for saving me.

I ask for prayers and good wishes for the safety of my boyfriend, and if you can help at all with the Colorado fires, please visit www.helpcoloradonow.org. The brave firefighters, rescue teams and Red Cross are in desperate need of financial assistance.

National Running Day 2012

6 Jun

Today is National Running Day. How great is it that there’s a whole day devoted to this amazing sport? While all sports have wonderful aspects to them, I do think there’s something uniquely special about running. There’s a camaraderie that comes with running that I haven’t typically seen in other sports. All people who run gather together as friends, not competitors. You can be slow or fast, fat or thin and everyone is in the same boat together. There is so much encouragement and advice, it really is a communal sport despite the fact you run alone. 

I am very grateful to running for changing my life. I started running as a bet against my doctor that I would be able to do a marathon despite the reconstructive foot surgery I had. Initially I didn’t love it. It was a drive I had to succeed and to prove him wrong, but there wasn’t a whole lot of passion with it. I think it was because I was so scared of failing at my marathon quest, I couldn’t take the time to enjoy it. Now that I’ve finished the marathon and done two half marathons, I’m finding myself loving the sport. 

I owe a lot to running. It helped me finally bring closure and healing to my car accident. It gave me a confidence I never knew I had. It gave me so much confidence that for the first time in my life, I was able to ask for a raise and promotion at work and actually get it. It is helping me now as I deal with my boyfriend’s 8 month deployment and the pain of missing him. I know part of the reason I am getting through that pain is because of running. It is an outlet for me to get my emotions out. 

I really think running can cure a lot of life’s little problems. Things we think are so big and insurmountable really aren’t, and if we all get the experience of running and the joy of the runner’s high, somehow they seem smaller. I think the mental health benefits of running far outweigh the physical, though those are great as well. 

Today is a day to celebrate this wonderful sport. If you’ve been a runner, be sure to run today and give thanks for the activity that gets you through a tough day. If you’ve never run before but have always wanted to, today is the day to start. Go for a light jog, do a run/walk combination, just get moving and get outside on the pavement. It will be painful and difficult at first, but keep at it and soon you will see what all the fuss is about. 

Happy National Running Day! 

Disney World Marathon Training: Day 1

4 Jun

It all begins again—the weekend long runs, being sore most of the time, analyzing what I eat, checking my hydration levels. Yes, I’ve committed to doing another full marathon. Yesterday, Sunday, was my first day of training. It certainly went a lot better than when I started training before. 

I was much more relaxed this time and just went out to enjoy the run. Since I am technically starting from a half marathon base instead of ground zero, my training this time around is a bit different. For the next 3 months, I’m going to focus on getting my half marathon base very strong. So I plan to do a 4 week training schedule of 6 miles, 8 miles, 10 miles and 13 miles. Then repeat for 3 months. When I get back from my vacation in September, I’ll start building miles beyond the 13 for the marathon. 

Yesterday’s 6 mile run was a challenge nevertheless. It was very hot, humid and my allergies were insanely bad. I actually really struggled with it and my energy levels. I had received an email from my boyfriend who is deployed the night before, so that caused me to have trouble sleeping. As a result, I was really tired for yesterday’s run. 

But, I made it through without too much of a problem. The really neat thing is that the 6 miles was pretty easy, I actually enjoyed myself and I no longer had the high stress and tension I had last time I was training. I now know that no matter what I will finish another marathon, so I’m much more at ease this time around. 

I’m using this marathon training to help me through my boyfriend’s deployment. The pain of missing someone is excruciating. It’s far worse than I even imagined it would be. Running out my feelings is the only way I can get through this and it’s helping tremendously already. I’m able to work through my doubts and issues during my runs and keep positive. 

This week will be speed training on the treadmill and resuming a heavy strength training schedule to stay strong and prevent injury. Then it’s an 8 miler. It feels great to be back in the groove again! 

The Running Cure

23 May

My boyfriend was deployed this past Saturday for 8 months. Needless to say it’s been horribly painful. Although the half marathon on Sunday helped quite a bit, each day apart has felt worse, not better. I was originally planning to take a week off from running following the race. I figured I needed the rest especially since I ran a long distance without training.

I decided to hit the gym today and just do some upper body weights and maybe a little bit of light walking or bike. I did my weights and headed to the treadmill for a slow walk. I was feeling especially bad emotionally today. This is the longest we’ve gone without connecting with each other and it’s likely to be another few weeks before I first hear from him. It was hitting me hard, and I really felt discouraged.

I walked slowly for about a quarter mile. The emotions started tugging harder and harder at my heart, and I found myself upping the speed on the treadmill. At first I just thought I’d do a light jog, but I found the faster I went, the better I felt. I ended up doing four quarter mile sprints in a row at 6.0 – 6.5mph. It was such an incredible release. I was fighting back the tears as I ran, but it felt so good.

I could only do four sprints as my legs were still pretty tired from Sunday’s race, but it was an incredible cure for today’s serious emotional blues. I felt such a high and sense of release when I was done. I felt hopeful about my relationship and getting through the next 8 months.

I think running is going to be my salvation during his deployment. So far, in the past five days, it has been my only true source of happiness and relief from this agonizing separation. I really think it is a cure for anything, the endorphins it produces are so powerful.

If someone told me years ago I’d use running to heal emotional pain, I would have laughed and probably popped a Prozac. But now I know it will help me get through this. Although now I’m feeling sad again, I know I can just hop back on the treadmill and let it all out tomorrow. And with each passing day, the pain will get easier and then will come the joyous day that he returns. Until then, I’ll be clocking in the miles.