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Everything posted by NCAthlete

  1. I’ve been thinking about this training plan and marathon business a lot lately, and it’s brought up some interesting thoughts and questions. I’ve been a runner since my junior year of high school (1997) – twenty two years. I’ve run at different capacities during my life: High school cross-country team where I was flying by the seat of my pants and just doing what my coach told me to do. I don’t remember running much outside of practice and meets, so I was just doing it to be on the team. I did really enjoy it and got a taste of competing, but didn’t know what it really meant to be a runner. I graduated in 1999, started going to community college, and became an occasional runner. I’d run around while playing volleyball and softball, and run a couple miles here and there around campus. I joined the Army in 2001 and got out in 2009. This is when I really learned what running was about. Started running faster and longer – loving competing in races. When I became a competitive runner, I did start looking at training plans with the hopes of following one and that it would make me a better/faster runner. It would typically turn into something like a compass – I would refer to it in terms of where I should be, but it wasn’t something that stressed me out. Why does it stress me out so much now and why do I feel the need to follow it 100%? I think there’s at least a few reasons… Moving to Colorado took away my speed and started a downward spiral of getting out of shape. I tried so many things and I just couldn’t get back to where I wanted to be. I thought that by following a training plan it would bring me back. Nope. SO many of you have so much success following training plans and having coaches – some of which also make it look VERY easy to stick to. That would work for me too, right? Nope. I always want to challenge and push myself which I can do now by either trying to get faster or running longer distances. In my mind, to do those things you need to following a relatively strict training plan. Could I do it that way? Nope. If I love running SO much, why can’t I do this? Hang on… Who says a runner has to follow a plan to improve? This is what is always in the forefront of my mind these days. I’ve had so much success in the past just using plans as a compass. By looking back, I can see that success now. Sure they work wonderfully for some people – it’s a proven fact that they can help you improve. They don’t work for everyone and I can attest to that. All it does is add worry and stress and makes me feel like I’m not good enough when I miss a day or two. I now feel that I can still improve if I can just add more consistency and refer to a plan when I need to know around where I should be, mileage wise. Also, why am I feeling the need to still run marathons and beyond? If it’s so hard for me to train for, then why am I doing it? I don’t have anything to prove to anyone, not even myself. I need to cut myself some damn slack and stop trying to up the bar after everything I accomplish. I don’t know when I reached the point of feeling like everything I do (athletically) has to be something amazing or better than the last thing I did. Maybe it’s getting older and closer to 40. Maybe it’s because I spent so long in the Army doing great things and I miss it. Maybe it’s because I took on the ultimate challenge of climbing Denali and it didn’t happen. I’m sure it’s a lot of things. I have to realize that things do change as you get older, and there will come a point when I won’t be hitting PRs anymore (pfffff, haha!), or I might not be able to run longer distances without getting injured along the way. I’m not going to accept any of that right now, but I am going to start cutting myself some damn slack. I am 37, healthy and active, and am so lucky to be able to do the things that I do. I live in a beautiful place with many beautiful things to see and do. I’m going to soak up all of that while I still can and I’m going to enjoy it without stressing about whether I am doing the best I can or not. Being a runner is a big part of me and I need to be whatever kind of runner I want to be. I need to make it my own and not try to follow what others are doing all of the time. For me, running is a hobby and not a job that I’ll ever get paid to do. It’s OK to compete with myself and others, but it needs to be done in a healthier, more realistic way. It’s also OK to try things that others have success with. If it doesn’t work for me, move on. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Relentless Forward Progress. Lastly, the days of week-to-week training recaps are over – probably to the relief of many (which is also why not many people will be reading this – thank you to those who have stuck with me). Why write weekly recaps when I have a training log AND Strava that basically do that for me? Moving forward, I hope to write more about thoughts and memorable experiences. And race reports, of course! For now, and hopefully forever, I’m going to stick to the advice of some of you and Just Fucking Run – JFR. JFR, friends.
  2. NCAthlete

    Questions and thoughts of a seasoned and confused runner

    That picture is from one of our first 14er hikes when we moved here. It is a good one.
  3. NCAthlete

    Questions and thoughts of a seasoned and confused runner

    I'm thinking of getting it tattooed somewhere. Forehead maybe?
  4. NCAthlete

    Questions and thoughts of a seasoned and confused runner

    Gwen, I honestly couldn't care less what others think about my pace. I just keep beating myself up because I'm not as fast as I use to be and I keep getting all these stupid little injuries. It's all me. Head games, indeed.
  5. NCAthlete

    Questions and thoughts of a seasoned and confused runner

    "...that altitude is a speed stealing jackass that can go straight to hell." YES!!! I look forward to the day that I'm closer to sea-level again. It is cool to see the improvements I've had in the last couple years, at altitude, but I'd much rather be running in NC again. Bring on the humidity!
  6. Insanity or hopeful determination? I'm not sure where my repeated tries at properly training for a marathon fits, but I'm over it. Time and time again I fail at this, and each time I still try to convince myself that this is what I really want, and you can do it this time. I'm over stressing week after week that I'm not hitting the numbers. I'm over worrying about whether or not I'm going to get so far behind that I could injure myself if I keep going. I'm over trying to hold this standard over myself week after week. I guess it's just not for me - or at least right now. So, I'm still running the NJ 26.2, but I'm going to get there by doing what I can with the time I have left. After that, I'm done with marathons and anything beyond. Until I can get my shit together, I'm just going to run, workout, and run shorter races. I still have my goal of one race each month, and I plan to do that. This isn't a pity party. This is trying to enjoy what I love doing without stressing out about it anymore. I'll write when I feel like it.
  7. NCAthlete

    Gooooooood Morning VietnaauuhhhhAtlantaaaaa!

    All sorts of yesssss for this post 😁
  8. YAS! So many questions. Sweet Mags can say what she wants about me. I'm immune to the kitty shit talking I just see it as sweetness. xoxo Mags
  9. YES! I know it's not supposed to be easy but it's not supposed to be this hard. I know I'll likely run more marathons, but now is not the time. I hope to see you soon and I hope you are doing well!
  10. NCAthlete

    Sweet Mags Farts on a Hoka and I Don't Really Care Cause It's a Dumb Shoe

    I wish there was a love reaction button. Or even a turd.
  11. NCAthlete

    Ralston Creek 13.1 Race Report

    Ralston Creek 13.1 – Arvada, CO / Sunday, February 3, 2019 2/12 – Race per month 2019 goal In case you forgot, I have a goal this year of running a race (of any distance) each month of the year! This was my February race. I ran this race in 2014. The weather was pretty awful – cold, snowy, and the trails were pretty treacherous. At least one person had to have gotten injured during that one by slipping on ice. The weather is hit or miss this time of year so, “You never know what you’re gonna get.” I actually ended up having to wear the jacket that I brought because the layers I had on weren’t enough – Athlinks says the temp was 26°. However, this year was much different and it was about 47° and sunny at the start! I was in carpis and a thin LS shirt. The race director had reported the day prior that there were only a few icy spots on the course which were pretty negotiable – they even covered up a longer icy portion with carpet! They had eight port-o-potties at the start, which turned out to not be enough. W and I had gotten there about an hour before the start and just sat in the car. I didn’t realize what the PoP situation would be and didn’t need to go until I was ready to go to the start. The line was LONG. There was one single line for all of them, which I think was fine, but it was moving slow – they needed more shitters. I HAD to pee BADLY and there were tons of buildings around, so I had to stand in line. The announcer kept asking any 5K runners to let the halfers go first, since their race didn’t start until 15 minutes later. I got through with THREE minutes to spare! They still started about five minutes late. This one chick had a dog that piercingly barked through all of the announcements and I didn’t hear a thing. When we took off, that dog was raring to go and was pulling her down the road. I can’t see running with a dog for an entire half marathon. This was supposed to be a training run and I was supposed to keep the pace around a 9:20, but I can’t bear to run a half over two hours if I don’t have to. Once I started, the goal was to just go, not TOO fast, but just to go with what felt comfortable. I felt heavy and clunky when we started and wasn’t sure I’d be running under two hours. We ran on a wide road for about half a mile but then turned onto a smaller, standard-sized greenway that can comfortably fit about three-wide. It got really crowded and I was feeling claustrophobic. I got around as many people as I could and finally settled in. I’m #236. I was able to take my headband off after the first couple miles. After a fast-ish first mile at 8:24, I settled into a nice pace: 8:40, 8:46, 8:39, and 8:45 for miles 2-5. Until looking at the elevation profile, I hadn’t realized how much of a uphill the whole first half is, so that makes me even prouder of that pace! After mile 5, we hit a hill that seemed like it would never end. It wasn’t steep but it was long, over half a mile but I didn’t walk once. Mile 6- 9:24. I had to wear my runway Goodr glasses because I forgot my others. I also got a little sunburned on my face. Once I crested the hill, I wanted to try to make up some time because I could see the next and biggest hill coming up in the distance. It was hard to see it from so far away and see all the bright shirts of other runners in the switchbacks. Mile 7- 8:45. I took a run/walk approach to this hill, just as I did during the Mt. Evans ascent, and it really does help. When I was passed by a runner while walking, I’d end up passing them back when I started running again. This hill was about a MILE and I still managed a 10:18. It was basically all downhill after that and I wanted to make up time again. Race Character: “Alice” – I remember first seeing Alice in front of me very early in the race. Once I realized we were going at about the same pace, with her about 5 seconds ahead of me, I thought I’d try to pace off of her. She was very energetic and kept talking to the people she’d pass. She would hoot and holler even when no one was around. She yelled out after almost every mile marker. When we hit the half-way point, and actually at the 10K mark, she yells out, “HALF WAY THERE!” A few seconds later, and with the correction of a guy in front of her, yells out, “OOPS! SORRY! ALMOST HALF-WAY!” We did a bit of leap frogging up the hill, but she settled in again in front of me after it. Mile 9- 8:02. It had heated up by this point and I was getting a little warm. I was starting to feel the effects of the heat and my inconsistent training. Miles 10 to 12- 8:28, 8:37, 8:53. I was trying to keep up the pace but was running out of gas. At mile 12, I was just trying to maintain and to keep it under a 9 min pace. I had nothing left in the last mile and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I let two ladies pass me in that last mile, one while I could see the finish line. Mile 13- 9:04. I had nothing left in the tank – just as I like it. I think the course was a bit long because everyone around me had watches going off well before we got to the mile markers. Mine was 0.25 over which isn’t insignificant – that’s a whole lap around the track! I was running the tangents as often as I could. Anywho, my official time was 1:57:00 on the dot. Good and surprisingly enough for 3rd place in the 35-39 age group! I almost didn’t even look at the results because I thought there was just no way I’d place. Alice finished about 30 seconds ahead of me and was in the F45-49 age group : ) We gave each other high-fives in the finish area and I let her know how much she helped me. The wind picked up after the race, and when I got tired of waiting for the awards ceremony, I went up to the table to ask about it and they just gave me an award mug They had awesome breakfast burritos and chocolate chip banana bread in the tents! Race Stats: (2019 vs 2014) Finish Time: 1:57:00 / 1:55:31 in 2014. UGH! I didn’t think I’d ran it that fast in 2014! Overall: 85 of 248 / 127 of 484. WOW! What a drop in participants!! Gender: 21 of 125 / 39 of 282 F35-39: 3 of 21 / F30-34: 11 of 63 Weather: ~50 / ~26 (Athlinks) Yeah, that was five years ago but I always want to do better. Don’t get me wrong, I am SUPER proud of myself and the effort that I put out. On race day, there is nothing I could have or would have done differently.
  12. NCAthlete

    Ralston Creek 13.1 Race Report

    I’m sorry you’re always injured! I’ve done 3 creeks as well and it’s not too bad. I might do that one again sometime. I forgot how hard RC was
  13. NCAthlete

    Getting Personal

    I was hesitant to write anything about this, and it isn’t about running (until the end) or outdoor adventure, but I just need to write it out. I am 37 years old, married with no kids, and am currently on birth control. But you’re 37, and married, and you don’t have kids yet – why are you on birth control?? I was pregnant once, a LONG time ago, but had a miscarriage. 99.9% of my female relatives and friends either have kids or are pregnant. I can’t tell you how difficult it can sometimes be to be me, at my age, with no kids. I’m past the point of being depressed/upset/angry because I don’t have any yet, and am now in a very comfortable place of it’ll happen when it happens and when we are ready. I am also past the point of getting sad when I’m constantly asked when it’s going to happen or if I even want kids. I’d like to share a “use your fucking head” PSA, in case anyone isn’t aware of what you shouldn’t say to a woman (even if they are a relative or close friend – ESPECIALLY then): Do you have kids? If someone has kids, you’ll likely find out within two minutes of talking to them. Do you want kids? Are you ever going to have kids? Are you trying to have kids? Your clock is ticking/you aren’t getting any younger, so you better hurry up! This may be the worst of them all. YES, I actually have people say that to me. <while holding a baby> You need you one of these. When are you going to have one of these? You won’t look like that after you have kids or You only look like that because you haven’t had kids yet. Enjoy it while you can! Get the fuck out of here. You are so great with kids! You should have one. There are more, many more, but these are the big ones. Just don’t fucking do it. You never know what someone is going through and these words could have a VERY negative impact. If someone wants you to know something like that, they will tell you. I hear that it doesn’t even stop after having a kid because people want to know when you’ll have another one! For fuck’s sake! I decided to go back on the pill last year when I was still on the Denali team. I was that committed at the time to ensuring I’d get up that mountain. This led us to coming to the decision that we’d wait a little bit anyway because I just didn’t feel ready, and there were things I still wanted to do while my body was still in it’s current condition. Plus, we’ve also thought about the fact that there are SO many people in the world already, and so many kids out there who need parents. It’s an incredibly tough life decision – of course those who love kids would like to have one that looks like them and has their traits. I get that our bodies are made for reproduction, but the world doesn’t currently need more people (in my opinion). Now for the main reason of writing this post: When I went in for my appointment to get the BC pills, the doctor told me how risky BC is for women my age (over 35) – something about blood clots. I got the pills but they turned out to be the wrong ones. I’ve been feeling very moody since I’ve been on them but just thought I might be going through an adjustment phase. I wanted to give them some time to see if it’d work itself out. It didn’t. This past week has been the worst yet – terrible mood swings, feeling depressed and emotional for no reason, and getting headaches everyday in the evening. I got home yesterday, with the intention to go out for a run, and started sobbing on the way home – for no reason. I got home and just curled up in bed. I couldn’t even force myself to go run. Enough was enough and I think I finally put the pieces together enough to realize it was the BC pills that was doing this to me. I guess guys go through things, but I just feel that this is an ongoing battle throughout a woman’s whole life. When you have kids, your body and your life is forever changed (not all bad, obviously). If you don’t, people look at you and wonder why and always have to pry. Some days are just harder than others but you learn to roll with the punches. I am very happy with my status as the woman that I currently am. I am healthy, apparently look younger than 37, and I have nieces and nephews (and kitties) that I absolutely adore and can share my love with. I love them all and feel so lucky to be an aunt. I adore kids. I may or may not have kids in the future. They may or may not come out of my vagina. Only time will tell. Well, I went in a whole other direction than just writing about BC pills making me feel so bad that I didn’t want to run, but I think all of this is really good share. There aren’t a whole lot of late-30somethings in my situation. Please be courteous. Think before you speak. Thank you for reading, Chris
  14. NCAthlete

    T to the Mill-o

    This week, anything that may try to work itself into being a sour, lemon head will be promptly turned into lemonade. After getting the past couple weeks frustrations out via tears and sweat, I’m done. Only sweat and silliness from here on out – hence the silly pictures throughout this post. I will say, my neck has felt a bit tweaked since the accident. I have full range of motion and there is no pain, but it constantly feels like I slept on it wrong. Just to be safe, I think I’m going to get it checked out. I don’t want to cause any long-term damage if there’s something I can do now to help it. Monday: Barbell Strength – All the sessions I missed during the holiday break really set me back as far as the weights I was able to do. Before break, I was able to have 10lbs on each side for biceps but am currently only able to do 7.5 on each side. Keep in mind, this class is high repetitions so that might not sound like a lot of weight, but it’s a decent amount when you’redoing lots of reps. I’ll get back there though! Tuesday: Treadmill “5K” – Much to my surprise, I’m enjoying doing some of my runs on a treadmill. I keep my $10 Planet Membership going because it’s so cheap, nice to have when the weather is bad, and is walking distance from the house (but I only walk if it’s really nice out – which means I’m probably not going if it’s nice out). I made sure my Jaybird earbuds were charged, and zoned out to music while I ran. Since I never listen to music when I run outside, it’s an added plus when running on the treadmill. I typically just stare out the window or the reflection of my running legs on the window glass. I did a progression run where I increased a .1 speed each mile. I didn’t touch the incline. Mile 1 – 6.5 or 9:13/mile (after it took some time to get full speed) – 9:18 Mile 2 – 6.6 or 9:03/mile – 9:03 Mile 3 – 6.7 or 8:56/mile – 8:56 Last .2 – 7.5 or 8:00/mile 9:03 average / 28:58 My goal was to run 5K and you’d think, as long as I’ve been running, that I would remember that a 5K is 3.1 miles and not 3.2. I did this two weeks in a row now so it wasn’t a fluke! HA! Wednesday 2fer: Spin – After a long day at work (normal hours – it just draaaaged), it was nice to get on the bike. However, it’d been over a week since I’d been to a class so my butt got sore pretty quick. It’ll be fine after the next class. I think it’s really important to let cycling newbies know that they will be sore until about the 3rd class, otherwise there’s a chance they won’t come back! Spin ended at 5:15 and barbell started at 5:30. This one is even funnier b/c I’m pretty sure that’s a dude in the picture! HA! Barbell – I was obviously a bit tired after spin and had planned for this class to be lighter weights. I basically kept 7.5 on each side the whole class, and didn’t use any weights for the leg portions. The instructor was new and it was her first solo teaching class. It was super rocky but I still give her A for effort. However, I just wasn’t getting enough out of it AND I just don’t think I want to be there until 6:15 every Tuesday night. I likely won’t go to that late class again. Those kind of 2fers sound good until you’re actually doing them. I think I’ll be sticking to Monday barbell, and spin on Wednesday with some extra stuff on my own afterwards – maybe just some pushups and pullups. Thursday: Group Fitness Instructor Info Sesh – I went to find out more about becoming a group fitness instructor. First off, now that I will have to start making car payments every month, it’s really effected some of my goals for the year. I won’t be able to travel as much for races as I wanted I likely won’t be able to sign up for and run a race every month AND I don’t think I can currently afford this course. I mean, I probably could but I want to be smart with my money. The class, which is EVERY Thursday night from February to early May (and you can only miss 2 classes), is $125; the ACE exam that I will have to take after finishing the course is about $300, and a separate spin certification is around $80-$100. There’s a chance I could afford it all, but I need to think in the present. Ultimately, I don’t think I’m going to do it – yet. They will be having another class in the summer which I can reconsider at that time. There’s always the option of becoming spin certified and just teaching elsewhere. I would love that! We’ll see… gotta be smart. Friday: I spent the afternoon at the Nissan dealership (like 4 hours!) and had just planned to look at some options – I ended up purchasing this… 2018 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X – 4×4 BABY! Meet Black Betty (Bam-ba-lam)! So many things about the interior reminds me of Bessie which is really nice. Plus, I kept the all-weather mats I had in Bessie and they [mostly] fit! I’m not the biggest fan of black and REALLY wanted blue, but you can’t be toooo picky when buying a used one. I love the name and that song is super catchy and bouncy! Black Betty doesn’t represent any of the supposed things that it did when the song was written (like a whip, a gun, or a vehicle to transport folks to prison), so she’ll make her own meaning! Saturday: This was one of those days that I reallllly needed to run, especially since I’d only ran once in the week and has 13 miles on the schedule as my long run, but I didn’t want to do anything. So I didn’t. Sunday: Long Run – Since I’d only ran once in the week but I really needed to get in some miles, I played it safe and only ran 10. I could tell I’d only ran once because I couldn’t even keep in in the 9:30 pace range. My legs were pissed at me for slacking and didn’t wanna go any faster. 9:48/mile average. Oh man! This tweet that I found totally reminded me of an embarrassing moment I had about 8 years ago! I was running with a new friend, for the first time, and we had left from her house. I wasn’t feeling well most of the run and REALLY needed to shit as we were getting closer to her house. She directed me to the bathroom upstairs so that’s where I did my business. When I flushed the toilet, it wouldn’t flush and overflowed onto the floor!! Yes, my shit went allllll over the floor. Apparently they’d already been having issues with the toilet. She insisted that I leave it and not help her clean it up! Now that the car-buying and insurance situation is behind me (hopefully!), it is time to move on and take back my weeks. It has been a really difficult two weeks, mostly mentally, but it’s time to get back to it. Let’s do this!
  15. NCAthlete

    Back in the Race

    Nice race! Happy training!
  16. NCAthlete

    She's Got the Rhythm

    If you can name the song/artist I picked my title from, MAJOR kudos… I have this CD and use to wear it out in my teens! The artist is one of my all-time favorites. I promptly had to play this song on my iTunes when I wrote it in the title, then kept playing other songs – it’s been a while! This is my kitty, Gwen (Gwenie Poo). She was NOT impressed with the Super Bowl last night. Now that the car wrecking/buying shite is behind me, and I no longer feel like a raging bitch, I can get back to focusing on training and get back into a rhythm. While I was trying not to give myself a hard time about slacking the last couple weeks (considering everything that was going on), I did anyway. Each day I felt guilty about not sticking to the training plan. Yes, I have fallen a bit behind, but I will still run 26.2 at the end of April. If I don’t have any more setbacks, I still have a decent amount of training left and can possible still put up a great time. Anywho… Monday: I took a personal day at work because this was actually the day I was picking up Black Betty (bam-ba-lam). I waited around all day for the call to go to the dealership, but it ended up being 3:30 before they were ready. I decided to take a rest day since I ran my long run the day before. I did hate to miss Barbell. Tuesday: Treadmill Progression – Since I haven’t been running consistently, I haven’t been doing much speed work. However, I have been on the treadmill more than normal lately because of the weather. I am STILL liking the treadmill (I’ll never say loving). As long as I have some tunes and my Jaybirds, I’m good. This time I was planning to run 4 miles, with the same progression as the workout last week. It ended up being: 9:13, 9:03, 8:56, and 8:48. I liked it. Next week, I’d like to start at 9:03 and work my way down from there. I’m just kinda doing my own thing when it comes to speedwork. Wednesday: Spin with Coach Kelli – I always look forward to spin because I get on it and just go. I’m typically at least 10 RPMs over the range the instructors say that we should be in. Kelli teaches on Wednesdays and I love working out with her! She is definitely perfect for being a group fitness instructor, and she constantly keeps me motivated. I started spinning 15 minutes before class started which gave me an hour – I got in 14.3 miles. This is the view I had from the studio while spinning! Thursday: Matrix Treadmill PCT run! I had a busy Thursday planned and was needing to leave work at 2pm for an appointment that typically takes about three hours. AND THEN I needed to ensure that I was able to feed and walk my friend’s dog by 6pm (more on that in a minute!). I knew I’d be strapped for time and would absolutely need to get up early and run if I was going to get it done. I didn’t sleep well Wednesday night and was awake off and on from 2:30AM. I didn’t get to the wellness center and start running until about 6:30. I’d never run on a treadmill at the WC before and they have the Matrix ones. It lets you pick a workout and a place to run, and then you get to virtually run the course. I chose the PCT! I will say that I’m not sure I liked it all that much. Choosing a trail run wasn’t smart because I kept wanting to jump over rocks and felt myself leaning/shifting a bit in switchbacks! The workout was great though because it had some incline changes. I like not having to adjust the incline and also actually using incline on the t-mill; I’ve been keeping it at 0 on my other runs. I kept the pace on 9:13 the whole time until the last mile when I bumped it up to 9:03. Considering the inclines, it was a good pace! I had a 30 minute limit set and ended up with just over 3.2 miles. My friend has asked me if I will walk and feed her dog a few nights a week. Patches (Patch, Patchy Poo) is a very sweet dog and I love being around him. She adopted him when she was doing some volunteer work over in the Bahamas years ago. He’s such a good and smart boy and can be walked without a leash – he also stops when we need to cross a street and waits for me! Can I keep him? Haha! Anyway, I’m very excited about being able to see him each week and earn a little extra money in the process – it’s much needed right now! He doesn’t like his picture taken as I can never get a good one of his face! Ha! Friday: Threasy – While those in the North are freezing their jibblies off, it has finally been pretty nice here and melted a lot of the snow pack. I’ve been hoping to bump up my runs to four a week instead of three since I’m behind in my training. The fourth day would just be threasy and that’s what I did. Amy and I runched! Runch is THE BEST! I absolutely love using my lunch break to run outside, especially when it is gorgeous out. We ran around our usual group loop which takes us by Elitch Gardens, the LoDo REI, the Broncos stadium, and runs along the Platte River. It’s really a great loop and is perfectly three miles. Happy sighhhhhh Saturday: Hot Power Fusion Yoga – I thought about using this as a rest day, but I was really feeling motivated with how the week went and for my race the next day. I ensured I wouldn’t be dehydrated for race day by pounding lots of water this day. I always feel so refreshed after sweating buckets in this class. Namaste. Sunday: Ralston Creek 13.1 – Race Report to follow! I had a fantastically productive week, in regarding to training! It felt so good! January Re-Cap It was a bit of a rough month and start to the year, but maybe I just got all the shitty shit out of the way early in the year? One can hope. Running miles: 60 Not as much as I should have ran but it’s not bad! Higher than December but 5 miles shy of November’s total. Should only go up from here! Spinning miles: 50 (Nice!) Races: 1 – Resolution 5K New trucks: 1
  17. NCAthlete

    The Park

    Great read! I had the same kind of moment last week when, a part of the path I was running on smelled strongly of pine. I realized where I was - across the creek from where they mulch Christmas trees. I took several deeps breaths and closed my eyes for a second. That smell is one of my most favorites. It's all sorts of nostalgic and fresh.
  18. NCAthlete

    I've Had the Time of My Life

    I didn't realize that about Lake Lure! It's nice to read about familiar-to-me places in your blogs. A downer note about Lake Lure: My uncle lived on the lake and had a little boat. One morning many years ago, he was found floating face-down in the water by his boat. They aren't sure what happened but think he was hit by another boat while boating out at night. It was super sad. He was my favorite uncle and use to talk like Donald Duck.
  19. NCAthlete

    QC Returns to the Trails: Mountain Mist 50K Race Report

    Way to hold back to a training run pace! I'm sure that was tough at times. You are kicking ass!
  20. NCAthlete

    Extremely early. Very treatable.

    Sorry to hear about the stoopidness but I know you will kick its ass. I’m so glad it was found so early. Please let me know if you need anything.
  21. NCAthlete

    And the hits keep coming...

    Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! If you’ve read my last two posts, and are still choosing to read more, thank you for sticking with me and choosing to read the good AND the bad. We all have the good and the bad times and, folks – this is certainly my bad time. Yes, it goes on this week as well. Man, this training has gotten off to a rocky start. It’s pretty typical, as I’ve written before, but the difference will be in how I handle this rockiness and push through it. This training cycle doesn’t have to turn out like all the others. And it won’t. Aside from the happenings of the week, I still had a pretty good week of training. Monday: I was all pumped and ready to run when I got off work. I even left a few minutes early so that I could be a majority of the traffic and get home with a decent amount of sunlight left. 15 minutes later and this… This is my car This was the person I hit It was completely my fault and the first real accident I’ve been in (driving) – especially where it was my fault. Traffic always slows down right before you get off my exit – I know this. Every day it’s the same. However, I take my eyes off the road for just a second and when I turned back forward, BAM! She was only going about 15-20 MPH and I was probably going 40-45 when I hit her. Luckily we are both ok and it seems to only be cosmetic damage to both vehicles. Although my hood is bent in half, it doesn’t seem like there is any engine damage*. It made it the 15 minutes home and it seems fine. I will definitely have to get it aligned though. I’m leaving what I wrote above, because I didn’t think it was that bad and it didn’t look that bad. My insurance company sent someone out to inspect my car. After looking under the hood, we discovered that my radiator is busted. That and the cosmetic damage will likely be more than sweet Bessie is worth, which means the car will likely be classified as totaled. My insurance company sent me a message on Saturday. Yes, she’s totaled. Being a 2007, and the damages that were done, the repairs would have been more than she’s worth. I will however get a good amount for a down-payment on a new vehicle. While I will be happy for an upgrade, Bessie and I have been through a lot together. I’m actually writing a post about her. Yes, I’m writing a post about my car. Stay tuned… Back to training: With all that has been going on, I still managed to get in FOUR runs, a barbell class, and hot yoga! I was determined to work the frustration out via sweat. One run was with my co-worker friends, Kelli & Amy, during lunch on Thursday, another was a 5K (and I liked it) on a treadmill on Friday, and I finally got a 10 mile long run in yesterday. Treadmill 5K: The weather was crappy but I HAD to get in a run. I’d planned to go to run club the day before, but that was the day the inspector came to look at my car. I got to Planet Fitness, zoned out to some tunes, and used my new Jaybird Tarah earbuds for the first time. It felt good! 10 mile long run: It was REALLY cold and icy Saturday morning, so I went to hot yoga instead of running. Then, I got out around 9AM on Sunday for my run. The greenway was still icy in spots, but I managed just fine. It was a gorgeous day and I actually got hot in my tights and thin long-sleeve. I even took off my headband after the first couple miles! Now that I’ve had time to process things, I’m feeling like things are taking a turn towards positive again. This week must be better than the last two – I just have to ensure that happens. Time to dig in again – 13 miles for the long run this weekend and a half marathon (15 actual miles planned) next weekend! Thanks for reading, Chris
  22. NOT RUNNING RELATED As I'm sure you read in my last post, I totaled my 2007 Nissan Xterra (only 160,000+ miles) in an accident last week. While I still believe she had a few years left, maybe this was the best way for her to go? I’m not a materialistic person. I’d rather spend my money on food or traveling, and I usually don’t buy things at full price. However, when I purchased my 2007 Nissan Xterra back in December 2006, she only had 21 miles on her – most of which I put on test driving. I named her Bessie, sometimes calling her Blue Bessie, because – well – she’s blue. I was active duty in the Army and had just returned from my first deployment to Afghanistan. I had saved up quite a bit of tax-free pay, some of which I used as a down-payment for Bessie, and some that I used to take my mom to Hawaii! Right before I bought Bessie, I was in-between cars. My first-ever car, a white 1992 Ford Mustang that my mom lovingly purchased for me in high school, was starting to wear out, and I had borrowed my friend’s Nissan Xterra to drive around while he was deployed. I can’t remember what year it was but it was an older model. While I was driving it, it broke down! At that time, I had to get a rental car while I looked for a new car. Guess what the rental car was? A new Nissan Xterra!! Having that as a rental is what lead me to buy Bessie. I didn’t like the thought of buying a car used, not knowing everything that had happened to it, so I just went for the brand new one! Bessie and I have been through SO much together, and she has taken me to some amazing places. She has been the most reliable vehicle I’ve ever driven, and I haven’t had to replace anything out of the ordinary – the biggest only being a new timing chain and radiator. I don’t have pictures to go with every story, but I do have lots of pictures that I will share along the way. Below is only the highlights of what Bessie and I have been through; there's so much more. Haulin’ wood… The Keying Incident (2007) During my second deployment to Afghanistan (not long after I bought her), I left Bessie at a friend’s house while I was away. LONG story short, Bessie gets keyed from top to bottom by a psycho-ex of a guy I was friends with, who lived in the neighborhood where she was parked – $3,500 worth of damage! Many mountain biking and kayaking adventures… The Break-in (2009) I had just returned from my last deployment, and was in my last few months of being in the Army. It was Super Bowl weekend and I had literally just gotten back into town the night before. I had apparently left the door unlocked. I had all of my deployment belongings in the car, including a laptop w/case that included ALL the digital photos I’d ever taken (this was before I had a smart phone), and a lot of important documents. Some jerk stole everything out of the car. The jerk was never caught. Selfies and running events… Felix the Afghani Cat (2009) During my last deployment in Afghanistan (notice the beginning paragraph trend?), I found a kitten and her mother wandering around our camp. The kitten had a special needs disorder called Cerebellar Hypoplasia (CH), and apparently the only kitten of the litter that had survived. LONG, amazing story short – I was able to get Felix back to the States, and used Bessie to go pick her up in Arlington, Virginia. It was a BIG moment in my life. Please read more about CH and Felix’s amazing story here, in an article written by the amazing Ellen Piligian, for People Magazine Pets. Got poop? (2010) A guy I dated – let’s call him George – had just come back from an overseas deployment and came to visit me. We went out to dinner and were going to go to a haunted house afterwards; I think it was one of his first going-out dinners back in the States. On the way to the haunted house, George lets me know that he wasn’t feeling well and needed to use the bathroom. There was a Walmart a couple miles down the road, so I was going to stop there. All of a sudden, George yells at me, “Pull over! PULL OVER!” So I pulled over on the side of the road where there was nothing but dark, North Carolina woods. He then yells, “UNLOCK THE DOOR! UNLOCK IT!”as he was pulling on the door handle; I think he must have locked the door with his arm during the frenzy. Well friends, he didn’t get the door open in time before he pooped himself – inside the car. He jumps out of the car, taking everything with him (“it” remained secured inside his draws), and disappears into the dark woods. Many minutes later, I look in the passenger side mirror and see George standing there, stark naked, with his hands in front of his “area”. He had stripped off all of his clothes. He comes up to the door and asks if I have anything he can wrap around himself. I had just moved and had a bunch of packing paper in the back. He wraps it around himself and gets in the backseat. I took him home with the windows rolled down. The next day, he went back to the woods to get the expensive jeans he had soiled. Y’all, I’m not creative enough to make this stuff up. Fire Ants (2012) William and I went to the beach and stayed with his parents in a beach house for a week, located at Figure 8 Island – near Wrightsville Beach, NC. They rent the same house every year for the week of July 4th, and have been doing so since William was a kid. We drove Bessie there and just kept her parked in the driveway – not driving the whole time. When we left at the end of the week, we noticed a few ants crawling around here and there. That’s weird. Moments later, we realized they were EVERYWHERE! We lifted up the rear seats, and…. INFESTATION!!!! Seeing that many fire ants crawling around was just awful! I obviously had to do a deep clean and eventually got them all out. EEEK! This was the day we picked up little Gwenie Poo (2016) Road Trips Across the Country (2007, 2013, 2016) Arizona 2007: I had to attend a military course in Arizona and just a few months after buying Bessie, I was off from North Carolina to Arizona! It was a great trip and I ended up getting her first oil change while I was out there. I got to run in some sweet races in AZ! Colorado 2013: William got a job in Colorado so we moved away from North Carolina. Since we both had vehicles, we had to drive separately. I had Felix and Gus with me, and they meowed a majority of the way there! They still did much better than I expected so it could have been worse! Getting to Colorado / Bessie with a snowhawk Parked in the garage of our first home Anniversary Road Trip to the Grand Canyon 2016: We decided to go to the Grand Canyon for our second wedding anniversary. Sweet Felix passed away the day before we were supposed to leave, so it was a much needed trip. We started off in Moab, UT where we camped with cows. From there, we traveled to Flagstaff, AZ, then up to the Grand Canyon. After a decent hike, we went back down to Flagstaff, then to Santa Fe, NM. We then came back up through the south past Taos, Pueblo, and Colorado Springs. We spent a lot of the five days driving, but we saw some amazing places. Almost 10 year old Bessie handled it like a champ. Camping in Moab / The Grand Canyon Camping and 14er hiking: Bessie has taken us to many outdoor adventures here in Colorado. Even though she isn’t 4×4, she can get around pretty well! Waiting out the rain in Crested Butte A make-shift Uhaul AirBnB in Salida We hiked our first 14er (Grays Peak) two days after moving to CO Other random Bessie facts: I once swiftly backed up into a light pole, bending the step on the back bumper. I was rear-ended by a chick on her cell phone while stopped in traffic. Bessie was unharmed but the girl’s bumper was dented. I was once again rear-ended while sitting parked in a parking space. No harm done. The above facts all happened within a few months time! Before the gas gauge was recalled, I ran out of gas at a stoplight, on a hill. Only time she every ran out of gas. I use to stop and rescue box turtles in the middle of the road, when I lived in NC. No really, I did! It may seems silly to some – to write a story about a big hunk of metal and plastic, but it’s the reliability and memories that have me writing this. Bessie is not a person, but she is my friend. She will forever hold a place in my heart and my memories. Bessie, thank you for always getting me from Point A to Point B-Z, safely. To celebrate her life (and lighten the mood), I will leave you with my Nissan version of the Marine Corps Rifleman’s Creed: This is my Nissan. There are many like her, but this one is mine. She is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me my Nissan is useless. Without my Nissan, I am useless. I must drive my Nissan true. I must drive straighter than the other driver who is beside me. I must avoid him before he hits me. I will. (Doh!) My Nissan and I know that what counts in driving is not the gas we burn, the noise of our horn, or the exhaust we make. We know that it is the MPGs that count. We will efficiently hit. My Nissan is human, even as I am human, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a sister. I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its lights and its tires. I will keep my Nissan clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. Before God I swear this creed. My Nissan and I are the defenders of my ability to now parallel park. We are the masters of our road. (Doh!) We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no person who doesn’t use their turn signal.
  23. NCAthlete

    The Tale of Blue Bessie: A tribute to the BEST. CAR. EVER.

    He was HAWT, and a Marine - so yes
  24. NCAthlete

    And the hits keep coming...

    Wow. I am a yellow light accelerator too. I would say that the fault would be 50/50 in that case - definitely not all your fault. That was great that she came to court for you! I actually have to go to court too - and pay a ticket - and get 4 points on my license. Ugh. I'm hoping I'll be able to get the points dropped.
  25. NCAthlete

    The #Dreadmill Transformation

    I've actually been enjoying the treadmill lately, especially when I want to avoid busting my ass on the greenways. However, I just put my earbuds in and zone out. I never run with music so that's the added bonus for me. Those classes sound fun!!