Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Life Changes on a Daily Basis

I started running to lose weight, but I started to lose weight because my health was deteriorating. For me it wasn't all about vanity, how do I know this? Because I wore the same size at 150 that I did at 180. I looked the same, but I didn't FEEL the same. If you read my story, and if you haven't you can find it in the 'About Us' section, you know this all started at a doctor's visit. A visit because I felt like crapola all the time. A visit that revealed I had borderline hypertension, my cholesterol was high and I was high risk for diabetes.

This morning, I volunteered at a health fair to promote wellness in downtown KCMO. At the fair we offered health screenings, rapid HIV testing, diabetes screening and kidney function tests. For hours I talked with people struggling with weight problems, congestive heart failure and the like. The fair was about being proactive, being accountable for your health and most importantly being AWARE. It was frightening that after 33 rapid HIV tests, four individuals tested positive. By the end of the event around 100 people had been tested, and screened. After discussion, we determined that high cholesterol and high blood pressure were of the most common conditions in the area and were most typically as a result of obesity as the primary cause. A lot of the volunteers were shocked, but I was ashamed to admit I wasn't. In fact, I could relate. I had been there.

I wish I had my lab results from 2008, but this year I'm happy to report the following:
Total Cholesterol: 151
HDL Cholesterol: 41
TC/HDL Ratio: 3.7
HbA1c: 5.0
Glucose: 92 non-fasting
Blood Pressure: 122/77
BMI: 24
HIV: nonreactive

What does all that mean? Here's a brief rundown, skim and skip as needed

♥What is Cholesterol? Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found among the lipids in the bloodstream and in all your body's cells. It performs important functions in a healthy body; however, high cholesterol levels indicate an increased risk for heart disease. Desirable total cholesterol is less than 200 mg/dL, HDL often termed good cholesterol is optimal between 40-50mg/DL and TC/HDL Ratio should be less that 5.0.

♥What is Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)? The HbA1c test measures the amount of blood glucose chemically attached to a specific portion of the hemoglobin molecule carried by red blood cells. As a red blood cell travels in the bloodstream it picks up glucose. The higher your blood glucose, the more your red blood cells will accumulate. The HbA1c result reflects your average blood glucose level for the previous 2-3 months. Normal HbA1c levels for people without diabetes is less than 6%.

♥What is Glucose? Glucose is referred to as blood sugar, and is the main source of energy from living organisms. Glucose levels rise after a meal. Levels may remain abnormally elevated in people with diabetes. The desirable fasting adult blood glucose level is less than 100 mg/DL. Two hours after a meal, the normal blood glucose level range for a non-diabetic adult is between 140-199 mg/DL

♥What is Blood Pressure? Blood pressure readings are given in two numbers. The first number is the systolic pressure, which is the pressure in your arteries when your heart is contracting. The second number is the diastolic and is the pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest. Normal blood pressure is around 120/77 mmHg

♥Ya'll know what BMI is, but just in case a normal BMI is between 18-24.

Are you in charge of your health?
Why or Why not?
Part VI of 12DoGA: Winter throw-away gloves that benefit breast cancer research.
Comment with ONE THING that you've done this week to be accountable for your health, winner will be drawn tomorrow.

Yesterday's Mileage: 5.0
Time: 45:51.18

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baby, We Were Born to Run

Wellst obviously, it's Monday which means yesterday was Sunday and that means the before was Saturday which means: I had a race. Get it? Because Saturday...no? Ok never mind. Wellst, the 5k on Saturday was my favorite 5k of the year. Why? You're gonna have to read on to find out.

Saturday was the first ever Strutt with Your Mutt 5k in Kansas City. SWYM has always been a 3k walk through historic brookside with your pup to raise money for Wayside Waifs, KC's largest no-kill shelter. This year they decided to add a 5k portion that you could run with your dog. UHM-Hi, have you met us? We signed up instantly. When we showed up on Saturday, Goliath was in absolute heaven. There were booths with treats, hundreds of other dogs and people who didn't mind he jumped up to say 'hello!'

Upon arrival, he was in awe.

It was the first time for the 5k, and it became pretty clear this wasn't mean to be a very competitive 5k. There were no bib numbers, no chip timing (just a running clock) and oh we were running with our dogs. I noticed none of the local elite runners were there which kinda got my gears turning. We lined up at the mini-start, which doubled as the finish line.

They made a few announcements, and we were off. They actually started the race a few minutes early! Woah. So the first quarter mile was really thick. People were bumping into each other, dogs were darting back and forth-it was pretty chaotic. There were a lot more people running without dogs that I had expected, and they had the people sans pups line up toward the front. That made no sense to me, I would think that an event to benefit dogs where you run the dogs-the dogs would take priority. Am I right?

When I say it was thick, I mean it. It took us a while to break away from the big pack, but Goliath was a maneuvering rock star. He steered and I was along for the ride. Maybe it was instinct, but he darted around people and found the optimal and efficient routes. By the halfway mark which was also an aid station, I started to realize I could see the leader. I stopped and let Goliath get a drink, but he wasn't willing to waste anytime. The aid station volunteers told me to get to it because I was the second girl the pass. UHM EXCUSE ME?!

Yes, that is his tongue!

After that news, we got tunnel vision. We turned right and another right, and there they were the only people in front of me. I counted them all and the took a picture. Only eight people in front of me, and only two of them had dogs.


With the leaders in view, we got entirely too motivated. It felt like we were running 7s, but it was really 8s. I just wasn't use to running balls to the wall like that, but Goliath was. I'm sure the look on my face was priceless, most likely absolute terror. I felt like my heart was maxing out. One of the blockade officers laughed as we ran by, he said "Hey that's not fair! He's pulling you!" Listen bud, you wanna try to keep up with Goliath?? Be my guest. There was a pretty decent hill, and I passed one of gentlemen in front me. Unfortunately, my shoe came untied with less than a quarter mile to go. Panicked I had an internal dilemma, and decided to tie it even though it might have meant someone passing me. Luckily, there wasn't anyone near enough. We sprinted across the finish line and looked down at my garmin for the first time since the start, then the DJ says "Look at her checking her time! That's what it takes to be top 10!" balls. top 10. I came in 8th overall, and I was the 2nd female. Goliath was the 2nd canine.

I told someone a long time ago that I would win a local race one of these days, this just proved to me that I could. I won't cheapen this victory, so don't roll your eyes at the race design or number of runners. No matter how you spin it and try to lessen this, I came in 8th overall and 2nd female overall. You can't argue that.

This blogpost brought you by FLASHCAKES! The chocolately treat guaranteed to make you a super fast speed racer! Want a box of your own? Comment us: tell us one SPEEDY fact about yourself-it can anything, and be sure to include your email address. One person will selected randomly....and yes this is Part V of 12DoGA and yes they are bad for you :)

Mileage: 3.35 (it was actually long!)
Time: 24:18

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Hundred Times More

Well that's it you guys! We made it: 100 followers and coincidentally my 100th post!

For TBB's 100th Post, I am going to take it down a notch on a more serious scale.

As my marathon draws closer and I continue to do more reflection, I can't help but wonder why did my life turn left when it should have gone right?

Only one really specific thing comes to mind.

In April of 2007, my Great Aunt Mickey was diagnosed with stage three small cell lung carcinomas and by November she was gone.

Now I know you're probably like Great Aunt? Ooook? Mickey wasn't an aunt, she was more than that. See I had grandparents, but before I as five they were gone. Mick was always there. Every basketball game, every girl scout event, every school play and anything and everything where she could support me she was there. Not only for me, but everyone in my family: my sister and brother alike, and especially my mom. She was always there.

It's hard for me to explain, even iterate why and how important she was to me.

I didn't have a Mom and Dad. I had Mom and Mickey.

Long story short, I was alone with Mickey when she first took the news and I was holding her hand while she took her last breath. Every step of the way, I went with Mickey. She knowingly helped me grow up and I was unknowingly helping her face her mortality. On Thursdays we'd go to chemotherapy, and chow down on KC bar-b-que afterwards while she still had an appetite. Along the way she dropped knowledge left and right.

In those months, I never fully faced what was happening. I was 18. It was my first real experience with death, I had never seen death. And how hackneyed is this? It changed me.

Hardcore, it messed with me.

With all that typed out, I've thought long and hard about who I would dedicate certain miles to during my marathon. I recently read Ashley's marathon experience and how her dedication helped her. I've read that the last six miles are a complete out of body experience, and these are the miles that you dedicate. Those are the miles, you need that special someone there with you.

My conclusion is to dedicate my entire marathon to Mick, I owe her every inch.

Forgive me if this post is cliche laden, but after she died I lost direction. I turned left when I should have gone right. It took me nearly three years to find my way back, but now that I'm almost there I need to remember her.

She'll be at the finish line in my heart, because unlike Mick she'd never miss a sporting event.

Thank you guys for getting TBB to 100s! It's time to celebrate!

Who's Bad?

1. Thank the person who gave me the award: Thank You Amanda!
2. Share seven things about myself.: I had chicken for lunch, I'm wearing pants, I have a hello kitty obsession, I have a birth mark that looks like an earring, I have to go the dentist and the OB/GYN both next week, I love the color blue and I love blogging.
3. Nominate 15 newly discovered blogs: If you're on my Blog Roll, you are thus nominated.
4. Let my nominees know about their award: If you're on my blog roll, please see above.

Chobani Greek Yogurt Winners:
1. Michelle
4. Laura
6. Becky
7. Kt Bee
8. Samantha
9. Mrs. W
10. Ashley
Sorry, if you didn't win!! This random number generator picked these out. If you're on the list please, email me your address before 24September2010 at 4:00pm Central-otherwise you're gonna miss the mailing!

Let's gear up for winter running!
Part IV of 12DoGA: Hot Hands
Do you have a winter race series or plan on training through snow and ice?
These were road tested in my winter series of races, and perfect for warm up mileage. I use them for my hands pre-race, and my toes post-race.
They belong to three freezing followers, comment with where you train-and tell me about your winters!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Your Heart or Mine

Yesterday, I woke up and wanted to run.

So I did, but this post isn't about that.

This post is going to be about POOP. That's right POOP, FARTS and everything in between. You are now thus warned, read at will-but I'm gonna break the relationship between running and poop down "Everybody Poops Style." So either brace yourself or skip next in your reader.

This post is prompted by an email I get regularly. "JULIA! I have the worst 'stomach problems' when I run. HELP!" Ok first and foremost, they aren't stomach problems-it's a poop problem, don't beat around the bush. And second and second most, this is common-so common in fact it has nicknames: Runner's Trots, Runner's Gut, Bubble Gut, the list goes on. The bottom line is this: running makes you burp, fart, it makes the snot pour out your nose and makes you sweat like a fire hose-so why is it any wonder that it also makes your poop.

What happens to a can of soda when you shake it and shake it and shake it? It explodes right? Runner's gut is often experienced after longer runs, for newer runners it can happen after 10 minutes and for more experienced runners it can take an hour to hit. When you run, your intestines much like that soda can shake, shake and shake. What else happens? Blood that's typically there supporting your mile long GI tract is transported elsewhere. Elsewhere being the parts of your body that are taking a beating like your muscles, lungs and even your brain.

The trots strike every runner differently, and can be rectified just as differently. You may be the runner that can't go over six miles without a Port-A-John, or you may be the runner who can run an Ultra but the second you stop your gut wrings out like a dish rag. Whichever it is, you can follow a few steps to the solution:

1) Figure out your threshold: How long can I run before it hits me? Does it happen after I run, or during my run? Identify, identify and identify.
2) Examine your pre-run habits: Look at what you do an hour before you run, two hours before you run and 24 hours before you run. This includes, not only looking at what you ate but when was the last time you went, if you know what I mean.
3) Mess with the variables: So you've found out when it hits you, and you've looked at your routine. Now start taking out variables, Oh I eat a PopTart every morning before I run, let's take that out and see what happens.
4) Go back to step 1 and re-evaluate: Did anything change when you messed with variable a? No, move on to variable b and repeat.

oh noes! my tumtum!

See really, running is a create your own adventure game. The problem is it can take you a while before you find what works-the key is just sticking it out until you do. Knowing that this happens to the best of us can be reassuring, but when you're doubled over the porcelain throne convinced you're dying nothing helps.

From experience, runner's gut has made me never want to run again. In fact, after my first half marathon I spent more time in the bathroom curled up in the fetal position than I did actually running the race. Since then, I have been super diligent about avoiding my TrotTrigger foods: ice cream, refined carbs and leafy greens. Avoidance is only before runs and races, who wants to live a life without ice cream? That's as bad as a life without running, but in a world where I can have both is downright Utopian

Happy multicultural Utopian running world!

What works for me: Gluten Free carb loading, no milk and ice cream the day before (yogurt is ok), and coffee two hours before a run (do the math). None of this post has any source material, and I'm certainly not an expert so don't take my word for it-get out there and try.

NOOOWWWW that we are all brought closer together through poop, wanna talk food? What if it's part III of 12DoGA?
Got your attention? Part Tres features my favorite yogurt: Chobani Greek, I'm totally converted and you should too. Comment with your favorite yogurt and flavor, six people will get each get ONE FREE Chobani Yogurt of their choice.
Total Mileage: 5.3
Times: 50:12

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Get Nothing but Love

Two posts-one day? Could it be? Maybe it's still the runner's high, I dunno-but this is certainly happening, and as far as I can tell the world isn't ending....but it has been a while since I peeped outside.

At the moment, I'm washing clothes and watching MTV's "World of Jenks." Why is this relevant? Other than the fact, that I'm cleaning running clothes, this episode follows Maino. Bingo! My favorite running song evaaarrr is by who? Maino. I only caught the back end of the hour, but I learned a lot. Obviously, just by listening to his words you know he's been through some stuff but I guess I never REALLY knew. You know how some rappers spend a night in jail, and then rap about it for three albums. Maino spent ten years in prison. Ten years. I won't go in much depth there, but at the end of the episode he said that prison worked for him-it changed his life and he decided he wanted to inspire people. This goes without saying, but he inspires me to run every single time I hear that frickin' song even if it's so far from applicable to me.

Since I ran 20 miles yesterday, oh yeah did you hear? I ran 20 miles yesterday. Mrs. Big Stuff over here. Uhm, anyway-Since I ran 20 miles yesterday I am resting today. That also kinda goes without saying. Truth be told, I don't feel like I ran 20-other than mild soreness I feel solid. I am blessed with an amazing husband who rubbed my feet yesterday and today, despite the gruesome callouses.

Rest to me means: chilling + food. I woke up at 7 to smoke a brisket, to eat over the Chiefs game with our good friends. Since this post is clearly not about running, it's about dogs. Our bestie friends have a whole pack of dogs, and I love them all. Recently, their Schnauzer mix Duncan was really sick. He had toxicity to a medication, and had some pretty severe neurological side effects. Today, was our first visit since his doggy hospital visit. He's doing much better now, still minor symptoms but all in all doing well!

I call him "favorite"

Their newest pack member is Mayra, a 6 year old Maltese mix. While Mayra has a comfortable home at the present time, she's actively looking for her forever family, for her forever bed and her forever love. Our friends are fostering her during this extensive search. Meanwhile, I get sweet lovin' by a wittle white buddy. Logan calls her the little polar bear, because she's so fluffy and doesn't have a tail. She's such a sweet pup, being around her is so contrasting from Goliath's energy. Mayra just laid on our laps, just content to be with and near you.

If the circumstance allowed, she'd come home with us and we'd rename the blog "Keep up with Goliath, and hanging with Mayra." So maybe I've used that joke before, but it's true. Mayra is an amazing calm, cupcakey dog who deserves a family who will love her unconditionally. She needs a family who welcomes a silent companion, and is willing to give her all the attention she needs-not that she demands much.

Are you in the KC area and interested in adopting Mayra? Do you fit the bill? Please contact the the LL Dog Rescue for arrangements or email me, and I can get you in touch with their foster parents.

hmmm....what's that? hint: it could be yours
figure it out? duuuh it's part II of 12DoGA!
What is it? It's a Nike DryFit top, size medium.
I love it because it's like running naked.
'nuff said.
If it will fit you, and you're the first person to
email me it's yours.
CATCH: you WILL have to send me a picture of you IN it, and yes, it will be posted.
Now get to emailing us!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

That Grind Don't Stop

I get really emotional. I can grit though the toughest stuff but when it comes to things like change, and accomplishing things: I get wicked emotional. The last few days I have been completely wrought with anxiety....and overwhelmed with feelings. I just have a lot of feelings. A few months ago, I signed up for the Kansas City Runner's Edge group training run for the KC Marathon. It's not a big training group, it's just a run they organize for anyone training to help them with the longest run during training.

Knowing me, and my flakiness-I signed up so I would have no excuses to not get 20 miles under my belt. Little did I know, that this farting run would cause me more anxiety than the actual race. For SOME reason, I couldn't help but freak out that maybe my training wasn't where it needed to be do this distance and that I was going to totally embarrass myself. My training style for this marathon has been pretty unorthodox, and honestly I haven't stuck much to a rigid plans as I have just gotten out there and followed a 10% build up each week. Every run for me is a fartlek, and every run I struggle to figure out what I need to do albeit hydrating, fueling, and gear. So for someone who still is trying to figure out their rhythm, showing up to a group run with other runners who've been training (and probably more consistently) was a little intimidating.

Admittedly, my nerves got the best of me before I even walked in the door. My drive there I turned up my 5k play list CD, and tried to just relax. Then that stupid Inida Arie song lyrics hit me like a ton of bricks, and I felt like I had to cry-but I couldn't cry because I was so nervous-but I was so nervous I wanted to cry-and then I got angry. KNOCK IT OFF. I don't know why I allow myself to be consumed with self doubt, and wrapped up in minutia like what people might think. God forbid, someone laughs at my gait. I quickly changed the song, to "Let's Go" and tried to get amped. As I pulled into my parking spot, I saw other runners all geared up walking into the shopping center to get their wrist bands.

Sure enough, the demographics were exactly what I feared. Guess what my first thought was? Dannnngggit, you're the fattest person here. ACK, everyone was super lean and super toned and looked super fast. I took a deep breath, and got out of my car. I felt like everyone was staring at me, haha look at the noob, as I walked in and got my wrist band. Thankfully, I planned on meeting up with two guys from the marathon's facebook. They both found me, and distracted me from being a big ball of nerves. One of which, Scott, talked me into this didn't run because of an injury-but just came for moral support, he knew a bunch of people there and introduced me to a few. Then Eric, who I talked into running this. Eric and I had decided to stick together, thick and thin-running and walking.

At 6:30 everyone lined up with a pace group, much like a race. My group kinda huddled around our pacer, Lynette. We shot the poop while we waited for a time to be called. Since this wasn't a race, they were really strict about not wearing ipods. Ya'll know me and my obsession with my ipod, so here I am: longest run of my life, with essentially strangers, and no ipod. I was seriously struggling to not shut down from nerves, so I pushed myself to talk to people. Once I got to talking and introducing myself, I kinda started feeling more like myself. It didn't even take me a mile to realize, everyone there was just as unsure, if not terrified as I was.
The organizers did a wonderful job, and the pacers were amazing. There were water and fuel stations every 2 miles, the pacer answered all your questions and everyone was just rocking and rolling. Our whole group was really chatty, and I hate chatting-but there I was just kinda running my mouth about anything and everything to whoever would listen. We talked about how we got into running, our jobs, our family, TV and movies, stuff in Kansas City, other races we've ran, fueling and nutrition-basically everything. Other than the fact that I had to pee wicked bad, I didn't realize I was even running. Before I knew it, we were at the 10 mile mark. Say what? I didn't even feel like I had ran ten miles.
Everyone had the option of turning back, and running the route for the desired distance-with the maximum distance option being 22 miles. I had talked Eric into pushing 20 miles, even though he only intended on running 18 per his schedule. Selfishly, I begged him to go 20 and I am ever so thankful he agreed. At mile 10, we found out our pacer wouldn't be splitting back to complete the back mileage. Most of our group went on to run another mile before turning around, but Eric and I split of at 10.
Without a gaggle of runners, we just kinda paced our way back and took it really easy. The front ten miles were pretty thick with runners and other groups, but the back ten we'd go for a mile without seeing fellow trainees. As the mileage increased on our garmins, it got progressively harder to put one foot in front of the other. By mile 16 we were both ready to call it and Eric said he was considering walking the final two miles. I didn't mean to get all cliche and motivationally hackneyed on him, but I was like "Buddy, you don't want to regret this later. You know later this afternoon you're gonna kick yourself in the butt for not pushing those last two miles!" He agreed and we kept trucking.
My mom drove by and honked us a serenade of encouragement. We ran through our last aid station, and then it clicked that we were almost done. HOLY CRAP....eighteen miles are finished, two more to go. My legs felt like bricks, but I was on top of the world. Those last two miles, were sooo smooth. Dare I say, smoother than the first anxiety-ful firs two??! With a half a mile left, we ran into this guy...

This is Moose, and 11 Month Boxer.
We both HAD to stop and pet him, being that we a) both love dogs and b) really love Boxers. Eric has a boxer name Daly, who also is tattooed on his arm-that's love. And well, you all know the boxer in my life. Moose had enough energy for the both of us, he showed us how he can sit and shake-and we could tell just from a distance he was a fun dog.
Moose shook us on our way, and before we knew it the shopping center from where we started was in view. It was surreal, had we really just logged 20 miles? Like TWO-ZERO. It felt like TWO. We finished really strong, and even felt like we could do more. Walking into the shopping area, the air conditioning was shocking. We high fived and were just generally elated. Walking to the area where we checked in, we strolled by a huge wall of mirrors. I glanced over my shoulder and said "Yeah,we looked like we just ran 20 miles!" and snapped this...

we killed it.
That's right. I ran 20 miles, and it felt second nature. No one made fun of me. I enjoyed myself. I will be back next year, and I guess this means I'm officially trained to run the KC Marathon. Oh and this is how I recover:
Total Mileage: 20
pssssttttt...12DoGA: GU Winner is Kate Smith! Kate email me your address, and the GU is yours! Thanks for your support! Part Two of 12DoGA coming to a blogpost near you soon.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oh My Gosh

So maybe my dehydration issue is really a sweating issue. I sweat. I sweat A LOT. I can't say that I'm noticing that I'm sweating more than usual, or more than in past years-but lawd alllmighty, I am just noticing HOW MUCH I sweat. Growing up I was always told in basketball practice that "Healthy people sweat...if you're sweating you're healthy," so follow me on this:
If sweat = health, then lots of sweat = lots of healthy? RIGHT??! Then why is it then after I sweat a lot, I feel like garbage and not so healthy. The way I feel sometimes makes me worry that I'm not healthy. Then I remember, Oh yeah that little adage about sweat was said by my grade school basketball coach who owned a Planet Sub and was not a health professional. So perhaps, not words for me to live my life by.

try to guess where my sports bra is?

You would think I ran for hours, but nope that was a 3 mile run this morning. Come on, that's excessive isn't it? I wasn't even pushing myself. I was drenched, it's weird when you can feel your knees sweating.

Well, do you like to sweat? How much? Do you sweat over blog giveaways? What if it's part of the 12 Days of Give-Aways? I'm trying to be sneaky about this, because for the most part I want these freebies to be a THANK YOU to my subscribers, not an encouragement for more. So during the 12 Days of Give-Aways there will be no rules for linking or promoting TBB, it's going to be all about YOU, YES-YOU! During the 12DoGA, that's the code name bee tee dubz, give aways will be posted randomly, and at anytime-each will have it's own way of winning, or earning-and for some everyone wins. The only guarantees are: there will be 12 upcoming giveaways, and they are all things I love and want you to experience. Some will be small, and yeah-some are gonna be pretty fudgin' huge-oh maybe 13.1 huge, if you catch my drift?

Speaking of 13.1, how would you like enough GU to run a half marathon?
Email me your name, and an upcoming race that you'll need them for to be selected!
I will send 5 Strawberry Banana GU Gels to the lucky athlete, who will be selected at random!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

All I Do Is Win

...blog awards! Woot!

Thanks to Melissa and Kate for tag-teaming TBB for the, uhm "Sweet Friends" Blog Award. Is that what it's called? Well that's what I'm calling it. The catch is you have to read ten things I like, but then maybz you're one of the ten people tagged-so win-win?
  1. SLEEP
  2. FOOD
  3. RUN
  4. ICE
  5. RACE
  6. SUGAR
  8. JOB
  10. FAMILY

I tag thee...
  1. Katie @ The Good Ole Daze
  2. Megan @ The Shenanigans of Megan and Liz
  3. Ash @ Ash&Diz
  4. Holly @ The Couch Potato Athlete
  5. Jami Jo @ Jami Jo is Taking Girth Control
  6. Lauren @ Lauren Grows Up
  7. Andrea @ My Life on the A List
  8. Emily @ Tipping the Scale
  9. Jennifer @ Living a Changed Life
  10. Stephanie @ Running to Health

No Control of My Body

Obviously, I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately. As the W&R Marathon approaches, I can't help but be pensive about the mileage that has gotten me here. The problem is: thinking about what you have done doesn't really help you get what you need to do...done?

I have a little over a month left. I have a 20 mile run scheduled this weekend. I have my clothes planned out. I have printed the map three times. I have counted down the days for almost a year. I have never been so overwhelmingly consumed with one thing ever before. It's not an exaggeration when I say it's ALL I think about.

On Saturday, I had my first month lifetime weigh in and spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with Goliath. We tripped to the dog park, and pretty much just maxed in bed allllll day. I needed the rest. I need a day to just NOT think so farting much. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous, and yet the dog was fairly empty. We walked a few laps, drudged the mud and explored the wooded areas.

These pictures crack me up...sorry.

Not even kidding, I spent all day Saturday....and well most of Sunday with the G-Dog. We did some running Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. For the most part, my body has been completely cooperative but recently old injuries and problems have been surfacing. My stress fracture sites are flaring up, my toenails are on the brink and I am trying the find a balance in over and under hydrating.

goofball tried to lick my ear

When I run I have zero problems, in fact these days I've felt better than ever. Something in my brain shuts down, I feel no pain and can go for miles. The second I stop, for water or for Goliath to drop a deuce something will get me, albeit nausea or shin pain. I'm doing my best to stay on top of overuse injuries, and experiment with gatorade. Today's run was a different story. I thought I had found the key to feeling like trash after runs, but guess not. Sometimes dehydration isn't as simple as drinking water. I have been drinking a suggested about of water, and gatorade before and after runs-but even with that I couldn't help but feel like puking at my split today, and as I arrived home.

Something just isn't right, I can't pinpoint it but mark my words I will get to the bottom of it because I can't handle how I felt, and feel now. Maybe I just need to get back in bed.

Today's Mileage: 5.2
Time: 47:36

12 DAY of GIVEAWAYS UPDATE: OK faithful followers, the time has arrived! I can't believe we got so many subscribers over the weekend! Thanks! Be on the look out, the 12 days of giveaways will be starting any day, any moment-and be ready, you're gonna want this stuff!! I've got a full page of things to give away including...hah, sike-no clues, pay attention!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I'm Going to Love You Forever

Disclaimer: This is perhaps world's longest post ever. The following is our story, I just published it under "About Us" and wanted to share for everyone. I'm frequently asked how I got started running, and why-well here it is. Buckle Up.

HELLOOO! I'm Julia and that little fawn pup is Goliath. Our story is short, sweet and a never ending love song.

Once upon a time, I was a newly married 20-something struggling, just struggling. Stress took the best of me, and I spent many nights in tears overwhelmed with responsibilities and obligations. In a 6 month period, I ate myself 30lbs heavier. In December of 2008, my exhaustion reached epic proportions. At my family doctor I stepped on a scale prior to my consultation where I for sure thought I'd get a death prognosis. The scale read a number I couldn't even fathom, I didn't even recognize and worse, I didn't even expect. The nurse vociferated it to me and it echoed high into my cerebellum. My opinions wavered, and tears swelled: Was it worse that I had absolutely no idea I gained this much weight? or Was it worse that my first thought was Wow, You're FAT.

It's no surprise that I have no pictures of me during this time. I didn't even look at myself enough to notice. The Saturday following the doctor's visit, I enrolled and attended Weight Watchers. I have never been a dieter-for-skinny-jeanser, or exerciser-for-funner so this was really novel to me. Sure, I dabbled with trying to get healthy in the past but I never felt a strong need anytime I'd start I never truly felt there was anything wrong with me. Maybe, I was a little chubby but I never felt fat until this time. My first meeting adjourned and I set forth on a new mission with new guidelines. On my first day, I ate Church's Chicken and Pizza Hutt. In my first week, I didn't realize fruit had points. But in my first month, I had lost five whole pounds.

This was 5lbs lighter, and the closest picture I have to my starting weight.

Five whole pounds. You may scoff, but to me this was huge. I'd never successfully lost weight. The night after I received the most important sticker to date, I laid in bed looking at pictures of puppies on CraigsList and semi-joking with my husband. I desperately wanted a dog, and the better half was adamant that we couldn't take care of one. I was going through the postings reading off the dogs available for rehoming, "Babe! Look beagle-terrier mix!" "Ooohhh rottie mix!" He'd laugh at all of them until I said "...dude check this out, Boxer-Husky mix," the combination perked his interest, he turned from his desk chair with an eyebrow raised: "Boxer Husky?"
"Yes! Boxer-Husky this guy has a whole litter. I guess he's a breeder of boxers and his Husky knocked up his female"
"Yeah! Can we?!? PLEASE?!"
"Julia...." and in his last attempt to divert he said "But what would we name it?" as if that would stop me. I tossed out names off the top of me head:
"Banjo?" "No."
"Duke?" "No."
"Warrior?" "No"
"....Goliath?" He turned around again and said "Well I guess email the guy and see if they are still available?"

The email was already sent. A reply came within minutes, yes the pups are available and the only male has had no interest. I replied with "The male is mine, we'll be out there tomorrow"

The husband and I drove over an hour outside of the city into winding back roads. Fear stricken the whole time, I was a getting a puppy and I was going to be largely responsibly for it. What if he didn't like me? What if i was a unfit furmom? We got there and were greeted by the accidental breeder who introduced us to the Mom Dog, and then Dad Dog-both were beautiful, well demeanored dogs. He excused himself to fetch our new addition, and a few short minutes he returned and handed me a 5lb hand warmer. The little pup fidgeted in my embrace, and I set him down to watch him interact with his mom. He clumsily pranced after her, and was desperate for her attention. When he ignored him, he stopped short and pouted. He was distraught for a brief millisecond, turned and walked up to me. I picked him back up, and nestled him into my parka. His wet nose grazed my chin, and plopped onto my clavicle while my husband handed over the payment for his vaccinations.

The day we brought him home

Look how clean my carpet use to be? The next weeks were full of sleeplessness, accidents and utter joy. We were completely unprepared but Goliath and I rose to the occasion. I spent hours pouring over dog books, calling my Vet and talking to friends. He was housebroken in less than a month, in the dead of winter. The day I taught him to shake was the single most proudest moment of my life. We'd go on walks, trips to the dog park and excursions to family and friend's homes. Goliath went everywhere with me, and I found myself experiencing something that I hadn't in a while: unbridled happiness. I hadn't smiled this wide, laughed this deep and been this positive in the better half of a year.

Goliath at three months

Over the next few months, we grew up together. He seemed to double in size week after week, and I continued to see the number on the scale go down. Our walks would get longer, and the stints at the dog park seemed to double but nothing was a match for his energy. The husband and I took turns playing him to exhaustion before bed, but he'd still wake up at 3:00 am wanting to play. In the mornings, we'd walk for miles but we'd still come home to a path of puppy destruction. Finally, it dawned on me: this dog was made to run. When he had matured enough, and I had lost enough poundage our morning walks became our morning struggle to jog. He'd fight to run faster, and I'd fight to breathe. There were so many initial kinks to work out: leash handling, poop pick up, lack of oxygen to my brain and so many more. We'd come home when I couldn't take any more, and my sweat could fill a man sized pool. I'd collapse onto the couch, and he'd lay down at my feet unfazed.

After my first race

By April, I signed up for a four mile road race having never really ran four straight miles before. I finished in a little over forty minutes, and felt certain death looming. Those four miles pushed me to a brink I never wanted to see again, my stomach cramped, nausea set in and my muscles failed. As I crossed the finish line, I remember thinking Does this mean I'm a runner now? It did. That month I had officially lost 10% of my body weight and ran my first race. I was on top of the world, and I had Goliath there with me. We set into a regular running routine, before or after work. Rain, humidity and unmitigated heat-we ran in it. The pain of every step eased as we stuck with it.

Goliath never grasped the leash concept still after months of running together. He'd pull and pull and pull some more. He'd choke him self, and have asthma-esque gaps for airs on walking breaks. I knew he longed to run free, and he'd push the boundaries to do so. He was an untamable spirit on a leash, until one series of unfortunate events. We had set out on a Thursday early evening out-and-back run, like any run before. Our usual jaunt includes a half of mile of city pavement that lead us to a bike/hike country trail. We cross one busy intersection, and run due south to the trail. Goliath was pulling as usual, and as usual I was struggling to gain control. After a quarter mile of this give and take, Goliath's collar gave way to the pressure and the ring that secured his leash snapped off. He was loose and running. Just like he'd always wanted to be, he didn't want to run away-but he just wanted to run. So he did, but instead of running toward the trail he darted back toward home, and the busy intersection.

The more I chased him, the faster he ran. I knew what was going to happen, but I couldn't stop going after him, I attempted to get him to chase me but he had zeroed in and was driven. I screamed loud enough to stop traffic, and as Goliath's four paws entered the intersection I did too. He didn't look for cars, and neither did I. I had complete tunnel vision, and screaming. I screamed again, and cars stopped in all directions. A red Camry screeched inches from hitting him, and the halting brakes startled him.

The white Suburban never even saw him.

The whole intersection was motionless, I could hear windows rolling down and my sobs echoed. Goliath's body law there, silent and unanimated. I looked around at everyone staring at me, as lakes of tears poured from eyes. My husband, who heard me, stood on the opposite side of the street stunned. Time truly just stood still, it seemed like an eternity. In reality, only half a second passed until Goliath stood up and finished his run. He wasn't done running free apparently. I followed him, and whirred passed my husband who still stood there shocked. Goliath waited for me at the front door, and I scooped him up terrified. I checked his wounds and draped myself over him sobbing. I knew this was too good to be true, dogs do not get mowed over by SUVs with no internal damage.

We rushed to our Vet, and I held him in my lap on the way there convinced he had internal damages that were fatal. Upon arrival, Goliath was back to his normal self with addition of road rash. It was determined that his worst problem was a minor case of fleas. We left with antibiotics for road rash and stronger flea prevention.

This was the next day

It is hard for me to even fathom how blessed I am that he didn't die, or sustain serious injuries. The emotional toll on both of us was pretty great, for a month neither of us left the house to run. I often found myself just gazing at him contemplating how he lived. A friend told me that he knew his work with me wasn't done, that he knew he couldn't leave me-that he wasn't done changing my life. That friend couldn't have been more correct. It took a while to get Goliath back out there, and we've since taken ever precaution possible to ensure his safety. He's more weary of streets, and sticks to my side now. He no longer wants to run wild, but wants to run together. I like to think he knows that he's lucky to be alive, and even more lucky to be able to run still.

Since the accident, Goliath and I have ran thousands of miles together and completed one race together. With his assistance, I've trained for and completed six half marathons, and countless 5Ks. A year after my first road race, I ran it again and crossing the finish line never felt more routine. This time I KNEW I was a runner. October of 2010, will mark my first full marathon and Goliath has trained with me on every single run. Over the two years with him, my life has changed so much. I have never been more confident, more accomplished and more happy. There have countless people that have inspired me, touched my life and helped me grow into who I am today-but none have done what Goliath has, and continues to do so each and every day.

April 2009-April 2010

I am not the fastest. I am not the thinnest. I am not the strongest.
But I'm not finished, and we're just getting started.