Friday, November 17, 2017

Bakersfield Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K

Way back in February when I signed up for this race, I was excited by the thought of having a double half marathon weekend again.  Two Cities the weekend before was my first sub-3 hour half.  I knew I would be coming out of cross country practice with my students, and hoped it would be a good place for me to feel stronger again finally.

While Two Cities was relatively successful, it was not 100% what I had hoped for.  As race day for Bakersfield grew closer, my body was making it painfully clear that I was not going to be able to finish a half marathon without a lot of physical and mental pain.  I doubted for the first time if my body could finish.  I had only gotten sick once before and it was not an enjoyable experience. 

There has been a chronic cough going through my wing of the building at school.  All of my 4 teammates had been suffering from a sore throat in some way for weeks.  By end of day Friday, my body was slowly shutting down.  My throat was scratchy, and I was beginning to cough.  I started taking extra vitamins and drinking fluids to try and kill the evil that was inside, but by Saturday night I knew I was done. 

Since I had already picked up my race day gear and was in Bakersfield, I made the difficult decision to drop down in my distance.  I knew I could finish a 5k (would have done a 10k had it been an option). 

I had been seeing some of my more insane running friends (those who can kill a 100 miler) talk about working on their speed work and improving their one mile times.  I was like, "Hey I can do that."  I knew what my new goal for my new 5k distance would be.  When I stepped up to the start line my intention was clear.  I would make my miles get progressively faster.  I wanted to see how much I could push at the finish which is always difficult, even when my body is healthy.  I have had a 10 minute mile in mile one of a half only to end up with a 20 minute mile by mile 13.  I wanted to see if my body could be pushed just a little bit more with each passing mile. 

I wanted to have as close to a 15 minute mile for my first mile as possible.  I went out a little harder than I wanted to and in the end pulled back more than I should have.  My first mile was a 16:26.  I took a breath from my inhaler, a big gulp of Nuun Performance, said a prayer to not start coughing then started my push through mile 2.  I ended the mile with a 15:24, I had made my goal and cut 1:02 off my time. 

As I rounded the corner and headed towards what I knew would soon be the finish line, I took another breath from my inhaler, and a packet of Island Boost.  Then I put my game face on.  I had been taking with a father and his 2 daughters.  We had been laughing and enjoying the course and the beautiful day.  I looked at my watch, wished them a happy Sunday, then got on my toes (like I kept telling my CC runners at school to do), and I took off on my first speed interval during the final mile of my 5k.

My final mile was a 13:10!!  I had done it!  And I had done it by 2 minutes and 14 seconds!  While none of my minutes will break any records, I was overjoyed by my finish.  I had done what I had set out to do.  I had not coughed once and while there was a tightness in my chest, I knew I had finished strong and finished smart.  I have watched many a running friend start a race and then have to make the painful decision to quit because it was more than they could bear in that moment.  I didn't want that for this race.  I knew my body was not ready for 13.1 miles, but I knew it would perform for 3.1 miles and it did.  Thank you for reading my story.  Thank you to all of the amazing people who inspire me daily to keep trying.
Independence Compression Leg Sleeves
Wore my Liberty Zensah compression sleeves since it was Veterans Weekend.  Always get so many compliments on them.  Feel so blessed to be an ambassador for them for my second year in a row.

I posted a picture of their retired flavor, Kona Cola.  One of my Zensah friends was excited.  I offered to trade him some Kona Cola for this since I knew he was an ambassador and could hook me up.  Ended up a win win since we both had fuel we loved and could enjoy.
GU Energy Labs Energy Gel Chocolate Outrage -- 24 Packets
I was fortunate to be asked to be an ambassador for the 2018 running season.  I was also an ambassador for them during the 2015 running season.  I am proud to say this is once again my go to before the start of my race.  Have also taken on during a busy day in my classroom when I am feeling a little sluggish and need a quick pick me up.

Image result for island boost
I was blessed to meet the IB creator a few years ago when I friend introduced me to the product during the Surf City Marathon weekend.  I used it for the first time during my 50k ultra and have used it ever since every time I know I have a difficult road ahead of me.  Have used it from time to time for a quick pick me up during a regular day in the classroom too, any time I know I need an extra kick.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Two Cities Full and Half Marathon 2017

Every year I try and talk myself out of doing this race.  Then as early registration comes to an end, I jump in with both feet.  My training has been mostly non existent the last three years.  I have moments when I have a few days or even a few weeks when I am on track.  When I last ran a half marathon on August 27th, my wheels fell off around mile 7.  I was dealing with mental issues and extreme heat issues.  I knew by mile 9 that I was in trouble.  I had not packed the right fuel and with the high, unexpected heat, my body was fighting back.

I have been coaching cross country for the 5 weeks heading in to this event.  I was trying to get out and move with my runners as often as I could but I was dealing with breathing issues thanks to the bad air quality that I could just not shake.  I told myself I would run as long as I could towards the first mile and then I would turn on my gymboss interval timer (99 sounds of 60 seconds of walking with 30 seconds of running).  I knew this was a doable goal and would get me through about mile 10.  Once I got to the final 5k, it was all "downhill" from there.

When I left to pick up my bib on Saturday, my mom could see the worry in my face.  She asked me why I was so worried and said, "you know you can do this.  You just may have to change your plan on how to get it done."  And she was right.  I have been doing this long enough to know my body will finish the distance.  I have said it many times....Our bodies are awesome and amazing machines. 

My finish time in August was just shy of 4 hours, which should not have happened considering the relative ease of the course.  If this one could be around 3:30 I would be happy.  Ironically, this was my first sub-3 hour finish. 

When I got home Saturday night, I went about packing up all of the things I would need for in the morning.  I made both my water bottles up.  I packed my hydration pack with the Gu and Island Boost I may need.  I made sure there was extra Nuun along with some salt packets in the rear zipper of my OrangeMud double barrel hydration pack.  I set out my gear.  I have my Asics Cumulus, RoadID, gymboss, Zensah compression sleeves and socks and hat, along with my charged Fitbit.  I was as ready as I could be.

Thanks to my friend Lance who found me in the first mile, I was able to ignore most of the discomfort that came after mile 10.  I was able to mostly keep with all 99 rounds of my timer thanks to Lance. 

I would like to say I have some words of wisdom after running this but I don't.  I am taking the day after as a day of rest.  My only goal is to wake up Tuesday morning (2 days later) and get in a good solid workout.  If I can use this as the starting point to make a comeback.  My other promise to myself is to do a better job of keeping up with my blog again.  We shall see how all of it goes. 

A few pictures from the event.......

Flat me all laid out Saturday night.

With Lance on the course.  First time he went to take a picture I was about to tear in to a Gin-Gin. Should have let him take it, would have made a great picture.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Running with the Devil @ Lovelle Canyon, NV

I love every chance I get to run with Calico Racing out of Las Vegas.  When I lived there from 2006-2011, I would be a part of every event with them.  Most people would question why anyone would want to run in the Las Vegas heat the end of June.  While I will admit it is hotter than most would like (and usually under high humidity for the desert since it is quickly approaching monsoon season), I will take the dry desert heat over the humidity of the south any day of the week.

Running with the Devil is usually run at Lake Mead.  After taking a couple of year off from this race, 2016 would be the reincarnation of this event, this time at Lovelle Canyon (about 30 minutes west of Las Vegas on Blue Diamond).  This venue is typically the home of Labor of Love so I have been out here many times over my running career.  I typically will run a shorter distance and them stick around and take over an aide station to help out with the longer distance runners when I am with Calico Racing.  This event was no different.  And this time around the event had a 100 miler, so I would be able to run both Saturday and Sunday (10k both days).

My weekend started off early with a 5:30 check-in so I could help with packet pickup.  This is always a favorite of mine as it often allows me the only time I get to see some of my running family.  My race would start at 8:00 both days.  Saturday would also bring time to work the aide station at the 10k turn around for all of the full marathon, 50 mile and 100 mile runners.  We had a bit of a bee issue so it made for some excitement for this runner/volunteer.

Sunday was even more exciting as I was able to be at the finish line to witness one of two finishers coming across the finish line of the 100 miler.  This guy was amazing.  Geffory Foote with a 24:12;28 finish time.  This guy killed the course and was a sight to see for sure.  Scott Gilson also finished with 26:32:00, the second runner to stick with the whole 100 mile course.  Both amazing men to watch out on the course, and inspiring to see.

As always, I just feel blessed to finish these things.  My training has fallen to the side and has swung wide of my path the last year of life.  I took this weekend as a time to celebrate with friends and get back into things.  Saturday stats:  1:53:11 to earn 2nd in AG (there there 2 other ladies in my AG that scored in the top 3 overall).  There were 31 total runners on Saturday.  Sunday stats:  2nd in AG again (please note there were only 9 runners today total, making me 5th female overall).

I am proud to call myself a finisher of Running with the Devil 2016.  Now here are some of the amazing faces both on the course as runners and as volunteers (with our personal selfie stalker of a race photographer).

On a side note:  I am just glad all of the runners and volunteers were able to finish and leave the course safely on Sunday before the fire department had to close the area due to a fire.  Saturday was difficult with all of the smoke from some of the Southern California fires.  You could almost see it like coastal fog while you were out on the course.  I have never had to use my inhaler so often during any event as I did over these two days.

Please visit www.calicoracing.com for future race information!

SATURDAY
Before the race Saturday

With Deinse and our personal selfie
 stalker, Marshall

With RD Joyce and personal selfie stalker, Marshall



SUNDAY

With Katrina at the start on Sunday.

With Tami.  Ran the half Saturday.
Volunteered Sunday for 5k turn around
aide station and Saturday did packet
pickup with me.
With personal selfie stalker (and course photographer), Marshall
Before Sunday start
With Ruth.  She was the 10k turn around
aide station both days.



Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Time to wake up and make the change I know I am ready for

I have been telling myself that I am going to be the best version of me I can be to celebrate turning 40 this year. Well, that hasn't happened in the physical sense that can be seen either in a mirror or by others. But something has been brewing inside for the last couple of weeks that has slowly been grinding on me to get up and do something.  So as I lay trying to fall back to sleep at 3am on a Tuesday morning, I let out a big sigh and knew I was ready for the first step to re-finding myself and redefining who I want to be in this next chapter of life.

While there is one specific person I feel has gently, and figuratively slapped me to my senses,  I am not going to name names here because there are so many helping hands that have lifted me up and helped me be the amazingly,  phenomenal woman that I am today.  For everyone who I know who has been there, even if for a minute, please know I  love you and so value your friendship and kindness.

So here it goes.... I have always had body awareness issues. While I have never truly been obese, I have also never really been a healthy weight either.  I have gained and lost the same 30 pounds at least 3 times so far. Now I find myself at the heavy side of my comfort zone again and I keep doing things to self destruct so I just don't have to deal with it again.

There are many reason people choose to not eat the way they know is best. For me, each time I have gained back those deadly 30 pounds it has been for the same reason (and today I am going to say out loud for not only everyone else to hear but also so that I may hear it).  I don't like random physical attention. Now let me explain that. I know we are all going to look at and appreciate other people we are attracted to. I get that, I really do. But I don't like it. We are born the way God intends us to be. Granted He has also made people and technology available that can alter us, in the end each and every one of us needs to find peace in ourselves.

Each time I have lost or found those pesky 30 pounds, I have been able to maintain it for extended periods of time.  Last time I was a light weight was in 2006, when I moved to Las Vegas for a teaching job. Sounds easy enough. It took about 2 years to find almost 20 and I have spent the last year finding the last 10.  For better or for worse, I have been granted with certain physical assets.  Some pay a lot of money so they can have them. Others may spend money to have less of them, usually for health reasons. If you haven't guessed, I am talking about breasts. The lighter I am, the more noticeable they are (unless I just wear a tent or moomoo of some kind ). 

I have never liked or known how to deal with the attention this brings from  random strangers of the male species.  Ashamed is not the right word but it is close. I wish our society would make less sexual clothing.  I wish women would just admit to themselves and embrace their size, no matter what  it is. I hate that I have to try on everything. Womens sizing is so all over the place.  Just tell me the measurements of my jeans like you would for men and let me buy some damn pants without having to try on what seems like 50 pairs to find one that fits.

So back to my original thought pattern for this blog... I don't like confrontation. I don't like to (and this is hard to admit to), I don't know how to say what I am thinking when I am thinking it to the person who needs to hear it. If someone does something that makes you uncomfortable for some reason, they don't know to modify their behavior if I can't find the strength to tell them something is wrong. We all just need to take a meditative breath, and gently plow through what we need to so life can be clear, specific, and enjoyable (or at least liveable).

I don't like my body when I am at a healthy weight because I don't like random strangers looking at me (since they often make unwanted comments). Ladies, please learn to lift each other up in positive ways. Don't hate on someone for something you assume of them. We all have inner struggles. We all need compassion. We all need to feel wanted and accepted for who we are right now in this exact moment. Gentlemen, please don't assume we look like we do for you to look at and make rude or unwanted comments.  Speak to us as you would want you would want your mother, sister, or daughter spoken to. Remember, if you would kick another guys ass for saying something to the woman in your life, the don't say it yourself.

To the person who has helped  me find peace this very early morning, thank you. Your tough love, strength, and commitment to who you are is pushing me to fight back and regain the confidence I needed in myself.  I just hope you will continue to go down the path of life with me, no matter what that represents. Your friendship means the world to me in so many ways, and I love you for believing in me enough to push me towards where you knew I wanted to go and needed to be (even if it was because you were just protecting yourself). I hope you always continue to be a light of strength in my life.

Lord, please let today bring strength, comfort , confidence,  and emotional endurance/healing so that I can do the things I need to do to be strong within myself. Please give me the opportunity to be the person You intended me to be. Please continue to bring people into my life who help me be stronger.  Please give me  the strength to rediscover the amazing,  phenomenal person You intend me to be.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Ambassadors

I wanted to take a minute to breathe and put my thoughts together and say thank you to a few people.
To start, thank you to Renegade Race Series!  I have loved this group of runners since 2011 when I took my parents down to Buena Park to take part in their first ever event, The Coaster Run 5k!  Getting to run Knotts Berry Farm with my parents was such an amazing day for me.  They asked me to be a part of their team in 2014.  Has been such an amazing experience to be a part of their family.  I have met so many amazing people that I know consider family.  Please visit www.renegaderaceseries.com to check out all of our 2016 events.  My code is JULIADISCOUNT for 10% off  your entry.

Love my Renegade family and can't thank them enough for being a part of my journey.

They did 2011 and 2012 with me.  So proud of my parents.  While they no longer do events, they do almost always get a 2 mile walk in together.  Dad calls it a "forced march."

Then, sometime in October, I made a random comment on a Facebook feed and the next thing I know, The Santa Rosa Marathon is asking me to be a part of their team.  I first ran with them in 2012 when I completed the half marathon.  They got me with their marketing when they had Snoopy in their booth at the Two Cities expo.  The thought of running through the city with Charles Schultz created my favorite cartoon was all the reason I needed to sign up.

The same expo booth got me again in 2014 when I realized they had added the Downtown 5k, which would feature the entire Peanuts gang on the medal and the shirt!  SCORE!  Many people might not understand why anyone would travel 3+ hours for a 5k run, but when Peanuts are involved, DUH is all I can say.  Visit http://www.thesantarosamarathon.com/ to register and use code JULIAFRESNO10 to save $10 off your registration.  

 Finishing up the Cedar Point half marathon (the mecca of Snoopy parks with the most amazing coasters on the planet) while sporting my Downtown 5K 2014 shirt!
Finishing up half marathon #3 in 3 days while sporting my 2012 half marathon shirt.

And now, I have been asked to be a part of the #Nuunbassador program with Nuun Hydration!  I have used only Nuun for almost 4 years now.  I always have Nuun in my glass, not just in my bottle when I am running.  It keeps me hydrated all day long and have actually switched from big gulps while driving to drinking Nuun caffeine (favorite flavor is Cherry Limeade).   Don't have any photos in their gear yet but if you haven't tried it, let me know and I will be happy to share some of my stash.  Visit www.nuun.com to order your favorite flavor or just ask when  you see me (as I always have a tube to share).


Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Weekend

 While I was not home with my Mom for Mother's Day, it was still a very memorable weekend.  Started it off with the Proteus Scholarship Fund 5k and finished it off with the Pacific Groove Double Road Race 8k in Pacific Groove.  So much fun and so many happy memories.  Thank you to all the people I met this weekend.  Everyone at both events were just so happy to be there.  Can't say enough good things about both groups and events.  Here is just a small piece of my weekend joy.

Started the weekend off right by placing first in my AG for the Proteus Scholarship Fund 5k at Valley Oak Golf Course in Visalia.  At the finish with my friend Teresa, who also won 1st in AG.
Who could ask for a better way to celebrate an AG win than stopping off at their favorite local fruit stand and picking up a bag of delicious, seasonal fruit!  I admit I ate 1 before I even made it to the freeway.
Found these lovlies at Whole Foods after picking up my packet for Sunday's Double Road Race in Pacific Groove.  Had to sit and enjoy in memory of my Grandma Dorthy who used to always make them for Mom and I to celebrate our birthdays.  She would also make a dozen for Mom on Mother's Day each year.  Love and miss you GM.

Collection of bling awaiting the runners at the finish line of the Pacific Grove Double Road Race with Ujena Fit Club on Sunday.  Excited to now have two of these beauties in my collection of race medals.

Proud to say I earned one of these for the 1st quarter by placing 14th overall female.  Not sure how it happened but glad it did.  Shane also earned one by placing 13th overall male.  Not surprised by that one though as he does tend to go a little nuts with his races.  Looking forward to sharing the Double Racing experience with him in a few short weeks.

This one made me giggle.  Guess this golfer wasn't happy with this hole!  Spent some time running along the golf course.  

At the finish line during half time.  Had to get some cheese in there.

These little fellas were very friendly.  Saw a couple of them eating out of the hands of some of the runners during halftime.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Long week brings new adventures

So all my excitement, both good and bad, started last week when I came home from my part time job as a reading intervention teacher. I had just discovered an unexpected time restriction for a half marathon I was signed up for so I decided I needed to get busy with 6 weeks of some serious training.

Even before my accident in August with Katie that caused a bruise/strain on my right ACL, I have always suffered from  knee issues. While that may lead most people to not take up running, I jump in constantly with both feet.  So when I started running in 2009 I purchased an elliptical to help with my training. Well last week Tuesday brought the death of my much loved and used Elli.

Once the initial sticker shock wore off I knew it was an obvious and easy purchase.  Decided to go with the hybrid, an elliptical and recumbent bicycle all in one machine (to get my sprint tri training started, which is a blog for another day).  Then some happy news and a phone call from Coalinga-Huron U.S.D. about a full time teaching g position in the fall.  The interview was set for 3:00 on Friday.

I have never had an interview that I have felt good about when it is done. This one was no different. I knew there were a couple of questions that were just not as strong an answer as I would have liked, leaving me without a good feeling as I walked out. But within an hour I had a text from my initial master teacher telling me they had called to check on me.

Not long after a second reference was texting to tell me they had also been contacted. While I told myself not too get too excited, I knew that if they were calling references at 4:00 on a Friday this had to be a good sign.  So I tried to push all the emotions aside and headed out on a 5k walk with a good friend, who upon my sharing my day with her informed me that I would always have a place to crash until I figured out where I wanted to land.

I have always been a firm believer that God puts us where he needs us most, even if it doesn't make sense to us. This friend was actually facing a possible doggie issue as she was considering being out of state to deal with family issues for a little while in the fall and she shared with me how my staying would help alleviate some of her burden.  This was just another sign that this may be the new plan.

When I left the interview Friday they informed me I would know yes or no by the middle of the week.  As Monday came to a close, I kept reminding myself to stay positive, Wednesday (the middle) was right around the corner.  And besides, I had my new ProForm to look forward to putting together when I got home from work on Tuesday.

By recess, I had gotten the call telling me I had the job!!  Now all that was left was getting all my official transcripts collected again and to the district office so we could start my placement on the scale and get me ready for my new classroom for the 2015-16 school year.  I felt such joy (and relief) that it was hard not to break down as I called my parents to tell them the joyous news.  As I went down the hall to share with a long time family friend Janet (her husband began working at my elementary school when I was in the 4th grade), I couldn't contain my emotions and began balling as soon as I saw her smile.  Cried a little again as I told my friend Erin, who I have shared classroom space with since the first of the year.

As I sat at my desk Tuesday morning, so many emotions were running around my head.  So many tasks would need to be complete in the coming days.  First up would be a trip to Clovis (45 mins away) to get my car serviced.  Thought it was just an oil change and tire rotation but lucky me, I also got to have my transmission flushed because the fluid appeared to be burnt and my new tech was concerned.  New tech was something else that was stressing me out as I have had the same one for something like 15 years.  So my free oil change became a $235 transmission flush.

So after being out of the house before 8am I was finally getting home for dinner just before 7pm, making for a very  long day and a very tired little monkey.  Wednesday would bring lots of time on my PC as I worked to look up phone numbers and address to track down all the information I would need for my new job.  I also can't forget working with my 6 reading groups and taking a group of 1st graders for the afternoon so their teacher could take care of family business.  Somewhere in there I need to get Heidi but together (new ProForm with pictures to come soon).  And Thursday and Friday will bring a Rawhide Baseball game, where I scan tickets and help people find their seats (so two more super long days).

And don't forget the 5k on Saturday morning in Exeter and working the Kids Club booth Sunday for Rawhide.  Whew, I am tired again just thinking about the rest of the week.  But in the end, I am counting my blessings for all the wonderful things that fill my life and the people who are there for me even when I may forget.

Special thank you to Monique and Shelly for what I am sure were very kind and supporting words when the school district called them.  Thank you to my parents for putting up with me the last 4 years as I have looked and struggled to find my new place in life.  To all of my running family, thank you for distracting me when I am out on the course and for motivating me with your adventures.  Thank you to Shane for knowing when to just let me babble and get things out of my system and for trying to fix things when that was what I needed.  Thank you to Erin for being a shining light in my morning each day, not sure I could have made it through without you this semester.

And thank you to everyone who makes it this far in my journey.  Thank you for taking the time to be a part of my life by caring enough to read through this.  Please know that each and every one of you are appreciated and loved, even when I forget to say it out loud or perhaps haven't said it much at all recently.  I feel truly blessed to have the support group I have surrounding me and know I am a better person in some way because of each and every one of you!