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!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Coaster Run

Renegade Race Series Coaster Run 5k & 10k

This event has held a special place in my heart since I first ran it in 2011.  This was the first event my parents wore a race bib.  This is also my happiest place on earth.  Knotts Berry Farm is filled with many happy childhood memories and has always been my favorite amusement park.  Being able to share my love of running with my family only added to my love of the park, the sport, and all things Snoopy.

In 2013, Renegade listened to its runners and worked closely with Knott's to make it so we could start going through the park.  This was a major turning point in the coolness factor for not only myself, but most participants.  And the signature boysenberry pie at the finish line is the lasting reason to lace up your shoes.


I am honored to be a part of the Renegade Race Series family for a second year in a row.  I am honored to toe the line with all of the families who take part in this event.  I am grateful to all of the volunteers who make this event (and all others) possible.  I am humbled to be a part of the running community and have so many wonderful people as my friend because of this great sport!





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Thank you to all of the faces who have helped make this event so memorable for me over the years.  I look forward to all the years to come with each and every one of you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Renegade Racing iTRYathlon 5k

iTRYathlon 5k, sprint and youth triathlon with Renegade Race Series
Crown Valley Community Park in Laguna Niguel, CA
http://www.renegaderaceseries.com/
Please use discount code JULIADISCOUNT when registering to save 10% off your entry fees and be entered for a chance to win entry to a future Renegade event.  And make sure to drop by the booth and say hello!

I feel so fortunate to be a part of the Renegade Racing family.  They were gracious enough to ask me back to be a part of their Renegade Racing Representative team for a 2nd year in a row.  The iTRYathlon 5k in Laguna Niguel on February 8th was my first Renegade event for 2015.

I was coming into it with virtually no training in (cross training or even just walking miles).  My students seem to be sharing all their cooties with me and I had been struggling with bronchial issues for about a week going in to this event.  Could not have asked for a better morning or a better location.  Course was well marked and had a little bit of something for everyone.

Great event all the way around.  Great, helpful, smiling volunteers all around.  Great, giving vendors with something for everyone.  Looking forward to the iTRY in Irvine in September!!  Hope to see you all out there at a future Renegade Race Series event.  (feel free to find me on FB, twitter, or instagram if you have any questions about an event).  Happy running!!

Hanging out in the Instagram window after the race.  Left bottom:  Veronica (fellow Ren Rep runner who was the winner of her AG for the 5k), Andrea (all around extraordinary person and MC for the event), and ME!  Top row:  Taite and Jonathan Pauley (two of the best race directors ever) and their son Emerson.

Hanging out after the event near the Renegade Race Series booth.  Left to right:  Veronica, ME, Andrea, Taite with Emerson, and Jonathan.  Love having time with my Renegade family.

Julie, a Renegade Racing Rep, hanging out in the transition area while she waits for her some to come in and pick up his bike.

Veronica posing with the Coaster Run shirt and Medal.  Come on out March 8th if you would like some boysenberry pie and a chance to have your photo taken with Snoopy and the crew.

ME, posing with the Laguna Hills half marathon, 10k, 5k.  Not sure what I was doing.  Maybe I was remember how hot and sweaty I was when running it in 2014.  Julie is in the background waiting for her son to arrive.

Veronica getting her age group award.  Not sure why she isn't looking at me since she knew I was there.

Was so much fun spending most of the morning getting to know this beautiful face.  Pleasure to call such an amazing woman, and runner, my friend.

Shot of the 5k medal all finishers received.