Week 16 – and Single Digits

Here we are: 16 weeks into 2015, and I can’t believe I’m still doing what I promised to do for my New Year’s resolutions. Cray! Anyway, it was a good week last week for planks and push-ups. I held planks at 1:45 and completed 2 sets of 7 push-ups every other day. I’m hoping to add on some more push-ups soon but I’m struggling to get through the 14 I’m doing. It might be my imagination, but I think I can see definition in my arms. I had read an article awhile ago that said the simplest, most effective way to define your arms was to do push-ups. I think they may be onto something there.

The real accomplishment of the week was my 5k. After wondering whether I’d be able to go or not – massive mashed-potato-snowfall made me insecure about driving – I decided late Friday afternoon that I’d give it a shot. If you’ll remember, I had also lowered my goal to protect my pride after losing a good week to a groin pull.

I am incredibly proud to announce that I finally ran a 5k in under 30 minutes (29:33 gun time to be exact). It took me a whole year to get here, but I finally did it. I finally felt like a champ. I definitely cried a little bit – a few times. I was in shock for quite awhile.

The best part about being 30 is that now I’m in a different age bracket and am no longer lumped together with the 21-year-olds. Because of that, I placed 7 out of 22. Top ten!

I have a couple more 5ks coming up (Run Fur Fun on May 17 and Color Vibe on June 6) and I’m going to concentrate on trying to improve my time once more. At least for now I know I’m in what I call the “single digits” – less than a 10:00 minute mile!

Pre-Race Jitters

Have I already used this for a title? If so, I apologize.

Anyway, here we are, the day before another race (5k). I have my usual pre-race jitters. Once again, I was desperately hoping this would be the race I would finally finish in under 30 minutes, but I have changed my goal to protect my confidence and pride. I had to skip nearly a week of training to deal with my groin strain – thankfully, rest, stretching and lots of extremely painful foam-rolling have helped it to heal. It’s not 100%, but we’re getting there and I at least know I didn’t do serious damage to it.

I went on my 3-mile easy pace run yesterday and it was slow. That was what made me realize I need to scale down my goal for this race.

Additionally, we got some much-needed snow last night… yay! The unfortunate part of this is that my race is an hour away down the canyon, which makes me wonder on how traveling to get there will be. I’m going to do everything in my power to get there, but I won’t risk my life to do it. It’s heavy, wet snow and it’s warm so I’m hoping the roads will be decently clear by tomorrow morning.

So here I go again: wish me luck! As long as I can beat my previous best time, I’ll be happy. And hell, if I can’t, there’s always the next race (Color Vibe, June 6th – untimed, but that doesn’t mean I can’t time it myself).

TBT: Wedding Planning

I found this juicy, laughably dramatic (which is who I am, if you haven’t noticed) nugget in my wedding planning journal. Yes, being an old-fashioned creature who loves paper and pens, I kept a wedding planning journal and yes, being a nostalgic creature, I still read said journal from time to time. A lot of it is painful. Here is one of those painful entries for your reading enjoyment:

“10/23/2012

“I must vent now.

TBT: October 2012, wedding preparations underway

TBT: October 2012, wedding preparations underway

“I’m not excited about this wedding at all. I get irritated when people ask me about it because I’m thoroughly disappointed with how lackluster our engagement has been. I thought this year would be exciting, fun and full of attention for me. Instead, it’s been stress, complaints and just like any other year. I don’t feel special of important. I just want to get on with my life.

“#1 – Everyone loves to complain about my January wedding. They love to assume there will be a blizzard, or complain about the bad timing, or how stupid it is to get married in the winter instead of the summer like normal people do.

“#2 – Our whole extended family is not coming. I am upset about this. I understand that travel is difficult, but they don’t act disappointed – they act annoyed; as aforementioned, Erik and I are stupid for getting married in January.

“#3 – People are coming who I don’t want to see. Family drama is occurring on both sides of the aisle.

“How on earth can I be excited? Oh yeah, and another thing:

“#4 – People keep telling me how I’m supposed to feel. My own guilt about not feeling excited is helping to prevent me from being excited.

“I really want to move on with my life and get back to my normal, everyday life. No more guilt, fear, disappointment – at least, not about this. I thought it would be the happiest time of my life. Not even close.”

You know, it’s funny: I adore party planning, and it’s something I’m good at. People love coming to parties I host and I think our wedding was no exception. But there’s something just so weighty about a wedding that made it a miserable process for me. And it is absolutely true what they say: weddings bring out the worst in people. People were pretty horrible, and I don’t think they even realized it.

If you are getting married and finding the whole situation horrid, please take heart! It will be over eventually and you will come out the other side with some life lessons learned!

Semi-Review of True Colors

I’m reading True Colors by Kristin Hannah, and absolutely devouring it. This is the third book of hers I’ve read in a row. Back in November or so, I read Marie Antoinette by Sena Jeter Naslund, which I highly recommend. Anyone who can turn Marie Antoinette into a sympathetic character is a great writer!

Anyway, once I finished that masterpiece, I read a couple of classics that turned out to be duds. First was Emma by Jane Austen. I don’t understand why everyone hypes her up, to be honest. The book was nearly unreadable. The only thing that kept me going was how far I’d already read, and I didn’t want to waste my time like that. Near the end, I realized it was what Clueless was based on; the fact that it took that long to figure it out says it all.

Then I read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I like how Dickens writes, but I couldn’t get into this book at all. It’s only redeeming quality is that it was much shorter than Emma.

After all this, I knew I needed something light and enjoyable, and I remembered Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. I’d read that several years ago and fell in love with it in a Nicholas Sparks way. So I borrowed Fly Away, which is the sequel to that book, and ate it right up. Then I read Home Front, which was also pretty devastating. Now, like I said, I’m onto True Colors.

It took me a little bit to get into this book. Hannah has some cliches she swears by: girlfriends “hip-bumping” constantly (not something me and my girlfriends do), unshakable love between friends (OK, that I get), songs from the 70s and 80s, and lots of lawyer talk (she used to be a lawyer). I had trouble getting past that in the beginning, but I think what I had the most trouble with was the story itself; I think Hannah set it up that way. I think you’re supposed to get frustrated with the characters, because they’re acting like idiots.

Anyway, the story got really juicy in the middle when a sexy bad boy cowboy entered the picture and stole one of the characters’ hearts. It also got insanely depressing when that love began to crumble.

I was reading voraciously last night, unable to put the book down and shut off the light, painfully aware of a heavy feeling in my chest. That’s when I realized that this book’s love story is the exact recurring nightmare I’ve had for years.

When I started dating Erik I started having dreams that he would stop seeing me, wouldn’t take my calls, I wouldn’t be able to find him, and there would be no chance of reconciliation between us. I still have these dreams once in awhile (the last was within the past month), but they’ve considerably lessened in the years we’ve been engaged and then married. I read about Dallas breaking his contact with Vivi Ann and I could feel that pain in my own heart. I could understand her spiraling out of control, going through the motions of her life numbly. My nightmares always feel the same way.

I haven’t finished the book yet (I’m about two-thirds of the way through), but I’m hoping against all hope that Dallas and Vivi Ann get a second chance and, together again, say a big fuck-you to the world.

Well done, Kristin Hannah! You’ve once again proven yourself as a top-notch writer in my book (no pun intended).

Mountains of Change

I was talking with my friend Julie after boot camp the other week, and we were mourning the loss of something very dear to us: a large collection of stylish purses.

Julie is one of the most fashionable people I’ve met up here in Estes Park, and she’s an outsider like me. She moved from Oklahoma a couple of years ago. Like me, she moved here wearing heels, makeup and trendy clothes. Also like me, she found herself slowly abandoning some of the glam for more of a mountain casual look.

Things are just different up here. Flouncy skirts are a no-no, unless you want to flash everyone your goods when a gust of wind kicks up. Heels and wedges are a little tough on the uneven terrain, and even when you wear them downtown or indoors, people gawk a little bit, thinking you’re a tourist who doesn’t know any better.

I used to dress up for work: dresses, heels, skirts, blazers, makeup. Now I find myself wearing corduroys, sensible shoes and button-downs. Dresses and skirts remain in the rotation, but where I’m from, they’re more like what you would wear on a weekend as opposed to the office.

The biggest change for me is makeup. I’m not a heavy makeup user. I’m blessed with nice skin, and I do my best to take care of it and keep it that way. Some time after college, I started wearing eye makeup: liner, shadow and mascara. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I just didn’t feel right without it. I think sometimes on the weekend I would leave the house without it but was mortified if I ran into someone I knew. More days than not, I wore my eye makeup like a shield.

This was the day I didn't wear makeup to work: it was such a big deal I took a selfie!

This was the day I didn’t wear makeup to work: it was such a big deal I took a selfie!

Slowly but surely, I’ve stopped feeling the need to wear it up here. I remember the day I didn’t wear it to work, because it wasn’t that long ago. Of course no one noticed. Of course all the hype was in my own head. It was liberating to discover the world wouldn’t end if I didn’t wear makeup.

Sometimes I go whole weeks without wearing makeup. Last week, I only wore it once, on Saturday, date night with my husband: a simple swipe of mascara. It sure saves time, for one thing.

I’ve been thinking about it more because I’m flying to Atlanta next week for a conference, and I’m wondering if I’ll look like the mountain bumpkin I’ve become. I can imagine all the women in their power suits and dresses, smart pumps on their feet and designer bags in their manicured hands. I can see myself standing awkwardly with them, faking confidence while wearing rumpled dress pants, a shirt I bought at Arc for $3.00 and my sensible Payless shoes, trying not to fidget with my beat-up cuticles surrounding my bare nails.

Insecurity aside, this change has been good for me. Most people around here are genuine and kind, and I feel like a more authentic version of myself with each passing day. Moving to the mountains has helped me to start healing emotionally, and apparently the physical manifestation of that healing is being free from makeup.

Week 15

Success! I held a plank each day at 1:40, but even more importantly, I did 2 sets of six push-ups last week. Major score for me! It’s hard to do them, but I feel so strong. And I think I can see more definition in my arms and shoulders. I’ve been uncomfortable with my big arms since elementary school, and even though I still wish they were smaller, it’s nice to see a little definition on them. Maybe I can trick people into thinking I’m jacked.

The hardest part about the week was the groin pull I got. I think it resulted from too much mileage the weekend before: I ran 7 miles Saturday and followed it with 3 on Sunday. I was blindly following my training program, but I think it was too much for me. Anyway, I Googled groin pulls and of course the best and most oft-repeated advice I could find was to rest. Staying off the road this weekend and not doing the 6- and 3-mile runs I had scheduled was really hard. I found myself panicking that all my training work would be undone. I know that’s not realistic, but such is the crazy mind of a runner.

The good news is that my groin is mostly feeling better. I’m sure I’ll still have some pain when I try running again, but I’m going to do my best with stretching, warming up better and taking it easy before my next race on Saturday.

You Know You’re A Runner When…

… you’re sitting at work agonizing over whether to do your six miles tomorrow because of a groin strain. I mean seriously, self? Taking a weekend off won’t kill you.

Except this new person inside me – this runner – disagrees. She thinks that taking a weekend off will kill me and that all the training I’ve worked on will fly out the window!

I keep reminding myself that it’s better to rest a minor injury now than push it and turn it into a major injury… but this obsessive runner inside doesn’t agree with me.

All I have next weekend is a 5k, and I know I can do it even if I take all of next week off.

Why then does this crazy voice cackle in my ear? “Groin pain be damned – get out of the house and rrrrruuuuuuuunnnnnnn!”