Thirteen Point One

So I’m trying to come up with the words to describe this weekend, and frankly, I’m failing.

The trip was amazing. I love New Orleans and I really enjoyed exploring it all over again. The city was full of runners, I don’t think I’ve seen so much tech gear while sitting at a bar – or anywhere else for that matter.

Since I don’t really have the words, I guess pictures will have to do.

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Adam, Erin and I at St. Louis Cathedral the day before the race.

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Nothing makes you feel quite like a herd of cattle than being number 16,623 out of 28,000 runners.
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It was very foggy during the race. At one point I couldn’t even see ten feet in front of me.
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We finished! My final time was 2:47:07. Adam finished in 2:11:34. I am so proud that he beat his goal by 20 minutes. And yes, I am only wearing one shoe. I got a really bad knot in the ball of my foot around mile 11 and I was working on getting it out when my mom wanted to take pictures. It certainly made the last couple miles more challenging than they normally would have been.
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New bling! And yes it’s on beads because New Orleans.

My cousin Erin has a lot of pictures of people during the race, but I was too busy trying not to die to take pictures. All five of the runners finished the race and I am so glad I got to spend the weekend running with my cousins.

Next time though, I go to New Orleans and actually drink – without running 13.1 the next day.

Next up:  Columbus Half Marathon in October and maybe the Plano Balloon Festival Half in September. That depends on if it conflicts with ALC 2014 though. I’m definitely going to train differently. More short runs, and getting my long runs up to 12 miles will make the last third of the race a lot easier, I think.

Music! My favorite song during the race was I Can Lift A Car by Walk The Moon.

Enjoy.

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The Healing Power of Running

I’ll be honest. It’s been a tough couple of weeks. First my grandfather passed away, and then I lost my job. Now, as I begin this new chapter in my life, I’m finding I’m taking the lessons I’ve learned on the pavement to heart.

“I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.”
-Arthur Blank

I don’t want to dwell on the past. I want to focus on the tasks at hand. Going on interviews, getting my runs in, preparing for New Orleans and being with my family. That is what’s important to me now.

In the mean time, here is what I look like when going for a run in 30 degrees with 20 mph winds. I don’t wish these conditions on my worst enemy.

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I don’t think Erin knew how soon I would need the headband she got me for Christmas. Also busting out my still-technically-inaccurate Polar Dash Finisher fleece.

For the record, I’m wearing compression pants, a sweat wicking tank (adidas), a tech tee, sweatshirt and fleece. The hood of my sweatshirt was up for the majority of the run because the wind was insane. If you are wondering about a birthday present for me, I could really use some warmer running pants.

But the determination I used to push through this run tells me that I will get over these obstacles. I will be stronger, I will be better. I will finish this run. Mile by mile, I can feel my life return to normal. Mile by mile, I am regaining control of my life.

Running Song of the Week

I love Fitz & the Tantrums and this week they made me think. Tell Me What Ya Here For. What are you here for?

Two Kinds of Pride

I have two things to talk about today.

First of all, I ran my longest distance yet yesterday, and it was definitely the toughest.

Five miles on a treadmill. (Thanks, Winter Storm Cleon.) In all reality, I thank God for this weekend, because while the weather was terrible and it was bitterly cold, we never lost power and we were lucky enough to be safe both times we ventured out to drive on the ice. Others were not as lucky and I hope those still without power get it back soon. 

But anyway, the treadmill. So boring, and hard, thank goodness for this playlist. Really. It was hard not only because of the stagnant nature of the treadmill, but because there were a couple points where I really just wanted to quit. Around 3.5, and then again around 4 miles. It took a lot of mental energy to force myself to keep going.

But I did the whole 5 miles, and I am really proud of myself. For the first time I think, I’m letting myself feel proud of this accomplishment. I was thinking about it, and if you had asked me a month and half ago to run 5 miles, I would have laughed at you. It’s amazing to reflect back on how far I’ve come in such a short time.

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Secondly, I need to give a shout out to my cousin, friend, co-conspiritor and running peer-pressure coach, Erin, who ran in the BCS Marathon in College Station yesterday! Not only did she have the determination to train for a full marathon, but when the race she had originally planned on got cancelled due to ice (thanks, Winter Storm Cleon), she got in at the last minute for another race. And while I was a little disappointed I couldn’t be there to cheer them on, as I had planned on in Dallas, I cannot imagine going through all that, having a race cancelled, and not giving up, but signing up for a different race on three days notice, and then finishing!

I am so proud of her, and my Aunt Susan for finishing their first marathon. They have been a huge help in getting me into the world of running, helping me figure out training plans, races, gear and just providing overall moral support that I could not be more proud of them as they accomplish their goals.

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Ice, Ice, Baby.

Okay. I know I said I got a taste of running in the cold a couple weeks ago, but nothing, nothing I have ever been in compared to what is going on in Dallas right now.

And I’ll be honest, I had every intention of running while I was in Ohio last weekend, but that did not happen at all. Luckily I did get to run this week, once on Tuesday (in a beautifully dark 60 degrees, it was amazing even though my GPS mismeasured my run by a mile and a half) and then again this afternoon.

Here’s the thing about today.

Thursday night, it dropped 40 degrees and started sleeting heavily, meaning I woke up Friday morning to this.

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Yeah that’s not snow. Our parking lot (as well as everything the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex) was completely encased in ice. We got about 2 inches when all was said and done, and as of Friday afternoon it was 26 degrees with the windchill putting it near 11 degrees.

I’m sorry, I know runners are supposed to be ready to run in any weather, but no. Even the Dallas Marathon cancelled its race this weekend.

Moment of sadness for my awesome cousin Erin who was going to run in it for her first full marathon. 😦

I am not hard-core enough for this. Not to mention I can barely walk on the stuff, much less run on it. I know my limits, and this is what they look like.

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Yeah no. So I slowly, carefully padded across the parking lot to hit up the fitness center. Yay for not having to drive to a gym.

It was boiling in there. And yes, this is a combo mirror-gym-no makeup-all natural selfie, probably the worst kind of selfie. Judge away. See if I care. I was really proud of myself for getting out of bed this morning seeing how cold it is.

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I did get a solid 3.5 in as planned, and felt pretty good about it, despite the boring nature of the treadmill.

One thing I do like about treadmills is they force me to keep running, and I find myself walking a lot less while on them. Granted, when I do run, it’s at a slower pace, but I like knowing that I don’t have to walk as much anymore.

Also my new favorite running toy, courtesy of an early Christmas present from my best friend since third grade. A running pack for my phone and keys and any other small items I may need. Hallelujah, I didn’t realize how much I needed this until now.

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Nice and small, lays flat and does not bounce. Just big enough for my phone and key. Running hands free is greater than anything I could have imagined.

That’s all the updates I have from the frozen front. We’re expected to be iced in for the rest of the weekend, but I’m going to get back out on Sunday to do my longest distance yet – 5 miles.

My First Race

So it finally happened. After about 10 months of talking about running a 5K, this weekend I ran in the Shiner Beer Run 5K.

I don’t know if there is much to say except that it was cold, very cold. I learned I like running in packs, because peer pressure keeps me from walking too much. Also I run faster in the cold. I got a PR of 35:58 (previous PR for a 5K was 38 and change) and Adam blew everyone away by finishing in 23:49.

I really enjoyed seeing my cousins and family run the half marathon, and seeing them finish got me really excited for New Orleans in February.

But for now, here are some pictures. Keep in mind it was 37 degrees with 19 mph winds and a windchill around 27.

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Next up is an appointment with an orthopedist to look at my knee. I’ve been feeling some pain in the ligaments and I want to get it checked out sooner rather than later. Until then, I’ll be sitting out boot camp and (hopefully) just running to stay on track. The good news is it doesn’t really hurt when I run, so I’m trying to stay positive.

I’ll be in Ohio for Thanksgiving, hopefully hitting 5 miles over the weekend. I hope y’all have a great week and a very happy Thanksgiving! Don’t guilt yourself if you eat too much, it is a holiday after all. 🙂

Taking My Own Advice

So it figures that, not three days after my rant on healthy food as fuel goes up on this very blog, I break my own rules.

Hey now, I’m only human.

I took Friday off to rest my ankle, because I was feeling some pinching and tightness near an old injury, and I didn’t want to push it. I’m going to test my shoes this week and make sure I don’t need a new pair yet.

Saturday we went to Austin for a family picnic and I took the opportunity to have lunch with my girls. I allowed myself an indulgence of a delicious burger and fries with a beer (No Label Brewing’s Pale Horse, if you were curious) and figured I would be find for my run the next day as long as I behaved at the party we were going to.20131109_142146

Well it turns out my stomach has shrunk quite a bit, because when we got to the party I was so full I couldn’t eat a bite. I did however partake in a few beers (it was  a party after all) and though I tried to drink a lot of water, It was harder than I thought it would be without my trusty 20 ounce water bottle.

Moral of the story: I got back home for my run on Sunday and even though I had dedicatedly drank at least 40 ounces of water that morning, the first couple miles of my run were tough. It could have been a lot of things, including the dehydration, or the fact that I was running on an empty stomach. Oops. Lesson learned.

That being said. I did make my 4 miles, even though the first couple miles were tough. I’m still trying to focus on controlling my speed, and even though I felt like I did terrible during this run, I was able to maintain a slower, but more consistent pace through the run, which I am happy with.Screenshot_2013-11-10-17-10-29

So all in all, I like to think I succeeded in turning a bad situation around, learning from the mistakes that got me there, and swearing off alcohol and burgers on the day before a long run.

Considering how much my family (and I) enjoy eating, training during this holiday season might be harder that I originally planned.

Running Song of the Week (RSOTW?)

If you know me at all, you know that I love everything ever written by Panic! At The Disco. This song has been playing on my work playlists for a while, and they even performed it when I saw them in concert back in October, but it didn’t strike me as a running song until it came on my Songza station while I was out this week. It’s called Ready to Go [Get Me Out of My Mind] and it is a great representation of how I feel in my training right now. I hope you enjoy it, and it inspires you to get out and start pounding pavement!

Favorite Lyrics: 

All of them. Really.

On Absence.

You ever have one of those weeks where you start going, and before you know it, the week is already gone and all the little things you love to do in your spare time have just fallen by the wayside?

I’ve had one of those weeks.

I’ve actually had a few of those weeks all strung together.

In typical PR style, this fall has had me running around like a crazy person. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, I love what I do and I am finding time to fill those extra minutes each day with the people I care about as well as the usual meal prep/workout/training programs.

Oh yeah, training programs.

Last time we talked, I had just wrote about taking up running again. Well I did, and I made a big decision last week.

I will be running in the Rock ‘N’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon in February.

New Orleans Half Marathon

I’ve got a sweet training guide, and awesome support community including the newly-returned-to-blogging Allison, my cousin Erin and of course, Adam. (Shameless linking because two of them have awesome blogs of their own.) As well as amazing friends and family who I hope will still be around in February after hearing me talk about running nonstop for three months. (Sorry in advance, y’all.)

If you are a long time reader, you know I come from a big, tight-knit family, including quite a few cousins. Four of us are within a year and two weeks of each other, and these four are going to be running together for 13.1 miles.

(For the record, here’s the order: Julia, Erin, Michael and Kelly.)

I know. It sounds insane. In fact, when Erin first approached me with the idea, I laughed for probably about five straight minutes. Me. Run in a half marathon???? You’ve got to be kidding. I can’t even run 3 miles. 

But then I thought about it.

For a while.

Work picked up again. We signed on a couple new clients and I joined boot camp again. For a six  month commitment this time. About two months in, I thought about it again. And I thought. I wonder if I could do that…. 

It’s really curiosity that is fueling me. Along with my competitive drive. My inner drive to push myself and see how much I can take before I completely melt down? Yeah, That’s a line I’ve been happily walking since high school.

In typical Type-A fashion, I have an Excel spreadsheet with a training plan that incorporates boot camp (and the all important rest day) and it is taped to my fridge. Yes, I am that girl.

I’m still eating clean, though I am increasing my water intake as well as letting myself indulge a little more often now. I mean hey, I am now working out 6 days a week.

Tonight will be a “quick” 3 mile run, and hopefully the park I love will have dried out from the week of rain.

I’m still struggling a bit at the 3 mile mark. But I’ve scheduled about 2 and half weeks of 3 mile runs to get myself comfortable before moving up.

Sunday I take on my longest distance ever at 4 miles.

My biggest hurdle hasn’t been the distance though. I’m trying not to minimize what I’m doing. I know so many people who run long distances that it’s hard to make myself feel proud of running 3 miles when I know people who finished 18 and 20 mile runs over the weekend. Something I’ve got to get better on is not comparing myself to others.

I’m beginning to understand what they mean when they say training for a race like this is just as much about mental preparation as it is about the physical. I’m on my own training plan. This is not about where other people are in their training, but about me.

That’s just what I need to keep telling myself.

So, here’s to an early New Year’s Resolution, Early Birthday and Christmas presents to myself and most importantly: to 13.1.

That Time I Started Running

One thing you should know about me is that I love doing things. And more than doing things, I specifically love doing things with other people.

It’s part of the E in ESFJ for me to love being around people and gain energy from sharing common activities, interests and the like.

So while at first I resisted the idea of running, what with having a bum ankle and all, I was so proud of my friends who did get out there and run. Allison has long been a supporter of the idea that you should work out in whatever way fits you. But she’s also in love with running, and that’s contagious. My cousin Erin is also a big runner, and she has (for a very long time) been trying to get me to run a 5K with her, even though she’s about to run her first marathon in December (go Erin!).

Together, these two convinced me to get out and try running.

Not on purpose, but by being an example. I saw through Facebook, Instagram, E-mail and everyday conversations. They would always talk about how running helped them relax and set their life in order. Oh, and they were getting in wicked awesome shape, which is always a nice side benefit.

So after I finished my boot camp last spring, I finally felt healthy and fit enough to start running. It was a lot easier to motivate myself because I already felt good about my body. I felt like I could conquer the world after boot camp, so why not running too?

Turns out its not as easy as it seems.

I was used to having my trainer (Hi, Meridith!) encouraging me during boot camp workouts, reminding me why I was there, pushing me when she saw I was slacking (#sorrynotsorry).

You don’t have that when you’re out on a run. You just have yourself, your music and the pavement.

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Me and my post workout high.

It was hard. But after searching for a replacement for the post-boot camp high of sweat, adrenaline and exhaustion, I found it in running.

A lot of people run to keep their life in order. A lot of people run to manage stress. A lot of people run to lose weight.

I run for the feeling I get after a run, or any really good workout. Dripping in sweat, gasping for air, feeling the sun beat down on me as I try to control my heart rate.

I don’t feel tired or worn out. I don’t feel pain or fatigue.

I feel powerful.

It’s in those moments when I know exactly how powerful my body is, and I revel in that feeling. I love the feeling after boot camp when I look around and realize that in one night, I did 80 burpees. The feeling after a run after work when I look at the lake I run around, knowing that I did that.

The ache the next morning is just a reminder of what I accomplished.

Do you run? Why? What gets you out there?

(Side note: I am also motivated by select pictures of the monster I call “Fat!Julia”. I must beat her.)

Weigh Ins, Boot Camp and Schedules, Oh my!

Hello, my beautiful (albeit neglected) blog people. I didn’t forget about you!

Work has been insane lately, and my free time in the evenings has now been consumed by boot camp. (Which is AMAZING, by the way)

I just wanted to let you know that I am not dead, this blog is not abandoned, and I didn’t forget about you!

Quick updates:

  • I’m halfway through boot camp, and I feel fantastic. I feel smaller and leaner and actually look forward to my thrice weekly ass-kicking of a workout.
  • I lost 2.6 pounds in the last two weeks. Hooray!
  • Eating clean is hard. Pretty much all of my favorite foods have ridiculous amounts of sodium in them and that makes me very sad.
  • My 5k is only 3 weeks away! May 11 at Fair Park. Woooo!
  • May is getting crazy busy already, so I really apologize if I fall off the face of the map again. Between my 5k, alumni events, getting my car fixed, (hopefully) squeezing in a trip to Austin, and then Free Press Summer Fest, I’m all booked as far as weekends go. Crazy how that happens.

Basically, my point is, I am doing fantastic, I am crazy busy, but loving every second of it. And don’t worry, I am making sure to take time to relax after work and on the weekends, as well as getting enough sleep. I know how that can sabotage any chances I have of getting healthier.

Hope y’all are enjoying the warmer weather!

Until next time…

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Weekly Weigh In: Biggest Loser Family Style

Only one week left in the Biggest Loser competition! (I’m in 3rd place.)

So after completely, totally, unequivocally recommitting myself to Weight Watchers, I was actually really excited to weigh myself this weekend.

I lost 3.1 pounds!

Hooray for me! But I can’t let myself get too complacent, because Easter is this weekend and we all know I love my holidays. I’ll be contributing a tasty vegetable side dish to my family’s dinner, and will be sure to post the recipe when I decide what I am going to make.

I feel great though, and I’m excited to keep going. I really needed a fresh start and I’m glad I got that this week. I’m going to spend this week keeping focused on tracking, and hopefully I’ll get back out for a run at least once before my family comes into town on Saturday.

(I’ll also be attending the Sweet Sixteen games at Cowboys Stadium on Friday night, so I’m really excited about that too.)

My big challenge will be the Gaylord Texan Easter Brunch Buffet that waits for me on Sunday.  Because I’m still working on that little thing called self control.