Twenty Six Point Two

run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Week 5: Fearless

Me in January 2010.
I had just finished my first 50K.

The Amy in the above photo was completely oblivious to times/paces/distances. I never did "workouts" and I didn't push myself in 5Ks. I never thought about recovery days or how many miles per week I was running. I just signed up for whatever races my friends were doing, or races where I could knock off a state.

Selfie at the top of some fucking 
mountain in Utah. "Pacing" my friend
Craig at his 50 miler in 2010.

Running was uncomplicated. And that's what I loved about it. Sure, I loved going to a race and getting a PR unexpectedly, but if I didn't get one... I didn't give a shit. I was just happy to be out there doing something that made me feel alive.

Day 3 of the Chattanooga Stage Race.
2011.
 
And then somewhere along the way, I decided that I wanted to push myself. That I wanted to see if I could get faster. So, a friend graciously offered to coach me for a half marathon. And that was something totally different and I completely fell in love with the rush of working for something and then seeing the hard work pay off.
 
And my little running world was completely turned on it's head. I went from thinking that I was the fucking greatest when I PRed at the half by like 5 minutes... to feeling like I was complete and utter dogshit a couple months later when I DNFed at the Flying Pig.
 
 No longer on my fridge.
But, I eventually got back up on the horse and started training again and puked my guts out through the Birmingham Marathon, had my guts revolt on me and kill a marathon in Eugene, and had a lackluster, dead leg, cold as shit Baton Rouge Marathon finish. 

For those of you counting...
Eugene: 2 Amy: 0

And I'm not complaining. I don't expect marathon PRs to come easy. But, somewhere along the way, I got really, really scared of racing. And I know that fear is what is really holding me back right now. What if I'm just not a good marathoner and I never reach whatever potential I have? What if I just can't execute on race day? 

The absurdity of it all, is that, I KNOW it doesn't matter. I MEAN WHO GIVES A FUCK?

 
But, the reality is... it does matter. Because it's really fucking up my head. 

So, my focus this week is to get pieces of the old Amy back. The Amy that signed up for races a little unprepared sometimes, the Amy who finished races with a smile on my face when the sweeper didn't get me, the Amy who was fearless and thought that she could do ANYTHING. 

I feel like if I could mix that Amy with the Amy now, who is disciplined and knows how to train... I could be unstoppable. Now, I've got a coach to help me, a boyfriend to support, inspire, and push me. And plenty of friends to prod me along. 

It's time to figure out how to put it all together. All I know is that the first step... is to stop being afraid of failing. And to just go out and do the work. Races come and go. Speed fluctuates. But running always remains.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Week 4: Just Run.

Duh. This week, I signed up for a spring race, booked the hotel room, and am now just chomping at the bit to get started.


In anticipation, my goal these last two weeks (training starts Dec 1!) is to try and run everyday. Even if it's just a little bit, just to get myself used to running when I don't want to.

The KoB made a great point a couple of weeks ago, about needing to get back into the groove of JUST RUNNING. Not thinking about running, not complaining about running, just getting out there and doing it. Not having a choice in the matter. So, that's what I'm trying to accomplish. Getting back in the habit of running. I told him, that 95% of the time, I don't want to run. But in the past, I never let that stop me. I just did it anyway. It's time to get back to that discipline.

And so far, this week... the runs have been spectacular. Even with the colder weather. I'm trying not to get too excited, because, I've had these false starts of excitement before... but, I think this might finally be it. I might finally be motivated and truly ready to train again.




Monday, November 17, 2014

Trip Report: Gainesville, Florida

Go Cocks!

This year's Tour of the SEC Stadiums brought us to sunny Gainesville, Florida. The first noteworthy thing of the trip happened on the flight down to Jacksonville. Famed golfer, Mr. Brandt Snedeker was not only on my flight from Nashville to Jax, but he helped me get my bag down as I was getting off the plane. Thanks, Brandt!!!

Class act.

And, that wasn't the only professional golfer sighting at the airport, my friend Dustin had texted that Jim Furyk was on his flight, so as I waited for Dustin to deplane, I saw Jim Furyk and his wife come off his plane. Jeff's flight from Atlanta contained no professional golfers. Womp, womp.

Back to the real reason for the trip: FOOTBALL. I wasn't sure what to expect of the town of Gainesville or UF's campus. But, I didn't expect that most of the trip would afford me this view:

FROM THE BACKSEAT OF THE CAR.
Seriously, I have never experienced the most awful traffic.
And I'm not just talking game traffic. Traffic the whole
weekend was ABSURD.

After spending an hour in the car on Friday driving to dinner (UMMMM SERIOUSLY????!?). We decided that we needed to leave early on Saturday morning to secure our tailgating spot for the early football game.

Tailgating when you all fly into town isn't very glamorous.

We made the most of the early game time by grabbing a fast food breakfast and 32 oz beers.
Keeping it classy. 

Big ass beer and coffee.
Breakfast of champions.

It started off a little chilly, but warmed up to the 60s for game time.

Trunk-gating!

Finally, it was time to make our way to the stadium for the game.




And after an absolutely CRAZY game where I spent the first 5 minutes of the game cheering my ass off, the next 54 minutes of the game cursing our quarterback, and the last minute of the game in regulation and all over Overtime praising our quarterback... we won!

In shock.

After the game we walked around the stadium to check out the Steve Spurrier statue.

Swarmed with Carolina Fans.

 Couldn't resist a photo op with the gator.

Overall, it was a fun trip. We had a great time catching up and the Cocks won, so it doesn't get much better than that.

Next year: Missouri.

***** While I was drinking and watching football on Saturday, a couple of bitches were in Cali running marathons, that they both BQed. Congrats to Cheryl and Coach!

And on Sunday... Liz became an Ironman at Ironman Arizona!!!!! Her boyfriend kept us all updated with pics, videos, and updates throughout the race and I was thrilled, proud, and inspired when I watched the video of her crossing the finish line!!! GO LIZ! You rock!!!!

Previous SEC Tour posts:
2006: Vanderbilt University


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Week 3: Big Picture

So, I've spent too much time this week planning out my 2015.

Nothing makes me happier than strutting around
with calendars and spreadsheets.

I've mentioned about a ZILLION times to The KoB about these calendars and spreadsheets and he has not ONCE asked to see them. WHAT THE WHAT?

Indulge me, bro
 
My guess is that I haven't really given him much time to ASK before I just thrust all the dates, races, trips in his face and ask... Okay???
 
His reaction.

All this to say... I've been thinking BIG PICTURE lately and for me, that's good. I need goals (and they aren't really SPEED goals, but just... be able to complete the dang thing goals and HAVE fun). I've also spent some time looking back at my log in 2009-2012. And it's very hot and cold. Some weeks I was running 50 miles a week and then others I was running like 12. I never let low mileage weeks get me down as much as I do now.

WHY IS THAT? WHY DO I CARE? Particularly when I'm not training for something. I mean good lord, lighten up, ya know?

So, I'm just focusing on enjoying my running again and loosening up a bit on the outcomes of running. Enjoying the journey more and not the destination.


2015 is going to be a good year. Full of marathons and trips and fun running.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Gear Review: Victoria's Secret Sports Bra


I know what you're thinking. You are thinking: Amy, you actually bought a SPORTS bra from Victoria's Secret? YUP.

Yes, I spent $56.50 on a sports bra from a women's lingerie company. But, only because the idea of their sports bra was BRILLIANT.

We've talked about sports bras here before. As a reminder, I'm in that average area where I need more than just a tight piece of spandex (like the C9 Bras that I LOVE for yoga), but I don't need to be locked down with a zillion clasps and industrial strength fabric.


So, when I saw this bra, I realized that this bra is what I used to do on my own. It's essentially a racerback bra (with underwire and thin padding) with a sports bra over it. But, all built into one. I wore a racerback bra with a thin spandex bra over it for like 5 years when I first started running. I got the support of the regular bra and the compression of the sports bra. It was fantastic, except, it was also chafe city.

So, I found Moving Comfort's Rebound Racer bra and never looked back. Until this VS bra. I ordered it online, it came and I was really impressed by the quality. Really good fabric and it looked well made (which, I think VS quality has gone downhill in the past 5 years so, I was surprised this was so sturdy looking). I tried it on. The regular bra part fit really tight and felt great! Yay! I was excited. Until I zipped up the outer part and it was like a size too big. So, it wasn't compressing anything down. It was so loose. Big FAIL.

It could have just been a glitch with that one bra. But, at $56.50 a pop, I was actually kind of relieved that it wasn't going to be the best BRA EVER. Because, I would be broke. So, great idea, but not good enough execution.

Which brings us to my own personal wish list for women's sports bras.

Here is my issue. In the summer, I will never go shirt less. Because..

Ain't nobody wanna see that.

BUT, I would like to wear the LEAST amount of clothing necessary. And the "bra tanks" that are made don't have enough support for me. So, why hasn't someone designed a convertible sports bra? Convertible in the sense that the top is the regular sports bra that you wear everyday, but it has a detachable bottom that goes with it. So, like, Moving Comfort could make the Rebound Racer Bra and then just design a bottom to it that can be attached with snaps or velcro or whatever. The idea being that I'm not wearing a sports bra and then another top on top of that. But, I'm still getting the support I need and the modesty I want. And, since the bottom is detachable, I can wear the sports bra year round.

 My rendering.

WHY HASN'T ANY ONE DONE THIS? In general, why has the fabric of athletic wear changed so much, but not the actual design??? So frustrating.

MOVING COMFORT call me. I have lots of ideas (just don't ask me to draw them).


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Week 2: ummm.. I dunno?

So, I thought I could use each week to focus on something to get me back into the game. But, uhhh... I'm kind of at a loss for this second week.


Last week was super fun, I ran with The KoB, Liz, and Melissa for at least one run during the week. I love that! I miss that! I miss being able to meet Steve at 5:30am and my ole running buddy Carolyn at 5:00am (or whatever crazy early time we met at). But, I can only do those runs these days if I bring the ole dog with me and he's not good with the whole sustained running thing.

Am I being a complainy, bitch again? Yup.


It is pretty clear to me, that I am not good at making adjustments to my life due to outside circumstances. Now, some might call that being a selfish control freak. I prefer to think of it as... "works well independently".


In any case, I am starting to get excited about being told what to do as far as running goes again. It's pretty clear that just bumbling around on my own isn't getting me anywhere. And as CRAZY as it sounds, I think Marathon Training actually lends itself better to being out of shape, than shorter, quicker distances. Hence, the epic failure of trying to train for the 10 miler race. (Which, is this weekend and I'm most likely not even going to run, because OMG a 10 mile race? CANNOT DO).


So, let's just skip over week 2, shall we? Hopefully next week, I'll have some kind of catchy, thought-provoking theme for week 3.



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Coffee Talk: NYCM

When I first got into running, I was a Runner's World subscriber. After about 3 years of the same articles regurgitated over and over again: (Your fastest 5K yet! Lose weight to Run Faster! Winter Gear that is too Expensive to Actually Buy!), I cancelled the subscription. But, honestly, Runner's World was my only resource for goings on in the Track and Field world. As such, I became a pretty big Kara Goucher fan.

She had it all... she was fast, pretty, and had a "fit" body. She was the girl next door elite runner. And she was kind of the face of Elite Women's Marathoning.

Fast forward a few years and now I pretty much can't stand her. First of all, I am disgusted by Oiselle and it's CEO Sally. That's another discussion for another day, but, because of her sponsorship with them, I was quickly turned off of her. Second of all, I just stopped getting a vibe from her that she's passionate about racing anymore. This is purely subjective, but it just feels like she's all about the $ and the fame.

That being said, I actually find myself kind of sticking up for her after the NYCM this past weekend. WHICH MAKES ME WANT TO TAKE A SHOWER AND HANG MY HEAD IN SHAME. Yes, she cried on camera. Yes, she didn't live up to the hype that she created, and Yes, she had a bad day, and even without that, I don't think she would have ran the race that she claimed she was ready for. But, I kinda want to talk about all those things.

Crying after the race in an interview:
Okay, so, Yes... running is her JOB. Crying on the job is unacceptable and unprofessional. I completely agree with that. Have I ever cried at work? Not at my desk, but, I have excused myself to the bathroom and burst into tears MANY TIMES. Thankfully, I have that luxury of being about to jet off into the ladies room and compose myself before going back out to work. I don't have someone sticking a microphone and a camera in my face asking me about the terrible thing that JUST happened.

Is it inspirational that she cried? HELL NO.
But, is it something to criticize her for? I don't think so.

She didn't live up to the hype that she created:
We live in a hype-driven world. Pre-race should she have tempered her expectations? Absolutely. Should she have just said something like... "Oh, I really hope that my training has put me in a position to race well on Sunday, blah blah blah" without actually predicting finish times? Yup. Absolutely. But, again, this is her JOB. People (sponsors) want to hear that she's confident that she can do it. When a potential new client tells me, "I need this by 2pm on Thursday. Can you do it?" I don't say, well, with my education and experience I hope I can fulfill your needs. No. I say, "You bet. Let's do it." which brings me to the next point...

She had a bad day:
I don't know about you, but occasionally, I fuck up at work. Sometimes I tell a client that I'll have something for them by a certain day and it just doesn't happen. Or sometimes I just make a mistake. And as a professional, I have to man up and tell them that I didn't meet expectations and explain how I am going to fix it. IT SUCKS. But, it happens. And sometimes it's because I bit off more than I can chew, or because I promised something that just ended up not being doable.

I get it. She's an elite athlete, she gets paid to run. She has more natural talent in her pinky toenail than I have in my entire body. We want to think that she's just going to be able to bust her ass, keep her mouth shut, and perform. But, life doesn't always work like that.

I don't think she's an inspiration. I just think she's human. And even though I respect some other runners more... (DESI), her performance and post race interview from Sunday don't really affect the way I feel about her one way or another. And I'm kind of surprised by the hoopla that it's created.

Anyway, to reiterate. I am not a Kara fan and haven't been for awhile now. But Sunday didn't change that one way or another.

What do you think? Did Sunday change the way you feel about Kara? Do you like her? Have I missed the essence of the discussion entirely? Have you eaten as many fun-size Almond Joys at your job this morning as I have?

Let's Discuss.


Race Report: East Nash Dash 4 Miler

Sometimes, peer pressure is a good thing.

Dear KoB,
 Get used to seeing this Red Vest, as I 
might not take it off till April 2015.

So, Melissa and Liz were running the race and Jeff and The KoB were coming out to run during the race. And since I have an extreme case of FOMO, I, OF COURSE, showed up as well.

At this point... racing on the weekend is a guaranteed tempo run and I pleasantly surprised myself with a DECENT (not fast) time for this race. Especially considering the course was fucked and the headwind. 

Somehow, I was able to nab 1st in my age group which got me a $25 Fandango giftcard. 

More impressive however... was the fact that Liz was the overall female winner!!!! (I guess, you could say, being 2 weeks out from her Ironman, she MIGHT be in half-way decent shape, huh?) And Melissa came in 2nd!!! (While I brought up the rear and was like 5th). 

Overall, it was fun and I was glad I got my ass out of bed and over to the East side for a run.