My One Word of 2016: Uncomfortable

Last year, I started the practice of choosing #myoneword for the year.  The purpose is to choose a word as a point of focus for your decision making throughout the year.

My word for 2015 was balance.  It was a very good choice, as every aspect of my life was out of balance.  There were times throughout the year that I lost focus upon my word, but, thankfully I was always able to re-focus and get things back to where they needed to be.

I’ve been tossing around several options for #myoneword for 2106 and, as usual, was having a difficult time settling on one.  None of them seemed to capture the essence of what I felt this year should be about (I actually wasn’t even sure what my year should be about).  Choosing a word for the year is much like settling on a tattoo – you want to make sure it is the right one since you’ll be stuck with it for quite some time.  And just like with my tattoos, I suddenly just knew that #myoneword HAD to be uncomfortable.   I’ve been trying to push myself out of my comfort zone lately, and it occurred to me that I have committed to A LOT of things that are pushing me wayyyyyyyyyyyy outside of it!  Apparently I had already started on this journey before I was even consciously aware of it!  I love the way life works that way.img_7035

How am I making myself uncomfortable? Let me count the ways…

First, I committed to the role of race director for the first annual #DI4N 5k.  I would never have said yes to that challenge, except it was for such a good cause that I could not turn it down.  Nick Capehart was a vibrant, well-known, larger-than-life student in our community.  He was just about to begin his senior year when he passed away in a terrible car accident in August.  His passing left a huge void in our community and this is one way that we can work to continue his legacy.  But….directing a race is a mammoth undertaking which has pushed me far outside my comfort zone.  Trust me when I say it is very uncomfortable!

Second, and this is related to #1, I just completed my first TV interview.  (Checked that off the list of things I NEVER thought I would do!)  If you know me really well,  you know that I am incredibly self-conscious about what I say.  As a general rule, I have a lot difficulty with “small talk”.  Surprisingly, I made it through the interview without a complete and total meltdown, and the words came with some ease.  (I have to believe that Nick was there, helping Sherry and I say what needed to be said!)  And I may be wrong here, but I don’t *think* I sounded like a country hick!  You can watch the story here, if you are brave enough!

Of course, one of my main goals in choosing this word was to push myself outside my comfort zone in regards to running.  After a speed workout or a race, I ALWAYS question whether or not I pushed myself hard enough.  I am so afraid of pushing too hard, too early (then tanking) which makes me feel like I have a tendency to hold back too much.  Even after Dallas, when I beat the time goal I didn’t even think I would make (by 15 minutes), I questioned whether or not I held back too much.  I’m going to have to force myself to take some risks during speed work and races and be willing to fall flat on my face in order to see what I can actually do.  THAT is going to be tough for the perfectionist in me!

Perhaps the biggest way that I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone is the transition to triathlons.  I am SCARED. TO. DEATH.  I suck at swimming.  Even though I do ride as cross training, I figure I will suck at the bike portion of the race.  And then there are the transitions.  I can’t even think about transitions.  I know that there is so much that I don’t know and I don’t like not knowing.  But, moving into triathlon will be a big challenge and provide lots of opportunity for growth!

A friend sent this to me after she saw #myoneword FB post. She is also facing a year outside of her comfort zone. So glad she shared!

A friend sent this to me after she saw #myoneword FB post. She is also facing a year outside of her comfort zone. So glad she shared!

Happy Hump Day!

Jen

Hotcake Hustle 10k Race Recap

I ran my first race of 2016 this past weekend and, I’ll save the suspense – I ran another PR!  I was mentally floundering in the long, dry spell without races for the 10 weeks between Dallas Marathon and Cowtown Half Marathon.  So I looked at my schedule and found a couple of races to “fill in” that void and break up the monotony of training…the first, of which, was the Hotcake Hustle 10k .

The last 10k I ran was during Thanksgiving break, when we had received record amounts of rain (and flooding) along with temps in the 30s.  (Northern people STOP rolling your eyes – that was COLD weather for Texans!)  I tell you this because the forecast was almost exactly the same for my 10k on Saturday.  I was beginning to think the gods of running were trying to tell me that 10k wasn’t a distance I should consider racing!  In the end, the weather was perfect – temps around 40, not a lot of wind and NO RAIN!  Actually, perfect racing conditions as far as I’m concerned.

Before the race

Many people know of my dear friend, Jane, who lives in Ottawa, Canada.  We have been fortunate enough to meet in person twice: once when she came to San Antonio to run Rock ‘n’ Roll and this past October when we met in St. Louis for yet another Rock ‘n’ Roll race!  Well…..she blogs, and during football season, frequently references her trips to the Ottawa RedBlacks games.  (Her dad has season tickets.)  Imagine my surprise, when this caught my eye while waiting for the race to start!img_6961

I HAD to ask him to take a picture!  I explained that my friend lives in Ottawa and attends the games and that she would DIE when I sent this to her!  He was Canadian, by the way, grew up there and I assume he is living now in God’s Country, I mean Texas.  Of course, I immediately sent the pic to Jane!

The Race

I’m glad I didn’t check the route before the race.  The thought of it would have driven me mad.  The course was out and back and the 10k’ers ran the “loop” twice.  Generally speaking, anytime there are runners running on both sides of the road I get mental, always wondering where the turn around point will be.  Luckily, this time I was too preoccupied with running over a bridge while trying to keep my heart rate under control – I might have momentarily obsessed over having to run that TWICE.  As it turned out, the bridge was WORSE on the way back….if you assume it would be the same, you would be WRONG (I have the elevation on my Garmin to prove it).img_7032

I was to keep my heart rate around 160 for the first couple of miles then open it up.  At the 2-mile point, however, I still had the back side of the bridge to tackle.  I knew the front side had been tough, so I decided to wait until I was over the back side before pushing the pace going forward.  That turned out to be a really good idea (yes, Jen actually does make smart decisions at times).  When I opened up, my goal was keeping my heart rate on the high side of the 170s.  I was too cautious to push it over 180 at this point in the race because 1) I had that damn bridge AGAIN and 2) it was highly unlikely I could maintain that for the next 3 miles.

The second loop was fun and fast (for me anyway), except the back side of the bridge really slowed me down AGAIN.  I know I have previously professed my love of hills, but I’m beginning to only like hills during training.  LOL

My nature is to hold back and stay in my familiar, comfortable place.  I DO NOT want to fail, and in a race situation like this, failure (to me) would be tanking at the end.  I tried to push myself out of that comfortable, familiar place during the race and I feel that I did a fairly good job.  I probably could have pushed it a tad bit more, but who knows…..I might have been right on the edge of doing too much.  Again, #myoneword for the year, uncomfortable, came into play.  I reminded myself that I was well-trained and prepared and all I needed to do was get out of my comfy spot and let great things happen.  I guess I would have to call it a success!  My legs were definitely dead by the end and I beat my previous 5k time by about 1:00, as well as new PR for my 10k by 1:00.img_6963

After the race, I had two different women come up to me to compliment me.  How AWESOME is that?!?  One of them mentioned that she noticed me at other races and was always impressed.  First, what a great feeling it is to have a complete stranger compliment you!  And second, YAY for women coming together to support each other!  Honestly, I think THAT was the BEST part of the race!

I ended up with an official time of 55:20.  I came in 119/462 overall, 43/287 out of all female runners, and 7/51 in my age group.  Not too shabby 🙂

And today,  I enjoyed a cup of coffee out of my finisher “medal”img_6969

Now I’m twiddling my thumbs until my next race!

Happy MLK Day ~ keep moving forward!

Jen

 

 

Be the Inspiration

OK…I hope this doesn’t come across sounding conceited or cocky, because it is meant it in the totally opposite way, but people tell me all the time that I have inpsired them during the course of my fitness journey.

Every time someone tells me this, I think the same thing…HOW?!?!?

Fortunately, I experienced a moment of clarity this past weekend.  Moments like these are few and far between aaaand usually take me by surprise, so I pay attention!

The catalyst for my epiphany was my Sole Sister, Jenn.  She ran the Winter Warrior Half Marathon last Saturday evening, C-R-U-S-H-E-D the race and set a new PR!!  I was SO EXCITED for her….she has been working so hard to stay motivated and keep training during the cold New York winter months (cold = her nemesis).  The race would have been a victory for her without a PR, simply because of her commitment to her training.

As I was practically shouting at her via text, she told me – again – that I inspired her.  I am so glad that I can be an inspiration to her, but in my mind (again) I was like – WHY?!?!?  So immediately I began thinking of all the ways that SHE inspires me!  I’ll list just a few:

  • She has a healthy approach/attitude toward her running and training.  She is motivated by her desire to stay healthy and for the simple enjoyment of working out.  She isn’t out to impress anyone or try to be better anyone.  She simply wants to be better today than she was yesterday.
  • She doesn’t fret about races.  She runs them for sheer enjoyment (and medals, of course).  She doesn’t mind stopping to take pictures, hand out high-fives, and a host of other things that I would find mind-boggling and crazy to do while the time is ticking away on my chip.  I adopted her no-stress race approach for Dallas, and I believe that it was a huge factor in my mental toughness on race day.
  • She is an encourager.  That just speaks for itself.
  • She is a SPARTAN BEAST!  I can’t wrap my brain around it.  She COMPLETELY inspires me this way!  I am not tough enough to carry heavy buckets, roll in mud pits under barbed wire, jump over hot coals, climb tall things AND do burpees while having to run in between!  She is so much stronger than me!

img_6916

Can't. Even. Imagine.

Can’t. Even. Imagine.

Jenn isn’t my only inspiration, but I am using her as an example.  I’m fairly certain that she, like me, doesn’t see herself as inspiring.  And even though she always tells me how much I inspire her – she is also an inspiration to me and countless others.  My point (and my epiphany) is that when we follow our passions, try to be the best version of ourselves and our best life – we can’t help but inspire others.

So go follow your passion, be the best version of you, live your best live and set the world on fire!

Jen