Monday, January 30, 2012

I'd still rather be fat and fit...but why can't I look cute too? (A vent)

My first marathon is less than 3 weeks away and if you know me at all, you know that I am all about the outfit. Why do these things if you can't look cute while doing them?  So I found an absolutely adorable top and jacket. The color is PERFECT (that means it matches my shoes). I ordered an XL. The website says that is for women sized 10-12.  Now I usually like my things big, so usually get a 2XL, even though technically  an XL fits my body.   I ordered it, figuring the cuteness will override my normal self consciousness with having something fit so closely. It came today and I literally jumped up and down. I ran  to my office, shut the door and immediately tried to put it on. I could not even get the jacket over my shoulders. The tank is a maybe, I will have to go home and try it on just over my body instead of over work clothes, but already it doesn't look like it is going to fit.  I am so sad. I started shopping, this time looking for 2XL or Plus sized stuff.  My chouces are bland, with no style or shape. I am mad and sad and feeling bad.

"Regular" runners have options. They have super cute patterns and different styles.  "Plus Sized" runners have essentially 3 options: pink, blue or white shapeless tanks.  I found one pattern that looks like a couch from the 70s.  WHY can't I big a big runner that ALSO likes to look cute?  Why do manufacturers' assume that anyone over a certain size has no taste?  Do they think fashion sense descreases when waist size increases? 

I know I am not the stereotypical runner.  I know my body type will be in the minority when I line up at the start line in a few weeks.   BUT I WON'T BE THE ONLY LARGE GIRL THERE.   I get a chuckle when people that don't know me learn I am training for a marathon or that I want to do a half ironman this year. I can see their judgement cross their face. I ENJOY THAT.  Yes, I am a big girl. Yes I am a runner. I want to look cute as I cross the finish line. Most importantly, I HAVE MONEY TO SPEND.

So to all you retailers that only have cute athletic clothing for sizes under 12,  to quote my favorite line in Pretty Woman: "Big mistake. Huge."

Monday, January 23, 2012

No Whining Here - A POSITIVE Run Update

I've been so whiny lately, I thought I'd share an actual good run I had. Yesterday I ran 18 miles. Yep! 18 Miles!  I can hardly believe it when I think about it and it seems surreal when I think of where I was just two years ago.  18 Miles, Holy. Crap.  By the way, 18 miles is a very, very, very long way. 

Even better than that, I FEEL GREAT.  My quads are a little tight but that is because the route was much hillier than I am used to since the Greenway was flooded. There are so many things I am really happy about with this run and a couple of hurdles I needed to jump for my own sanity.
  • I ran by myself for the first 5 miles.  I got up, out the door and actually ran on my own.  It was cold, windy and a bit rainy, but I still did it.  And the really odd thing is that it was fun. Instead of running to music like I usually do, I tried stand up comedy. Besides looking a bit crazy literally laughing out loud, I loved it. Without the beat of music I was able to set my own pace that was comfortable to me. I was able to enjoy the comedy instead of  concentrating on every little ache and pain.  I listened to all of Greg Giraldo's latest (and last) album which was just hilarious. The miles went by so quickly because I wasn't paying any attention to the running.  Now I just need to find stand up I like! 
  • Cindy met me at mile 6 and ran 9 more with me.  I am constantly amazed by her friendship and willingness to see me cross the finish line.  She has this fantastic ability to nurture and support and tell me exactly what I need.  She pushes me when I need it but allows me to walk when I need that to. I was sad to leave her at mile 14.  Even though I only had 4 more miles to go, they seemed like the longest ones.  I had mapped my course so thought I had some play in the route so I cut short one part of the run.  I should have realized I can't do math when I run so ended up two blocks away from my house at mile 17.  I had a debate with myself; I could go home- 17 was close enough and still my longest run ever. I had a meeting that I was already late to so going home early would be good. I could still feel proud of my 17.  But at the same time I knew I needed to hit 18.  I saw my house and turned away from it, running through a neighborhood and back up around my house.  I sprinted the last half mile and felt elated as I hit 18, more that I made myself do an extra mile when I was so close to home.
  • I enjoyed the run.  From the alone time in the beginning, to the sprints down the hills, I really had a good time. There was even a part when I was with Cindy that I just let myself zone out and just run. I wasn't paying attention to my stride or the pounding; I was just on automatic. I actually wondered how far I could go if I just closed my eyes.  I felt like I was on a track and could keep going forever. (Don't worry, I didn't try this.  Want to try something fun though?  Stand on one leg and get your balance. Make sure you are on your strong leg, the one you feel most sturdy on.  Get your balance.  Now close your eyes.  Did you fall?  I did...and I have good balance!)
Now that I have that in writing, those seem like such small things but they made a huge difference to me. I NEEDED to enjoy the run and more importantly I needed to know I could motivate myself. Cindy and I were talking about how far we've come and how a 5K used to seem like such a big deal.  I still want to do a full ironman but right now that seems VERY hard. But if I keep this up, maybe not really.  My biggest concern honestly is that I am too lazy to train for it. Now I know that when it comes down to it, I can do it alone.  I have said from the very beginning that with training you can do anything but I have never believed that more than now. I am continually amazed at my body's ability to grow and become stronger.  A month ago I did 14 miles and felt horrible.  Yesterday I did 18 and feel great.  People who don't ever push themselves will never know what their body is capable of.  I am so glad I am using, pushing, growing and taking advantage of the incredibleness and randomness of my body.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Where'd I go?

Last night was my first Tri It For Life meeting as Vice President. After a year of ups and downs, I was pleasantly surprised when I was actually excited for last night's meeting.  It's a great group of women and I do love what TIFL has done for me and my view of what I can do.

Anywho, so my friend Wendy is now on the board.  Wendy was the first person I met in TIFL and she is absolutely fantastic, funny and spunky.  She (along with Jeannine) was instrumental in making last year's Rock Hill TIFL team the special thing it was.  We were talking and she asked me about my half ironman this year. I groaned and told her I was scared to death and was wondering if I could do it.  She hit me and said "where's the Amy that is all gung ho? The Amy that says "With training you can do anything?" We laughed it off and the meeting got started, but I kept thinking about it.  She was right.  Where is that Amy?

I never thought I could do a triathlon.  I did.  I never thought I could do a half marathon. I did and now 13 miles is no big deal. Even with those things I worried about it, but there was always forward momentum. I was afraid and nervous, but doing it anyway.  With this I am paralized by fear.  I haven't registered yet. I can't seem to commit when people ask me if I am doing it. I've forgotten why I want this. My mom asked me if it was worth it and I paused before answering. I think it is but I've forgotten for sure. That's not me.

I had a 16 mile run last weekend. I ran the first 8 with Doreen and it went by so quickly. We were both running well, talking the entire time and having FUN. I ran the back 8 with Cindy (seriously have the greatest training partners ever!) and though it was a bit rougher due to foot pain, I still really enjoyed it. I did it. My longest run ever. I got in the car and drove home and honestly, I wanted to pull over and tell complete strangers I had just done 16 miles. The sense of accomplishment and pride was overwhelming (as was my smelliness, but that's another story). Not 5 hours later I was back at self doubt.

So here are my worries: the hills are too tough, I'll be last, I'm too lazy to properly train, all the other people will be "professional" or look like "triathletes", I'll be the fattest one, my knees hurt.

Those are almost exactly what other people tell me when I say I am doing a race. And I HATE IT.  I can't stand it when people say "Oh I could never do that."  I HATE when people give me excuses. 

And yet here I am, telling myself the same thing.

For as long as I can remember I've wanted to run a marathon but never thought I'd be able to since I was not a runner. In less than 38 days, I will run a marathon.  It might not be fast. I won't be last. I'm sure it's going to be hard, and I'll at some point think I won't be able to finish.  But as long as I can walk, I will cross that finish line.

So where did I go?  I guess marathon training has been harder than I thought it would be.  It's not easy for sure.  I hurt. I'm tired. It takes a long time, literally.  I miss my bed.  But I am pretty sure I am going to be obnoxiously happy after I finish.  I keep reading all these motivational quotes trying to find the old me; that person that jumps in feet first with enthusiam and positivity, yelling "With training you can do anything."  I'm Pollyanna Sunshine, Glass Half Full Girl.  I hope I find that version of me again, becuase quite frankly I don't like this whiny, negative me. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Best Music of 2011, So Says Me.

CD Cover design courtesy of Shirley Griffith
In no particular order:
  1. Go Outside by the Cults - Such a pretty little song...and my general philosophy in 2011.  Go Outside.
  2. Video Games by Lana Del Ray - I think this is just an achingly beautiful song. Her voice is haunting and the melody gets stuck in my head for days. I think she is going to be a force.
  3. Up Up Up by the Givers - Just an all around good song.  Nothing deeper to read here people, move along.
  4. Shake It Out by Florence and the Machines - I have been a fan of Florence for a couple of years so was worried when her big hit was selected as the "theme" for Eat Pray Love, a fantastic book but I refuse to see the movie version.  Even though that sent her into popular culture and the song was played over and over again, I still love it. That to me, is a testament to how great she is.  This latest from her is all Florence with shades of Annie Lennox.  Girl Power.
  5. Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men - this is my absolute favorite band from Iceland.  Also, the only band I know from Iceland.  This makes me want to be in a pub, raising a beer and singing in the round.
  6. Friend Crush by Friends - This was not love at first hearing for me, but it has steadily become one of my favorites. It's mellow but still groovy.
  7. Down with the Trumpets by Rizzle Kicks - I am still a huge fan of the BBC's Radio One and this is a product of that obsession. It has such a great beat and reminds me of summer.
  8. Mr. Saxobeat by Alexandra Stan - this is another summer hit that they played pretty constantly while Joe and I were in Mexico. I love it for instantly transporting me there.
  9. Bounce by Calvin Harris - This gets the award for the song that makes me enact the title. Just listen to it and try not to bounce. It's techno, it's British, it's fantastic!
  10. Dedication to My Ex - by Pierre Cardin (Originally Lloyd). This is just a "move your body" song that is a little bit funk, a little Adele all rolled up in one.  The original version is a bit dirtier than even I am comfortable with, so you get this G-rated one.
  11. Shuffle by Bombay Bicycle Club - second year for this band's appearance on a Best Of by me.  It's another head bopper that I just love.
  12. Rumour Has It by Adele - another Best Of Llum, Adele has hit the mainstream, but you have to love her voice.  She could use some therapy and maybe some anti depressants, but she's a great fresh sound.
  13. Blood Pressure by Mute Math - a coworker has been a Mute Math fanatic for years but this is the first time that I've really gotten excited about something they've done. I love this; I love the words, the rocker sound, the ability to get stuck in my head.
  14. Two Against One  by Rome - If there was an award for song that gets stuck in my head more than any other, this would win. As many times as I've heard it, I still like it.
  15. Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People - I tried REALLY hard to leave this song off. I even thought about other Foster the People songs I really love including Helena Beat or Don't Stop.  But this song has been playing on the station I listen to since January, it has been in pop culture since April - Mayish and I STILL love it. It's not a happy song by ANY means, but it is great. And honestly, the entire Foster the People album (yes I said that) is worth hearing. 
  16. Midnight City by M83 - This is another song I didn't want to include after it popped up in some commercials. But every time I hear it come on the radio, I look to see who it is.  I just love it.  So it's commercial and trendy. It's still a good song.
  17. Tongue Tied by Group Love - This band almost got two songs included because I couldn't decide between this and Colours. In the end, this one just made me happier. So if you haven't heard Colours by Group Love, check it out.
  18. Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye - an Australian export, this is low key, but it sticks with me. It is unique and sad.
  19. All I Ever Wanted by The Airborne Toxic Event - this is such a pretty song melody wise, but so tragically said lyrically. When I am driving alone and this song comes on, I turn it up, sing my heart out and get a little teary eyed. It's my favorite song of 2011.
  20. Life's a Happy Song - The Muppets. The Muppets are awesome. The Muppet Movie was perfect. I cried. I laughed. It was everything I hoped for and more. The Muppets have always been able to make me smile and so many of my childhood memories are accented by The Muppets. Listen to this song; I hope it makes you hug the person next you and makes your heart smile. 
Trojans by Atlas Genius - my second favorite song of 2011.  Atlas Genius is a new band from Australia that has stolen my heart. I'm rooting for them. So the song isn't included on my CD because I want you to go to Itunes, spend the 99 cents and buy this song. It's worth it and you will be supporting a small band with a huge future.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Holy Crap it's 2012!

It's been 2012 for a day and I still am thinking the new year means 2011.  So as everyone talks resolutions/goals, here are mine for the year:
  • Run a marathon: I'm registered.I'm training. I'm worried. It's hard. The long runs are hard and my body is starting to get a little annoyed with me. I'm recovering well but I am finding my biggest challenge to train is my brain and my incredible ability to give myself a hard time. But Cindy told me something I love yesterday. I was having a hard run..hard for some physical issues (which got so bad I couldn't get back to my car and had to call Joe to come pick me up), but also hard mentally becuase it seemed SOOOO long. She hugged me and said "I can say this now that I have done it.  The long runs are really hard. But I promise you, that no matter how hard they are, it is absolutely, completely worth it once you cross that finish line."  That is exactly what I needed to hear. (Myrtle Beach Marathon - February 19)
  • Finish a half ironman: I may be worried about the marathon, but I am downright scared about the half ironman. The course is hilly and it will be hard and hot. I'm afraid of this race, which is why I think I must do it. Or at least try. (Anderson 70.3 - October 14)
  • Read at least 24 books:  Yep.  That's aggressive.
  • Lose 20 pounds: I think this will make so many things easier. That will also put me around my goal weight which would be great.
  • Talk to my parents at least once a week: I figure this will be a bit easier than seeing them in person.
  • Work on friendships and me with some dedicated girls weekends: heading to Key West with Shelia and Columbus with my training pals. I look forward to sharing some fun experiences with people I love.
  • Rededicate myself to TIFL:  I am VP this year. Last year was so time consuming that it actually burnt me out. I hope to be re-energized and help some women find their inner confidence!
  • Continue to work on my marriage by supporting and loving Joe the best way I can.

2011 Year in Review

Joe just posted a status update saying "May your troubles last longer than your resolutions."  I said I didn't like that since I usually stick to my resolutions.  It helps that I am a planner, and that I have them in writing.  So here is what I said I'd do last year and my update on how I did:

  • 6 mile run in Charleston ( -Did it. Joe did too...but due to knee issues, we walked most of it. But I'm glad I finally experienced this large race but don't know that I will do it again. The highlight was finally meeting FB and childfree list friend Jerry in person.  We've been friends online for years, so it was nice to actually meet him.
  • Half marathon in April (  - Sorta did it. I ran the 10K. But I made up for it by running two other half marathons - Roctoberfest and the Thunder Road half.
  • I am doing the swim portion of a relay at the Jetton Tri in May  - Again, sorta. I ended up doing the bike portion of this. It was great fun to be a team with my fitness buddies Cindy and Doreen.
  • 24 Hours of Booty with a goal of 100 miles this year ( - Yep!  This continues to be my favorite event of the year.  Joe, Mike, newcomer Chris and I all hit 100 miles.
  • The Nations Tri, International Distance Tri in DC ( - Another sorta. Due to weather conditions, they cancelled the swim portion so we did the bike and the run. I was at first disappointed after training for the swim, but once I saw (and smelled) the Potomac, I felt better about missing it. Joe and I had a great time catching up with friends and competing together.
  • MS Ride to Sunset Beach with Joe - Done!  Had a great time with Joe, Chris and our Sherpa Cara. 
  • Lose 30 pounds -Sorta.  I lost 20. But I am happy with that.
  • Train for a marathon next May of 2012 ( Well life gets in the way sometimes so my first marathon will be in February, in Myrtle Beach.
  • Continue to push myself to do the uncomfortable things at work and persevere no matter the changes or challenges -Done.
  • Stop incurring debt and maybe pay some debt down -Done.  Plan in place and moving along nicely.
  • See my parents at least twice a month - This is the one that I failed at. We saw them once a month, but with travel (mostly theirs), visits were not as many as I'd like.
  • Read at least 1 book a month - As long as I can count this as over the course of the year, I did this.  12 books.  Hard to believe I once read 52 in a year.

Overall I am pleased with how I did over the course of the year.  It was a mostly good year...Joe and I continue to have a steady, postive marriage. We still like our jobs and for the most part, consider ourselves very lucky to be surrounded by great friends and family we love. Hopefully 2012 will continue to stay on this happy track!