Monthly Archives: May 2013

Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

It’s a good thing that I rocked my last 5K so hard, because it looks like I won’t be running any more for a while. This girl’s got her eyes on a new prize… DISTANCE!

A few weeks ago I decided that I was ready to brave more than 3.1 and so I added my first 10K to my summer bucket list. I was happy with my line up  and decided that was it- I would hold strong and say no to any more race suggestions. It turns out- I’m terrible when it comes to peer pressure. So when some friends asked me to enter the lottery for the historic Falmouth Road Race I totally caved. With my fear of missing out on anything– and the fact that getting a number is nearly impossible– I said “Sure, why not?”. I was banking on not getting in (training for a 7 mile race that is taking place 3 weeks after the Tri didn’t seem too logical) so I quickly typed in my credit card information, hit “submit” and didn’t think twice about it.

Until I saw an email in my inbox with the subject: SELECTED IN 2013 LOTTERY.
UH- EXCUSE ME?

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I pretty much screamed when I read this.

That’s right- this bad ass has a number in THE Falmouth Road Race. Unfortunately my friends did NOT get in so it looks like I will be running it alone which semi freaks me out– but we’ll deal with that later. At first I was almost mad that I got chosen (My poor debit card certainly groaned at another $50 race registration fee). But then I started reading up on it. And the more I read, the more excited I got. Goosebumps actually. It’s a pretty big deal for a newbie like me: buses to the start,  runner tracking, a scenic (IE- HILLY) course, and of course –another sweet finisher medal to add to my growing collection. People cross their fingers for a number in this thing and the girl who left the 10K results space blank- got in. Call it luck, call it random, call it meant to be -but I feel like there’s a reason out there as to why I got selected.

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With this new addition to my calendar (I’m up to 8 now for the summer), it was time to get moving. In the 13 months of running I’ve never done more than three and a half miles. Obviously there was a point in my life where I physically COULDN’T, but even in the last few months it’s not like I’ve actually tried to push myself or anything. I finally decided to just suck it up and see what I could do.

I woke up early on a Sunday morning to a unseasonably humid and rainy day which didn’t really bother me, for any runner knows that running in the rain is the best. I stood at the end of my driveway and gave myself a little pep talk: “Listen lady…don’t let those feet stop until you reach 4. Ready… Go!”. And with that I took off. I moved slower than normal, trying to conserve my energy in case I was dying at the end– but I made it. I’m glad it was so early in the morning because I’m sure I was quite the sweaty, soaking wet fool doing a victory dance in front of my house and grinning like an idiot. There it was again- that sense of pride, accomplishment- the feeling of realizing that you can actually do something when you put your mind to it. That’s the feeling that gets me up at 7am on a Sunday morning. It’s the feeling that’s gotten me this far in my journey. It’s what helps me write this blog. And it’s what gets me back on track when I start to doubt myself.

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That’s right- 4 miles on a dreary Sunday morning… and all before 8am!

I’m happy to report that I haven’t stopped there. I have an incredibly awesome running group and with their support I’ve been creeping up the mileage ladder.. 4.8 miles, 5 miles, and (fingers crossed) this week will be 6.  Every time I push myself by thinking “THIS step is the furthest you’ve ever run! THIS step is the furthest you’ve ever run!” It sounds crazy- but it works. I’m starting to understand how people can do the whole distance thing. For the first time since I started running- I’m finding my groove and moving along. What used to be “I STILL HAVE ANOTHER MILE?” is turning into “What’s one more?”. The fact that I now have “long run days” is incredibly exciting and I’m drooling for more. I want compression socks! I want a Garmin! I want gels and all those crazy energy things! (OK maybe this is the compulsive shopper in me talking- we all know how much I love to buy new running accessories!)

The point is that I get it– it’s all making sense. For so long I wanted to be a runner.  I know now that I have the heart of a runner. I have the motivation of a runner. The drive of a runner. Now I’m just waiting for the day when I have the true endurance of a runner.

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Progress.

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First “real” bike ride = great success!

Slowly but surely, this half ass bad ass is making some progress.

I somehow have forgotten to share the exciting news… I have a bike! Well I didn’t buy one-  a wonderful friend of mine is loaning me her “mountain turned hybrid” to train with and use on T-Day. I’m very thankful that this is one less cost to worry about prior to  these 2 painful hours of my life (I actually think at this point I’m starting to get more afraid to add up what I’ve spent already than I am to just DO it) especially where I don’t know if this will be a once in a lifetime event. I  mean if I don’t survive- I guess this WILL be a one time deal, right? I kid (kind of).

I was so incredibly excited to finally have “the bike” in my possession that on the first free night I had I threw on my helmet and headed out. What I planned on being just a little cruise around the neighborhood ended up being a beautiful 6 mile sunset ride. When I finally made it home in the dark I was pretty proud of myself. The bike portion of the tri is 12 miles, and I just did half of that in my first night! Progress.

We all know that I’ve been trying to motivate myself for this triathlon for quite some time ( November 24th to be specific). As it turns out, like many other girls, I am often motivated by photomaterial goods. Enter Erica Sara Designs. I discovered her through a few blogs that I follow and was instantly intrigued. Erica creates beautiful custom jewelry and her whole philosophy is about inspiring and empowering women. Consider me sold. I put in my order and for what seemed like months (but was really only a few weeks) hurried home from work to check the mailbox every day. I purchased the “Say It Do It” bracelet engraved with a shortened version of the quote from the top of my blog “Can’t into cans… dreams into plans”. It’s simple,  beautiful, and a daily reminder of not just what I have already accomplished- but that I CAN do what else I set out to conquer.  Whenever I start to doubt myself for this triathlon, I look down at my wrist and think about all the other things I said I couldn’t do– and did. I’m thinking another order will go in post July 21st. 😉

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In my zone, doing my thing, and NOT worrying about my pace for once.

Call me superstitious and crazy but since I put that little bracelet on my wrist, things have been happening. That first night while at the pool I realized how much I was using my legs and therefore exhausting myself. I spent a few laps trying to really focus on relying on my arms. Suddenly a light shined on my little swim cap… a swimming epiphany! It didn’t make swimming any more fun, (And it certainly made my arms more sore the next morning!) but I was faster and not wanting to die as quickly. Progress!

Sunday morning was my “race of the month”. The disaster of last month’s 5K was still haunting me, and I was semi afraid that I’d fall apart again. I also didn’t have my usual crew of running buddies- so I wasn’t as excited going into it. I decided to not stress about PRing and just try to enjoy myself. It was a beautiful day, a small race, and a course that went along one of my favorite coastal towns. With a good playlist in my ears I took off at the sound of the horn. I flew through Mile 1 with an 8:16 pace and thought “There’s no way that can be right”. I stayed calm through Mile 2 and slowed down a bit. As I ran I didn’t have that “I HATE THIS -WHEN IS IT OVER” pit in my stomach from last time, but the “This is what I love to do” feeling had found it’s way back to me. As I rounded the corner into the final mile and saw the time clock I nearly stopped in my tracks from excitement. I put everything I had into my last few steps and crossed the finish line with a time of 27:21 – a 29 second PR!

That my friends… is what I call progress 😀

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The smile of a girl who just ran her fastest race ever 😀

A change in seasons & sizes

One of my favorite things about this time of the year is the changing over from heavy, itchy winter sweaters and hats to light and airy sundresses, skirts, and sandals. Here in unpredictable Massachusetts it means that the worst is over- it’s finally safe to say that from here on out you won’t need to bundle up in 4 layers before heading out the door. This year, it means this in so many ways for me.

For the last few summers I’ve pulled out my plastic containers of summer clothes and created a “disappointment” pile. I’d dump everything onto my bed, pick out the questionables, and hold my breath while I tried to squeeze into a pair of shorts – only to toss them on the floor. The “not ready to part with” pile. The “reality check” pile. The “denail isn’t just a river in Egypt” pile.

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Oh- “the” pile…

Last year I pulled out the usual suspects and threw them into a “hopefully fit into by the end of the summer?” pile instead. I was just beginning my journey, and looked at my clothes with a new glimmer of hope. And much to my excitement, I did fit into them by the end of the summer- even with a little room to spare. As the leaves began to change I once again packed them away- curious to see what it would look like when we met again.

Well here we are- a whole year later. I timidly opened the boxes, and began to pull out the usual suspects. I held my breath and stepped into a pair of shorts which buttoned… and then promptly slid down my legs. My “disappointment” pile suddenly become a “way too big” pile. A “look what you did!” pile. A “hard work pays off” pile. And this year instead of throwing them back into the bin I packed them up into plastic bags- and sent them out the door. Sorry guys, but you’re not welcome here anymore!

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That would be me -sausaged into a pair of shorts two summers ago. And then when I tried them on this year.

When I first began my search for a healthy lifestyle I had this mental image in my head of what I would look like when I achieved my fitness nirvana. I imagined a girl with no curves, with spaghetti arms and straight hips. In my mind- that was the goal to aspire towards. 63 (on a good day) pounds later I realize that mental image… well it pretty much means jack shit. I’m still a work in progress- but I’m okay accepting that I will never been that skeletal girl that flashed through my head way back when. Don’t be mistaken- there are still days when I get dressed and think “God do my hips look wide!” or “Oh hey there muffin top – where did you come from?”. Unfortunately it’s only natural for us to pick ourselves apart.

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Progress is a good thing 🙂 PS. My apologies for the cat photobomb.

But 90% of the time I wake up and am still shocked when I look in the mirror. For so long what seemed impossible is just simply normal- this is me. I am finally at a place where I am happy to get dressed in the morning, comfortable and confident with the person I am. I will never take for granted the body that I now live in, and what I did to get here. I think about all of the amazing things that my body is capabale of doing now- even if I’m not wearing a size zero. My hips and thighs might be bigger than I’d like them to be, but my legs are strong and are able to push through miles of running. My arms might not look like a piece of dry spaghetti, but they can lift heavy weights and power through laps in the pool. They couldn’t do these things before.

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Oh bathing suit season… you still suck, and probably always will!

This summer I am looking forward to celebrating the new Kathleen: the one who loves to be active, who will be busy running races and riding her bike, and is excited for pretty new summer clothes in much smaller sizes. No need to hide herself in layers anymore for the worst is over…. this girl’s got a body she should be proud of 🙂

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From fears… to new goals.

4330b9478bca05274bbe385badb5deb6After finishing the Diva Dash (my first race) last September I had numerous people tell me  “Just wait- you’ll want to run longer races” And I consistently said “Oh no, I’m happy with just 5Ks. I couldn’t imagine running anything more.”

Well friends I hate to admit it – but you were right. I’m itching for more.

On sort of a “last minute decision” I decided to train for a 10K that’s happening in 5 weeks. While I had already been planning on doing some longer races over the summer, this one came up and I thought “You know what, why not?” After last week’s rant– I know myself well enough that sometimes it’s good for me to focus my energy on something else rather than getting more and more frustrated with what I’m doing. And after 8 5Ks, a part of me is dying to know “Can I run more than 3.1 miles? …I mean, just how far CAN I run if I try?” At this time last year I had just started “running”- and a year later I’m stuck in my safe little bubble of 3.1. It’s time to break out of the comfort zone.

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This summer is shaping up to be pretty busy. And SWEATY.

So I’m going to find out just how far I can run. Looking at my calendar now I realize that I MAY have set some pretty high goals for myself this summer (in an 8 week period I have 5 races scheduled including a 10K, 5 miler AND of course… T-DAY) but I’m at this place in my life where I feel if not now- when? I know I arrived semi late to the fitness/running party and am trying to catch up- and therefore I just want to try (tri?) everything.  I love this world. I so badly want to be a part of this world. I want to be taken seriously in this world. I love the endorphins. I love the gear. I love the training. The vocab I’m slowly integrating into my life. The “race morning” feeling. The abundance of safety pins. The people who wake up early for the same reasons I do now. The  friendships I have found. I love, I love, I love.

And because I love- I will spend this summer running.

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Fears, doubts, and the little voice inside.

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If you came here looking for an inspirational and motivational post I regret to inform you that you will not find that here today. Instead you’ll find some whining, some complaining…and a little bitching.

I ran 5K #8 this weekend. Since the day in January where I pulled a 27:50 out of the sky (A big deal for a girl who was running 12 minute miles over the summer!) I’ve been dying to PR, and I get close- but not close enough. I had decided that enough was enough- this was going to be the day.

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Huffing and puffing towards the finish line that seemed to never come.

But it turns out, this would not be the day- In any way, shape, or form. I ended up being slower than I’ve been all year. An absolute disappointment to myself. I started out pretty strong, but by Mile 2 I wasn’t feeling it and then once it came time to tackle the hill- forget it. I completely lost steam and …WALKED. Yes, you read that right. Seriously Kathleen? I went from bad ass to the absolute biggest half ass in a split second. And as much as my amazing trainer tried to get me back to where I needed to be, in my head I was already over it. That’s what gets me the most- the fact that I just let myself give up. For the first time in a LONG time, in that instant I HATED running.  I wanted to throw my Brooks across the street (or maybe at my trainer), have my fiancee pick me up, and call it a day. What came over me? Who was this girl? Did she eat the Rockstar for breakfast? I fought back tears as I crossed the finish line- so incredibly angry with what I had just done.

There’s so many things that I could sit here and blame it on. I can blame it on the fact that I hadn’t run much due to a stupid rolled ankle earlier in the week. That my dad was there to watch me for the first time. Blame it on the fact that I was sweating in my long sleeve shirt before I even took off. That I only ate half my english muffin that morning. I hadn’t had enough water the day before. My playlist wasn’t playing the right songs. I could go on and on.

Bad runs happen, I get that. But I was so angry purely for the fact that I just simply gave in to the voice inside who told me “You want to stop running? Go ahead!” I knew how mad I was going to be at myself later- but it didn’t matter. This coming from the girl who is planning on running a 5 mile race in June? Is signed up for a triathlon in 3 months? Who wants to run a half marathon next year? And you’re telling me she can’t even make it through a 5K?

I realize now how familiar that voice sounds. It’s because it’s been here all along, throughout this journey.
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It told me I’d never change my life style. I did.
It told me I’d never be able to lose the weight. I did.
It told me I’d never run a 5K. I did.
It told me I’d never become a runner. I am. 

This triathlon is scaring the pants off me. I know I say this constantly but I’m in a daily battle between being so incredibly excited- and in a split second wondering who the hell I think I am signing up for something like this.  Is this normal– or am I just a crazy lady over here? Cus I’m starting to feel pretty nuts.

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Am I the only one who envisions triathletes looking like this?

If only my wave could just include myself and my two friends. If only the swimming just meant laps in a nice, calm (chlorinated) pool. If only the biking was a casual ride through the streets of my neighborhood. Then I would be PUMPED for this triathlon, I’d do it tomorrow if I could. I guess it’s the fear of the unknown that’s freaking me out. In my head I’ve created this scenario where I drown in the water as Miss Trunchbull ferociously swims past me. Or I ride my bike straight into a ditch. Or my legs give out before I make it past the first mile marker. I’ve created all sorts of scenarios in my head and sometimes I just want it all to be over so that it’s not the unknown anymore. And I sure wish those voices would take a break every now and then.

Deep breaths Kathleen, deep breaths.