Wednesday, September 28, 2016

USA BMX Gold Cup weekend

First rule of a crazy couple weeks: breathe. That, and don’t forget to pack the necessary gear.
Two weeks ago (Sept. 17th & 18th) was our Gold Cup Southern Central Finals. Snacks and drinks were bought, the cooler was stocked with plenty of ice, the car and bike was washed and shined, and everything under the sun was thrown haphazardly in the eggplant colored behemoth that is my roller luggage. The drive to De Soto, a small town about 45 minutes South of Dallas was a dream of a road trip. Good music was on, (pop was traded for classic rock) the sun was shining, and the Blue Beast got a whopping 45 mpg. (Yay for being an adult and caring about gas mileage!) I made it to the track, signed up at the USA BMX trailer, checked out the layout, and said hi to people I haven’t seen in a while. Being at Metroplex BMX felt so surreal. The last time I was at the track was 2005 or 6, when I used to come ride on Saturday nights and then camp out for the like the little weirdo I was. I went through that college party phase, but give me a chill outdoorsy activity on a Saturday night over babysitting drunken idiots at a club any day. It was such an amazing feeling to be back at a place I had loved so much. After checking out the race that afternoon, I checked in to my hotel and scoped out the local food offerings.

Coming to a major competition after not having ridden in the last month and a half, and being pretty much incapacitated due to allergies for the last two weeks was a bit worrying. Cue nervous looking cartoon person wringing hands while sweating bullets, anxiously searching left and right for a way out. Yikes. Plan of the weekend—hold your s#*t together, try your hardest, and have fun. Solid plan.
Practice on Saturday was a blast! It was so much fun to get out there and be active again, not to mention I absolutely love doing gates. Your version of a Monday night football party is my version of gates. Yep, I know it’s weird. I’m okay with that. Fast forward to the actual races— Saturday and Sunday I had 4 other women in my moto. I got 3rd each race each day, and it was awesome to chase the 1st and 2nd place girls (one had come all the way from New Mexico to race). I also came to the realization that I needed to train. A lot. And hard. And starting yesterday. 😛 New solid plan. 

I loved getting to see some people that I never usually get to see, and being outside on a weekend like that was a blessing. It was pretty hot out, so I drank my weight in water and Powerade and went back to the cooler in between motos to happily dunk the bottom half of my arms in the ice.
The track itself is in a large semi covered enclosure, and located in Grimes Park. Both days just about every baseball and soccer field was in use, but there was plenty of parking. The park itself is gorgeous and I wish we had something like it in my area. Everything was so beautiful and I wish that I had taken more pictures of the park and fields.

Oh! And did I mention? With my points going into the weekend from the previous two Gold Cup qualifiers and the final two races, I got lucky and ended up with the Gold Cup #1 plate in my 20” class!!! Woohoo!! I got a cute jacket and a number plate, and a burger and frozen lemonade from Sonic on the way home. Hold you s%*t together mission complete. J
I hope everyone’s having a MAAAAHHHHVALOUS day!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Happy Labor Day!

Gooooood mooooorning- from the comfort of my bed and a bunch of allergy pills and Day Quil! I hope everyone’s Labor Day is starting with a bang. I have been laying around the house in a daze since yesterday, trying to fight off whatever crazy allergies these fronts have decided to swing our way in anticipation of fall (and yes, pumpkin spiced errythang!). Not too much fun, but on the bright side I just might get to finish off some old Vapo Rub that expired in ’99. Not to mention that a day off work is still fun. 

(Some September flowery goodness)

So back to it being Labor Day…the day of crazy retail sales and the ever present throngs of crazy parking lot driving mall shoppers, ready at a moment’s notice to willingly elbow you over the last pair of Feetures socks. I mean, come on, those things never go on sale. Forgiven. That being said, I’m a girl who likes to shop for the necessities in relative peace, so malls most days are not for me. I did find some pretty cool steals online though, which was pretty perfect considering I did not have to go anywhere near a retail establishment. Yay! has recently been my go-to place to find secondhand clothing that looks pretty close to brand new. While I love casual clothes, who wants to spend lots of hard earned money dressing for work? So with that in mind I have scored some pretty cool fall stuff that can transition to a work ready outfit for a fraction of the price. Their shipping takes awhile, but my wallet is totally cool with that. I got a few pieces this weekend, including a brand new Nicole Miller blue maxi dress for 11$, some super tall Steve Madden gold gladiator sandals for 13$, and a beautiful new Anthropologie dress for 18$. Not to mention saved an extra 20% off as well (CELEBRATE20) for Labor Day!:) Shopping on a budget can be challenging, but this site makes it so much easier. 

The other site I visited is Oiselle. Oiselle running clothes are definitely amazing and super high quality, but with those student loans and regular adulting duties taking priority, my Oiselle obsession is relegated to a Christmas or birthday wish list. Until today. Code LABORDAY will get you an additional 40% off of all sale items (today only). I got to score some cute olive colored shorts, one of those tanks with a built in bra (the design on it is a close up of a molecule–thus fulfilling my slight obsession with reading about anything physics related–I can now represent my nerdiness while out in public on a park trail, think whole new level of cool-take that Sheldon!), and last but not least a long sleeve lime colored top with some cute flying birds on it I have been coveting since last year. 

Being stuck in bed with allergies is no bueno, but Saturday I did get to complete my long run of 6 miles. After the heat of this summer, I’m trying to rebuild my mileage again. It was so much fun running through my favorite park trail, and at 80 degrees it was surprisingly cool out. I’m thinking they might have to redirect part of the path though…flooding is no joke!

Being out in nature is so much fun, not to mention therapeutic. I can think through things that are going on in my life, and usually by the time I’m done I’ve worked things out, set a plan, and am tired and happy! 

Everyone have a happy Labor Day! Time for me to take a Benadryl and kick some allergy butt!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Run happy: The power of positivity in everyday life

It’s a typical rainy August Sunday morning; each humidity soaked step bringing me further from the house and closer to the ominous gray clouds rolling in on the horizon. As usual with a lazy wet Sunday only a few cars pass by, leaving me in silence with the sound of my shoes trying their best to grip wet pavement, and raindrops dislodging from their temporary home on the oak leaves high above. My legs, achy from too many days off, beg me to go back home and turn on the tv. Too bad, legs, this is too much fun. 🙂 Happy Sunday Runday!!

Recently, I have been taking a free class on resume building and interview skills at a local church, in the hope that learning more about these skills will help me in boosting my career. I am now armed with a new resume, and just as importantly a renewed sense of confidence and positivity. Positivity is so important in every aspect of life, from running happy to attacking the day with a positive attitude. Granted, not everything will go your way all the time, nor is that expectation a realistic one. I’ve learned the hard way not to let another’s negativity and bad attitude affect my own attitude, or my actions. It’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever learned how to do, but one of the most rewarding.
Remaining positive while training for competition is one of the most helpful tools in your toolbox. When I practice anything with a good attitude and a sense of fun, I want to keep going, and suddenly my mistakes or slow times become less of a hindrance and more of a kicking off point. At bmx nationals I’ve seen parents yell at their kids for what they consider a poor performance, forgetting why they started in the first place. I’ve seen this happen in many different sports. Reality check. The chances are beyond slim that their kid will have a sports career, and getting slimmer by the second, as I have seen so many burn out. It’s not fun to them anymore, it’s their entire life, and it becomes a chore. 

We all get down every now and then, and if we are lucky, we have wonderful friends who are there to talk to us and pick us back up. I am lucky to say I have that. But constantly negative people? Or people who want to be in your company because of how they can benefit? No, thank you. I don’t like to be around that, do you? I’ve distanced myself from the negative Nancy’s, and have never felt better. No eternal suck-fest bringing me down. No black hole preaching impossibilities that I will eventually drink the Kool Aid and also buy into. Consider it a spring cleaning of the soul. 

I believe in the power of positivity- sometimes it is a warm glow around me and sometimes it’s a life raft, but it’s definitely something I’m never letting go of. Sometimes it can be the only thing we have, so let’s use it! The world is full of such amazing things and places and opportunities, and I stopped listening a long time ago to people who liked to dictate what I was and wasn’t capable of. As someone born with a physical dissability, I grew up being taught that “can’t” is not a word to believe in. Because of that, I can ride a bmx bike like a crazy woman and run fast with a happy soul! Sometimes choosing to NOT listen is as important as being a good listener. 

So how do you attack they day with a great attitude? Believe in it. Wake up every morning and tell yourself what you love about yourself, or your family, or friends, or day. There is always someone who has it a whole lot worse that we do and is a whole lot happier about what they do have. Brand names and money don’t make my soul happy- I’m happy because I choose to be. I’m positive about my career. I believe that hard work pays off, maybe not in the way that is planned, but it does pay off. Things are wonderful, they will work out, and I choose happiness regardless. I choose to wake up every day and live my journey with a smile, and perhaps some light scarcasm, because who doesn’t love light scarcasm. 😉 

So lace up those running shoes, do those sprints, pedal so fast your legs burn, get out there and talk to people, cheer on and support a friend or a loved one. Do whatever you need to do, and do it with a happy soul.

Some ducks out along the way

Friday, July 29, 2016

Cheat days: good or coping mechanism?

During the last month I’ve been meaning to blog much more often. However, due to a bad lingering cold and long days made longer by a once a week class on job hunting, then subsequent readying of related materials, both my mileage and my goal to write more have suffered more than a bare booty sitting on a cactus. 

Fast forward to last week. I decided that it would be immensely gratifying to stop by the growth store after work and pick up some sushi and a few brownie bites for a cheat meal. I was standing in line to check out, and got into a conversation with the man behind me. He was buying two bags of Oreos and 5 or 6 small bottles of soda. He laughed  easily as we both agreed how glad we were that it was Friday, and he pointed to his stash, letting me in on his dirty little secret–it was his cheat meal. He very quickly mentioned that he would be hitting the gym bright and early Saturday morning, but this evening it was ON. Suddenly I didn’t feel too bad about my sushi and brownie bites. 

This brings us to the question, have cheat days been given free reign based on our justification on eating some chicken or a salad the rest of the working week? When is enough junk food enough? 

It seems that we, perhaps as a culture, have taught ourselves that in order to eat healthy we must have a reward- that reward being food that is unhealthy. This logic, while used by many, myself included, is not so much logic as much as a form of justification to “cheat” on our diets. 

Eating healthy should be considered less of a diet and more of a lifestyle choice. While the end goal is to continue a healthy way of life, considering a cookie or a brownie bite “cheating” is not something I wish to do. The word cheat fills me with a sense of immense guilt and shame. It’s as if I’m in a relationship with my food, and the carrots and tomatoes  from my salad will leave me for taking a bite of that cookie. I don’t want to feel guilty about indulging every now and then. 

On the other hand, when did a so-termed cheat meal grant us permission to go on an all night binge? Until recently, I didn’t realize how much cheat days or cheat meals have become their own beast. 

From now on I am setting a new goal. I am no longer using the word “cheat” to describe what I choose to eat. I am going to continue to strive for a healthy diet, but I am not going to deprive myself to the point when I need to binge on cakes, or anything else for enjoyment. Let’s not even get into where binge eating can lead. 

We are not perfect, and social media can not even begin to describe who we are, or what we go through on a daily basis. I’m a work in progress, and personally, cheat meals don’t make me a happier person. What does make me happy is not feeling like crap the day after having a sugary greasy meal. From now on, cheat day is not in my vocabulary, although random indulgence will still be.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July: Maintaining A Training Schedule in the Summer Heat?

Good morning and Happy 4th of July! As I write this it’s only 9am and the sun’s already baking everything in sight-not that it’s going to put a damper on the fun today, it’s just a fact of south Texas life. Long runs have crept down from 12 miles to a whopping 4 or 5, necessitating hand held water bottles for what used to be an easy run in the fall and winter. A handful of laps around the BMX track in practice leaves one overheated,out of breath, and looking like you just doused yourself in a pool.
I took off Friday from work along with J, and we went to F’s place for a girls day at the pool. Apparently Friday was known as National Ditch Day, so yes we were glad to be a part of that! We made frozen wine slushies by blending moscato with various frozen fruit. They were so tasty and easy to make, and will surely be blended up again. Sometimes with the craziness of how fast a daily routine can go, it was a refreshing change of pace to lay at the pool with friends under the Palm trees. 

On Saturday at my hometrack, we had a drone filming our practice and the races for a spot on the local news. I absolutely love going to the track to practice. I still have a long way to go, but the goal is to get back to where I was. I got a bunch or practice, got to see some friends, and got a snowcone before I left. The flavor was called Panama Sunrise; it was the color of a sunrise, and sour. K’s baby tried some, and judging by the wrinkle of his little brow, I think he agreed. 

Lately I’ve been waiting for it to cool down outside before running. I cut my mileage almost in half in the summer, sometimes even leaving the Garmin at home if I know the route, and carrying water for anything over four miles. Running in 80 & 90 degree temps is rough,so I try to do things that keep running fun. I try a different route, and even listen to music, which I don’t normally like to do. To combat the mosquitos I found some bug spray by Avon that is also spf 30. Sunscreen and a hat are must haves!! Sunglasses as well if you have them. 

Runs have been so much tougher. However, when the sun is going down, leaving pink cotton candy clouds in a light blue sky, and a slight breeze comes through the moss covered trees, and the deafening sound of cicadas rings out over the newly waking streetlights, it’s actually alright. It seems to always be those little details that are remembered later.

Yesterday night, on the last mile of a training run, fireworks were popping in the sky. Blue, Pink, yellow, red, and green exploding a few blocks over in what I wish could happen everyday. I love fireworks. Not the little ones that litter up the streets and become an amalgam of burnt paper and crumbled wrapping, but the huge ones that fill up the sky with unending color. During the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, they have firework shows. I remember sitting there on the ground with friends just wishing it could last forever. That being said, I really love holidays that involve pyrotechnics. Haha. 

Off to the pool again with D to enjoy this beautiful and blessed day! (Raises water bottle with dissolved Nuun tablet in it) Cheers!