Friday, June 16, 2017

Sweet (and Hot) Summertime, and Catching Up

It’s summer already?! With 6 months to go, this year has flown by so fast! So much has happened this year, everything from starting a new job (along with navigating a new city during the week), to getting back into my training schedule after surgery, to some out of state trips and more.

Since I’ve decided to blast my daily stressors away, and just have fun, by training for two of my favorite sports, I was at the park this last Sunday getting in a long run. I have a very bad habit of liking to sleep in on Sunday mornings, which is normally fine anytime in the fall or winter. However, running later than normal in the summer sun is a feat unto itself. Already reaching a blistering 90 degrees by 9 or 10 am, a hat, SPF 100 sunscreen, and a handheld water bottle are barely enough to combat what mother nature has to throw. Regardless of the sunscreen, I now have the worst sock and tan lines known to man. Summer goals as follows: wake up at 6:30 and get moving!

Urban exploring

Recently, with all the rain, my favorite local park’s paved trail has been falling off bit by large bit, like a crumbling cookie into Buffalo Bayou. I try to stay off the paved trail as much as I can, since the flat dirt trail is so much more fun. I love the feeling and crunch of the ever-changing dirt under my feet, the sounds of nature all around me, and the feeling of the wind when it sometimes blows by, sanding down the edges of the summer heat and making a hot humid day more bearable. I was heading back to the car at mile 5, with 3 more to go when I ran into another runner at the water fountain. I didn’t know him, but have seen him around at times. I asked him how many miles he had done, and we started a conversation. We will call him E. He is from Jamaica, super-fast, and an ultra-runner. We ran the last three miles together, and he gave me some great training advice, some of which I started yesterday.

We talked about so much, his family, politics, the current state of the job market, etc. The conversation was unique. How many times do we have great conversations with strangers? (And I’m not talking about that weird guy who ran beside me for 4 miles twice earlier in the year, yammering on and throwing out uncomfortable compliments.) I’m so glad I got to meet E., and hope to see him out on the trails on weekends.
The secret to looking cute after a hard workout: filter, filter, filter! 

Friday, April 28, 2017

2017 USA BMX Lone Star Nationals

Last weekend, April 22nd and 23rd began with a rocky start. Peeling myself out of bed for the first of what would be two 6am wake up calls, I gathered my gear and both bikes and headed out the door for what was to be a sunshine soaked weekend or mayhem and good old fun. The door opened to darkness and gently pelting rain. Great. This necessitated quick runs to the car, each trip adding some important piece to the weekend. Crunching down the gravel driveway off the main road, I quickly found parking at the track, and proceeded to nap away for another 30 or so minutes. Ah! Heaven! Practice had started, and I took a few quick laps around on my 20” to get warmed up, then met up with my team to get ready for a day of BMX racing. The rain stopped, remaining overcast and cool. So many people were here from different countries, since the UCI World Qualifier had taken place on Friday. I had a blast hanging out with my team, and grabbed a 2nd place in both class and cruiser on Saturday, as well as Sunday, and bought some cute pink goggles from J&R. After my placings, I now have a burning desire to keep practicing. I also earned an entire sheet of stamps (pink Sidi’s in the future?)!
Well earned stamps for a job well done. Saving these babies for a future purchase :)

Overall, I learned what I can improve on, as well as what I was doing really well at. I realize enough to be very grateful and thankful for the ability to be in the position to race, since there are people who want to but can’t. I am very lucky to be able to do what I love, and I will never take that for granted. Every time I pedal my heart out on the track, it makes me so happy. The track was in such good condition, and so much fun to ride on even with the extreme headwinds pushing back as everyone rounded the second turn. Each time I got off the track my legs were burning; I guess that’s what is meant by “leaving it all on the track”, because by the very last lap of the last day, I had nothing left!

This last week has been an effort to run more and build mileage for an upcoming half marathon, sort of a mid-way goal to see if I should dare take on the entire beast one day. I found an awesome park about 5 minutes from where I am staying, and have been out there religiously. It’s absolutely beautiful, and in the evening I run determined, sore legs and ragged breathing, surrounded by fireflies. I haven’t seen this many since I was a kid visiting relatives in Ohio. It’s magical, for lack of a better word. 
The running clears my head, the sometimes monotony lets me think. The sounds of Janis Joplin and Pink Floyd filter through the tiny earbuds and into my head. It’s funny, the memories a sing can bring. Wish You Were Here comes on and suddenly I’m 19 and back at an old BMX track, it’s summertime, and leathers and a long sleeve jersey at any other place would seem like a punishment of epic proportions. That same song was playing, and I remember the track operator saying that she wanted that song at her funeral when she died. Thankfully, she is very much alive, but whenever I hear it I am back at that day, the song taking on a whole new meaning, and the sudden realization that it may mean something completely different yet equally important to her.
Everything’s been challenging this year. I got a job 2 ½ hours away from my house, so have been renting out a room with friends. It’s been tough not seeing my family and friends whenever I want to, but I work Monday – Thursday there, and go home Friday – Sunday. It’s been hard being away, and tough getting up the will to train, but I am trying my best to overcome it and make the best out of it, which I do have a lot to be thankful for. I love the people I am staying with, the folks at the track here, and my co-workers as well. I am beyond happy to be able to reconnect with my friend here, because she’s such an amazing person and I’m so glad to know her. I’m also ready to pick up the training again and see where I can go with it. I hope everyone has been having a good year so far, and at the very least a good week. So many changes come with life, that the toughest thing to do sometimes is to just roll with it. It’s going to be a good year though! I feel it! Till then, keep the rubber side down.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

All Run Down

Everyone has those moments when they get so rundown all they want to do is sleep, and dream about sleeping. That moment for me has been this week. With the Cajun Nationals in Monroe last weekend, and everyone being sick at work Monday, I have been a bit under the weather this whole week. No running, no training, just me and some Emergen-C. 

This week has unfortunately hereby been declared sloth week. I don’t think I’ve slept this much in a long time, watched this many movies on Netflix, or took a such deep long look at my current training or nutrition. Naturally they need to improve, so I made an anti junk food promise to myself this morning; that means no free cookies and cake at work, no cheesecake slices at the grocery store, and none of those delicious packets of skittles after practice at the track. Post long run meals no longer consist of chicken finger baskets. Looking at it that way, it wasn’t just a fall off the wagon, that was a catapult off! 

I was so tired this morning. Does anyone else love to wake up and listen to the rain hitting the window? It’s the perfect lazy Sunday intro. Anyway, I stumbled out of bed, grabbed whatever long dress was closest in the closet to hide road rash knee, forgot makeup in total, concocted a topknot that should not be seen by anyone in public, and somehow happened to make it to work on time. It was strange not wearing makeup in public. After going through the years of horrible breakouts, then later Accutane, I got really good at makeup. I can’t do eyeliner to save my life, but I’m a complete pro at concealing. I got so used to brushing and buffing  and blotting that it became second nature. I definitely don’t miss the days when I was breaking out so badly I wore a full face of makeup to the park to work out. 

On a better note…

I hope everyone enjoyed the beautiful weather last weekend. There was a bmx national in Monroe, Louisiana that was fun. I got two 1st places on my cruiser bike, a 1st in class, and fell in my other class main (hence, the scabby knee). 
A lengthy description may follow later, but this, my friends, is sloth week, and sloths take their sweet time when they are under the weather. Besides, it’s face mask and wholehearted attempt at distraction from my sore throat with some Netflix time.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Family and Friends, Thank You!

So here’s a few crazy months tied into a little neat one post- Red Valentino boot type bow. If such a succinct thing exists without being thrown off into a hundred digressive stories along the way. Either way I’ll try, so here goes. I know New Years comes with resolutions. Never having been keen on those I will make one however- I vow to blog more. Simple enough. Apparently I find it tough though.
The last few months have thrown me into an impossible tailspin. So many things happened so close together that it was hard to make heads and tails at all of one thing, let alone many.
  1. November 16th I ran the Cypress Half Marathon. It definitely wasn’t anywhere near a PR. One of the many lessons I’ve learned this year is to pick a race and stick to a training plan. I ran so many races that they slammed against each other in my mind as one continuous amalgam of weekend activities. They were all a blast, but I signed up for so many that it became something I had to simply get through rather than something to PR in. This tactic is absolutely perfect for covering a large amount of ground, but the lack of fine tuning and specialized training led to a joyless plan on a calendar- one that you must endure rather than relish. Regardless, it was a great race put on by such a wonderful group of people. I ran it with J as well, which is always a blast. She’s training for her first full, and she is such a good person and inspires me daily with her dedication. It was a tough race, my breathing was labored and hard to draw in as usual. The only difference between the last few runs and the runs prior was the sense of unbroken hopefulness coursing through every part of me. As my breathing remained an everlasting  steadfast reminder of the troubles anyone with the same issues may have, my frustration was at an all time high and growing. Still had fun but it was a tough run!
  2. Thanksgiving weekend two weeks later was an amazing experience. The USA BMX grand nationals took over Tulsa once again in what unfurled into a tiring, stressful, joyous, exciting time- surreal to be back for the first time since, what? 2006? I raced my heart out and made do with the limited training I had. Basically the plan was to just have fun and ride for fun and hang with my team, and cheer on (and race!) old friends. That plan worked out nicely, as it was one of the best weekends I could have asked for, considering I was away from family on turkey day. I ended up with NAG 5 on class, NAG 2 on cruiser, and also a national number on cruiser.

    Resting in front of the fireplace on a cold day

    Chilling with Staci after our round

    Team Exile
  3. Okay let’s fast forward two weeks: the Katy 10 miler ended up getting rained out, so since we were able to get our medals, a bunch of us just ran it in virtual form the next weekend. 
  4. Before Christmas I had a major surgery. I’m not going to say what it was, but it to help my breathing. 🙂  As of now I’m recovering on some very limited workouts. It’s frustrating not to be able to get up and go like before, but in the future it will be worth it. It’s tough seeing others continue with their workouts and runs, because I feel like I’m starting from scratch. I believe that this feeling, too, shall pass.
  5. I recently began work in a new city. I packed a suitcase and an armful of stuff and drove out. It’s a good job and everyone’s nice. I think I bawled whenever I was alone for the first week. It was surreal. It was Alice falling down the rabbit hole- well, minus the drugs. I’m blessed to have this opportunity and to have my friends and coworkers here, but I miss my family so much. I miss my cat, and my friends. Be home soon McLovin!:)

    McLovin Bear 🐻
I think the most important thing at this point is to remember why I’m choosing to run and ride– in the long and short of it it makes me supremely happy. With everything going on, it calms me down, gives me a goal to chase and makes me feel like electricity- like I can do anything. Like I can accomplish something I was never meant to, and like being born with a disability was a speed bump rather than a wall.
Time to go finish this Janis Joplin documentary and listen to the rain. I hope you all are having a wonderful week. Time to go put on some Karma from Lush and handle it. 😄😋✌🏼️Peace, man. 

Nothing better than crunching leaves in the fall