Monday, November 18, 2019

Longview Half Marathon: Race Re-Cap

I feel like I hadn't run a race in a while, and I must have also felt like punishing myself for my not-so-tip-top shape by running gently rolling hills on a cold morning. My dreams came true and I ran a half-marathon two weekends ago (and ended up loving it). That said, on Sunday, November 10th, I peeled myself out of bed, strapped my running chip to my shoe, got ready with my two layers of running gear, pinned my bib on and hightailed it on down to the lake - Longview Lake, to be exact, in Longview, MO.

Part of Longview Lake. It's SO pretty. 

I was a bit nervous since I hadn't run 13 + miles in a while, but I stuck to the race routine I knew and it served me well. That is, eat, drink some water, get everything ready, wait in the port-o-potty lines a few times, and find my corral.

Your typical port-o-potty line. There were plenty, so that was awesome.
Runners getting ready to line up in the corrals.
I used to take the time to do some dynamic stretching, but that morning it was freezing out and my entire body felt like it had been plunged into ice cold water. I decided to huddle in my corral for warmth and use the first few miles for warming up. This never works quite as well as I hope, but it's something.

Aaaand we're off! My black jacket and earmuffs actually got a bit hot.
The Longview half and full are put on by the KC Running Company. I've run a few of their races to date, and with the excellent (yet challenging) courses, food after and gorgeous medals I hope to continue running their races. This one was no different. The starting line began in a parking lot with a beautiful view of the lake. Since there weren't too many people running this one compared to, say, the Houston or the Kansas City Marathon, you could get pretty close to the starting line without having to be an elite runner, or just generally super fast.

Taking off. Also, check out the KC Running camper back there!
After the horn went off, we all took off down the length of the lot and turned onto the road. For a good amount of time we were on the roads, with park views over that of the lake. The park views were gorgeous though, and the roads were comprised of continually gently rolling hills. This was a tough race, and about 3 miles in my legs were trashed. I took that as a sign that I A.) need to run a lot more and B.) need to be less hard on myself since I am in a new place.

The flatter part of one of the trails. I didn't pull my phone out during the race for photos, so this is all I got. 

Around mile 9 we veered into the park trails for some good old fashioned trail running. These were cleared, flat pea-gravel trails so they weren't difficult. The only part I had trouble with was the pea gravel finding its way into my socks, stopping me a few times to empty out my shoes. I also found myself settling into a bad attitude during this run. The sun came out and made the day feel crisp, cool and fun. All around me were trees, underbrush and a few other runners. The trails were amazing! 

I could kick myself for my own bad attitude, but I want to be honest with you guys. I can't stand people who act like everything's okay 100 percent of the time. Normally I'm a positive, happy person, but I can get down as well and I'd prefer to show all the sides of myself, even the ones I'm not too find of. I'm a perfectionist and harder on myself than I need to be, especially with the life changes that have happened not only this year, but over the last few. I'm making strides to overcome that - I've worked incredibly hard to get to where I am now, career and personal-wise, and I finally made the effort to distance a few friends who weren't really friends; it's harder said than done, especially when you don't want to cause drama. I used the last 6 or so miles to be more introspective about things, to really think about what was causing my negativity. This is when I realized that I need to not compare myself to my old times, and to start fresh instead. This is also easier said than done, but the beauty of Longview Lake and being around so many nice people in the running community helped.

The pea gravel tails lasted until almost the end of the race. We got off the trails and had maybe .2 miles to go until the finish line back in the parking lot area. I was SO happy! My only regret gear wise was that I should have left my jacket and running bottle in the car. Part of me always worries that I won't have enough water or that I won't warm up, but it never comes true. There were plenty of aid stations and by mile 2-3 I was already peeling off my jacket. Next time for sure! (I think) lesson learned.

Happy to be done!

Yep. This pretty much says it all lol!
After I got across the finish line and got my medal, I picked up a water bottle and walked back to the car to go home. It was a bit of a walk back to the car, and there was a runner who couldn't make it. I'm not sure what was wrong but it didn't seem too bad. There were some people with her, along with two police who were already there directing traffic, so they allowed a car to rive down the trail to pick her up and everything was okay after that. I also met an amazing runner who just ran the Longview Half as her first half, so congrats to her! The day was already turning out to be an amazing day and it was only 11 am.

Already planning out the next race in my head....buahahaha! 

I would definitely run this race again. A friend told me that she raced it last year and it began snowing at mile 8, so for me this race is a bit of a wild card. Course wise I love it, and it's put on by a well run group, so this race will go onto my -to-do-next-year list! It isn't a huge race, and there aren't cheer sections everywhere like the Houston marathon; it's also not completely empty, as you have runners around you for the entire time. I definitely recommend this one.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Maintaining Positivity and Perspective

Let's talk about positivity...does it matter when it comes to your daily routine? What about to your training?

I saw the photo and post below on LinkedIn recently and I completely agree that perspective is key. Have you ever had a conversation with a "negative Nancy" type? There could be a million things to be positive about, but they will immediately focus on the negative and thrive on it, and to be honest, it's draining.

Mmmkay? I know I know...wrong character.
A positive perspective is something that comes more easily to me some days than others, and some days it requires a little extra effort, but its importance is paramount to the day. I find that when I'm a little more tired than normal during my daily training, or in competition, perspective makes the biggest difference. Sure, I still may not be "feeling it" that day, or I may be way off the mark in my predicted finish time, but maintaining or working on a positive perspective throughout the event makes you not only feel better after, it also makes you more eager to try again and not give up.

For example, my last half-marathon (race re-cap soon) was a challenging one. I felt good about it going in since I have several months worth of training in the area (hills). Right from the start I know that this race wasn't going to be a PR. I found myself becoming frustrated, and because of my own negative thoughts, I began to slow down, essentially throwing my finish time in the trash while I was at it. I used my time during those miles to think long and hard about why my mood crashed, and I decided to stop putting pressure on myself to perform the way I was performing in a completely different environment. Once I realized that, I began trying to think of all the good around me, and all the positive things that got me to this race in the first place. Instead of being upset, I felt lucky to be able to do what I was doing. I run for myself and no one else. I began enjoying the day, and the rest of the race. I'm thankful now to have gone through that, even the negative, because without the soul-searching that ensued I might not have realized how great of a day it was and ended things on a positive note, with a lesson learned thrown in for good measure.

Who agrees? The original post is in quotes below...

"Business and life are all about how you “see it”! I just challenged myself for the last 4 minutes before writing this post to think about things in a negative way, I have 9713 things going on right now and if I choose to look at them from an entirely different angle I can easily get sad and anxious, in fact it’s wild to me how easily and quickly I was able to get to a feeling I don’t enjoy!

My friends, perspective is the key to life and business! Let me promise you, if you choose to see “bad” “dark” “ugly”

It’s very easy, if you choose to see “light” “love” “good” it’s very easy! So much of this has to do with DNA, parenting and who you spend time with, this is where I come in, I’m willing to push and push until the end to help so many people see the > instead of the < ."
So true!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Post Half-Marathon Sunday Funday

It’s Sunday Runday/Funday, the day after another tough KC race. My legs are recovering faster than I thought they would, although I’m giving them today to fully feel back to normal. Yuan couldn’t make it to this race because he had to work overnight with his team, and didn’t get off until I was already there and running. This happens very rarely, so he’s catching up on sleep today. I honestly don’t know how he did it (in a good mood) with only 1 1/2 hours of sleep in these last 24. He’s a rock star! Race re-cap coming soon, but today is a recovery day. I’m hoping the weather stays above freezing a little longer so I (and the BMX fam) can get a little more riding done this year. It’s beautiful outside today, although deceptively cold. The sun is shining, leaves are all over the ground and the neighbor’s plants are a beautiful dark crimson- and I’m going to enjoy it (mostly) from the comforts of the house. Here’s to a good Sunday! Whatever you guys are doing, make it count. 

Number 4 it is, then!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Back to the Regularly Scheduled Program

Well, this has been a looong two weeks. I was in New York for work last week, then segued straight into having a house-guest all the way through, well, yesterday. I'm tired! Tired of  days of cleaning up after people, seeing them zone out when the conversation isn't about them, the lack of a good conversation, sweeping out a kitchen and den full of crumbs, chicken and sweet potatoes, picking someone else's baby food out of my car after they don't ask if they can have food IN my car in the first place (oh wait - something horrible might happen to the baby if it doesn't eat for 15 minutes), throwing away old food left out and full cups of coffee (into a trash can 3 feet away- the food, not the coffee), scrubbing stains out of the kitchen island, an apparent aversion to coasters (because wood and drinks mix SO well together), steam cleaning a weird poopy smell out of the upstairs carpet, (I could go on, but I won't, I don't want to get myself all worked up again- and I'm plenty worked up), and ready to get back to life as I've known it for the past 5 months. That is, work, hanging out with my awesome bf, friends, training, and races (both the BMX and the running kind).

I wasn't able to get a long run or much of anything in for the past two weekends, so I'm a little worried about my upcoming half-marathon. I also see it as not being a full marathon, so I'm at least going to be okay when I cross the finish line. Runner problems.  I'm hoping to get in a few miles this week before the race, just to shake out my legs and get things moving again, if nothing else.

With a little preview of some snow last week which both amazed and freaked me out, I signed up for four months of unlimited treadmill time through MindBody. I'm excited to have a Woodway to train on for the winter, and it'll get me out of the house on those super cold midwestern days. I also decided to write my first article on LinkedIn about non-linear career paths and their upward prevalence in the job world; you can read it here if you like. I'm looking forward to getting back on track, as well as reading more and continuing to blog. I've found that it's rather calming. So with that, I will leave you with the most anti-Monday picture I can find. My boyfriend sent it to me and it makes me smile, so hopefully it will make you smile as well. I'm not sure where it's from or I would cite the source, so if anyone knows I'm all ears. Here it is! My two favorite animals ever. Traveling.

So cute!