Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Making Sense of Things and Searching for Mojo

It's been awhile since I've blogged, and mostly it's been intentional. I haven't had the energy to do much lately, least of all try to work out what's been going on in my own head, so getting it out in paragraph form online was about the last thing on my to-do list. I'm still trying to figure things out, and I know it'll be awhile until I feel 2019 level happy while running down the streets or flying through the air on a bike. Logically, I know I need to keep going, and this is me trying to do so, but in reality I feel like I'm going through the motions and that's it.

The pandemic I could handle, and staying off Facebook for the most part helped a lot with that. Sure, it began making me stir crazy, and eventually there were a few full on FOMO cringy crying spells when I saw how many people were already racing and going about life, but I can handle that feeling, or I thought I knew how. I began throwing myself more than ever into running, etc., and after a few months of that I developed an IT band issue with my left knee. I had no choice but to RICE it- rest, ice, compression, elevation. It didn't help the stir crazy feelings in the slightest, but I'm no stranger to re-starting training at a later time, so I did my best to get through it. Luckily, I'm happy to report that my knee feels almost back to 100%, and next time I'll be sure to foam roll after each run. Lesson learned.

Through it all, I talked to one of my close friends, Conor, about it, and talking about it seemed to keep us both moving forward and full of hope. We chatted most days, actually nearly everyday for the past 3 years. At the time I met him, he was well on his way to finishing his goal of running 100 marathons. He loved traveling and running and had friends everywhere. He had a great sense of humor and a love of adventure; he even climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro! He ran ultra-marathons and half marathons and 10ks and 5ks and whatever else ks you could throw at him. Most of all, he was a great person and friend. Sometimes people who have been running for awhile can condescendingly say things like, "It's ONLY 3.1 miles." to a newbie. No matter how many miles Conor ran or where his adventures took him, he always remained so down to earth and humble. He dedicated his time to helping a group of new runners get started, and always had encouraging words to help them along. He was never a one-upper, and he was always genuinely happy for other's accomplishments as much as his own. He was a sweet, kind person that anyone would be happy to know. My boyfriend and I were going to plan a trip to see him as soon as the mess 2020 threw at us all was over.

Two weeks ago, Conor took his life as a result of the pandemic. The world is a lot less colorful without him in it. I wish he would have reached out for help, but the logical part of me knows that's not how depression works. Depression doesn't care how much you love your family and friends, or how much they love you, it's chemical and requires help. I constantly find myself thinking one thing, and then correcting myself right after that. I wish he hadn't chosen to leave us all, but maybe finding his love of running gave him time he wouldn't normally have had. Maybe I would never have met him and been lucky enough to have known him. Regardless of his leaving too soon, he found his true passion and lived it to the fullest, something that many people don't experience, even if they live to be 100. There are times I want to get mad at him for doing what he did, but I can't be mad when I think of the pain he must have been going through. He left me a song, and I'll never be able to talk to him again, but I would never take back knowing him for an instant, even for as sad as I still am. The pandemic takes victims who don't have the virus, and often they aren't counted when they need to be. I am thankful to know some of Conor's friends and family, and they are wonderful people. My heart goes out to them during this time.

Besides dragging myself to the track like a zombie, and even having a mini melt down and leaving one day right before a race, I haven't had much desire to do anything else. Sometimes I go for walks around the neighborhood; I listen to the birds and give the flowers, rabbits and bugs a closer look. Sometimes quiet is good when you're trying to make sense of your own thoughts. Ultimately, I know Conor would be encouraging his friends and family to be their best and try their hardest, so to honor Conor's life and memory, and to make him proud, I am going to try my best to do just that. I'm going to try hard for him to get my motivation and happiness back, starting with a race this weekend. I had the best intentions of racing tonight but I just can’t. I'm not quite there yet, but I have to start somewhere. Conor, thank you for your friendship, your time, your encouragement and for giving me confidence. You touched so many lives and are sorely missed. I'll never forget you.

Conor Cusack
10/22/71 - 6/13/20

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

When One Door Closes...

Well, it's official. Wah wahhh. 😢 We got an email this morning from the Big Sur Foundation letting us know that the marathon is officially cancelled for 2020. While we're both super bummed, it's understandable considering all that has been going on lately. We do get 60% of our entry fee refunded though, which is SUPER cool on Big Sur's part, because they really don't have to refund us at all. We are also going to run it next year, given that all is good. The door might be closed on our marathon this year but that's okay, I'll keep running. 👍

About 5 minutes after receiving that news, the doorbell rang and it was FedEx! My BMX gate came in the mail! After checking the tracking yesterday, I learned that it cleared customs and made it into the U.S., but I was really surprised when it arrived today! I literally did a little happy dance at the door when I saw it! We got it set up and tested out in the house, and I can't wait to run some gates on it outside this weekend while everyone's in Oklahoma. I also got to have my first practice since January's national yesterday, so I'm really happy. I've been missing that track time. 💓

My gate all set up and ready to roll! 

1st practice of the year at Blue Springs BMX, 6/2/20. It was really nice to have a bit of normalcy again.

Me and my teammate C, he's super fast and will be giving his competition a run for their money!
Testing out my bike on the track for the 1st time. The "Easter Bunny" did good.

Playing around with gearing for the first time in a few years. The jury's still out but I'll keep this one on for a while.

I can't wait for my next practice this Friday!

That said, one door closes and a window opens. 😎😄

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Don't Be Silent

These last few days have been crazy. The peaceful protests at the plaza seem to have led to rioting and attempts at looting. We live about 3 miles away and been watching coverage live, and have also heard that cops were shooting the peaceful protesters with rubber bullets and tear gas. Trump shut down the White House and went into hiding, only to borrow someone's bible and pose in front of a church full of graffiti, some type of deranged marketing on his part. It's not the time for us to remain silent; with the injustices in the world our voices hold more weight together. I love the quote, "Be the change you wish to see in the world", and I want to live up to the idealism of that sentiment.

I've had a lot of extra time these last 4 days, since I'm currently healing up from an overuse injury to my knee (I plan to see how it feels after an hour of training tonight). It's healing up fine, and I've used my free time to think about how I can be the change I wish to see. Over the years, I believe my biggest fault in not affecting change is being too quiet. I was raised in a household that valued silence and not being too loud, and when given the opportunity to voice my opinion in the real world, I choked. Part of me was afraid that in voicing my own opinion I would be accused of not respecting others' opinions. Part of me was afraid of being verbally (or physically) attacked for doing so. Also, part of me was afraid that I would lose friends.

I've grown up a bit since then, and since that time I've realized that 1.) I am not disrespecting others by making my voice count, 2.) I'm not afraid to defend my voice; I don't control others actions but I can control my own reaction, and 3.) so what if I lose those so called friends?? I really don't want to pretend to be friends with someone who holds racist beliefs. Silence doesn't protect us.


On a side note, while I was an undergrad, someone in college who whispered an unsolicited racist comment in my ear in the voting line several years ago during the Obama election is now peppering her own Facebook with Black Lives Matter posts. I hope for her own sake she has truly changed her opinion and that it's real. When she made that comment to me it destroyed our friendship, but I do want to believe people can change. It was also later, on a different campus, that I learned to take a stand. During a lecture, a professor made a comment about "sounding black". I raised my hand, stood up in front of a diverse group of my peers, and challenged him, my voice shaky at first but becoming stronger. It was the first time I felt like I HAD a voice. The encouraging faces of my peers gave me support, but their silence also made me realize that I wasn't the only one who once equated silence with safety.

I like to focus on my training and my workouts because that is what de-stresses me and makes me feel like I'm doing something productive. It allows me to de-clutter my thoughts and to think about the world around me. Recently, and in a day or two when I am able to pick back up on those workouts, I want to channel those thoughts into how I can affect change. I want to truly understand the struggles the black community goes through on a daily basis. Understanding generalities isn't enough.


I recognize that I have white privilege, and while I try to gain insight, I don't truly know what it's like to live a life without that privilege. I don't know what it's like to walk in the shoes of a black American, or to worry about being racially profiled simply for walking down the street or cashing a check. Regardless, my eyes are open, and my eyes have been open for years. I've had white friends I've known over time make racist comments to me. Years into knowing them, they open their mouth and one dribbles out; they mistakenly assumed that since I'm white, I must hold those same beliefs. (If anyone wonders, I never remained friends with them after that.) I'm going to use my voice for good. I am NOT going to argue with any negative comments here or anywhere else on my social media, those will be blocked. I am, however, open to discussing and more fully understanding others experiences and lives.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Importance of Positive Self Talk

Let's talk about KINDNESS. 😀

How do you speak to others? Are you nice? Are you respectful? That's AWESOME! But don't stop there - how do you talk to YOURSELF? Are you being nice and respectful? The golden rule says to treat others as you would want to be treated, but are you treating yourself that way?

Sound familiar???

How we speak to others is important. However, how we speak about ourselves, weather that be in jest, in seriousness, or as an inner thought is equally as important. Growing up, I was guilty of this. I was insecure, perhaps made so by my feelings of social awkwardness. I was a tomboy who loved karate, jumping my bike, digging trails and being outside over listening to boy bands, trying on lipstick and talking about crushes. Honestly, I'd rather do all that stuff; it made me happy, and sitting inside gabbing about boys in boy bands made me want to puke. I didn't meet any other kick ass ladies who rode bikes or were into sports until years later, and my school was full of mean girls who just didn't get it. Eventually, I felt that if I could poke fun at myself before others could, that it would mean I was laughing WITH them and could avoid the feeling of being picked on.

I know, I know, WHO in their right mind would think this works? Because, well, it doesn't. DUH.

After years of this, those negative self-thoughts and talks formed a bad habit and did less to make me feel like I was part of a group, and more to create feelings of not being good enough. It made me feel as if the people around me were smarter, prettier, faster and better than me in a million ways. And standing up for myself? Pssh. Get outta here! Looking back on it now I realize that it was FAR from the truth, but at the time, practicing putting myself down so much helped spur on more and more thoughts about how I was too goofy, or had the wrong clothes, or made too many mistakes, or that I should be lucky to be in people's presence.

As I grew up, I became more confident. I began to learn that what I was doing was downright harmful. After all, we NEED to be our biggest supporters. I began to practice self love, and to think and talk positively about myself. It was tough at first, but was a bad habit that sorely needed breaking. Slowly, my confidence grew and that positive talk became permanent. I'm proud to say that the negative self thoughts and talk are out the window, left in the dust long ago.

How you think and talk about yourself is important, and has more ramifications than just harmless joking. The next time you find yourself wanting to put yourself down, stop. Make it a point to think about the many reasons you are AWESOME! Make a list if you need to. If there's one thing I learned, it's that being different is a good thing. It can be tough going through those stages where everyone wants to talk, act and dress the same, but in the end our differences are our strengths; they are what make you the beautiful person you are. The tricky part is that you won't fully realize that right up front. You just gotta believe. 😎😘


Thursday, May 21, 2020

Stir Crazy & Another Week of Quarantine

I hope you all are having a great week. Today is my Friday, and a much needed 4-day weekend is on the horizon, woohoo!!! Another week of quarantine has come and (almost) gone, and probably like you guys I find myself starting to go a little stir crazy. By a little I mean A LOT. I woke up a few days ago with this feeling, and I haven't been able to shake it. I miss racing, traveling, flying, hanging out with friends and getting to see my family safely.

USABMX announced two more nationals, but they would both require flying, and Y doesn't feel comfortable with going yet. I do respect that, and in a normal situation, he is my BIGGEST BMX enabler and supporter; we 💓💓💓 traveling to races and making fun memories together! I feel really frustrated just thinking about all the many nationals and Gold Cup races we had on our to do list this year, including Grands. Last year's job hunt and move made things so busy and hectic that nationals were off the table, so I am looking forward to getting back to it this year. In my head I feel like a toddler having a tantrum, stomping my feet and screaming, "I want my normal life back!!". If you feel the same, and you probably do, I totally understand you. 😐

Mini inner breakdown aside, I am really grateful for what we do have, and I've been loving the chats with my friends in Texas and California. Thank goodness for Google Hangouts, Zoom and the phone! I also ran into a friend from the track when I was out riding last weekend and we got to chat! To try and curb my feelings of restlessness, Y and I decided to have our own mini-adventure here. There are several lakes around the area, and weather permitting (it might rain this weekend), we are going to get out of our house, head to one of them, grab some food for a picnic and take in the beautiful view. One thing I miss since leaving Houston is the close proximity to the beach, so finding a body of water somewhere is something I'm very much looking forward to.

Longview Lake is where I ran my half-marathon, and seems like a fun possibility. They even have a little beach portion!
Running wise, our treadmill delivery has been pushed back to June 10th instead of this weekend, so just a bit longer to wait. I have been getting my miles in every other day, and cross-training on my off days. I'm not ready to get back into marathon training mode just yet, so I'm enjoying the lower mileage immensely. Giving my body a break has also been a good thing, and it's allowed me to really love each time I go out. After running two marathons in a row last year, I could feel the training burnout coming on, so the postponement of our marathon to November is something I'm very thankful for.

After distancing myself from a bit of toxicity a year ago, I've found myself slowly loving to run again. Side note - it's amazing how much somebody can take away from you, if you let them! Key words: if-you-let-them. If you love to do something, do it with all your heart and don't let anybody else dictate that. Recognize bad friends for who they are, and while no argument or big blowout is needed in the end, leave them by the wayside and keep doing you. That said, I am VERY excited to run Big Sur and to race BMX anywhere and everywhere! I would also love to try my hand at riding a pump track, and bunny hopping higher.

Friday, May 15, 2020

It's FRIDAY!! & New Additions

Happy Friday! For someone wfh it truly seems like this week has gone by SO fast, it's a little weird tbh, but I love it anyway. Besides a tough decision that had to be made this week and feeling super worn down from not getting enough sleep (that's officially been rectified) it's been a really great one.

This week USABMX announced that they are having a new national, called the Bounce Back National, that will be in Pryor, OK, which is only about 3 hours away from us. Oklahoma is one of the few states that is opening back up from the COVID-19 pandemic. For as much as I want to get back to racing, I think it's unfair to have a national when many places are still closed and most sports groups haven't even started their season yet, and to choose between a possible health threat or points. I’m happy for everyone going, but, until the next national opens up, I will continue to practice and train. I love BMX, and even though there will be FOMO, there will be other races.

Yuan has been super supportive like always, and he left it up to me weather we go or not. He knows how much I'll miss going, and suggested us live-streaming it and having a watch party with some micheladas, so that should be fun. I do want to point out that being cautious over a pandemic that we have never had to deal with before does NOT make anyone silly, stupid or scared. It also does not mean that I love racing less than someone who chooses to go.

I really really can't wait to feel safe again around groups of people. I also can't wait 'till it's safe to hug my mom again. 2020 really threw us all for a loop on that!

I can't wait to get back to our regular racing schedule!

Moving on now...😀

We do have a few fun things arriving to help with training, which I am over the moon excited about! Yuan loved running on the gym's treadmills, but with them being closed, and the thought of not having to pay for a gym membership ever again, or drive there and try to find parking, we made the choice to get our own. I'm so excited to be able to run regardless of the weather outside, and Yuan prefers running inside, since he's super allergic to mosquitoes, so after a lot of careful consideration and back-and-forths, we decided that this will be one piece of equipment that will get used a lot. Also, with the Woodway treadmill running classes in Houston and KC closing their doors permanently, and us having a spin bike with unlimited classes upstairs, etc., I decided to cancel my Class Pass. We sold the couch in our den yesterday, after having it posted for less than 4 minutes (Facebook Marketplace is the bomb!), and now have a nearly empty room for a brand new treadmill that will be arriving in a few weeks!

Cold, rainy weather is no match for this! lol

And now on to our second big addition...

When I raced on the Factory Gold's Gym Team, our Gold's gym in north Houston had an indoor BMX section with a 4 man practice gate and timer. I used to love training on that with my teammates when I could make the hour long trek, which wasn't too often, but now that I've moved halfway across the country, they only way I can practice my gate is going to the track. Normally this would be fine, but one of the drawbacks to living in the mid-west are the achingly long winters. Snow, ice, and below-freezing temps keep a track closed for months. Here, we are lucky to race 6 mos. out of the year besides traveling for nationals, and with the Corona-virus helping things out, I haven't been able to be on a track since Las Vegas in January (and before that it was November). So, to help with gate practice, I took the plunge and have a portable starting gate arriving sometime next month! I absolutely can't wait to practice on it. This is something I've wanted for years, and I'm so happy now to have the opportunity to practice and get better on gates when our tracks are closed.

It feels like Christmas came early!! 💓
(this isn't me, but this is what the gate looks like)

Indoors, I've got a few new projects stirring in the pot as well, and am excited to start them today and this weekend and see how they turn out. I'll be posting about them when they're done, but am not in a huge hurry on finishing up, as I want to keep my attention on the details and really do a good job.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Hedgehog Socks & Getting Off Social

Happy Monday from my house to yours! As I type away I'm sitting here in my hedgehog jogging (hedge-jog-haha!) socks and a comfy sweatshirt, marveling at the Midwest spring and how temperamental it can be. We just had a weekend that was sunny and 70, and today is cloudy and 50. In Houston the temps just go up. This weather, and the many bunnies everywhere still blow my mind. Don't get me wrong though, KC Springtime is picturesque!

The fountain by the Plaza. So gorgeous this time of year!
Spring time continues, still travel and race free, but I'm determined to take advantage of this time and use it for the best. Each day, Y works in his office upstairs and I work downstairs from the dining room. I'm right next to the den so my bmx bike in its shiny black stand is my co-worker. All in all, it's not a bad set up. Mother's Day was yesterday, so I'm a bit down because I haven't been able to go back to Texas since I moved last Summer. We were planning on it but then the pandemic happened. To keep my sanity these days I've decided that along with unfriending and snoozing some people on Facebook, I just try to stay off of it for the most part. The BMX neck of the woods has become a divided mixture of those who, like myself, want nothing better than to race but understand how much of a threat this virus is, and factory dads who don't even ride, but love nothing more than to scream about the unfairness of it all and flex online, and I for one have had about enough. I'm sure social media is like this for many communities, and stepping out of it instead of letting yourself become entangled in time-wasting arguments feels like the better choice. I turn it off, go outside, ride, and just have fun.


Lately I've been getting lots of emails touting virtual races, and while I understand that these companies are trying to make money in uncertain times, I've never been much of a fan of the virtual race. It's fine if others like them, but besides a few exceptions, most haven’t been for me. However, in the wake of the pandemic, a virtual race can also be a great way to feel that normalcy again and get motivated to work towards a goal! Maybe I will try one again someday!


While none of us know how long it's going to be before this pandemic is a memory in the rear view, let's make the most out of what we are given with our time. For the first time in awhile, I have been getting out to run and really enjoying some speed-work. I don't mind training for nothing, because my favorite part of running isn't the races, it's just running. I love the cathartic factor, and it lets me think through all of my plans, worries, and emotions.

I still hope 'rona goes away sooner rather than later, and hope you guys are all doing okay. 'Till next time! 💓💓

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Quarantine Continues and Marathon Update

Well, life continues in our new normal in KC; these days, the weather is more beautiful than not, the birds are chirping and so many more bunnies are out and about in the backyard. I'm still loving my new routines during the day, including our spin bike classes and being able to work from home, which I feel very lucky to be able to do. Yuan's cooking blows me away everyday with each new meal he creates, and eating out has gone from a necessity, to something to do only for a special occasion, and I love that. Google hangouts and Zoom meetings have become the new social-normal, and doing those most weeks at least makes me feel a LITTLE bit more social.

Last weekend we decided to get some Tex Mex take out from a place called Margarita's, and it was so delicious! I think we've found our new go-to for Tex Mex in the KC area. Our micheladas were so-so, and I will definitely be ordering more Belizian mix, since that has been the BEST michelada I've ever had (thanks, Matt & Hanni for that one!). Unfortunately, Matt & Hanni's destination Germany wedding/Oktoberfest had to be pushed back a year, but that gives me more time to save anyway. I normally HATE going to weddings, but they are two awesome people, so I'm sure it will be amazing.

Margarita's near downtown KC (source)

A week or two ago, we received an email from the Big Sur race organizers. We were given the option to run it this November or receive 60% off a guaranteed entrance to either 2021 or 2022. We decided to run it this November, which works much better training-wise for the Midwest. I don't think either of us are a fan of having to run outside in negative, or close to negative, degree weather. 30's is about the lowest this girl likes to go, and even that is stretching it lol!

We can't wait to be back on the west coast! (source)
Along with the quarantine comes the great blog hunt! LOL. I LOVE reading others' blogs, and recently I've been trying to find some new ones. Like movies or books, there are some blogs I just can't get into no matter how hard I try, especially blogs written by runners who either don't work or work part time. While I still like them and reading about their day, they're harder for me to identify with. Their wide open schedules to run and workout during the day aren't the same as needing to fit in runs during a 40 hour plus workweek, and constant plugging of products sent to them from companies show me more of what I don't need. I have enough I want to buy, thank you very much. 😋 The hunt for new and exciting blogs to read is on, so if anyone had a suggestion I would love it! 😍😊

I hope you all are doing alright, and that you all are having a good week. 💙💚💛💜

Monday, April 20, 2020

Quarantined in KC

Happy Monday everyone! We are officially on our...what?...like, 4th week (maybe) of quarantine. I hope you all are doing okay. I know this is affecting everyone differently, and everyone has different circumstances, but if we keep this up, and keep being mindful, hopefully we can squash this thing and prevent some needless hospitalizations and possible deaths.

Since my job can be 99% remote, I, and the rest of my coworkers, have been working from home, and enjoying a Zoom meeting here or there. I always wondered what working from home might entail. Would I love it at first but get bored? Would I hate it? Would I never get any work done? My adult-life-long question has finally been force-answered thanks to COVID-19. I discovered that I LOVE working from home. Not being able to travel to hang out with friends is a bummer, but the simple act of sitting in front of my computer from a home office has been delightful. When this is over, which it will be, I fully plan on asking my boss for permission to work from home one or two days a week. I find that I can concentrate more fully and get more work done. Also, who doesn't like the (WAY) more relaxed dress code at Casa Trabajo?!?!

Social media is something I have been limiting these days. I'm still on it a lot, and I enjoy talking to my friends and family. One thing I've noticed, especially with the stress and fear the Coronavirus can bring on, is that so many people want to use their social media as an outlet for their every thought. False information begins floating around. People who could barely pass science in high school are suddenly internet doctors and accomplished researchers, estimating for us all how long we will be staying at home. There's a very selfish mentality out there; the sentiment of "I'm not personally affected by this virus, nor are my family or friends, so let me get back to my life, this is all BS" is strewn around social media like hay in a barn. I have never had any tolerance for stupidity, and with each new refresh and scroll down my social feed, my feelings on this grow stronger by the day. That said, I prefer to stay off social sometimes, because there's also a lot of good happening in the world and I don't want to be jaded by some ignoramus who can't stop complaining that their kid's not on the track. I get it, Karen. Sheesh already.

On the other hand, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Prime video and Plex have become my besties. I can sit down after a long tiring day, and completely immerse myself in the problems of the Byrd family in the Ozarks, or watch Claire Saffitz make skittles from scratch on her Gourmet Makes show through the Bon Appetit channel on Netflix. Finding new shows has always been easy, but my willingness to give them a shot versus scrolling on by has had a large uptake. I have been loving trying new shows, as well as re-watching old ones.

Check out Claire's creations HERE
Running-wise, my subdivision will have to do. The parks around here have been known to be crowded, so I have been getting my mileage done on the peaceful streets around my own home. The good that's come out of this is that I am finally taking the time to explore my own surroundings, instead of traveling half an hour or more for a running trail, and it's been really nice! There aren't many people out and about here on a daily basis, and if has been affording me the opportunity to get outside on these mostly amazing spring days and take in the beauty that is my own backyard. I am looking forward to getting in my higher mileage in the parks, but until then this has been a nice alternative.
This is a picture of downtown in my city before COVID-19, a few blocks from our place. (Obviously, since there are cars everywhere). Source
So far I've learned that taking an adapt-or-die approach and keeping a positive and hopeful outlook has helped me tremendously. As I, like so many of us, learn to adapt to our new 2020 realities, there are some things I want to hold tightly to when we all get back to our regularly scheduled lives. One of those things is cooking at home more. We have always cooked at home, but have been cooking at home 99% versus the 80% we were before, and it's been so much healthier and felt more rewarding. I also want to bring with me the renewed value of the little things and attention to detail I've developed, most likely in an attempt to not be bored. My bike had never been cleaner, my clothes are put away right after folding, and the kitchen is spic and span.

I hope you are all having a good week so far. Until next time!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

My New Ride

Just in time for spring and Easter, I got my new bike together! It's light gray, pink, white and oil slick, and I'll be bunny hopping all over on my "Easter Bunny". Yes, I named my bike. 💓😀 The other day, Jon Van Pelt with BMX Custom Builds featured it on his Facebook page, along with photos and specs, and I'll be sharing it here as well.

Also, a really BIG thank you to John Williams, who built my bike from the ground up and to Brent Sterriker with Striker Wheels out of Austin, TX for building my wheel set. This is by far my favorite wheel set I have ever owned, and I couldn't be happier to get to use this on another build.

With all the bunnies hopping about our yard recently, this seemed like the perfect photo!

Okay, let's get to the deets: 

  • SSquared CEO V2 Pro XL 
  • Answer Dagger forks
  • TNT oil slick finish hubs with oil slick themed spokes laced to Sun Ringle hoops by Striker Wheels
  • Shimano DXR cranks
  • Supercross pro stem
  • Elevn bars
  • Box braks
  • Answer brake cable
  • Vans grips
  • Tangent seatpost
  • Stay Strong seat
  • Box seat post clamp
  • Chris King headset
  • carbon spacers
  • Power Block tires
  • Shimano DXR pedals
....here are some pictures of the Easter Bunny 😎💪 heehee! 

I hope you enjoyed checking out my new ride. I've been loving it lately and will be having lots of fun on it! If you have a custom build, let me know and I'd love to check yours out as well. 😀

Monday, March 30, 2020

First Weeks of Spring

Happy springtime! 

I know with the Coronavirus running rampant, it’s not the spring I was envisioning in my head all winter (and I'm sure you weren't either), but I am determined to find joy in our newly warmer weather. By now I believe the BMX tracks in the Midwest would be opening and welcoming riders onto the track, but with the pandemic, the tracks are closed except for a few riders around the country I’ve seen on Facebook. The parks here (and from what I can gather, Houston, too) seem to be having the opposite problem, with too many people packed in and not enough social distancing. I want this over as quickly as possible, so I am doing my best to stay away from the parks, opting instead to run around my subdivision for a few miles almost every day. While my first winter in the Midwest was not very fun, my first Spring here is turning out to be amazing.

Recently, a friend and teammate helped me put together my new ride for the year, and I’m really liking it. It originally had a BRIGHT neon pink and black color scheme, and I quickly realized that I’m not into that much flash, so after a few days of consideration I took the stickers all off and am opting instead for a little tamer color combo - still pink but a touch lighter. Hopefully my new sticker pack arrives soon; I’m so excited to put them on and take some photos.

Another thing that has popped up with a stay at home order is more use of Facebook. Even though I like to use it to keep in touch with far away family and friends, I will admit that I’m not really a fan of Facebook in general. It’s a time suck, so many pages dedicated to hobbies seem like a pissing contest and a place for people to talk crap, all the while professing their intense dislike of drama, and most days you can’t scroll down your feed without something divisively political (and nowhere near educated) jumping out. Because of this I’ve been staying off Facebook as much as I can, snoozing certain pages, and doing projects around the house after work instead. I’ve got a few fun projects lined up, so hopefully soon I can start.

I hope you guys are all doing okay, I know that social distancing is harder on some than others, but stay strong, because we will all get through this. The faster we all properly social distance and stay at home, the faster we can get back to our regularly scheduled programs, lol! I don’t know about you guys, but I am looking forward to seeing my family, friends and coworkers again, as well as going to races.

Much love!

Friday, March 13, 2020

Big Sur Update and the Coronavirus

Well, our marathon is officially postponed. 

Today the race coordinators of Big Sur posted on their website that the Big Sur Marathon will be postponed (with more details to follow). With everything going on with the Coronavirus, I'm SO glad it just wasn't cancelled. This is the best situation possible at the moment!

Our BMX national, the Spring Nationals in Albuquerque, NM has also been postponed. I am beyond grateful to the USABMX and the Big Sur organizers for making the tough but safe choice, and despite our fears and a super rocky start to 2020, I'm looking forward to a fun Summer of BMX and running. After all, besides taking preventative measures and avoiding crowds (and perhaps NOT mean buying up all the toilet paper and water around), what else can we do? This is very scary, but I won't live my life out of fear. I also won't be flying or going anywhere crowded until it's under control. 

Saturday long run with my awesome run club is also off, not because of Coronavirus, but because of my toe. Two days ago I hit my little toe on something in the house while I was switching out some laundry in the evening, and it's swollen and black and blue. I'm not sure if it's broken but it will definitely be a few days of not being in any shoe other than my Uggs. Hopefully it heals up soon. My coworker told me to tape it, but I don't know anything about that so it's something to look into. 

Also, for the first time in what I can remember, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was cancelled. It makes sense though. There will always be people complaining about missed concerts, and not that it matters at all, but you can't please everyone, and I'm sure that's not the CDC's main concern. I'm glad measures are being taken. And for the first time in...well, ever, Starbucks doesn't have the world's longest line in the mornings. It seems most people are taking this virus seriously, and everywhere I go there seems to be a sort of nervous energy in the air.

The situation isn't ideal, but all we can do is try to keep ourselves healthy and wait it out. The St. Patrick's Day party at our friend's house this weekend will also most likely be marked off the schedule as well, super bummer. I know there are some who are trying their best to continue to go out, etc., like everything is fine, but this is something I'm willing to be proven wrong about later. Everyone stay safe! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

And With That, No More Marathon

A few weeks more to go till Big Sur and yet another curve ball came our way.

With concerns over the Coronavirus, as well as non-essential plane travel being discouraged by just about everyone, it is with an extremely heavy heart that Yuan and I have decided to pull out of the Big Sur International Marathon this year. Currently, the marathon itself is still a go, even though 40+ entrants are from outside the country and most likely can't go either.

To be honest, I'm really bummed that there is still a huge push from the race promoters to continue on with it; it feels like a slap in the face to all the organizations, companies and others who are willingly limiting their own travel in favor of their own sense of social responsibility. I'm also feeling a ton of FOMO, but we are planning on running this race again in a year or two. I love the Big Sur Marathon, and I'm really beside myself right now, especially after fighting through the winter blues, ice and treadmill time to get those miles in.

Regardless, Yuan and I don't feel like going would be a good idea at this point, especially since we would need to fly into northern California, where new cases are still popping up. I have been looking forward to this race for an entire year, but it's not worth possibly exposing ourselves to this virus and bringing more than a medal back home with us.

I'm not gonna lie, I will probably be crying my eyes out on race day, but for now I'm going to stay strong, keep running, and remind myself that there will be another Big Sur Marathon in our future in a year or two.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Slowly Inching Toward My Goal...Slow is Objective...Right?

Well, here we are almost 2 months out from marathon race day, and HELLO from the once freezing arctic circle making up the entirety of the bible belt! (Insert any song from Frozen here.) 😋 The last few weeks have been above freezing, and I never thought I'd get to the oddly strange point of bragging that we have a "heat wave" at 45-50 degrees. You all will think I'm out of my mind by saying that- 50% of the "no duh, it's February!" variety, and the other 50% not wrapping your minds around a winter of much below 50 degrees. I get you. I was the latter for the most part, until this year. But enough of my mind-blowing and repetitive "actual" cold weather lament. In other super exciting semi-worthy news...

Race day seems to be creeping up with the ferocity of a hardcore caffeine lover in the Starbucks drive thru on a Monday morning. In less than 2 months I'll be on a plane to Silicon Valley with Yuan, making the short drive down to Big Sur to run 26.2 miles (mostly uphill) until I cry (and keep running, because this race is majorly timed). I've managed to keep my newly discovered (re-discovered?) positivity, and am working on building on that, living in the moment and embracing the uncomfortable aspects of distance running pain versus distraction from it. I also discovered that (thanks to my boyfriend) wireless headphones, a full battery and a good podcast have become my new best friend, and I fully intend on sharing some of those favorites here when I can build up a pretty decent list. I also plan on sharing a Monday(ish) weekly training re-cap, especially since I'm actually getting some decent mileage back in my legs these days.

THIS marathon! (source)
So far I've been able to get a few longer runs in at the park, ranging from 8-10 miles and I'm super happy about that, especially since the park is hilly. I do realize that treadmills have elevation options, and while I use them I truly believe you can't beat the surprise of a good old fashioned hill, especially toward the end of a run when I have a hard time bringing my finger to hover over, and actually press, a higher elevation number on the 'mill. Plus, running outside gets me mini-adventures, such as seeing the coolest white-tailed deer up close and so much else; it keeps those long runs new and ever-changing. Yay for mini-adventures!

Having a mini-adventure last week. Life hack: 
The hand on hip pose can help convey sass and a laid back attitude while in actuality you're gasping for air. 
Remember that one.😎 
Inside, the Woodway is my very best friend, and the way that thick tire-rubber type belt feels underfoot is unparalleled, especially compared to other treadmills. The Woodway puts a pep in my step like no other. When KC Endurance closes for good on March 20th I will be one sad, sad girl, but until then I'm enjoying every moment and living my post college loan-paying version of bon vivance (a.k.a. best life) on what I would NEVER dare call a DREAD-mill. 🙊

I hope you guys are having a good week so far. We are looking forward to some visitors over the weekend, so I'm over the moon about that. I also got about 6 hours of sleep the other day, so I'm happy-tired, my eyes are burning and the matcha-green-tea-super-fancy-latte (with coconut milk) I desperately grabbed after a work meeting at the local Starbucks won't even work. Also, apparently the Starbucks had a scary run-in with a mad customer that almost escalated into them calling the police; this was right before I pulled into the drive thru line, so they were understandably shaken up. If you've ever worked any kind of retail you get how badly some people will act in public. I felt horrible for them.

Tonight's training plan calls for 3-4 easy miles tonight and that's what it's getting, along with a newly burning desire to go to bed at 9 p.m. Who would've thought that would be harder than the mileage?!

We all know this logic.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Well, That De-Escalated Quickly!

For me, as well as many others, the weather can take a direct toll on our emotions. Despite my steely resolve to remain the happiest person on the trails, a consistently harsh, bitter midwestern cold coupled with thoughts of an impending marathon coming up WAY too fast had me freaking the heck out, to be honest. For a little while I was considering dropping down to the half, but having some truly good friends in my corner who selflessly and kindly encouraged me to keep going kept me from doing that. I'm beyond glad to have them in my corner. HAPPY HAPPY BITHDAY to Tiffany b.t.w.! If you're reading this I hope you're having an amazing time in Hawaii. Miss you girl.

Also, the sun came out.

Last weekend the heat rose to a blessed 60 degrees (after so many months of 20 it felt like the world was on a nice, fiery sizzle- and I was LOVING it), so I hightailed it out the door as fast as I could and ran 10 of the most introspective miles I've had in a long time. I knew that on Monday it was going to be close to 70, so I took off a half day at work, went to the park and ran an additional 8 miles on sore legs while listening to one of my favorite podcasts- and it hurt SO good! Those two days of beach-like respite were what I desperately needed to really get it in my head that I could run this marathon. Big Sur, you heard me! I'm coming for you. And your long uneven roads, too....(insert witch cackle here)!

Out there on the trail, I concentrated with the moment, really being present, being there during every jagged breath, every ache, every drop of sweat. I wasn't wishing I was somewhere else or thinking of anything in the future, I was just...there. I wholly decided to work with what I could control, and work around what I couldn't. Having that perspective changed those runs in a way I wouldn't have thought possible just a month ago. For the first time in a long time I was enjoying myself! I wasn't using internal negative talk to put myself down every chance I got. My "you SHOULD be doing.." thoughts transformed into "you GET to do this". Not only did I do myself a favor (this world's tough- we don't need to be tough on ourselves too!), but I even had stretches where I ran faster or longer than I thought I could.

Getting back in shape is challenging, but it's part of the cycle, since rest periods need to be taken. It's back down in the 20's today, feeling like 5 degrees, and my boyfriend and I are SO lucky that we have a studio right now with top of the line treadmills to run on. That means 4 miles tonight! I'm starting to feel okay about slow and steady progress, and I am truly enjoying the process. I'm beyond tired though; 7 hours of sleep a night just doesn't cut it anymore...or really ever for me, lol. Time to adjust and go to bed earlier.

Looking forward to another weekend of warmth (and dreaming of Summer)! Fingers crossed!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Impending Marathon Freak Out Time

I'm officially feeling it - marathon freak out, in ALL its glory. It's gotten slowly better, but still, ugh. As the days and weeks count down to Big Sur, a.k.a. the hardest race I've ever done, and I'm forced to skip yet another long run Sunday due to staying out late at night to make others happy and be a good friend (I know, it was my own decision, and I won't do it again). We had a wedding to go to on Saturday, and one of Yuan's friends flew in from out of state for it. It was so awesome to get to see her, so when it came time to leave the venue for a warm living room, and she wanted to stay out later, I thought that it wouldn't be so nice to say no and go home, so we all walked from the venue downtown to a karaoke bar to hang out and watch the actors from a play that just let out sing a little. It was nice and chill, until we were presented with shots. After declining the first and second shots and not wanting to decline a third, Yuan and I got our Uber and made it back to the house in record time. 

Staying out late was a good change, but it's really not for me the majority of the time. I'm a get to bed early so I can run on Sunday, or just generally function like a non-vampire, type of gal. When we got home I started internally freaking out about all of the training challenges this winter, and started seriously thinking about going down to the half, even to the point of laying in bed staring at the ceiling for an hour. A bit later I ended up messaging my friend Connor, and he gave me the positive encouragement I needed, along with a similar race for him. In the end I felt a lot better about still trying to run this marathon, even though I don't think the stress of it will go away until I'm over that finish line in under 6 hours. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Goals & (Positive) Reinforcement

What's more happy than this cute little dog running across a field??
The other day I took a running class at my absolute FAVORITE place, KC Endurance. Since the weather was pretty cold and it was the last class of the day, I was the only one there (well, besides the instructor)! Class went well, and I got to chat with her a little after too. I told her about how my love of running slowly has gone downhill, and not in a good way.

A little background on my running: In the beginning I had something like a 14 minute mile. I was slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter, but I was SO happy and encouraged. Every time I got to go run was a time that I could smile big and forget about all of the stressors of my new post-college life, brush that dirt right off my shoulder and go. I even made a wonderful friend who ran my first half marathon with me, and I was so very thankful (and still am) to have that friendship. A year later, enter a new, one-upping, overly competitive friend who had to have what I had, plus some. That slowly wears away at anyone, especially when it isn't especially overt at the time. The next year, in an attempt to propel my post-college career forward and get some better experience,  I moved to a new city I wasn't jazzed about and took a job in what turned out to be a highly toxic culture. Sometimes even running can't de-stress me THAT much, lol! Now, with learning what a real winter is and having had some not too positive comments lately, I'm losing my love of what once saved me from everything. I'm extra hard on myself too, and that kind of self negativity will NEVER garner a positive response, amirite??

After hearing my issue, my instructor gave me some of the BEST advice. She told me to go easier on myself, and just have fun with it, no matter what minute mile I'm currently at. She suggested that I go for outdoor runs without my watch. No phone, no watch, just go run and take everything in, and this blew my mind. It's not like I've never heard of that before, but so much emphasis in the running world if placed on data and metrics that I never see anything remotely to the essence of, "Today, I went running. I don't know my exact mileage, elevation, heartrate or mile time, but I had FUN!". Well, when it's warm enough for this ex-Texan to go run outside, I'll be doing exactly that. No only will I be doing that, but I won't be giving myself a hard time for not being good enough. It's going to be tough, but I'm wiling to take it on. Until then, I'll be running on the Woodway tonight! ❤❤