Finding Balance

Lately, I have really been struggling with finding balance in life overall. The last few weeks, I have started to really feel overwhelmed and exhausted. I seem to always have something to do. I realized how exhausted I was, when I slept until 9am Sunday. I cannot tell you the last time I slept that late… 9 hours of sleep, and it was good, solid sleep. I was still tired all day and for the first time, did very little. I met a friend for yoga at 11, and it was exactly what my tired muscles and mind needed, then, relaxed most of the day other than laundry and grocery shopping. I was so exhausted, we went to dinner because I didn’t have the energy to cook. But, Monday morning, I felt refreshed, and had another good night’s sleep.
But the overwhelmed feeling, it seems to be a reoccurring struggle I have with life. Work is good and busy, and with my commute, encompasses 45 hours of my week. Then, running takes up a minimum of 5 hours a week (but I love this), then, cooking dinner, playing with dogs, cleaning/laundry, friends, house hunting, studying for my certification, etc… and before I know it, it is late at night, and I am tired with a long to do list I haven’t gotten to yet. I get it that some people have children, etc and make it work, but for me, I struggle (and seriously commend those that run families, work and play… you all amaze me!).
I am not going to divulge all the gory details, but there are many pans in the fire, so to speak, and goals that I am working towards. Some, although they seem daunting at the moment, are going to be better for me in the long run.  Mortgage vs rent will actually be cheaper, certifications for work will allow for more income, devoting time to exercise will improve my health. I know the benefits to all that I am doing, but finding the time and energy to do it all right now, is my struggle.
So, I decided I needed to get organized and prioritize. That’s the first step right? Why does strength training take a back seat? I don’t like it, so I don’t make it a priority. Back to the old, schedule it like an appointment trick…. Anyway… I went out and bought an organizing system. And honestly, for me, who is super organized, the signs that I wasn’t were huge red flags to me being overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my iPhone, but still struggle to go 100% digital. I am a scribbler. I have notes and post-its everywhere… when a thought comes to mind, I scribble it down. So, I needed to merge the work planner with the personal piles of notes. I literally had a work calendar, a personal calendar as a food journal, a notebook for ideas, notebook for to-do lists, a bazillion and one sticky notes. It was a mess. 
I bought the ARC by Staples set. I can customize, add and remove as needed (and it looked cool, it is GREEN!).
So, on a slow afternoon at work (my brain was tired from the Child Abuse Mandated Reporter training I was at all morning), I began to organize, and set everything up, and tabbed it all… and transferred all my stuff from many piles, to this one place! Please note that is the first and only time there will be a blank to-do list.

Next step, prioritize…. and for those that know me, I am a LIST girl.  LOVE lists!!! So, I am going to sit down this weekend and list what I currently have going, what I have as a plan, what is midway between a plan and occurring, and my wishes. Then, prioritize. From there… plan out everything, so I feel less crazy.  I will also be writing in ALL of my workouts (yes run coach ALL of them, promise!) so that I actually do them, not just say: I’ll work my core tomorrow.
I will also journal what I eat, so I can break my plateau and drop the last 15-20 lbs.
Your job in all this?  Keep me honest… I know this will be new and novel for the first few weeks/months, then after that?  Who knows… I fell in love with running, so maybe this will stick too. But keep on me, ask how it’s going, etc.  Thanks!!

Run Away with Cirque du Soleil 5k

I was pretty excited for this race, I had participated twice before, and remember this being a fun event, lots of performers from the Cirque events, just a good time. It was also my first race with my team, Ninja Endurance Racing. There were 11 of us there, and the support was amazing.  We walked the course ahead of time, to get an understanding of the layout and pacing. Although I was a week out from a half marathon, I was also hoping to go sub30 on this 5k, for the first time ever, despite the approximate 1,500 participants on an out and back course.
Our team DESTROYED this event. First place, second female overall, 4th overall, many placed in age groups, and two of us hit a PR. So much winning, we took home the Team Championship award! 
Isn’t is shiny?! 
I actually thought I started my GPS app, and realized at mile 1.5, it never started. I honestly think on this race, not knowing my pace was a blessing. Mile 2 is a slow steady incline. But, thanks to working with the team, I was prepared. For some reason, I was very thirsty on this run, and stopped at an aid station L.  However, not for long. I have been very tired lately, (I’ll blog this later) and didn’t feel like I was on point. I quick looked at the time on my phone, and was actually doing okay time and pace wise. When I was coming in to the finish and could finally see the clock… it read 28:44! I had 15 seconds to get to that finish line to sub29, I gave it ALL I HAD!  I finished in 28:54. Imagine how excited I was!!! I by the way, am still excited.  This accomplishment is huge. I saw my coach’s two children, and went to them, asking where she was, and they said, she went back out for you and Karen… turns out, she headed out for me, right after I crossed the finish line, so we never saw each other. I was so fast, she missed me, lol. My friend Karen, she PR’d as well. A good day indeed. We then got a team photo with the Cirque people:
Aren’t we a motley looking bunch!
Unfortunately, they had a few issues after that…. timing issues that they did straighten out, my chip didn’t initially register so they had no time for me at first, this was then corrected. And, for some reason, it took 2 hours to get to the awards portion. At that point, I was STARVING, so we headed to breakfast. YUM…. So, imagine our surprise when one of our leaders called to say we won the team award!  We didn’t know they had one, more of the group met us for breakfast so we could marvel at our award. 
Not the best organization, but a great team performance… and, I officially have a sub29 5k on the books!!  AMAZING!!!!!!!!

Learning to Say No!!

Actually, this is a combination of things… I tend to always say yes to things, then find myself feeling overwhelmed.  Seriously… I work a 40 hour a week job, volunteer doing social media so don’t have to actually show up anywhere regularly, and run/workout.  Yet, I feel scattered and my schedule feels overwhelmed.  I cannot imagine what I would be like if I had kids or other responsibilities.  I tend to always want to do more, add more, accomplish more.  Please note, that earlier this week I entertained the thought of a second job to have more money to play…. really?  Perhaps more money, but less time and I am sure, less energy.  See… I really do try to overdo it!
 I forget that self care is something that needs to be a priority.  I say yes to things because I don’t want to let people down.  I say yes because, I am a control freak and don’t want to worry about having to redo something later if someone else didn’t do it right.  How on earth does one limit their schedule?!  
I think part of my problem is that after I immediately say yes to things, and then rethink them… and decide to not participate, attend, etc… I am guilt ridden for not doing something.  I feel like I am letting others down by changing my mind or choosing to not do something.  And that, is a very unfamiliar feeling for me.
Seriously… I have no idea what to do here.  My schedule doesn’t look insane, yet, it feels that way some days.  Does anyone else have this loss of control feeling?  I catch myself often saying yes to things (don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them) and then rearranging the plans I had, and feeling like things I wanted to do didn’t get done.  Hmm….. 
I have been getting better at taking time to think things through before agreeing to them.  Most of the time.  I look over my schedule and determine if

  1. I want to do this or feel like I should
  2. Have time to do this
  3. Will it make other things already in the schedule difficult to accomplish
  4. Cost

I included cost, because, lets be honest, that plays a part in things.  There are some things I would love to do, but realize that it will mess up my budget.  And, my husband and I are looking to buy a house this year, so we are saving a lot more and streamlining our expenses.  

In looking at this… it appears I DO have a plan…. I just need to stick with it!!  I know many of you out there are masters at saying no…. share your secrets?

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Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam Half Marathon

I had decided to do this one because it sounded like a good time, and I was promised a mug at the end (this turned into a water bottle, but, that is okay).  Overall, Spring had sprung all over Vegas, warm sunny weather… this would be perfect.  Then, as race day approached, the weather changed.  They were now calling for cloudy, chance of showers and 15-20 mph winds.  Yippee.  Cold, windy, and running a dirt trail near a cliff.  Perfect.
Thankfully, my coach has run this course and prepared me.  I shared my tips with two fellow runners I knew that were doing the half with me.  So, I showed up to this race ready to rock it.  It had a special meaning to me and my coach.  For me, I needed to prove that finishing Tinkerbell wasn’t a fluke, that I was a solid runner with potential.  There would be much less fanfare, only a couple people I knew to cheer me on… this was it.  To me, my true test.  For my coach, the race is one she was set to do last year, until her beloved pup Ladybug passed away the day before.  She did the 5k instead.  She was hoping to run this half marathon for Ladybug this year.  Then she realized it was scheduled for the same day as the LA Full Marathon she signed up for.  As a friend, and fellow lover of dogs… on a weekly run with her, I said, if you are okay with it, I would love to run Six Tunnels with Ladybug.  I know that bond you get with a dog, I have that, and I have lost a special dog and know that hurt… to me, it was a simple thing to offer… to her, it meant so much.  She gave Ladybug specific instructions on running with me… and gave me a ladybug patch and one of her balls (every race this past year she has a pic of her and Ladybug’s ball).  The day before the race I got the patch on my shirt, and prepared myself. 
I had followed her plan on carb loading, hydro loading and electrolyte loading.  As predicted, I felt like a water balloon that morning! Myself, a fellow runner and friend Tim ( and a co-worker were set to do the half-marathon.  So at 8:00 am, cold and wind aside, I set off…. The first 3 miles were uphill slowly, then, a nice 3 miles downhill… whew.  Then, I knew the tunnels part was coming, dirt trails and high winds… not so fun.  I was prepared with my bandana to cover my face when the dirt blew and for running through the tunnels.  What I wasn’t prepared for was not seeing all of or having the mile marker signs disappear.  Going through tunnels in a canyon made the GPS worthless. It told me I ran 26 miles, um, no; especially not in 2 hours and 20 minutes.  So, at some point I started to get frustrated.  It was sometime after seeing 6 miles to go, and before seeing the 3 miles to go sign.  I had just slayed the dragon on the two really steep hills I was warned about, but was unsure of what my pace was or how much further I had to go… it wasn’t pretty in my head at that moment.  Ladybug knew it.  I could feel her there, nudging me along, keeping me company.  Actually, right before I hit those hills I had a conversation in my head with Tracy: it went a little like this: ME: ‘F%$k did you see those hills?  No way, the wind is killer, I am not sure how far I have gone, no way, those hills are happening’ HER: ‘Um, yeah… double mastectomy, chemo coming up soon… suck it up whiner, it’s just a hill, climb it, and keep going.  You’re going to let that hill conquer you?  Please.  Just run.’ ME: ok, ok… good point.  I can do this… and I do need to stop whining’ then, I ran the hills, made it to the top, and started back through the tunnels.  Then, I saw the sign, 3 miles to go.  I was at about 1:45-1:50 at that point.  I knew unless I took a drastic dip in pace, I was on point.  Then, I saw 2 miles to go, with having been out there almost 2 hours… I knew I was going to PR this race, and that the rest was down hill.  I took one last walk break to regain my strength physically and mentally. I asked Ladybug to bring me Athena (my dog I lost) and I felt them both there, one on each side, as I ran that last mile in.  I suddenly felt great, beyond great… and was smiling when I saw Kristin right before the finish line and I was still smiling as I crossed the finish line.  I didn’t even see the timing clock there at the finish line… I just met up with Kristin, got some water and oranges…. and stretched out.  According to my app I ran it in 2:22:38, a PR for me, since I did Tink in 2:33:11.  I was ecstatic!  Official chip time was 2:21:35.  Even better!!
We climbed the trail back out of the canyon to the car and before we headed to breakfast, took a pic of me with Ladybug’s ball.  I text it to my coach and friend and said, she’s all warmed up and ready to go for your marathon tomorrow.  She was amazing, thank you!  
Next up: Rockin’ Rabbit Half Marathon in April.  Part of it is on the same trails I was just running on.  Now I am better prepared and ready to conquer that one! 
A special shout out to the coach/friend: Charlene R, she completed her first full marathon, at age 50, in 4:46:51.  She could have finished sooner, but as the truly wonderful and caring person she is, stopped to help an injured runner and made sure the people at the medic tent got to the runner.  What an amazing accomplishment, I am SO proud! Here is her race report:


I should give up caffeine, it actually hurt to type this one.  More coffee than caffeine, but, I think this needs to happen.  The problem here?  I think I love coffee almost as much as I do shoes.  That and I am 100% addicted.  I get headaches when I don’t have coffee, cannot focus, and well, easily lose patience with everything… a not nice Ange comes out to play.  (and yes, I think decaf coffee is a joke) The other concern: my husband drinks about a pot a day.  However, he has several habits I no longer have… and we work well together.  I love even the smell of coffee…. I also don’t like black teas… green tea yes, herbal tea, yes.  Could I transition myself to an occasional tea drinker?  And, like a true addict I am thinking… what else can I replace that morning cup of joe with?  I enjoy that first sip, the lazy weekend morning with a cup of coffee and the dogs…. what will I do without the coffee?  Well, I am sure I can figure it out.  The dogs will still be there and want to snuggle.  But, coffee should be phased out.  As much as I deny this, I am getting older, and taking care of my body is important to me now.  Research goes all over the place on the benefits and/or dangers of caffeine, so I am not even falling back on that…. But, more I am looking at all the other things I have given up that weren’t great for my body.  And, honestly, do I need the coffee?  Maybe I am still not convinced on giving this one up yet…. this may take time, and input from all of you.  But what I will do is cut one cup a day out for the next 2 weeks, then another… until I am at ONE cup of coffee a day, and from there, transition down to occasional. And, then I realized something…. on mornings I get up early to run, I don’t drink coffee before the run.  My thinking here is, the less awake my body is when I start out on a long run, super early, the better… it cannot revolt for me having it up and moving so early.  Anyway, those days…. I have maybe one cup of coffee the entire day.  My body is awake and my energy levels are sky high all day, because I ran…. so, that could be a solution.  But, I cannot run every day, and do not want to fill the void with my running addiction…. hmm.  

Anyone out there given up coffee?  How did you do it?  Thoughts, suggestions?  Any way I can prepare my loved ones for the caffeine withdrawals?

I will post the race report from Saturday’s half marathon tomorrow… and then, finally, the last habit: Not Saying No! So stay tuned!! 

Skipping Cross-Training and Weights:

      This doesn’t even need a long explanation.  It’s pretty self explanatory.  It’s a simple, well duh.  But, it is the one thing I have to really force myself to do.  Which is silly because as a runner, it will help me improve my times, endurance, etc. even if I only workout twice a week.  Yet, unless it’s a yoga class, it is the ONE thing I need to force myself to do.  I have done it, last year it helped me lost a lot of weight.  I have tons of equipment at home, workout plans, etc… but I just don’t like it, any of it, despite the benefits.  A prime example, the other day should have been strength training day, then, my schedule got hectic.  Dogs had to go get their Bordatella vaccine, I needed to run to the store to grab some things for dinner, and then, the TV went on (honestly, it wasn’t me that turned it on, but I sure didn’t turn it off).  So, needless to say, other than trying a new recipe, I got nothing done that night, and didn’t strength train.  I did not avoid it all week though, I did strength training one day last week and cross training one day, so, I didn’t completely fail.  I just know that this is my area of weakness (in more ways than one).  I need to absolutely change this and find a routine or a few I will stick with.  But, how do you learn to love strength training?  How????  I will start by asking for suggestions on exercises and routines people enjoy.  I will scour through my stacks of exercises and create routines.  I will schedule it like I do a run, and force myself to lock myself in my office/workout room at home until it gets done.  I will post them on daily mile, so if you don’t see it pop up on here, you can call me out. I will be honest, I am not going to add much else new in this week before Saturday’s race, but will next week.
      I have also hired a run coach, officially.  So, I am sure she will help me develop a few plans that will help me out overall.
So here is my plan:
·       Develop 3-4 routines that cover upper body, core, glutes, hips, legs
·       Determine number of days I need to strength train
·       Create schedule with coach on runs, workouts, yoga
·       DO IT!
  • Which workouts do you do?  Please post or send them along…. I can add them to my page here as well!!

THE TV: Mindless watching and Eating in Front of It

I am combining these two, because, they go well together, and involve the same “enemy”.  Let’s start with the mindless watching.  After work the other night, I grabbed the husband and furkids and headed to the vet.  They got their Bordatella squirt in the nose, weighed, checked out, Mia got a nail trim… then, I dropped them back at the house and ran to the grocery store.  Came home, made dinner…. and promptly plopped on the couch in front of the TV.  I did accomplish redesigning this blog, but that was it.  So, I had a to-do list with 10 things on it, none of them got done.  None.  The sad part, some of them could be done on the very laptop I was using to redesign the blog.  I got stuck watching reruns of various shows.  Nothing worth my entire evening.  Before I knew it, it was 10pm, and I was getting ready to head to bed. 
As for the eating in front of the TV.  It has been discussed, researched I am sure, and suggested all over the place that it is not a good idea. 
Here are my issues with it:
·       Less control of portions and what you eat
·       Harder to determine hunger when you have your mind focused on something else
·       Don’t really taste the meal
·       Are not enjoying the sensory experience of the meal, the taste, smell, etc
Dinner time or any meal time can be a perfect time to catch up with loved ones.  I won’t lie, I eat at my desk at work, and that is partly because I am out walking the track on my lunch break.  I eat breakfast while preparing lunch for the day (during the work week) or while driving to work.  I fail on these points all around.  But dinner, I will focus on eating dinner at the table.  And, now that my husband has moved his computers upstairs to his office, I have my dining room table back, and no excuse.  I cook fabulous meals (if I do say so myself), so why not take the time to truly enjoy them?  I teach children to listen to hunger and fullness cues, and then plop myself in front of a TV and tune out the important cues. 
So, from here on out: no TV during dinner, and dinner will be eaten at the table!! 
Mindless TV fix: I have 5 shows I enjoy watching.  (6 of BL straightens itself out next season) so I will watch those shows, and limit drastically the amount of “background noise” TV that occurs.  My husband and I are considering getting rid of cable, and that may be what I need to do.  There really needs to be more music in the house anyway….. 
Has anyone had these concerns and made changes?  What worked for you?  

A Big Day!

Yesterday I joined Charlene and her great sons as a volunteer at the Red Rock full and half marathon.  What a fabulous time it was!!  We had signs (thanks Charlene for making them), cow bells, party horns, music (for a little while), but most importantly water and HEED.  We were stationed 0.8 miles from the finish and got to cheer on all the runners for their final stretch!  We saw some amazing and strong runners!!!  I am so proud of each and everyone for conquering that course!!  WAY TO GO!

My car also had a monumental day.  We wanted to play music… so, we did, with my car, which finally killed the close to death battery.  (thank you again to Charlene and random stranger that lent his jumper cables).  It hit 100,000 miles on the way to Red Rock Canyon (so long warranty)… and, as a present after the volunteering, I got my baby new tires and a new battery!!  She’s like a whole new ride!  🙂

Enjoy your Sunday!  I am off for a long run, then some chill time with the furkids!

~Run, Live, Laugh, Love

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