Surviving the Week

This past week was a very challenging week to say the least. It was my second week of single parenting; I fought a nasty cold, and mustered up the energy to put in a long run.

My husband had to travel to the East Coast for his job from April 13-25. Of course the timing could not have been any worst. I typically do my Crossfit workouts in the evening when he gets home from work. I tag team him and he takes over the girls (we have a rambunctious 19-month-old & a garrulous 10-year-old) while I rush to get to “the box.” The first week was not as smooth for me as I only managed to get in one Crossfit workout. I have this severe anxiety of asking people to babysit my daughters while I go workout. I’ve not been able to decipher whether the anxiety stems from fear of something or someone harming my daughters, or just sheer guilt. It also doesn’t help to not really know anyone or have family nearby. Plus, I feel that asking someone to babysit a toddler comes off across as a major chore, and I’m too sensitive about even giving someone the opportunity to think my daughters are overwhelming, so I’d much prefer not to ask.

A picture of my late grandma and the first time she met my husband -2002.

A picture of my late grandma and the first time she met my husband -2002.

On Saturday April 19th, which was the end of the 1st week, I woke up with a sore throat and feeling extremely fatigued. I was hoping it was just a silly cold that would make its exit quicker than its entrance. Feeling guilty from my lack of workouts and fearing my sub-2 goal for my upcoming half was in jeopardy, I decided to take advantage of a Saturday Crossfit workout. I placed my toddler in the jogging stroller and informed my 10-year-old they were accompanying me to the box. I packed goodies for them and toys to entertain themselves with. My 10-month-old fell asleep on our walk to the box and remained sleeping halfway through my workout. I deliberately delayed her nap so that she would sleep during a portion of my workout – and it worked. Well, my workout was AWFUL, which was expected given how my body warned me earlier in the morning.

My cold got progressively worse throughout the week. Monday was supposed to be a Sprint session, but my body and head were aching, and instead of running while my daughter napped, I chose to nap as well. Did I forget to mention my toddler was also battling the same cold? She was irritable and wanted me to constantly hug her because of how miserable she was feeling. Despite my – and the little ones – misery, I forced myself to a Crossfit session. My daughters once again accompanied me and much to my delight, an 11-year-old girl with her 2-year-old brother were also at the box. Their mother usually brings them along, so I was extremely happy they happened to be there. The workout included running 200 meters followed by 30 walking lunges repeated 7 times. I’d normally enjoy workouts that include running, but not this time. My nose was stuffy and itchy. My head ached and my muscles were weak. I fought through the fatigued muscles and aching lungs and was so relieved I skipped my sprint session earlier in the day.

Tuesday brought about a severe bout of sneezing throughout the entire day. I seriously wanted to chop my nose off. And my daughter seemed to feel the same. I still fought the desire to stay in bed and went back to the box. Wednesday came along and even though I was sneezing less, I was still tempted to lie in bed all day. However, the thought of crossing the finish line with a time of 2:00:59 caused enough motivation within me to ignore my desires of the flesh and return to the box. I repeated the same visualization on Thursday and went for the fourth consecutive day.

Box squat on Wednesday session. (Photo courtesy of Quincy Warner)

Box squat on Wednesday session. (Photo courtesy of Quincy Warner)

Friday was supposed to be another Crossfit session, but my in-laws were stopping by and my HIIT workout included doing laundry, scrubbing tubs, wiping counters, cleaning toilets, mopping flowers, vacuuming, dusting, and preparing lunch all while tending to a toddler. By this point, I was so ready for my husband to be home and give me some relief. Fortunately, he was arriving very late that day – 12:00 am Saturday morning.

With Saturday came the desire to lounge all day, but I still needed to put in a long run. The weather outside was AWFUL – high winds with black clouds spewing giant cold drops of rain all over the horizon. And so after almost four hours of putting off my run thinking the skies would clear, I stepped outside and started logging miles. The first 1.5 miles were sheer misery. The wind blew on my face, my glasses got wet, and my muscles felt like heavy clay. Because I miscalculated how far a certain trail went, I only ended up doing 11.28 miles with an 11:35 pace. And the craziest thing happened after the first mile and a half. It stopped raining altogether and the sun started shining!

My friend Kristen Grimes (http://thepursuitofaqualitylife.blogspot.com) was kind enough to let me sample some goodies. I took one with me during my run and was very grateful.

My friend Kristen Grimes (http://thepursuitofaqualitylife.blogspot.com) was kind enough to let me sample some goodies. I took one with me during my run and was very grateful.

The run was hard. My heart was not in it. I wanted it to be over. After such a rough week, I longed for relaxation.  Plus, the hills were causing an unusual ache on my heels. In fact, my left heel still feels sore. I’m hoping it’s not plantar fasciitis?

How was your training week? Should I be concerned about Plantar Fasciitis, or am I being paranoid?

The sun came out during my run after it was gray, windy, and wet the entire morning.

The sun came out during my run after it was gray, windy, and wet the entire morning.

Mental Tug-of-War

“You won’t be able to do it.”

“You were not meant to be fast.”

“You are mediocre.”

“Don’t be ashamed if you cross the finish line past the two-hour mark.”

Richard Sherman is in my head.

So many negative and defeating thoughts  have been racing through my mind the last couple of days over my upcoming half marathon that I have set out to run in under two hours. I’ve been trying really hard to not let said negative thoughts defeat me or affect my training. I’ve searched through my workouts over the last couple of months, looking for reassurance that I’ve come a long way since I started running late August of 2013. Nonetheless, I have to admit I am a woman of very little faith, and even physical proof at times is not enough to convince my mind what my spirit is capable of doing.

After completing the Riverton Half Marathon in Utah  three weeks ago, I felt a boost of confidence crossing the finish line, but that waned pretty quickly. With three and a half weeks remaining, I’ve questioned whether I’ve put in the right training to get me there. Come to think of it, I’ve never felt prepared for any race I’ve ever run. The only way I would probably ever feel like I’ve put enough training is if I were to train like an Olympian; since I am not going to the Olympics any time soon (or ever) I’m not sure there would be a justification for such brutal regimen.

I genuinely do not want for a sub-2 half marathon to define my worth as a person, but I can’t help but want this badly. And as much as I would like to be grateful and content with all the fortunes I have been given (the freedom to believe and worship God without fear or reprisal, my health and the health of my children, a loving husband, a roof over my head, food and water, and so many more commodities I take for granted) the human part in me would be sad to not be able to attain my goal. I try to drown out the mental tug-of-war by visualizing a strong finish in which I’m proud of the fact I gave it my all.

Glory across the Finish Line

Yesterday, I ran 12 miles in honor of the city of Boston after the terrible bombings that occurred during the Boston Marathon a year ago. I may not ever run the Boston Marathon, but I could always run in memory of the Boston Marathon. The twelve-mile run was tough, as I ventured out on a hilly trail. I’m not an adventurous person, so stepping outside of my comfort zone is always a big reward for me. I’m definitely planning on setting foot on that trail again.

 

New Trail = New Adventure

New Trail – New Adventure

Running Selfie

Windy Running Selfie

 

On Monday, I did sprints, and again, I am very proud of the effort I have been putting into them. I’ve never done Sprints as part of my training, and I’ve made sure to incorporate them into my training this time around in order to become a stronger and faster runner. I’ve been doing Sprints regularly for the last eight weeks and even though I dreaded them for the first two weeks, I now look forward to them. There is rush of adrenaline that surges through my body when my muscles shifts from a slow walk to a full sprint. I did a mile warm up and then five 1/2 mile sprints (8.0 on treadmill) with 1/4 mile walks after each sprint. I walked off the treadmill drenched in sweat (which is something I really like because for some strange reason, I’m not someone who perspires heavily during workouts) and feeling so alive.

I’m planning on doing light strength training today and my friend Beth inspired me to see how long I can hold a plank (I was able to hold it for two minutes straight on Sunday night). Therefore, I will also be challenging myself to get a stronger core. And of course, I’m still working on my pull-ups.

Photo bombed by my dog,

Plank Photo-op Take 1 Photo bombed by my dog

 

Plank Photo-op Take 2  Photo bombed by my cat

Plank Photo-op Take 2
Photo bombed by my cat

Plank Photo-op  Take 3

Plank Photo-op
Take 3

Do you go into a race full of confidence about your training, or does your mind play tricks on you? Are Sprints part of your training?

 

70 Day Pull-up Challenge – Day 71

This past week has been a week filled with milestones. Last Monday, I celebrated my birthday; on April 5, my 18-month-old daughter celebrated her one month anniversary from being weaned off her pacifier (which merits its own post), and yesterday was the culmination of my 70 Day Pull-Up Challenge.

First off, even though I am a year older since I first began the challenge, I am so much stronger than I have ever been. I feel it on my bones, my joints, my muscles, I feel it in my spirit. When I initially set out to perform a pull-up in 70 days, I did swallow hard in fear my goal was rather ambitious; but I figured I had nothing to lose and so much to gain. I’ve had ambitious goals in the past – becoming the first person in my family to graduate high school, joining the Marine Corps, becoming a naturalized citizen (another goal that merits its own post), becoming the first person in my family to earn a master’s degree, and running a marathon have been among a few. However, I encountered each one with the confidence that I had the skills to achieve each them. I wasn’t necessarily scared of going after them. When I stated I wanted to do one pull-up, I had the fear of not being able to do it not only in the 70 days, but that I would never be able to do one period. You see, I don’t consider myself to be a physically strong person. I’ve actually never considered myself physically strong. Pull-ups were only performed by strong people, a category I could not even fathom to entertain. Thus, for years, my erroneous rationale has prevented me from stepping outside of my comfort zone (I still struggle with this daily). It’s kept me in fear, allowing the model of physical weakness I categorized myself under to dictate what I could and couldn’t do.

Truth of the matter is, I no longer care about the “strong” or “not strong” category. I care about the “can” and “can’t” category. There were no obstacles in my life impeding me from performing a pull-up, only the ones I mentally placed upon myself to leave me in the “I can’t” category. I’ve discovered such new confidence and mental strength within myself I did not know I had. And so, here is the physical verdict of the last 70 days:

The physical verdict indicates I am REALLY close to performing my first strict pull-up. I wanted to kip my body really bad to get momentum and put my chin above the bar (I was inches away). I am not disappointed in myself for not mastering the pull-up in the 70 days allotted. I know that I will continue challenging myself and I am very confident I will be able to perform not only one pull-up, but multiple before my next birthday. This challenge has taught me that I am part of the “can” category, but first I have to want it, and then I have to work for it to earn it.

What limitations have you placed on yourself? What challenges or goals have you given yourself to let you know that you “can” do it?