5:47:11

5 hours. 47 minutes. 11 seconds.

26.2 miles.

I still can’t believe that I actually did it. I am a marathoner. Months of literal blood, sweat, and tears went into crossing that finish line. Do I wish I could have finished faster? Well sure. But it felt just as amazing to finish in the time I did. I swear, that was the longest and shortest 5 hours and 47 minutes of my life; while I was on the course, it felt forever long, but when I was within sight of that finish, it seemed like it passed by in an instant.

It was almost weird: months of training, miles of pavement, and hours of running suddenly came down to that.

Not once during that race did I think to myself, “I can’t do this. I don’t think I’m going to finish.” Every time it was tough or long or too cold, I just thought to myself, “Yup, this

1112170914_HDR

At mile 11

sucks, but I KNOW I can do this.” When I can across my family at mile 11, it felt like I had been running forever already, and all I could think was, “…I still have 15 miles left…” But I kept on. My magic mile was number 20. I knew if I could get to 20 miles, the rest would be “easy”. I’d already run 20 miles in training, so to add on another 6 was all mental. And it sure was. I really hit a wall at about mile 23- I walked a LOT, but I was SO close. But I was TIRED. And I mean T-I-R-E-D. Remember the Tough Mudder? That didn’t even come close to the level of exhaustion I was feeling. I remember thinking that at the end of every other race, I still have enough gas in the tank to really go hard at the finish line. But I really didn’t think I was going to be able to do that for this race. And I was fine with that, I really was just aiming to finish, after all. But then out of nowhere, I was at mile 25 (which of COURSE was uphill), and I just laughed because at this point, I was basically done.Except for this damn hill that never wanted to end….. But then my sister-in-law ran up to me, and ran with me for a few hundred yards until we reached the rest of my family waiting at mile 26. I smiled and waved the best I could manage and continued on for the last 2/10 of a mile. I’ll tell you something, I’ll never forget how it felt to round that last corner and see the end: to see friends and family who came to see ME run. To see that banner saying “FINISH”. To hear the announcer yell my name as I neared the line.

1112171247b_HDR

THE FINISH LINE!

And I tell you what: I gave it my ALL. I couldn’t tell you where I dug it out from, but I ran harder than I’ve run in a long time. And in that moment, it truly felt like I hadn’t just run over 26 miles. In that moment, I really felt unstoppable. That moment was what I had spent 5 months officially training for, but actually looking forward to for almost 10. It’s a shame that I can’t even really accurately put into words what that moment truly felt like. This was different than any other race I’ve ever run. All the mornings of waking up at 4:30 am, so many nights of going to bed early, or not staying for a drink with friends because I had to run 18 miles the next day (thanks for understanding), the putting on more miles in my tiny town than most people have done in their cars, the calf injury, the frustration of thinking I would have to quit, the constant hunger, the nerves, the road rash from tripping (more than once…), the heat, the cold, the rain and snow and sun, all of it. Training for this race was tough. I mean REALLY tough. But I was fortunate enough to have a husband who supported me during this probably more than I supported myself, along with SO many friends and family checking up on my training, to even people I didn’t even really know wishing me luck for race day. All of that and so much more went into that shirt, medal, and sandwich I got at the end.

Everyone who has run a marathon before has told me that once I finish my first, I’ll be already planning my next one. While I think it will be a VERY, VERY long time before (if) I ever run another full, but I can tell you with certainty that I have some new goals in mind as far as running and fitness goes. And knowing that I’m in the less-than 1% of the population to finish a marathon, I feel like I can accomplish almost anything.

MKY_2255

And with that, until the next race, live life uncharted.

Vicki

Advertisements

The Half Marathon I Didn’t Do

Yes. Remember that Half Marathon I was getting amped up for/ was worried about?

I ended up actually not running it AT ALL. I elected to drop down to the 5k distance instead. I was actually debating doing this back on Thursday; I just was really unsure my calf could handle it, and I don’t know how much more “listen to your body” can be crammed into my skull. I went back and forth about this decision all morning, and that afternoon, the race committee sent out an email regarding the impending heat for the weekend. Because the midwest does whatever it pleases weather-wise, of course it was going to be 90+ degrees on race day. In this email, they heavily stressed this fact, and stated they would allow runners to drop down distance the day before the race at the expo.

If this wasn’t a sign that I was supposed to lessen my distance, then I have no idea what would have been.

So I dropped down at the expo. And I was pissed. Pardon my language, but it was a shitty feeling. It shouldn’t have been, I understand that, but in that moment, I really felt like a failure. All I could think as we walked out of there with my shirt, bib, and other swag was “I’m supposed to be running 13-point-freakin-one miles tomorrow…..and I’m not.” And I cried. Yes, quite literally. I realize I was being ridiculous: MY GOAL IS THE FULL MARATHON, NOT THIS. But I couldn’t get that through my head yesterday.

To be honest, I was still salty even as I lined up in the starting corral this morning….for my 5k. Not my half… I was mad at all the other runners wearing the “Half Marathon” bib, and unlike me, were most certainly (in my head) actually running the half. I felt like a fraud wearing my bib. But regardless of the stupidity I was telling myself, the start cannon went off, and so did the runners. Myself included. So I crossed the starting line and began my race. Still mad, but running. Scowling at the signs reading “5k LEFT, Half/Full/Relay RIGHT”.

“I should be going right, not to the left….

giphy2

But I went left, and to be honest, after the longer distance racers split off my mentality totally switched. I looked at my watch and realized I had a better pace than I expected of myself. And I noticed…….my leg felt fine. More than fine, it felt GOOD.

felt good. It took an entire mile from the start line, but I finally felt good about this race. I just thought, “What am I doing?! I’m not done with this training…TODAY is another training run. So I need to run like I’m training.” So I did- I pushed myself. Granted, I kept an eye on my calf, but I figured if I wasn’t going for distance today, I would at least make it more of a speed day.

By the time I was in sight of the finish line, I felt back to normal and pretty pumped up.

 

It almost made me wish the race lasted longer…. 😉

And hey, I’ll take 13th out of 80 runners in my age division.

So with that, I need to be done here and start tweaking my training plan, because today marks 7 weeks out from the Madison Marathon.

Vicki

One Week…

Go ahead and play the Barenaked Ladies if you must now.

What’s one week?

Since I ran last.

Yup. I’m training for the Madison Marathon and haven’t run in over a week…

Actually, this morning was the first time I had run since September 8th, and yes, my half marathon is a week from today. Before you ask, no, this was not some kind of intentional taper before race day. I’ve been dealing with a sort of calf injury since Labor Day weekend. It probably REALLY started the last week of August, when I felt a cramp in my left calf one day. Now, it wasn’t really PAINFUL, it just felt like your standard cramp, so I rolled it out and massaged it, and that seemed to be the cure. So I kept training on my merry way, until I had a scheduled 9-miler 2 Sundays ago. During those last 3 miles, my calf started cramping again, and again was not unbearably painful. Until I was almost done and couldn’t run without pain.

Good thing that happened at the end of my run, right?

Well, a round of disc golf later that afternoon proved that something was amiss, so I took it easy the next couple days. I tried a few miles a couple days later, and still no dice. So I took it easy the next couple days again and tried a 8-miler that Friday. I made it to mile 6 and the pain came back, but this time it stuck around. So I took it easy again and started icing on and off. By this point, I was pretty frustrated because I was scheduled to run 20 miles on that coming Sunday, which would have been 1 week ago today. The day before this scheduled long run, I made the decision to not run, damn well knowing my half marathon was 2 weeks from this run, and hating this decision. I knew it was for the best to take a break and let WHATEVER was wrong start to heal, but it was hard not to beat myself up over it.

I felt that by skipping this run, all of my training up to this point had gone out the window. A major milestone in my training, and this close to my half marathon, and I. Can’t. Run. What a confidence booster, eh? So that felt awesome. Worse yet, was after taking a few more days off, and going to the gym for cross-training and the pain was back again, this time I was worried and mad and more frustrated than before.

“What if I can’t run my marathon? What if something is really wrong? WHY COULDN’T THIS HAVE HAPPENED WEEKS AGO INSTEAD OF RIGHT NOW?!” All of this and a lot more went through my head. I was pissed. Pissed off at my leg for “betraying” my body.  Pissed off that all of my hard work didn’t prevent this. Pissed off at the timing of this injury. I’ve come to really enjoy this half marathon; it’ll be my third time running it, and I was actually mentally preparing myself to make the decision during the race to not finish it. Not only that, my full marathon is TWO MONTHS (less now) AWAY. and I. Can’t. Run.

And that sucked. That was a sucky, sucky feeling my friends.

giphy1

Now, I’m not trying to sound whiney, though I’ve probably whined quite a bit, and I’m not trying to MAKE myself not finish this race due to a crappy attitude. I AM, however, trying to be realistic: It’s not worth the risk in the long run by potentially worsening this injury. I’ve NEVER run this much before and have never really dealt with any injury that was more than simple muscle soreness. As my husband has told me, “Yes it sucks, but your end goal is not the half marathon this time, it’s the full marathon. You don’t want to cash out on this race to not be able to do the full.” Of course he’s right.

So I’ve been taking it relatively easy since the 8th. And that’s been really tough, to be honest. Like I said, I’ve been feeling pretty bad about it. So recently, I joined this group of female runners on Facebook, and after hearing a lot of their comments and suggestions, I felt a little better. As it turns out, it’s possible I’ve been OVER-training and putting on TOO many miles too fast. So, I think I need to re-evaluate my training plan a little bit, and take into account this 8-day break.

Now, I mentioned that today was my first run, and it felt friggin awesome. GUYS, I actually got fitted for running shoes, and I reeeaaallly wanted to test them out. So I did just that: granted, I only went 2 miles, and I alternated running and walking 1/4 mile intervals, but it was better than nothing, and I felt good. I missed it, and for the first time in days, felt again like I can actually do this marathon business.

giphy

Obviously I’m not back up to 100% power just yet, but I can tell I’m on the upswing, and that’s good enough for me. And with the Quad City Half coming up in 1 week, I’m feeling slightly more confident. I think, though, I’ll have to change my mentality about it: instead of treating it like a race and going full out, I’ll treat it like a training run and not worry about my time this year. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a TAD bit disappointing, because I was hoping to beat my time from last year, but if that’s not meant to happen this year, okay.

But anywho, this is what it is, and it’s a learning experience if not a humbling one as well. But I can promise you, I’ll crawl across that finish line on November 12th if I have to…

Whatever life deals you, live it Uncharted.

Vicki

Fuddy Muckers and the Tough Mudder

So the last time I posted, which was altogether too long ago, I was talking about my upcoming trainings for the Tough Mudder, half marathon, and full marathon. Well, 1 week ago was the Tough Mudder. Came up fast, eh?

fb_img_1500821584693.jpg

“Before”

So, this Tough Mudder- emphasis on the “tough”- was far and away the most physically demanding thing I’ve ever asked of my body. It ended up being over 10 miles with I believe 16(?) obstacles out in the Minnesota wilderness with no shade and over 90-degree temps. For over 5 hours. Woof. I think we collectively applied almost a full tube of sunscreen, which did little good anyways…

giphy

I swear we had “3 miles to go” for the last 7 miles of the course, and there was a point when I actually thought “Sweet JESUS are we done yet?!” Of course not- I wasn’t done until I crossed that finish line. I think if I would have done this by myself, I would have been in a MUCH worse state of mind (though I was PRETTY hangry by the time we finished anyways). Regardless, we kept on going, sweating, and bleeding (not kidding).

So the big thing in “Mudder Nation” is the fact that this is not a race, but rather, a challenge. And not just a physical one, but a mental challenge as well. I really didn’t think it was TOO much of a mental challenge for me personally: I’m not too scared of heights or water or anything like that. I knew that MY challenge was easily going to be the physical aspect. THAT was the part that worried me when we initially signed up for this: would I even be able to DO it? So I suppose, in a way, it was a mental challenge. Any of the obstacles we came to that I NEVER would have thought I could do, I said to myself “you trained, you’ve got an awesome team, LET’S DO THIS”. So yes, we jumped into a tank of ice water, army-crawled under barbed wire, and used our teammates as a literal human ladder. And yes, Electroshock Therapy surprised the hell outta me at the end.

 

And damnit, I did it. I did them all.

Speaking of my team-they were pretty fantastic. They were all not only willing to help out each other, but more than ready to help another Mudder in need. They really aren’t lying in the advertisements when they say that it’s a “community”. I thought that the running community was full of camaraderie, but SHOOOOOT, all these Mudders put all the runners I’ve come across to SHAME! It was seriously inspiring: seeing people boost, pull, push, and cheer on everyone they came across (and having people boost, push, pull, and cheer ME on) was pretty righteous to say the least. A big thanks to that random guy who stayed behind to help give me a boost over one of the walls- you da real MVP.

I accomplished things I never thought I would be able to do; I went outside my comfort zone on many of the obstacles-whether I showed it on my face or not. As Taylor said to me, “You really kicked a lot of ass out there”, which is probably one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.

20170715_15551620170715_155555

Having one Mudder under my belt, I know what I probably should have done differently, training-wise as well as things I’m glad I worked so hard on. That said, I know what I need to work on for next year.

Screenshot_20170723-095155

2018, here we come!

Fuddy Muckers are coming back in 2018!

And Cue the Jock Jams

Why?

Here’s why…

So I’m going to be having a pretty busy year, fitness-wise: my upcoming schedule includes a Tough Mudder in July, a half marathon in September, and introducing for the first time ever

*drumroll please*

A FULL. Twentysixpointtwomile. MARATHON in November.

What even is life at this point, amiright? I might actually be crazy…

wp-1488331820583.png

I’m pretty excited about each of these events individually, but when I get to thinking about all of them at once, and really how close they are to each other, I start sweating a little bit. Or a lot… That said, much of my spare time is taken up by researching different marathon and obstacle run training programs, and trying to figure out my own. Oh yeah, and actually training, I’ve been doing that, too.

Since the Tough Mudder is coming up the soonest- about 20 weeks out- much of my focus has been on that, although I AM doing some preliminary half-marathon training as well. This is entailing a LOT more cross training and strength training than I’m used to; we’re talking three times per week versus once a week during my straight-laced half marathon training. Because of this, it’s been quite a bit of a trial-and-error process in figuring out how to best pair this with the running portion of my training. I don’t want to burn out and risk injury, but I also want to make sure I’m improving at a pretty regular pace. Basically, I’m continuously asking myself, “How do I increase my reps, weight, mileage, etc while giving my body enough rest time?” Taylor and I are doing this part of training together, and it’s been great and quite interesting, actually. He is basically the opposite of me: as a weight lifter (primarily powerlifting, to be specific), he is not as geared toward the cardio portion of this. So we are tweaking our training days to be beneficial for both of us. He pushes me to bust out a couple more dips and I encourage him to push for the last 1/10 of a mile on our run back to the house.

Yes, the Tough Mudder is almost entirely obstacles, but it’s still 10-12 miles long, therefore I have been slowly increasing my weekly mileage since January. I knew going into this, that by the time July hits, I’ll need to also be in full-force half marathon training along with pairing that into the beginning stages of my marathon training. I definitely don’t want to abruptly start ALL that running at the same time, hence my near 9-month training leading up to the grand finale. Once the Tough Mudder is completed and we have our finisher beers and headbands, I’ll be able to put much more focus on running (of course with an intermittent cross-training day to avoid injury). That point in time will come with a whole new shift in training-not that I’m worried about it, I’m just…..unsure of what to expect.

With two 1/2’s under my belt, I’ve had the opportunity to tweak my training plans and figure out what works best for me (right at 16 weeks long, and a “taper” period just doesn’t do it for me). I really liked how my race went last fall, so I plan on sticking to something similar. The trick is really going to be, how do I fit THIS into my marathon training? I really have no clue what sort of training for that distance will work for me. When and how often should I run hills? What days should I cross-train or rest? What about speed work? Should I really only top out at only 20 miles before race day? Did I really sign up for this?

OOF.

I’m not panicking about it by any means, but I’m not going to take it lightly either. Running over 25 miles isn’t really something I’d like to go into blind and screw it up. Plus, I already paid for it and it’s non-refundable…

On another note…..FOOD. Oh lordy, and don’t even get me started on the nutritional aspect of all this nonsense. It’s just as important as the training itself-I’ve noticed a HUGE increase in my appetite even just adding in our Tough Mudder training days to my running- I can only imagine how it’ll be once I’m consistently running 10-12 miles…

8ouh2ljvhejrs

This essentially needs a training plan in itself, so please excuse me while I go purchase stock in sweet potatoes and brown rice…I already anticipate a learning curve with my nutrition that will come with all of this, so I apologize in advance for things I’ll say out of hanger. I swear I won’t mean any of it.

kthnxbai.

And along with running, and strength training, and cross training, I canNOT forget about my yoga practice along the way. Not only is it important to me mentally and emotionally, it is VERY important physically. My runs don’t just end when I stop my watch; taking the time to cool down and stretch out is pretty vital. Again, my main goal with these events and my training leading up to them, is to take care of my body and not push it too far. It’s all about balance:

Balancing being a yogi, a runner, and a (soon-to-be) Tough Mudder.

wp-1488331850633.jpgwp-1488332000808.jpg

As Squatrack Shenanigans can attest to, being an athlete in two different sports can be both undeniably rewarding and just plain sucky at times. But you don’t do it because it’s easy: it’s not going to BE easy. That’s the rewarding part about it all.

So will I be pretty thankful when November 13th rolls around and EVERYTHING is finished?

Yup. Yup. Yuppers.

Will I work my damnedest every single day until that point?

You betchya.

3o7qdeq2bmbcbprq2c

Live Life Uncharted (and hungry)

Vicki

It’s Time Somebody Said It…

I had this entirely different post planned for this week. And it’s turning out to be quite lovely. But something has just really been eating at me for a couple days now. Everyone here in this country (and the rest of the world, really) is WELL aware of the unrest going around; you can see it, hear it, read about it, and even feel it everywhere. You can’t sign onto the internet or turn the news on or even go to the store without hearing “Trump”, “Democrats”, “Republicans”, “Planned Parenthood”, “Pipelines”, or any other related phrases.

It was destined to happen, as it always does with any newly elected official, but this time seems VERY different.

People that I’ve known and loved for a LONG time, people who are caring and kind, have turned against neighbors and friends-disapproving of their opinions, turning a blind eye to what they have to say, and even insulting their intelligence. When I scrolled through my Facebook today, I don’t think I saw a SINGLE kind post.

Not. A. One.

If it wasn’t somebody calling someone out about being anti/pro Women’s March, it was someone else shoving their “I’m right, you’re wrong” attitude down another’s throat.

And yes, freedom of speech, yadayadayada….don’t give me that. This is scary. As an educated adult, I am growing VERY concerned about the state of this country and its citizens. If you don’t agree, then that’s fine: that’s your viewpoint, I’m not here on a political soapbox screaming my ideologies at you. That’s not exactly what I do; although I DO have my views on all of the above issues. And, just like 99.99% of the rest of Americans, I would say I’m not as educated as I should be about them.

But what I WILL say is something that most people today SHOULD hear:

Being a decent human being does not correspond with your political affiliation. It does not correspond with whether or not you are a man, woman, or otherwise who may (or may not) feel oppressed in SOME way. It does not depend on you being RIGHT. Being a decent human being corresponds with YOU being a decent human being.

And to be frank, I’m not seeing too many decent human beings, from ALL political parties, races, genders, sexual orientations, and religions.

So take a step back before you share that next “news” article you find that “shares” your beliefs.

Please, for the sake of this country’s future, at least TRY to be decent human beings.

Onward to 2017

So 2016 is at a close. I feel like it was literally yesterday I was writing about the up-and-coming year that was to be 2016. And now here we are… One year later.

To be blunt, I had a busy year: between getting married, buying our first house, and finishing school it’s no wonder that these 365 days passed by in a flash.

I’ve said and done stupid things.

I’ve said and done some pretty awesome things, too.

I’ve had completely new experiences almost from the beginning of the year, which resulted in a lot of personal growth and self-reflection.

So how about a quick recap, yeah?

My yoga practice in 2016

It really didn’t progress as much as I had wanted it to, to be perfectly honest. I had high hopes as far as my handstand practice, and practice in general, went but I just didn’t quite get there in my eyes. Looking back, I just let my daily practice waiver a bit to the back burner.

My running in 2016

I had quite the opposite feeling in regards to my running this past year; I feel like I really improved as a runner bother physically and mentally. I not only ran my second half marathon, but I PR’d it (by kind of a lot). In training for that race, I also ran the farthest distance I’ve ever run before (14 miles). I also finished 1st in my age division in another race (a 5K), thus resulting in  my first non-participation medal. I learned to power through hitting that wall, and learned that mental toughness is more important than physical toughness. Waking up at 5:00 in the morning to run 8-9 miles before work. Setting a goal and achieving it.

Life in general in 2016

I used part of this year to reflect on myself: my actions, thoughts, and opinions. I discovered that focusing on myself was an invaluable use of my time. I’ve learned to take a step back before passing judgement or forming an ill-educated opinion. 2016 has proven to be a true journey in all aspects of myself.

Last year, I had a pretty lengthy list of resolutions-like I said, I had pretty high hopes for myself. I only accomplished 1 of those goals. “ONLY”…as if that’s a bad thing. When I realized that the end of the year was rapidly approaching, I said “Well crap…look at everything I didn’t do.” And then I immediately said, “But I did accomplish one of those things. I stuck to it and DID IT.”

And I’m proud. Damn proud.

It wouldn’t matter if I fulfilled 1 or 100 resolutions- I’d still feel just as good about myself. I did decide, though, to really cut back on my goals for 2017. I’m excited to really put all my energy and focus into a few select things, rather than struggle to complete many. Let’s be real, I’m not exactly doing all of this for anybody else, ya know?

So what am I looking forward to? 2017 is already looking to be a pretty awesome year: new career prospects, new hobbies to pursue, and a whole new outlook on life.

Well…maybe not entirely new, but definitely a new perspective from 2016’s lessons learned.

Live Life, and 2017, Uncharted

Vicki

Vicki vs. The Half Marathon: Round 2

wp-1479174819618.jpg

Almost 2 months ago, I went head-to-head with my second half marathon. And I’ll tell you what: this year was MUCH different than last year. If you remember, I didn’t exactly have the grandest of days last time around. Last year, in the days leading up to the race, the half marathon was CONSTANTLY on my mind. Am I drinking enough water? HOW many hours until the start gun goes off? When is packet pick-up again? Am I drinking enough water? My stomach was in knots and I was shaking just picking up  my race packet the night before. I’ll spare you all those sad details again. But this year, I actually lost track of time and race day kind of snuck up on me. I was calm but excited. I felt good about my water intake and my food choices. But most of all, I felt READY the day before. The morning of continued this trend; I woke up early, ready and awake, and we left on time. Luckily, we were able to find a parking spot just as easily as last year (though it helps to have a clown car that you can park literally anywhere…). Arrived with 10 minutes to spare, got out the final jitters and headed into the start corral. Also much like last year, I forgot to start my watch until the start gun went off-but since I was toward the back of the pack, it very fortunately had enough time to find a GPS signal before I crossed the starting line. WHEW.

Now, I had a pretty epic surprise within the first 1/2 mile that gave me a huge push early on. Minding my own business, I’m running along and just happen to look to my left, and not 6 feet away from me were my Uncle Bo and Aunt Jody from up in Wisconsin. It took me doing a triple take to fully realize it was them, and I was SO excited! They said they wanted to surprise me at the finish line, but what better surprise than DURING the race!

wp-1479174872961.jpg

1.5 miles in

Now as far as the actual race, I remember thinking that each mile was passing very quickly-whereas last time, each mile dragged on and on and on and on. I actively remembered to re-fuel with my trusty craisins mid-run, and also kept my water consumption in check during the race. By mile 7, I could feel myself starting to wear down but I was still in good spirits. Sure, I walked more than I ideally wanted to, but each time I did, I saw it as a minute or two of recovery rather than a minute of defeat like last year. Plus, whenever I felt myself getting tired, I thought of my family waiting for me at the finish, and how they drove all the way down here for little old me. Before I knew it, I was passing the 10-mile sign. After a minor- but brief- panic attack that I missed my turn to stay on the half marathon route, I realized I only had a 5K left to go. Still tired, but I realied that I was still WELL ahead of my pace from last year, and that was the push I needed. And then, out of nowhere, was the 12th mile marker. With about 3/4 of a mile to go I called Taylor (who was waiting so patiently at the finish line), tuned on Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run”, and pounded forward. With about a tenth of a mile to go, I took out my earbuds so I could really hear the crowd and all the spectators as I neared the finish. Lo and behold, Bo and Jody were front and center as I came to the last turn, with a bright, sparkly, beautiful sign and all! Good thing I was wearing sunglasses (again), because I definitely had tears in my eyes (again).

wp-1479174632157.jpg

Taylor always makes sure to get a picture of me nearing the finish. 🙂

All of those people, the music, the carrying on, it’s truly exhilarating. It’s a really hard thing to describe but I’ll give it my best shot: runner’s high is a very real thing-not in the middle of a run like most people think- but rather when you’ve accomplished a run you weren’t sure you could. The sense of pride mixed with exhaustion as you get closer to the finish line. Getting your hand ready to stop your watch the moment you cross and knowing that you’ll be DONE. THAT was all the same as last year; but this year as I finished the race, I felt ecstatic out of a sense of accomplishment rather than out of pure relief that it was over.
Post race this year had similarities and differences as well. The typical never ending hunger and fatigue set in pretty quickly. But unlike last year, I was back out running 2 days later. It was under 3 miles, but the fact that I already wanted to get back out there really made me happy. I’ve already run a 5k since, and have more races in the works—potentially a BIG one next fall……hmmm.rolly

When I signed up for the same race that I despised last year, I decided that I was going to set myself up for success. I planned my training very carefully and stuck to it, aside from a handful of days that didn’t go my way. But I kept a clear head and accomplished what I set out to do. I can’t think of a time I was more proud of myself: going from vowing I’ll never do it again, to hating the idea of another half, to signing up for a second one 9 months before, to really RUN it, and then to be sitting here planning on doing it all over again.

And to top it all off? I beat my half marathon time from last year by 15 minutes.

wp-1479174675131.png

They are SERIOUSLY the best!!

Now, go Live-and run- Uncharted!

Vicki

Treat Yo’Self

Judgmental.

Comparative.

Not really great self-descriptive phrases, are they? I was those very things. Before.

If you follow any of my other social media, you know I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus for a little while now. I received a figurative slap in the face about the fact that I was becoming someone I didn’t like so much. Someone who WAS judgmental, comparing my life to others’, and looking at situations from a very one-sided point of view. How very UN-yogic.

hh2cyjgdwnbkk

YUCK.

So after not much deliberation, I decided what had to change: I had to focus on myself.

Period.

Not that social media is/was a bad thing; it’s actually very handy! But I was simply focusing on others’ lives and spending too much time in front of a screen. You’d think that having a job where I sit in front of a computer would be enough for a day…but alas. So I decided to read more, write more, SEE my life more without the aid of a smartphone camera. I wanted, nay- NEEDED, to have a life outside of a keyboard, away from “likes”, and “friends”, and “comments”, and “followers”.

Let’s be honest, how many people REALLY care about the same 5 pictures of the dogs that I can post? (My sincerest thanks if you DO). I essentially needed to distance myself from the false reality that the internet is. And you know what? It’s been really great. And I don’t necessarily mean logging off of Facebook for 3 months. I mean ACTIVELY taking time to focus on myself-THAT’S been the really great part.

I’ve been more productive than ever but more at ease at the same time. Something can really be said about focusing your energy inward; to really just “be” in this world without having to BE someone or something.

So here’s the lesson I’ve taught myself: TREAT YO’SELF. Treat yourself to LIFE: to living your life; living without comparing yourself to others; live without thinking about what someone else might think of you. It really doesn’t matter in the end, anyways. Life is far too short and fast. As long as you feel happy and you’re taking care of YOU-you know, staying within the confines of the law…THAT’S what matters.

Treat yourself to learning a new hobby or honing in a current one. Treat yourself to a really good book, or a long walk in the woods. Treat yourself to planning out your week and feeling accomplished when you finish your to-do list. Treat yourself to just having a calm mind and a sense of peace.

So to wrap up this probably unnecessary post (because again, who REALLY cares?), I’m back, but with a better mindset, and more appreciation for my life’s bigger picture.

Tabletop Variation

Average Joe-ga: So You Want to Stand on Your Head?

Well, that’s a toughie….also, extremely advanced.
So, here’s Average Joe-ga to the rescue with SUPPORTED headstand! This has rapidly become a favorite inversion of mine, and to think that at one point I was SO uncomfortable with even the THOUGHT of being upside down.
That said, this doesn’t seem very “beginner”, does it? Believe me, I’ve spent some time figuring out exactly how to break this beast down. Remember, EVERY pose has its beginning novice stages; you eat an elephant one bite at a time, right?
Right.
Now, down to business. I’ve decided to make this particular Joe-ga a multi-post series, since I want to be certain that I cover all the important aspects of this posture, since it IS more advanced and has more details going into it than say…..Savasana.
Once you break Supported Headstand down and take it in little wee baby steps, it’s not so scary! As with any yoga pose, this DOES require repetition and patience; how else will you gain the strength you need?
Ah yes. Strength. Physical strength. Just a li’l bit, ya know? Mainly, arms, shoulders, and core. *YES. Core strength. For a headstand. WACKY I KNOW*.

FIRST STEP
We’re not going “up” yet, so don’t get freaked out. We need to start with your foundation

Double up your mat, if you’re using one. At least for me, doing this allows me to put pressure on my elbows for a longer period of time. We’re going to start with Dolphin Pose, and in order to do a proper Supported Headstand, you need to be able to perform a proper Dolphin Pose. This puts the “support” in Supported Headstand.

Dolphin Pose

Dolphin Pose

For this to work properly, you need to have your elbows in line with your shoulders-this gives you the most stability while also preventing shoulder/neck injury. But how?

To describe this in the best possible way, it goes a little like this: get down in tabletop position (hands and knees), go down on your forearms, grasp opposite elbows in opposite hands like so. THIS is how far apart your elbows should be in Supported Headstand (or really any other forearm stand). wp-1464533637890.jpgOnce you figure out your elbow placement and feel relatively comfortable in Dolphin Pose, lean forward. Feed weird? I’m sure it does; this action stacks (or begins to stack) your hips over your shoulders.  THIS is what creates nice, straight, tall headstands that dreams are made of.

Lean forward, stack hips over shoulders, VOILA!

Lean forward, stack hips over shoulders, VOILA!

Now, onto the head support of the headstand! Along with shoulder/elbow placement, the placement of your hands on your head also give support to your neck to prevent injury (because neck injuries are not something to take lightly). In Supported Headstand, your hands aren’t on the TOP of your head, so much as on the BACK of your head-think yamaka-esque. In all reality, your head isn’t baring much weight at all-your FOREARMS are. Hopefully while you’ve been reading this, you’ve been practicing your Dolphin Pose over and over again. Elbows in line with shoulders-check? Yamaka on-check?wp-1464534852537.jpg Okay, now, Combine these with your Dolphin lean….over and over and over again. Again, you’re building up that necessary strength and just flat-out getting used to being upside down.

wp-1464551776100.jpg

PRACTICE MAKES PROGRESS.

You’ve done enough work today, young grasshopper.

Vicki