Happy Birthday to Me

birthday sparkliers

December 27, 2014

I rolled out of bed around 5am, stumbled to the coffee pot while the sky was still dark. Up early to get ready for a run with a friend. In preparation for another half marathon, we set out in the muggy morning air on a 10 mile jaunt. (Err..take note that we are loosely training during the holiday feasting season. About as loose as the elastic  on the yoga pants I live in between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. But 10 miles is still considered training, right?!) We opted out of our normal hilly neighborhood run and headed to the flattest of all the local trailheads we could find. Despite all of the sugar, wine, pasta, cookies, and everything else delicious it was a good run. A strong run. An inspirational run. A happy run. A run with an inspiring and encouraging friend. A run that covered ground while our conversation covered ground. Everything under the sun, from timing of the north winds that were due to blow through anytime to remembering a fellow runner that neither of us knew but lost her life in the very park we were running almost a year ago to peeing your pants. Yes, it really gets that serious and it can be that random. But there is so much beauty in the randomness.

The north winds blew in about a minute after we took the last step of that run, dropping the temps about 20 degrees in a matter of seconds. Nature amazes me.

As any reasonable person would do after going for a 10 mile run, I headed out for a piping hot pizza. Only today was special, because I got to share some time and piping hot pie with my mom. We ate, we shopped, we invested in a little pampering at the nail salon and had some good old fashioned mama-daughter time. It was a day of memory making for sure. Spending this time with her made me a bit reflective and I began to think about how this incredible woman shaped me and molded me into the person I am today. She demonstrated for me how to simultaneously make a home, build a career, and rear children. She is a picture of tenacity and perseverance. I’ve faced some giants in my life (many of my own doing, but giants none the less) and credit my mom for teaching me not to let fear get the best of me.

My evening ended with a date. It’s only been recently that I have made a re-entry to the dating world, which by the way has enough content for an entire blog. But to protect the innocent and not get too off track, I won’t divulge that many details. However, I will say that this was the perfect ending to my day. THE date itself, not to be confused with my date for the evening, was a little glimpse into my future. A hope for new beginnings and things to come.

This day goes down in the history of birthdays as one of the best yet. It could not have been a more amazing collision of past, present, and future.

Shiner Beer Half Marathon Race Recap

In honor of this Thanksgiving season, I’d like to tell you guys just how much I appreciated the entire experience of preparing for and participating in the Shiner Beer half marathon last week. I’ve gained an incredible friendship and a new running buddy, a new sense of my personal abilities (even if they didn’t pan out the way I had hoped on race day), a deeper appreciation and love for Girls On the Run, a crazy love-hate relationship for ice baths and my rolling stick, and an incredible heart of gratitude for all of those who supported me during this journey!

A super BIG THANKS to all of YOU!!!

To show you my appreciation, I thought I’d share my experience with you. First, let me warn you that I loved this race, but am working hard to find what I loved about my performance. Please be forewarned that this race recap will include discussion on some gross things including bodily fluids. If you choose to keep reading, you have been warned.

We headed out to the corral area about 10 minutes prior to race start and decided we would stay closer to the front of the pack. Anticipation and excitement growing, I think Minka, my beloved training partner from More than Running, and I agreed to up the anty with a marathon in the near future. Thinking back it was all sort of a blur between the start line selfie, marathon discussion, National Anthem,  5K vs half course instructions, and ready, set, go!

Mile 1 – As most races go, it was crowded and relatively slow. The beginning of the course went directly through the historic town of Shiner and heading out to a residential area.
Mile 2- Moving into a more rural community and heading out to the country roads. Feeling good and beginning to pick up the pace as the crowd thinned out. 5K participants were on an out and back course and turned at the 1.5 mile point. My head congestion that I had been battling all week started loosening up and before too long. Good thing I stuffed a couple of tissues in my pocket before I left.
Mile 3- Moving faster and feeling strong. In fact, I started to think that I might be going too fast and that I needed to reign that in so I didn’t burn out. Those 2 tissues stood no chance for the amount of snot coming out of my nose. They were history half-way through this mile. As I neared the 4 mile market, I started to feel like there was a brick in my belly. Not cramps or pain but a heaviness that was unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
Mile 4- Pushing pretty fast with my mind set on the next water stop and port a let. Lost time in the port a let and made a speedy get away without direct contact of anyone that was standing in the line that formed outside while I was inside. We won’t ponder this one any longer.
Mile 5- Feeling better, but still unsure of my stomach. Recovered my pace during this mile, which was just under a 10 minute pace.
Mile 6- Headed out country roads with beautiful farm houses on one side and pipeline construction on the other. I was fighting some negative thoughts at this point that were mostly rooted in lots of reasons why I wasn’t going to finish this run today. The weather was crummy, my nose was snotty, my stomach was ill, my legs felt heavy, I was too tired.
Mile 7- Enough of all that crap. As I began to remind myself of exactly why I chose to get out here and do this race and what my intention was, I began to think of the tools used in Girls On the Run that teach girls just how to get out of exactly that kind of thinking. And just like that, I was able to re-focus and get back on track. It was also here that we hit manure mile. With the rain, this was no joke and this part of the course felt harder than I expected. Running in tacky mud, single file slowed the pace down a bit, but I was appreciating the steadiness else risk an injury slipping and sliding in the mud.

Shiner 1
Mile 8- More of the same. Came around a bend where I spied a horse galloping out and back on a field at the bend in the road. He moved so easily and beautifully right up to the fence edge where he was stop and just stare at the runners as they pass. Without notice he would pivot and head straight back out to center field where he was stop and stare again. Repeating his run back and forth as if encouraging the runners as they passed (or teasing – depends on your individual perspective at this point).
Mile 9- The horizon was dark and heavy. The fields were spotted with hay bails and it was almost as beautiful as painting at this moment. I started to have a hint of cramps in my calves and though “it’s too early for that. Oh no!”
Mile 10- Rain. Cramps. My “Oh no!” became expletives and the battle with negative thoughts reared up again.
Mile 11- Rain. Cramps. Crying. More cramps.
Mile 12- Rain. Cramps. More crying. Relentless cramps. Pep talk to get the crying under control because my inefficient breathing was making the problem worse.
Mile 13- Rain. Rain. Rain. Sucked up the crying and had fewer cramps. Slowly and most graciously crossed the finish line.

shiner 2

With 4 half marathons now under my belt, I have never felt anything quite like the cramping in those last 3 miles. It started in just one of my calves and by the last mile was both calves and both quads were shivering, shriveled and . I was logging over 12 minute miles starting at mile 11 because of the many times I stopped and walked. On the bright side, I have never been so elated to cross the finish line! This was the slowest time I’ve logged on a half so far and came in around 2:25. While I feel like I trained harder than I have for any of the other races and was expecting to possibly PR, I have learned that sometimes you run well and sometimes you run not as well. But, you still accomplish a ton.

shiner 4

Those Shiner Beer Run planners and the great local volunteers in Shiner sure know how to throw a party. After the run we got to enjoy a Texas sized party including live music, brewery tours, smoked sausage and brats and ice cold beer. For the most part I loved this course. There was one part of the course around mile 10-11 that we circled through a park that wasn’t my favorite. Especially the unexpected hill climb toward the end of the park. Other than that, I would definitely participate in this race again. It may be in the race schedule next November, unless I didn’t dream up that marathon discussion and we find ourselves in New York for the TCS New York marathon.

 

 

Thank you, Mr. Fear

Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not. – Virgil Thomson

When I was a child I remember feeling extremely fearful much of the time. Some rational and some not so rational. I was afraid that I would fail a test, fall at dance class, be attacked by a snake, choke when I was eating, fall off of building, get hit by a car on my bike, dinosaurs would roam the earth once again and snatch me out of my bed and eat me in the middle of the night, break bones in gymnastics class, forget Bible verses in Bible drill, not know  how to kiss a boy when the time came, that I was adopted and my parents never told me, that Santa was not real…oh the list goes on and on.

Fear is an interesting thing.  I am not sure that I ever fully overcome it about some things, but I’ve learned a healthy respect for it. Even in circumstances where I have faced the dread and found joy in doing those things that originally scared me, there lingers still a hint of fright. The hangover of fear becomes my fuel, my motivation to keep going. It’s the very thing that makes me believe in something bigger than myself. . It’s the intersection of faith and fear that allows me to live beyond myself, remove boundaries, and  really experience life. Because this life and earth we live on is a scary place most of the time.

Distance running scares me. Last weekend I ran the furthest I’ve ever run – a whopping 14 miles. It’s the first time I’ve gone beyond my race distance in training for a half. I’ve always been too scared to go further.

Each weekend when my long run rolls around, my belly fills with an anxiousness that is like a tiny million ants crawling around and my head swarms with thoughts in so many directions that I often never find a deep sleep the night before. Fear of how hard it may be ,and how tired I may feel, and whether I my endurance will hold up, all nearly have me calling in sick to the next days scheduled training run. But I step out of myself, take a long hard look in the mirror and tell myself to trust my training, trust the workouts (even the dreaded sprints), trust the strength I visibly see bulging in my legs, trust my running buddy,  and  trust the Lord. Then I slip on my shoes and head out the door before the sun rises to face my fear head on.

So, thank you Mr. Fear. If not for your existence, transformation in my life might not be possible.

Reason #4,579 that I LOVE Girls on the Run is because of the amazing transformation that happens in the girls lives over the 10 weeks they are together. As s former coach, I have seen the possibilities realized and love to watch the girls learn about their #limitlesspotential. They learn how to face fears and overcome obstacles and find joy in the process. You can help support them by supporting me. Just click here to make a donation of any amount. Race day is just 2 weeks away – eek!

photo (2) photo

 

 

#gratitudelately and training update

One of my most favorite lessons from Girls on the Run teaches the difference between being thankful and expressing gratitude. In the same way that HP printers bring those digital pictures to life, gratitude gives life to our thanks and turns everything into enough!

In the spirit of the Holiday, I’m dedicating posts this month to gratitude!

Often times, it’s just the little things that make a difference.

New kicks

Like new kicks with an extra half size so my little piggies aren’t too squished just in time for this weekends 14-miler. Thank you so much to Fleet Feet for helping get me hooked up.

 

14 miles

I ran the furthest I have every run this weekend and could not be more grateful to have such an amazing running buddy by my side the entire time. Thanks, Minka! Plus a big shout out to Mother Nature for the cooler temps.

collage ice

Ice baths. For reals, y’all. I was scared to death the first time I tried this but I am so grateful I faced my fear. These things have been a life saver since we got up over the 10 mile mark.

 

Circle of ShoesBCG pyramid

The smiles on these faces are priceless and so are all of the volunteers that make it happen. Race day is 3 weeks out now and I couldn’t be more excited.  Please consider supporting me by donating here. Your donations will help ensure that young girls get to learn about the importance and impact they can have just by simply expressing their gratitude! If you know any young girls in those pre-teen to teenage years, then I am sure you understand just how far this can go.

I’m looking for good tunes to add to the race day playlist. What are your favorites? Heard any good power songs lately?

Tagged ,

#lovinlately

1. ProCompression Socks and all their amazing  support and fun colors. My calves are happier on those long runs.

Procompression

2. Lancome Definicils Mascara – I’ve been on a lifelong search for the just the right mascara. This one suites my makeup style just right. Being more on the natural side, this mascara defines more than it thickens and lengthens.

Mascara

3. I “heart” my Jawbone mini Jambox speaker. It makes my iTunes come to life.  I made the purchase on a whim about a year ago not exactly sure how this little device would fit in my life. Currently I find myself working more late nights and weekends, so I crank it up loud in my office and it makes those extra lonely work hours feel more like a solo party. I’m baffled as to why more people don’t want to join me during those hours.

Speaker

4. White chicken chili recipe care of Eat Live Run. The winds have shifted and the cooler temperatures are starting to roll in around these parts of Texas. That means it’s soup time in my kitchen.

white chicken chili

5. Cooler temperatures mean it’s time to pull out the running tights. I saw these compression tights in a fashion show at our local iRun store a couple of weeks ago and discovered they feel like butter. Who wouldn’t want to go for a long run in a pair of pants that feel like butter? I mean, really.

NUX tights

6.Kendra Scott earrings have been all the rage lately, only I had no idea how extensive the collection was until I made a store visit for a fundraiser a couple of weeks ago. The statement jewelry fad is fun and amazing, but not really my thing. However, this dainty little jewel made it’s way to my jewelry box and I have worn it almost every other day since. Besides the amazing jewelry, the Kendra Gives Back philanthropy efforts warm my heart. They hosted a fundraising event for my beloved Girls on the Run local council and donated 20% of the proceeds one evening back to us. It was like a charming event complete with Champagne and snacks.

KS necklace

9. Fall TV shows  are on and I am one of the biggest  Parenthood fans out there! If you haven’t seen this show, it’s a must. The current story line on Amber’s unplanned pregnancy hits very close to home and it has sparked a walk down memory lane for me. As hard as it is to believe, I will be an empty nester in less than a year. Oh my soul!
parenthood

PS. You should know that unplanned pregnancies are 100% preventable.

10. Girls on the Run. It always makes the list. This week I had the opportunity to sub for one of our coaches. My experience with GOTR started in coaching and the direct interaction with the girls is something that I really miss doing. Although I know it takes a village to make the organization run and I am a part of that village, when I have the chance to visit, run, and hang out with the girls it makes my day.

Coach Lindsey led a lesson that encouraged the girls to explore their personal values.

boerne gotr

Through a variety of games and thought provoking discussion, the girls learned more about what they each believe in and how it might be different from their peers. They covered topics like honesty, compassion, healthy living, and respect. Girls on the Run really is so much fun!

boerne gotr 2

11. YOU! As a bonus to my list, I am adding each of you. I am grateful for your visits to this page and the virtual support for my interest and love for GOTR. You can support me and this organization further by donating to my fundraising campaign here, SOLEMATES PAGE.  The race is just about 6 weeks away and I am $365.00 short of my goal.

fundraising dashboard

P.S. Training is moving right along. Last week’s long run was 12 miles and went much smoother than the 11 mile run. So much so that we finished just shy of the time we clocked for the 11 miles. Celebration time!!

 

All good feelings

How’s the training going, you ask? Good. Great. Really awesome. So glad you asked. You won’t believe it but I am already down to 6 weeks before race day. Things started getting real a couple of weeks ago when long runs finally entered the double digits. Each half I have trained for, the 10 mile mark is always dreaded, but empowering once it’s over and done. This 10-mile run, like each of the previous,  wasn’t one of my finest moments, but it’s over and done now.

Photo Oct 09, 9 23 17 PM

How’s the fundraising going, you ask? Good. But, we still have a little ways to go. Girls on the Run is near and dear to my heart and if you are new around here, you can read more about my love for this organization here and here. I’ve set a goal to raise $500 by November 22nd and I would love to have your support. When you contribute you are helping to provide supplies needed for the 10 week sessions that reach nearly 200 girls in Bexar County, and contribute to scholarships for many of the girls who need assistance to participate.

You can help out by making a donation to my personal fundraising by clicking here –> GOTR – SoleMates Runs Shiner

fundraising dashboard

This week our Girls on the Run are discussing what it means to be emotionally healthy. This lesson comes on the heels of talking about how important it is to fuel our healthy bodies and have an active lifestyle. Then just like that, the curriculum takes a deep dive with the girls into the difference between “comfortable” and “uncomfortable” feelings.  Uncomfortable = my feelings about that 10 mile run UGGHH; Comfortable = my feelings about your support for my fundraising WootWoot!!

Every time I have ever had the chance to lead this lesson I remember feeling like I was the most “uncomfortable” girl in the circle of this conversation. It’s about 4 weeks into the season and the little ladies have built an incredible trust relationship with one another. They have started to appreciate each other in new and exciting ways, embracing each others differences and  beginning to let go of any insecurities they may have had coming into the program. It’s such a sweet moment to watch the expressions on everyone’s face as the lesson unfolds and we enter a conversation about how there is no such thing as bad feelings, just comfortable and uncomfortable.

Oh, how I wished someone would have explained this concept to me when I was 13 years old. While I didn’t understand it then, I am so glad to know it now. Whether it’s a less than ideal 10 mile run, a crappy feeling that pops up from parenting a teenager, a comfortable silence with a good friend, or a warm and cozy feeling finding a letter of gratitude and encouragement in the mail from a friend. All the feelings we feel are good feelings. Feelings that fuel our emotional health.

Help a girl learn this lesson. It’s one of the big ones that every girl needs to hear and YOU CAN help make that happen.

GOTR Sole Mates

The making of a pearl

photo

The formation of a pearl begins when an intruder such as a grain of sand or grit enters between the two shell layers of the oyster and the protective layer that covers the oysters organs. The mollusk quickly begins to coat the irritant with a mineral layer called nacre or mother of pearl. Layer after layer of the nacre produces the iridescent beauty of the pearl.

Pearls have always been my gem of choice.

I love their simplicity.

I love their rawness.

I love their durability.

I love their timelessness.

I love their understated beauty.

At the time I was setting this blog up and selecting a name, I realized that I had a strong tendency to gravitate to one pair of earrings in my overflowing jewelry box. Just before stepping out of my bedroom door each morning,  I pilfered through my collection, holding up one pair and then another to find just the right compliment for that days wardrobe selection. As if without thought, I would lay down all of the colorful dangling beauties and slip on my simple, understated, classic, lovely, durable pearl studs, grab my gym bag and run out the door.

I also very much love a good running skirt and the feminity it brings to a good schweaty run. Hence the name Run Skirts and Pearls.

An irritant in my life is what started it all, this love affair with running. Running has become my protective layer that turns the unwanted intruder in my life into a the understated beauty of a life lesson.

But then there are days, where running is the grit and I the pearl. I thrive from the simple, raw, durable, timeless strength and beauty that I see in myself when it’s all over. And you can bet your bottom dollar on that raw part…makeup-less, sweaty, stinky, flushed, and downright disgusting.

So here is how it went down yesterday. A double whammy day that included an irritant begging for a protective covering to sooth the soul.

hill run

And nothing less than merciless grit to get me up and down that half mile climb. Pure, true grit.  When it was over I emerged raw but durable, and simple yet timeless. Plus I had a pretty good shimmer going on from the sweat pouring off of my brow.

 

 

 

Tagged ,

We are all Superstars!

At Girls On the Run we give away Energy Awards to help reinforce and reward positive behaviors. Superstar is one of my favorites. This could possibly be because I watched way too much SNL during the 90’s and in so many ways identified with the awkwardly, spastic and nutty Mary Katherine. But, I am getting off track…big shout out to all of you SUPERSTARS out there that kicked off this fundraising effort with me! I could not be more grateful for each and every one of YOU!

This Sunday wraps up week 4 of the 17 week training plan with a 7-miler.  I am feeling stronger than I have in quite sometime and I really attribute this to the  yoga I’ve added into my workout routine. Yoga has been not only a place where I have found some happiness on my mat, but good golly, Miss Molly…my hips are seeing some flexibility they haven’t seen in almost 18 years. Bring on the Sun Salutations.

Last week training was briefly interrupted. I squeezed in a quick end-of-summer get away in which I sat on the beach, watched a cross-fit group work out all day in some sort of crazy beach workout, while I sipped on an ice-cold shandy, stared at the ocean, and read a mindless book. It was the best. Especially the part where I watched the cross-fit group work their fannies off. I wanted to jump right up and give them each a big Superstar shout out!

beach

Due in great part to you Superstars, fundraising is moving right along. If you haven’t made a donation yet, you too can be a Superstar  by clicking this link. Read up more about my fundraising efforts on prior posts and learn why I love this organization and how it is impacting the lives of so many little Superstars! Pay close attention to the part where you CAN make a difference.

fundraising dashboard

 

In honor of the late Don Pardo, let’s talk SNL a little more today… do you have any favorite characters, sketches, years, writers? Or do you all have an affinity for Mary Katherine and Superstar like I do?

 

 

#Instalately

IMG_5785.JPG

IMG_5719.JPG

IMG_5702.JPG

IMG_5738.JPG

IMG_4348.JPG

IMG_5650.JPG

IMG_5701.JPG

IMG_5621.JPG

IMG_5613.JPG

gratitude turns everything into enough

What CAN you do?

I posted over at Girls On the Run San Antonio blog this week. Check out what Coaching for this organization means to me here.

Amy Coach

I am not Coaching this season, but embracing my ability and desire to make a difference by running the Shiner Half Marathon in November as a SoleMate for GOTR. I’ve set a fundraising goal of $500.00 because I CAN run, I CAN rise to the challenge, and I CAN start to change the world right here in my local community.

We believe that every girl
can embrace who she is,
can define who she wants to be,
can rise to any challenge,
can change the world.
Can.

You CAN help make a difference too by making a donation to my cause.

Shiner training Mapmyrun start week

This week training officially kicked off.  I ran just under 15 miles this week and I am challenging at least 2 of you to donate $15.00 each. That is  just $1.00 per mile per person.

We can do this incrementally together, friends. I’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 miles to log before race day. If together we can come up with $2.00 a mile over the next 12 weeks, then we will have this thing in the bag and you CAN know you helped make a difference in the lives of super special young ladies!

Here is the link for making a donation:  Amy’s donation page.  And if you missed the first challenge in this post, there is still a really cool GOTR T-Shirt available for the first person to make a donation.

Recently I have come across articles and conversations about the fulfillment and passion for a purposefull life. I find fulfillment in my involvement with this organization because I personally have a passion for health and fitness and for children. Girls On the Run is where it intersects for me. Where do you find fulfillment, passion, and purpose in life? Do you have a cause that aligns with those areas of life you feel are important and bring meaning to your life?  

 

 

 

Tagged , , ,