Speedy Quick

Holy bananas!

My, has it been awhile!

Life has been busy – with getting married, buying a house,

and training for a half marathon.

Yep, I said it.  I’m back in the game!

I signed up for a half marathon in late November,

which is dedicated as my “comeback run” after being basically injured for a year.

Training has already had its ups and downs.

This Sacramento weather just can’t make up its mind.

One day it feels like summer, another feels like fall.

So my after work runs have been a little hot and slow.

But I’ve been crossing miles off the training schedule,

and that’s all that matters!

Last weekend I nearly had a crying fit because I missed my long run,

so this morning I had a little more amp in my step.

Well!  What a glorious long run it was!

Sometimes you need a little motivation to push yourself to your best,

and today it was the girl who was running faster than me up ahead the trail.

I consider myself a medium speed runner – usually a 10 minute mile,

so people who pass me usually don’t get to me.

But for some reason, today I was a little irked,

so I pushed myself to go faster.

Long story short, I finished my run with 9:15 splits!

Who knew I had it in me?  I certainly did not.

My best half marathon time was 2:02,

but just after that is when I injured my knee.

I’ve been dying to get back to that kind of shape ever since.

Maybe my comeback really is here.

And it feels damn good.

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All I wanna do..

Lately my motivation for the day

is that I have an afternoon run waiting for me.

Most people would read this and think

that maybe I’m stressed out or that life has been a little hard lately.

But it’s really not that.

It’s more that I’ve missed running so much, and I’m finally able to run again,

that it’s really all I want to do.

And when I’m not running, its on my mind most of the time.

I feel like a seventh grade girl who can’t stop thinking about her crush.

When I wake up in the morning and realize it’s a running day

there is an instant buzz inside me.  An anticipation.

Though it’s frustrating knowing the run distance is minuscule

compared to my runs of the past,

I’m just happy to be out there.

I thrive on the feeling I get when a workout is complete

and I wholeheartedly believe in the “Runners High.”

There’s nothing like it.

Running clears my head, brings positivity in my heart

and makes me feel like a champ.

There’s nothing I’d rather do.

My next scheduled running day won’t be for a few days.

After all, I am trying my best to ‘take it easy.’

(Easier said than done.)

But maybe this slow and steady start

has allowed me to appreciate my sport, and cherish it, that much more.

A Runners take on Boston

Aside

 Running for me is about the challenge.

It’s about those moments when I overcome the thoughts of “I can’t”

and replacing them with, “Yes, I can!”

That surge of energy when the finish line is near

when I can see it, and I push myself to get there.  Faster.

As I was camping this weekend,

I read all about the Boston Marathon in the May edition of Runners World.

It was really the first time I ever read about the race and thought,

Man, wouldn’t that be kick ass if I could somehow qualify for that?

The thought never even crossed my mind.

Hell, I’m just trying to get strong enough to finish my first marathon.

But yesterday, when I read those horrible news stories about

the tragedy in Boston, my heart dropped.

It’s hard for me to imagine

training for months and months to even qualify to run the Boston Marathon

then train even harder to be sure I crossed the finish line with pride in Boston,

THEN have it all ruined by a horrible, horrible ending

or not even an ending at all.

It leaves a pit in my stomach.

People are cruel.

And sometimes they ruin the fun for everyone.

Let this not ruin the camaraderie that races bring.

The “We can do this!” attitude

and the idea that we all look out for each other on the course.

Races are supposed to bring people together.

Let’s stick together and not let that fade.

Whoever did this should not take all of that away from us.

The next time I cross a finish line, I’ll be thinking of those runners.

The ones that crossed the finish line,

and sadly, the ones that didn’t.

Those that ran the race, and then had the strength to be a hero and give blood.

I will run for them.

Talk about something to push me across that finish line faster.

i haven’t lost the fight

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight,

but the size of the fight in the dog.”

Words of wisdom from my father

(quoted first by Mark Twain)

I’ve been listening to these words all my life.

I cling to them because they hold a sentimental memory,

but also because they remind me to stay determined

when things get hard.

This was supposed to be my marathon year.

But I’m slowly starting to believe that this dream

is going to have to be postponed.

I guess I can’t say this year has been a failure

as far as running goes.

After all, I have already done two half marathons in 2012.

Who can say that they’ve done the same?

I guess not many.

But an annoying and confusing injury

has definitely put my marathon training on hold.

It feels like I’ve tried everything:

resting for a week or two, getting new shoes,

yoga, hot yoga, swimming, icing, foam rolling,

you name it.

Nothing is working.

My physical therapist never told me to stop running.

She said to take it easy.

I have been.

It’s not working.

Last night there were tears.

And this morning I got misty just thinking about the fact

that my marathon dream for this year is disappearing.

Silly to some, but incredibly important to me.

I’m sorry, but if you’re not a runner,

you might just not get it.

Don’t tell me to stop running.

I won’t.

Don’t tell me I’m getting old.

I’m not.

(There are plenty people over 40 who run and are healthy

or have overcome injuries.)

Instead of that, encourage me.

And sometimes, ask me about something other than running.

It hurts my heart when people ask me how running is going lately.

I feel like such a downer.

So honestly, let’s change the subject for awhile.

My new take on this is that I’m taking a break.

Running is not over.

I’m just listening to my body.

Doing a half marathon in October, then March, then May

was probably not the best idea.

And thinking I could train for another in September

and then a full in December,

was probably crazy.

Let’s be honest.

(I think I’m exiting the ‘denial’ stage of injury, finally.)

This girl’s got fight, and I’m not quitting.

Running consumes my heart.  It’s my passion.

And my marathon dreams can wait.

The drive I have for running won’t let this injury break me.

I’m tough.

I have the fight.

Another beginning

When I walked into the staff lounge on the first day of school,

my principal had written,

“Happy first day of school!  

Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint

so train accordingly.

I felt like it was meant for me.

One, because I’m training for a marathon,

and two, because it was the perfect reminder to remember to take time

for the little things that matter most.

Like getting to know the “real” kiddos that are in my class.

I call this activity “5 Things in a  Bag”

taken from Pinterest.

It’s a quick and easy way to bring that

Joy Factor to your classroom, while getting to know your students.

It’s as easy at the title makes it sound.

Basically you pick 5 things that represent you and put them in the bag.

Only rules:

-Any item chosen needs to be able to fit in the bag.

-If it can’t, draw or take a picture of it, and put the picture in the bag.

-No electronics. (I made this rule up, for fear I would see iPods,

DSs, cell phones, etc make it into the bag.)

Here are mine…

My running bib book.

I tried to explain how runners wear bibs during races.

I related it to the Olympics, since I figured many had seen

the track and field events on TV.

“You were in the Olympics?” one boy asked.

Ha! No… but it was a sweet thought!

Ahhhh. Summer Sisters.  This was my favorite book in high school.

My friend Jana and I read it together and would compare

ourselves to the best friends in this book.

Well, this summer, I was pleasantly surprised when Jana

mailed me a copy.  Signed by Judy Blume.

It was totally unexpected, as she and I haven’t spoken in months!

My ticket box.

I keep most tickets from events, movies, and games that I attend.

Mainly the Sacramento Kings games I go to with my dad.

Watching basketball with my dad has always been a treasured  pastime.

I’ve been going to Kings games for as long as I can remember.

Arco Arena is where I learned a lot of my basketball knowledge,

but it’s actually a bigger place to me.

It’s my favorite place to hang out with my dad.

Because one of the rules states that you can bring a picture

if something you want to bring is too big to fit in the bag.

So I chose this picture.

It represents my love for the American River.

Whether it was chasing the ducks, riding bikes,

or learning to skip rocks,

a ton of my childhood memories include being around this river.

Nowdays I spend time running on the American River Parkway

or floating down it in a raft during the hot summers.

But to this day, this river holds a special place in my heart.

And last, but not least, there’s Dennis the Menace.

The comic strip that gave me my name.

See that girl with the brown hair?  That’s Gina.

When my parents were deciding on my name,

my mother gave my dad two ideas – Regina and Janelle.

Well, my dad always enjoyed reading this comic as a kid,

so he went with Regina, and decided that they’d call me “Gina.”

Then he wrote a letter to Hank Ketcham

to tell him about me and how he chose my name.

Well, a few weeks later, Hank Ketcham sent my dad a letter.

And inside was an original comic, just for me.

I wish I had a picture of it to display it here,

but it has the best quote.

“The world needs more Ginas.”

The mind is a powerful thing

My run this morning felt like a roller coaster of the mind.

I would call myself a runner.

But lately, I haven’t felt like one.

I’ve been in a tug-a-war battle with a nagging knee injury.

It’s not painful to the body, but it nags at me.

It’s something that is starting to bring me down, because I don’t feel my best.

So, in hopes to bring my spirits up a little

I bought new shoes.

And these aren’t just any shoes.

They are bright and spunky.

(But don’t worry, I didn’t buy them just because of their appearance.)

Who wouldn’t want to go for a run after seeing these shoes staring at you?

So, these are the shoes that got me out the door

and picked up my confidence about running this morning.

But as I ran, there was that nagging feeling from my knee.

Tight.  Annoying.  Confusing.

I basically am in this weird place where I can’t figure out

if running more is going to make it worse

or if I need to just shut up and run.

I can honestly say that it is improving,

but certainly not at the pace I’d like it to.

Which brings me to this constant battle of decisions.

Is it getting better because I’m returning to training and being smart?

Or is it not disappearing fully because I keep running?

But then I see my running stuff in the corner,

and I just can’t stay away.

I never really thought mantras worked,

but since being injured, I know that

the mind is a powerful thing.

It’s what gets me through the roughest of rough runs.

I wouldn’t say today was terrible,

but I definitely was starting to feel a little defeated

when I looked down at my watch and saw that I was

almost a minute slower than what I’m used to.

Warriors don’t quit.

Somehow this one popped into my head.

Yeah. Warriors don’t quit.

When things get in the way, a warrior perseveres.

A nagging injury in my way?

Move aside!

Lots of white spots instead of highlighted ones

on my training calendar?

That won’t stop me.

And then, Be strong.

I am strong.  I will overcome.

I seriously have CIM on the brain and the thought of backing out

literally almost brings me to tears.

But there’s no need for tears here.  Because I’m strong.

I’m going to figure this out.  It will heal and I’ll be badass once again.

Or so I tell myself.

And then lastly, Believe.

It was a new one.  A mantra that just arrived.

But it was perfect.

I see myself as a person who sees the glass half full more than often.

But lately, not so much when it comes to running.

This one word fits so perfectly though.

If I have the belief that I will do well, then I will.

It’s a matter of mindset.

And again, this is why the mind is a powerful thing.

If you’re a runner, or even if you’re not,

I think mantras are important.

They’re what get us through those trying days.

Days when it feels like everything sucks and nothing can right it.

Warriors don’t quit. Be strong. Believe.

Those words give me hope.  They help me remember.

What does your mind tell you?

reality check

They say you learn something new every day…

Well, here are the things I learned while swimming in this gorgeous pool this afternoon:

1. I suck at freestyle!

Holy crap!  I honestly didn’t realize how hard this

swim stroke really is!  No joke – I made it 3/4 of the way across the pool before I

couldn’t bear to plant my face in the water and continue proper form.

Weak sauce!

Which led me to #2..

2. I’ve decided that swimmers do not get enough credit.

No, seriously, they don’t.  One of my summer bucket list items was to spend

a TON of time by the pool. (The one above in particular.)

And I am proud to say I have.

Though I cannot say that I have spent a lot of time in the pool

actually working on fitness and cross training like I should be.

Yowza.  Swimming kicks your butt!!!

Let’s just say I enjoyed a nap after my swim today.

A happy little shout out to any swimmers out there.  You’re amazing!

3. Injuries have a lot of highs and lows.  And because of that,

you have to have a good attitude.  Which is very difficult.

I will say that I am VERY lucky that my injury is not painful.

It’s just annoying and nagging.

And trust me, if it hurt, I’d be crying like a baby.

After all, I cry about being sick.

So I guess this is a good thing that I’m not crying.

Back to the point.  Today was a combination of highs and lows.

I had a major high while swimming (and getting my ass kicked…)

because swimming is shockingly fun!

I was panting like your dog on a hot summer day, but I was having fun!

But my freakin’ leg was obviously not happy with me afterwards.

I keep making vows that I’m “taking a break” when lows like this come around,

but honestly, I can never follow through.

So here is yet another pretend proclamation for now:

I’m taking a break from running until after Disneyland.

Which gives me about a week and half.

Ha!

We’ll see how long this lasts!

And with that thought…came #4

4. Don’t forget about your mantras, even if they are in a different context.

I have a few running mantras:

Warriors don’t quit.

and

Be strong!

I guess even though I’ve been having to take it easy,

I can’t give up on the above words.

I won’t give up.  And, I am strong.

I saw a really awesome quote on Pinterest today,

“Turn a setback into a comeback.”

LOVE THIS!

If ‘warriors don’t quit,’ they don’t let setbacks get in the way.

They find a way to thrive anyway.

So, the chin is up.  I forge on.

What’d you learn about yourself today?