Dirty Dozen recap

Hello! How are you? Me, I’m great. Excited to share my recap of the Brazen Racing Dirty Dozen!

If I wasn’t training for a marathon I don’t know that I would have been compelled to sign up for this, but since I take my long runs on Saturday this fell perfectly into my schedule and I got a free race entry for volunteering at a race in June!

The premise of the event is that you can either do 6 hours or 12 hours. The course is a 3.37 mile loop and at the start area there is a camp area you can set up camp at to change, rest, refill water etc. At the final hour (5th and 11th hours) they open a little loop which is about a half mile you can complete to get more miles in. If you aren’t back at the finish line when your event ends, whatever loop you were in does not get credited to your total mileage. They also have a 5k/10k in the morning and another in the evening you can run in addition to your 6/12 hour event or just on their own. Capiche?

I was signed up for the 6 hour event. I had to do at least 17 miles per my training plan. I went to Fleet Feet two days before the event and asked Coach Patrick if I was feeling ok if I could do more. He said yes, but no more than 20 (don’t worry, wasn’t a concern!). Deal.

My husband was doing the event too but was more excited about what food they were serving than how many miles he was gonna run ๐Ÿ˜‚

Pre-Race

We rented a canopy from Sports Basement and had a cooler and a wagon full of stuff to set up our camp area. Hauling it up to the race was not fun.

Many of my friends were running the event so we set up camp next to them. We picked up our bibs and I was less than thrilled to see my number ๐Ÿ˜‘

7:00 am and we were off, but not without a FtoF selfie ๐Ÿ˜

Time to run!

My friend Melissa was there too doing the 12 hour, and she has been a great friend through my marathon training. She is training for a marathon the week after mine so we have been bonding daily over how our training is going. It’s neat to share this experience with someone. When I was lined up for the event to start, she was walking over and found me and we started running together. At first it was a rather hearty crowd of people, but since I was doing run/walk intervals, I seeded myself towards the back and eventually the crowd thinned out. It was an absolutely beautiful morning, and since I had never run the event before I was taking in the course. Melissa had done it before so she knew what to expect, which was good since I wasn’t really paying attention ๐Ÿ˜‚

To sum it up, the course is hard packed dirt (anyone who is a roadrunner and considering this event, you’d be just fine), and there are a few small climbs (that get bigger as the day goes on ๐Ÿค”), and one small section of single track trail. The views are beautiful.

I was really excited when Melissa said “look it’s Tony!” who runs the page “I am Endorphin Dude”. I love his page and have wanted to meet him for ages so it was great that he ran up to us and took a selfie!

About 1.5ish? miles in there was an aid station. We took a quick bathroom break and then enjoyed some of nature’s best food in the universe!

We continued on through the first loop and when we finished, stopped at the aid station at the finish area, and decided not to stop at our camp site and kept going.

Lap 2

It was hot and I could tell. I was drinking water like it was going out of style. We headed out again and I was still feeling pretty good. I had no idea how many miles I had run because we were laughing the entire time. We stopped at the aid station again and I desperately needed electrolyte drink. Thank goodness they had it there! We finished and I needed to fill up my water and get another pack of Skratch chews. I was eating one serving of them per lap. Off we went again!

Lap 3

We went out again, and I was still feeling pretty good. We made our usual stop at the aid station for water and electrolytes. I think this was the lap I became privy to the fact that they had an ice bucket with sponges at the aid station and OH MAN did that feel good. That sun was a beast!

As we rounded the bend to the start area again, we saw Stephanie and I think this was when we all synced up to run together. I stopped at the finish line aid station for a little boost, and off we went again.

Lap 4

I did a lot more walking this lap which was a good change of pace. Stephanie always tells me in trail running to walk the uphills. Well, in yesterday’s case I did that plus a little more ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ.

It was nice to chat with the two of them for a good long while. We finished the loop and I stopped back at camp to get more water and more fuel. They did the same, and around we went again.

Lap 5

Stephanie ran with us for a little bit again but then broke off to continue on with her mileage goal. Around this time and during the previous lap we ran they started putting out funny posters. We saw a lot of hilarious signs as we ran. Here are a few:

The big decision

When we finished this loop I knew I wanted to go for more. At the end of this loop my Garmin hit 16.75 miles and the clock said I about 70 minutes left until my event was over. I had two choices.

  1. Go for another big loop and push hard to make sure I finished before the cutoff
  2. Run a bunch of little loops when it opened at the 5th hour

Now, I knew right away what the right choice was. I had to go for the big loop. It would put me a hair over 20 and I had plenty of time to complete it if I stayed focused. I am so glad I had Melissa with me to have someone to talk to! We stopped a camp and she changed her shoes and I changed my socks and we went off again.

Lap 6: the final!

We went for it. I gave it a little extra push and was carefully watching the time to make sure I made the cutoff. I knew even if I didn’t make the cut off, that I still put the miles in, but I still wanted it on record how hard I had worked!

I made a stop at the aid station and just got a little extra fluid to push me through the end. I had about 3 ounces of coke which helped give me a sugar boost.

As we rounded the bend I could see the clock and was like YES!!!! There were about 10 minutes left and I had made the time. I got a little confused about where to go (there were two archways set up, one for the little loop and one for the big), but crossed and got my medal and celebrated that I had crushed 20 miles! Melissa gave me a double high five and because she’s a beast, she kept going since she was doing the 12 hour event.

Done and done!

As soon as I got back to my camp area I sat down to take my shoes off. My husband quickly advised to be careful sitting on the ground because we had a guest….

Oh heck no.

I knew I needed to eat but the line for food was long and I needed to rest and drink fluids. I rolled my legs out and elevated them and found a snack. That salt tasted so good ๐Ÿ˜

Eventually I got some real food at the BBQ. I was mighty proud of myself because they were giving out Its It’s and I didn’t take one since I knew a milkshake was in my future!

We hung out for a while and watched runners go by. The energy was contagious hearing people cheer each other on. I also met so many people while out running. It was a joy.

Eventually around 3:30 we decided after hanging out for a few hours that it was time to go home for showers and dinner. I said goodbye to everyone I saw. But before we left, we got one last picture.

Dinner time

I promised myself when I signed up for this marathon that the day I ran 20 miles I would eat burgers and a milkshake. Accomplished.

Until next time Dirty Dozen, and there will be a next time!

Mercury Mile Box

Hello! How are you? Me, I’m great. Trying to find my legs again after my long run/race yesterday ๐Ÿ˜‚. While I was running my Mercury Mile box came in the mail! I had never heard of them before but my friend Stephanie at Run Strong Run posted discount code “BibRave10” for $10 off the styling fee so I gave it a whirl.

The premise is that you fill out a survey of types of activity you do, distance and frequency of running, what you prefer to wear for weather and comfort, colors you like, links to your social media and any specific notes you have. You choose a date for delivery and then they charge you a $20.00 styling fee for your box. Anything you choose to keep out of the box gets charged to your credit card and your styling fee gets applied to anything you keep. You return the items you don’t keep in a prepaid package that comes with your delivery within 7 days and keep the ones you like. That simple!

To recap my profile, I wrote I liked long shorts and capris and never wore pants, tank tops that were loose, bright colors, training for two marathons this year and linked my Instagram. Here’s what I got.

Introduction

I received a letter from my stylist highlighting some of her choices, as well as some basic instructions for the package and a list of price points for items if I kept them. Here was her introduction:

So let’s see what I got…

1. New Balance Ice 2.0 top

I love color but this color wasn’t something I normally wear. I would have liked to see a tank version of this. The fabric was breathable and the color was fun, especially since I rarely wear something in this color scheme. I wear lots of jewel tones or neon in my regular and running life. I was disappointed that I specifically said in my profile I only run in tanks and got a shirt. This missed the mark.

Verdict: return

2. New Balance Impact Capri

I LOVE these capris! And I mean LOVE!!!! I have such a hard time with buying clothes because of my quadzilla quads and finding stuff that will stay on my waist. These were comfortable, stayed up, and felt great! Highly recommend these.

Verdict: I’m still not sure! I feel conflicted because I love these so much but I also have been running mostly in shorts lately because it’s been so hot. My concern is spending the money on these capris only to not have them fit when cooler temps come around. I’m fairly certain I will return them but purchase them later down the line when the cooler temps come around and I’ll be a smaller size.

3. Sarah Marie Design Studio tank

I love everything about this tank. I’m glad they sent it in an XL instead of an L because I could tell the cut of these would be too small in a large for me. I prefer my tops to be loose. It’s a great moisture wicking fabric, comfortable as can be, and something I would not normally buy for myself so I’m glad they sent it!

Verdict: keep for sure!!!!

4. Brooks 7″ Chaser Shorts

These were more of a loose fabric and not the tight spandex/compression style I normally wear. They had pockets on the hips too. The fabric was comfortable but they looked horrible on me! These aren’t cut for someone of my body style. I’m too curvy and everything just bulged and it was bad news bears all around.

Verdict: return

6. Asics 5.5 inch cool shorts

I did not like these at all. I prefer a much higher waist band, a much longer short, and thought the bunching because of my curvy bottom half would make these very uncomfortable to wear to workout.

Verdict: return

Freebies

They also sent me a laundry detergent sample and some Sarah Marie Design Studio nail wraps which was very kind!

Overall

I think some of the items missed the mark in my box, but some were spot on. Next time I’ll be even more specific in my runner profile. I appreciate that they were able to send me items that were my size. I always hesitate because I’m afraid there will be a lack of stuff in bigger size but this was great.

Thanks Mercury Mile! Until the next one!

May I please have two sets of chopsticks?

Hi! How are you? Me, I’m great. Excited it is the weekend! I had a great thought yesterday and wanted to share today.

I picked up some Vietnamese food yesterday for lunch and decided to get an appetizer as well as an entree so I could eat half for lunch yesterday and half for lunch today. I realized upon doing that I needed to ask for two sets of chopsticks and had a flashback moment

When I was in college I would regularly order potstickers and chow mein for dinner if the cafeteria was closed. I had a big love of Chinese food. I would also go to the all you can eat Chinese buffet and eat my weight in, you guessed it, chicken chow mein and potstickers. When I would order my takeout, I would request two sets of chopsticks. I was under the delusion that the restaurant staff would think I was taking home my food to share with someone. I’m sure my 264 pound body said otherwise. It was not apparent then but is now that I can look back, that I wasn’t fooling anyone and my overeating issues were deep.

Then and Now

When I picked up my lunch yesterday I was proud knowing that both sets of chopsticks would get used. I haven’t completely defeated my food demons, but I’m learning to live with them.

Cheers to always trying to be our best. โค๏ธ

-Vanessa

SR Marathon training recap: June 2018

Hi! How are you? Me, I’m great. Feeling good about how June went for the first month of 26.2 training. Wanted to share a little bit of what that was like.

I didn’t have an official date that I started training. Since I work with Coach Patrick I sort of just… run all the time, but the intensity dialed up right after Memorial Day weekend after I ran the Armed Forces half.

I’ve found that the mindset of doing as much as I can, even if the miles are slow, is what’s going to get me success on race day. I’ve been mindful of sleeping enough, eating better (with the exception of three donuts in June I had no other sweets! That’s huge for me). I haven’t nailed all my workouts perfectly, but I’m glad that when I open TrainingPeaks I don’t see a bunch of missed workouts, which is something I struggled with during my last marathon training because I did not run as much as I should have. I wanted to share my experience of how training has gone this month. In addition to running, I’ve worked at least 40 hours a week, volunteered every Friday in June on my lunch break to serve lunch to kids at the local park through the food bank and spend two Saturdays volunteering for other things. I’ve been busy!

Here’s a recap on month one:

Week 1:

  • Wednesday: May 30: strength training
  • Thursday, May 31: I was supposed to run an easy 5 but took a rest day
  • Friday, June 1: strength training
  • Saturday, June 2: this was my first official change to Saturday long runs, which was a hard shift in routine at first. I was supposed to run 13 miles but my legs were toast from strength training the day before. I ran 9 miles and decided to switch strength days to Monday/Wednesday instead so I could feel fresh on long run days.

Week 2

  • Sunday, June 3: rest day (nailed it!)
  • Monday, June 4: strength training
  • Tuesday, June 5: speed drills. Warm up then 10 sets of 3 fast, 2 easy and a cool down. This was brutal to start but once I realized I had finished my 10th set it felt like time had flown by. This was the same day I impulse bought a pair of AfterShokz and this was their maiden voyage. I do not recommend testing new headphones on speed drill days. I love them now, but they were hard to figure out and I was totally distracted during my workout.
  • Wednesday, June 6: strength training
  • Thursday, June 7: scheduled for a 5 mile easy run. Got in 4.5 miles because I was meeting up with friends for dinner that evening.
  • Friday, June 8: scheduled for a 3 mile easy day but took a rest day.
  • Saturday, June 9: was the day I apparently decided I was invincible. I was scheduled to run 13 miles but ran 14. That day has been a big turning point for this round of 26.2 training because I totally exceeded my own expectations that day.

Week 3

  • Sunday, June 10: was a rest day but since I took a rest day Friday I ran my 3 easy miles this day
  • Monday, June 11: strength training
  • Tuesday, June 12: speed drills, warm up, 5 fast minutes, 3 easy minutes, repeat 6x and cool down. It was very, very hot that day and I was already intimidated by the 5 push minutes and so I did the workout but I struggled. I talked to my coach about it and he said because it was hot, I did the right thing by doing my best.
  • Wednesday, June 13: strength training
  • Thursday, June 14: I was scheduled for 6 miles but I did 5. I stayed late at work and was exhausted, and remember being so tired during this run I was surprised I got 5 miles out of my legs.
  • Friday, June 15: scheduled for 3 easy, but did a 2.2 mile loop around the lake
  • Saturday, June 16: volunteered at the Double Dipsea. Tons of fun but I was so tired when I got home at 4pm I skipped dinner and went straight to bed

Week 4

  • Sunday, June 17: scheduled for a 14 mile long run with rolling hills. I got in 11 miles, some of which on an extreme trail that was entirely too ambitious. I was still feeling that same exhaustion from Thursday on this day but got in those 11 before calling it quits
  • Monday, June 18: strength training
  • Tuesday, June 19: speed work. We had an all day meeting at work and I knew I wouldn’t be able to run after work and when I had asked Coach Patrick which workout to skip this week because of it, he told me to go running before work ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚. No excuses with him I guess! So I did my speed drills before work. This was my first time running before work.
  • Wednesday, June 20: strength training
  • Thursday, June 21: 6 mile easy run
  • Friday, June 22: I chose to skip the 4 mile easy run Coach Patrick assigned and do it on Sunday instead because I wanted to go to bed early for my long run. The weather prediction for Saturday was mid-90’s so I skipped the run to go to bed at 8pm so I could get up at 4:15
  • Saturday, June 23: 15 mile long run. It was very hot, but I hunkered down and stayed focused and was mindful of hydration and fueling. I then went home and took a 4 hour nap. Training for a marathon is seriously hard stuff and I have no shame in my early bed times and naps!
  • Sunday, June 24: Easy 4 miles that I skipped Friday

Week 5

  • Monday, June 25: strength training
  • Tuesday, June 26: I was scheduled for speed drills but my husband and I ended up at the local fun run. It was nice to spend time with him since he works 6 days a week. I ran 2.1 miles at the fun run.
  • Wednesday, June 27: strength training
  • Thursday, June 28: 6 mile tempo run. Was supposed to do 2 easy/2 at half marathon pace/2 easy but I only managed one at HM pace. I did get in all six miles. It was so hot and again, I texted with my coach to make sure I made smart choices.
  • Friday, June 29: scheduled for 4 easy miles, got in 3. It was going to be 90 degrees so I went before work. I like going before work! Maybe I’ll do it more.
  • Saturday, June 30: 16 mile long run. It was again, a mid 90’s weather forecast so I went right when the sunrose. Glad I did because it was HOT!

Recap

  • June miles: 112. I’m so proud I hit over 100 miles this month. I don’t know the last time I did that.
  • Miles in SR marathon training cycle: 112, I suppose?

July Goals

  • Meeting up with friends for some of my long runs. Doing next weekend’s 17 mile long run at Brazen Racing’s Dirty Dozen for some on course support and to see friends and planning a few runs with friends
  • Running the first half of the SF marathon on July 29. I have no time goal, but my coach has built in a taper period so my legs won’t be totally trashed on race day
  • Play with hydration. I lose a lot of salt when I sweat and since it has been so hot lately, I’ve sweat more than usual. Working on finding a good balance of fluids both during the run and outside of it for myself
  • I’ve been utilizing checking in with my coach more often and plan to do that more. I think I might also see if he has time for an in person check in soon because I know once I get closer to my 20 miler I’ll get more nervous, and I would also just like to talk out how training is going

Happy June running! Ready to kick butt in July!

Armed Forces Half Marathon recap!

Hi! How are you? Me, I’m great. I’m so excited to write this post because the Armed Forces half marathon was a blast and I’m so happy I registered for it on a whim this year.

Registering for the event!

After the Eugene Half marathon on April 29th, I felt really good and strong and proud of my performance and decided two things:

  1. I wanted to run the Santa Rosa marathon this year
  2. I wanted to run another half marathon in late May or early June

Now, I have a rule for myself that I wait about a week to register for a race after I run a race to make sure I’m not being impulsive with my runner’s high, and that I’m not trying to force myself to run a distance too close after running a race. I had originally decided to upgrade my Windsor Green 10k to do the half, but I decided I would rather do a different race and experience a new half marathon instead. After lots of research, the Armed Forces half was the winner.

  • Morning of packet pick up
  • I could drive there that morning
  • 3:30 course limit (I knew I would be near three hours and like the extra cushion)
  • Was on a Saturday, and I’m starting long runs on Saturdays now. Also, my husband had to work the same day and I knew I would be bored out of my mind

So on May 9, just 2.5 weeks before the race, I pulled the trigger and registered. I was a little nervous because I didn’t know anything about the race, the race started really early, meaning I had to leave early, and I would be going by myself. Now, I know I’m 30 years old, but I’m also supremely introverted and have a hard time going to new places alone so the fact that I was going to give that a try was a big step for me.

But I digress.

Race week

After my performance at the Windsor 10k I was so surprised by my pace that I texted Coach Patrick in a wee bit of a panic.

He chatted me through a plan and a pacing goal which really helped me align. I am in no shape to PR but I also feel like I have no sense of how strong my little body is right now. He told me to stick to the plan for the week that he had given me, which I mostly did except on a whim I got invited to audition for a musical the same week I was tapering so I had an unexpected hour dance evening during the week. Fortunately it wasn’t too treacherous on my body, but it happened.

But Tuesday before the race I was at work, and my calf had bothered me during the Windsor 10k but loosened up and then I stepped off a curb at work walking between buildings of my company, and something in my right calf tightened up and I panicked! I went running that night and I couldn’t do it. I was so upset. Was I going to miss my first 13.1 race???? All because I stepped off a curb funny???

I rested on Wednesday instead of running what was on the plan, and on Thursday went for a massage, where she worked just on my calf. It felt better but I felt so loopy and woozy afterwards. I drank a lot of water and ate some popcorn and went to bed and told myself to run my shakeout on Friday and see how I felt.

Friday I laid out my clothes and ran about 20 minutes. I felt a dull feeling in my leg but it was tolerable. A friend had invited me over for dinner and let me elevate my leg at her house and I told myself to wake up the next morning and see how things felt. If I was really concerned, I wouldn’t go, but I had faith.

Race morning

I had to wake up really early. It was brutal. I felt good and decided to go to the race. If things were bad, I would stop at an aid station and asked to be picked up. Easy as that. But I didn’t think I would need to.

Because I woke up so early I couldn’t stomach any food and saved my pre-race breakfast for the course. Did I mention I had to get up SO EARLY?!?? I had to leave the house at 4. FOUR FREAKING AM.

And off I went. It was really dark and I’ll be honest when I say I did not love driving that early when it was that dark. I got about 5 hours of sleep the night before so I was nervous. Next time I’ll consider that and probably get a hotel room for races that early.

I got on site around 5:25 AM. I am glad I left as early as I did because I was so bamboozled trying to find where I could park. I knew there were garages but I didn’t know where they were. I also walked in on someone who didn’t lock their port o potty so that was an exciting way to start the race ๐Ÿ˜‘

The event, the Armed Forces Half Marathon, honors a branch of the armed forces each year. Last year was the first year and they did the navy and this year it was the army. I don’t have any family who has served, but I know two people who served in the army and I was sad I hadn’t thought to invite them to join. It was a really neat starting line with the army men and women, and vehicles.

The start line quickly filled up a few minute before the start, and they sang they National Anthem. They also played taps as a moment to honor. It was exciting to see everyone in their patriotic running gear, and runners wearing shirts noting what branches they served in or hearing them talk about it. If you have served, are serving, are a veteran, I thank you for your service.

I found a friend who I knew was running the race, Lupe, and was chatting with her at the start. We had talked online about the event and I told her maybe we could run a bit together. Off the race went, so we ran and talked.

The course goes through what is known as Bunker City” in Concord, CA. The early part of the race had an incline and across the course a few ups and downs.

It was HUMID during the race and I mean HUMID. I could feel sweat just pouring out of me during the first two miles of the race. I was worried I wouldn’t be warm enough just wearing a tank top but I was so glad I had because it was so humid out.

The course had great on course support and cheering. There was a trio of runners doing the event with full rucksacks and army boots, and also many people running with flags. It was really quite beautiful to see.

The course was mostly flat with a few rollers throughout and one big incline about halfway where you could see the entire Bunker City. It was a rad view. At one point in the race we saw the first place runner pass by us on the out and back potion, which is always fun to see. On the course there were kids cheering at the aid station, a DJ on course and there were cows!!! They were too far away to photograph.

I was doing 2/1 run walk intervals and my goal was to hold a 13:30 pace. I wasn’t even paying attention to my times but my body felt I was holding that pace.

Lupe and I were running and talking and I don’t even remember the first 11 miles of the race because we were talking the whole time! I thought we would run just about 2 miles with me so it was a total treat to run with someone that long. We parted ways at mile 10.75 and I finished myself. At mile 11 the reality of running my 12th half marathon hit me. Because I had been talking to Lupe for so long it didn’t even register in my mind! I was proud of myself for toeing up to the start line today. I knew the course would be long because my watch hit mile 11 before the sign came up.

Finally when I was hitting home stretch, I knew I was really close and found something deep in the bottom of my soul to give it a little more. I felt really strong going to the finish line and when I saw the clock said 2:58, I knew I had to book it to finish under 3 hours. Which I did, 2:59:01! Course was 13.22 according to my Garmin. Race time said I ran an average of 13:40, but my Garmin said (since it registered 13.22) my pace was 13:32 so I totally did what Coach Patrick and I aimed for, which I happily texted him at the end of the race!

I found my friend Lupe at the finish line festival and we hugged and said our goodbyes and that we would have to do it again soon! Shout out to her because she told me it was her 72nd half marathon!

I quickly got in line at the bagel shop near the finish line to eat something and then got in my car to go home. I wanted to leave as soon as possible due to 3 day weekend traffic. I would have liked to stay and visit the post race festival but I was concerned about how long I would be stuck in the car to come home.

All in all it was a great race and I’m so glad I registered on a whim. I’m so glad my leg behaved and everything was a great day. I can’t wait to do it again!!!!

Cheers runners!

Have you thought about a running coach?

Hey, runners of the internet โ€”- guess what!!! Have I got an exciting piece of news for you!

Coach Patrick and I have teamed up because Iโ€™ve made myself the first unofficial ambassador of Good Fit Coaching! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Whether your goals are to run your first 5k, or PR your marathon time and everything in between, heโ€™s a great coach to help hone in on your needs and provide you custom plans and support.

Why work with a coach when there are training plans online? I used to just do all my training from free things online but working with Coach Patrick has totally changed who I am as a runner. Working with a coach provides me real time ability to have someone who sets plans for me that are realistic to my schedule and abilities, but also push me a little further than if I was training on my own. He listens to my fears and my doubts, but also lets me have running related laughs and encourages me to be the best athlete I can be. It is great to have support, receive feedback, and have someone to bounce my struggles and my celebrations with. In fact, he is almost always the person I text first after a race!

Iโ€™m excited to share that if youโ€™ve been toying with the idea of working with a running coach, that he is offering a discount on online coaching, available to anyone even if you arenโ€™t local to where I live! If you register for online coaching and use discount code VanessaF2F will get you $10 off a month for at least your first three months.

If you want more information or have questions, feel free to send me a message, or check out https://www.goodfitcoaching.com

Cheers runners!

Vanessa

Motivated Monday: For those who struggle with weight

Motivated Monday: For those of us who struggle.

Iโ€™m here.

Iโ€™m bringing the honesty forward. Paleta in hand, forty pounds gained back and all.

Food isnโ€™t the enemy. Food is just food. Ice cream isnโ€™t evil and kale isnโ€™t angelic. You arenโ€™t a bad person if you eat too many French fries and you arenโ€™t a martyr if you eat nothing but unseasoned chicken breast. We all have setbacks. Sometimes we gain four pounds and sometimes we gain forty.

That doesnโ€™t mean we are failures. We only fail the moment we decide to give up.

I have been working for the last year to believe in myself again. To find my spark to lose weight. To rediscover my love of eating right. But mostly Iโ€™ve been looking for the ability to forgive myself for gaining weight back and to stop being so hard on myself.

It has taken time and a lot of self care but I have finally made peace with what the scale is telling me and have decided that I am worthy of putting in the work to get to where I wanna be, though it will be hard. I donโ€™t share for pats on the back or applause, I share because thereโ€™s lots of celebration of success but little talk of struggle and perceived failure on social media.

Iโ€™m here to remind you you CAN do it. If you KEEP TRYING you WILL GET THERE. It is only when we give up on ourselves that we have failed. I am not giving up. Iโ€™m going all in. You can too. Now that Iโ€™ve found forgiveness in myself to be better and do better, my happiness around my food is back to being positive and balanced.

Letโ€™s do this together.

Cheers to never giving up!

Vanessa

Windsor 10k recap!

Hi! How are you? Me, I’m great. I had a blast running the Run Wine Country 10k this morning, though my morning really started out very poorly. I mean VERY poorly. As in, I almost didn’t show up to the start because I was having a major pity party for myself, but I’m SO glad I did because it ended up being a REALLY great day for me.

Saturday

Saturday afternoon Mr. FtoF and I went down to Fleet Feet for packet pick up and while we were there, enjoyed chatting with staff. I found out they carry that sports bra I really like that I bought at Title Nine, but they didn’t have my size so they were gonna order it. Woohoo! I would totally prefer to buy it locally and support the rad team at Fleet Feet than online. We went out to dinner and I had a pork sandwich, side salad and a few fries, and after we had ice cream. I figured this would be a decent dinner since I was only running a 10k the next day.

Then I laid out my outfit and went to bed pretty early because I was feeling pretty pooped. Yes, I take my matching very seriously. Pain is temporary but race photos are forever. (I always pick out clothes from my own running wardrobe though cause #nothingnewonraceday)

Sunday morning

All hell broke loose in my house. Alarm went off and I hit snooze a few too many times but was still ok and on schedule. I wanted to leave at 6:30 because the event started at 7:40.

First off (TMI warning), I couldn’t go to the bathroom. Like it just wasn’t happening. Squatty Potty didn’t do anything!!!!! This always makes me nervous because I did NOT want any on course surprises ๐Ÿ’ฉ. This was a bad sign of how today would go.

Second, I got out of the shower to discover there were ANTS ALL OVER MY KITCHEN TABLE. Mr. FtoF had some sweets from a work event that had to go back to the office but they aren’t going back to the office now because they were infested, along with my table and my floor. So I quickly wiped everything down to the best of my abilities, and knew I had to get a move on. I had no appetite but I forced a few bites of oatmeal down.

Then I went to get dressed. The third layer of meltdown started when I couldn’t figure out where I had put my new, expensive sports bra I wanted to wear. That wasn’t a huge deal since I had just done laundry so I wore one of my other ones. I’ve been spoiled because I own that sports bra and everything else feels inferior now. No big deal. Everything is gonna be JUST FINE. Just GET TO THE RACE.

But then I couldn’t find my Garmin.

I looked in all the usual spots. I tried calling myself from my husband’s phone since I have Bluetooth linked and it buzzes when someone calls me. Nope. Nowhere. Finally after 10 minutes of frustration I just stood in the bedroom and I cried. I was so overwhelmed with everything that the world threw at me this morning. I thought to myself “is this gonna be a race I don’t show up for?!?” I finally gave up on looking (after I’m pretty sure my husband decided he was going to leave me because of my meltdown over my watch), and on my way out the door saw the flashing of my Garmin on the floor near the door. THANK YOU RUNNING GODS. I was seriously anxious. Yes – I am capable of running without a watch but I haven’t done it in so many years and I was NOT mentally ready for today to be that day. Also, thank goodness I found it because there weren’t actually any mile markers on the course ๐Ÿค”. So then off I went. Except there was no gas in my car so I had to stop to put some in the car. Then I zipped up to the race. Thank goodness I had planned to leave when I did because I left 10 minutes later but was still ok.

To the race!

Now I ran the 10k last year and the half the year before and it is seriously one of the prettiest races I’ve ever run. Don’t waste your time on the 5k. Run the 10 or the half. You get beautiful views and hot air balloons and a decent amount of rolling hills. I had considered upgrading to the half for today but stuck with the 10k and decided to do a half next weekend instead.

I made it a goal to just have fun and take selfies with everyone I saw that I knew. I definitely achieved that goal! I wrote on my arm “are we having fun yet?” As a reminder to take it slow and easy and just have a blast. Thank goodness I wrote that on my arm since I had my morning meltdown and was not in the right mindset. I was annoyed but when I got to the start my mindset changed.

I got to see lots of people I know, including Coach Patrick (woohoo!), who told me he would be running people in at the end of the race (this is relevant for later).

He gave me a super cool tattoo so I could represent ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ

Then it was about 12 minutes til race start. And guess what. I STILL HADN’T GONE TO THE BATHROOM. At this point I start panicking. Luckily I had the smarts to look at the course map and knew there were a few portopotties on course if I needed them but SERIOUSLY I was freaking out. I didn’t want any surprises between port o potties.

I gave up on trying to LET IT GOOOO and toed up to the line and off we went at 7:40.

Now, the first mile and a half really sucked for me. And I mean SUCKED. Seriously out of nowhere my calves got super tight, which coincided with an uphill climb. I was afraid I was gonna have to walk the whole race. Fortunately since I had run the 10k last year I knew once you get out of the first hill, it flattens out and I would be ok, so I told myself to walk what I needed up the hill and run the down and flats. I even stopped TWICE to loosen my shoe laces (and still made good time!). I thought to myself “today just isn’t gonna be my day” but I refused to walk back to the start and give up.

Finally I got out of the big incline and my legs loosened up (side note: I think it’s time for a massage for me!), and decided to take some selfies because the view was so beautiful! And check out my cool Mermaid Series shirt!

Miles 2-4 are kind of a blur. Not in a bad way, just in a nothing monumental happened way. I just kept trekking. I didn’t set any intervals for run/walk today like I had for the half marathon in Eugene because I wanted to give myself more flexibility to run when I wanted and walk when I needed. I’m glad I did that. I think I ran more than I would have. I definitely always thank the officers who are out on the course because I appreciate them being out there to keep runners safe, so I said that to all I passed and they all told me great job ๐Ÿ˜Š. (On that note, during CIM, I thanked an officer at mile 10 who responded with “great job, you’re almost there!” which made me die a little inside because he obviously did not know how long a marathon was)

I saw a photographer at one point in there when I was walking and said a loud “sh*t!” because I knew I had to get to running if I wanted a good race photo!!!!

My run paces felt really effortless but when I read my Garmin to see how fast I was going, my paces were incredible! I saw 10:xx mins-11:xx mins and at one point was cruising at what felt like little effort and was at a 9:40! I can’t sustain those for full lengths of time but it feels good that I am really able to run that way and feel effortless.

Finally around mile 4 I knew there would be a water station but there was also an informal mimosa aid station! I’m so mad I didn’t take a photos with the ladies doing that. I did not partake because that would not have ended well for me ๐Ÿ˜‚.

Somewhere around 55 minutes into my run, a bike whizzed past me and told me good job (thanks!), and told me a runner was coming up behind me. Oh… that’s because he was lead cyclist for the first place half marathon runner!!!! Holy smokes those half mary runners are fast. I was passed by about 5 men (didn’t recognize any of them) and the 1st place woman (who I have seen at lots of local races) between mile 4 and the finish. My mind started whirling about the potential of me ever placing in my age group. I’m not there yet, but maybe one day it could happen! Big maybe, but I’m not telling myself I can’t. I CAN work towards anything if I put my mind to it!

I took in a Gu around mile 3.8 but was feeling like I was starting to slow down a bit around mile 4.5, but the gods of the 10k heard my plea because I saw Coach Patrick running up and he ran with me for a little bit and we chatted and it was EXACTLY the boost I needed! He definitely was running me faster than I would have run myself at that point, and when we finally broke from each other so he could run other people in, I felt a second wind to finish strong, which is exactly what I did.

It took a little extra push but I finally rounded the corner and heard people cheering and it felt good to finish really strong. I thought I would finish around 1:24:00, and as I ran I thought maybe I would finish in 1:21, but imagine my surprise when I saw I finished in 1:19!

It has been a good feeling my last two races to pass people in the second half. Not because I want to beat anyone, but because it’s a good reminder to me that I paced myself evenly and didn’t burn out at the end.

And then, suddenly, I was done! It feels weird to be done running after just a 10k since my long runs have been SO long lately. I actually debated going out and running another 2 miles because I felt good but decided to rest for now and maybe do that in the evening if I still had the urge.

But of course, pancakes called.

And I did a lap around the finish line to see if I saw anyone I knew before heading home. Of course, after I left, two friends texted me to ask where I was because they were there ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ. Oh well.

Today was a good boost before Saturday’s half marathon! I definitely need to roll out A LOT this week so I don’t fight my calves on Saturday. I also need to go through my running clothes to find a fabulous outfit to wear ๐Ÿค”

And on another note…. I still haven’t gone to the bathroom even all these hours later so if anyone has any tips or tricks, I’ll be your best friend!!!!

Cheers runners! Thanks for reading my recap!!

Vanessa

From 264.2 to 26.2 round three: how I plan to be successful.

Hi! How are you? Me, I’m great. If you’ve seen any of my recent Instagram or Facebook posts, you’ll know I’ve decided on a whim to run the Santa Rosa Marathon again this year. It was my first marathon in 2016, and I didn’t expect to run it again this year. After watching my husband train for and run the Eugene Marathon and have a killer PR, I decided I wanted to push myself to train for a marathon sooner than CIM. Lucky for me, the nice people at the SR marathon hooked me up with a discount code ๐Ÿ˜Š (feel free to use!). I also love that this race is just down the road from where I live so no hotel necessary and I can convince my better half to come drop me off and pick me up ๐Ÿ˜. I also hope some friends and family might make it to the finish line.

But I digress.

I was toying with the idea of running another marathon WHILE I was knee deep in running the Eugene half. Might as well think about running while you’re running, right?!?!

I realized that if I wanted to run another marathon though, I had to make some big commitments. I really did not do my best training for CIM last year because of the fires in town. Those took up most of my October training because the air quality was so poor. It was a total mind boggle for me. I want to do better this time but I know that means a lot.

I have a few plans in place to really help me refocus and have a solid training plan

  1. I am going in knowing what to expect. My first marathon I trained on my own with some plan I found online. It was probably way too ambitious of a plan for me. I did not stick to it very well. During CIM, Coach Patrick was great with my plan but I did not execute as well as I needed to, looking back. I really was fearful after the fires and freaked myself out. You may remember I even tried to drop out of the marathon and went so far as to request a downgrade, but manned up and did it. Which was very rewarding.
  2. I am going to lean on others to run with. Yes, Vanessa “I only run solo” Wallace plans to find friends to run with. I have a few great friends who are also either training for a marathon around the same time as me, or just love running, who will do some of my long runs with me. I’ll also probably tack on to some friends to help get me through some of the mid-week short runs when my brain is totally toast and I wanna just skip it.
  3. I am going to write more about my training. I think I want to log and journal more for personal use, but also write more regular blog posts recapping things. I think that will help me with my accountability!
  4. I’m going to add in strength training to my routine. A strong core and upper body is going to help keep me up right for that long of a time. I think it will also help me have a little mental break from running. I am very fortunate that I have been given an opportunity to try out a new strength and conditioning gym for a few weeks this summer, so I’ll see how that works out for me!
  5. I have already planned some indulgences during training. I already know after whatever my longest long run is, I’m gonna go back to the float pod place and I’m having a milkshake that night. #treatyoself
  6. I am going to let this be a focus for me. I’m going to roll with the punches this time around on marathon training. My work schedule has become a little more fluid now that I’ve been promoted, so I will be doing less errandy stuff and more office stuff which means I am not tied to as many set events during the day as I was. I’ve been able to come in earlier than before and work on a more fluid timeline to get things done, which means running can totally fit in to my routine more than before when some really long days strained me.
  7. I am going to consider switching my long runs to Saturday’s. I’m not sold on this one yet, but part of me is considering making Saturday my long run day so I can recover and sleep in on Sunday’s. There’s literally no day during the week I sleep in. This would also mean I have to find a new weight watchers meeting to go to, since I currently go Saturday’s, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
  8. I am willing to get uncomfortable. The last two marathons I don’t think let myself get as uncomfortable as I should have. This time around, I’m gonna work hard. I’m gonna play hard. I’m gonna put it all on the line and go all in.
  9. I am going to find out just how tough I actually am. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I am ready for some self discovery. I’ve always learned something new about myself while marathon training. I look forward to seeing what I learn this time around.

So there you have it. I’m excited to tackle this again, though I’m also a little scared because it’s gonna be really hard.

I know I can do it. I look forward to seeing how it all goes!

Cheers to 26.2!

Vanessa

P.U.S.H. (Persist Until Something Happens)

Hi! How are you? Me, I’m great. It’s been pretty hot the last few days here. I wasn’t expecting that. Makes for some hot ๐Ÿ˜“ running.

It’s no secret to anyone who has been around Vanessa Goes from FtoF for a while that I’ve been having a mental struggle around my weight loss for the last year. There are many factors around this including when I started my new job last year and at the same time performing in two musicals, then the fires, then the marathon, then the switch to the new WW program. My mind has been distracted, and my body has paid for it to the tune of some extra pounds.

I know deep down though that I’m not ever giving up. Things are always going to have their challenges. I know that this is the time for me to persist and work hard until I align my head. As long as I keep trying, I’m better than if I quit.

Things have finally made a turn for the better. I’ve realigned my head and my focus and the pressure.

I only could get to this point if I let myself struggle for the last year. Forcing myself to come to terms with the things that sabotage me have been painful, but in the long term will pay off.

The few days before the Eugene Marathon I hadn’t weighed myself. I was traveling with no home scale. I tracked what I ate but indulged a little. I felt free from the chains of the scale because for once my focus was on something else. That race was great, but the photos after were greater. I saw a photo of myself from the Eugene Marathon finish line this week (previously shared on my Facebook and Instagram) and it was a turning point for me. It was a photo where I finally saw myself experiencing raw emotion of success. Often when I see photos of myself now, I see my double chin or my chubby belly, but this photo I saw nothing but a moment in time where I felt proud of my accomplishment.

Upon seeing that photo it reminded me that though I have had failed attempts at losing weight, I haven’t failed. I’ve PUSH-ed through. Persisted until something happened. And something did happen. I felt strong and I felt proud and I for just a few minutes, stopped thinking about the scale.

In the weeks after that race I’ve found a spark that I’ve been waiting for. It was a moment of so much success after what felt like so much failure on my weight.

I finally feel ready to make strides on my weight loss journey. Not because of anything other than the fact that I had a moment where I felt proud of my body again, and realized I have struggled for a while but those moments were all opportunities to learn.

My point in all this is that when things get tough, embrace the suck. Take the opportunity to learn from all the things that don’t work for you in order to find what eventually will.

As for me, I’ve found a lot of things that didn’t work and have finally found a routine that does. That’s because I persisted until something happened!

Cheers to persisting!

-Vanessa