Trottin’ Before Turkey

This year marks the 2nd year that I’ve done the San Diego Run for the Hungry on Thanksgiving morning. The start line is walking distance from our apartment and the course runs through our downtown neighborhood. It’s a lot of fun to run the empty streets of Downtown San Diego!

11/24/16 San Diego Run for the Hungry

Me, Callie, and Steven post race. (Photo cred: Bradley Schweir)

 

Last year, we did the 5k and while I ran at a rather sluggish pace (so, I might have had a glass or two of wine the night before!), I took 1st in my age group.

This year, Steven convinced me to do the 10k. It made sense as it was a good training run at race pace while we prepare for the Carlsbad Half Marathon in January.

Leading up to the race, I wasn’t feeling very confident. In recent years, I’ve pulled back on the amount of running I do regularly, due to some nagging injuries on my good side (aka the Right Side). I still run a few times a week but I spend a lot of my training hours in indoor cycling classes at RUSH CYCLE and find that it keeps me in pretty good shape for running and other endurance events. But for some reason, I was not sure if my training had prepared me for a 10k.

I was a little nervous on race morning but as I threw on my favorite CAF running hat, I knew that even if I didn’t run fast, I’d finish and I’d be running, which was already a win!

I always hate the beginning of a sizable race that doesn’t have corrals as you try to bob and weave around dogs, strollers, and children. Once we got past that, I started feeling my rhythm. Mile 1 was around an 8 minute mile pace. I had an internal debate. My original goal was to enjoy the race and finish each mile under a 9 minute pace. But here I was, feeling strong. Did I want to push myself?

It was then that I remembered my indoor cycling instructor, Sheri, and her motivating words in the past few classes- have the courage to challenge yourself, get outside of your comfort zone, and it is okay to fail. And then, I went for it. With Sheri’s words carrying me, I thought, “Hey, let’s race hard and see how things go!”

One of my favorite things to do while racing is to challenge myself to a little race with the person in front of me and each time you pass a person, race the next person. I think of these as mini-goals. They help me a ton and helped during this race. I also tend to find myself “friends” on the course, meaning other runners who have a similar pace who I can push myself to hang with as fatigue sets in. I found myself running with 2 males for a majority of Miles 2 through 5.

At Mile 5, I knew things were going well and I still felt strong. I pushed myself a little further and lost them (I’d later see them after the race and they’d mention how I dropped them at a water stop, ha!). As I rounded Mile 6, I threw myself toward the finish line. I finished with an average mile pace of 7:44 and in 49:38. A PR! And an accomplishment. You see, I haven’t run sub-8 minute miles in a few years. To top it off, I felt great!

After the race, several people approached me to say that I had inspired them to run strong so I was happy that I helped the others around me to push themselves.

So, my friends, I’ve noticed a pattern. I have some of my best races when I feel least prepared but have been training. I’m not sure how this helps me but maybe that nervous energy is a big motivator on the course.

Happy Running!

 

 

 

 

“Cancer Changed Me, But For The Better”

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A few weeks ago, I attended Yoga For Hope at Petco Park in San Diego.  The event raises awareness about the benefits of yoga practice for cancer patients and survivors and raises  funds for City of Hope.

I was excited to participate because it Incorporated two of my favorite things- spreading awareness for cancer treatments and yoga!

There were several moments that were truly inspiring and made me think quite a bit about my journey.

There was a young adult survivor who discussed her story and how it led her to a career in nursing. One statement she made, and is quoted in the title of this post, is “Cancer changed me, but for the better.“, is something I have heard many survivors say and I’ve often said myself. It’s hard to understand sometimes, but this journey through cancer and survivorship makes many of us who we are today. I would not be as strong or resilient without cancer. I would not have a wonderful group of friends and family around me either.

But, the MOST inspiring moment of all involved bells. When we arrived, they handed out bells to everyone. As the event began they asked each person to ring their bell when they were able to answer yes. And so the questions began:

  • If you are currently battling cancer, please ring your bell- We heard a few soft bells at this point and I immediately knew I was in the right place for this event.
  • If you have been in remission for 6 months- More bells
  • If you have been in remission for 6 months to 1 year- Even more bells
  • If you have been a survivor for 1 year to 5 years- Even more!
  • If you are a survivor of more than 5 years- Even more (and my turn)!
  • And then, if you have been a caregiver or friend or family member of a patient or survivor- More bells! And an overwhelming wave of hundreds of people in one place for the same reason.

The sound of all of these bells ringing for people touched by cancer was an enormous wave. It gave me chills and was a wonderful moment!

And today, I write this blog, 12 years cancer free, and grateful for events like Yoga for Hope and the people who have helped me reach this milestone.

Your Ego is Not Your Amigo and Other Words of Wisdom from Yoga

Yoga has always been one of those things that I’ve known was good for me but I couldn’t ever (okay, wouldn’t ever) make time for it.

I had a few issues with yoga:

  • It didn’t feel like a rigorous enough work out for me
  • I couldn’t shut my brain off enough to even focus on my breath
  • As a long time runner, I didn’t think I was flexible enough

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NEWSFLASH– I WAS WRONG!

A few months ago, I went to a spin class and the next morning I woke up with major pain in my lower back. It was a feeling I had never experienced and I did not enjoy it. Mainly, it was because I knew my body was telling me something. That perhaps sitting all day at work with little movement and then completing a rigorous few hours of running, spinning, and strength combinations was not good for me.

While I was out of commission with my back injury, I realized that I truly was not taking enough time to recover and stretch. I promised myself that I would  start going to yoga once a week. This seemed like an achievable goal.

I started going to Flow Yoga sessions about a month or so ago and I’ve noticed a big difference. The difference isn’t with my body though. I am not one to shy away from the anxiety I developed after having cancer and still face sometimes. Doing yoga once a week and finding calmness via my breath or the flowing movements or simply holding one position has truly helped me. I leave each class thinking about the commitment I made in the studio and how it can help me in my daily life. I find that I’m calmer (in a good way!).

A recent instructor used the theme, “Your Ego is Not Your Amigo” throughout a class. She reminded us that every pose in the class or every action during your day, does not need to perfect. We focus so much on what things “supposed to” look or feel like or what we are “supposed to” be like that we forgot to focus on what feels right for each of us in our individual ways. She reminded us that differences are a positive.

This really resonated with me in two ways. My differences (cancer survivor/amputee) have truly made me the person I am and I am grateful for that. Differences are wonderful! Differences make teams great. A diverse team can teach each other in many ways.

Yoga really teaches you to know yourself and be present which are important traits. So while I am a newbie to yoga, I’m loving it and seeing positive changes from it!

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