Monday, October 31, 2011

The Vicious Running Cycle

I cannot thank you enough for your heartfelt support regarding yesterday's post. I felt really vulnerable putting that out there, but it was something I was drawn to do. I’m glad I did. Lots of the comments made me tear up. One that really hit me was from Joe:

“Times are tough indeed. I've been un/underemployed for over a year now and recently picked up a retail job to keep my wife and I out of our retirement savings. In the midst of the strain and anxiety, though, we've really found a great deal of strength and our relationship feels like its good as ever -- she's proud of me for doing what I can to chip in - however possible - and I'm so thankful to her for providing stability throughout this period.

I get misty-eyed when I think of our wedding and the promises we made to each other. They mean so much more to me now than they did then. It sounds like you and your husband have done a great job of helping each other through the adversity. How great will it be to look back at these days (when things are better, of course!) and think about how it was all worth it in the end!”

Tough times? Yes. Silver linings? Always.

Thank you for holding me up, keeping my family in your thoughts and prayers and being a community where it is safe to be myself.

Oh, running? Yes, this is supposed to be a blog about that.

I am not running today. Or yesterday. On Saturday I went out for 9 miles (32 degrees, that’s why I look colder than a witch’s tit – Halloween humor):

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It was freaking freezing and I was being a pussy about it. But, I don’t’ call this blog “Be Quiet and Go For a Short Walk with Your Down Coat On,” so – I headed out into the shithole that we call Boulder County:

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About half way into the run my ass/hamstring started bugging me again. With deep tissue ultrasound, stretching, chiro adjustments, etc. I had been feeling much better. I think I pushed my mileage last week doing:

Saturday: 8 miles
Monday: 7 miles (trail)
Wednesday:  6 miles (treadmill)
Saturday: 9 miles

Probably too much considering what’s going on. BUT I LOVE TO RUN AND I WANT TO RUN SO I RUN TOO MUCH AND THEN I HURT MYSELF AND THEN I START ALL OVER AGAIN.

This, my friends, is the vicious running cycle. If you are not currently in it, you were probably in it at one time. If you are smart enough to be out of it, you are a better person than me and probably don’t lick knives, run with scissors, speed or take more than 15 items to the express checkout.

My doctor has suggested a plasma or cortisone injection because I have been dealing with this issue for awhile. He thinks I have tons of fibrosis in my hamstring/glute. You can read about plasma injections HERE. The theory is that by bringing in healthy tissue, it is possible to speed up recovery. Of course, along with that needs to go smart training, form adjustments, etc. 

Tiger Woods did it so I am thinking it will make me a better golfer.

In a bit of good news, I think our tree can be saved. You know, the one that got castrated by last week’s snow storm. Mike at the Tree Farm gave me some very good advice of what to do:

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So can someone please come over and do this for me? Thanks.

Tonight I am getting ready to contribute to the obesity epidemic and to fund the dentists in the area. You can see all the candies that are crossed off. Those are the ones I am not allowed to give out because Sam wants them. So, naturally those are the ones I will give out first. We usually give out full sized bars, but – HELLO!! Did you not read my post from yesterday? Tightening the belt in this household.

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What’s your injury of the week?

Ever had a plasma or cortisone injection?

What type of candy are you giving out tonight? What’s your favorite? I LOVE Heath Bars and Bottlecaps.

SUAR

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Times are Tough

I like to keep this blog upbeat, yet real. I like to venture to subjects outside of running because life cannot be exclusively about running (dammit). There is so much else that goes on with us in a day from parenting to jobs to making stew for dinner. I like to be candid and authentic. Most of all, I don’t think you can be your true and complete self without some honest self disclosure.

Writing is therapeutic for me and I value and cherish the insight and support of you all more than you know. I read each and every comment, each and every day.

I’ve been holding one issue close to my vest, not wanting to air my dirty laundry. But, I’d rather just put it out there now and stop “pretending” all is perfectly fine.  What is going on occupies big chunk of my thinking.

When our first child was born 14 years ago, we made the decision that I would work from home part time and Ken would be the primary breadwinner. This worked very well for our lives. As a contractor, I was able to make decent money and use my MSW degree by doing domestic adoption work. Ken worked as a systems administrator for an investment firm. We enjoyed a comfortable life and were grateful that someone was always home with the kids or was able to volunteer in the classrooms and go on field trips. Weekends did not have to be spent catching up with shopping or chores because I was able to get most of this done during the week.  It worked for us.

As of January 1st of this year, Ken lost his job of 12 years. He is still unemployed. It has been ten months.

You probably have noticed that we run, bike and  a lot together in the middle of the day and unemployment is why we have been able to do this.  He’s been able to be with the kids more at their sporting events, take them to/from school and help make Emma’s costume this year:

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You know she lives in our house when there are Lara and Marathon Bars in there

The “up” side is that we are stronger than ever as a family and are fortunate to have so much quality and quantity time together.

Ken is a very skilled at what he does, but he does not want to go back to a job with a stuffy financial institution. He really wants to do IT (Information Technology) work for a company that is more in line with his own lifestyle – preferably something in the outdoor or fitness industry.

I don’t have to tell you this is a tough time to be looking for a job. Prices keep climbing, the news is full of grim outlooks. I have taken on more work, but my income has never been enough for us to live off of. I know many of you are feeling the crunch of these economic times and that we are not alone.

I am considering full time opportunities, yet trying to define what exactly I would like to do. This has never been easy for me. If you haven’t noticed, I wear many different hats: writer, social worker, mom, coach, merchandiser, volunteer, athlete. How to focus in one area has never been my strong suit.

For what it’s worth, it feels good to put this out there. Most of the time I’m able to be optimistic, hopeful and upbeat. I know in the end it will work out and that no matter what happens, we have each other. I take happiness from the small things I love – a trail run in the foothills, a gorgeous sunset outside my back door, a movie and popcorn on the couch on a Saturday night.

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Taken Thursday night from our back deck

Yet, in the middle of the night or a quiet moment, the fear creeps in and I panic. What if? What if? I think the worst.  My job is to keep these thoughts at bay and to not let them consume me. My job is to be honest with my kids about what is going on, but not pass on my fear or anxiety to them. My job is to support Ken as best as I can in doing what makes him feel alive.

Finances are stressful. While I don’t believe it is money that makes us happy, I do believe you need enough of it to have peace of mind.

Thanks for reading and for continuing to be an amazing source of support for me in all ways.

SUAR

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Picks of the Week

Best dinner spot – you can even pee while you eat – Water Dining in Bora Bora

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Best way to get “the runs” – Mexican Chicken Dorito Casserole

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Best view of autumn leaves – Smuggler’s Notch State Park, Vermont:

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Best reason to keeping Shutting Up and Running:

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Best view of Mt. Rushmore from Canada:

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Best (and simplest) Halloween treat- Witch Hat Cookies:

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Best photo NOT trying to highlight the vagina but doing it anyway (this photo is actually for a pretty cool site where you select the body part you want to work on and the site tells you what exercises to do):

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Best example of pussy bullying. It’s an epidemic!

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And another because it’s funny:

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Best thing to do with your old running shirtsT-shirt Quilt with Tutorial

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Best reason to take the stairs out of your house:

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Happy Saturday!

SUAR

PS: Family Fan Club giveaway winners:

Heidi Nicole at Run Around Aroo
Julie at Run, Dream, Cook
Lauren at The Running Cook
Katy Grinnell

Congrats ladies! Drop me an email at beth@shutupandrun.net and I’ll let you know your prize options!

Friday, October 28, 2011

SUAF

First off, go read my newest Athleta Chi article HERE especially if you’re having a tough time getting motivated to exercise.

Now onto important matters.

 

haha.

This is the story of my life and has secretly been one of the reasons I don’t run on the treadmill, besides the fact that I hate it and it’s boring. On Wednesday, however, I HAD to resort to 6 miles on the ‘mill due to 10 inches of wet slushy snow. There have been way too many times where I play the Fart Guessing Game (FGG) at the gym either on the treadmill or the yoga mat.

Thought process:

Okay I feel one coming. Anyone around? Yeah, there is that guy on the stationary bike right behind me. But I think he has on iPod on, so it would only be the smell issue. But, I wonder if that girl next to me on the treadmill would hear. Well, I think I can let this one out, and maybe I can do it slowly so no one hears it. Oh never mind. I’ll just hold it. Man, it hurts to hold it. Maybe I should push “pause” and go in the bathroom and take care of this. But, I don’t want to interrupt my run. Maybe I should take off my iPod for a minute so I can at least hear what I’m doing. Screw it. I’m going for it. Everyone will just have to deal. Shut up and fart (SUAF).

Ever play the FGG or do you just SUAF?

Happy Friday!

SUAR

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Best Q & A Ever

My firstborn, Sam, is 14 today. You may recall the post I devoted to him when he turned 13, HERE. If you have kids much littler than mine, I know you think they will never be 14. But, they WILL and it is freaking weird and wonderful at the same time.

Everyone thinks their kid is the cat’s meow, but Sam is the LION’S ROAR.

That was then:

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And, this is now:

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Words don’t often escape me, but it’s tough to do justice to someone like Sam. He is all at once witty, compassionate, crude, good humored and intelligent. Instead of trying to describe him, I asked him to answer a couple of questions, so you can get the full SAM flavor. Hot off the press:

Mom: What does being 14 mean to you?

Sam: For me, being 14 means that I get to watch TV 14 shows. Also, it means that I’m supposed to start getting really pissy (I can’t picture that happening!) That’s pretty much it.

Mom: If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?

Sam: If I could change one thing about my life it would probably be that I could have more motivation to do things such as homework, practice various things, etc…

Mom: What’s it like having me (SUAR) as your mom. Be honest.

Sam: Having SUAR as a mom is cool I guess. It’s not like I read your blog or anything. You are still the same awesome mom you were before you had a blog. Just sometimes you think you’re really cool just because you’re a runner and have a blog and are sponsored by a chocolate milk company.

Mom: What is your earliest memory?

Sam: My earliest memory is coming out of your v***** and seeing you smile. Just kidding. It’s probably going to that church school daycare.

Mom: What do you hope to be doing ten years from today?

Sam: Ten years from today I’ll probably be partying with my friends in my high-rise condo, talking to Aunt Donna and throwing up from eating so much Ben and Jerry’s. Then as a present I’ll probably buy myself a cat.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Better than throwing up from drinking too much.

I told you. Words can’t describe. I know you love him as much as I do. When you are in the stirrups and pushing that huge head out, you have no idea the journey that is in store for you. It has been a complete and total honor to be Sam’s mom.

Happy birthday my boy. You are priceless and amazing. I love you as a son, but I really, really like you as a person.

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I’ll love you forever, I’ll like for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.

Love,

MOM

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

About a Tree

Last night at about 2:00 a.m. I woke up to crashing noises and noticed the electricity flickering on and off. I looked outside and the first snow of the season had covered everything with about six inches of heavy, wet snow. The trees were buckling under the weight of it all, and I listened as tree branches cracked and fell to the ground throughout the neighborhood.

Ken and I got up to try to brush snow off of some of the smaller trees. It was too late. The Autumn Blaze Maple we had carefully planted three years ago stood sad and limp.

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We noticed a huge chunk of the tree on the ground and realized that the top had snapped off. Now it can’t grow anymore.

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There is something about a tree. It adds character and life to a space. It gives shade, color and a home to some. When we dug up the old juniper bush that had been there for 30 years and replaced it with this sweet little sapling, it made me so happy. It was a fresh start for that little space by the driveway. And as it grew, I loved seeing it get stronger, wider and more beautiful.

And, yes, The Giving Tree was one of my favorite books growing up.

“….And when he was tired,
he would sleep in her shade.
And the boy loved the tree....
very much.
And the tree was happy.”

I just commented to Emma yesterday how the red in that tree was one of the most vibrant and stunning colors of the season, and that I hoped the snowfall wouldn’t take off too many of its leaves. I just wish I had taken a picture of it yesterday.

Here is what it looked like – not our actual tree, but you get the idea:

Yes, I know it’s just a tree not a person. But today it feels like a loss and makes me sad. Plus I’m tired from being up at 2:00 a.m. and my own Autumn Blaze is in town if you know what I mean.

Going to go for a run because a run always makes it better.

SUAR

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Not a Deposit Like at the Bank

Right at about this time yesterday (well, a bit earlier) I was sucking in air and wondering, when the hell does this get easier?

Ken and I were on a running trail outside of Boulder.  On the drive there I was finishing up my coffee when the oatmeal I had before leaving home started to talking to my colon. It was clench clench the next few miles to the trailhead. We dodged about 45 wild turkeys and some deer before parking in the dirt lot in the middle of nowhere. We were the only ones there, so I copped a squat and covered it with pine needles because I am considerate that way.

We started climbing. The ascent is about 3 miles and is a single track, very rocky trail. It’s really not that steep (1,000 feet of gain), but you are progressing up continuously and I get a little weary of that. I kept thinking what some wise ass (Frank Shorter, Olympic gold medalist, marathon) said about hills being speed work in disguise. It did not make me feel better.  I was hoping Ken would suggest  we stop for a breather, but he didn’t.

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I always do this “hoping” on runs. I “hope” the other person will suggest a break or that we will at least get to a stoplight so it will be a mandatory break.  Because GOD KNOWS I DID NOT NEED IT. However, there are no stoplights on the trail, so I was screwed.

Finally I told him I needed a quick ‘lil break. I mean he is my husband, so there is no shame in needing a freaking break, right? I mean we have been married for almost 17 mother eff’ing years and if I need a damn break I will take a damn break. NO I DON’T HAVE MY PERIOD!

We continued on, but then I got hit with stomach cramps and made a deposit. Yes, it was a direct depost because I am efficient that way. By this time I’m sure Ken was getting sick of all my starting and stopping.  The real clincher was that he was down wind from the deposit and  asked for a divorce right then and there. How is it possible to be out in nature, with the entire open sky and still smell one small offering one leaves beside the trial (not on the trail, that would be rude).

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Okay, I guess we did do some climbing to get to this view

The descent was uneventful except that Ken is like a damn mountain goat, skipping and hopping over rocks and roots, while I am 895 yards behind concentrating so hard on not falling that I can’t see straight. I must have a very lazy stride (better than a lazy eye) because I am constantly getting caught on roots or slipping on rocks. Please tell me  you do this too.

Back to the car with 7 miles in 1:13 minutes. Not bad for time on the trail. If you haven’t done trail running, you should. It is the workout of the century, I promise you. Other advantages:

  • The world is your toilet
  • You run faster sometimes because you see bear poop and think it might be fresh
  • No car exhaust, but there is SUAR exhaust
  • Gorgeous scenery, peace and quiet

Tip: leaving your Garmin at home is a great idea because you are often doing 11-12 min/miles but you are breathing like you are doing 5 min/miles. Then you think, what the hell is wrong with me and you get all hard on yourself and then it is not fun.

Ever run on the trails? Come visit, I’ll take you. Like you’d want to go after reading this post.

SUAR

PS: Don’t forget my latest giveaway and your chance to win a SUAR shirt!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Family Fan Club Giveaway–Win An SUAR Shirt!

You know when you decide to do something like fix a leaky faucet it seems like a no-brainer? I’ll tighten up this, I’ll replace that, then voila! DONE.

What I’ve realized after 44 long years is that no undertaking is straightforward or easy. There are always unexpected twists and turns, barriers, rules you didn’t know about.

Such was the case when I decided to create and sell Shut Up + Run shirts. I figured creating a logo and slapping it on a shirt would be no big deal. Long story short, the learning curve was much curvier than I expected.

Fortunately, my good friends at Nuf Said Advertising helped with the logo and did an awesome job. Then there was the business of printing the shirts. That’s where Family Fan Club came in. Paul and Kim, the masterminds behind FFC, contacted me after finding my blog. They thought we could work together and they were right.

I’ve appreciated FFC’s reliability, promptness, attention to detail and creative energy. They’ve navigated me through this confusing world of apparel design/printing and helped me understand some tricks of the trade. If you are looking to print shirts for your son’s baseball team, your own blog, or a fundraising cause, Family Fan Club can help out.

triathlon t-shirts, running t-shirts, marathon t-shirts, personalized t-shirts, custom t-shirts

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some glitches, but that comes with the territory. I think you test the true nature of someone you do business with when there are issues that need to be addressed. Do they show up and make things right? Do they work with you to solve the problem? If so, that’s who you want to work with. FFC always did this for me.

That said, here is some cool stuff FFC does/offers:

  • Logo design (they did the logo for my Burn Out tee in about 5 minutes)
  • Printing technique that dyes the fabric. This means no interference with wicking properties of the garment, no cracking, no fading, vibrant colors, unlimited colors
  • 100's of designs that can be personalized and customized including cotton t-shirts, decals and water bottles
  • FFC prints YOUR custom designs. 
  • FFC hosts stores and handles all the fulfillment. Design owner is paid without any hassles! As an example, check out the store page for The Rock On Foundation to benefit Dylan Flinchum who has recently been diagnosed with metachromatic leukodystrophy, a genetic disorder.

FFC would like to give away an item to 2 winners!

If you win, choose any SUAR item you’d like:

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Or, any FFC design you’d like (these are my personal favorites):

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This one should say “SUAR’s Best Friend” but whatever.

Or, create your very own!

For every “50 likes” on Facebook, FFC will add another winner, so get “liking” and increase your odds!

To Enter:

  • Visit Family Fan Club's website and tell me what you like +1 entry
  • "Like" Family Fan Club on Facebook HERE + 1 entry
  • "Follow" Family Fan Club on twitter HERE  + 1 entry
  • Twat, FB or blog about this giveaway +1 entry

Two winners will be selected at random (or several depending on the # of Facebook likes) on Friday, October 28.

Special bonus! For the next two weeks, save $10 when spending $50 (SUAR10) at FFC.

Good luck!

Fine print: Family Fan Club provided the giveaway items in exchange for my review and for hosting the giveaway.

A Little Retreat

Yesterday I went to a women’s retreat in a gorgeous spot in the woods around Boulder. It wasn’t work related or religiously affiliated – just a way to get some good reminders about life.

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This day had nothing to do with fitness or running or injuries or race strategies. It’s good to get a break. I go to these things periodically mainly to get a reminder to Lighten Up Francis and to get some perspective. The general themes focused on quieting the mind, letting go of worry/fear, and having self control and discipline.

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Meditation cabin on the property

The facilitator asked each of us to think about a belief we had about ourselves. 100% of the women there said they felt “not good enough.” We were asked to challenge this belief. People shared their stories of recent divorce, financial hardships, family issues. Although we each presented with different circumstances, the themes are always the same: we all struggle, we all want to be accepted/connected, we all worry about shit we can’t control, we all get stuck focusing on the negative stuff in our lives or what we don’t have.

I love women. Get a room full of female strangers/vaginas together and they will interact, support one another, and offer compassion, humor and encouragement. Sure, women can be catty, but not in this environment. This was no “Real Housewives of Boulder” (except when I whipped out my $5.19 leopard handbag from Kohls and everyone fell to the floor with envy). 

Really, it is like coming home. A safe place to be vulnerable and to be myself.

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Except for farting. We did a total of 45 minutes of meditation (this nearly killed me. Sitting still and doing nothing is not my forte, but is something I am working on). Anyway, by the third meditation session I was so gassy. It was right after lunch. You could hear everyone’s stomach rumbling and one girl had a coughing fit. I almost farted during her fit knowing it would cover up the sound of flatulence (that could be a song! "The Sound of Flatulence”), but then there is always the smell issue. In the end, I did not fart.

The teacher did say we all needed more self control, so I got an A+ in that area.  I immediately let some loose in the car going home and I haven’t stopped yet. Sweet relief.

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Hello my name is Beth! These are not running clothes!

Today was a reminder of so many good lessons. I a diligent student, so I took thorough notes in my favorite fancy and exotic book (Bethany Frankel doesn’t even have one of these):

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  • Nothing is more important than having peace.  This means letting go of thoughts that don’t serve us and taking time to be still through prayer/meditation. It also means giving up your need to be right all the time.
  • Happiness is simply and solely a matter of what you choose to focus on. (Remember the crap vs. the corn?)
  • Ask for what you need from people. Don’t be shy. Don’t expect them to read your mind.
  • When your mind is judging, controlling, manipulating, etc, don’t feed it. Stop it.
  • We all have beliefs about ourselves (i.e., “I’m not good enough,” “I’m only worthwhile if I make a certain amount of money,” etc). It’s helpful to make a list of our beliefs and challenge them. Most of the time (like 95%) they are not true.
  • “Letting go is the path to real freedom” – from the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Does any of this makes sense? Do you do it in your daily life? It makes a crap load of sense to me, but I don’t always do it. I am always trying and am at least aware of not doing it. That counts, right?

Happy Monday!

SUAR

PS: The winner of the Saucony Shoe Giveaway is Ashley from Run, Fatty, Run who is cute as can be and not fat at all!  Email me at beth@shutupandrun with which of the two shoes you want, your shoe size and your address. I will need this info TODAY! Congrats!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Picks of the Week

Best Dinner for a Cold, Rainy Evening – Spicy Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

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Best “I Foreclosed On My Home but Am Still Happy” Situation:

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Best Motivation Picture to Put on Your Mirror or Refrigerator:

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Best Example of Why Birds Don’t Need Arms/Hands:

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Best “I’m Indulging and I Don’t Give a Shit” Treat – Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars:

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Best Gift From Grandma:

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Best Reason to Drink:Pinned Image

Best Way to Treat Your iPod Like a Person – iPod Hoodie:

Best Watch That Is Not a GarminGlobe Leather Watch:Pinned Image

Best “Damn You Auto Correct”:

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Find any good picks of your own this week?

SUAR

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hair Doesn’t Grow Overnight

Today’s run: 8.0 miles/1 hour, 12 mins/9 min mile avg.

I wanted to say that my run completely sucked, but there was this:

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And this:

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I mean, really. Even if you are puking or being carried off in as stretcher with a broken leg, how can you not appreciate the beauty around you? Being grateful for these gifts takes the edge off of our own personal crises. Sometimes we just need to get over ourselves and our drama.

Other positive things about the run were that the weather was perfect and I pooped before I left and did not soil myself or need to enlist the help of bushes or fields.

No run is ever that easy for me. But today’s was especially difficult. Like any good runner, it is my job to analyze every little thing to find out why the run was more difficult than normal so that I can reassure myself I am not completely out of shape and a loser runner.

  1. I had no juice. That’s the only way I can describe it. I really wanted to be out there, but I felt fatigued. My chest still hurts where I fell last week. Even though it is not a broken rib, something must be pulled or strained because I just don’t feel like my cardio is up to par and swear it’s related to breathing or lack thereof.
  2. I am working on my gait/form. Long story, but doc thinks my left side crap is due to over striding, not leaning forward and heel striking. My biomechanics are way off, causing issues to continue to resurface. I am re-learning how to run. This means having tons of mental and physical awareness, which I kind of don’t like to have when I run. See for yourself:

As I trudged up the last hill towards home, wondering why a mere 8 miles felt so difficult, I stopped and beat myself over the head with a bat. DUH! I’ve got a lot going on. I just need to cut myself a break sometimes. I wish I could say running was the only area of my life where I am hard on myself, but it is about EVERY thing and I need to back the hell off.

I came home and rolled. Yes, my look tells how I felt. Get any closer and I will kick you in the crotch.

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Tomorrow’s another day. Rome wasn’t built in a day and pubic hair doesn’t grow overnight. Healing and change take time.

Have you had a crappy run lately?

Ever had to make significant adjustments to your running form? This is the first time I am really committing to making changes. It is very slow going. You can only do a tiny bit at a time. Mostly, I am doing tons of drills/exercises to help my body learn how it “should” feel when I do it right.

SUAR