Sunday, May 17, 2015

Secret Goals

This week was rough on the exercise front.  I didn't run, I didn't swim, I didn't even get my daily step goal on my Fitbit once all week.  The week before wasn't much better.

I don't know what was going on.  Last week it was a lot of busy things after work that made it hard to get to my own thing.  This week I had no energy on Monday or Tuesday.  Wednesday I was home alone and cleaned house and enjoyed the quiet.  Thursday I stayed late at work because I was going to have a field trip on Friday and needed to make lesson plans.  It always take so long to make lesson plans.  Maybe I am too detailed and provide too much to do but I know what I appreciated when I was subbing and try to do that for my subs.  Friday I got home and was on mom duty because my youngest was having friends over for a bonfire.  They had a great time.

Saturday I had a horrible day on the being healthy front.  I was going to go for a hike and I didn't go.  I had been up for part of the night with stomach cramps and feeling nauseous.  Not fun.  I was better in the morning but really tired.  I was a lazy slob all day.  I was in my robe for most of the morning and then in sweats and a t-shirt for the rest of the day.  I munched out on chips, crackers, popcorn and drank WAY too much soda.  I was in full on "Poor Me" mode about diet and exercise and how do I handle it?  By not exercising and eating crap all day.  Ugh!!

So this morning I picked myself up by my bootstraps, gave myself a good shake and got moving.

I went early because I have plans later in the day with a friend.  And because I figured that if I got going early I would have less time to talk myself out of going.  I had planned to go to the Saddle and either take the road route up to Dimple Hill which would give me a little over five miles or do the Vineyard Loop with would give me over 6.5 miles.

Once I parked and got all situated I decided to go the Vineyard Loop.  I felt I needed the distance to make up for yesterday's gluttony.

Because I hang out with so many kick ass people I am sometimes hesitant to share some of my day to day goals with them because they seem like they would be easy for them.  Part of that whole comparing thing that I'm working on.  Races I have signed up for and other things I share because it's good to be held accountable on the journey to get to those races and events.  But sometimes I have things I want to try or do along the way that I just keep to myself.  No one would make fun of me but I don't want the pressure of someone asking me if I have done it yet.

I have had a secret goal about this route for quite awhile.  I wanted to run the whole thing, no walking.  That doesn't seem too hard, I've run that far before.  But there are quite a few hills and I usually walk up the hills and run down the other side.  I haven't told many people about this goal because I think it won't happen for a very long time.

Today I was alone and I decided to start working on running up the hills and see how I could do.  The direction I started has a hill for about 1.5 miles.  It's not super steep (none of the hills on this route are) but it feels like it goes on forever.  I focused on keeping my core straight and my breathing steady.  I also took shorter, bouncy steps.  This was suggested by my Ironman husband.  I figure he knows a thing or two.  I also looked at the ground and where my feet were going instead of up ahead at the road.  Otherwise I would start freaking myself out about how far I had to go.

Running up this hill was a big deal for me.  I'm pretty sure that I can hike fast at about the same pace that I was running but I don't care.  The point for me was that I was trying and I kept going.

There were a couple of times that I needed to stop and let my heart rate slow a bit.  But I didn't walk when I did that, I took some pictures instead.  I only gave myself about 30 seconds and then I would take off again.  I didn't want to walk when I let my heart rate go down because that would mean I didn't run the whole thing (in my own mind anyway.)  It's one of the nice things about going alone, I don't have to worry about holding anyone up if I just stand for a bit instead of moving along.   Lot's of wildflowers were blooming along the road.  So beautiful!
Just a few of these are blooming but next week they are going to be everywhere!
All the purple in this picture is the flower that's in the picture above.  The picture doesn't do it justice.  It was beautiful!
I was pretty happy when I got to the top of that first hill.  One and a half miles and I ran the whole way up.  Slower than slow but I did it.  Now I know that I have a bunch of downhill for quite awhile so I'm going to enjoy it while I can and I pick up the pace.

I keep working on my breathing and my posture.  I know that this will help me be a better runner if I can learn to be consistent in both of these areas.  Considering how my abs feel right now I think that I did good because I'm a bit sore in more core area.

The forest is greener every time I hike.  All the ferns and grasses are filling in the ground so that it is just a blanket of green with little pops of color where the wildflowers are blooming.
The last three miles of this route is a lot of up and down.  Not super long hills but enough of them that it is work.  I kept going and each time I got to the top of another hill I was happy because I knew that I was doing my best run out there that I have ever done.  But it was also getting harder.  I was struggling with my breathing and heart rate and my legs felt like they were weighed down.  I almost started walking.  I could have and I still would have been pretty happy because I ran more of the route than I had ever done before (including the big hill at the start).  Somehow I just wanted to balance out yesterday's yucky day with a kick ass day.  I needed to prove to myself that I CAN do things that I set my mind to, even if it is really hard.

The last half mile was brutal.  I had to stop at least three times to catch my breath.  I really wanted to quit and walk.  At one point I was where I could see the cars parked at the saddle and had stopped to put the leash on the dog.  I almost walked that last little bit.  How ridiculous is that?  I run over six miles and all those hills and I almost gave up in sight of the car.  It makes me appreciate my friends who ran the Mac Forest 50k last weekend.  They ran this trail and a whole lot more.  Ugh!  lol
I sucked it up and trotted up the last little bit to the gate.  I was so happy to see that gate!!  I was so happy that I kept pushing.
I can't believe my average pace was under 14!  Woo hoo!!
I even got one mile under a 12 minute pace!  (It was downhill! lol)
After my Black Butte hike I was talking with Joe about my concerns for Cascade Lakes Relay.  I think I am going to be solid on the running (as long as I don't have too many more weeks where I don't get any runs in).  But how do I train for the elevation and troubles I have with breathing?  It's not like I can drive to higher elevations every weekend to practice.  Although I kind of wish I could.  Joe suggested that I push harder on my trail runs and hikes.  That by getting faster and stronger here I will do better during CLR.  I won't be as fast as I am at home but I will make that slow faster than it would be otherwise.

I think that was in the back of my mind when I started out this morning.  I really want to kick ass at CLR this year.  When I say kick ass I mean kick ass for me.  I can't keep up with the rest of my team, they are speedy people!!  But I don't want to feel like such a detriment to the team.  A team full of marathoners, ultra runners, crossfitters and Ironman....and me.  :-)  Trying hard to keep up.

I am going to have to think about how to get my work outs in despite being tired.  I also have a wonderful daughter who spent a lot of this year not asking to have friends over because of my homework situation.  Now she is making up for lost time and I don't blame her.  Don't want to replace homework with workout so that she never feels like her friends can come over.  I will have to think about how to balance that.  And my hubby is ramping up the training for Ironman Canada.  If he isn't working out he is resting or working.  That leaves more of the general chores for me to do because he just doesn't have the energy (which I TOTALLY get).  Just makes it hard to feel like I can go do my thing when there is a ton of laundry or the kitchen is a disaster.  It is such a wife thing to feel like I have to put the housework before my workouts.  Not sure what to do about that.  If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to share!!  I will take all the help I can get.

Today was a good day.  Helps balance out the crappy day and I'm holding onto any good days I get to help keep me from having crappy days too often.
This is something I am really working on in my head.  It's a journey so there are bound to be bad days.  
I have a few other secret goals that I want to try at some point or another.  Not sharing yet but the possibilities are endless.  :-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cheering Two of My Favorite Guys!

This week I didn't get much done on the exercise front.  Stuff got in the way.  The stuff that got in the way this weekend was awesome so I'm going to share about what others were doing today.  

I have been blessed to have some amazing people in my life.  I have a wonderful family and a group of friends and co-workers that are a joy to be around.  Many of them were doing incredible things this weekend.

I had a whole bunch of people that I know running in the McDonald Forest 50k Trail Run.  Just so you understand, that is five zero kilometers (not just five kilometers).  That's 31.4 miles!  That's 31.4 miles on trails!  Trails with hills!  Say it with me....WOW!  

Just so you have a proper understanding of what I mean when I say hills, here is the elevation guide for the race:
That's ridiculous!!
I used to get mad at myself because I couldn't do what these people do.  Now I realize that I don't want to do that these people do.  I admire it greatly because I have a small understanding of the effort that they put forth because of my own hikes in this same forest.  But the desire to train for something like this and then run that far.  Ugh.  I think I would rather just cheer them on.  :-)

So for all my friend that ran the McDonald Forest 50k Trail Run last Saturday.  Bravo!  You are amazing!  Every single one of you and I'm so very proud of you no matter how your day turned out because you were out there.  Nice work people!

I was unable to go cheer on the runners in person.  This was because I was in Florence cheering on another very important person.  My husband Joe was participating in Oregon Dunes Olympic Triathlon. 

I made sure everything was packed up and ready to go before I left for work on Friday.  Joe got home from work and had the car all loaded up so that as soon as I got home we could leave.  It's about a two hour drive from our house to Florence.  We got to the packet pick up with a half hour to spare.  Then we went and checked in at our yurt at Honeyman State Park.  We got the only yurt in the park that would allow dogs so Bailey was able to come along for the adventure.  

After we checked in we headed into town to have pizza with the Moore family.  Chad Moore and Joe both did this same race last year.  Then we all went back to the Yurt so that we could have a campfire and make S'mores.  It was a fun way to start the weekend.  Last year the weather was cold, wet and rainy.  Not uncommon for the Oregon Coast, especially in early May.  The weather this year was shaping up to be much nicer and both guys had put in a lot of work getting ready for the race.  Chad's wife and I enjoy the time to sit and chit chat while waiting to see the guys pass by.  This year their daughter came along and her and Miss Meighan spent their time hanging out and having a blast making videos and running around the park.
Finishing the swim.
The guys looked great at the swim and then took off on their bikes.  The bike course is challenging because it was really hilly but they both felt like they did great.  We parked our cars at the finish line and then hiked over to where we could see them go by on the run.  That's where I got my hike for the weekend.  I think the trail was about a half a mile long.  (But I'm counting it so that my streak still stands.)
I took this picture from the far side of the transition area.
Best in the West took this one.  Love this picture!
The 10k part of the triathlon looped through the park, back to the transition area and then back to the park to finish at the top of a sand dune.  As soon as we saw both guys go by we headed to the finish line to see them at the end.

That last hill is steep.  That last hill is in sand which makes it even harder.  As if steep wasn't hard enough!
The last hill.
He chugged up that hill fast!
Joe finished with a total time of 3:02:35.  He did so great and looked awesome.  He ended up placing 3rd in his age group.  We didn't know because we had left but a friend that had done a relay was at the awards and let us know.  Joe figured that there must have only been three men in his age group.  There were five!  lol  Still, it was fun.  Chad also did great and it was fun to see him looking all confident and kicking butt.  He's in great shape and it was easy to see how hard he worked getting ready for the race.
Love being able to cheer for this man!
I know that Joe was mostly using this race as a training race to get ready for Ironman Canada in July. Either way, he works hard in his training and it is fun to watch him go.  To say that I am proud of this man does not even begin to express how I feel.  He works hard at what he does and that pays off.  What a great example he is!  And while doing all that training he was supporting me and making sure I wasn't a puddle of stress while finishing my Masters degree.  

I love going to his events and cheering him on!

On our way home we stopped to spend a little bit of time playing on the beach.  It was such a beautiful day!  We had a great time at Heceta Beach.  Bailey loves playing in the water and in the sand.  Meighan does too.  We even met a couple of guys that were from New York and were in Oregon for the Eugene marathon.  One of the men was working on doing a marathon in all 50 states.  He only had 8 or so to go.  Amazing accomplishment!  They decided they needed to come and visit the Pacific Ocean since the Atlantic Ocean is their normal stomping ground.  They were very nice and it is amazing how easy it is to talk to people that are part of the community of runners.  Joe was wearing his race shirt and that's what started the conversation.
Sunday we went to Eugene to watch my brother-in-law, Steve, do his first marathon.  The nice part about it being in the Eugene Marathon is that I have done the half marathon several times and Joe has done the full marathon so we knew good spots to sit and cheer Steve as he went by.  Steve didn't really have a time goal, other than to finish.  He also had injured his calf during the Corvallis Half Marathon a few weeks ago so wasn't able to do the training he had wanted to.  
Tall man in a bright orange shirt and yellow hat.  Yep, he was easy to spot. 
He did fantastic!  We saw him at the beginning of the race when he was almost to mile 2.  Then we walked to where we parked the car to see him go by again at around mile 7.5.  My brother Matt, his wife Teresa and their two kiddos met us there.  They had been at the start when Steve took off.  My nephew Elliott showed up as well with his girlfriend.  We had a great time talking and catching up while we cheered the people passing us.  At this point the half marathon runners and the marathon runners are on the same route so there lots of people to cheer on.  Jenna had made the perfect sign.
This got a lot of laughs and smiles from the runners.  Good job Jenna!  :-)
Steve came by and gave us all high fives.  He was looking great and smiling.  Always a good sign.
After he went by we packed up again and made our way over to another spot just past mile 16.  This was right behind Autzen Stadium and there was a group of college kids dressed in hula skirts and coconut bikini tops (mostly the boys).  They were having a great time cheering the runners on and the runners were smiling as they passed.  It's one of the things I love about races.  All the people doing silly things and holding fun signs just to get random strangers to smile and help them finish.
Later, Teresa texted this picture to us.  None of us realized that Joe was flashing Steve because he was standing behind us and he quit before we turned around.  Teresa was snapping pictures and didn't see it until she looked through them later.
Joe is making sure that Steve is smiling.  

Then we headed to the finish.  We had a bit of a wait but it was a beautiful day so we enjoyed it.  

We saw Steve coming into Hayward field and so we came out of the bleachers and stood down by the track to cheer him to the finish.  
I'm so proud of Steve!  Running a marathon is not an easy task.  Anyone who can finish 26.2 miles is amazing!  It doesn't matter if they run, walk or crawl.

Another highlight of the day was after Steve was finished.  We were standing where the athletes come out after they finish and there was a group of people behind us.  One of the family members had a tri fold cardboard.  I had seen him holding it earlier and thought that was an unusual thing to make a race sign out of.  They group made their runner stand in front of them and then they held up the sign.
That was one happy soon-to-be Grandma!!
Everyone around them was cheering.  The marathon finisher and now Grandma was in tears, happy tears of course.  It just made my heart happy.  She had done something really hard by finishing her marathon and I would think this is just about the best reward she could have gotten.  I don't know these people and will never see them again.  But I loved that they told their mom at the end of her race.  That we all got to be included in the moment.  That the crowd applauded and cheered for their happiness.  It was the icing on the cake for a great day for me!

Lot's of friends and family doing epic things this weekend.  I got to cheer some of them on.  May not be on the same level as doing the actual event.  But I think cheering them on is my own kind of epic accomplishment too.

I hope that by being supportive and a cheerleader that I help make people feel like they absolutely can do whatever they are working towards.  That's a pretty great thing to be able to do.
Love this quote and love this poet!
Looking forward to many more epic days of cheering people that I care about doing awesome things!!!  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Good Enough Isn't Good Enough

I have had a lot going on.  Lots of hikes, a few runs, a swim and a lot of laughter.

Sunday:  This was a week ago.  We hiked up to Dimple Hill via Dan's Trail.  Went with friends and hiked some and ran some.  Had a great time, as always.  Evidently the running was speedy and my trudging up the hills was faster than normal.  I was shooting for a 17 minute average pace.  I got a 16'03" pace!  Woot woot.  That was fun!
Love this picture!  Laughter is the best!  
Wednesday:  I swam.  The pool has just moved the bulkhead so now instead of 25 yards you have to swim 50 yards for one length.  I did 9 full laps in 30 minutes and had to do one more to make it an even 10 laps.  I went 1,000 yards in 32 minutes.  Eight laps is .5 miles.  So I did at least .6 miles.  A bit faster than last week.

Truth is that on Wednesday I was having a bad day with my attitude.  I felt defeated, left out, fat, blah, blah, blah.  I can't even begin to tell you how much I didn't want to go swim.  I was a weepy, have a pity-party for myself, mess.  I don't know why I felt this way when I have been doing so well in my workouts and in my mental attitude.  I guess I had a relapse.

But I went.  And worked it out in the water.  And I felt better.  Not completely improved but better.

Not only that but I wore a one piece suit that is meant for swimming laps instead of my swim skirt and swim top that are intended to hide fat and bulging areas.  I felt WAY out of my comfort zone and very exposed.  It was nice to swim without the drag of the other suit.  I guess I'll get used to it eventually.

Thursday:  I did a short run.  I ran as fast as I could handle and when my heart rate got too high I walked for a bit.  I ran .8 miles and stopped and said hi to a friend.  Then I ran to 1.5 miles and walked until I got to 1.75 miles.  I started running again and got to 2.0 miles.  Then I walked home the last .75 miles for a total of 2.75 miles.  This was a mile of walking and 1.75 of running.  My overall pace was 13'11"  which tells me that even though I walked a large part of the distance, when I was running I was moving right along.  That felt good.

Saturday:  I did the Willamette Mission Park 5k Trail Run on Saturday with my friend Shannon.  It was her first ever trail run.  We had a great time laughing and talking during the run.  I'm SUPER proud of her!  This was WAY out of her comfort zone and once again, just like the 10k in January, she let me talk her into it.  She rocks and I am very proud of her.
Me and the fabulous Shannon!  Did I mention that I am proud of this lady?  :-)
Sunday:  Joe and a bunch of people were going to do an open water swim at Foster Lake.  I had to be in Bend by 3:30 to check in for a conference that I was going to for work.  I decided to find a hike to do somewhere along the way.  This way I could keep my hike streak alive and have an adventure by going somewhere new.  I wanted something that wasn't terribly long, was popular so that there would be lots of people around since I would be alone, and was doable for me.

I found lots of hikes that I want to do eventually but the one I decided on was the hike to the top of Black Butte.  This is a four mile hike, round trip and is very popular.  The elevation gain was about 1,600 feet so I knew it was doable but it would be difficult for me.  The weather was supposed to be clear and sunny so I decided to take my big Nikon camera in a nice camera bag I have.  I wanted to get some awesome pictures of the mountains and see how it felt to hike with the camera bag.  I figured out the directions and took off early Sunday morning.

As I got over the pass and I could see Black Butte in the distance.  Black Butte is a very large cinder dome that is used as a fire lookout during the forest fire season.  As it got closer, it looked bigger and bigger and I started to get a nervous feeling in my stomach.  Uh oh.  What if I bit off more than I can chew.
I was planning on climbing to the top of that hill! Yikes!
There are no signs on the highway directing people to the trail head.  I turned near a campground, went a few miles and then turned onto a gravel forest service road.  It had a lot of ruts and I had to go slow.  I followed this road for more than five miles and was beginning to wonder if I was in the wrong place when I came to the trail head.  I paid the day use fee and got ready.  I texted Joe to let him know I had arrived and was heading out.
Five miles of gravel road.
This sign was about two miles down the gravel road.  I think I knew by then it was a rough road!
Here we go.
The first quarter of a mile I was already struggling.  The higher elevation was making breathing hard and I was frustrated about how slow I was going even though it hadn't gotten terribly steep yet.  I kept reminding myself that it's harder to breath at high elevations and that's why I was struggling.
When I got done with the first mile it started getting really hard.

I had to stop and catch my breath and let my heart rate go down.

I had to do that a lot.

Every time I stopped I took some pictures.  Either with my phone or with my camera.  I got some beautiful pictures of the trail and of the Sisters.
View from the trail!
After the first mile the trail gets even steeper.  I was stopping more and more often.  I was really struggling and going very slowly.  My heart rate kept spiking up to over 180 and I was frustrated because everything seemed so difficult.  After all my progress and successful hikes, I could barely make it up a two mile hill.

I had some very nice pictures of the Sisters and the trail.  I could have quit and headed back to the car.  I could have decided that what I had done so far was good enough.  I had come beautiful pictures and had struggled quite awhile.  I was by myself.  The only one who would know was me.  The only one that would really care was me.

This was good enough.  I could do better next time.

Except that I wanted better than good enough.

So I kept going.  Stopping often.  Struggling.  But not giving up.

I wanted that view at the top.

I wanted to know I could push through the struggle.

Every time I stopped I took pictures and enjoyed what I was seeing and how far I had come.
The light green patch is Black Butte Ranch.
The trail was steeper and more rocky.
Burned trees from a wildfire in 2009.
The trail got very steep the last half mile and more difficult to navigate.  There were rocks and I had to be careful so that I didn't trip and fall.  The trail moved around the side of the hill and now I had the Sisters behind me and Mt. Hood in front of me.  It was so beautiful.
The Sisters
Mt. Hood
Then I saw the watch tower!  This meant I was close to the top.  But the trail got even steeper.  Geesh!  I was pretty sure I was going to die from either a heart attack or lack of oxygen but I kept going.

And then I made it to the top.


To say that the view was amazing does not begin to do it justice.  I could see mountains and then more mountains to the south, the west and the north.  To the east was the high desert area of Bend and Redmond.
This is only a partial view.  Did I mention Wow?!
It took me over an hour to get to the top.  Two miles in an hour.  Not very impressive.  Except that I did it.  I didn't give up.  I didn't turn around and go back to the car.

I earned my view and pictures at the top.  I took pictures and soaked in the sunshine for almost 30 minutes before I started back down.
Three Finger Jack
Mt. Jefferson
Mt. Hood
The Sisters
More of the Sisters.  What can I say, they are beautiful!
The Watchtower. 
Mt. Washington
The original home for the rangers manning the watch tower. 
I made it to the top!
Down had some difficulties too.  I'm a little afraid of heights and going down is hard because I can see the trail and then I can see all the nothing around it.  It makes me have a little bit of vertigo so I am almost as slow going down as coming up because of that.  But breathing is better and the heart rate isn't going ballistic so that was a plus.
I was about half a mile down and I see a guy running up.  He is wearing a Cascade Lakes shirt.  I'm wearing mine too so I say, "Nice shirt!"  He looks up and smiles as he runs by and says, "I like yours too!" and keeps going.  Wow, I wish I could run like that up this trail.

There were a lot more people coming up the hill now.  I had it almost to myself on the way up but now it is later in the day and a lot of people are starting the hike.  Everyone was friendly and said hi. A few times when I stopped to let people go by or they stopped to let me go by I would chit chat for a bit.  People on the trail always seems to be friendly.
These little flowers came out as the sun got warmer.
They looked like they were growing out of a dead bush.
I have a feeling that all that dead bush will be beautiful white flowers in a few days!  That will be a sight to see. 
I was about a mile from the top when my Cascade Lakes running friend came running past me on his way back down.  In the half mile I had walked since I saw him heading to the top, he had made the top and come back down to pass me.  Wow again!  This guy was fast.

The last half mile the trail gets easier to navigate and not as steep.  I decided to try to speed up a bit and began a slow jog.  I didn't set any speed records but was able to do a steady trot down to the start of the trail.
It's amazing how dirty my feet get.
A few wet wipes later I felt a bit cleaner.
When I was struggling up the hill I did a lot of thinking.  I even shared my deep thoughts with my students today.

I had a goal.  The goal was to get to the top and take great pictures of the mountains.

There were times along the way that I could have said that the pictures I had, the views I had seen were good enough and headed back.  Good enough isn't a bad thing.  I had beautiful pictures and seen gorgeous views.

But that wasn't enough.  I wanted to see what the view was at the top.  I wanted to reach my goal.  So I kept going.

The view at the top was breathtaking.  It was amazing.  I was so thankful that I didn't settle for good enough.  That I didn't settle. That I believed in myself enough to push through the difficult stuff and earn the reward.

Good enough wasn't good enough.

I earned spectacular.  And I got it.

Pretty good lesson for life I think.

Are you settling for good enough?  Or are you pushing through the difficulties in order to reach the spectacular?  You can do it!!  Keep going!  Earn your spectacular!  It will be worth it and it will help you during future difficulties because you will know that the spectacular is coming.