Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

I pinched at my hips, as I waited for the water to warm before getting in the shower. I studied my waist and turned to the side. Yesterday, my 8-year-old said I looked taller. I told her maybe I looked skinnier. The 15 pounds (yes fifteen. 1-5. You read that correctly) I gained after I broke my leg were slowly melting off, but not fast enough to my liking. I turned to the other side. The mirror at the gym doesn't give as good as an impression, I thought. I wondered which mirror was correct. The YMCA, where I looked short and stumpy or mine where I looked slender and smooth. Then suddenly I was hit with the answer. The only mirror that matter's is God's mirror. What does God see when he looks at me?

He sees stretch marks from birthing five babies. He sees breasts that have nurished these same children for their first year of life. He sees someone that worked so hard to over depression and anxiety. He sees a person who's feet are calloused because she runs using the body He gave her. He sees a body that has been injured than healed a thousand times. He sees infinite potential. He sees similar in all of us. To all of us He has given different talents and all He sees is how we use them.

I need to stop looking in the mirror and worrying about the extra inch I gained, that will come and go and multiply as I age. And start worrying about what He sees and strive to live up to it.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Parable of the Talents

The past few weeks have been a beast of emotions. I felt it was time to just put my book out there. Honestly, I have not tried very hard to publish the traditional way.  Almost all the books I read now are independent authors or from smaller publishers. I think the world is changing the way it does things.

I am publishing my book independently.
This is kind of scary.
Feels like Scream is chasing me
and there's a tree root in the way.
Hopeful Release in Mid AprilBut still...I have tried.  A few years ago, before a major rework of the material, I sent it out to many, many agents and did not get a single bite. I finished another book since then and started dozens more, testing my feel for different genres, but still Awakened: Legend of the Dagger wouldn't leave me. So now, five years after it's initial inception and countless drafts later, I have decided to release my baby.  It is precious to me. I love the characters as if they were real. In fact, sometimes I have conversations with them as I do the dishes. And Gavin, oh Gavin, he is swoon worthy.  He's my tattooed Gilbert Blythe who kills people.

Then there is that nagging feeling in the forefront of my mind that people won't like Gavin, that Eislen won't be as hardcore as I think she is, that the words will fall flat and people won't cry, or laugh, or scream, or feel anything at all.

I know not everybody is going to like my book.  I don't expect them to, but I want someone to. I want someone to feel stronger because they met Eislen. I want them to fight hard for what they want because of Gavin. I want them to want to be nicer because they met Toby and they don't want to be like him.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

10 for Texas 2014

Another 10 for Texas in the books and it feels great!  Last year's race was kind of a nightmare.  I totally hit a wall and thought I was going to die by mile 7. I vowed to redeem myself.  I came into the race with a few goals.  My  "Pie in a Sky Goal" of 1:25:00 (8:30 pace), my "definitely could do if I kept my head on straight" A goal 1:32:00, and my most important B goal of finishing with good form and in a good place mentally.

I hardly could sleep last night.  After a fitful night, I woke up at 5:30 for good and ate a bowl of oatmeal and a fruit smoothie.  I brought along a bottle of gatorade which I finished before the race.  Last year, a major problem was I was so dehydrated before mile 4 that I could barely move.  I wasn't going to make that mistake again.  I also brought along a couple of gu's.  Last year I only brought one and it wasn't enough, or I took it too late.  See, I'm learning!

I lined up at the start halfway between the 9 min mile sign and the 10 min mile sign.  Sidenote:  Please line up where you think you will finish not in the place "If I actually trained I might finish at this pace". Seriously.  For long races you need to train.  Here's a hint, If you are breathing hard in mile 1 of a 10 miler you're playing with the wrong crowd.  I must've passed a couple hundred people in this already crowded section AND I was not going faster than I planned on for this mile.

The race was awesome.  The only issue was sometimes the volunteers weren't ready with water at the water stops, they were all holding gatorade.  There were lots of spectators this year. I think in part because it was an out and back so people didn't have to travel the city to cheer on their friends.  So even if there weren't really that many, it felt like a lot because I saw all of them twice!

I took my salted caramel gu's at mile 3.5 and 6.5.  I never felt depleted the whole race.  When I started getting tired, I focused on the mile I was in and getting to the next.  I was most proud at the finish because I never broke form.  I never kicked myself mentally.  Only happy thoughts.  I am notorious for focusing on the bad in any training run/race.  I made it a point to practice happy thoughts this training season and it worked.

Mile nine was my fastest mile at 7:37.  I wasn't even breathing hard!  My legs felt strong at the finish.  Maybe I should've gone faster!  Yes.  I should've kicked my pace up before this point, but I was afraid to hit a wall.

There was a girl finishing about the same time as me and I knew I couldn't let her pass me.  We raced to the line and I finished one second ahead of her! Yeah!  Go me!  I came in 30th pace in my age group with a time of 1:26:29.  Not only did I beat my true A goal by almost 6 minutes, but I almost made my Pie in a Sky goal.  I have no doubt that if my hip hadn't bugged me all 12 weeks of training I would've killed that goal as well.  Oh, well.  That's for next year.

My Splits:

Official time of 1:26:29

Yup.  Nailed it!   :) But as you all know, good is never good enough.  I can't wait to prove myself at The Woodlands Half Marathon this Spring.  Hopefully my hip will heal during my time off this month and I can finish proudly!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Beginner Swimmer Tips

I now have a summer of swimming under my belt.  As a beginning swimmer with no experience in a lap lane to now a seasoned beginner, I thought I'd share a few things I've learned.

  • It's ok to be the worst one out there.  You'll get better.  The first day I nearly panicked, but I managed to swim a few laps.  With a bit of instruction and practice I eased my fears.  And p.s. all my instruction was online.
  • Don't be embarrassed by your speed.  You'll probably be surprised at the variety of swim experience in the pool.  There will be the lady swimming only breaststroke quite slowly and fluidly.  There will be the woman swimming 100s in a minute flat.  Then there will be people like me, someone who slowly but surely gets there and back, there and back.  
  • When you arrive at the pool, and find you need to lane share, take time to observe the lanes to see where you fit in.  Don't over or underestimate your abilities.  If you find you got into the wrong lane, then just switch.  No biggie.  
  • Every time I go to a new pool or at a new time, I'm afraid there will be too many people in the lanes.  I've found that most people are happy to lane share.  Even with several people in a lane, if you pay attention, the swim will go quite smoothly.  I shared with a handful of people today and didn't even notice.  It didn't go any differently than if I had my own lane.
  • I'll say it again cause it's so important.  Don't worry about your speed or ability.  Just try.  You will get better and more confident with time, but that's only true if you try.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Final Review: Run Less, Run Faster (long overdue)

OMG.  Run less, Run Faster is frickin' hard!  But it works.

Now for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I actually had to bow out of the plan early.  I pulled my hip flexor muscles and was in quite a bit of pain for a few weeks, so I don't have 10k results to prove the plan.  However, I do know that my easy pace is now quite a bit faster than it was at the beginning of the plan.  Easy pace was closer to 10 min/mile and now easy is 9 min/mile.  I can chat away for miles and miles at that pace now, when that used to be my tempo pace.

I really liked the track workouts.  It was especially nice having the paces written out.  All the guess work was gone.

Now for the bad.  Ugh.  I really hate having all hard workouts.  I really love my easy days.  I really, really loved chatting with friends.  If running is a social thing for you, then this plan will not work.  You will probably have a really difficult time sticking to it.

I do think that I will continue with the speed workouts when my hip is completely healed.  I will remember to do my tempos and my hills.  BUT I will also make plenty of time for the fun, easy stuff.

Running, to me, is as much as about building relationships and maintaining good mental health as it is about working out my body.  If you feel the same as me, then take Run Less, Run Faster with a grain of salt.  If you are just looking to run fewer days and meet your goals.  This might be the right plan for you.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

"Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.  What do you do?  You swim, swim, swim."--Dori

I love that line from Finding Nemo.  I say it to myself all the time as I run, but now it applies to a new part of my life--Swimming!

I am really falling in love with the water.  I love finding a bit of rhythm.  I love the contrast of the cool water on a hot day.  I love my new shoulder muscles.  Yes.  I am a bit vain.

Today I swam 1600m.  That is one mile for all you imperial measurement folks.  It is the farthest I have ever swam.  I did mostly freestyle, but also just legs, just arms, and I'm trying to learn breaststroke (with not much luck).

I love meeting new goals.  I love trying new things.  At the beginning of the summer I was afraid to swim 25 m.  I could barely squeak out 400m on my first workout.  Barely over a month later I can swim a mile!  A whole mile! (and 500m without stopping!!!) I would add more explanation points, but I already overdid it.

To add to my euphoria, I have written almost 10,000 words in my new regency romance.  This story kind of breaks my heart. I hope I can express the emotions I feel adequately in my writing.

Sigh.  Life is good.

Try new things. You might like it. And when things get tough, Just keep swimming.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Workout recaps...sort of

I strained my quad muscles due to overtraining a few weeks ago.  I should've slowed down earlier, because I could feel an old injury in my hip flexor flaring up.  I just felt so good that I decided to ignore niggles, push through all out pain, and run multiple days in a row when I know my body starts to get angry when I run more than two days in a row.  Finally, after running three days in a row--again--and coming home in so much pain I thought I would throw up, I decided to take a week off of running.  It was a good call.  I actually took off 9 days.  I felt perfect after 5, but kept resting for good measure.  I found I liked resting...a lot!  So much so it took all I had in me to wake up this week for my runs...

Mon- 5 @9:09 pace, no pain
Wed-5 @9:30 Pace, no pain
Thurs-200m swim, during safety break.  Received the best compliment ever!  "You're getting faster, Mom!"  I really appreciated my kids cheering me on poolside, even if only for a few minutes.
Fri-3.5 @9:18, stopped run early due to tightening in quad.  No pain.  Came home and felt really tight and within a few hours had actual pain.  I re-taped, iced, and all that fun stuff. 
Sat- 1400m swim.  THAT IS ALOST ONE MILE!!!!!!!  I was in the water for about an hour, but actual swimming time was about 35 min.

KT tape is my best friend, if you didn't know that already.  

During my rest week, I traded my running days for swim days.  

Mon-700 m swim, (100m kicks, 5X100m freestyle, 100m kicks)
Wed-900m swim (can't remember the breakdown, but it was similar to Mon, just with more laps)
Fri--700m swim
Sat-800m swim

I am getting so much better at my freestyle.  I can now breathe bilaterally, and am very comfortable breathing from my left side. I also feel much smoother in the water.  I still need to hire someone to help me out on my form, or at least have my husband record me.  

Today I started learning the breaststroke.  I have a long way to go, but after a few drills I was able to swim 100m breaststroke.  By the last 25m I felt like I was getting a bit of rhythm, or at least I was at a point where I could say "I get it!...I think."  Haha!